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Author Topic: [Lords of Sky] Skills revisited...  (Read 606 times)
Andre Canivet
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Posts: 45

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« on: May 21, 2010, 08:26:04 PM »

Hey all,

This is sort of a continuation of an earlier Lords of Sky question stated here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=29506.15

In the last thread, I was concerned about the layering / depth of my skill & ability system and the perceived "realism" thereof.  Well, I think I've sorted it out, pretty much, and wanted to run it past the keen eyes here.

Briefly, a character is defined by four types of traits: Aptitudes, Karmas, Boons, and Abilities,

Aptitudes are like loose attributes; there will be a fixed (but short) list of them (Physical, Mental, Social, perhaps Spiritual, etc.), and each will define the action points the character gets to spend on a certain type of conflict.  They may also help determine point costs for improving Abilities, and track character damage/stress... not sure yet.  They may also be a bit redundant with the skills/abilities (I'm not sure).

Karmas are similar to aspects in FATE.  Basically, they're words or phrases that describe some aspect of the character; from personality traits, virtues & vices, relationships, psychological / physical / social problems, etc.  They can be positive or negative, but many of them are ambiguous and could be benefits or hindrances depending on the situation.  When beneficial, they often cost metagame currency (in the form of experience / story / hero points) to activate, and when they're hindrances, they earn points back for the character.  So, they'll tend to shape the character's life, influence his or her abilities, and the karmas themselves will change through play and player choice.  I'm planning on an extensive list of Karmas which players can use, as well as simple rules for defining your own.

Boons are strictly beneficial and fairly specific: something like: "keen eyesight +1", "sword of legend (with name/stats)", "Solar dragon stance 6", or "Whirlwind kick 3."  In general, boons modify or expand on your skills (though not always) and are part of the character.  These are mostly self-explanatory, but as with Karmas there will a list of pre-generated and categorized ones, and rules for inventing your own.  With something like "Solar Dragon Stance 6" it might include some modified rules, such as: allows you to defend against all attacks from up to 6 attackers, with a +3 bonus, for an entire round, at a cost of 6 action points.

And finally Abilities are pretty much what they sound like...  areas of expertise which define what the character can do.  Mechanically, abilities indicate the sizes of the dice you will use to make your rolls when resolving a conflict.  Abilities are described by Vocations and Skills.  A Vocation is something like a character class or career template, and a skill is, well, a narrower area of expertise.  It might be easier to give an example.  A Ranger vocation might be defined by the skills: animal ken, archery, athletics, fighting, wilderness survival, natural healing & herbalism.  In theory, you could define all the skills separately, or you could just assign a rating to the Vocation and assume any skills in that vocation that aren't specifically noted share that main rating.  So, you might have a character with "Ranger 5" and "Archery 7, Athletics 6, Natural Healing 4"... everything else (animal ken, fighting, survival) would default to Ranger: 5.  The player would then have a choice of spending a few experience points raising a single skill even higher, or spending a lot of experience to raise the Vocation, which in turn raises all skills under it, whether specifically defined or not. 

Other notes:
-- Like Karmas & Boons, there will be a pre-generated list of vocations & skills (and descriptions), with rules for modifying them and defining new ones.

-- It might also be possible to purchase skills outside of a vocation, but they'll likely cost more to improve until they are folded into a vocation (which may re-define your existing vocations).  A complicating factor might be what happens when a character has two or three vocations which share the same skills...  how does that affect skill level and improvement?

-- Supernatural or otherwise complex skills/abilities will also cost more (as will vocations which include them), but are likely to work in the same way as regular skills.

-- Specialties, or more specific sub-skills can usually be handled with boons linked to a skill (e.g. Vocation: "Cop,"  Skill: "Guns," possible Guns boons: "Quickdraw Champion, +2" or "shotguns +3."  The alternative is to create a new category for specialties like "Guns: Shotguns", or "Athletics: Climbing"...  These would work like skills work, only smaller... so when the vocation rises, the skills rise and the specialties rise.  Or, when skills alone are improved, the specialties improve; or specialties can be improved on their own.  But this seems really redundant, if a boon will work better.[/li][/list]

-- Any regular skill which a character does not possess has a default level of 4 (out of a possible 12 for masters of a skill), so theoretically anybody should be able to at least attempt almost any normal task.

---------------------------

So there you have it; that's the core of a character, as it stands.  I think I've answered my own realism issues; mainly what I was really looking for was some ways of defining characters and providing structure.  These traits define things pretty well, it seems, and the vocation/skill system gives a class-like structure, but also some freedom

This post is already much much longer than I'd hoped (I'm sort of thinking out loud I guess), but still I have a few questions about the above:

1.) Are the Aptitudes necessary or are they redundant?  It might be possible to define action points & stress be by specific skills.  This would require defaults for action points & stress, for people lacking the relevant skills.  It would also privilege these skills over others, and make characters the same...  maybe I've answered my own question, but...

2.) Does the distinction between vocations & skills introduce an unnecessary layer / breakpoint that can be exploited (i.e. min/maxed with your XP / currency)?  Such a breakpoint seems unavoidable, but is it a problem?  Have I really just re-created the problems of traditional games in a different form?  Also, how does this work if specialties are included as a subset of skills?

3.) Does the vocation/skill system otherwise work as a mid-point between classes and classless systems?

4.) How does this feel overall?  Are there any obvious problems with the Karmas & Boons?


As I say, this post was as much me organizing my thoughts as asking questions; but still, I'd welcome any feedback. 

Cheers,

-A.


 
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Andre Canivet

Reality is the original Rorschach.
--The Principia Discordia
Andre Canivet
Member

Posts: 45

Intergalactic Bounty Hunter


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2010, 08:29:03 PM »

Apologies; that link connects to the second page of the original post.  Here's a link to the first page: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=29506.0
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Andre Canivet

Reality is the original Rorschach.
--The Principia Discordia
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