So you’ve decided to set your game in a modern/semi-modern setting. Good for you! I like medieval fantasy as well, but more variety is never a bad thing.
Earlier this week, we talked a bit about some of the differences you need to keep in mind for a modern day setting.
Today, I’m going to address something a lot more specific: Skills. What are they? Specifically: What do they represent in your game?
In fantasy games, skills usually represent magic, but in your modern game, is that what you want? Here are three options for Modern game skills.
The first option is that skills represent just being super awesome. You have done your thing so much, that you are the best at your thing. No one can do that thing better. (Even if it is underwater basket weaving)
The cool thing about this one is that it is really easy to justify a lot of abilities with. You know how to poison your blade? Cool. You can shoot really fast accurately? There you go. Some things though stretch credibility a bit. Rapid healing is kind of weird for instance.
Advanced Technology can do all kinds of things. Mend bones together, blast enemies to pieces with cool laser beams, build walls of hard light to protect your allies.
Advanced technology means going a bit sci-fi, but many modern settings use it pretty liberally, just look at any major comic book universe, or even spy fiction to a lesser degree. The one issue with advanced technology is: Why is it a skill and not just equipment? Maybe it takes specific skill to use that equipment? That is something you can tackle pretty easily, but should be kept in mind.
In the “no really it isn’t magic” category we have Psionics.
Psionics is basically magic, just with some pseudoscientific mind over matter explanation, so you can pretty much explain any and every skill away with the flimsiest, or most complex of gobblygook explanation you can think of.
Psionics is pretty accepted in modern settings in fiction, so there really isn’t a lot of downside to this one unless you want to stick more to realism. And like I said, anything can be explained through psionics.
You could of course, also combine all three of theses, with different characters having different skill origins. You could even just use straight up magic if you wanted to. It’s up to you. What other skill origins for modern day settings can you think of?