View Full Version : RPG Design Question [And Skeletal Skill System] --> Needs PEACHing

2012-06-08, 09:22 PM
Hey! The Djinn here, working on a system fragment for a sort of proto-system I might flesh out later. It borrows a bit from a bunch of things and melds them into a unique skill system, but I had some design questions to ask you guys.

First, the system.

The System

Skills come in X ranks (currently 6). The ranks are as follows.

Basic (0)
Experienced (1)
Professional (2)
Expert (3)
Master (4)
Savant (5)

Rolls are 2d10, added up with (probably) an ability modifier tacked on.

Now here's the first catch: no DC is higher than, say, 20-22. Skill difficulties have a rank as well: picking a tough lock might be Expert DC 15 -- An average task for an intelligent or dexterous guy who is an Expert in lockpicking.

If the challenge is below your skill, you gain 1 Advantage for every rank below it is. An Advantage means you roll +1d10, and take the highest two rolls. More advantage means more d10s, although you only ever take the highest two rolls. A Savant rolling against a Basic task, for example, rolls 7d10 and picks the best two...almost an assured success at any difficulty.

If the challenge is above your skill, you gain 1 Disadvantage. A Disadvantage means you roll +1d10, but take the lowest two rolls. So a Basic rank guy trying to do an Experienced task rolls 3d10, and picks the worst two.

Circumstantial things may bestow Advantages or Disadvantages, or small numeric bonuses to the roll. A tight-rope walker with a pole might gain an Advantage (she's more likely to reliably do well), whereas one Magically blessed might just gain a flat +5 bonus (no matter how she performs, she simply does it BETTER).

What I need from you guys!

Clearly this is a rough system. So I'd like you guys to answer some questions.

Currently, even someone with Basic rank can succeed on a Savant roll, albeit very rarely (probably around 3-4/1000 times). Should this be possible, or should there be a level where success is impossible?
Opposed checks could give the higher-skilled person X Advantages, but this lets lower-skilled characters get lucky and win at any level.
Higher skilled players could get X advantages and give X disadvantages to their opponent, where X is the skill difference, but this makes competition against someone better than you fairly brutal.
Higher level characters could get X advantages and give 1 Disadvantage.
Basically, how hard should it be to compete against someone clearly better than you? What sort of chance do you guys find best in your games?
Finally, is another level needed? Should there be more numerical bonuses to better divide members of a certain level of skill, or is this sufficient?

Edit: Finally, any thoughts on solving the problem of a Basic 19 task being harder than an Experienced 11 task? Is that just a case of it being difficult for ANYONE to do, but that it requires to actual experience? Or should you automatically succeed at tasks below your category and automatically fail at tasks above your category, with potential Greater Advantages bringing you to the next skill level and potential Greater Disadvantages dropping you down to the previous level (doing math with the aid of a sentient computer, or trying to tightrope walk during a rainstorm)?

2012-06-14, 09:39 PM
Not sure if this helps, but came to mind. http://chzvideogames.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/video-game-memes-seriously.jpg

2012-06-15, 02:14 AM
Not sure if this helps, but came to mind. http://chzvideogames.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/video-game-memes-seriously.jpg

Basically. Automatic failure is a sad system and I personally hate it. It's a little better in team tabletop games, but still discouraging sometimes.

I like this rough draft, though you should clarify whether you get the numbered bonus to skill checks from having a certain skill level (+1 for experienced, for example). I assume you do, since the average of 2d10 is 11 and the example DC for expert checks was 15.

As for having another layer of depth, it doesn't need it, I think.

2012-06-15, 04:47 AM
Is it really a problem for a Basic (19) skill check to be more difficult than an Expert (12) skill check?

What you're saying is that the difficulty of a task is independent of its complexity, and there are situations where that's true. There are plenty of tasks involving calculus that basically anyone with half a brain can handle as long as they don't have a panic attack when told they're doing calculus.

As for opposed checks, the resisting character's skill level is the complexity of the task for both characters. If it's a deferred check -- e.g. one character designing a security system which another character wishes to defeat -- then the resisting character chooses the overall complexity level, but has to pay for it -- a Security & Surveillance System VI is going to be far more expensive than a Security & Surveillance System II.