See I spelled skills with a “z” because I am all gangsta an’ Shizz……yeah.
Anyway, been thinking about how to add a skill system to AD&D 2Ed. It needs to work with the existent framework (or really I am writing a whole new game).
To my thinking there are three sets of skills, background skills, adventuring skills, and weapon skills. Background skills are reflective of everything the character did when they were young and adventuring skills are what they learned when they took on the mantel of the adventurer.
Background- you select a background for your character, blacksmiths daughter or son of a tailor….perhaps raised by pirates, and give it a number equal to your unmodified THAC0 (15 to start) then lower it by your Intelligence bonus. EXAMPLE: Fretz spent his formative years with Captain Skul the notorious pirate, so next to background he writes pirate. He puts 15 next to pirate, he has a sixteen intelligence so he lowers that number by 2 giving him a thirteen. now anytime he wants to do something that can be reasonably assumed to be pirate related (swimming, rope use, weather sense, ETC.) if he rolls thirteen or better he succeeds in this task. These skills never improve unless they overlap with adventuring skills.
Adventuring skills-Then the player picks five skills plus her Intelligence bonus to represent recently learned things. These start at fifteen lowered by the relevant attribute bonus. If the adventuring skills overlap with your characters background then you get to lower the skill by an additional two. Obviously if your adventuring career follows your background then you will be really good at skills that are focused, say you were raised by thieves and went into the rogue path you would be really good at thieving. So why would you bother doing anything else? Basically it is a choice between being a focused specialist and a more diverse character. Background skills can help set up a basic character backstory and give you a chance to play a different sort of character. A wizard who was raised by pirates would know all the basic pirate things without having to use skill slots on them for example. These skills decrease by one point every level, every other level you get to pick a new skill choosing between an adventuring skill or a weapon group.
Weapon skills- These are broad groups that simply allow you to use the weapon with no penalty. Each class gets a certain number of weapon groups.
- Warrior- three groups
- Rogue-two groups
- wizard-one group
- Cleric-one group
- Polearms (includes staff)
- bludgeoning (mace, warhammer, club, ETC)
- sword (all types)
- ranged (bows, crossbows, Etc.)
- thrown (hatchets, knives, darts)
Any class with more then one group may sacrifice one group to focus on specific weapon within a remaining group. IE; Nancy wants her Barbarian warrior to be really good at using a spear (polearm group) so she sacrifices one of her three groups to focus on the spear. She still has the broad group polearm meaning any weapon on a stick can be used but she is specially dangerous with a spear.
A warrior only may sacrifice their second slot to focus even more intensly on a specific weapon or a second weapon in the remaining group. Nancys’ Barbarian has a remaining group, she could do one of three things with it. She could take broad group swords (or other), she could sacrifice it and focus on another polearm (say pike), or she could sacrifice it and double up on the spear (the second and third choice means she could only use polearms.) She decides her character was part of a special village defense force and spends he remaining group to become a Mistress of the Silver Spear.
Effects of weapon focus;
Focus on a weapon gives a character +1 to hit, and +2 to damage. double focus gives +2 to hit and +4 to damage.