So, I like skill systems in RPGs. However, I think skill system can suffer from needless bloat in trying to cover every single skill available. So, skills in Pulpwood! will be very 'generic', but also easy to understand
In Pulpwood!, there are 12 skills. They are:
All of these are ranked from 0 to 10, which is added to the Action roll when doing an action related to that skill.
In pulp stories, the hero is generally only REALLY great at a few things. Indiana Jones can't fly planes while they are crashing, but he can try. Indiana Jones' specialty would probably be Athletics, or maybe Diplomacy.
So, to keep with the theme of 'exceptional in one area', each class has one of the 12 skills as their Class skill. This enables them to do things with the class no one else could do, with some classes getting into supernatural abilities as they progress.
But you might be saying "Shouldn't someone who has a 10 in piloting be an expert pilot?" The answer is no, because the Pilot is an expert pilot. That's why it's his class. If you were not a Pilot, but had a 10 in Piloting, you could pilot a vehicle as well as a normal person could, with only minimal training. This means you could fly a regular plane (bi-plane/cropduster), boat or car with no difficulty, and could probably do a few risky maneuvers if you need to. However, you wouldn't be able to do something more advanced like drive a tank or a spaceship (with an exception I'll mention in a later post). Only the Pilot can drive the cool stuff.
Furthermore, classes are going to rely heavily on their class skill to get things done in Action Rolls. Some of these will take a bit of figuring out, but I believe in myself.
Each skill starts at 0, except for the Class skill (which will either start at 2 or 3, I'm not sure). Then, every level, the character gets skill points based on the type of class they are: Brains get 3 points, Brawn gets 2 points, Wit gets 4 points. I don't know exactly what the rules for spending these will be (in terms of how many ranks per skill per level you can get), but it will be a 1-for-1 basis. So, if you had a 7 in Piloting, and then you spent 2 points on it, you'd have a 9 in Piloting.
So, that's the long-and-short of it for now. I think it's pretty simple, and people should get a hang of it quickly.
Next time, I'll explain the main conflict resolution mechanic in Pulpwood!, the Action Roll.