Learn by Doing - Alternate Skill System

Blankbeard's picture
January 21, 2014 - 11:30am
Learn by Doing is another skill system for Star Frontiers. Let me copy the summary I wrote here:

Instead of a PSA, a beginning character picks two skills to be trained in, and one more to be his favored skill. All other skills are untrained. Learn by doing skills do not have separate levels, instead your raw percentage based on your ability score and experience is your skill level. So you might have Pistol skill 45% and Computers skill 80%.

Using a skill during an adventure grants the character an improvement roll for that skill. If the improvement roll succeeds, the skill rises – 1d5% for untrained skills and 2d5% for trained and favored skills. Favored skills rise by 1% even if the improvement roll fails. You can improve every single skill you use once each adventure.

The improvement roll is based on your chance of skill failure. So you have a 55% chance to improve a skill of 45%. Improvement rolls may also be made for ability scores in the same fashion. An ability rises by 1d5% when improved.

As you can see, the basic rule is like the BRP/Call of Cthulu skill system. But Learn by Doing adds levels of training into the mix, allowing you to simulate skills that need specific training as well as a character who's a natural with a skill.

I'd love comments on how easy it is to understand as well as general opinions. Particularly if you allow improvement each game session, it's a system with almost no bookkeeping. It also has the advantage of not making you save up for skills, the improvement roll either succeeds or fails.


TerlObar's picture
January 21, 2014 - 1:03pm
I'll have to take a look at your write-up.  I'm a big fan of the skill system in BRP (RuneQuest in my case).
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
My blog - Expanding Frontier
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Blankbeard's picture
February 1, 2014 - 10:52pm
Any comments on this? I'm going to submit it to Frontier Explorer along with the Chemical Rocket article and I'd love for corrections before hand.

jedion357's picture
February 2, 2014 - 3:57am
so a player can say they were in the gym for 3 months and roll to improve STR? It would seem that the system was open for abuse are there limits?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Blankbeard's picture
February 2, 2014 - 4:49pm
Limits on time are generally set by the GM in any game. Training is intended to cover gaps between a character's skillset and what the adventure requires as well as GM introduced downtime- Weeks spent on ships and in spaceports, time between scenes and whole adventures. How much time and what training is possible is very much in the control of the GM. A player who could declare they suddenly had three months of training and get away with it could just as easily get away with suddenly declaring they have an extra 3 XP.

Remember that improvement rolls are subject to failure and the higher your ability/skill, the harder the roll. Even with training, you still can't make more than one improvement roll per skill per adventure/session. Nor can you improve more than one ability per adventure/session. Those are the primary limits. If you need more limited training, feel free to make suggestions.