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Houserule: Background Skills


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Greetings fellow BRPers!

When I first began gaming with Basic Roleplaying, I used the optional rule of "Step Six (Personality)" on pg. 21 to give player characters some extra oomph. As time went on, I tweaked the rule to allow greater player input and variation:

  A profession that fits your character's "pre-career" training, a secondary or former job, schooling, or other such description adhering to the character concept is considered your character's Background. Choose a fitting profession and add 20% to each skill.

For Example: One character was a 'Maverick' type Military Officer. Rather than choosing Outsmart an Opponent as the Personality, the player chose a Background of "Pilot" reflecting his earlier years in the military (gaining a one-time 20% bonus to 10 selected skills), then the profession of "Soldier" which he invests his professional skill points into.

Now, I am considering another change. Rather than giving players a full profession's worth of skill bonuses, I propose offering five skills from a profession, and flatly raising the skills to 50%. Effectively, this change gives players deeper bonuses in a fewer range of skills, and reducing math at chargen. I feel it also distinguishes the "backgrounder" from the "professional" with a handful of skills starting at a moderate level as opposed to an array of skills with a decent rating.

I'm curious if any of you have experience with the Personality skills rule, or variations thereof. Furthermore, which of my Background skills rulings make more sense or present more pitfalls (10 skills with a 20% bonus, or 5 skills raised to 50%)? Perhaps there is a better option that a more creative soul can suggest?

Edited by Akerbakk
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