D100 Jorune: A note regarding communication skills
BRP is a skill-based system. In many (though not all) of its iterations and clones, skills are divided into categories: combat, communication, perception, etc. For D100 Jorune, I’m using the following seven categories:
Combat (weapon skills, martial arts, etc.)
Communication (language and interaction skills)
Isho (dyshas and other energy manipulation abilities)
Manipulation (arts and crafts, picking locks or pockets, etc.)
Mental (knowledge-based skills)
Perception (listening, navigating, researching, tracking, etc.)
Physical (non-combat skills dependent on strength and/or agility: climbing, stealth, etc.)
James of Grognardia once likened the difference between fans of class-based and skill-based systems to that between “dog people” and “cat people”, and some of the comments in response to his post seem to support that view. Now, I am decidedly a dog person in real life, but in gaming terms I swing both ways, as it were. I like D&D and I like BRP. I tend to agree with Delta, who (in those same comments) opines that “the foremost dogs-versus-cats schism in our hobby is the story-versus-game divide”. But that’s another topic.
While I have no issue with skill-based systems as such, I am conscious of the problem of skill list bloat. In an attempt to reduce the number of individual skills on the character sheet (and heeding the sage counsel of Vile that “the rules are complete when nothing more can be taken away”) I have ditched many of the standard BRP communication skills: Bargain, Command, Fast Talk, etc. Instead, for D100 Jorune I’ve introduced an Interaction skill, which has twenty subdivisions – one for each of the sapient species on Jorune. (Yes, I know that goes against what I just said about reducing the number of skills. Nevertheless, in my view it still simplifies the skill list.) So there’s Interaction (Shantha), Interaction (Thriddle), Interaction (Corastin), and so on. If your PC wants to haggle with thivin traders, for example, instead of making a Bargain roll, you and your GM roleplay the encounter and, if the GM deems it appropriate, make an Interaction (Thivin) skill check. Situations that might call for such skills as Etiquette or Fast Talk in a “standard” BRP game can be resolved with Difficult Interaction skill checks (i.e., half normal chance to succeed) – at the GM’s discretion, as always.
To my mind, interaction between the many different species forced to share a planet is the stuff of roleplaying on Jorune, and my tweaking of the skill list is intended to bring this aspect to the fore.