White Box gaming is great. It’s easy, simple, but still covers the bases and is flexible. I know some folks hate skills. I kind of like them but in moderation. Just enough skills to cover the most common of situations but not a skill for every danged possible thing.
God knows that I’ve done my own share of hacks on White Box and the good old X in d6 system. It works. It’s easy. And keeps with the vibe of White Box Gaming. And like I said, I don’t want a lot of skills. Most actions can be resolved with simple Attribute checks.
First let’s look at what skills that are really needed and/or used. There’s two main classes that have their sort of niche skills. There’s the core Thief with their suite of skills. And the Ranger for the tracking and survival. But let’s face it there a couple of things with those two classes that every character might want or need to do.
Stealth is big one. Just about every character regardless of class will at some time want or need to sneak up or passed something or someone. It’s the same for foraging for food in the wilderness. The other thing is Professional skills. These things might not have a direct effect often but they do come in handy when the needs arises.
The main problem I’ve had running this with just Attribute checks is that low levels a character’s Attribute check might actually be better than their actual class “skill”. So where does that leave us? At first, we might want to divest Skills from Attributes but the Attributes represent a characters base aptitude.
So how am I going to build this system? First, let’s start with x in d6 Attribute checks. Since White Box has a modifier range of -1 to +1, let’s run with that: -1=1 in 6; 0=2 in 6; +1=3 ind 6. Now just right down on your character what the character is “good” at or possibly a background. When some falls into that category then they get a +1. If it’s something that falls under their class skills then just use the better.
This ain’t all. While the X in d6 is sort of the standard for White Box. There’s no reason not to use an alternate system. This first that comes to mind is Saves as Skills. Pretty simple. Just use the Saving Throw. Thieves, well, they get +2 to do Thief stuff. The Save will improve as the character levels so there’s no need to worry about anything else. Want to throw in those Attribute modifiers. No problem. Just go ahead and do it.
I know this isn’t completely fleshed out. My goal here is to get you thinking out there. My hacking those rules just a bit to fit your tastes. Or thinking of different ways to have fun in your game. And that’s the most important part. Having fun.
2 thoughts on “White Box Wednesday: Skills and Such”
I have been a strong proponent of using ability scores over the years and have consistently use them despite whatever game system I’m using. I’m currently running a solo campaign using White Box (posting over on my blog) and I have recently used the Save as Skills method, as I personally dislike the x in 6 method. I found SaS to be fantastically easy and fast. After reading your post I’ve actually reconsidered how I was doing it, I was simply using the save but upon reading this I think I can easily justify a +2 for applicable skills based on background or class and I think I would add the appropriate ability score modifier as well.
Thanks for posting!
I have been running a solo campaign using white box over on my blog and I’ve actually used something similar to your Save as Skill method and it has worked very well. After more thoughts on it, I think I would add in abilities score modifiers for abilities that would be appropriate to that particular skill role as well as a modifier by class, ie. thieves would get a bonus when doing thief type stuff.
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