Genjitsu Games

September 28, 2007:
Simplified Gun Skills for Iron Kngdoms
October 10, 2005:
Blades of Purpose Sample Art
April 1, 2005:
Golems & Goldfish
February 26, 2005:
A Flock of Foes Sample Art
November 24, 2004:
Metablades art samples
October 29, 2004:
A Flock of Foes Hallowe'en preview
July 14, 2004:
Alternate multiclassing restrictions
March 15, 2004:
Self-charging staves
February 23, 2004:
Subrace racial levels
January 14, 2004:
Expanded Monk Class
January 9, 2004:
Turning Generalized
November 3, 2003:
Fighter Feat Prerequisites
October 20, 2003:
Artifacts of Martial Magic
October 20, 2003:
Metablade Spells for Arcana Unearthed
October 20, 2003:
Feat Templates
October 3, 2003:
Feat Descriptors

I ran across the Iron Kingdoms setting from Privateer Press several months ago, and as a setting I love it. Its combination of humanized religion, distinction of the races, and the gritty "full-metal fantasy" feel create a very distinctive environment that readily lends itself to adventure.

However, I have occasional issues with the way they treat some of their skills, Craft skills in particular. For instance, Craft (cannoneer) and Craft (small arms) are particularly aberrant Craft skills, in that they do not make anything, ever. They are used for reload and maintain artillery and personal weapons, respectively.

This seems like such a flagrant violation of the d20 design principles that I struggle to get it. About the only reason I can think of for making this design decision is that perhaps they wanted it assumed that these would be class skills for any character who already had Craft as a class skill, but it seems like a weak reason for the existence of Craft skills that don't craft. So I went through three progressive steps deconstructing weapon reloading into something that seemed to fit within my understanding of the game structure.

  1. Change the skill name. At the very least, stop calling them Craft skills. Make them Munitions (cannoneer) and Munitions (small arms).
  2. Consolidate the skill. Use a single Munitions skill for all reloading actions, but apply the standard nonproficiency penalty to any Munitions check made on a personal or artillery weapon with which the character is not proficient.
  3. Eliminate the skill entirely. In my opinion, proficiency with a weapon includes things like the ability to reload it. Reloading a firearm already provokes an attack of opportunity, and is subject to a Concentration check to continue in the face of distractions like someone trying to hit you, and they already include a Combat Loading feat to address this point (if you eliminate the loading skills, change the prerequisites of this feat to "Base attack bonus +1 or higher, Exotic Weapon Proficiency [small arms]").

Choose whichever step of the process you feel best suits your game; I opt for the last one myself. Enjoy the setting (and if you feel that the Craft skills have still flourished out of control, check back in a couple of weeks).