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I Got Skillz

One of the biggest divides between us 3rd Edition folks and the 4th Edition people can be found over the issue of skills. 4th Edition streamlined the skills a great deal, and for some of us, that’s not a good thing. Now, I’m not trying to bring back that debate. After all, to each their own and all that stuff. However, skills can be an important part of your character.

One problem that most classed based systems have is the idea that a certain class has “X” skills. Fighters can intimidate, wizards and clerics have the knowledge stuff, and rogues are just jack of all trades. The question you should ask yourself is…why? What do you do for a living. Now ask yourself, do I only have those skills necessary for my job? My guess is probably not.

For example, I work as a subject matter exert on inventory control. As an SME, it would be easy to assume I only know inventory control. However, I’m also a student of history (love the subject). I’ve also studied medieval armor as a specialty. I’m a passable writer (at least Mom says so). I’m also a backpacker and avid shooter. None of these things add anything at all to my profession.

Why do I mention my interests? Simple…your character is more than a sword jockey or a spell slinger. He or she needs to feel alive. When skills are one dimensional, then the character becomes more difficult to bring to life. Can you do it? Sure. However, skill mechanics is one way the game gives us to add depth to those character.

So, how do you do it? When you write your character’s background up (you are writing his or her background, right?), include a little bit about some unusual skills. Perhaps your fighter trained under the Master at Arms of a powerful wizard, so you picked up a bit of arcane knowledge, or studied as a cleric for a time before taking up arms for a living. Perhaps your wizard spent time on the streets as a pick pocket before being caught red handed by a great wizard who recognized the greatness within.

Taking unusual skills is yet another way to create a character that’s memorable and fun to play! Try it…you just may like it! 😉


July 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments