Sunday, 31 May 2015

Classes as Skills, Part Two

Continuing on from the introduction to my Skills system, let's revisit the character sheet I included the other day:

Note there's been one change to the character sheet since I took this picture - Thief skills have been split from Scout.

Points Totals
The right margin was cut off with the scan - there should be subsection points totals on the right hand side - 32 for combat, 8 for athletics, 16 for general, 128 for spell lists - with a top right hand overall total of 188 (32 + 8 + 16 + 128). There's also a total of 128 for spell skills at the bottom, but they don't contribute to the total.
What are these spell skills? Why are they in a separate box? And why weren't their points included in the total.
Spell Skills
In addition to spell lists, there are three special spell skills - Detect Magic, Artefacts, and Runes.
But who wants to waste points on skills like these?
Well, sadly, in order to be a good spellcaster you have to study the fundamentals of the art.
The way this works is that spells cost twice as many points, but then for every point you spend in a spell list, you get to spend a point for free in one of these three special skills.

The spell skills cost does not contribute to the total, and can be anything up to the points in spell lists.

For example, Mazak had 128 points in spell lists, so can spend up to 128 points in spell skills, which just happens to be exactly the amount spent.
What about Athletics? That looks more complicated.
Athletics is the pure build up of muscle power, and calculations are derived from this instead of directly from Strength. It gives you your Power bonus (which is used for the kill bonus, and range of missiles), Lift (in pounds) and Speed (in feet per round).

Power and Lift are on the first line - they both use stat ST but are also affected by your SZ (Size Mod).
For example, Dwarves are SZ -1 so get -1 on Power and Lift.

Speed is on the second line - it uses the stat AG but is also affected by your HM (Height Mod).
For example, Dwarves are small for their weight so have HM -1, so get -1 on Speed.

While Power is a simple bonus, Lift and Speed are real world values so are looked up on a table.

Finally, you cannot increase muscle power without limit, so beyond level 3 you stop getting any power bonus, and lift stops improving (there is no limit to speed).
The cost is split onto a new line after level 3 to remind you of this.

As you can see from the character sheet, Athletics is the only thing affected by your height and weight. Also Lift and Speed are the only things on the character sheet you need to look up when spending skill points.
What are those blank lines for?
Misc Skills
There are a couple of blank lines for other skills if anyone takes them:
Sage (ME, by subject e.g. History, Geography etc.)
Languages (ME, by language)
Music (IN Singing, or by instrument)
Arts (IN Painting, Sculpture, Dancing etc.)
Science (ME, by subject e.g. Alchemy, Maths, Architecture, Engineering)
Hey, how come there aren't any social skills such as Bribery, Intimidation et.c.?
Missing Skills
Just like there are no Logic or Charisma stats, there are no skills which should be resolved through role playing.
Comparing with D&D 5e, this does away with 4 of their 18 skills (Insight, Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion).
Hang on a second, I thought this was a skill system: why is there a level listed at the top right of the character sheet?
Levels make a reappearance
I didn't want people to have to spend points on boring skills which everyone needs to improve at: Perception, Spell Saves, and Incapacitation.
These three are not treated as skills which you take levels in, they simply use the level of the character, which is derived from the number of skill points they have to spend.
At first level you have 10 skill points to spend (i.e. 100 XP). When you get to 20 / 40 / 80 / 160... skill points you are second / third / fourth... level.

For example, in the example character sheet the character had spent 180 skill points, which makes him 5th level, so his level on the back (LHS) of the character sheet for Perception, Spell Saves, and Incapacitation is 5.
Combat Manoeuvres?I'm currently considering adding combat manoeuvres such as Disarm,Trip, Multiple Opponents. It could use the same system as Spell Skills (if I want to track bonuses in it), OR I might have a "Combat Level" derived from the number of points spent in combat skills. Either way I'm not sure if Athletics or Acrobatics should add to the total or not.
That's pretty much covered the whole skill system. In the third and final part I'll cover how this system reduces to a system of classes and levels with no need for skill points when you don't want to be bothered with them.

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