Skills in RPGs – Episode 174

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Synopsis: Skills in RPGs are an important element but many games don’t get them right. Many games have too many skills while others have no skills at all. Caleb and I talk about good and bad skill systems in RPGs and how it has changed over the years. Caleb also brings up real life skills, like rhetoric, versus their in-game equivalents.

Shout Outs

Song: Harps and Dreams by Indreba

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  1. My favorite part of this episode was when Ross tried to come up with a ridiculously over the top JRPG plot and like 99% of it is just the actual plot of the first Nier.

    Also, good to hear that progress on God’s Teeth continues apace! How much of the campaign is going into the sourcebook?

  2. I’m surprised you guys didn’t mention Call of Cthulhu. The skill list prior to 7th ed wasn’t quite on the level of “separate skills for climbing up and down”, but it was pretty close. Kick/punch/headbutt were each their own thing, along with hide/conceal/sneak, and different class of firearms.

    Having played a lot of Delta Green, it feels strange to compare that system’s minimalist approach with its CoC origins.

  3. I’ve only played Nier Automata so clearly that means I ready to write for Square Enix.

    CoC 6th ed silly skills aren’t that annoying compared to Palladium and other systems. It’s easy to ignore or consolidate them. DG is a far better implementation though.

  4. Actually, I can think of a valid use for separate Climb Up/Down skills. I was always that kid that could get to the top of the playground equipment but was too scared to come down. Maybe appropriate for a “nostalgia kids” game like Tales From The Loop.

  5. Reminded me of a LUG-Trek campaign I joined where PCs were required to have some kind of skill in art, or music, or sports, etc. Can’t recall if this was in the rules or if it was GM’s idea, but this was shortly after DS9 had wrapped up & Voyager was still on the air, so it felt thematic.

    I remember playing the chief medical officer and taking hockey as my “has interests outside of work” skill (even though I’m not really hockey fan).

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