Combat Skills: Primitive Weaponry, Technical Weaponry, Protection, Martial Arts, Skullduggery, Mystic Arts, Theology, Psionics, Technology, Primal (not complete and names not final)

These are our variation on Power Sources but they also share some elements of skills in the later Might and Magic games or Divinity: Original Sin. Crucially your Abilities come from your Combat Skill as much as your class. Even skills with a Class requirement will still be assigned to some particular Combat Skill as well. A brilliant part of 4e design was the designation of powers that do 1[W] representing how many times you multiply your weapon's damage. We've expanded that approach.

Most Abilities in our system do not have direct damage dice, but a multiplier to your character's Skill damage (1[S]) with S representing whatever skill the Ability belongs to. Ancillary effects may be expressed with damage dice but the main source of your Attack or Damage roll will be from your Combat Skill. Combat Skills level up much slower than your non-combat variety. At creation you get 3 points to distribute among the Combat Skills your class has access to with a maximum of 2 in any one skill. Currently you get an 2 additional skill points every 3 levels with potential to get more from talents/class features, but that may need more tweaking.

Combat Skills contain damage dice, hit bonus, but also an Attribute bonus for both hit and effect. For some Skills these will be the same, but others will have different Attributes for hitting and effecting/damaging. Significantly, which Attributes give their Modifier bonus might be able to be changed through talents/class features. This won't be universal any Skill to any Attribute (e.g. converting Technology hit bonus to Strength is unlikely) Advancing your Combat Skill will increase your damage dice, your hit bonus, and will allow new higher level Abilities to be picked/equipped.

This sense of all spells/abilities deriving their base power from a particular stat may be also familiar from Final Fantasy XIV. Though their system is fairly stiff and so this is more indicative of which stat your Job should focus on and there is no opportunity to customize. It is still a great system for simplifying balance and making it clear what you current power is whether weapon wielding fighter or healer. Typically a healer's final numbers when healing is hidden behind a number of talents/buffs/stats without the clear "8-20 damage" a fighter can see on their sheet.

So this makes the almighty Attributes a lot more diffuse compared to most systems honoring the Holy Six. It also removes any proficiency or expertise required feats because your Combat Skills advance normally without needing to invest in those particular feats. The Attributes your class needs to focus on are also not set in stone and open to customization. This also makes "multi classing" have more potential since our version of it is using talents to acquire Combat Skills your class usually does not have access to. These can be Skills that use the Attributes you already use or could be potentially customized with more talents to fit your Attributes better. While you can use these to push at the edges of your class, class is still a significant choice. These skills are not so open to become an entirely skill based system like TES or D:OS.

Further, there will be explicit Skill bonuses on some gear that grant a clear math impact. You don't have to worry about what does or doesn't count as an implement and where those bonuses apply. You may find an object that doesn't work very well as a weapon but has a powerful bonus to Psionic's hit score. The sword with a bonus to Theology's effect dice is a great fit for a hybrid Priestly character.

Where does this leave weapons? There are still weapon requiring skills that do a multiple of the weapon's stats. Some will add a bonus based on a specific skill while others will simply add a bonus based on whatever Skill the weapon is linked to. This gets rid of some of the noise Abilities (do blah with +STR, do same with +AGI, etc to cover stat bases) and has more room for interesting combos.

If you noticed this scales quite a bit faster than Expertise feats: this is intentional. Though a blanket +1 to attack is potentially more universally positive than bonuses to a skill that certain weapons or Abilities use. Otherwise one goal is to get you to hit more. There's nothing fun about missing. I think it's worse in P&P but even with a party to control the early combat in something like Realms of Arkania with both sides missing for turn after turn gets tedious. You are going to be fighting in a lot more combat and the results need to be quicker and punchier. This will be reflect in enemy stats too.

One of the aims has been to encourage a greater CCG feeling to the Abilities. This will be covered more in a future blog post, but spell-like Abilities also doing a multiple of your Skill damage makes them relevant for far longer. You won't be chaffing to remove those lowly early Abilities and this will make higher level ones more interesting. Rather than new Abilities just a change to the color of the particles and some added dice they will be defined by much more.