Skills in Future Fantasy

One of the things that impressed me about 4th edition upon seeing it for the first time was the sheer tightness of the skill list- compared to 3rd Edition yes, but against skill lists in general. At 17 skills, it clocks in tighter than even the Awesome Adventures skill list. So, any tinkering with that should be done carefully. Additionally, the GSL gives some restrictions- you can’t fundamentally change a skill, but you can add to it, and you could imply that it wasn’t used- this is easy to do, simply by not making it a class skill for any class.

What skills are needed in the Future, and which one’s aren’t? The things I want to add off the top of my head involve some sort of Computer skill, a modern politics/knowledge type thing, and maybe a Science skill and a Repair skill. There’s clearly some overlap between Repair and Thievery- maybe you can use Repair to disable devices too, but it’s far better for fixing them than Thievery is, and you lose the ability to pick pockets. Computers is sort of datagathering in the sense of Streetwise, and security defeating in the sense of Thievery. Science fits well as a knowledge skill in the vein of Arcana, Nature, etc. Politics is the odd-man out- should it roll into History? It would be easy to add a “Current Events” note to use of the History skill, but saying “I’m rolling History to figure out what I know about Megacorp XYZ” sounds weird.

On the other hand, is there anything that should be taken out? The only one that jumps out is Religion- the gods and the divine play less of a role in Future Fantasy, and knowledge of cults and the like can therefore fall under Arcana (or History). Related knowledge likewise falls under Arcana.

Get rid of one skill but add four? 3 of the 4 are all techy skills, kinda sorta, which makes playing such a character a big investment, unless all the Tech classes get tons of trained skills. Something to think about.

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3 thoughts on “Skills in Future Fantasy

  1. Willow says:

    The Soldier’s list of possible trained skills is likely the same as the Fighter’s, though maybe we can throw Current Events or Repair onto the list. The Drone Rigger is likely going to have all the new techy skills, and some choice of History, Perception, Stealth, and Thievery.

  2. Abram says:

    I’d say roll the pick locks/disarm traps bit of Thievery into ‘Hacking’, and roll the picking pockets into Bluff – it’s as much about keeping someone distracted as it is about physically removing something from the pocket, thus getting rid of Thievery entirely. If you’re planning on having a lot of analogue locks/traps around, you should keep Thievery, but otherwise, I’m not sure if it makes sense.

    I’d say Computers are a means rather than an ends – if you know about History, in a computerized age, that means you also know the good places to find history on the internet. Maybe give some of the tech guys an encounter power that boosts their skill when using a computerized device in certain terms, a la Speak with Spirits or Words of Friendship.

    This is particularly true if there are PDA equivalents around, because people can get information off the internet at a moment’s notice, which would make Computers even more of The Only Information Skill You Ever Need.

    Repair could be rolled into Science – perhaps as a ritual?

  3. Abram says:

    What I was trying to say up there is I don’t think there should be a Computers skill.

    Also, Current Events could totally be rolled into Streetwise.

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