Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another look at the skills pt. 2

Stats are something you are born with.  You are large and in charge or you grew up with wits or reflexes that were quick as lightning.  Pretty much stats don't change.  In Microlite you can raise your stats as you level, but I didn't want to go with this in Beacon.  Certainly you can have magic items or special situations that raise stats, but generally this can't be done through normal means - you keep the stats you were 'born' with.  Skills on the other-hand are primarily raised through effort and practice (read XP).  If you are an average Fighter you can't become innately 'stronger', but you do increase your physical skill which means you get better at using what you have.  In the long run this pays out better anyway since stats and their bonuses are limited where skill bonuses are not so much.  I like this, Beacon advancement is based on this idea.  I rejected the idea of class based saving throws because I wanted players to be able to build their reactive checks based on what was important to them.  You want to be excellent at tracking or facing down charming vampires? Work on your survival skills.  If you want to be good at keeping your footing on a slippery roof work on your physical skills.

I've already explained some of the reasons I am considering adding to or changing the skills.  I think in these posts, I've set out how I want the skills to work mechanically and how I want them to impact classes, character advancement, and game play*.    Different games will have different skills that are relevant.  A psionic based game under this philosophy might have a skill for Concentration, a sci-fi  based game might utilize Science instead of Survival.   I have to say that the original 5 skills proposed for Microlite were pretty good ones and I'm having a hard time picking better substitutes.  I am going to take a stab at introducing one more to the bunch however.

So last post I mentioned Fabrication.  What I was originally thinking was that I wanted to contemplate a skill to be used for mechanical skills.  I wanted something that could be checked for disarming traps or for repairing a wagon wheel.  I saw this as a skill that could be used for players wanting to barricade doors or control a ship in a storm.  Or maybe building a ship.  Mechanics didn't cover enough ground however.  It wasn't something that could be combined with stats in interesting ways.  I realize that Knowledge can be used for these things - certainly Knowledge should be used to see if a character knows how to do something.  But this was something different - there is a big difference between knowing what things are and being able to make things.  On my bike ride home the other night it came to me that what I was looking for was the creative force.  That's where Fabrication comes from.

You can mix Fabrication with STR if you were a smith or were building a wall.  You could apply it with MIND if you were writing a book or researching a new spell.  You could use Fabrication with CHA if you were telling a story in a tavern - or trying to explain why you were in the Vizier's harem.  Use it with DEX if you were disarming (or setting) a cunning alarm trap that involved string, oil and a falling torch.  One problem I can see is that the short form of Fabrication is Fab - that's going to cause some chuckles around the table.  Other names for this potential skill could be Creation (Cre), Making (Mak) or something.  Whatever it's called, I'm more interested in if it works for Beacon.  I know I would like another sphere for character development, what I don't know is if I want player characters building boats or constructing fortifications.  It's an adventure game, if you needed to build a boat you should have become a shipwright and not an adventurer.

*I have a lot of worries that doing too much with skills will lead to the wrong types of game play.  Read this for another good description of how skills can impact play.

No comments:

Post a Comment