So I've been keeping a notebook of my TRPG mental ramblings. One of the Key thing I've gotten into is Decision Analysis for stuff. I realize that the same Decision Analysis for a Car or a House has some parallels to Skills.
Becoming Literate in Chinese has an Initial Cost. This can come in the form of the Classes as well as the manhours invested.
Buying a Car has its Initial Cost, both in Manhours and Investment.
Getting into Linux has an Initial Manhour Cost.
Then there is a Running Cost.
For a car this can be the Gass, Maintenance, cleaning, parking, etc....
For Chinese its Usage of the skill, See forgetting Curve,
These two costs are a key to understanding Skills, Opportunity Costs in life, and creating a model in understanding what We Put Into pursuits and what can we expect to get from them.
How do I spend my Time is a question I always ask about myself. Its my reflection about what I should expect from myself. If I put my time in Family, Distractions, Skills, Work, relationships, etc... then I can only expect this is what will grow and what will evolve.
In the same way Character Creation and Development follows this basic principle. That What we spend time in is what makes us who we are. That our choices shape us - even our flawed choices (choices out of weaknesses ) shape us.
Combined with the Scale of Manhours,
Tens, hundreds, and Thousands.
Plus the model Consistency
Reliably (of course exceptions do exist),
and Rarely to Never
Then add a mechanic for Conscientious Learning - that the Person Identifies with a Skill or a set of skills. That when it comes to this skill - he has some Flow .
And then a mechanic of Building Complexity:
Defining what 10s, 100s, and 1000s manhours means to the Character of a particular pursuit or practice.
Skills, the Pursuit of Knowledge and the acceptance of Forgetting (and Atrophy) of some skills is one of the most troubling and challenging aspects of the Real world that games simplify to make it fun - but when explored is quite satisfying.
I have the components of a Skill System that can be used for a Game but used to Ask some hard personal questions to the Younger me about what I want out of my life. Its easy to Answer for a Character but hard to Answer if it was really being asked of me. But in a TRPG I can explore characters and world views.
I cannot have all the Skills, I will have to choose between some skills in many points in my life, and will have to work with the ignorance of the skill I did not pursue (the inability to make an informed decision). That the world is changing - and that as awesome as a skill may be in a TRPG he real world will create so much noise, uncertainty, and screwed up incentives to devalue hard won knowledge and painful decisions.
That the world does not care how much you paid for a skill - that it makes you need them but won't pay a fair price for them without a lie or a story. Speaking as a person from the Developing world where you can look out our Education index as see how unfair and inaccessible knowledge is to the rest of our country.
I see it when I have to plan in the scale of years and months the smallest detail of ability for personnel in our company. That there is so much grift and noise - and skills (and people) are devalued in the machine of the world.