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edwardavern

SWRPG - Condensed Skill List

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Hey all.  I'm considering running a session for some proper RPG newbies, and was playing with the idea of condensing the skill list for the purposes of a one-shot.  Just because, in my experience, the first thing that puts non-gamers off is being handed an A4 sheet covered in skills and numbers.  Plus, it's quite a fun academic exercise.  For example, reducing the number of skills made the Characteristics all wonky, so I've reduced those as well.

Anyway, this is what I've come up with - just thought I'd see what everyone thought.

  • Athletics [Physical] – covers Athletics, Coordination, Resilience
  • Close Combat [Physical] – covers Melee, Brawn, Lightsaber
  • Communication [Social] – covers Charm, Coercion, Deception, Negotiation
  • Discipline [Social] – covers Cool, Discipline, Leadership
  • Education [Intellectual] – covers all Knowledge skills
  • Medicine [Intellectual] – RAW
  • Piloting [Physical] – covers both Piloting skills
  • Shooting [Physical] – covers Ranged Light, Ranged Heavy, Gunnery
  • Stealth [Physical] – covers Stealth, Skulduggery
  • Tech [Intellectual] – covers Computers, Mechanics
  • Vigilance [Intellectual] – covers Perception, Vigilance

 

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4 minutes ago, edwardavern said:

Hey all.  I'm considering running a session for some proper RPG newbies, and was playing with the idea of condensing the skill list for the purposes of a one-shot.  Just because, in my experience, the first thing that puts non-gamers off is being handed an A4 sheet covered in skills and numbers.  Plus, it's quite a fun academic exercise.  For example, reducing the number of skills made the Characteristics all wonky, so I've reduced those as well.

Anyway, this is what I've come up with - just thought I'd see what everyone thought.

  • Athletics [Physical] – covers Athletics, Coordination, Resilience
  • Close Combat [Physical] – covers Melee, Brawn, Lightsaber
  • Communication [Social] – covers Charm, Coercion, Deception, Negotiation
  • Discipline [Social] – covers Cool, Discipline, Leadership
  • Education [Intellectual] – covers all Knowledge skills
  • Medicine [Intellectual] – RAW
  • Piloting [Physical] – covers both Piloting skills
  • Shooting [Physical] – covers Ranged Light, Ranged Heavy, Gunnery
  • Stealth [Physical] – covers Stealth, Skulduggery
  • Tech [Intellectual] – covers Computers, Mechanics
  • Vigilance [Intellectual] – covers Perception, Vigilance

 

I like it!  My sister plays a lot of RPGs, and one of her biggest gripes about the SWRPG is the number of skills.  I may direct her here and see what she thinks...

If I were to utilize this is some manner, I probably wouldn't condense the characteristics as well, I'd just use the WoD method where characteristics and skills are not linked, and the type of task your attempting determines which characteristic you use.

But good work!  I think most of the associations make sense.  The only problem I see is that it makes the Social characteristic less useful, as it only involves two out of your eleven skills.  Physical, by contrast, has five, and Intellectual has four.  Just something to consider.

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59 minutes ago, Absol197 said:

If I were to utilize this is some manner, I probably wouldn't condense the characteristics as well, I'd just use the WoD method where characteristics and skills are not linked, and the type of task your attempting determines which characteristic you use.

But good work!  I think most of the associations make sense.  The only problem I see is that it makes the Social characteristic less useful, as it only involves two out of your eleven skills.  Physical, by contrast, has five, and Intellectual has four.  Just something to consider.

I think the argument could be made for moving Vigilance from Intellectual to Social, which would balance out those two characteristics at least. Paying attention to the people around you, watching for cues, and having the right props at hand is important to social functioning, after all.

I do agree that you could just make the characteristics more explicitly flexible, though, perhaps taking a page from the L5R beta rules and determining characteristic based on the "approach" used with whatever skill is being tested.

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This reduces xp cost of buying skills and is could lead to power creep, if you are ok with that then please ignore :).

Also, how would you handle career and specialization skills? The way the skills are group looks like most specs would get most of the skills. 

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My guess would be to halve the number of career and specialization skills.  Non-Force careers would get four each, Force careers would get three, and each specialization would get two.

There would also be a very high degree of overlap, much higher than there is now.  This is helpful for starting characters having more Rank 2s at character creation, but it would make characters, on the whole, slightly more powerful.

One thought would be to increase the cost for new skill ranks to 10*R instead of 5*R.  You've essentially cut the number of skills in three, so increasing the xp cost to increase a skill helps balance that out.

