Another Skill System suggestion

Creating game materials? Monsters, spells, classes, adventures? This is the place!
Post Reply
Hellbrandt
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:43 am

Another Skill System suggestion

Post Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:14 pm

Here's my take on a skill system to use with Basic Fantasy. I've pulled together ideas from a few different sources including:
Firstly, the skills list:
Skills List.png
Skills List
Skills List.png (49.27 KiB) Viewed 653 times
This is a mashup of skills from other systems, with a bit of thought and rearrangement. I've tried to group related specialised skills to come up with a shorter, but still comprehensive list, while focussing on skills that I believe will be useful in OSR type adventures, so there are no craft or profession skills (although they could easily be added).

A note on the not so obvious columns in the table.
  • Class Restrictions: you have to be of that class to get the skill.
  • Alternative to/includes: my notes on the similar skills the skill covers or includes. So Acrobatics covers Balance and Tumble from the Secondary Skills supplement. Sense Motive and Insight are the same thing... and so on.
  • Untrained: whether a character can attempt to use the skill if they have no training in it.
Acquiring Skills

There is a standard skill (Perception) that all characters have, then class specific skills which all members of the class start with at level 1. Possible further skills can be acquired at level 1 (dependent upon Int mod) and higher levels.
  • All characters start with the Perception skill. In addition;
  • A Cleric starts with: Knowledge (Religion: Specify), Spellcraft, Turn Undead
  • A Fighter starts with: Athletics, Intimidation, Knowledge (Tactics)
  • A Magic User starts with: Knowledge (Arcana), Linguistics, Spellcraft
  • A Thief starts with: Disable Device, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Athletics
  • All characters start with Int mod number of additional skills.
  • A single new skill can be learnt (so long as the character has an opportunity to learn or develop it) at levels 3, 6, 10, 15 and 20.
  • Thief skills from p9 of the BFRPG Rules are integrated into this system. See below.
Using Skills

Like many skill systems, this uses the Ability Rolls mechanism from page 153 of the BFRPG Rules.
  • The target at level 1 is 17. This indicates a difficult task.
  • There is a very difficult target level of 22.
  • Some untrained skills cannot be attempted - check the table.
  • Attempting a skill untrained carries a -5 penalty to the roll.
  • For any attempted skill, trained or untrained, a 1 is always a failure.
  • When attempting to use a trained skill, a 20 is always a success, even if the target is higher than 20.
  • Tasks with a target greater than 20 cannot be attempted untrained.
  • If trained in a skill a roll should only be required when the task is difficult or very difficult, or if failure carries a notable consequence (for example avoiding triggering a trap or picking a lock in combat). Assume that easy (7) and normal (12) tasks are routine for a trained character and do not usually require a skill roll.
  • If untrained in a skill a roll should always be required for any task with the untrained penalty.
To check if a character successfully uses a skill, roll d20 then:

d20 result + Ability Mod + Thief Mod - Unskilled Penalty >= Target

Thief Abilities

The result of trying to bring Thief Abilities into this system is a modified Thief Abilities table. For each level and Thief Ability, I calculated an additional Thief Modifier for each ability to give a similar chance to rolling percentile dice at the same level. I assumed that the average thief would have a +1 ability mod bonus in the relevant abilities; on that basis, a thief with +3 mod has an advantage, but that makes sense for someone with higher stats. There are one or two anomalies, but they are minor.
Thief Abilities.png
Thief Abilities
Thief Abilities.png (30.62 KiB) Viewed 722 times
Some examples.

A level 5 thief with a Dex of 15 and a +1 bonus is trying to pick a difficult lock (target 15 at level 5) which uses the Disable Device skill. A 14 is rolled on d20 which gives a success as follows:
  • Target = 15
  • d20 roll = 14
  • Plus Ability mod for Dex of +1 gives 15
  • Plus Thief mod for Open Locks of +2 gives a final result of 17
The base chance of success in the orignal table is 45%. If we take the target of 15 and subtract the mods of 3 (rather than add them to the roll), this gives a final target of 12 - you have a 45% chance of rolling 12 or higher on a d20.

An 8th level thief is hiding on a window ledge trying to listen to a quiet conversation about the delivery route for a valuable prize. Listen is based on the Perception skill which uses the Wis mod. While this thief is quick and nimble, Wisdom is not a strong point - a Wis of 9 gives a mod of 0. The target is 13, and a 10 is rolled:
  • Target = 13
  • d20 roll = 10
  • Plus Ability mod for Wis of 0 gives 10
  • Plus Thief mod for Listen of +3 gives a final result of 13 - a success (just!)
The base chance of success in the original table is 58%. With a target of 13 and subtracted mods of 4 (an assumed ability mod of +1 and +3 from the table) we get a total of 9. There is a 60% chance of rolling 9 or greater on a d20, as close as we can get to 58% on this dice. As this thief had no Wis mod bonus, their chance of success was only 55%.

