On A Primer: Skill Deconstrution

The series will alternate between posts that are an explanation of  the skill light position, and questions about the skill heavy one. Every commenter must understanding the following:

I have played pathfinder and other skill heavy systems, and they are valid fun methods of play.
I prefer AD&D and other skill-light systems for a variety of reasons.

All role-playing games use conflict resolution methods.
Some of these conflict resolution methods could be considered skills.
There is nothing inherently right or wrong about skills. 

And finally, this:
Skills can be used as a tool to avoid DM Tyranny (i.e. I rolled it, you have to let me!), just as easily as skills can be used as a tool to enforce DM Tyranny (i.e. you didn't roll high enough, you aren't allowed!)

Rules will not prevent people from being jerks. A skill system is zero protection for players - A GM can set skill DC's arbitrarily high to ensure failure. The rules system is no defense.


  1. Also consider that a skill heavy system favors a rules lawyer type player while a skill light system favors a creative (read skilled in BS) player.


  2. I don't know if this is quite on topic or not since it sounds like you're trying to keep these posts very specific and not cover too much in a topic to avoid confusion in the discussion, but:

    Reading your "Skills in Games" post and various other skills-light discussions over the past couple weeks, has got me thinking. I think there are several different aspects to skills that are sometimes lumped together, but don't necessarily have to be:

    * Broad definition of skills - I'd like to suggest that "skills" aren't just things that you can roll against, but basically anything that one character can be better at than another character.

    * Narrow vs. broad skills - Maybe a no brainer, but: some skills cover a lot more ground than others.

    * Implied vs. explicit skills - IMHO Attributes, races, and classes are actually skills, in so far as they define things that a character can do. They are very broad and categories admittedly and sometimes state specific things that can be done, but they also seem to imply that there is a broader range of things that can be done (e.g. a Thief can explicitly hide and climb, but implicitly might be assumed to have better connections for fencing goods or communicating with the underworld). From previous readings it sounds like -C uses "implied skills" quite extensively.

    Binary skills vs. quantified skills - Binary skills are the kind you either have or don't, while quantified skills occupy some scale from bad to good.

    Randomized vs. non-randomized - Like the Amber RPG some skills simply provide a specific benefit if you have them at a certain level (like the Amber RPG), while other skills provide a benefit to some randomized event (typical D&D saving throw, skill check, combat attack).

    IMHO these aspects of skills can be combined in various ways to encourage specific things in play. Without specifying what they're each good for, I just wanted to get these ideas out there because I think lumping or muddling together some of these concepts is part of what has clouded previous discussions.


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