Simplified skills

Trim the number of skills back

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.

Skill and skill group changes

In the below tables, changes to SR5 RAW will be highlighted in yellow.

Magic skills

  • Add a new “Astral” skill group, spanning the Arcana, Assensing, and Astral skills.

Combat 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

 Social skills

  • 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.

 Piloting skills

  • 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.

 Technical skills

  • 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.

Design notes