A fourteenth level thief with a Dex of 17 and a +2 bonus is trying to hide in a small patch of shadow in the corner of a room while a patrol of guards saunters past (using the Stealth skill). A 6 is rolled on a d20:
  • Target = 10
  • d20 roll = 6
  • Plus Ability mod for Dex of +2 gives 8
  • Plus Thief mod +1 for a final result of 9. This is a failure, our thief had better act quickly.
The base chance of success in the original table is 65%. Taking the target of 10 and subtracting mods of 2 (with an assumed ability mod of +1 and +1 from the above table) we get a total of 8 which you have a 65% chance of rolling on a d20. Our thief here had a 70% chance of success with a Dex mod of +2 rather than the assumed +1 - but still failed.

Racial Special Abilities

Use the standard d6 method when it comes to things like a dwarves 1-2 chance of detecting traps, unless the chances are better using this system (for example, a level 4 dwarven thief with a Dex mod of +1 needs a 14 or higher to spot a trap; that is a 35% chance of success vs a 33.3% chance of success on a 1-2 on a d6).

Finally... none of this has been playtested, but the numbers seem to make sense. Anyway, I plan to try it out soon and thought it might be of interest to someone out there...
Last edited by Hellbrandt on Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Dimirag
Posts: 2197
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:24 pm
Location: Buenos Aires (C.A.B.A.), Argentina
Contact:

Re: Another Skill System suggestion

Post Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:10 pm

This should go in The Workshop

Why Turning Undead as a skill, the idea is for some subclasses to be able to gain it if they wish? If so, how about spellcasting? Or is just for the optional Wis bonus?

Does a 1st level Thief has less chances of hiding than other 1st level class with the same skill due to the thieving mod being a penalty?

Do skills learned at a later moment starts as if level 1 or at the corresponding level?
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
User avatar
SmootRK
Posts: 3538
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: Another Skill System suggestion

Post Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:35 pm

Moved.

Looks like a lot of thought on this. I am sure some will like this.

I tend towards backgrounds and such that just give some sort of bonus on general rolls for "skill situations". Just prefer simple.
Hellbrandt
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:43 am

Re: Another Skill System suggestion

Post Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:30 am

Dimirag wrote:Why Turning Undead as a skill, the idea is for some subclasses to be able to gain it if they wish? If so, how about spellcasting? Or is just for the optional Wis bonus?
I put it in there for completeness and to highlight the Wis mod bonus, after all the Thief abilities are in there. Maybe a subclass could gain the Turn Undead skill at some point...

The Spellcraft skill is required by Clerics and Magic User's to cast spells so in that sense it is a Spellcasting skill. Additionally it covers identifying magic spells and magic items and creating magic items, while Knowledge (Arcana) covers a wider range of magic stuff - magical creatures, lore, traditions and symbols etc. If I get the time I will provide some more detail on the individual skills.
Dimirag wrote:Does a 1st level Thief has less chances of hiding than other 1st level class with the same skill due to the thieving mod being a penalty?
Good point. I may need to tweak this. To maintain equilibrium with the original Thief Abilities table a Thief needs to have those penalties at lower levels. The first thing that springs to mind is to make Stealth a Thief only skill which can be attempted untrained by other classes, and would suffer not only the Thief penalty, but an additional -5 untrained penalty. This would make Move Silently quite difficult and Hide nearly impossible at lower levels.
Dimirag wrote:Do skills learned at a later moment starts as if level 1 or at the corresponding level?
As all skills works on the Ability Rolls table which is based on level, any new skills would have a base target for your current level. While this might seem unrealistic I wanted to avoid tracking different levels in skills as per the Secondary Skills supplement. You either have a skill or you don't.
SmootRK wrote:Looks like a lot of thought on this. I am sure some will like this.
Thanks, I'm hoping it might prove useful as it's the kind of thing I've been looking for.
SmootRK wrote:I tend towards backgrounds and such that just give some sort of bonus on general rolls for "skill situations". Just prefer simple.
I can definitely see the appeal of that approach. I do think this skills system is simple enough - all you need to write down is the Ability Roll Target for your level, each Skill and the Attribute mod used by each. Thief skills can be calculated and put into the thief skills boxes on most character sheets. Something you only need to do when you get a new level.
Hellbrandt
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:43 am

Re: Another Skill System suggestion

Post Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:10 pm

I've updated the skills list to show Stealth as a Thief only skill now. This not only overcomes the issue mentioned by Dimirag, but it feels right, a bit more fitting.
Post Reply