Skill Allotment: The Skill Pyramid

Copyright 2013 Peter Maranci

For many years now I've used a quick-and dirty method of skill generation for RuneQuest. I call it a skill pyramid.

After the players have generated their characteristics and determined their skill category bonuses, they have the following points that they can distribute into their skills:

70 x 1
60 x 2
50 x 3
40 x 4
30 x 5
20 x 6
10 x 7

So they can add 70% to one skill, adding that to the base (or cultural) percentage and their category modifier. They can add 60% to two other skills, using the same method. Etc, etc. The total, incidentally, is 840 points. But they must be used in the specified increments.

Of course attacks and parries remain separate skills and must be paid for separately. And if a character is using a specialization which is skill-intensive, such as RQIII Sorcery, I'll allow them additional skill percentages as needed to maintain reasonable balance.

Although they're not normally allowed to add to a skill more than once - for example they can't add up all seven 10% additions and give themselves a second +70 - I do sometimes allow them to add leftover 10s or 20s to a skill that has already had an add. But no skill can have more than a total 70% add, and I'd be very unlikely to allow any additional add that increases the total addition to more than 50%.

Of course, for a higher-level campaign the entire pyramid should be expanded; the top skill could be 80, 90, or even higher. And for a low-level campaign PCs might start with 50 x 1, 40 x 2, and so forth. For superhero and other extreme campaigns the pyramid could be broadened and "flattened" - perhaps 200 x 3, 150 x 4, 100 x 5, and 50 x 6.

And for versions of D100 that have higher base skill percentages or intrinsically higher or lower skills, the adds would have to be adjusted accordingly.

For a variant in which skills are graded in terms of difficulty, there would obviously be adjustments depending on what skill was being increased. A 70-add spent on a difficult skill might only add 35% (one-half the point value), while the same points might add 105% (i.e. 1.5 times the point value) to an easy skill.

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Copyright 2013 by Peter Maranci. Revised: November 18, 2013. v.1.0