Rules for specialization


In a thread a long time ago, Atgxtg suggested that specialization be implemented in the following way: that the specialization skill be added to the regular skill to determine chance of success. For example, Acrobatics could be added to Balance to determine if one falls off a narrow ledge.

So far I've been adopting this rule as I've been planning my campaign, but I'm wondering how workable it will be. The main concern is that everybody is going to be able to build up effective scores over 100% in whatever they specialize in, and even be able to get to 200% without too much trouble. This has significant effects in combat and opposed rolls.

One thought was to only allow half of the lower skill to be added to the higher skill. This would limit effective scores somewhat. But it would also change the economics of choose to build up a broad-based skill or a specialization.

If there are any thoughts, either on limiting specialization or on handling scores near 200% on a regular basis, I'm interested.
Well a few:

1) THe specialty cannot be raised higher than the base skill. THis would mean that a character with a 50% skill can't raise a specialty higher than 50%

OPTION: You could just limit the specialty to HALF the main skill. THe reason why I didn't do this before is that with MRQ skill advancement rules, after a point it doesn't matter if you are raising the skillor the specialty, since both improve at the same rate and hit the same wall at the upper end. So rasing a skill + specialty over 100% is only slightly easier than raising the skill to 100%.

Keep in mind if the specialty has no advantages, there will be no reason to take it.

2) You could also make specialties advanced skills. THis makes them a little cheaper to start with (for an average PC).

If the above method doesn't appeal to you, I have been thinking of a different way to do specialties. It works like so:

1) A specialty adds 10% to the skill used. Any one specialty may only be bought 1 time per 20% of skill round down (min 1). So a character with a 50% Unarmed skill could buy the Punch specialty twice for up to +20%.

OPTION: GO with 1 pick per 50%. THis will limit specialties more, but you will see why below.

2) Specialties during character creation give +10% per 5% pick, limited as above. Specialites bought during play cost 2IP rolls and grant +10%

Note that with the 1/20% limit a character with 100% skill could buy up to 5 points in a specialty (+50%) for 10IPs.
I'm thinking that specialization is really essential for the concepts I want to use. For example, the Computer Operation skill needs to be specializable with DOS, Windows, Internet Use, Programming, etc. However I'm not allowing triple specialization in order to prevent effective skills from reaching the 300% level.

One idea to handle specialization would be to require rolling less than 1/2 the effective skill level for difficult tasks. Thus, for example, Driving would be at 3X or 5X effective skill for easy or very easy tasks, allowing anybody with more than a minimal effective skill to complete these. Normal skill rolls would make it possible for "normal" drivers to fail, but a skilled driver could succeed without difficulty. Difficult tasks would be at 1/2X the effective Driving skill, taxing even the abilities of expert drivers. Very difficult skills could be at 1/5th the effective skill.

For combat, I could make most rolls "difficult", so that it really takes some effort to get to the level where you have a 95% chance of a successful attack or parry. (More trouble for Jackie Chan.) A fully effective attack requires "favorable" conditions such as an opponent who is surprized or partially immobilized.

Note: your skill gets halfed for difficult tasks, no matter what your skill level is. So this is not designed as a resolution for above 100% skills, and a character with more than 200% still has a 95% chance of success unless he voluntarily takes a penalty to reduce his opponent's chance of success.

But this does go along with the "200% is the new 100% concept".
You know, if you wanted to make the abilities "realtive" to each other you could just bring out the old resistance chart. Then the scores will all be relative to each other.

IMO if you want to keep the success chances low with specialties why not just slow down the imrpovement from 1D4+1 to 1D3 or even 1%.

As long as you limit specialties to the base skill (or half the base skill) you are set.

For instance, with a 1/2 rule, a guy with a 50% skill could have a 25% specialty for a 75% success chance, buy would still take a while to get up to 100%.

If you brought this out to treciary skills, you could have something like:

Tae Kwon Do 50%
-----Martial Kick +25%
------------- Side arc Kick +12%
Actually, I want to increase the rate of skill advancement to D6 instead of D4, mainly because I hate D4s. They're okay for daggers and stuff like that, but for something essential like skill improvement, I'd rather use a die that rolls better.

Certainly the idea of limiting specializations to half the base skill works until you get to the 70% level. However, I think that beginning characters may have skills that high or higher, especially if I decide to allow PCs to start out at the 90% level.

My system would tend to force characters to specialize for vital skills. So perhaps adding half the specialization skill will help the PCs retain a fighting chance if they are forced to fight outside of their specialty.

Of course, using half the specialization skill is similar to limiting the specialization skill to half the base skill, but with a couple of differences. One is that it is possible to make die rolls only using the specialization skill. Another is that I don't have to decide exactly what is a specialization; I can just say both skills have to apply to the situation.

Using half the specialization and 1/4 the tertiary specialization, that could work if the effective skill was halfed for difficult rolls.

But I think I'll probably stick with straight adding of the two skills. and halfing for difficult tasks. I probably won't limit how high the specialization can go (beyond the normal limits), although strategically a character will want to improve the general skill before improving the specialized skill.