These rules are canon for my current campaign.
These rules are designed to hopefully prune back the skill list a little in ways that make sense and make some skill-heavy archetypes have a little bit of an easier time of it (most notably, riggers and deckers.)
Skill group cost changes
Reduce karma cost to level up a skill group from 5x new rating to 4x new rating. Skill Groups are less powerful than attributes, so shouldn’t cost the same to advance. In addition, few Skill Groups contain three or more equally useful skills, so charging them as double the normal skill cost seems more balanced.
This is designed to make it less painful to use Skill Groups as a way of mitigating the large numbers of skills needed for some archetypes.
Remove skill group points entirely at chargen. Instead, increase skill points available as follows:
- Skills Rank A now gets 66 (instead of 46⁄10)
- Skills Rank B now gets 46 (instead of 36⁄5)
- Skills Rank C now gets 32 (instead of 28⁄2)
- Skills rank D still gets 22
- Skills rank E still gets 18
At chargen, allow Skill Groups to be taken for 2x Skill Points per point going into the Skill Group. This is so players are free to mix and match skills and skill groups as they desire.
Sally Samurai puts a B into skills during chargen. She wants to be good with all sorts of instruments of murder, so she takes the Firearms skill group to rating 5 - this costs her 10 of her 46 skill points.
Later, during play, she decides to improve her skills. First she takes her Firearms skill group from from 5 to 6, which costs 24 karma. Then she decides to focus on rifles, so she takes her Longarms skill (which is part of the Firearms skill group) from 6 to 7. This costs a further 14 karma.
The skill group is now “broken.” She won’t be able to improve it further unless she first takes each of the other skills in the group up to 7.
Skill and skill group changes
In the below tables, changes to SR5 RAW will be highlighted in yellow.
- Add a new “Astral” skill group, spanning the Arcana, Assensing, and Astral skills.
- Rename the Pistols skill to “Handguns”
- Remove the Automatics skill
- Move machine pistols and SMGs into the Handguns skill
- Move carbines and assault rifles into the Longarms skill
- Add Gunnery to the Firearms group
- Merge Instruction into the Leadership skill
Physical active skills
- Merge Navigation into the Tracking skill
- Merge Free-fall into Gymnastics
- Add Locksmith to the Stealth group
- Merge Diving into Swimming (because honestly, Diving, wtf?!)
Decking / Technomancer skills
- No changes here.
- But the cheaper skill groups should allow deckers to cover all their bases for a bit less karma/skill points than they could before.
- Deckers are perhaps the only archetype who, per RAW, have skill groups with three all-killer-no-filler skills in.
- Merge Pilot Aerospace into Pilot Aircraft.
- Merge Pilot Walker into Pilot Groundcraft
- Add a Rig Vehicle skill group.
- This can only be taken by characters with Vehicle Control Rig cyberware. Piloting an aircraft and a motorbike with your hands is very different… but doing it via a rig is a more similar experience.
- Merge the various Mechanic skills into a single skill.
- Again, designed to reduce rigger skill crunch and increase flexibility
- Merge Biotechnology and Cybertechnology into Medicine
- Put Chemistry into the Biotech skill group
- Delete Forgery skill
- Electronic forgery eg. cloning a keycard moves into Computers
- Physical artefact forgery eg. faking an ID pass with a photo moves into Artisan
- Add Fabrication skill group
Knowledge and Language Skills
No changes to 5e’s RAW, so to summarise:
- Characters receive free Knowledge and Language skills points equal to (Intuition rating + Logic rating) x 2.
- These points are spent in the same way as other skill points, meaning that spending 1 point gives 1 rank in a skill.
- In addition to the free points, your character receives one language that they know as a native language at no cost.
- To increase knowledge or language skills during play, it costs 1x the new rating (so taking a skill from 1 to 3 costs 2+3=5.)
- See also my downtime houserules, which give you free karma to spend on knowledge and language skills.
- Remove some redundant skills.
- Make some archetypes easier to handle skill wise, particularly deckers and riggers. Allow decker or rigger to be a more viable secondary archetype, and make decker/rigger hybrids more feasible.
- To give mages less painful ways to pick up lesser, but still useful, skills like counterspelling via cheaper skill groups.
Non-goals: Radical upheaval that requires significant changes elsewhere in the system. I’ve mostly stuck to merging existing skills, rather than redrawing the boundaries of skill areas entirely.