One of the goals in design is “to make mechanics that can easily be understood and described in relatable terms”. The idea is to give labels and information which can easily be compared to people’s real-life experiences.
This begins with the Attributes, which are described with labels people can easily grasp. (Not unique to this system, fairly common in fact, but critical to my approach.) We all know what Average is, we know Exceptional people, we know people who are Very Weak in something.
This idea is carried into the skill system. We’ve all been Unskilled in an area, right now in fact. We’ve studied and become Minimally Trained, when something is new and even the basics are a struggle. We know of people who are Proficient and even Expert at what they do.
We can relate the abstract numbers to real world experiences. This makes the game feel real.
The Skill Rating labels and descriptions serve the same purpose. But, as they are a combination of Attributes and Skills, there’s some internal logic to how the two relate.
The bonus for an Average attribute is +2. With Minimal training, 1, Average people have a Skill Rating of 3, Novices. An Average person with Minimal training is a Novice.
This is a common-sense, easily understood measurement. People with minimal training/experience are Novices. (Even the very talented but minimally trained are Novices: Skill 1 +3 bonus = Skill Rating 4. Everyone, even those with potential, have to start somewhere.)
Average people (+2) with a Beginner’s training (4) are Skilled (Skill Rating 6).
Average people (+2) with demonstrated Proficiency (9) are Professionals (Total Skill 11).
Average people (+2) with Expert training (14) are Accomplished (Skill Rating 16).
Average people (+2) with a Mastery of the subject (19) are World Class (Skill Rating 21).
Again, all of these are straightforward and make sense. You can easily understand why a Master of a subject would be World Class.
The rest of the Skill Ratings follow similar internal logic, as do the Challenge Ratings. Challenge Ratings are defined by how challenging they are, in relation to specific Skill Ratings. Difficult Challenges are apt for Professionals, for example.
The idea is that not only can players and gamemasters relate to the mechanics, but gamemasters can translate mechanics into real-world equivalencies and vice versa. How this works will become clearer when I post Skill Challenges.