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Perseus
2013-10-31, 05:55 PM
So I'm currently working on making a skill system, however I need to know about more skill systems before I even decide to deal with the mechanics.

So what would be your top 5 skill system mechanics?

(concept for skill system)

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=16330762#post16330762

Grinner
2013-10-31, 07:11 PM
There's a couple that simply don't have any skill list whatsoever.

Of those, a couple ask you to define "traits" for your character, which are areas of broad competence. WaRP (http://www.atlas-games.com/warp/) has things like:


Military Background Includes fighting bare-handed and with a variety of weapons, first aid, keeping cool under fire, and possibly one specialty field, such as mechanics or demolitions. (Wears camo clothes, or battle scars) 3/4

erikun
2013-10-31, 07:19 PM
Hmm...

You do realize that some systems - in fact, a lot of systems - don't have a separate "skill system" from the rest of the game, right? I think the first problem is assuming that you need some separate system for "skills" that is distinct from, say, the way "combat" works.

HeroQuest, RuneQuest, Eclipse Phase, Burning Wheel, World of Darkness, Exalted, Fate, and Fudge - just to name a few off the top of my head - all use the same method to resolve combat as they use to resolve any other skill in the system.

valadil
2013-10-31, 07:43 PM
I have two picks. They both let anyone buy any skill, but your class shapes which skills are available.

MERP gives you skills by category. Weapons and subterfuge are two example categories, with 6 and 4 skills in them respectively. A warrior gets 5 weapons skills per level but only 1 or 2 subterfuge skills (don't quote me for accuracy, it's been over a decade since I've played.) A scout on the other hand only gets 3 weapon skills, but 4 or 5 subterfuge skills.

I want to say there are five categories and each class gets 15 skills per level, with a unique distribution between them. You can transfer skills into another category at double cost if you already have that skill (ie, a warrior buying subterfuge) or at quadruple cost if you don't have the skill (ie, a warrior buying magic).

Dark Heresy is a skill based system. The price of each skill is determined by your class. The level in which skills become available is also determined by your class. If a chainaxe is available at level 5 for a fighter type, it might not be available until level 7 for a rogue type. This sounds complicated as I'm typing it, but it's presented in a straightforward way.

Perseus
2013-10-31, 08:04 PM
There's a couple that simply don't have any skill list whatsoever.

Of those, a couple ask you to define "traits" for your character, which are areas of broad competence. WaRP (http://www.atlas-games.com/warp/) has things like:




Hmm...

You do realize that some systems - in fact, a lot of systems - don't have a separate "skill system" from the rest of the game, right? I think the first problem is assuming that you need some separate system for "skills" that is distinct from, say, the way "combat" works.

HeroQuest, RuneQuest, Eclipse Phase, Burning Wheel, World of Darkness, Exalted, Fate, and Fudge - just to name a few off the top of my head - all use the same method to resolve combat as they use to resolve any other skill in the system.

Thanks for the info, but yes I'm aware some systems don't have a skill system.

However I am making a skill system so looking into not having a skill system doesn't really help me all that much.


I have two picks. They both let anyone buy any skill, but your class shapes which skills are available.

MERP gives you skills by category. Weapons and subterfuge are two example categories, with 6 and 4 skills in them respectively. A warrior gets 5 weapons skills per level but only 1 or 2 subterfuge skills (don't quote me for accuracy, it's been over a decade since I've played.) A scout on the other hand only gets 3 weapon skills, but 4 or 5 subterfuge skills.

I want to say there are five categories and each class gets 15 skills per level, with a unique distribution between them. You can transfer skills into another category at double cost if you already have that skill (ie, a warrior buying subterfuge) or at quadruple cost if you don't have the skill (ie, a warrior buying magic).

Dark Heresy is a skill based system. The price of each skill is determined by your class. The level in which skills become available is also determined by your class. If a chainaxe is available at level 5 for a fighter type, it might not be available until level 7 for a rogue type. This sounds complicated as I'm typing it, but it's presented in a straightforward way.


Well I'll need to look into those, those ideas could really help.

Oracle_Hunter
2013-10-31, 08:10 PM
So I'm currently working on making a skill system, however I need to know about more skill systems before I even decide to deal with the mechanics.

So what would be your top 5 skill system mechanics?

(concept for skill system)

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=16330762#post16330762
There's no such thing as "best" skill systems. Every system needs mechanics that suit the game being played. A Skill System suitable for a Spy vs. Spy Cyberpunk game is not going to work for a Toon-style rules-light.

So, I must answer your question with two questions:
(1) What sort of game are you making?
(2) How important are skills to the overall aims of the game?

Acatalepsy
2013-10-31, 08:15 PM
GURPS, despite an occasionally exaggerated reputation, actually has a fairly simple skill system. All skills are rated numerically, usually somewhere between 6 and 16; you roll 3d6 and you succeed at the task if you roll under your skill +/- modifiers. Now, there's plenty of rules and complications around interpreting what those rolls do (see: GURPS combat maneuvers cheat sheet (http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10971026/Combat%20Maneuvers%20Cheat%20Sheet%202.04.pdf), for the combat alone) but part of the reason GURPS can get away with layering all these complexities for those who want them is because the mechanic itself is drop-dead simple.

It also maths out quite well, which is nice. People who are skilled at tasks can do them pretty reliably, due to how the 3d6 is curved, but this is balanced out by exponential costs in character points for increasing skills. It has a somewhat absurd skill list (http://www.oocities.org/ericbsmith/pdf/CompleteSkillsAlphabetical.pdf) but many of them default to each other, and you also have the option of "buying up" from similar skills (to reduce overall cost), and the overall effect is, no matter what it is you want to be good at, GURPS has your back.

