Variant skill list?

Just got your book, can't find a copy, have a cool adventure idea or story? Chat about it here.

Moderators: PEG Jodi, The Moderators

Message
Author
User avatar
Steve Dubya
Novice
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:36 am

Variant skill list?

#1 Postby Steve Dubya » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:53 am

In preparation for the Savage Worlds one-shot that my group is going to be doing (largely as the GM's way of trying to get everyone to play something a little less prep-necessary) I thumbed through my copy of the SWEE again to brush up on the rules; apart from the GM, I believe I'm the only one really familiar with the system.

As I looked through the list of skills I was struck by how amazing broadly intended some of the skills* were, yet how narrowly focused others** were.

For me personally, I like the more broadly applicable skills - just that much less fiddliness to worry about for character creation/advancement. Has anyone tinkered with the Skills and come up with a variant list that roughly covers the same ground but has grouped some of the more specific stuff together***?

*"Stealth," for instance, which not only covers sneaking around by actions like pick pocketing and palming; also your pick of "Fighting," "Throwing" or "Shooting."
**"Climb" comes to mind; see also "Lockpicking" and "Swimming."
***My best example of this would be the "Thievery" and "Athletics" skills from D&D4E.
Savage Worlds of Darkness - a conversion from Monte Cook's World of Darkness to Savage Worlds

User avatar
Clint
Site Admin
Posts: 20019
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 2:28 pm

Re: Variant skill list?

#2 Postby Clint » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:24 am

Steve Dubya wrote:As I looked through the list of skills I was struck by how amazing broadly intended some of the skills* were, yet how narrowly focused others** were.


Just as a sidenote, part of that is purposeful design. A character who takes a more narrowly focused skill then gets to shine when that skill is needed. When you need someone to climb the wall to tie off a rope for the others or swim the moat to let down the drawbridge, it has a bit more impact of who took the skill and has to go as opposed to half the group having Athletics or some similar broad-based skill.

Anyway, nothing wrong with implementing those kinds of things if it fits the game style (or perhaps specific setting); just wanted to explain.
Clint Black
Savage Worlds Core Rules Brand Manager

www.peginc.com

User avatar
SlasherEpoch
Legendary
Posts: 5625
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:16 pm
Location: Off stage left

#3 Postby SlasherEpoch » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:27 am

A lot of people combine Climb, Swimming, and Throwing into a catchall Athletics skill, and I'm beginning to see the wisdom of that.

User avatar
77IM
Heroic
Posts: 1591
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: Austin, TX

#4 Postby 77IM » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:01 am

I like the Athletics merge. Depending on the genre, you might also consider:

- Collapsing Boating, Driving, and Piloting into a Vehicles skill.

- Collapsing Lockpicking and Repair into a Tech skill (also covers some tech-related Knowledge skills).

- Collapsing Survival and Tracking into a single Wilderness skill (also covers some nature-related Knowledge skills).

- Collapsing the infinite Knowledges into a small manageable set. You could even have a single Knowledge skill. (Like in James Bond movies, knowledgeable people tend to know everything.)

- Collapse the various people skills (Intimidate, Persuade, Streetwise, Taunt) into a single Social skill (good for genres where you spend all your time in a dungeon slaughtering foes).

- Certain skills might be replaced with Attribute checks, the classic example being to use Spirit instead of Guts in a genre that doesn't feature many fear effects. Another one might be Smarts instead of Investigation in a world that doesn't have many records to investigate.

- One of my favorite house-rules is to give each player free skill points equal to their Smarts die, which can only be spent on Knowledge. This encourages players to take Knowledges which might otherwise be considered weak, but which make for an interesting character concept. So some of the weaker skills (like Boating, Gambling, Investigation, Lockpicking, Survival) could be made into Knowledge skills to benefit from this price-break. Obviously it depends on genre -- in a pirate setting, Boating is a very important skill, but in many other genres, it won't come up very often.

- Although it's more complicated, you can get back some of the lost specialization through Edges and Hindrances. So someone who wants to be a great swimmer can take the Swimmer Edge: "You get a +2 bonus on Athletics checks to swim, and to your swim pace." Someone who grew up in a desert culture can take Lousy Swimmer (Minor): "You suffer a -2 penalty on Athletics checks to swim, and your swim pace is 2." The advantage to such a system is that the average character only needs to worry about the general Athletics skill, but more detailed options are still available for people who want it.


These sorts of changes are all very genre-sensitive so I'm not sure I would recommend any of them for the general game. (Except the second-to-last one, about the free Knowledge skills, which I think is a fantastic rule.)

-- 77IM

Gavinwulf
Seasoned
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2003 5:45 am
Location: Heber City, UT

#5 Postby Gavinwulf » Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:37 am

On a similar thread at Rpg.net, Asklepios says he's using Careers as skills.
(like Courier, Theif, Warrior, Artificer, Wizard, etc.) When a test requires professional training they use Careers. Other tests are Attribute rolls (kind of like common-knowledge rolls). Or, they can use their Career if it is better and they can describe how they are using their career (For example, one of Asklepios's PCs used their Wizard career to intimidate by doing the whole Gandalf thing- drawing in shadows, looming taller, and talking freaky).
He gave his players 10 'Career' pts. to start and they only get a flat 1pt advance if they choose to buy it at level ups.

