2020-04-01 Skills and special abilities for Just Halberds

Perhaps it’d be nice to see what skills and special abilities I’m using in my 2d6 game of Just Halberds.

In general, I think you can pick any skill list a game and it would work.

Special abilities are trickier. Let’s talk about spells, first.

As for other special abilities:

I’m also thinking of other skills and special abilities:

If you can take every skill and special ability just once that also puts a kind of limit on the numbers because it sounds awkward if your profession is fighter and your skills are sword-fighting, blade-mastery, duelling, and agility, for a total of +5 when attacking with your sword. Then again, perhaps that’s what your players like? I think I wouldn’t like any bonus that goes beyond +3. Pick a profession, maybe a skill, and maybe a special ability, and maybe use a magic weapon, that’s how you get a maximum of +4. Sounds good to me! The rest should be special abilities that grant you special effects if you use them. I think that’s going to be more entertaining.

I guess what I’d suggest, therefore:

  1. pick a list of evocative spell names from some rules you like or make up your own (picking spells from a list you already know makes it easier to agree on the effects, I’d say – specially if you’re just starting); as for myself I’m going to use my Spellcasters in this campaign so that gives me a nice set of D&D-like spells to start with
  2. pick a list of skills from some rules you like; make sure these skills are appropriate for your setting and tone (don’t use administration unless bureaucrats are important for cool adventures in your setting); avoid super specific skills because you only get to pick a single one when starting out; also make sure that the skills aren’t something everybody can do (if everybody can ride a horse, don’t add riding as a skill); also avoid skills you want your players to have (lying, scheming, knowing, persuading, charming – I like people to act at the table)

Something like this:

And if your players want to be a specialist of a particular weapon, maybe whips, or throwing axes, or staves, something more than what being young, fit, and hungry for adventure would give you, just add it to the list. Same for social skills or thievery skills.

Also consider something like jousting or duelling if your game is about chivalry or some other honour code in a society dominated by ritual violence. It’s useless in combat but super important at social occasions amongst knights or samurai, etc.



I checked the Traveller skill list and didn’t find too many things that are exciting.

  • “appropriate for your setting and tone” ✓
  • not “super specific skills” ✗
  • not “something everybody can do” ✗
  • not “skills you want your players to have” ✗

It’s tricky!

– Alex Schroeder 2020-04-02 07:10 UTC

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