Perseus
2013-10-31, 08:23 PM
There's no such thing as "best" skill systems. Every system needs mechanics that suit the game being played. A Skill System suitable for a Spy vs. Spy Cyberpunk game is not going to work for a Toon-style rules-light.

So, I must answer your question with two questions:
(1) What sort of game are you making?
(2) How important are skills to the overall aims of the game?

See I knew I should have said "in your opinion what are your favorite skill systems in Table Top RPGs".

sorry I wasn't clear.

1: Most likely a fantasy system, however it may be created to be generic enough to be changed around a bit. The actual skills can always be changed around to deal with the system.

2: Important enough to put effort into it. I mostly play D&D and it always seemed like skills was a second thought and just thrown together for status quo. I would like to make a system that has the math worked out and is useful, a system and skills that will make players want to use them. Part of this is what you can do with the skills but the other part is the mechanics, if they are clunky or to troublesome then people won't really want to deal with it now will they?

I think I have what skills I'll be using, for the most part. However I'm not sure how I want to implement them.

Perseus
2013-10-31, 08:30 PM
GURPS, despite an occasionally exaggerated reputation, actually has a fairly simple skill system. All skills are rated numerically, usually somewhere between 6 and 16; you roll 3d6 and you succeed at the task if you roll under your skill +/- modifiers. Now, there's plenty of rules and complications around interpreting what those rolls do (see: GURPS combat maneuvers cheat sheet (http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10971026/Combat%20Maneuvers%20Cheat%20Sheet%202.04.pdf), for the combat alone) but part of the reason GURPS can get away with layering all these complexities for those who want them is because the mechanic itself is drop-dead simple.

It also maths out quite well, which is nice. People who are skilled at tasks can do them pretty reliably, due to how the 3d6 is curved, but this is balanced out by exponential costs in character points for increasing skills. It has a somewhat absurd skill list (http://www.oocities.org/ericbsmith/pdf/CompleteSkillsAlphabetical.pdf) but many of them default to each other, and you also have the option of "buying up" from similar skills (to reduce overall cost), and the overall effect is, no matter what it is you want to be good at, GURPS has your back.

That is a crazy skill list, I doubt I would do something that extensive...

However I like the idea of a 3d6 system mechanically, do all the GURPS have the same skill system or is it from the 4e? Though I haven't used the 3d6 system so I might end up hating it hahaha.

valadil
2013-10-31, 08:30 PM
4e. Wait what?

Okay, there's one aspect of 4e's skill system that I absolutely love. The skills all see pretty even usage. It's not like 3.5 where everybody that can take UMD or Tumble does, or where Forgery is amazing under some DMs and worthless with others. It's not like GURPS where 99% of the skills never get rolled in a particular campaign.

When all the skills see equal use I feel free to take the skills that represent my character instead of the skills that I "need" in order to feel effective. 4e pulls this off better than anything else I've played.

Perseus
2013-10-31, 08:35 PM
4e. Wait what?

Okay, there's one aspect of 4e's skill system that I absolutely love. The skills all see pretty even usage. It's not like 3.5 where everybody that can take UMD or Tumble does, or where Forgery is amazing under some DMs and worthless with others. It's not like GURPS where 99% of the skills never get rolled in a particular campaign.

When all the skills see equal use I feel free to take the skills that represent my character instead of the skills that I "need" in order to feel effective. 4e pulls this off better than anything else I've played.

I was talking about GURPS 4e, not D&D 4e.

So far one of the rules of the skill system will be that skills are not tied to class/jobs. I absolutely hate how a class/job determines a skill set, I'm a scientist but I have skills that aren't anything like you would think.

I've always tied skills to backgrounds or kits.

Oracle_Hunter
2013-10-31, 08:40 PM
See I knew I should have said "in your opinion what are your favorite skill systems in Table Top RPGs".

sorry I wasn't clear.

1: Most likely a fantasy system, however it may be created to be generic enough to be changed around a bit. The actual skills can always be changed around to deal with the system.

2: Important enough to put effort into it. I mostly play D&D and it always seemed like skills was a second thought and just thrown together for status quo. I would like to make a system that has the math worked out and is useful, a system and skills that will make players want to use them. Part of this is what you can do with the skills but the other part is the mechanics, if they are clunky or to troublesome then people won't really want to deal with it now will they?

I think I have what skills I'll be using, for the most part. However I'm not sure how I want to implement them.
So, for Fantasy I'm a fan of the Gold & Glory approach (since that's my system (http://oraclehunter.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/project-overview-gold-glory/) :smallamused:). Skills are ranked from 1-5, and DCs do not scale (e.g. a Rock Face is always DC 10 to climb; there's no "Epic Rock Face" that is DC 40). Your Rank is the number of d20s you roll on a Check and you choose the highest and add your Attribute modifier to it.
A Rank 2 Thief (+3 DEX) wants to pick a Normal Lock (DC 15). For the check he rolls 2d20, chooses the highest, and adds 3 to get his check result.
If there is a situational modifier that would make the check harder than normal, the Players rolls one fewer d20 than normal. If the number of d20s he would roll are 0 or fewer he instead rolls 2+X d20 (where X is the degree of Disadvantage he is under) and chooses the lowest d20 for his result. Thus you don't spend a lot of time tweaking DCs on the fly; you just count up the sources of Disadvantage.
The Rank 2 Thief (+3 DEX) wants to pick that Normal Lock again (DC 15) but this time he doesn't have proper lockpicks (+1 DA) and the lock is enchanted (+1 DA). Since 2 DA is enough to reduce his d20 count to 0, he instead rolls 2d20 and chooses the lowest before adding 3 from his Attribute.
One of the auxiliary benefits of this system is that Opposed Checks can be resolved neatly. Each Character compares their appropriate Skill Rank and the lower is subtracted from the highest and the higher rolls that number do d20s versus a DC of 10+(opponent's attribute).
Mr. Thief (Sneak Rank 3, DEX +3) is trying to make it past a Guard (Spot Rank 1, WIS +1). The DM compares Sneak 3 vs. Spot 1 and has the Thief roll 2d20 (highest) +3 vs. DC 11.
In case of ties, the Player rolls, because Players like rolling dice :smallbiggrin:

How's that work for you?

