Topic: Specialists abilities for everyone

I've not yet run LotFP but will start a campaign in the next couple of months.  My group currently plays S&W, and we're satisfied with having only three classes.  A couple of my players looked at the Specialist and said they didn't like the class, suggesting that it seemed more logical to drop the class and to allow Clerics, Fighters, and M-Us to have points to customize their skills.  Has anyone tried this, and how did it work out?  If I were to house rule this, I'm thinking I'll give the starting pc four skill points at character creation and one point per level to customize their skills.



Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

If you completely and permanently drop the Specialist class, giving the abilities to all characters wouldn't be an issue.

It's not the years, it's the mileage.

Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

Making every character a defacto multi-classed thief?  Interesting.  I kind of like the idea, myself.

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Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

vfults wrote:

I'm thinking I'll give the starting pc four skill points at character creation and one point per level to customize their skills.

You could do that. Personally I hate keeping track of skill points and leveling up. I'd probably start everyone with Specialist skills as a 1st level Specialist and allow them to pick 2-3 skills as the ones that improve with level the same as a Specialist. The other skills would not improve.

Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

Irda Ranger wrote:

Personally I hate keeping track of skill points and leveling up.

You don't like it as a GM, or as a player?

My name is Ed Healy, and I am the Gamerati

Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

This is a really interesting idea. I have a couple players that have expressed annoyance at having no skills, and they might really like this .

Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

If you wanted to not have some power creep, (which is what providing skills for everyone would do), you could always do the point buy system I worked out for levels here: http://raisinwineandironrations.blogspo … flame.html

Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

I've updated all classes with skill points, but giving them far fewer skill points than specialists. Also, I have made separate skill lists for all classes, meaning that specialists still have the broadest access. I've also added the skills Riding, Medicine and Lore to the system, mainly due to requests from my players, as well as enabling all classes to put points into a "secondary" skill (basically most anything they really want, but it will always be something more limited in scope than the existing skills - the examples we have so far are smithing and farming).

I should say that the amount of skill points granted to non-specialists is very limited, except for the halfling who actually gets a skill point every level. Also, dwarves and elves (who get the fewest points to begin with) can use these points to increase their attack bonus instead, giving them a slight edge in combat (about +1 to hit for every 3/4 levels, if they want to skip skills entirely).

Works very well so far, although I haven't had time to playtest it thoroughly yet.

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Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

I don't like the idea of giving skills to anyone. They're specific of the specialist, otherwise we end up in a game that is everything and nothing at all like D&D 3.x
Besides not having skills doesn't mean that your character can't do anything. Remember the Old School gaming tenet: Player Skills, not Character Abilities.

From the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming:

"Original D&D and Swords & Wizardry are games of skill in a few areas where modern games just rely on the character sheet. You don’t have a “spot” check to let you notice hidden traps and levers, you don’t have a “bluff” check to let you automatically fool a suspicious city guardsman, and you don’t have a “sense motive” check to tell you when someone’s lying to your character. You have to tell the referee where you’re looking for traps and what buttons you’re pushing. You have to tell the referee whatever tall tale you’re trying to get the city guardsman to believe. You have to decide for yourself if someone’s lying to your character or telling the truth. In a 0e game, you are always asking questions, telling the referee exactly what your character is looking at, and experimenting with things. Die rolls are much less frequent than in modern games."

The specially merely has some more mechanical leverage as unique feature. It perfectly makes sense: he's the adventurer type that relies on skills just like the fighter is the only adventurer that raises his AB...
I recommend trying the game as it is before tinkering with its rules.

Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

I see it like this: "Fighters fight, Clerics and Magic-Users use magic, and Specialists are people who spent a lot of time developing skills people don't normally have - not everyone is supposed to be able to pick locks, fiddle with mechanisms and pick pockets." Keeping this in mind, I'd say that the classes are quite balanced in the amount of things they will get to do during an adventure.

However, if your players are complaining that the Fighter, Cleric and Magic-User 'don't have skills', ask yourself this: have you been making them roll dice to accomplish things they probably shouldn't have to roll for?


  1. Your players want to setup an ambush for a caravan and they have plenty of time to find a good spot. They also describe a specific plan - finding a spot with dense vegetation and hills on both sides, and jumping from the bushes / attacking with bows. In this situation, don't make them roll stealth! Instead, roll for the caravan guard's surprise with a 4 in 6 chance. And if the ambushed party is outnumbered 2 to 1 and consists of normal 0-rank humans, you could even rule that the party manages to kill a few caravan guards before even rolling the dice, as they jump out from the bushes with their weapons ready.

  2. A Fighter wants to sneak up to a guard who is sleeping on duty. Don't make him roll the stealth skill for this unless you think there is a very good reason why he could fail (such as small, unseen objects he could trip over in the way, gravel on the ground that would make a lot of noise, etc.) and there is a also good reason why, in this situation, someone who is a specialist could pull it off instead ("being a master of stealth, you manage to avoid tripping over some cooking pots at the last second" / "being a master of stealth, you manage to move over the gravel without making a sound"). However, even if the Fighter fails the stealth skill roll, don't penalize him overmuch! He doesn't need to have failed completely. After all, he still got the drop on someone who was sleeping, and that should count for something.

  3. A Specialist wants to approach a castle in full daylight without being seen, and there are guards on the walls who are on full alert for some reason. This is the kind of outrageous feat that only a Specialist should be able to consistently pull off, as he runs from tree to tree in the exact split seconds in which the guards get distracted. And even then, he could still fail. In this case, roll stealth.

My opinion is that removing the Specialist class is a 'bad idea' unless you're ok with changing the look & feel of the game - in which case, by all means, it's your game.  smile

I think that the important thing to remember is that you should give everyone a fair chance to be on the spotlight. Try to think of 'scenes' that make each of them the 'main character'. If your players aren't getting any spotlight time (*and* if it is not their own fault, that is, they are not consistently avoiding every chance you give them to act like proper adventurers), ask yourself if there is anything you could add to the game that would make them feel useful to the group.

Re: Specialists abilities for everyone

I agree that adding skills to everyone is a step towards 3.x, and I love all the advice about judicious dice use. Great thread.

side note: What I love about the specialist class is it accomplishes (and improves upon) what I think were the intents of the original "thief" class without the burden of everything else implied by the "thief" title.