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How to handle cultural skills?


Evilschemer

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I'm creating the cultural write-ups for Swords of Cydoria so I looked around at some of the other BRP games with cultures: Dragon Lines, Chronicles of Future Earth, Stormbringer.

Dragon Lines and CoFE list some favored skills for each culture, but offer no real bonus.

Stormbringer gives characteristic bonuses/minuses for each culture.

What does the zeitgeist prefer?

Should I be generic and just list favored skills with no bonus?

Should I provide a free bonus to a few skills for each culture?

Should I provide a bonus to a few skills that comes out of the character creation skill point budget?

Should I just provide characteristic bonuses like in Stormbringer?

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Christian Conkle

Blogs: Geek Rampage! - Swords of Cydoria - Exiled in Eris

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I'd give each Culture/Background a number of skills and also a points bonus.

You could do something like the Bonus Packages and give +20% on certain skills.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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I like how Warlords of Alexander managed to create some differences among the various types of Greeks. For example:

Spartan

Hard, uncivilised, brutal and fierce

Bonus: +1 CON

Dialect of Greek: Doric

Starting Skill: Dagger

Thessalian

Lovers of open spaces and horses

Bonus: +1 DEX

Dialect of Greek: Aetolian

Starting Skill: Ride

Characters got a 30% bonus to their starting skill, though you might go with a couple skills at +20% instead?

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I prefer listing the skills that will be different, then adjusting the default scores up and down as required.

Another option is to restrict certain professions if they do not fit the characters cultural background or personal history.

I also like to limit the skill choices, for the personal point spend, to reflect the culture.

PERSONAL POINT POOL

INT x 10 to create your personal skill point pool, spending them on any skills you like. The total must not exceed the skill limit for game type set above.

OPTION: Increased Personal Skill Points (p. 24).

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For my settings I usually give each of the cultures two cultural skills with a free

bonus of 20 % each, for example the Asor as arctic hunters get 20 % each for

either Drive (Dog Sled) or Pilot (Kayak) and for Throw (Harpoon). I try to con-

nect the use of such cultural skills to equipment or situations typical for the cul-

ture, in order to give the culture some individual "colour".

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Should I provide a free bonus to a few skills for each culture?

This.Specifically give each culture a list of at least five skills, and let players choose say two or three from the list to add 20% to. Gives a little differentiation to each culture and allows for some variation WITHIN each culture without miring character generation in yet more finickety point allocation.

Cheers,

Nick

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Specifically give each culture a list of at least five skills, and let players choose say two or three from the list to add 20% to.

Yep, the more complex the culture is, the more choices the player characters

should have. By the way, cultural skills can also be used for the various profes-

sional specialities, for example a Craftsman of the Asor mentioned above could

get a cultural skill bonus of 20 % for Art (Ivory Carving), increasing his income

and making the otherwise "fluff" skill more useful for the character.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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