[Runequest] Quick-and-dirty skill pyramid

Peter Maranci pmaranci at gmail.com
Tue Nov 19 00:41:49 EST 2013

Thanks Bruce, I didn't know about RQ6/Legend's smaller skill lists and
higher base; I've added appropriate caveats to the version I'll eventually
post on my RQ site.

At the risk of being told I'm an idiot, let me veer into a more speculative

Building on the skill pyramid character design system, in the past I've
experimented a little with folding this system in with a characteristic
point-buying system. In that system, PCs start with all characteristics at
species average, and can sell or buy characteristic points using the same
build points that they'd spend on skills (the total number of points being
increased, of course!). In that case characteristics were tiered in value,
with Dexterity and Intelligence the most expensive and Size the cheapest
since both high and low SIZ have benefits and drawbacks.

Each additional point of characteristic would cost as much as the previous
point, plus the cost of the initial added point. So Dexterity would cost 10
points for the first point, 20 for the second, 30 for the third, 40 for the
fourth, etc. Each point would have to be paid for, so assuming that DEX
started at 11 (rounding the species average upward) a DEX of 18 would cost
280 skill points. Since Intelligence starts two points higher (due to the
higher species average - 2D6+6 rather than 3D6) an Intelligence of 18 costs
150 points.

Power costs 8 skill points for the first point, Strength 7, Constitution 5,
Appearance 3, and Size 1. All increase in cost the same way for additional

All point buys in a specific characteristic must be made and paid for at
once. You cannot buy a point of a characteristic at a time to get it more
cheaply. Of course no characteristic can be bought above the normal rolled
maximum without special dispensation from the gamemaster.

Characteristic points can be sold in the same way, yielding skill points.
So if three points of Intelligence are sold, the PC gains (10+20+30) 60
skill points. Again, no characteristic may be sold down below minimum value
without the GM's approval, and any reduction of more than two points would
likewise require a sign-off by the GM.

Using this system, it would cost a human 1,368 points to have an 18 in
every characteristic. I'm still pondering the total number of points that
would be appropriate for a combined skill-and-characteristic system.

I also noticed with interest long ago that the GURPS system of advantages
and disadvantages could be incorporated very nicely into RuneQuest - and
what's more, it could easily be made to fit in with the point-buying system!


On Sun, Nov 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM, Bruce Mason <mason.bruce at gmail.com> wrote:

> I have used versions of this though not quite as generous. That said, I've
> used it mostly for the RQ6/Legend branch which has much smaller skill lists
> and a reasonably high base chance.
> 1*60, 2*50, 3*40 and 4*30 is the basic pyramid I use (400 skill points)
> then either 5*20 (and you can add to pre-existing skills) or 2*50 to two
> new skills.
> Finally everyone gets +40 to own language, lore (homeland), culture
> (homeland). These do stack with any other additions.
> Bruce
> On 17 November 2013 20:33, Peter Maranci <pmaranci at gmail.com> wrote:
>> For many years now I've used a quick-and dirty method of skill generation
>> for RuneQuest, and I thought it might be worth posting here. I hope I
>> didn't post it before!
>> Call it a skill pyramid. After the players have generated their
>> characteristics and determined their skill category bonuses, they have the
>> following points that they can distribute into their skills:
>> 70 x 1
>> 60 x 2
>> 50 x 3
>> 40 x 4
>> 30 x 5
>> 20 x 6
>> 10 x 7
>> So they can add 70% to one skill, adding that to the base (or cultural)
>> percentage and their category modifier. They can add 60% to two other
>> skills, using the same method. Etc, etc.
>> Of course attacks and parries are separate skills. If a character is
>> using a specialization which is skill-intensive, such as RQIII Sorcery,
>> I'll allow them additional skill percentages as needed to maintain
>> reasonable balance.
>> Although they're not normally allowed to add to a skill more than once -
>> for example they can't add up all seven 10% additions and give themselves a
>> second +70 - I do sometimes allow them to add leftover 10s or 20s to a
>> skill that has already had an add. But NO skill can have more than a total
>> 70% add, and I'd be very unlikely to allow any additional add that
>> increases the total addition to more than 50%.
>> Of course, for a higher-level campaign I'd increase the top skill level.
>> And I'd decrease it for a low-level one.
>> So has anyone else used this method? Or something like it?
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> --
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Peter Maranci - pmaranci at gmail.com
Pete's RuneQuest & Roleplaying! http://www.runequest.org/rq.htm
The Diary of A Simple Man: http://bobquasit.livejournal.com/
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