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On the other hand, in my experience players (myself included) rarely invest XP into skill ranks unless there's some kind of talent synergy, so if this setup makes buying skill ranks more attractive, that might not be such a terrible thing.

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16 hours ago, Absol197 said:

The only problem I see is that it makes the Social characteristic less useful, as it only involves two out of your eleven skills.  Physical, by contrast, has five, and Intellectual has four.  Just something to consider.

 

Yeah, I did think about that.  But then, the current skill list isn't particularly balanced either - look at Willpower compared to, say, Agility or Intellect.  The idea of making Vigilance social seems OK, but it sort of feels like balance for balance's sake.

The suggested more flexible use of characteristics is certainly interesting, but I think in practice there are very few times when, for example, Medicine isn't an Intellect check, or Shooting isn't an Agility check.

 

12 hours ago, TEK said:

This reduces xp cost of buying skills and is could lead to power creep, if you are ok with that then please ignore :).

Also, how would you handle career and specialization skills? The way the skills are group looks like most specs would get most of the skills. 

3

As mentioned, this would be for a one-shot.  Since I would probably create pre-gen PCs, those things aren't so important.

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12 hours ago, satkaz said:

Hmm, if Social needed more, I was thinking what if Charm and Deception were split apart from Coercion and Negotiation?

Actually, I was thinking that it would make more sense to move Charm and Coercion into a "Persuade" skill...although I guess Negotiation falls into that as well...

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Realised I left out Streetwise and Survival.

To be honest, Streetwise is already a skill that I find perplexing - it lies somewhere between Charm, Deception and Knowledge Underworld, without really being any of them.  I'm sort of happy for the Knowledge stuff to go into Education (or, more likely, to simply come out of character backstory), and for the dealing with criminals to go into Communication.

Survival I guess should just be survival.  That's separate enough to anything else to warrant its own skill.  I guess it's probably an Intellect skill under the condensed characteristics system.

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3 hours ago, edwardavern said:

Yeah, I did think about that.  But then, the current skill list isn't particularly balanced either - look at Willpower compared to, say, Agility or Intellect.  The idea of making Vigilance social seems OK, but it sort of feels like balance for balance's sake.

The suggested more flexible use of characteristics is certainly interesting, but I think in practice there are very few times when, for example, Medicine isn't an Intellect check, or Shooting isn't an Agility check.

 

As mentioned, this would be for a one-shot.  Since I would probably create pre-gen PCs, those things aren't so important.

This leads to my favorite example: consider a sniper who needs to find a good spot to set himself up before an altercation.  He rolls Intellect + Shooting to use his skill as a sniper to judge the location and angles to find the best spot :) .

Or similarly, someone using Intellect + Shooting to know what kind weapon made the wound he's looking at, so her knows what kind of heat his quarry is packing. 

You just gotta be more flexible and you can find all sortsof ways to use non-linked characteristics! 

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1 minute ago, Absol197 said:

This leads to my favorite example: consider a sniper who needs to find a good spot to set himself up before an altercation.  He rolls Intellect + Shooting to use his skill as a sniper to judge the location and angles to find the best spot :) .

Or similarly, someone using Intellect + Shooting to know what kind weapon made the wound he's looking at, so her knows what kind of heat his quarry is packing. 

You just gotta be more flexible and you can find all sortsof ways to use non-linked characteristics! 

Actually I like these examples a lot.  Thanks!

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Or even Presence + Shooting to "talk guns" with someone as a distraction while the rest of the team steals info from their computer!  See, there are lots of circumstances where it wouldn't be Agility-based!  It's just not typically in combat :P

Edited by Absol197

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Granted you are running a one shoot right now. Thinking ahead a little, If the players want to keep playing will you continue to use a simplified skill list or go with raw? 

I understand not wanting to overwhelm new players. But you could miss a good teaching opportunity.

Now I will attempt to be helpful with your question by saying I would put astrogation into tech. I don't think many people could do that level of math in there heads without a computer.

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2 hours ago, edwardavern said:

Realised I left out Streetwise and Survival.

To be honest, Streetwise is already a skill that I find perplexing - it lies somewhere between Charm, Deception and Knowledge Underworld, without really being any of them

I see Streetwise as the recognition of some kind of illicit behavior. For example let's say you see a person hanging out on a corner seemingly doing nothing but talking on the phone. The average person walking by would see nothing unusual while someone with a high Streetwise would understand that the person on the corner is a lookout for a gang. However to determine which gang he is a member of would be knowledge underworld and to bypass the lookout he may need to use deception or charm or negotiate to bribe him.

Anyway that is how I play it. Hope this is helpful.