Perseus
2013-10-31, 08:56 PM
So, for Fantasy I'm a fan of the Gold & Glory approach (since that's my system (http://oraclehunter.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/project-overview-gold-glory/) :smallamused:). Skills are ranked from 1-5, and DCs do not scale (e.g. a Rock Face is always DC 10 to climb; there's no "Epic Rock Face" that is DC 40). Your Rank is the number of d20s you roll on a Check and you choose the highest and add your Attribute modifier to it.
A Rank 2 Thief (+3 DEX) wants to pick a Normal Lock (DC 15). For the check he rolls 2d20, chooses the highest, and adds 3 to get his check result.
If there is a situational modifier that would make the check harder than normal, the Players rolls one fewer d20 than normal. If the number of d20s he would roll are 0 or fewer he instead rolls 2+X d20 (where X is the degree of Disadvantage he is under) and chooses the lowest d20 for his result. Thus you don't spend a lot of time tweaking DCs on the fly; you just count up the sources of Disadvantage.
The Rank 2 Thief (+3 DEX) wants to pick that Normal Lock again (DC 15) but this time he doesn't have proper lockpicks (+1 DA) and the lock is enchanted (+1 DA). Since 2 DA is enough to reduce his d20 count to 0, he instead rolls 2d20 and chooses the lowest before adding 3 from his Attribute.
One of the auxiliary benefits of this system is that Opposed Checks can be resolved neatly. Each Character compares their appropriate Skill Rank and the lower is subtracted from the highest and the higher rolls that number do d20s versus a DC of 10+(opponent's attribute).
Mr. Thief (Sneak Rank 3, DEX +3) is trying to make it past a Guard (Spot Rank 1, WIS +1). The DM compares Sneak 3 vs. Spot 1 and has the Thief roll 2d20 (highest) +3 vs. DC 11.
In case of ties, the Player rolls, because Players like rolling dice :smallbiggrin:

How's that work for you?

I've actually seen G&G posted over on Google+, I have yet to read it all but I'll delve deaper into it. I'm part of the same 2e group that I guess is you posting on (unless someone else is making the same name for a ttrpg).

I like the rank system you put here and how you get to roll more die based on your rank in a skill. I'm not sure if I would use d20s but working in disadvantage is neat.

I think I'll have smaller numbers than 3.5/4e d&d has, more like 2e so I think a d20 might be to swingy and would grossly overshadow the character's ability.

I'll need to try it out and see how it works.

Oracle_Hunter
2013-10-31, 09:08 PM
I've actually seen G&G posted over on Google+, I have yet to read it all but I'll delve deaper into it. I'm part of the same 2e group that I guess is you posting on (unless someone else is making the same name for a ttrpg).
No... I guess someone else is working on a game called Gold & Glory.

Well, I just need to be first to market :smallbiggrin:

* * *

You can use smaller dice than d20s, but you get a lot less mileage out of AD/DA using anything smaller. Specifically, "take the highest" with, say, a d10 will result in a 10 being the result for the test so frequently you might as well not roll. Sadly, using AD/DA with a d% is likely to be too messy to be practical.

The whole point of the G&G system is that Training trumps Talent, but Talent is never irrelevant. This is easy to see when considering DCs greater than 20. By taking Highest/Lowest you are eliminating the worst parts of the "swing" that have plagued D&D for years. It's so elegant, I'm sure WotC won't ever use it :smalltongue:

Arbane
2013-11-01, 02:08 AM
As a general rule, I prefer games where combat uses the skill system - or is at least similar to it.

I have a soft spot for the Basic Role-Playing System (Seen in RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu) and its skills:
* They're rated as percentages. Roll d100, try to get less than your skill.
* Roll below a certain fraction of the skill, and it's a critical success! Roll above a certain amount, and it's a critical failure! (One idea I like better is to make rolling _doubles_ always be a crit - less math.)
* Skills increase by studying them, or by using them in a stressful situation (like, say, an adventure), and then _failing_ a skill-roll during downtime. (The higher a skill, the harder it is to improve.)
* Having high relevant stats gets you a small bonus to your starting skill, and adds to the learning roll (making it easier to improve), but avoids the 'max out your stats or DIE' problem d20 and Storyteller have.
* On the down side, the system's a bit inconsistent between game-lines on how to handle skills higher than 100%, or even if it allows them at all.
* It also doesn't handle extra-easy or extra-difficult situations very well.

A nifty one is the Silhouette System (used in Tribe 8, Heavy Gear, and others):
* Roll a number of d6 equal to your skill (0-5, usually). Take the highest. (Unless your skill is zero - then roll two dice and take the lowest.)
* If all you got was 1s, it's a fumble.
* Add the appropriate stat (rated on a scale where 0 is average, +1 is good, +2 is amazing, and +4 is superhuman)
* Add one more for every '6' you rolled past the first.
* Nice and quick, but having high stats almost guarantees success, and even a -1 is crippling. And it has a fairly narrow range of possible results.

