Skills are percentile based. Roll d100 equal to or under the appropriate skill rating. The only modifier is for ‘hardcore’ (i.e. difficult) actions, which are at 1/2 rating (rounded down).
A skill’s base rating is determined by adding together two related ability scores. For example, the Shooting skill uses Dexterity and Perception. If a character’s Dexterity is 11 and Perception is 13, then base Shooting is 24.
Every player can also select one ‘pip’ skill (well, pure humans get 2 pip skills, and certain mutations may allow a character to pick additional pip skills as well). Once a pip skill is chosen, it can’t be changed. Simply add 30 points to the pip skill’s base rating. In the example above, if Shooting were chosen as the character’s pip skill, then the rating would be 54. In addition, each skill grants a special ‘pip’ bonus, available only to characters taking them as pip skills.
My guiding philosophy is simpler is better, so I’m going with a smaller list of broad skills rather than a kitchen-sink list of narrowly defined skills. I think this’ll lend more flexibility and versatility to the game. So with that in mind, here’s a tentative list of skills:
Shooting (Dex + Per) = All ranged/missile attacks. Pip: +1 damage to all ranged/missile attacks
Fighting (Str + Dex) = All melee/hand-to-hand attacks; Fighting can also be a stand-in for dodging (i.e. Reflex type saves). Pip: +1 damage to all melee/unarmed attacks.
Psychic (Per + Will) = Used to resist psychic mutations; perhaps also a stand-in as a general social skill. Pip: Character gets a free psychic ability; only mutants can take this as a pip skill.
Tech (Dex + Int) = Using and repairing technological devices. Pip: Character gains +1 Maximum Item Complexity.
Scavenging (Int + Per) = Finding salvageable technology, and stands-in as a general searching and awareness skill. Pip: Character starts with 10 additional pieces of salvage.
Survival (Con + Will) = Knowledge of land navigation, tracking, wasteland hazards and finding water, food and shelter in the wastelands. Pip: +5 hit points.
Stealth (Dex + Will) = Sneaking, hiding and general thieving skill. Pip: ? (not sure yet)
Resilience (Str + Con) = Resistance to physical hazards, such as radiation, disease, toxins, and a general athletics skill (swimming, climbing, etc.). Pip: Movement bonus maybe? Not sure on this one yet, either.
Well, you get the idea. I may add one or two additional skills. When adding new skills, the skill rating should be based on the scores of two different abilities, rather than multiplying a single ability by 2. This gives a less swingy distribution.
As there are no character levels in Relics & Ruins, skills improve by use. Specifically, by failing skill checks, on the theory that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. Only problem is, in the world of Relics & Ruins, failure may kill you. 🙂 Every time a skill attempt is made during an adventure, or for an action with meaningful consequences for failure, if the skill check fails the skill’s base rating improves by 1 point. It’s important that GM’s don’t allow players to ‘grind’ up skills during down-time when they don’t face meaningful consequences for failure – no risk, no reward, period.
I think I’ll cover mutations next, but that may take a while to put together. Cheers.