Friday, January 18, 2013

Steampunk: The Skill List

Since the skill list also helps to define the genre, let's take a look at the skills for steampunk. Again, the default skill list will be our guide to the discussion.

The skills Athletics, Burglary, Contacts, Deceit, Empathy, Intimidation, Investigation, Notice, Physique, Rapport, Resources, Shooting, Stealth, Will are alright and will do for a steampunk setting. That leaves Crafts, Drive, Fighting and Lore to be discussed.

Crafts will be changed to Mechanics. This is a central skill of Steampunk as it will allow you to create and repair steampunk devices. The devices themselves will either be scene aspects or stunts. Aspects will be handy, when creating helpful devices on the fly or as part of the story. Stunts (or Extras) represent more permanent Steampunk gadgets you own.

The skill Drive could be used as is for steam carriages or horse carriages, but I'd rather not bloat the skill list with additional skills unless absolutely necessary. So I'll replace Drive with Ride to reflect that horses are still the prefered method of getting around. If your character ever needs to drive a steam carriage, he can either use mechanics or ride, depending on the whims of the gamemaster.

Fighting could simply be renamed to Fisticuffs to give a little period flavor to the skill list. Functions remain unchanged.

Lore will have to be split this time. Since I'd like to have magic separate from sciene, it makes sense to split Lore into a knowledge about science skill and a knowledge about magic skill. Since Steampunk is often about mad scientists and wonderous inventions, I am going for Science! as skill, instead of a more genteel Academics. Occultism or Occult fits the period as well. So the second skill derived from Lore will be Occultism. It does everything that the Lore skill does, but relates to magic. Also, if you don't want to have magic in your Steampunk, you can simply drop the Occultism skill.

The final Steampunk skill list looks like this:

  • Athletics
  • Burglary
  • Contacts
  • Deceit
  • Empathy
  • Fisticuffs
  • Intimidation
  • Investigation
  • Mechanics
  • Notice
  • Occultism
  • Physique
  • Rapport
  • Resources
  • Ride
  • Science!
  • Shooting
  • Stealth
  • Will

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