[Runequest] Skill Categories (was Re: Slightly OT: Ringworld?)

lev at rpgreview.net lev at rpgreview.net
Sun Jun 24 09:26:04 EST 2012

> Id be interested  to see your skill rules as well.

Yeah, sorry for the late reply. (a) Couldn't find my notes and (b) Have
had to complete yet another post-grad qualitification :)

Anyway here's something I've put together that follows what I was

This particular example can easily be changed for any BRP game, including
Ringworld's Root/Branch System. It was originally playtested using Avalon
Hill/Chaosium RuneQuest (3rd edition). It has also been elaborated
somewhat for Rolemaster (see

Core Princples
* Physical skills are largely dependent on innate ability, whereas mental
skills are largely dependent on learned experience. Social skills are
somewhere in-between.
* Physical skills thus typically start with a higher emphasis on
* There are four levels of skills; Basic Skills, Expert Skills, Advanced
Skills, Mastery Skills. Basic skills cover the 0-40% range, Expert skills
the 41-70% range, Advanced skills 71-90%, and Mastery any level beyond
* The more complex the activity, the more prerequisites there will be and
the greater the degree of potential specialisation.

Skill Improvements

Every improvement (e.g., a week's of training, an experience check) will
provide a variable level of improvement to a skill as follows.

Physical Skills +3% (basic), +2% (expert), +1% (advanced), +0.5% (mastery,
that is +1% every 2 improvements)
Social Skills +4% (basic), +3% (expert), +2% (advanced), +1% (mastery)
Mental Skills: +5% (basic), +4% (expert), +3% (advanced), +2% (mastery)

Mental skills advance through training faster than social skills, which
advance faster than physical skills.

Skill Base

Whilst it will vary according to the specific skill, in general physical
skills are derived by three characteristics (e.g., (STR+STR+DEX), social
skills by two (e.g., CHA+POW), and mental skills by one (e.g., INT).

Physical skills have a higher characteristic bonus than social skills,
which have a higher bonus than mental skills.

Skill List

The Basic skills are Simple Maneuvers, Common Knowledge and Social Norms.
These are specialised according to Medium, Technology, and Culture,
respectively. "Medium" means the locomotive medium (earth, air, water).
"Technology" is the broad social category used in RuneQuest (Primitive,
Nomad, Barbarian, Civilised). "Culture" is the broad top-level division of
a language family (e.g., Celtic, Germanic, Latin, Slavic, Hellenic).

The following are Expert Mental Skills. All have General Knowledge as the
Mathematics, Meditation, Seige Engine, Engineering, Mechanics, Medic,
Fishing, Hunting, Gathering, Farming, Husbandry, Astrology, Alchemy,
Research, Planning, Bestiary, Physics, Survival, Literature (culture),

The following are Expert Social Skills. All have Social Norms as a
Language (specialisation), Ethics, Relationship (specialisation),
Animalism, Romance, Poetry, Aesthetics, Write, Evaluate, Mesmerise, Law,
Divinity (specialisation), Commerce, Savoir-Faire, Streetwise, Carousing,
Diplomacy, Acting, Intimidation, Compose, Teaching, Interrogation

The following are Expert Physical Skills (all have Basic Manuevers as a
Lovecraft, Drive, Ride, Pilot, Ski, Stealth, Sport, Melee, Shoot,
Fighting, Acrobatics, Dancing, Singing, Play (specialisation), Drawing,
Craft (specialisation: cloth, wood, glass, leather, metal etc),
Contortion, Sleight, Skate

The following are example advanced skills; each have the relevant expert
skill as a prerequisite.

Mental Skills
Mathematics (branch), Meditation (style), Ethics (fields e.g.,
meta-ethics, normative, applied)...

Physical Skills
Drive (vehicle type), Ride (species), Pilot (vehicle type), Ski (medium),
Melee (style), Shoot (weapon type)

Social skills
Law (specialisation; torts, contracts, criminal, etc)

More information about the Runequest mailing list