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Optional Rule Set 2: Skill Selection and Improvement

These optional rules (designed by the Alternity team for their home campaigns) balance out starting skill points and broad skills between heroes of differing Intelligence. In addition, Optional Rule 2C makes it easier for your heroes to aspire to higher skill ranks by flattening the cost of skill improvement.

Note that if your heroes use these rules, you may want to adjust the skills possessed by Supporting Cast Members to reflect their new starting skill points and skill improvement costs. Future Alternity products will continue to use the standard rules.

Optional Rules 2A and 2B should be used together, although Optional Rule 2C can be used separately.

Optional Rule 2A: In addition to the free broad skills determined by race selection, a new character has a number of skill points equal to 30 plus 3 times his Intelligence score available to purchase skills during character creation. Human heroes receive a special bonus of 5 additional skill points at character creation.

This replaces the skill point allocations indicated on Table P5 in the Player's Handbook. Under the old system, an alien hero with an Intelligence score of 9 received 40 skill points for initial skill purchase; under the upgrade, he receives 30 + (3 x 9) or 57 skill points. A human hero of the same Intelligence score would begin with 62 skill points if using this optional rule.

Optional Rule 2B: During initial skill purchase, a character may not learn more than six additional broad skills, not counting his racial broad skills. Modify this number by the hero's Intelligence-based resistance modifier.

Since low-Intelligence characters receive a much greater number of skill points in this upgrade, the limitation on purchasing new broad skills is relaxed somewhat. This replaces the limits given on Table P5. Previously, a character of Intelligence 6 would be able to purchase no more than 3 broad skills during initial skill purchase, but this upgrade increases that number to 5 (6, less 1 for his -1 Intelligence resistance modifier).

Optional Rule 2C: The cost to purchase rank 2 or higher in a specialty skill is either the list price or the list price -1. The number of ranks a character currently possesses in the specialty skill does not increase the cost of advancing that skill.

This replaces the second bullet point under Cost of Skills on page 61 in the Player's Handbook. As originally written, advancing a specialty skill from rank 4 to rank 5 (for instance) would cost a number of skill points equal to the original purchase price +4. This upgrade changes the advancement of skills so that a character simply buys the skill again at its normal purchase price in order to advance his skill rank.

Note that a hero may not begin with a specialty skill rank of more than 3 at character creation, and that a character cannot improve a skill rank more than once per achievement level.