However, my initial play test group didn't like the free form skills. Nor did they understand the difference between skills and special ability, and at least one tried to make up skills identical to an ability and asked why a solder can't have both tactics and heavy weapons.
Before displaying the new list, let me reiterate how the skill system works. Every character has five attributes - Strength, Tech, Quick, Wits, and Aim. These are very broad areas of ability, and measure a person's general aptitude. A high tech character is a born engineer, a low tech rating means fairly bad at understanding systems.
Skills represent specialization within an attribute that might indicate vocational school, some degree of college, or an out of control hobby.
Special Abilities, are just that - special. These are things that require a license to know (explosives handling), a PhD (surgery) or otherwise years of commitment to some cause (Security clearance).
So for example, a solder would not have the tactics/strategy special ability, and the ammo conservation ability together, because one indicates time spent in West Point learning to lead, and the other is from field experience, and its been 150 years (George Patton excluded) since generals lead from the front.
I'm trying to make a 15-20 item list, and expand the choice of special abilities as part of my general overhaul of the character creation chapter. (For the most part, I need more foot notes, since elements like lucidity and altruism points are explained in chapters other than creation)
So far we have:
- Burglary (Lifting wallets, finding fences, etc.)
- Access (Free-running, climbing, navigation)
- Investigation (Finding clues, tracking people)
- Driving (Cars - pilot's licenses etc is an SA)
- Camping/Wilderness Survival
- Wood Working and Fabric Construction
- Welding/Metal Fabrication
- Organic Chemistry
- Nanotech Integration (probably an SA is available at all)
- Animal handling/riding
- Swimming & Boating