Saturday, October 25, 2008

3 Savagepunk Skills

A cyberpunk-influenced game of Savage Worlds needs a couple of extra skills that aren’t on the normal savage skill list. These are (as I see it) Artistry, Computer, and Image.

Artistry (Spirit)
This skill governs composition, innovation and style for endeavors of the performing and visual arts. Consider it a gauge of talent and design sense. It does not convey an understanding of art history or musical styles (those would fall under various Knowledge skills), nor does it grant flawless virtuoso performance or photorealistic renderings (either of which is probably best handled by an Agility roll should they ever prove necessary in game). What Artistry does determine is how compelling your style is, and whether or not people think you’re cool. A successful roll of Artistry means the audience likes you. A roll with a raise or two grants you the metaphorical 15 minutes of fame, possibly including glowing reviews, future gigs, lucrative contracts and/or being hounded by the paparazzi as the GM sees fit.

Computer (Smarts)
This skill governs your ability to use, program, optimize and hack computers. It’s what you roll to break into the enemy datafortress, speed up your own processor, search for hidden files in memory, wipe a drive, or install new software. You can also use this skill to size up a computer system by sight, guessing its likely capabilities. Internet searches typically use Investigation, as that skill governs your ability to piece together clues and follow leads. (If it’s a fairly simple fact-checking or database look-up, don’t even roll, just assume anyone with even d4 in Investigation, Computer or any relevant Knowledge can find it.)

Image (Spirit)
This skill is all about what you wear, how you wear it, and how you carry yourself. It’s how you fit in, and how you stand out. It serves as a measure of how well you control your personal image, and also governs your taste in clothing, the size of your wardrobe and the extent of your acting and personal grooming skills. A successful roll of Image can catch someone’s eye, or, if you’d rather, it can hide you in a crowd. Any attempts to disguise yourself use this skill, as well.
In addition, a successful roll of Image just prior to any scene allows you to adjust your wardrobe and perceived style to match (or impress) the group you expect to interact with in that scene. Make the roll as you arrive at the scene’s location, and specify the group/organization/culture your roll applies to. If you succeed on the Image roll, you gain a temporary +1 bonus to your Charisma when interacting with that group. This assumes you have at least a casual awareness of the group. If you’ve been lied to or mislead about their personality or nature, the bonus can’t be used. If you interact with any groups that are radically different from how you've dressed yourself, the bonus becomes a penalty. Dressing to fit in with the Fashion Yakuza won’t do you any good on Posergang turf, or vice versa.

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