I think I might try this but I would only give out 5, maybe 7 'Career' pts. at character generation since Attributes don't provide any sort of limiting cap anymore. And then only allow a one die increase to 'Careers' at levelups.

User avatar
DerFinsterling
Legendary
Posts: 5677
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 4:26 pm
Location: Vienna, Austria
Contact:

#6 Postby DerFinsterling » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:30 am

One more word of advice: If you start to decrease the number of available skills, you should also decrease the number of available skill points.

User avatar
Sitting Duck
Legendary
Posts: 5552
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 6:47 am
Location: Podunk Junction, State of Confusion

#7 Postby Sitting Duck » Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:32 am

I don't know if and where it's still up, but Wiggy's Whispers from the Pit #4 had some advice on broadening the application of some of the more focused skills.
The rabbit is cuddly. Kids like little cuddly sidekicks. I mean... The rabbit... It's a time-tested... Okay, the rabbit bites.
Blog: http://sittingduck1313.livejournal.com
The Gamer's Codex Reviewer

Tabris
Novice
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:33 pm

#8 Postby Tabris » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:46 am

Ravaged Society has rules for characters interests and hobbies. The character simply chooses a number of the based on Smarts. I'm really thinking about incorporating that rule.

User avatar
shadd4d
Legendary
Posts: 4000
Age: 35
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 10:29 am
Location: Valparaiso, IN...I miss Deutschland, Chicago, Charlottesville.

#9 Postby shadd4d » Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:49 pm

That Ravaged Society is also in Realms of Cthulhu as defining interests...modifiers to common knowledge or bonuses for the character based on backstory.

Don
Don

"But there is a difference between fear and horror. An important difference.
Fear is when you worry about what might be.
Horror is when you are certain." Dannyboy01

User avatar
Thasmodious
Seasoned
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:56 pm

#10 Postby Thasmodious » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:26 pm

I did some similar merging for my Savaged Firefly game, added a Thievin' skill to cover, stealth, lockpicking and things like security setups. minor explosives, safecracking, pick pocketing, etc. I merged athletics as mentioned, and added a general knowledge skill, which represents the character who knows a bit about everything. They can use it roll a check for almost anything that comes up and I'll give them some very general knowledge.

I go back and forth on merging the social skills (I've had the same back and forth for doing it in 4e D&D). My game will have plenty of use for gettin' talky and I can certainly see some characters being more intimidating than they are persuasive. Then again, with one skill, how they do it would really come down to roleplaying. A tough, mean character would be more intimidating while a con man more persuasive, even while rolling the same thing. With separate skills, a character pretty much always takes a particular path (their best skill), leading to a bit of sameness. Different tactics coming into play for the same character is appealing. On the other hand, again, I like the sort of rock-paper-scissors interplay of the split skills. It allows the GM to think about what would or wouldn't work against a particular NPC. Then again, that can be easily winged and come out in the actual in game RP...

Hmmm...

User avatar
Sitting Duck
Legendary
Posts: 5552
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 6:47 am
Location: Podunk Junction, State of Confusion

#11 Postby Sitting Duck » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:50 am

Thasmodious wrote:... and added a general knowledge skill, which represents the character who knows a bit about everything. They can use it roll a check for almost anything that comes up and I'll give them some very general knowledge.


That sounds a lot like Common Knowledge.
The rabbit is cuddly. Kids like little cuddly sidekicks. I mean... The rabbit... It's a time-tested... Okay, the rabbit bites.

Blog: http://sittingduck1313.livejournal.com

The Gamer's Codex Reviewer

User avatar
Thasmodious
Seasoned
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:56 pm

#12 Postby Thasmodious » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:57 pm

I need a better name for it. Common knowledge is well, common. This 'general' would represent the knowledge of a highly educated person or someone with a depth of experience. Compare the general level of knowledge that we geeks tend to enjoy versus the common knowledge of the average joe.

User avatar
shadd4d
Legendary
Posts: 4000
Age: 35
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 10:29 am
Location: Valparaiso, IN...I miss Deutschland, Chicago, Charlottesville.

#13 Postby shadd4d » Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:26 pm

Actually, that's because we have better back-stories than the common joe. :wink:

Seriously, if you take yourself as a character, your backstory is better fleshed out compared to a mook. You might have a higher than d6 smarts attribute and more defining interests as we mentioned above. But trivia is common knowledge. That better backstory gives you a +1 to +X on making you common knowledge rolls with your higher than d6 smarts.

Here the thing: if a specific branch of knowledge is going to pop up in your setting, then those branches of knowledge should be your setting knowledge skills.

Don
Don



"But there is a difference between fear and horror. An important difference.

Fear is when you worry about what might be.

Horror is when you are certain." Dannyboy01

User avatar
Thasmodious
Seasoned
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:56 pm

#14 Postby Thasmodious » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:40 pm

shadd4d wrote:Actually, that's because we have better back-stories than the common joe. :wink:


Ha.

And you guys convinced me. Bonuses seem a much better way to handle such things than a separate skill.


Return to “SW General Chat & Game Stories”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests