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.