Wednesday, May 5, 2010


While creating methods I had, for a brief moment, considered making the methods into die pools and using them as extremely broad skill pools. Thus a character would only have five ratings and these would encompass both skill and attribute. Wilderness of Mirrors does something like this, in fact.

However, Wilderness of Mirrors is designed to bring the exploits of Bond and Bourne to life, and while there are similarities between shadowrunners and secret agents, the fact is that shadowrunners are simply not as omnicompetant as your average secret agent. Thus there needs to be more granularity in whatever skill metric I use.

So, skills.

Since methods don't add dice to your pool, I have some leeway in setting the rating for skills. For ease, I'm going to shoot for a 1-10 range. Nice and simple, and it tops you out at 10 dice, which can be quite commanding, especially with a high method, but isn't such a big pool that you'll be sifting for long.

Since skills determine what you can do, it makes sense to pillage Shadowrun's own skill list. After all, this system is being used for that game, and no skill list is more appropriate than one that's already written for it.

With that massive load taken care of, it's time to turn to figuring out how you get ranks in skills. While the most common method is build points, I'm rapidly losing interest in such systems. They're flexible, no doubt, and I love giving my players options, but I'm older and my time is more precious to me than it was 10 years ago. I don't like games that require a session (or two!) dedicated just to making characters. It's one thing if we spent that time coming up with individual and group stories and hooks, but hours of number crunching on end? No thanks. Not for me, nor for most my group.

I'm going to try the skill pyramid from Fate instead. In a nutshell, you get one skill at 7, two at 6, three at 5, etc. This gives you plenty of options and flexibility, but removes the number crunching of buying individual ranks.

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