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D20 Modern Skill Groups

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago

Design parameters:

  1. Cross-class skills are dumb. Classes are methods of approach, not roles in society, thus anyone can use any skill and use it well. Additionally, the class / cross-class system is a double penalty, since skill points are an extremely limited resource; investing your resource in a skill is an exclusive choice, and the cross-class skill system punishes players for all but a few choices.
  2. There are too many skills and not enough skill points. Skill groups allow skill points to go further and allow characters to have the skills necessary for their concepts and their adventures.
  3. Being capable is cool. I want modern games to be cool with cool characters. Granting a balanced system to allow for increased capability and character concept achievement is cool.


Designer Notes:

Skill points per level and maximum skill ranks are unchanged, as are any other mechanics not otherwise mentioned.

Advanced class requirements are unchanged.

Consequences of Skill Groups: Most Game Masters are, and should, be concerned about adding new mechanics and altering existing mechanics, especially mechanics as important as the skill system. This is provided to help GMs decide if skill groups are appropriate to their campaigns.

Using skill groups, characters are generally more powerful (particularly if the players come up with cool ideas for their skills and you approve them) but it is not an increase that will unbalance the game nor make it less fun; quite the opposite, it will allowed the team to split up successfully during investigation phases, as they have the skills to do the legwork, or to defend themselves against canny and deceptive opposition. Even though the martial artist can now act as a face, the negotiator is still head and shoulders better at it. Both players are happy, the Martial Artist with his ability to interact successfully and the Negotiator with her ability to socially dominate when she desires.

Finally, it makes all advanced classes accessible to all characters by level 6, and most are accessible by level 3 or 4. It is no longer the case that a level 4 Fast hero can be a Soldier or Martial Artist but that a Strong hero must wait till level 9 before becoming a Gunslinger or Bodyguard. This makes options available earlier to some characters but not earlier than they were available to any characters.


Skill Groups:

Skill groups are a way of representing the interrelated nature of certain skills. One skill point in the group is the same as putting a skill point into every skill in the group. Note that for skills with expanded areas (Drive and Pilot) you must still spend extra skill points to gain access to those areas.

Each class grants access to certain skill groups, as do all starting occupations. Class groups may only be accessed when you take levels in that class. Skill groups from starting occupation represent a permanent basis of training, and thus are available at every level.


Base Groups:

Academic Craft (Writing), Knowledge (any three), Research
Agility Balance, Escape Artist, Tumble
Athletic Climb, Jump Swim
Builder Craft (Electronic), Craft (Structural), Knowledge (Current Events), Knowledge (Streetwise), Repair
Business Computer Use, Craft (Writing), Knowledge (Business), Knowledge (Civics), Knowledge (Current Events)
Bypass Disguise, Disable Device, Investigate
Clown Disguise, Handle Animal, Knowledge (Popular Culture), Perform (Stand-up)
Computer Computer Use, Craft (Electronic), Knowledge (Technology), Research
Crafter Craft (Chemical), Craft (Electronic), Craft (Mechanical), Craft (Pharmaceutical), Craft (Structural), Craft (Visual Art), Craft (Writing)
Creator Craft (Visual Art), Craft (Writing), Forgery, Knowledge (Art), Knowledge (Popular Culture)
Destruction Craft (Chemical), Craft (Structural), Demolitions, Disable Device
Detective Concentration, Investigate, Knowledge (Streetwise), Survival
Driver Concentration, Drive, Intimidate
Educated Knowledge (Arcane Lore), Knowledge (Art), Knowledge (Behavioral Sciences), Knowledge (Business), Knowledge (Civics), Knowledge (Current Events), Knowledge (Earth and Life Sciences), Knowledge (History), Knowledge (Physical Sciences), Knowledge (Popular Culture), Knowledge (Tactics), Knowledge (Technology), Knowledge (Theology and Philosophy)
Endurance Concentration, Gamble, Survival
Handler Handle Animal, Knowledge (Popular Culture), Knowledge (Streetwise), Survival
Investigator Forgery, Investigate, Knowledge (Civics), Search
Linguist Decipher Script, Knowledge (any one), Read/Write Language, Speak Language
Medicine Craft (Pharmaceutical), Knowledge (Earth and Life Sciences), Spot, Treat Injury
Perception Listen, Search, Sense Motive, Spot
Psionic Autohypnosis, Concentration, Knowledge (Arcane Lore), Psicraft
Racer Drive, Escape Artist, Tumble
Rider Knowledge (Popular Culture), Knowledge (Streetwise), Ride, Tumble
Searcher Computer Use, Knowledge (Behavioral Sciences), Knowledge (Streetwise), Research, Search
Secretary Computer Use, Concentration, Listen
Slinger Intimidate, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand
Social Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate
Stealth Hide, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand
Technician Craft (Electronic), Craft (Mechanical), Knowledge (Physical Sciences), Knowledge (Technology), Repair
Theatric Bluff, Knowledge (Current Events or Popular Culture), Perform (any three)
Transportation Drive, Navigate, Pilot
Wilderness Lore Handle Animal, Navigate, Ride, Survival


Class Groups:

Note that class groups are only available when you take levels in that class.

