Dungeons and Dragons and Giant Robots, part 4: Skills and Feats

Posted by on July 2, 2010

This is part 4 in a series of posts about an RPG system that uses D&D 4E mechanics for a giant robot system.

D&D 4E simplified the skill list dramatically. Let’s look at each one, and figure out which ones can be transferred to a giant robot combat universe directly, which will need to be tweaked, which must be dropped, and what we must add.

  • Acrobatics – OK
  • Arcana – Not a fit. Mecha characters rarely tap into mystical energies, but they do often tap into computer systems.  So let’s replace this with Hacking.
  • Athletics – OK
  • Bluff – OK
  • Diplomacy – OK
  • Dungeoneering – Nope. Let’s replace this with something like Cosmonautics — knowledge of technology and engineering used in outer space.
  • Endurance – OK
  • Heal – OK
  • History – Keep it, though it’s likely less useful.
  • Insight – OK
  • Intimidate – OK
  • Nature – Keep it, but expand it to include knowledge of space habitats and such.
  • Perception – OK
  • Religion – Nope (remember, it’s SF, so we’re all rationalists in the future). But if Religion tracks a character’s knowledge of religion, how about a skill that tracks knowledge of mecha systems? Let’s say Nerdiness, in honor of that blonde military otaku in Full Metal Panic!
  • Stealth – OK
  • Streetwise – OK
  • Thievery – OK

I’d also add Martial Arts to this list — the ability to defend oneself in unarmed combat.

In terms of feats, it’d be a waste of time and space to list every single feat that won’t apply to a mecha universe. But let’s identify a few feats that’d be particularly useful:

  • Massive Machinery Operation — The ability to pilot and operate spaceships, doomsday weapons, etc.
  • Mecha Intuition — You can learn to pilot an unfamiliar mecha with surprising speed (halve the negative penalties on attack rolls when piloting an unfamiliar mecha).

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