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Skills Revisited

April 25, 2007

I’ve expanded the Thousand Suns skill list a bit from the very small but broad list I’d been toying with early in the design of the game, because, ultimately, the style of space opera it’s meant to emulate is “pseudo-technical,” which is to say that, while it doesn’t go into the niceties of physics vs. astrophysics as a field of knowledge, it nevertheless does make a distinction between physical science and social science. I still don’t want things to bog down too much, either in character creation or in play, and I want NPC construction to be quick and painless, so I now have skills like Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, etc.

However, I’d still like to allow for a small degree of specialization that can easily be dispensed with it if either the players or GM feel it’s unnecessary. So, I propose the following: Upon acquisition of a specialty skill, you may choose one specialty within it. For that specialty, you get a +1 bonus to all checks pertaining narrowly to that specialty. So, for example, if your character has Social Sciences, he may choose History as his specialty and gets a +1 bonus to any Social Sciences checks that involve History. Likewise, for every 5 ranks a character has in a specialty skill, he may either increase the specialty bonus by an additional +1 or choose a further specialty. Thus, in the example, the character could either, upon reaching 5 ranks in Social Sciences, gain +2 to History checks or choose Anthropology at +1 as a second specialty.

Does this work? More importantly, is it simple enough that it’s both easy to remember and easily dispensed with if you don’t want the additional complication?

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