My current gaming ShorDurPerSav is the Legends of the Wulin dice system:
* Roll a number of d10s determined by your Rank (a general measure of character competence - you roll the same number of dice for initiative, attacking, defending, and skill checks - usually 7 for a beginning PC).
* Look for _matching_ sets of dice. Treat them as numbers, with the number of dice being the tens digit, and the number rolled as the 1s digit. (So, if you rolled 6 6 3 7 1 1 1, you can get a '26' and a '31' out of it. This is important, because extra sets let you take extra actions in a fight, which is awesome.)
* Add skills, kung-fu, and any other modifiers. (Modifiers are always multiples of 5, and rarely go higher than +/- 15... until you start stacking them.)
* The probabilities on this are an utter pain to calculate - suffice it to say you'll get a pair 90% of the time, two pair every two or three rolls, three of a kind about one in 5 rolls, and four of a kind or better very rarely.

It's not quite skills, but I like the FATE system's idea of Aspects:
* An Aspect is a short description of something about your character that you can spend Fate Points (luck, basically) to turn events in your favor with.
* The GM can also bribe you with Fate Points to make things WORSE for you, if the Aspect would fit it. (Typical aspects can include things like "Incredibly stubborn", "Smashing is always an option", or "Everything is on fire, but it's not my fault!")

Shyftir
2013-11-01, 03:30 AM
I think 13th Age handles it in a really fun and novel way. Basically you get a certain number of "background points" to spend in whatever background your character has. When a skill check is needed, if your background applies you can add it to your roll.

Lorsa
2013-11-01, 04:27 AM
Thanks for the info, but yes I'm aware some systems don't have a skill system.

However I am making a skill system so looking into not having a skill system doesn't really help me all that much.

Isn't it more like they only have skill systems? And besides, those systems way of using skills could still be part of a "skill system" in the lines of D&D.



There are 3 basic ways of doing skills:

1. Roll a linear die against a target number.

2. Roll a die with a non-linear probability curve against a target number.

3. Roll a number of dice and count "successes".

Then there are some other systems that are used less often that try to be more original by having you choose the highest die of a number of dice rolled, the highest pair, the highest and lowest and pair them up etc etc.

All you really have to do is to decide which of these you want to build your system around. The rest, as in what die you actually use, if you roll lower than your skill or if you add it, etc etc is just individual flair.



EDIT: That also makes it hard to rate the "top 5 skill systems" as there really only are about five of them out there...

Mr. Mask
2013-11-01, 05:01 AM
You also get stuff like the extended diplomacy rules from Burning Wheel, essentially combat where you drain HP by arguing.

Perseus
2013-11-01, 08:21 AM
You also get stuff like the extended diplomacy rules from Burning Wheel, essentially combat where you drain HP by arguing.

They made a system based on my old gaming group? Nice! :smallbiggrin:

CarpeGuitarrem
2013-11-01, 08:40 AM
I'm a big fan of Burning Wheel's skills...which is odd. Because I would never have thought that I'd enjoy a skill system with roughly 500 skills.

Yes, you read that right. There's a massive load of skills. But it works, for a few reasons.

1: Each character only has 15ish skills at most. (Usually) Making a skill roll is generally a case of "Hmm, I have this skill, and I can do something with it in this situation!"
2: One of the best uses for the more obscure skills (like "Assassin-wise", which is a knowledge skill) is to act as a "Field of Related Knowledge" (aka a "FoRK"). Skills let you roll a certain number of d6es for the skill, and each FoRK you make gives you an extra die. So you could say "I'm trying to poison the soup. I'm assuming that's my Poisons skill, and I'm going to use Cooking as a FoRK. Hmm, you know what? These people are also highly religious, aren't they? I'm going to use Religious Dogma as a FoRK, too--I'm paying attention to which foods I put into the soup, so that I don't trip their suspicions by adding something that's outside of their dietary doctrines."
3: Skills are a toolkit, and are often about saying how you overcome an obstacle. It makes a difference in the story if you use Persuasion, Intimidation, or Carpentry to get past the jailor. (Carpentry? Sure, why not? You just need to figure out a reason why it makes sense. The GM is, however, expected to kibosh any duly silly and "reaching" uses of a skill.)

A really cool feature of that system is that you log the tests that you make with each skill. By taking tests which are challenging for that skill, you're able to advance it. The higher it goes, the more you need to challenge it.

Kurald Galain
2013-11-01, 11:24 AM
White Wolf. What I like about it is the character creation, where stats and skills rank from 1 to 5 and each of those has a clear description. Building a character is fast and elegant. Furthermore, in actual gameplay it deals well with how well you succeed, i.e. a roll can result in anything from "you just barely make it" to "you succeed elegantly and by a huge margin". Note that this system works for skills but it takes too long to resolve combats this way.

On The Edge. A rules-light game with very broad skills. For example, you could create a character with "soldier (4 dice)", which means you'd roll 4d6 for everything related to soldiering. You get only 7 or 8 dice at character generation so you end up picking a few backgrounds/professions/broad skillsets that define your character, and that works very well. Not munchkin-proof, obviously.

Anyway, you'd get further with this if you specified goals for your skill system. Do you want high granularity (e.g. Shadowrun) or ease of play (e.g. Call of Chtulhu). Do you want training to be very important (e.g. 2E D&D) or do you think it's more fair if a rookies can still beat an expert on a regular basis (e.g. 5E D&D). And so forth.

Acatalepsy
2013-11-01, 11:40 AM
White Wolf. What I like about it is the character creation, where stats and skills rank from 1 to 5 and each of those has a clear description. Building a character is fast and elegant. Furthermore, in actual gameplay it deals well with how well you succeed, i.e. a roll can result in anything from "you just barely make it" to "you succeed elegantly and by a huge margin". Note that this system works for skills but it takes too long to resolve combats this way.

