As I mentioned recently, I'm a bit stuck, but I don't see where I can go without a functional (not final, just functional) skill and injury system, so I'm going to try roughing out the two main models. Last time I looked at stats and traits; this time I'm having another go with the attribute-based model.
|Agility||Avoiding physical dangers and perform dextrous feats||Avoid falling rocks, dodge attacks, jump over chasm, roll under closing bulkhead, squeeze through vent, intercept frisbee, ride hoverboard, drive a boat through rapids|
|Bureaucracy||Accounting, bureaucratic procedures, filing, loopholes, organisations, office politics, paperwork, law||Spot corruption, exploit procedures, identify appropriate contacts, play officers against each other, apply for grants, forge permits, guess where documentation is kept, interpret jargon, conduct legal case, draw up contracts|
|Combat||Hand-to-hand fighting, with or without weapons||Punch, wrestle, kick, headbutt, bite, restrain, stab, bludgeon, disarm|
|Fettle||Evaluate, fix, patch or sabotage structures or physical machinery||Reroute plumbing, fix motor, repair fence, fettle engines, cannibalise machinery, patch hulls, reinforce viewports, pick locks, plan demolition, use explosives|
|Endurance||Endure physical hardship and strenuous effort||Hike long distances, swim lakes, tolerate thirst and hunger, withstand pain, remove objects from fire, resist disease|
|Guns||Shooting, maintenance, identification||Shoot an enemy, repair weapon, fit enhancements, remove sand, identify weapons fire|
|Knowledge||Knowledge of current events and historical past, archaeology, anthropology||Identify obsolete technology, recognise historical figures, identify heraldry, recall political scandal, evaluate ancient sites, identify artefacts, remember cultural taboo, memorise|
|Medicine||Injury, illness, accident, epidemiology, disease, poisons, parasites, drugs||Treat poison, treat disease, give vaccinations, stop bleeding, splint a limb, administer painkillers, diagnose insanity, identify medication|
|Occult||Myths, artefacts, magical practices, tomes, sorcerers, spirits||Recognise names, perform rituals, identify artefacts, identify a practitioner's traditions, guess intentions|
|Parley||Befriend, bully, startle, bargain, overawe, disdain, bluster, fob off, charm, distress, bluff, empathise, psychoanalyse, impersonate||Excuse trespass, impress a crowd, make friends in a pub, bluff past a guard, get a signature, obtain an invitation, avoid a fine, borrow a car, strike bargain, intimidate a thug, detect deceit|
|Perception||See, hear, smell, taste, feel||Find spots of blood, recognise repainted car, spot feet under bulging curtain, trace gas leak, detect alien, anticipate chloroform, notice drugged coffee, appreciate wine, detect an intruder, locate a songbird, pick out password, sense vibration, orient yourself|
|Science||Biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, maths...||Develop vaccine, identify creature, plot orbit, identify star system, predict volcanic eruption, find secret mine, synthesise chemical, crack code|
|Stealth||Avoidance, discretion and surveillance||Lurk in bushes, evade CCTV, disappear into a crowd, walk silently past guard, remove wheels from car full of mobsters without being heard, carry a weapon undetected, hide a vehicle, apply camo makeup, place a bug, make a hidden cache, stash incriminating evidence away from the cleaners, follow a car|
|Strength||Climb, swim, lift, push, drag, wrestle, throw, run||Climb a tree, shin along a beam, pull someone back to safety, bend bars, lift gates, escape from sharks|
|Tech||Assembly, software, data, security, theory, personalities, equipment||Build server, write program, follow data flows, track hacking attempt, hack system, manipulate photo, use robotic surgery bay, synch with battlecruiser, identify blogger, pilot mech, hotwire vehicle, disable droid|
|Will||Concentration, independence, tenacity and strength of purpose||Keep watch for long periods, ignore distractions, resist hypnosis, withstand fear|
Particularly attentive readers may notice two additions to the table: Endurance and Will. Not especially original, but I couldn't think of more appropriate terms. These are basically holes I noticed in my existing system once combat comes into play - you need something to handle characters' resistance to incoming danger, as well as their own actions. While I'm not 100% sure about them, it seems to be either these two or bringing back stats. To be honest, I'm not hugely happy about Strength or Agility either, but those are at least active skills much of the time; the others really aren't, and that raises a red flag.
Injury, however, is going to require a whole subsystem. There's just no realistic way to use erosive damage with this many attributes.
A few main models present themselves:
- HP - a tried and tested system that I'd rather avoid. Too chippy-away, just doesn't feel quite right.
- Hit locations - too granular for Monitors, I think?
- Erosive damage - as I mentioned, there's too many skills to apply it here
- Selective erosive damage - possible
- Wounding - possible
Selective erosive damage
Basically, this resolves around marking a few skills where erosive damage applies. The likely ones are Agility, Endurance, Perception, Strength and Will. While I love the idea of taking Bureaucracy damage, I just don't see it... It'd probably work more or less okay (with some issues that I'll discuss in future) but I'm not sold on it.
This system would have simple injury charts that track your current status, ranging from (say) Pinned to Winged to Battered to Unconscious. In theory, this could be adapted for soft attacks by having three or four trackers per character, adding more complication - but I'll look at injury models in more detail later.
While I do have a great fondness for this model, for some reason I don't particularly like the defence-type attributes. However, I think it could be got to work with completely detached injury systems that don't rely on attributes, and this is something I'll be considering. It may be that, eventually, I'll end up with a system based on discrete subsystems rather than the more-or-less-coherent one I was initially aiming for.