Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm a first time poster (but an old time lurker on stackoverflow).

I'm implementing a RPG system (personal use only) that is currently in beta testing.

The idea for skills and progression is that the main attribute for learning is intelligence, subdivided in types (Kinesthetic, Linguistic, Social, Spatial ecc) and that the value of those types of intelligence would influence the learning speed of the skills. Maximum skill level should be something like 40, possibily in 5 points increments.

I was looking for ispiration to RPG systems with a similar method for managing skills.

I already found Sagatafl, but the system seems pretty complicated, and it's difficult to find updated and grouped information.

Someone knows other systems like that, or has any tips?


I'll try to rephrase the question for increased clarity:

What would be a good (as in simple but realistic) way to implement a gaming system with a mostly fixed intelligence attribute that influences the learning speed of skills? Are there gaming-systems with a similar model?

share|improve this question

As this is a game-recommendation question, please adhere to the FAQ, the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and our rules for game recommendations. All responses must cite actual experience or reference others' experiences!

I'm having trouble finding your requirements here. Please see… for more information on providing good requirements for system recommendation questions. – wax eagle Sep 13 '12 at 13:03
+1 for using the theory of multiple intelligences as the basis for an RPG system. – DampeS8N Sep 13 '12 at 18:05
Is this a sys-req question or a game design question? – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 14 '12 at 0:15
I can say that mostly it is a game-design question, but I'd prefer systems already battle-tested with this type of mechanics, rather than novel ideas on how to implement it, because there is already enough experimentation in my system. So, can't it be both? The answers are going to be coherent with both tags. – Duralumin Sep 14 '12 at 11:46
@Duralumin It can indeed. Just making sure that it was. Our sys-rec tag is... special. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 15 '12 at 9:45
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Ars Magica, especially the 5th edition, has a rather comprehensive learning mechanic. If you spend a season in study, you get a Quality score for that season. If you learned from a teacher, his skills at teaching and communications affect that score. If you learned from a book, the book's quality - and your own intelligence - affect it. If you just practiced and trained, you get a different Quality score (I don't remember the specifics). This quality score is how much your skill improved. (This is rather simplified, yes?)

You can design a similar system, using your own sub-attributes of Intelligence as modifiers, or even multipliers, to achieve this.

share|improve this answer
After a long time pondering, I have chosen this as an accepted answer because it's the most similar to the solution I finally decided to implement. (I had completely forgotten about Ars Magica) I upvoted everyone else because all the answers helped me in some manner. Thank you all, this was the first time I tried the stackexchange system (after reading a lot about it on codinghorror) and, exaggerated as it may seems, it was interesting and exciting. Right now I'm thinking of how to create the right questions to let this community help me again (and help the community in return). – Duralumin Sep 17 '12 at 10:31

In Burning Wheel, there are six stats rated 1 to 10† and hundreds of skills. Each skill is rooted (based) on one or two stats. For example, Sword has Agility as root, but Sculpting has Will/Agility as roots. To learn a new skill, you need a number of relevant stat tests equal to 10 - root or, if there are two, 10 - (average of the roots rounded down).

Having a high stat means learning skills rooted on that stat is quicker (fewer tests required) and also that your initial rating for the skill once you learn it will be higher (half of the root or the average of the roots rounded down).

† A stat rating of 10 is effectively god-like: instant expertise (rating 5) for any rooted skill as soon as it's attempted. Most character stocks (races) have a stat cap at 7 or 8.

share|improve this answer

Mechwarrior 3e has an experience system where your traits don't change (realistically), but they factor heavily into raising skills. Skills start at +0 for being trained, and for every level you want to raise them, its a formula: [30-(Trait1+Trait2)] x (New Skill Level)

So having the two proper traits at 5, and raising a skill from +2 to +3 would cost 60xp. There are modifiers such as (dis)advantages and whether or not a skill is deemed difficult as well.

share|improve this answer
Is it (30 - (Trait1+Trait2)) x (New skill level), which works out to 60XP? The order-of-operations is a little off without the extra parentheses. – Paul Marshall Sep 13 '12 at 17:40
Thank you - fixed. – CatLord Sep 13 '12 at 17:50

MegaTraveller uses a method of requiring a task roll to learn from an instructor; if failed, an experience point is still gained in the skill. Each character month, another task may be made to have the experience sink in. Intelligence modifies both task rolls.

RuneQuest 3rd Edition has a bunch of attribute derived aptitudes. Skills are raised by, upon use, rolling 1d100+aptitude for current skill or higher. Which means that skills increase faster by virtue of more frequent gains with higher aptitudes. Further, the aptitude was also a modifier to the default skill levels.

Rolemaster/Spacemaster uses attributes to determine skill points per level.

Space Opera uses attributes to determine base skill points and learning chances for further improvements.

Mix-n-match these, especially the aptitudes and task based learning.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.