Monday, December 17, 2018

Carcosa - Differentiating Races by Skills

In Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa, the rainbow people of the titular alien planet have little to differentiate them mechanically. This isn't necessarily a problem, but I would personally prefer some kind of obvious difference in capabilities for each race, just to make the process of character creation and advancement more interesting. This post is just a simple way to try and add such variety using LotFP's skill system and some good old fashioned house rules.

I'm assuming here that all PCs are fighters and/or sorcerers. If the specialist class from LotFP is in use, I probably wouldn't use these house rules on top of that.

Skills and the Races of Carcosa
When it comes to Player Characters, each race of humans on Carcosa specializes in three skills. At first level, a PC will have 2 ranks in each specialized skill and 1 rank in all other skills (with the exception of Psionics - see below). Every time a PC gains a new experience level, they may choose one of their specialized skills to increase by one rank.

The skill list (mostly taken from HERE) consists of the following:
  1. Architecture
  2. Athletics (combines Climbing, Open Doors, and Swimming into one skill)
  3. Bushcraft
  4. Languages
  5. Medicine (see the LotFP Playtest Document 0.1 or Eldritch Cock)
  6. Psionics (see below)
  7. Stealth (includes the functions of Sleight of Hand)
  8. Tinkering.
Skill Specializations by Race
  • Red - Bushcraft, Languages, Medicine
  • Orange - Athletics, Languages, Tinkering
  • Yellow - Architecture, Languages, Psionics
  • Green - Athletics, Bushcraft, Stealth
  • Blue - Architecture, Bushcraft, Medicine
  • Purple - Bushcraft, Psionics, Tinkering
  • Brown - Architecture, Stealth, Tinkering
  • Black - Architecture, Athletics, Stealth
  • White - Architecture, Athletics, Medicine
  • Bone - Languages, Medicine, Stealth
  • Ulfire - Medicine, Psionics, Tinkering
  • Jale - Languages, Psionics, Tinkering
  • Dolm - Athletics, Psionics, Stealth
  • Earthling or Space Alien - Architecture, Medicine, Tinkering
Most of the skills work the same way as in Lamentations of the Flame Princess. However, Psionics starts at 0 by default instead of 1. For example, a First-Level Orange character would have 0 ranks in Psionics, while a First-Level Yellow character would have 1 rank in Psionics. A character's Psionics score represents the number of times per day they can use a psionic power. A character can gain a maximum of 5 ranks in this skill. Naturally, only a character with at least 1 rank in Psionics can use psionic powers. Psionic powers otherwise follow the rules explained in Carcosa.

If the skill specializations listed above seem too rigid or restrictive, the referee could allow each player to pick one of their PC's skill specializations to replace with a different skill. The replacement skill could be determined randomly or chosen by the player. This way, every race would have some chance of having psionic powers, for example.

NPCs need not universally follow the same skill specializations as PCs, although it may be interesting to further differentiate the various human cultures on Carcosa by having them be renowned for or stereotypically associated with specific skills.

Special thanks to Jessica Stewart for helping me write this post.

1 comment:

  1. It took me a few tries to distribute the skills "evenly," with every skill represented almost equally and every combination of two skills represented at least once. Bushcraft is slightly underrepresented, but considering how dangerous the wilderness of Carcosa is, I guess that makes sense. If you allow players to swap out one of their three skills with a skill of their choice, any combination should now be possible.

    Below are the previous versions of the table.

    Skill Specializations by Race (First Draft)
    Red - Bushcraft, Languages, Medicine
    Orange - Athletics, Languages, Stealth
    Yellow - Architecture, Bushcraft, Psionics
    Green - Architecture, Athletics, Bushcraft
    Blue - Athletics, Psionics, Stealth
    Purple - Languages, Medicine, Psionics
    Brown - Architecture, Stealth, Tinkering
    Black - Athletics, Psionics, Tinkering
    White - Bushcraft, Medicine, Stealth
    Bone - Medicine, Psionics, Stealth
    Ulfire - Architecture, Psionics, Tinkering
    Jale - Languages, Medicine, Tinkering
    Dolm - Bushcraft, Psionics, Stealth

    Skill Specializations by Race (Second Draft, added on 04/14/2019)
    Red - Bushcraft, Languages, Medicine
    Orange - Athletics, Languages, Stealth
    Yellow - Architecture, Languages, Psionics
    Green - Architecture, Bushcraft, Stealth
    Blue - Athletics, Bushcraft, Medicine
    Purple - Bushcraft, Medicine, Tinkering
    Brown - Athletics, Stealth, Tinkering
    Black - Architecture, Athletics, Languages
    White - Bushcraft, Medicine, Stealth
    Bone - Athletics, Medicine, Stealth
    Ulfire - Architecture, Psionics, Tinkering
    Jale - Languages, Psionics, Tinkering
    Dolm - Medicine, Psionics, Tinkering