Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Capabilities and heroic actions. An OSR skill system

At level 1, each player selects 3 capabilities for their character. These can be selected fairly broadly and can be:

Particular talents (Awareness, Faith, Alcohol tolerance, Reactions)
Professions or occupations (Blacksmith, Scribe, Veterinarian)
Skill sets (Stealth, Gem cutting, Gambling)

Players should feel free to find interesting and unique capabilities for their characters. In groups where low level play is particularly lethal and high-risk, the DM may prefer to select one capability for each of the first three levels.

A capability represents an area where your character is generally able to function as a professional. For example, a blacksmith capability can produce metal goods with suitable equipment, an awareness capability lets you find concealed but not hidden items in an area being searched and a stealthy character could avoid casual observation or detection.

For routine and every-day tasks that fall within the capability, no dice roll is generally made. The character is assumed to know what they are doing.

When push comes to shove, the player may attempt a "heroic" action. Generally, heroic actions succeed on a 1 in 6 chance. Examples of a heroic roll include a blacksmith forging an item particularly resilient to damage, finding a carefully hidden door or trap, sneaking past a guard while carrying a bag of loot and so forth.

The DM is the final arbiter of what can be done with a heroic roll, but generally you should err on the side of cool. If a player is attempting to cause some sort of effect, see 1st level spells for the sort of thing that'd generally be reasonable.

Every 3 levels of experience, the player may either add another capability, or raise the "heroic" chance of an existing ability by 1.

Demi humans receive 1 extra capability when they reach their maximum permitted character level.

Thoughts? Feedback? Leave a comment!