Monday, May 10, 2010

No More Skills

I had another revelation as I was looking over Fate again: skills are gone. Well, sort of. I'm planning on keeping learned abilities like guns and climbing as die pools, but I'm not calling them skills because there will be other die abilities available through die pools as well.

Fate has no attributes. The only scores your character has are his skills, but Fate's skills aren't just learned things. They include other aspects of the character like wealth, resilience, and strength. This strikes me as perfect. You want to be a really strong character? Select Might as one of your starting skills. You want to be rich, put Resources high on that skill pyramid.

In fact, using this skill pyramid to take care of a lot of the non-skill character qualities fits very well with Shadowrun. Veterans of the game will recall the priority system, in which you assigned priorities to things like race, money, skills, etc. The higher the priority, the more points you got to spend on that aspect of your character. I see no reason to do something like that with the skill pyramid.

So your money is determined by your Resources, and that gets a rank just like any other skill. You want more? Put it higher. Same with magic. You buy your level of awakening by assigning it a slot in your pyramid. You want to be strong, or tough, or willful, you put those on your skill pyramid.

This means the skill list is going to have more than skills on it, and thus it needs a new name. I've got the term "knacks" kicking around in my head. I wonder where I got that from?

Okay, knacks it is. So you can buy non-skill abilities with slots of your knack pyramid if you like. But, and here's the thing, if you don't put them on your pyramid you're not punished. You might not be as strong or rich as someone who does, but you don't suffer penalties. I want to reward player choices, not punish them, and so I'm looking toward giving bonuses rather than penalties.

As a side note, handling resources this way works really well for my group. Or at least I think it will. You can have a permanent lifestyle, the quality of which is determined by your resource knack, and then the entire thing is done. I know my players would routinely forget to buy lifestyle, and when they did they'd only buy a month of squatter. Plus, no one remembered to pay rent unless I said something. It obviously wasn't a detail that interested them. This works it back into the game in a way that doesn't require micromanagement.

Now, Fate's skill list is for Spirit of the Century, which is a pulp game. Thus its entries are appropriate for an early 20th century world. Shadowrun is decades ahead of our own time and features a high level of technological advancement. Thus, there's going to have to be some reworking. Looks like I'm making that knack list by hand after all.

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