An additional thing that I'll note: in many games, skills are always tied to the same ability. In White Wolf's system, this is explicitly not the case. Craft + Intelligence is used for creating art, while Craft + Dexterity is used for repairing objects. Investigation + Wits is used for investigating a scene, Investigation + Intelligence for solving a riddle. Stamina + Athletics is used to resolve a foot chase, while Strength + Athletics is used for jumping. And so on - it provides a combination of depth and simplicity to the system and character creation that's hard to match. WW is, in my opinion, one of the most elegant and useful skill systems there is (it's a shame about the combat, though).

CarpeGuitarrem
2013-11-01, 12:10 PM
An additional thing that I'll note: in many games, skills are always tied to the same ability. In White Wolf's system, this is explicitly not the case. Craft + Intelligence is used for creating art, while Craft + Dexterity is used for repairing objects. Investigation + Wits is used for investigating a scene, Investigation + Intelligence for solving a riddle. Stamina + Athletics is used to resolve a foot chase, while Strength + Athletics is used for jumping. And so on - it provides a combination of depth and simplicity to the system and character creation that's hard to match. WW is, in my opinion, one of the most elegant and useful skill systems there is (it's a shame about the combat, though).
There's a reason their system is my preferred generic system. Their "untrained check" mechanic is also simple and straightforward.

skyth
2013-11-01, 12:58 PM
MERP gives you skills by category. Weapons and subterfuge are two example categories, with 6 and 4 skills in them respectively. A warrior gets 5 weapons skills per level but only 1 or 2 subterfuge skills (don't quote me for accuracy, it's been over a decade since I've played.) A scout on the other hand only gets 3 weapon skills, but 4 or 5 subterfuge skills.

I want to say there are five categories and each class gets 15 skills per level, with a unique distribution between them. You can transfer skills into another category at double cost if you already have that skill (ie, a warrior buying subterfuge) or at quadruple cost if you don't have the skill (ie, a warrior buying magic).


MERP is based on Rolemaster, which I was going to suggest. It works on an open-ended percentile system (If you roll 96-100, you roll again and add it to the roll. Roll 96-100 again and do it again. However, if you roll a 01-05, you roll again and subtract it from the roll)

How it actually works is that there are skills (including weapon skills and a skill that increases your hit point total). Each character has a certain number of points to spend each level based on some of their stats (Better the stat, the more points you have). These are generally not your combat/spellcasting stats though.

Each character has a class. Your class determines how many points a particular skill costs. For instance, It may cost a fighter 20 points to learn a spell but a mage only has to spend 2 points. However, a fighter can learn a weapon skill for 1 point, but a mage has to spend at least 9 points.

The first 10 ranks in a skill gives you a +5 bonus to the roll. The next 10 ranks gives you a +2 and the next 20 give you a +1. The remaining ranks gives you +0.5.

Each class also gives a bonus to skill categories based on their level. For instance, Fighters get +3 per level to combat skills, but a thief gets +3 per level to stealth related skills.

I like that any class can learn to do anything, but some have an easier time than other classes learning things. Also, specializing in something makes you better but there is a decreasing ROI so that specializing in something (min/maxing?) doesn't give you an overwhelming advantage. Plus it reflects reality where the basics are easy to learn, but more advanced stuff is harder.

Arbane
2013-11-01, 02:13 PM
Oh, one other thing about FATE that's cool: To get rank X in a skill, you need to have at least as many skills with rank X - 1. So, if you want Fighting 5, you need at least 2 skills at 4, and so on. It helps keep players from being T3H UB3R at one thing and useless at everything else.

Mr. Mask
2013-11-01, 03:26 PM
Any systems that do a good job of bonuses stacking from multiple skills? I've played in games where I ended up putting all ranks into Appearance, because I was only the modifier with the highest bonus applied (otherwise, Id have put points into Fame and other aspects). That's why I'm interested in whether any games do a good job in having benefits from more than one related skill.

Arbane
2013-11-01, 03:51 PM
Any systems that do a good job of bonuses stacking from multiple skills? I've played in games where I ended up putting all ranks into Appearance, because I was only the modifier with the highest bonus applied (otherwise, Id have put points into Fame and other aspects). That's why I'm interested in whether any games do a good job in having benefits from more than one related skill.

HeroQuest has a thing where when you're using one 'skill' (descriptor, actually), you can augment it with relevant other descriptors. For example, if your character's fighting a Praxian with your 'Warrior' descriptor, and you have 'Magic Spear' and 'Hates Praxians' on your character sheet, you can add a fraction of those descriptors' values to the fight.

skyth
2013-11-01, 04:08 PM
In Rolemaster, there are related skills, where you get a fraction of ranks in a related skill...As an example, Skill A gives you 1/4 ranks in Skill B. So if you had 8 ranks in Skill A, you'd have 2 ranks in Skill B.

Granted, generally you take the better of your actual skill or the related skill. But it is something similar :)

Arbane
2013-11-01, 04:14 PM
Oh, another one I forgot: Feng Shui's skill system deliberately has a very short list of skills, but it lets you do a fair bit with them. In addition to the skill's obvious use (Guns, Driving, Seduction), it also gives you some associated knowledge (Guns lets you go on for hours about muzzle velocities and clip sizes, Driving means you know dozens of car models by the sound their engines make, etc) and social contacts (Guns gets you arms dealers, gunsmiths, and so on, Seduction gets you lots of ex-lovers, some of whom probably want you dead...).

CarpeGuitarrem
2013-11-01, 04:17 PM
Any systems that do a good job of bonuses stacking from multiple skills? I've played in games where I ended up putting all ranks into Appearance, because I was only the modifier with the highest bonus applied (otherwise, Id have put points into Fame and other aspects). That's why I'm interested in whether any games do a good job in having benefits from more than one related skill.
Definitely Burning Wheel. It's a dice pool d6 system (hacked from an older edition of Shadowrun, as I recall), so you'd roll one die for each rank in your skill. Then you get an extra die for each supplementary skill you have that applies to the task. This is important, because the skill rating alone is almost never sufficient to meet the (very tough) challenges most characters face.

TheOOB
2013-11-02, 03:21 AM
You're approaching the question from the wrong angle. It's better to let the setting inform the mechanics than the other way around. A skill or rolling system only works if it's helps to add to the feel and the theme of the game. It's why, for example, 7th Sea and Legend of the Five Rings were good, but they were terrible when converted to d20. It's not that d20 isn't a good system(it is), it's that both systems needed the player to have a more intimate connection with there characters, and both setting needed a way for combat to be really dangerous(err, 7th Sea is more dramatic than dangerous) and for even regular people to occasionally do great amazing things, neither of which the d20 system is good at. The d20 system is all about tactical wargaming like combat.

D-naras
2013-11-02, 08:11 AM
I love L5R for the setting. It makes for a great social-politic-heroic-tragic game but I've found the skill system lacking. You see, in L5R you have skills and traits. Whenever you roll for a skill, you roll 1d10 for each skill rank, plus a number of d10s equal to your trait, and you choose and keep a number of dice equal to your trait. As you can see traits rule supreme in L5R, considering there are 9 traits, and over 50 skills. That, along with the increasing cost of raising skills leads to higher level characters being good in almost any skill they have 1 rank, because they roll 5 dice and keep 4. The biggest benefit of skill training is that it allows your dice to explode on a 10.

BWR
2013-11-02, 08:54 AM
That is an issue with the system, but I haven't personally experienced it as a problem. 3E/R helped a little with that, what with emphases and mastery abilities and Raises being capped by Skill (or Void). And with limited xp to spend you start wondering if that ~+2 bonus to the skill is better right now rather than waiting another 5-6 sessions to increase the Trait.
My groups have never had problems with people ignoring Skills in favor of Traits, and whatever the theoretical mechanical issue, so long as it doesn't come up in play the system works well.

skyth
2013-11-02, 09:06 AM
7th Seas used the same system, and I only ever took 1 rank in a skill and devoted everything else to traits.

D-naras
2013-11-02, 01:11 PM
That's just the thing. We played the same campaign for 2 years, starting from the beginning and ending at insight rank 7. In the end, the only skills that were raised beyond 3 were those were we wanted to specialise in, and combat skills. Oh we had many skills, our characters were suppremely competent in the end, but that was due to our traits of 4 and 5. I love the game, I enjoy it's mechanincs but I recognise it's tendency for high level characters being the same. Hell, I had the highest stealth at rank 5 all game, and suddenly the mirumoto got a single rank and was beating my stealth rolls due to his 1 higher agility. Masteries help when they add new abilities, like stealth for instance but still, most skills don't have masteries.

In any case, a good skill system must give incentives to player's so that they will want to raise skills, preferably both vertically(better results) and horizontally(more applications). The only system that I am familiar with that does something like this, is Mage with it's arcanum dots. While not a skill system, raising dots allows for better use of old spells, as well as access to new ones.

TheOOB
2013-11-02, 01:57 PM
I love L5R for the setting. It makes for a great social-politic-heroic-tragic game but I've found the skill system lacking. You see, in L5R you have skills and traits. Whenever you roll for a skill, you roll 1d10 for each skill rank, plus a number of d10s equal to your trait, and you choose and keep a number of dice equal to your trait. As you can see traits rule supreme in L5R, considering there are 9 traits, and over 50 skills. That, along with the increasing cost of raising skills leads to higher level characters being good in almost any skill they have 1 rank, because they roll 5 dice and keep 4. The biggest benefit of skill training is that it allows your dice to explode on a 10.

In L5R 4e skill mastery bonuses went a long way to fixing it, the system isn't perfect, but for most skills there is extra bonuses for raising your skill up.

For example with kenjutsu you get 1k0 to damage dice with 3 ranks, the ability to draw swords as a free action with 5 ranks, damage dice explosing on a 9 or 10 with 7 ranks, and a free raise on all rolls with 10 ranks.

Considering that after a short while skills are the best way of gaining insight, skills do have purpose.

That said, yes I would agree, the roll and keep system has several problems, and traits being overpowered is defiantly one of them(though not it's worst problem, which is that you often get huge rolls, but didn't call enough raises to take advantage of them because you are not stupid enough to expect to roll a 50 on 4k3).

D-naras
2013-11-02, 02:42 PM
In L5R 4e skill mastery bonuses went a long way to fixing it, the system isn't perfect, but for most skills there is extra bonuses for raising your skill up.

For example with kenjutsu you get 1k0 to damage dice with 3 ranks, the ability to draw swords as a free action with 5 ranks, damage dice explosing on a 9 or 10 with 7 ranks, and a free raise on all rolls with 10 ranks.

Considering that after a short while skills are the best way of gaining insight, skills do have purpose.

That said, yes I would agree, the roll and keep system has several problems, and traits being overpowered is defiantly one of them(though not it's worst problem, which is that you often get huge rolls, but didn't call enough raises to take advantage of them because you are not stupid enough to expect to roll a 50 on 4k3).

