There are a few schools of thought about characters in roleplaying games. Some believe that characters should be fully detailed in what they can do and where there limitations might lie. Others believe that a general notion of the character will suffice, and common sense should be allowed to fill in the blanks.
Both concepts are valid under different styles of play.
Spread across this split, you have people who believe characters should be primarily defined by what they were born with, versus what they've learned...that whole "nature vs nurture" debate.
Here's where attributes and skills come in.
While these two concepts have been a staple in most roleplayinggames for years, many independent games are moving away from the notion of attributes and skills. These recent games return to a simpler concept of simply assigning a character roles, then follow by allowing certain roles to complete certain tasks with ease. A combatant can physically fight but they may be no good at a verbal debate...a doctor may be able to heal but can they fire a gun??
Attributes and skills allow for more customisation of the character, but at the expense of a longer character generation process.
I've decided with this system to go with the idea that nature and nurture play equal parts in character's potential to achieve a goal...and that characters can learn things beyond the scope of their daily life activities. But how do you make this quick for new players, or for those who simply want to get into the action ASAP??
Since we're using a d6, the maximum power we want a character to have is +12. Half of which comes from the attribute, and half from a skill. So I'm giving each a scale of 1 to 6. Where 1 is the minimum for basic activities and 6 is the highest humanly possible. This means that someone has to have a 6 in both their skill and their attribute to get the best possible result, it also means that everyone is adding at least 1 to their die rolls.
If we say that the average person has an attribute score of 2 to 3 and most people reasonably proficient in an area of skill have the same 2 to 3 points of bonus here, then standard deviation places most people at around the +4 to +6 mark...which is pretty close to what we need.
But what about those times when there's a difference of 6 or more?
To cover this, I've decided to include a fate related pool of points. It replenishes as players progress toward the story goals or toward their own agendas, and it can be expended by them to improve their chances at certain effects.
Through this pool, any time a 6 is rolled, a point may be spent to turn it into an automatic success. If two players roll 6s then the character expending the point gains a success, unless both spend the point and then it comes back to a comparison of modified die rolls.
I've also decided that if one side rolls a 6 and the other rolls a 1, then it automatically goes to the side with the 6 without the need to spend a point from the pool. After all this basically reflects in the game that one character has done the best they possibly can, while the other side has botched. It only makes sense that the character with the 6 would succeed in this case. Besides, there's only a 1 in 36 chance of this happening.
Next I'll explain my rationale for the combat system...