I hate it when I make a character that has useless skills. I’m not talking about skills that I failed to make relevant, but rather skills that had no chance of ever coming up in play –particularly when the skill is one that the GM doesn’t believe in. To combat this problem in my own games, I always supply the players with a skill list during character generation that includes “every skill I will call for, unless the action is driven by a player”. By this I mean that left to my own devices, these are all the skills that I think the PCs could possibly need, and if you the player take anything else, the burden will be on you to make it relevant. I don’t see this as limiting the players, but rather helping them. Many players do not want to push the bounds of a setting, and for them they have a simple guide in the form of the skill list, meanwhile those players that do have a good idea have a tool to help focus character development.
For example, one of my “cannon” fantasy worlds I have been running for the last two decades has all the action focused in a high mountainous region called the Highpass. Now hundreds of people have played in the dozens of different campaigns that I have run over the years in this world – and the action has never gone onto the high seas. When I run high seas adventures I usually have three of four different seamanship related skills (ship-handling, navigation, boating, etc.). From time to time someone will want to run a sailor who has made his way into the region – that’s cool – but I don’t want to penalize the player by forcing him to buy three or four skills that will never be used just to fill out his back-story. So instead, we invent one skill, Sailing, and he puts some points into it and then focuses his remaining development on those skills on the list that would be relevant for a sailor.
Following from my habit of curating the skill list, if you are using professions they all need to be modified to reflect the available skills. Additionally, since I am usually gaming at university clubs or other large groups and didn’t really have a single group of players – until recently, my occupation required me to move every year or so -- I like to provide some additional documentation about the game; this makes it easier on everyone, and we can all get to the fun faster. To that end, I have created a “Game Template” file which is available in the upload section. This template lists all the skills and professions form the BRP Core rules. For each game that I start, I would take the template and fill in the required bits, remove any unused skills from both the main list and the professions and add any new skills. I though others might find this a labor saving tool so I have made it available for down loads.