To my experience, skills were never worth it for insight gains. Raising a ring gives 10 insight, raising a skill gives 1. To raise a ring from 2 to 3 you need 24 xp. Raising a single skill to 10 requires 55. Skill are only cost effective at the 1 and 2 rank level. Raising a skill to 2 costs 3 xp and gives a total of 2 insight. At that point you might raise it to 3 for another 3 to get a possible mastery and another insight point, but now you've spend 6 xp on a single skill that may or may not be important to your game. Obviously you will raise the skills that you want for your character to at least rank 3 maybe 5, even 7 for your weapon skill but soon enough that is a huge xp sink for a small insight gain. 15 xp for rank 5, 28 for rank 7. My endgame character had at least 20 skills but only a handfull of them were over rank 1. Namely, meditation, jiujutsu, kenjutsu, investigation, stealth, athletics, courtier, etiquette and maybe sincerity.
Considering the raise mechanic, I've found its better used when the mechanics call for raises like in combat or certain techniques. Otherwise it's way too vague on what it accomplishes.

Anyway, for me, a good skill system must have both talent and skill matter, leaning on neither.

BWR
2013-11-02, 03:12 PM
Considering the raise mechanic, I've found its better used when the mechanics call for raises like in combat or certain techniques. Otherwise it's way too vague on what it accomplishes.


One of my constant complaints about the system was that TNs and effects of raises were too vague. It's one of the things I'd hoped they would fix in 4e, and was in a minority of being very vocal about them introducing in the new edition, but they didn't, so I just set about making some example TNs and Raise effects. Haven't had much chance to test it yet.

TheOOB
2013-11-03, 11:40 PM
To my experience, skills were never worth it for insight gains. Raising a ring gives 10 insight, raising a skill gives 1. To raise a ring from 2 to 3 you need 24 xp. Raising a single skill to 10 requires 55. Skill are only cost effective at the 1 and 2 rank level. Raising a skill to 2 costs 3 xp and gives a total of 2 insight. At that point you might raise it to 3 for another 3 to get a possible mastery and another insight point, but now you've spend 6 xp on a single skill that may or may not be important to your game. Obviously you will raise the skills that you want for your character to at least rank 3 maybe 5, even 7 for your weapon skill but soon enough that is a huge xp sink for a small insight gain. 15 xp for rank 5, 28 for rank 7. My endgame character had at least 20 skills but only a handfull of them were over rank 1. Namely, meditation, jiujutsu, kenjutsu, investigation, stealth, athletics, courtier, etiquette and maybe sincerity.
Considering the raise mechanic, I've found its better used when the mechanics call for raises like in combat or certain techniques. Otherwise it's way too vague on what it accomplishes.

Anyway, for me, a good skill system must have both talent and skill matter, leaning on neither.

In 4e your insight score is skills+10*rings, but skills costs 1xnew rating, and attributes cost 4xnew rating(6xnew rating for void ring), and each ring(aside from void) is make of two attributes.

This means that raising a ring from 2 to 3 costs 24 xp for 10 insight which is 42% efficiency, 3 to 4 is 32 xp, which is 31%, and 4 to 5(the highest most campaigns will go) is 25%. Considering many characters may well raise some traits without the other related ring trait and the inefficiency gets worse.

For skills, you get 100% efficiency for 1 point, 50% for the second, 33% for the third, and 25% for the 4th, which means you are getting better efficiency rates for comparable increases, and getting skill mastery abilities on top of that. Courtier and Ettiquite also gain insight as mastery abilities, further increasing their efficiency.

That said. Were I remaking the system, your insight rank would be based solely on total xp earned, allowing players more freedom to learn kata and memorize spells and earn advantages and the like. Also Simple Action attacks would be gone.

Rakaydos
2013-11-04, 01:34 AM
My favorite systems right now are Edge of Empire and Ironclaw. Both are "Dice pool with a twist" skill systems. Ironclaw has a mechanic that produces tight, weighted sucess curves based on levels of skill, and Edge of Empire adds an extra dimention to the dice pool by also generating Advantage or Threat on every roll.

AceOfFools
2017-09-24, 07:03 PM
Definitely Burning Wheel. It's a dice pool d6 system (hacked from an older edition of Shadowrun, as I recall), so you'd roll one die for each rank in your skill. Then you get an extra die for each supplementary skill you have that applies to the task. This is important, because the skill rating alone is almost never sufficient to meet the (very tough) challenges most characters face.

In my experience, this very quickly makes how good your character is at anything a function of how good you--the player--are at ********ting your GM into letting skills count as applicable.

I haven't played much, but when I did, every single one of my die pools had significantly more "associated skill" dice than than "actual skill" dice, but the same was not true for other, less conniving players.

Mr Beer
2017-09-24, 10:14 PM
GURPS

Roll 3d6 and get equal to or less than your skill to succeed. Skill is based on the relevant stat + how many points you put into it.

The system itself has a massive skill list, part of the job with GURPS is deciding which material you are going to use. Some settings use Wildcard skills, which let you do everything described by the name e.g. Gun! (combines Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun and Fast draw: Gun) or Drive! (combines Drive Motorbike, Drive Car, Drive Truck etc.).

Depending on what you are trying to achieve, I would consider using these sort of general skills otherwise skill bloat is always a real possibility.

Airk
2017-09-25, 09:42 AM
You're approaching the question from the wrong angle. It's better to let the setting inform the mechanics than the other way around. A skill or rolling system only works if it's helps to add to the feel and the theme of the game. It's why, for example, 7th Sea and Legend of the Five Rings were good, but they were terrible when converted to d20. It's not that d20 isn't a good system(it is), it's that both systems needed the player to have a more intimate connection with there characters, and both setting needed a way for combat to be really dangerous(err, 7th Sea is more dramatic than dangerous) and for even regular people to occasionally do great amazing things, neither of which the d20 system is good at. The d20 system is all about tactical wargaming like combat.

