Wednesday, March 6, 2013

ORP Skill Design Notes

Keep it Simple 

Characters should only have up to 3 core skills, 4 secondary skills, and 3-7 background or ancillary skills. A total of 15 skills at the most or 10 skills on average, or as little as 7 skills - typicaly 7 skills for templates since you don't plan to flesh out the personality for NPCs and Mooks.

Consistency and Game Logic in Organizing

 One of the things I learned in work is that, there are some Unimportant skills that surprisingly are deal breakers. Why isn't Vacc Suit part of Spacer, true there is training that specifically in Artificial Habitation survival and safety but why isnt Vacc Suit part of that?

If want to be scientific about this all: A task that may deviate from the skill being used should only be penalized by as much as the performance difference. So If a ARMA swordsman tells you that the difference between a sword that is 36" and 30" is less than 5% and 5% is a value too small for the system to measure (like GURPS or MT) then why place a penalty?

Related Skill Rules - related skills means that you can default at a minor penalty in ORP. Related skills are skills abstracts relationships of skills with each other related to relative to the individual's talents or strengths.

Skills Transform over Time

A person who climbed up his organization to be an officer didn't just gain a new skill, sometimes the skill they have transforms to encompass experiences he was already exposed too but was on the recieving end (and those skills are opaque in use). The Core skill of the Profession, slowly becomes an Administrative/Management skill tied to Profession.  In ORP this means that you can have a profession Roboticist 3 (Administrator +1); a Robot programmer who's been in the business long enough that he has management skills , can manage a team for Robotics effectively raising his bonus from 3 to 4.

Tasks vs Skills

Tasks are collection of activities that can be done with a skills, tasks are not exclusive to a skill it really depends on logic. There are many tasks a Soldier and corporate Bureaucrat can do - give reports, write out documentation requires and standardized by their Organization, and communicate effectively with their team and group.

Skills is not really one monolithic Skill, but a collection of skills which have a strong binding rationale. If it was a Monolithic Skill, going by a Platonic definition, then we would have a Big system problem of trying to define all its aspects and slowly growing the number of skills to system Bloat. Instead as the Game Designers, GMs and Players feed into ORP they highlight how different a Bureaucrat can be in various situations and specialties. One thing people overlook when designing skills is that its Psychology is what stops people from attempting things which is unfamiliar but applicable to their skill, and not a lack of skills. There would be be some unfamiliarity penalties BUT a little practice and planning or improvisation tends to cancel these all out.

Familiarity is the Playground of Storytelling

Familiarity is mental flexibility, imagination, creativity, and character background. This is the key focus when using skills for other things - it is for a moment visualize how a character has used this skill in their professional life and what kind of character this is.

Before you begin to design a system Clarify dice Mechanics. 

Particularly Occasions to Roll, a good foundation makes skills more reasonable in number and reduces system bloat. It is important to make this Foremost when introducing the system, because it sets the stage and character building strategy.

I have a recent break through, and I'm working on the skills section. Equipment and Assets are pretty much thought out, I just need to detail and edit it for consistency and completeness. Once I finish the Skills and test crap out of it, I can move on.

I have the entity, character, and world physics pretty much though out. Its not that hard since I use basic rules of science and convert it to how it should be reflected in the dice mechanics.

Currently working on my mandarin so I'm pretty distracted, other than work being another distraction. Hopefully I meet some people interested to game in Zang4guo2 Shi1dai2 or Warring States when I enroll for Mandarin Class. Seeing the perfectly preserved bronze sword of the Period, the sword of Goujian is really inspiring. Since the era has so little detail compared to other eras I feel liberated to just follow the science.

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