Skill System Balance Tweaks

Benjamin Baugh's setting of Strange superpowered action in Victorian London.

Skill System Balance Tweaks

Postby Suicide King » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:53 am

Hey there

So I just picked up Wild Talents and Kerberus Club and I love both books. In terms of mood, setting and flavour Kerberus club has to be one of the best rpg books I've ever read. Reading through it just makes me want to play. Crunch-wise however, there seem to be some iffy things. Several of the pregens har errors in them (moar work for me as gm) and the way skills work seems unbalanced.

Now, I'm not talking balance in the sense that it should be impossible to powergame or break. That's futile and I play with mature friends, so that's not a problem (though we do powergame a bit, but within reason). However, it should be balanced in the sense that it should have (roughly) the right cost and should run easy in game.

Also I love the idea behind the skills system. It's brilliant, flavourfull and simply. The same things also make it harder to balance, but still...

The issues we have are
1) Skills are too cheap. A specific skill is roughly the equivalent of a normal Wild Talent skill. It costs 1 point less. A broad skill is roughly the equivalent of 2-3 normal skills. It costs 2 pts. A Broad and Flexible skill is the equivalent of up 6-8 different skills... and it costs 3 pts. Influential is a new thing, but a Specific, Influential skill costs 2 pts, which seems reasonable. A (B/F/I) skill costs 4 pts... which is just silly.

2) The examples of skills in the book are all over the place in terms of how broad they are and how useful they are. Songs of War, by the description, covers all offensive weapons skills, intimidation and interrogation, tactics and some applications of stability. That's like 5-6 normal skills there.

Now, we are working on a few fixes - for issue 1) I plan to make Broad and Flexible cost 2 pts each. That should bring things into line. That way skills costs 1/3/5/6 pts. Not a huge difference, but noticeable... especially in terms of hard and wiggle dice.

For issue 2) I'm looking at some kind of keyword system... mostly to serve as coordinates in play. Depending on how close a task is to your skill's keywords, you could either apply the whole skill or the skill with a -1d or -2d penalty. Should make it more clear what a skill does and does not cover and then the number of keywords can be used as a rough balancing factor.

I'm hoping to hear from others who have experiences and/or thoughts on the matter. Am I completely off-base here?
Suicide King
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:10 pm

Re: Skill System Balance Tweaks

Postby Shane Ivey » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:08 pm

I think you got some responses to this on, so you may be set. But from my perspective, I'd recommend trying it out as written before changing things up. The custom skill rules in Kerberos are meant to be easy to use, and even more importantly to allow you to write down one or two key skills that cover a lot of issues rather than having to micromanage a ton of individual skills. And they are meant to show that Kerberans are a well-rounded, effective lot who can get a lot done with few resources. Give it a shot.
Shane Ivey
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