Base Class Class Groups
Strong Athletic, Builder, Handler, Wilderness Lore
Fast Agility, Racer, Rider, Stealth, Transportation
Tough Athletic, Detective, Driver, Endurance, Wilderness Lore
Smart Academic, Builder, Business, Computer, Crafter, Destruction, Educated, Investigator, Linguist, Searcher, Technician
Dedicated Academic, Detective, Educated, Medicine, Perception, Searcher, Wilderness Lore
Charismatic Academic, Creator, Clown, Social, Theatric


Occupation Groups:

If the group(s) chosen for occupation is a class group at first level then you gain a +1 competence bonus on checks using those skills, as well as gaining the group as a permanent group. This only applies to skill groups, not overlapping skills within the groups.

Starting Occupation Number Chosen Available Groups
Academic Two Academic, Computer, Creator, Educated, Theatric
Adventurer One Destruction, Guide, Stealth, Transportation
Athlete One Agility, Athletic, Equestrian, Racer
Blue Collar Two Athletic, Builder, Driver, Equestrian, Technician
Celebrity One Confidence Man, Social, Theatric
Creative Two Business, Confidence Man, Crafter, Creator, Technician, Theatric
Criminal One Confidence man, Criminal, Stealth
Dilettante One Equestrian, Linguist, Sloth
Doctor One Business, Medicine, Psychology
Emergency Services Two Agility, Athletic, Medical Technician, Medicine, Transportation
Entrepreneur One Business, Computer, Social, Wheeling
Investigative One Criminal, Detective, Investigator, Perception, Searcher
Law Enforcement One Detective, Driver, Investigator, Rider, Social, Transportation
Military One Destruction, Guide, Stealth, Transportation
Religious Two Perception, Religion, Secretary, Social, Theatric
Rural One Guide, Motorist, Transportation, Wilderness Lore
Student Three Academic, Business, Computer, Educated, Technician, Theatric
Technician Two Builder, Business, Computer, Technician
White Collar Two Academic, Business, Computer, Social


Confidence man Bluff, Disguise, Forgery, Gamble, Perform (Act)
Criminal Disable Device, Forgery, Knowledge (Streetwise), Sleight of Hand
Equestrian Handle Animal, Knowledge (Earth and Life Sciences or Popular Culture), Ride
Guide Climb, Navigate, Survival, Swim
Medical Technician Craft (Pharmaceutical), Knowledge (Behavioral Sciences), Knowledge (Earth and Life Sciences), Knowledge (Technology), Treat Injury
Motorist Balance, Drive, Repair
Psychology Craft (Pharmaceutical), Diplomacy, Knowledge (Behavioral Sciences), Treat Injury
Religion Diplomacy, Knowledge (Theology and Philosophy), Perform (any one), Sense Motive
Sloth Bluff, Gamble, Intimidate
Wheeling Bluff, Diplomacy, Gamble


Skill Changes:

Drive: Drive is one skill with several subgroups, each accessed by spending a skill point to expand the area of application. Without access to an expansion, the character takes a -4 to all drive checks in such a vehicle. Basic driving skills cover cars, motorcycles and small trucks. The expanded areas are Heavy Wheeled, Powerboat, Sailboat, Ship and Tracked. Heavy wheeled is for large wheeled vehicles, such as eighteen-wheeled trucks or military LAVs. Tracked vehicles are any vehicle on treads, such as bulldozers and tanks. Powerboat is for small motorboats, such as speedboats and jet skis, designed for one operator. Sailboat covers all wind-powered sailing vessels. Ships are large, multi-crewed water vessels.

Pilot: Like Drive, Pilot is one skill with several subgroups, each accessed by spending a skill point to expand the area of application. Without access to an expansion, the character takes a -4 to all pilot checks in such a vehicle. Basic flight skills cover small propeller and jet aircraft, including cesnas and lear jets. The expanded areas are Heavy Aircraft, Helicopters, Jet Fighters or Spacecraft. Heavy aircraft include such vehicles as large passenger planes, heavy military transport planes, most bomber aircraft and most aircraft with three or more engines. Helicopters covers all rotary wing aircraft, transport, combat or otherwise. Jet fighters is for military fighters and ground attack jets. Spacecraft are any extra-atmosphere craft such as the space shuttle or lunar lander (this can also cover interstellar craft for science fiction games, or one or more areas can be added to the pilot skill).

Knowledge: Try Again: Yes, after eight hours of rest. Sometimes a night’s rest shakes loose things that had been forgotten in the recesses of the mind.

Tumble: Tumble checks are now opposed checks. To tumble through an opponent’s threatened area make a tumble check opposed by his tumble or base attack check (defender’s choice). If you tumble through an opponent’s space then he adds +5 to his opposed check. To tumble past multiple opponents, make one tumble check and each opponent opposes in the order you tumble past them, player’s choice if there are any ties. Each opponent after the first gains a cumulative +2 on his opposed check.


Advanced Classes:

Note that class groups are only available when you take levels in that class.

Advanced ClassClass Groups
Martial Artist Agility, Athletic, Stealth
Soldier Athletic, Destruction, Driver, Perception
Gunslinger Racer, Slinger
Infiltrator Agility, Athletic, Bypass, Perception, Stealth
Bodyguard Driver, Investigate, Perception
Daredevil Agility, Athletic, Transportation
Field Scientist Academic, Computer, Destruction, Linguist, Transportation
Techie Computer, Destruction, Technician
Field Medic Medicine, Secretary, Transportation
Investigator Investigate, Perception, Searcher, Social
Negotiator Perception, Searcher, Social
Personality Creator, Theatric


Modern Open Gaming License

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