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18 hours ago, TEK said:

Granted you are running a one shoot right now. Thinking ahead a little, If the players want to keep playing will you continue to use a simplified skill list or go with raw? 

I understand not wanting to overwhelm new players. But you could miss a good teaching opportunity.

Now I will attempt to be helpful with your question by saying I would put astrogation into tech. I don't think many people could do that level of math in there heads without a computer.

If the players want to keep playing, they'll have to find another GM - I'd like to run a one-shot to show people how fun the hobby can be, but I do not have time to run a second campaign.  Obviously if they did do a full campaign I would recommend they use the actual rules.

Astrogation into tech is a good call.

 

17 hours ago, TEK said:

I see Streetwise as the recognition of some kind of illicit behavior. For example let's say you see a person hanging out on a corner seemingly doing nothing but talking on the phone. The average person walking by would see nothing unusual while someone with a high Streetwise would understand that the person on the corner is a lookout for a gang. However to determine which gang he is a member of would be knowledge underworld and to bypass the lookout he may need to use deception or charm or negotiate to bribe him.

Anyway that is how I play it. Hope this is helpful.

Just a caveat before I reply to this.  Through nobody's fault - at least, nobody's fault on this forum - I am having a very stressful day at work, and if this reply becomes a bit...rant-y...then I apologise for venting.  (I mean, I'm also right, but I could probably be politer about it).

Anyway...

Let's take a skill like Astrogation.  RAW, Astrogation covers an expertise with navigational equipment and a "basic knowledge of galactic geography" and "a familiarity with the galaxy's hyperspace routes and the types of craft and commerce most common along those routes".  This is good.  This makes sense.  One can't really become an experienced navigator without knowing these things.  So the skill covers knowledge as well as putting that knowledge into practice.  Which is how, you know, having "skills" tends to work in the real world.

Now, I think most people on the forums (in fact a few people in this thread!) would suggest that other skills can be used to indicate knowledge of something.  Mechanics for knowledge of technology, Ranged for knowledge of how weaponry works (think of Jayne knowing that Vera needs Oxygen in Firefly), Survival for knowledge of the wilderness, etc.  A skill, at the end of the day, is a physical manifestation of whether you "know" how to do something.  (I, for example, know how to play the piano.  That knowledge doesn't qualify me to repair a piano, but I can identify different types of pianos, recognise when a piano is good quality or poor quality or in need of tuning; I understand the basic mechanics of how a piano works, and I have a general knowledge of a variety of piano music.  Skillknowledge).

Of course, then we have the "Knowledge" skills.  Which, in fairness to FFG, is something that most RPGs have, but it still bugs me, because all skills are "knowledge", as discussed.  And "knowledge" skills can all have practical applications in addition to the knowledge they convey. Essentially, since skill≈knowledge, it's fairly obvious that knowledge≈skill - if you know something, you are able to put it into practice.  Lore, for example, can be used to "know" about the Jedi but I would also absolutely use it to, say, perform an ancient ritual, or converse in ancient language, or maybe even activate ancient technology.  Education is, RAW, used to employ scientific knowledge in analysis, and I would probably expand that to the application of skill in chemistry, for example.  And so on. 

And then we have Knowledge Underworld and Streetwise.  Which are, following on from the above, exactly the same as each other.

Oh, the RAW makes a really solid effort to explain how they're not, which arguably should have been a clue to the FFG team.  Another clue might have been the fact that the Streetwise skill description uses the words "knowing" and "learn" twice, the word "instinct" three times, the word "understanding" once, and the word "information" a whopping six times.  It's like their primary goal for this skill was the acquiring of knowledge...!  And since we've already established that knowledge≈skill, all of the "practical" uses of Streetwise are covered by Underworld (or, in some more obscure circumstances, by Outer Rim/Core Worlds/Negotiation).

If you're looking for another clue that FFG, subconsciously, realised that Streetwise and Underworld were the same, check out the talents.  I haven't seen the latest couple of books, but looking through the rest (I have most of the books in all 3 lines) there are only two talents that run off Underworld...and both of them also run off Streetwise.  (Another clue that they're the same is the sheer number of threads on this forum asking what the **** the difference between them is.  But, in fairness to FFG, these forums weren't available as a resource when they first wrote the rules).

Anyway, that is my unnecessarily long and rant-y response as to why Streetwise is a pointless skill.  That was your question, right?  Right?

Oh...

 

19 hours ago, 2P51 said:

How about just Talk, Hurt, Move, Fiddle, and Touch?

Hah.  This made me laugh.  Although can I ask: what is the difference between fiddle and touch?

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