Skills, I think, are one of the more tempting places to start with Blood Bowl. That's...well, it's not a mistake, but it does have some asterisks attached. Obviously, we're doing this now on article 3 out of lots. So, you know, still pretty early. Skills are a very important building block for team and player design after all and it's extremely useful to have a framework for them in place before we start that stuff.
But, it's also important to remember that we can make more changes down the line. Extraordinary skills in particular are all but designed to make up new ones as needed. In other words, we'll be coming back to talk about skills at various times going forward. Especially Extraordinary Skills, of which we will address only a few this time around.
Skill Groups and Skill Types
Before we get really going I think it's useful to look at Groups and Types. Groups are pretty obvious; they are the divisions that tell you which player can take which skills, when. Most Groups are specialized towards doing a single thing, like Strength Skills tending to use the Strength attributes. But then there are types.
Skill Types are my word for describing how small collections of skills relate to one another. For example, Side Step, Stand Firm and Fend are all the same type of skill, namely defensive movement skills. Not all skills have a specific type, but a surprisingly large number of them do and they are used a lot to show off differences and check off abilities in different skill groups. We're not going to list off every skill type and there's definite room for disagreement between what is or isn't a given type, but this is something we want to keep in mind as we'll be trying to preserve or add to these collections as we make changes.
- Dirty Player
- Kick-Off Return
- Pass Block
- The player may move up to 3 spaces when the opposing team makes a Pass or Hand Off action. This movement is free, but otherwise all the normal movement rules such as dodging applies. Only one Pass Block player may activate this skill per Pass or Hand Off action.
- The logic here is the buff Pass Block without making actual passing worse. This effectively allows Pass Block to be used to screen receivers from running off and to be used against Hand Offs, but with the limit that a team cannot make effective use of overcommitting to pass block
- Strip Ball
- Sure Hands
- Diving Catch
- Diving Tackle
- Jump Up
- During any form of movement the player can attempt to leap one or two squares. While leaping the player can move over other players and ignores tackle zones. The player must pass an unmodified Agility roll or be knocked down in the destination square. A player with Leap also gets a +1 bonus to landing rolls caused as the result of a Throw Teammate action.
- Stunty Support! Stunty's with Leap, which is otherwise a mostly useless normal skill for them, get a bonus to sticking the landing of a throw teammate play
- Side Step
- Sneaky Git
- Get 1 Free bribe while this player is on the pitch. Only one Sneaky Git bribe may be used per game.
- We have completely reworked Sneaky Git here to make it the bribe equivalent of Leader. Old sneaky git was an overcomplicated, under-performing mess, so I don't think changing it is contentious. As for this particular brand? This was the simplest of the available options, so we went with it.
- Sure Feet
- Dump Off
- Foul Ball
- When this player is carrying the ball, they will only be sent off from fouling with a roll of 2.
- This is a new skill introduced for a few different reasons. For one, it let's us turn the Sneaky Git/Dirty Player duology into a full skill type. For another, it encourages fouling without actually making it better. This is a pretty big deal; fouling is fair play in blood bowl after all and we want to choreograph that coaches can and should think about doing it without being guilty over the choice.
- Hail Mary Pass
- Nerves of Steel
- Safe Throw
- When an opposing player rolls to intercept the ball thrown by the player with this skill, you may force the intercepting player to reroll the interception. Reduce the chance to fumble the ball by 1, down to a minimum of 1.
- We'll talk more about this when we start going over throwing in a few weeks, but on the surface this change makes Safe Throw better for long distance throws, but worse for low distance throws where you want to save yourself the fumble.
- Break Tackle
- Mighty Blow
- Multi Block
- Probably needs a Quality of Life update, but we're going to leave it as is for now. At the very least this version of the skill has some niche big guy and doubles use.
- When this player is blocked, the Block skill of the blocking player is negated
- This is the replacement for Thick Skull, in case that wasn't clear. Thick Skull is a terrible strength skill, but it was part of a type collection. Here is my attempt at more proactive defense. Obstinate is still not a great skill. But what it does do is interesting. It's a convenient pickup for Big Guys and other players who need to take hits because it makes it harder to safely knock them down. Nullify that block and suddenly those red dice look a lot less appealing...but players with general access are still probably more interested in other things.
- Piling On
- Stand Firm
- Strong Arm
- Increase the Quick Pass range by 2
- This effectively makes Strong Arm increase the maximum throwing range by 2. For most players it still probably has the most impact on a mid-ranged throw, but it makes long bombs just a little more silly and it adds an additional element of risk verses reward for stunty throws. This will also be another thing we come back to when we cover passing later on, but what you see here is a lot closer to what you'll get.
- Big Hand
- When an opponent is Knocked Down by the player during a block any Armor roll of 8 or more, after modifications, automatically breaks armor. This skill does not apply when using Piling On to reroll an Armour roll.
- This is an extremely simple change. Claw is just a little too good, so we've slapped a nerf on it. Claw no longer works with Pile On!
- Disturbing Presence
- Extra Arms
- Foul Appearance
- We're not changing this just yet, but it's on the short list for being kicked into Extraordinary and replaced. We'll talk about that more when start making players who have it, but basically it has a similar issue as Thick Skull, albeit to a lesser degree.
- When this player uses a blitz action, their Strength increases by 1 for the duration of the action.
- This is a quality of life and simplification change. It only really makes any difference when tentacles or break tackle is in play, but it makes it easier to explain what Horns actually does and adds just a little more flavour to it as well.
- Prehensile Tail
- Two heads
- Very Long Legs
- Same as with Foul Appearance, this skill is on thin ice. It's biggest use in CRP6 is to be built on for Kislev/Slann, which sounds extraordinary to me. That said, I too dream of AGI 4 VVL Leaping Chaos Warriors. Maybe we'll change it later, or maybe not, but it's on the short list.
- Thick Skull
- Remember when I complained about Thick Skull? Well here's the thing. It is truly a terrible strength skill, but it actually makes some sense as an Extraordinary. This skill is a good way to say that a player is really just that durable, without actually making them less likely to suffer an injury. And it actually does make a significant reduction in removals. But I feel that it's important it leaves Armour Breaks and Casualties alone.
Next Time: Teams
And that's our skill changes for this time around! Next time we'll look into what goes into making a team, both traditionally and the approach that I'll be taking with this project. More importantly, we're getting close to reasonably size articles! Just a few monsters left to slay.