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[2e House Rule] Dynamic Aptitudes

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L3g1on L3g1on's picture
[2e House Rule] Dynamic Aptitudes
Hi all, I just wanted to share a simple (yet extremely versatile) second edition house rule that my groups and I love. We all like second edition but we felt that since many skills form first edition got cut, most characters became too generic. Meaning that almost all characters have the same skill set which makes them less unique, and most tests feel repetitive. On the other hand, those skills got removed for good reasons. So to still make the characters feel more unique and add some nice nuance to skill tests, we adopted a mechanic from another p&p game: Star Trek Adventures. So instead of having fixed combinations of aptitudes with skills, you dynamically choose the aptitude that influences the current test the most. Here are some examples:
  • Docking a shuttle: REF + Pilot:Spacecraft
  • Piloting a shuttle of unknown human design: INT + Pilot:Spacecraft
  • Planning a slingshot maneuver: COG + Pilot:Spacecraft
  • Subtle intrusion: COG + Infosec
  • Brute-force attack: INT + Infosec
  • Initiating counter measures against an intruder: REF + Infosec
  • Negotiating with an unknown entity: INT + Persuasion
  • Defusing a bomb under gunfire: WIL + Hardware:Demolitions
The combinations are endless and they help to incorporate the context of the tests. At least I have the impression that this makes the game feel much more immersive. It also becomes apparent if characters are great planners, adopt to new situations quickly, work well under stress, and so on. In terms of game mechanics nothing really changes. You just denote the skill rank without a fixed added bonus. So one more number you have to add besides the usual modifiers. Just try it out for a session and let me know what you think.
Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
That seems like an
That seems like an interesting fix. Personally I've just been strongly encouraging specializations, which does get them to try and stick to their focus even if mathematically it's not a terribly huge bonus.
CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
You may find inspiration for
You may find inspiration for another fix in what I am trying to do with "1,5ed" system. Here is what I came up with: 1. List of skills is abreviated to 2ed volume. 2. Skills are capped at 40 skill points. 3. Aptitude costs 5CP/Rez per point. 4. The skills have Focus Fields (1e skill names) with 3 degrees of specialisation: Specialisation +10 (5CP), Expertise +20 (15CP), Mastery +30 (35CP), you can only have 1 field at each level. 5. There are no Field Skills - they are condensed into Active Hardware, Medicine, Pilot etc. with Focus Fields. Explanation: Ad.1. Condensed Skill list is a single change in 2e that I will defend any time. So I am stealing it. Some say it is not differentiating enough... Too broad. I try to get a compromise with this hack. Ad.2. As skills are now very general they need something to limit them. With that an great sniper will have 20 COO + 40Skill to shoot anything 60. But he has a Mastery of Kinetic Weapons +30. So he shoots a sniper rifle at 90. Ad.3. At this point his skills are at a plateau. To shoot better can only "go back to the basics" by increasing his COO, here a lowered cost will help him. Ad.4 Focus Fields are limited to 3 per skill. If you are a novice in Pilot skill 10 grab Specialisation on the cheap (5CP) in Groundcraft. You are now pretty good behind the wheel. Expertise is important after you become a great generalist with 40 skill points. You cannot be an absolute master of a skill with 98 for every roll. But you can still get your 100 rating in Infosec: Breaching with 40COG + 40 Infosec + 30 Mastery of Breaching. Why strange CP costs? Assuming you slowly upgrade your Focus, with Specialisation you get +10 for 5 CP, with Expertise additional +10 for 10 CP and with Mastery another +10 at cost 20 CP. Ad.5. Because all active skills are now similar to Field Skills we can merge them into the same system. Many people had problems with active skills being condensed, but the field skills were not, making techie characters very expensive to create. This brings them all to similar level of cost. I do not know how to handle idea Knowledge Skills with that approach. Maybe except leaving them as is.
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