Meet the New Skillsets

By | January 28, 2017

Skillsets in Forthright Open Roleplay have long been represented by the term “Vocations,” but we’ve found over time that using that word was very limiting. For Open Beta 0.05, we began re-examining our suppositions about skills, and one of the first things we did was change the name Vocation to Skillset.

We poured through our substantial library of 200+ roleplaying games and broke down skills into eight general categories:

  • Athletic Action:  Climbing, swimming, swinging across vines, jumping – all of these represent some sort of pushing the body to its physical limits.
  • Clue Generation:  Perception, knowledge, tracking – all of these represent the ability for characters to become aware of what they are not already aware.
  • Combat:  Hurting other people through various means. We have separated these skills out to the Fight Check and the Fighting Styles.
  • Crafting:  Alchemy, healing, manufacturing – all of these represent characters’ capacity for creating a lasting benefit or overcoming a lasting detriment.
  • Device Interaction:  Driving, piloting, repair, use magic device- these represent a character’s ability to use equipment.
  • Profession:  Acting, sailing, carpentry – these specifically represent non-adventuring ways for a character to make money.
  • Roguery:  Disguise, stealth, sleight of hand, sabotage – these are the hallmarks of breaking, entering, and stealing.
  • Social Interaction:  Diplomacy, bluffing, sensing motive, intimidation. We have separated these skills out to the Talk Check and the Personas.

With these skill categories in hand, we could examine our existing Vocations and determine which Skillsets were necessary versus those which were not. We were interested in reducing the number of Skillsets to their minimum amount. We looked at the Profession category and decided to not place it into the game. Professions are by their very nature not adventuresome, and we wanted Skillsets to be adventure-focused. This provided additional benefits, as most “profession skills” fit neatly in Crafting, Device Interaction, Roguery or Personas.

Looking at device interaction, we found that the vast majority were “work with computers” and “work with vehicles.”  “Use Magic Device” is a D&Dism that we weren’t including in our design anyway. For computer use, we decided that it would be more engaging to focus on what you’re doing with the computer (making a software program? Crafting. Hacking into a secure system? Roguery) in order to preserve the Cosmetic Rule. This left “Device Interaction” as “Vehicle Interaction,” which we felt was varied and interesting enough to preserve.

This left us with five Skillsets, but we quickly realized that we’d abstracted too far – we recognized some difficulty in fitting characters that players might want to play into these archetypes. After some additional adjustment, we now have seven Skillsets:

  • Athlete:  When moving stealthily or performing athletic actions and stunts, you may treat your Skill Check Setbacks as Exchanges.
  • Infiltrator:  When moving stealthily, staying disguised, performing sleight of hand or sabotage, you may treat your Skill Check Setbacks as Exchanges.
  • Performer:  When staying disguised, performing sleight of hand or stunts, you may treat your Skill Check Setbacks as Exchanges.
  • Scholar:  When gathering information or checking your knowledge, you may treat your Skill Check Setbacks as Exchanges.
  • Tracker:  When moving stealthily, tracking prey, performing stunts or working with traps, you may treat your Skill Check Setbacks as Exchanges.
  • Transporter:  When piloting, jury-rigging, performing stunts or running a project on a vehicle, you may treat your Skill Check Setbacks as Exchanges.
  • Wonder-maker:  When jury-rigging or running a project, you may treat your Skill Check Setbacks as Exchanges.

Additionally, Protagonists will be able to pick up additional Skillsets through character advancement. These new Skillsets provide almost everything we’ve presented in previous drafts of the system, but are much broader so that players aren’t forced to be be good at sneaking or sabotage (for example). These Skillsets fit the broader interactions with the Gamescape we see fictional characters in movies, television and books having.

So, what do you think?  Let us know!  And thank you for reading 🙂

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