Skill tree system

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Submitted mechanic.png This article covers a submitted game mechanic.

Submitted game mechanics have been fleshed out in detail and are ready for review by the other developers. Once submitted mechanics have been reviewed and agreed upon, they become accepted game mechanics.

Work on this skill system proposal has just started and should not be considered finalized

For background, see Zenbitz:_Thoughts_on_skills (especially 'usefulness') and Zenbitz:Thoughts_on_task_resolution. A skill is a type of a gauge that is a property of the character that applies to some task. It is distinct from a "perk" or "advantage" because it's scaled from 0-100, not a binary y/n. A skill value of 50 is what a average trained person has attempting an average difficulty task. It is distinct from a stat in that all characters have a value for all stats, while skills are always added. In general, the base or default value for a skill that is untrained, unstudied, or unknown will be relative to it's governing stat(s).


Skill Tree

Skills are organized into a tree-like structure, with more specific skills being further down on the tree. The "Roots" of the Tree are stats, either secondary or primary. The more specific or appropriate a skill is for a given task the, better the odds of a favorable result. Example:

Aim (which is a secondary stat based on Coordination, Perception, and Reflexes)
 |_____Missile Combat
          |________Fire Arms
                               |_______Wather PPK
                               |_______.45 ACP
 and a more complex example non combat example, with multiple inheritance 
Reason                         Coordination
 |______Sciences                      |              
            |______Biology            |
                    |_____Medicine    |
                      |        |____Surgery
                      |                |________Eye Surgery
                      |___First Aid

If you are using the Wather PPK to shoot some fool, use the Wather PPK skill. If you've never used one (presumably you have used, say a .45 ACP), then you default to Pistols skill (which would be slightly worse that .45 ACP skill). If you don't have Pistols skill, move up to Fire Arms (presumably you have Rifle, or Shotgun) or something... and so on until you are some tribal barbarian relying on his raw Aim.

The defaults go "both ways" up and down the tree. So, if you have "Gun" skill of 80 you have something like 65 skill with a particular pistol you have never used before. You shoot some fools with the pistol, and "gain" a skill with that particular pistol.

If you have say, an 80 in Firearms translate into a 70 in pistols and 65 in "new" pistol (PPK). After a few uses, Your Wather PPK skill would equal Pistols skill (70). This would be the equavlent of an "Unfamiliarty" penalty for a new weapon. The next skill bump you would get would maybe bump your PPK skill to 75, but leave other skills alone. Then PPK skill to 80 and equivalently bump Pistols to 75. If your pistols skill (via training or use of actual pistol) increases past 80, then it could increase your "Firearms" skill.

(I am just making up the ratios off the top of my head, they don't really have any meaning - the long and short of it is that there would be some "fractional" multiplier (<1) for all the connections between two skills. Not sure if it would be the same in both directions, but it probably would be.

"Taking" or improving skills

When a character is created, he will spend some "points" or "background time" on skills; these skills are said to have been bought. Skills can be improved via "use" or "study" (see: Use- and study-based learning

Player would (except possibly in character creation) NOT get the option of bumping the most generic skills, but would by reasonably specific skills (perhaps at the "Pistols" level) and then values would default up. Note that with a good defaulting system, buying Pistols should effectively give you a "discount" on Rifles. You would probably get a "proficiency" or two for every general weapon skill (especially for those that you start with the item for).

Skill Areas

(This obviously is just a place holder - please add other categories and sub-categories as needed) The "governing" stats is just a suggestion for now. It's probably important for each skill (and possibly skill area or sub-skill) to make a distinction between "primary" and "secondary" and even "tertiary" governing stats. Hmmm... we might have to change the names of the stats from "primary" and "secondary" to "base" and "derived" or somthing, because I don't want to over load the words.

