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Concerning the Skill System of Ringworld


Enderby

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Good evening!

I have rather good knowledge of most games from Chaosium, but I hardly know anything at all about Ringworld; hence I would be very happy if some sagacious member here in this neighbourhood would take a minute or three to tell me about the skill system in Ringworld. That is, I am looking for information concerning skills, base chances, advancement procedures, and so on.

Thanks in advance for each and every little piece of knowledge.

And: Happy New Year!

Enderby

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Good evening!

I have rather good knowledge of most games from Chaosium, but I hardly know anything at all about Ringworld; hence I would be very happy if some sagacious member here in this neighbourhood would take a minute or three to tell me about the skill system in Ringworld. That is, I am looking for information concerning skills, base chances, advancement procedures, and so on.

Thanks in advance for each and every little piece of knowledge.

And: Happy New Year!

Enderby

If I remember correctly, it was about the same as other BRP games, except for subskills.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Happy New Year to everyone!

Ringworld's skill system was BRP with a few smallish differences. There were no "criticals"; the highest skill roll result was the Special , at 20% of skill score. Because of longevity, skills above 100% were quite common. Skill improvement was broadly BRP, although you were also able to train using the "Simweb", basically a VR environment which gave you skill checks. There was also a research system.

There was also a Root/Branch system for some skills, where a parent Athletics skill includes Swim, Climb, Soccer, etc: your Root skill score was capped by your characteristics (in the case of Athletics, an Agility Skill, this was STR + DEX), which meant you only had to choose to specialise (ie take Branch skills) once you'd reached that cap with the Root skill. Worked well in practice.

The Combat round was different, with an "Impulse" system replacing RQ strike ranks, which was a bit tricky to get hold of but again worked okay. It allowed you to get into position with your rifle and then just keep plugging away with loads of bullets, which was nice.

It was a very elegant system, IMHO: short and sweet. The reason why I don't think it took off is because it catered for charging around on the Ringworld with guns, but little else. There were no starship rules, no space travel or space combat rules, no item construction rules. I still think it was a milestone in game design though - from the POV of lovingly crafted background material, minimal but elegant rules, and a physically very attractive boxed set with some stunning artwork. Shame it's never been able to resurface.

Hope that helps!

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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There was also a Root/Branch system for some skills, where a parent Athletics skill includes Swim, Climb, Soccer, etc: your Root skill score was capped by your characteristics (in the case of Athletics, an Agility Skill, this was STR + DEX), which meant you only had to choose to specialise (ie take Branch skills) once you'd reached that cap with the Root skill. Worked well in practice.

How did specializing work?

SGL.

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Shaira, could you tell some more about the Ringworld skill system? How did the specialization work?

SGL.

Hi Triff - sorry about that, I must have missed your question the first time round!

Specialisation in Ringworld is pretty straightforward. Looking at the Athletics example again as a Root skill in the Agility Category, it has a maximum percentage equal to the character's STR + DEX - so let's say 25%. During chargen or during play (it doesn't matter), any improvements to Athletics are permissible up to 25%. Once you get to 25%, you must choose a Branch skill - in other words, you are forced to specialise.

Let's say you've still got 5% you wanted to put into Athletics: you've just got to your 25% maximum, so you choose "Swim" as your Branch skill, and put the additional 5% into that. Now, you have 30% Swim, which improves separately as a new, unique skill, and 25% for all other Athletics attempts (Run, Climb, etc). Again, if you get a skill check for Athletics (ie not Swim), you have to put your 5% into a Branch skill - in other words, start a new Branch skill. Personally I'd expect the new Branch skill to at least have some bearing on the character's recent activities - no sudden development of Swim skill after 6 months backflipping in the desert, for example.

Hope that makes sense! Always happy to answer Ringworld questions - ahhh, if only there was an option for a BRP sourcebook again... ;)

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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Shaira, could you tell some more about the Ringworld skill system? How did the specialization work?

SGL.

With the caveat of it being a long time since I read the game and not being Shaira, basically every skill was either a root or a branch. Root skills could only be improved up to a certain limit. Once you had reached that ceiling then you had to specialise with a branch skill. So, for example, you might have a root skill called Physics and then branches such as astrophysics, quantum physics and so on. To learn quantum physics, first you had to train its root skill (physics) to maximum then you learned quantum physics. IIRC you start the branch (specialist) skill at a value equal to the root skill.

I've occasionally played with this idea and am currently toying with converting the MRQ style skill set over. E.g. every root skill has a base score equal to two stats and a cap equal to base*3 (or *2) (or a flat max of 90). Once you hit the cap you have to specialise. It's the kind of thing that might be very good for modern and future settings where more complex skill sets fit better than they do in standard fantasy.

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