Yeah, kinda along these lines. There are a lot of poor/faulty game design assumptions happening on the part of the OP here. You shouldn't be designing a "skill system". You should be designing a game. Skills might be part of that game, but should not be a seperate "system" designed in isolation. The fact that you view games where the skill system is not meaningfully distinct from the rest of the game as "not having a skill system" and therefore not worthy of your attention is an extremely flawed viewpoint. Also, honestly, polling for what "skill systems" people "like best" or whatever is...not a good plan here. I wouldn't want the Burning Wheel skill approach to skills in D&D4e, and I wouldn't want the D&D 4e approach in Burning Wheel, but I like both of those approaches and both of those games.

Instead of making a thread with a "Top Ten best ways a game can make you roll dice!" clickbait-sounding poll, you might consider some of these questions:

#0: What is your game about? (And no "it's a fantasy game" is not an acceptable answer to this question - that is, AT BEST, a genre, and tells us nothing about what characters do in your game or why they might need skills.)
#1: What purpose do skills serve in your game (Games shouldn't have skills just because 'games need skills'.)
#2: How broadly competent do you want characters to be (Is everyone supposed to be bad at things they didn't specifically hone in on?)
#3: How much advantage should a specialist character have over a generalist
#3a: How much specialization/generalization do you want to enable (some games make specialization practically a requirement for competence, causing generalist characters to suck, while some games have so many 'required' skills that you can't specialize too much or you'll end up with some sort of terrible achilles heel.)
#4: How will skills tie into the reward loop (if any) in the game? Will they just kinda lurk in the background while PCs get participation XP (ala White Wolf) or XP for something else entirely (most versions of D&D) or will they form a crucial part of that feedback loop (See: Burning Wheel).

There are probably others, but that should at least help calibrate your thinking in a direction that might help you avoid making a D&D Heartbreaker.

Max_Killjoy
2017-09-25, 10:30 AM
Going to suggest looking at how HERO system (4th or 5th edition) handles skills for a different angle.

It's one of the systems I think anyone looking to create a system should learn as a point of reference. Not "do it this way", but rather "it's an important part of the map you need to study before you really know where you're going".

Telwar
2017-09-25, 11:11 AM
Instead of making a thread with a "Top Ten best ways a game can make you roll dice!" clickbait-sounding poll, you might consider some of these questions:

#0: What is your game about? (And no "it's a fantasy game" is not an acceptable answer to this question - that is, AT BEST, a genre, and tells us nothing about what characters do in your game or why they might need skills.)
#1: What purpose do skills serve in your game (Games shouldn't have skills just because 'games need skills'.)
#2: How broadly competent do you want characters to be (Is everyone supposed to be bad at things they didn't specifically hone in on?)
#3: How much advantage should a specialist character have over a generalist
#3a: How much specialization/generalization do you want to enable (some games make specialization practically a requirement for competence, causing generalist characters to suck, while some games have so many 'required' skills that you can't specialize too much or you'll end up with some sort of terrible achilles heel.)
#4: How will skills tie into the reward loop (if any) in the game? Will they just kinda lurk in the background while PCs get participation XP (ala White Wolf) or XP for something else entirely (most versions of D&D) or will they form a crucial part of that feedback loop (See: Burning Wheel).

There are probably others, but that should at least help calibrate your thinking in a direction that might help you avoid making a D&D Heartbreaker.

I'm going to second this. Make sure you have your task resolution determined first, and then decide how much you want to have served using that. Make any skills flow naturally from your basic task resolution system.

Potatomade
2017-09-25, 11:18 AM
I'm probably a dork for saying this, but AD&D 2E. I love nonweapon proficiencies. They can cover just about anything you could possibly want. And to determine success, you just take the relevant ability score, add/subtract the skill modifier, and roll under that on a d20. Kinda like how Mr Beer described the GURPS system, only more swingy, for extra drama! I really don't understand why 3.X moved away from NWPs. Sure, they're kinda clunky, but all they really need is some fine-tuning. Replacing them with a set number of generic skills was a big mistake.

Slipperychicken
2017-09-25, 11:21 AM
I think OP needs a clearer vision for what he wants his roleplaying game to be about, and how he wants play to go. Then once he knows what he wants gameplay to look like, and what lore it has to support, that will inform his choices for rules.

Game rules don't exist for their own sake - they are tools meant to provide structure and support a wider lore and gameplay vision.

ATHATH
2017-09-25, 11:49 AM
Personally, I like Shadowrun 5e's skill system.

Arbane
2017-09-25, 01:13 PM
Going to suggest looking at how HERO system (4th or 5th edition) handles skills for a different angle.

It's one of the systems I think anyone looking to create a system should learn as a point of reference. Not "do it this way", but rather "it's an important part of the map you need to study before you really know where you're going".

Aren't Hero System skills just 'roll under TN on 3d6'? Or has it gotten more complex?

One system so simple I'd hesitate to call it a 'skill' system is from the indie game Trollbabe: a character has a Number, which I think is 2-9. If a PC is trying to do physical stuff, roll under her Number on a d10. If she's trying to do mental or magic stuff, roll over her Number. If she's trying to do social stuff, roll over/under or equal to the Number, whichever is worse.

Max_Killjoy
2017-09-25, 01:28 PM
Aren't Hero System skills just 'roll under TN on 3d6'? Or has it gotten more complex?

The TN is derived from the relevant Characteristic rather than being pulled from a difficulty scale.

9+(CHAR/5) = the value in the SKILL, and that value is also the roll <= TN. (So technically, it's not roll under, it's roll under or equal to). Average CHAR is 10, so average SKILL is 11 or less (11-) on 3d6. Normal human max CHAR is 20, which is 13- on 3d6.

This is in contrast to many systems which add up everything and see if it rolls >= a sliding TN based on declared difficulty.