May 03, 2011

Lores as skills or additional talents?

In one of my initial posts on skills, skill areas and character classes roguewombat proposed to use a system of wises inspired by the Mouse Guard RPG. Wises modify the use of other more active skills by providing bonusses in appropriate situations. I have given this some more thought and now have a stance concerning using the approach for Gaia Gamma.

I will use a twofold approach for Gaia Gamma:

  • Lores basically will remain as initially laid out. I'm (until presented with even more reasons for it) not remove the various lore. The reason for this mainly is that I see post-apocalyptic games as games centered around the rediscovery of knowledge. Effectively this makes knowledge something extremely valuable and not just a byline to other skills. Thus the central lores so far defined will be kept (and maybe even expanded). This allows to have skill area selections that make characters "wise people" which seems appropriate for a society trying to rediscover knowledge.
  • I will add some kind of cultural specializations to Gaia Gamma. Maybe wises are a good name for them, maybe something else. The main idea here is to be able to mirror more specialized knowledge usually gained from having been raised in a particular area or culture. Such specialized knowledge might include wilderness specializations for specific terrain types (Naarak, a raider from the clan of the swamp maulers), for specific cultural contexts (Mook, born in the bowels of the city of Gran Junkshion) or technologies (Laas, first engineer of the eternal iron train). Such specializations never replace existing skills but rather provide something like a -1 DL bonus in highly specific situations. Additionally they help to differentiate characters even more. 
Characters will only receive something like two such tagline specializations in order to be able to focus on the core concepts of their characters. I probably also will add some kind of random tables to again speed up character generation. Therefor the tables probably will provide specializations together with tag lines that elaborate the underlying character concept. Background points might help to increase the number of these specializations in some way.

To me this seems like a good compromise between a highly flexible skill system and the kind of background skills first popularized by Shadowrun (as far as I know).

Over the next days I will write down all the things that slowly come together in order to describe a character even better without sacrificing too much speed.

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