In my last (very early morning) post, I mentioned (briefly) M.A.R. Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne and its skill lists. For those who don't have EPT for reference, here's how it works:
In EPT you receive a handful of skills during character creation that help round out your character. These come in a couple different varieties. First there are background skills, similar to AD&D's "secondary skills" in that they are professional skills with no real game mechanics attached. These include things like butcher, carpenter, and wheelwright, as well as physician, poet, scholar, and slaver.
Actually, some have some mechanical benefits: the assassin-spy-tracker (that's one skill) can hide in shadows, and the alchemist can brew elixirs and poisons, for example. There are a few, but most don't have more effect then, "Oh, fisherman? You know how to fish." New characters receive a random number of these skills...as few as one, or as many as ten.
In addition, characters receive from two to five professional skills. These come from a list based on the character's class, of which there are only three: warrior, priest, and magic-user. Warrior skills are pretty much weapon proficiencies (spear, axe, crossbow, etc.) but priests and magic-users have a selection that ranges from additional languages to spells. While the starting number of pro skills is random, characters receive an additional skill with every level, so eventually a character can claim all on the list (each list has a dozen or so). The interesting thing is that they must be chosen in order...a warrior can't learn bowman until he's learned crossbow, for example. The most advanced skills cannot be claimed until all the lesser skills have been learned.
|Summoning The Vapor of Death. Ooo!|
Over-all, a very interesting system and very "magical" in feeling. I very much like the "knowledge needs to be built on knowledge" attitude of the professional skills. The random bonus spells are appropriate for a campaign setting that features psychic abilities (and the, perhaps, spontaneous development of such abilities), but probably doesn't make much sense for my current project.
Ok...got to go. More later (I hope!).