Thursday, June 21, 2012

Simple Skill System For Swords & Wizardry

Admittedly, not everyone want skills in their old school games, this post is for those people who do want to add the option to their games. This is written for Swords & Wizardry but could easily be ported to any old school game. The genesis of this particular variant comes from a forum post made by one of the players in the G+ Swords & Wizardry game. This is still in a very rough form, and I am posting this mostly to get it out of the headspace and into a format that can be commented upon.

The basic mechanic is that the player rolls 2d6, adds any modifiers from their character's Ability Scores, and compares it to a target number for the difficulty of the task (as set by the Referee). If the roll + modifiers is higher than the target, the character succeeds at using that skill.

Difficulty Determined by Referee
Die Roll
Simple Task
No Roll
Hard Task
Difficult Task

The referee should keep the difficulty of the task in mind at all time, and should also consider the general level/competency of the character in mind as well. What is a simple task for a 6th level character might be Hard or Difficult for a 1st level character. The referee is always cautioned to err in favor of the character when determining the difficulty of a task.

Modifiers are determined by the Dexterity or Intelligence of the character, using the following table:


If a skill is something that is dependent on the character's overall agility and coordination, use the Dexterity score's bonus/penalty. If the skill is something that depends on the overall mental capabilities of the character, use the Intelligence score's bonus/penalty.

At this point I do not include Thief skills, because I think that those skills should be a protected niche of that character class. An option for Thieves could be to convert the Thief "skills" over to skills in this system and just give the Thief a special modifier, like half their level. I'm not 100% on this specific listing of skills just yet. This is a part that I am still turning over in my head (yes, this list of skills was taken from an OGL source, and it will be properly attributed, should this idea make it into a polished and final form).

Arcana: Your character’s knowledge of the unknown and the magical within the game world. Note that this doesn't give a character any sort of spellcasting ability.

Athletics: Anything involving physical or athletic activities, including climbing, swimming, and acrobatics.

Communication: Your character’s ability to communicate with others, but not to persuade (see Social, below).

Focus: Anything involving concentration, observation or perception.

Nature/Outdoors: How good your character is at things like camping, fishing, hunting, survival, navigation and horseback riding.

Enterprise: Your character’s knowledge of how businesses and finance work.

Investigation: Your character’s knowledge of how to look for clues, searching an area for hidden things, and the like.

Languages: How good your character is at speaking/reading/understanding a particular language. Each language counts as a different skill.

Military Sciences: Your character’s knowledge of tactics and strategy, as well as military history.

Profession: This is what your character does for a living when not out adventuring. Sample professions can be: Blacksmith, Cooper, Brewer, Weaver, Veterinarian, and etc. The profession must be specified, and this skill can be taken multiple times for multiple professions.

Performance: Your character’s ability to perform in front of others, this can be acting, singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument.

Social: Anything involving using your charm or persuasion

Technical: How good your character is at technical tasks such as mechanics.

Transportation: How good your character is at driving or piloting vehicles. Also allows the character some basic mechanical knowledge of their preferred vehicle.

Skills do not have ranks, they are either trained (i.e. the character has that skill) or untrained. All character classes start play with one skill at first level, and gain another every three levels.