This post may feel a little rambling. I’m playing around with a system for implying character skills and abilities. The idea is to bridge the gap between system-less games where the character comes from background and story and those games with a more rigid rule-set and character generation procedure. It’s part of my long term aim to eventually come up with a very generic LARP system that can be applied to a wide range of systems and scenarios.

The idea is simple in itself – we generate an overview of the characters abilities in a points based system then use story and background to fill in the blanks.

I should warn you that what follows is pretty much a stream of consciousness. It is untested and probably full of points to think about.

So here it goes.

The idea is that skills are rate 0 – 4 in a number of key areas.
A score of 1 shows typical ability for a person of profession.
A score of 4 shows exceptional ability far beyond what you would ever expect a normal person to achieve.
0 shows a score that is beneath normal.
These work a little like levels in many LARPs or RPGs,

Skills are listed as:

  • Social (ability to interact normally)
  • Professional (Skills from any form of Job)
  • Personal (Skills gained by other activities or previous professions)

You only need to list Personal skills. All others are implied.

I’m going to do some examples based on having 3 points to spend across the skills by way of example.

For example a modern day LARP a person who is a the owner of a market stall in a modern city score might be

  • Social: 1
  • Professional: 1
  • Personal: 1 Athletic (plays football on weekends)

The Social of 1 means this is a well-adjusted person able to engage anyone in conversation and understands all common social memes.
The professional of 1 gives skills in handling finances, stock control, managing people, driving, handling technology, and so on. It does not make this person a Kung-Fu expert or able to be a dead shot with a hand gun as these are not relevant to his profession.
The Personal of 1 makes this person reasonably fit, able to run for extended periods and able to kick a ball with some accuracy and work in a team.

Reducing a score to zero has somewhat dramatic results

  • Social:0
  • Professional:1
  • Personal:2

Would be a person with the ability to work in environments where the ability to get on with others do not matter and who has picked up some other skills along the way but who has some serious hobby based skills of knowledge.

If you reduce 2 skills 0 you could create a “Rain man”  style savant character

In order to maintain balance if any skill area is reduced to 0 the points removed must be placed somewhere else.
So our Rain Man character might be

  • Social:0
  • Professional:0
  • Personal:3 – Outstanding Mental Arithmetic.

Any personal skills added must be justified within a characters background.

In this system it would be easy to add a great many Personal skills. To keep this realistic some background story needs to be written for each skill. As more skills are gained you might also want to add some age to the character to allow for time to develop these skills. If you want to add skill development with age perhaps add on an extra 5-10 years of age for each level of training. For example a GP might be level 1 (ordinary skill level) but a consultant would be a level 2 or 3 – and adding an extra 10 years of training and life skills to achieve that might make some sense.

That’s the basis for the system. From a small number of points you can create a workable character overview. If  you have any comments I’d love to see them.

The image at the top of this post come from

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kams_world/7915865502/

And is part of Kams Word’s Photostream

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