Weapon skills (no aptitude)

Melee combat skills

(primarily coordination + reflexes + strength)

  • Unarmed Combat
    • Wrestling
    • Kung Fu
    • Brawling
  • Single Handed (1H) weapon
    • 1H short stabbing (knives)
    • 1H thrusting
    • 1H striking
      • 1H edged weapons
      • 1H blunt weapons
  • whips
  • nunchuks
  • Two Handed (2H) weapon
    • 2H Thrusting (spears)
    • 2H Striking
      • 2H edged weapons
      • 2H blunt weapons
  • Non lethal combat

Missile combat skills

(primarily coordinations + perceptions + reflexes)

  • Firearms
    • Modern Firearms
      • Rifles
      • Shotguns
      • Pistols
      • Automatic hand weapons
    • Black Powder (BP) Firearms
    • BP Pistols
    • BP Long guns
      • BP Blunderbus
      • BP Musket
      • BP Rifle
  • Thrown Weapons
    • Throwing Knives
    • Grenades
    • Boomerangs
    • Throwing Spears
  • Crossbows
  • Bows
  • Slings
  • Support Weapons
    • Mortar
    • Machine Gun
    • Artillery
      • Muzzle-Loading cannon
    • Grenade Launcher
    • Direct Fire Cannon
    • Anti-Tank Guns
    • Anti-Aircraft Guns

Outdoorsy Skills (Natural aptitude)

(perception / reason / willpower / fitness)

  • Survival skills
    • Avoiding Exposure
    • Hunting
    • Fishing
    • Gathering
    • Herbology
    • Pathfinding
  • Animal skills
    • Horseback riding
    • Animal Domestication
      • Dog taming
  • Climbing
  • Stealth
    • Hiding
    • Sneaking
  • Tracking

Social Skills (Communication aptitude)

(charisma / perception / reason)

  • Bluffing
  • Bartering
  • Intimidation
  • Seduction
  • Defusing
  • Interrogation


( reason / perception)

  • Farming
    • Dirt Farming
    • Hydroponics
    • Greenhouse Farming
    • Large-scale farming
  • Construction
    • Carpentry
    • Masonry
    • Plumbing
    • Roofing
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Pre-War technology use
    • Computer Use
      • Computer Programming
    • Communications Equipment Use
  • Sociology
  • Pre-War Culture
    • Pre-War Finnish Culture
  • Leadership
    • Tactics
    • Strategy
  • Explosive Demolition
  • First Aid
    • Emergency Medical Training
  • Food preparation
    • Salvage food
    • Alcohol Production
      • Fermentation
      • Distillation

Languages (Language aptitude)

( reason )

  • Germanic
    • German
    • English
    • Scandanavian Language
      • Danish
      • Swedish
      • Norwegian
  • Slavic
    • Russian
    • Baltic/Slavic
      • Latvian
      • Lithuanian
  • Balto/Finnic
    • Finnish
    • Estonian

Sciences (Scientific Aptitude)

( reason)

  • Earth Science
    • Geology
    • Meteorology
  • Physics
    • Nuclear Physics
  • Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
      • Internal Combustion Engines
      • Steam Engines
      • Mechanically-powered Engines
        • Wind-powered Engines
        • Water-powered Engines
    • Civil Engineering
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Aerospace Engineering
  • Math
  • Biology
    • Botany
    • Zoology
    • Microbiology
    • Marine Biology
  • Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
  • Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Surgery
    • Psychology
    • Pharmacology

Artistic skills (Esthetic aptitude)

(mixed bag)

  • Painting
  • Writing
  • Sculpture

Crafty and Mechanical Skills (Mechanical aptitude)

( coordination / perception / reason )

  • Leatherworking
  • Woodworking
  • Glass blowing
  • Metalworking
    • Welding
    • Blacksmithing
    • Machining
  • Plastics working
  • Sewing
  • Mechanical Repair
    • Motor Vehicle Repair
    • Bicycle Repair
  • Weaponsmith
    • Gunsmith
    • Bladesmith
    • Bowyer
  • Handloading (cartridge ammunition)
  • Armoring
  • Jury-Rigging
  • Lockpicking
  • Fabric construction
    • Weaving
    • Spinning
    • Knitting

Vehicle skills

( coordination / perception / reflexes )

  • Driving
    • Heavy Vehicle Driving
    • Truck Driving
    • Motorcycle Driving
    • Combat Driving
      • Armored Vehical Driving
  • Fixed wing pilot
  • Helicopter pilot

Design Notes

We need to set up "connection" strengths between the nodes (leaves?) of the tree - how much does benefit do you get for various parents/children/sibling skills. We also need to establish the "stat" (primary & secondary) and "trait" inheritance for each skill or skill group.

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