Going to HoL...

Y'know, nearly every system out there has a skills list. It's just one of those things. Designers figure, "PCs are going to want to DO stuff." A rash assumption, sure, but a common one. The majority of them go on to sit down for a couple of hours and try to work out each and every thing that a player might want to do. They write these down as a list, complete with explanations. ("Repair Electronics: Someone with this skill can repair electronic equipment." "Fire Pistol: Used to fire a pistol.") Almost invariably this list is in alphabetical order, and it generally consists of about six combat skills and then a whole bunch of stuff you'll use maybe once in a six-year campaign.

Go on. Tell me I'm wrong. Yeah, that's what I thought.

Anyway, the best skills list out there can probably be claimed by HoL. It's not that it's especially exhaustive, or practical, or significantly more useful than the rest. It's just that like the rest of the system, the authors apparently figured, "Hey, if we're going to write all this useless shit down, we might as well make it an entertaining read." Moreover, their skills are easily open-ended and adaptable to a range of circumstances. (Y'know; "Run with Scizzers" can easily be adapted to "Run While Sucking On A Lollipop" for a character more likely to be sucking on a lollipop than cutting familiar shapes out of construction paper when the FBI bursts in through the window yelling, "FREEZE, BUSTER!" and have to hightail it outta there without pausing for the inevitable horror-movie, `gosh, my car won't start, imagine that' scene.) {Quick word of advice - never try writing something after flipping through the HoL book. The style's addictive.}

Just for an eensy contrast, In Nomine lists thirty-two skills averaging around two paragraphs each on what they are, and only Detect Lies admits that what it lets you do is obvious. I submit that any system could benefit from HoL's example, and just to prove it {and so that my article has, like, an actual point to it}, here's a list of HoL-style skills for In Nomine...

Put Someone In Trauma With Your Fist (Strength):
Insert Fist (A) into Face (B). Repeat until they stop hitting you back.

Make Flaming Sword Go Through Soft Things That Scream and Bleed (Agility):
Just flick on the ol' dependable Bric Disposable Flaming Hilt, and hack your opponent into lightly broiled kebab chunks!

Stay On Someone's Ass Like A Cherubim, Only Without All The Emotional Commitment (Perception):
Lets you follow someone around, sometimes even without their knowing about it.

That Psycho Archangel Michael Shit (Strength):
In practice, just like Put Someone In Trauma With Your Fist, only you shout "Haiiiii!" first. (And Demons often prefer That Psycho Prince Baal Shit, because otherwise Baal tends to demonstrate the differences first-hand, like.)

Come-On Like A Lilim In Heat (Will):
Bat those eyelashes! Swivel those hips! And SOMEHOW try to convince this balding, pot-bellied schmuck that he's the hottest thing since Andrealphus.

Shoot Kinda (Un)Holy Pistol (Precision):
Well, what's the point in HAVING those damned (or blessed, as the case may be) bullets if you're not going to put them into some scumwad demon (or angel, as the case may be) and send them screaming back to Hell? (or Heaven, as the...yeah)

Drive Other Than Just To Church And Back On Sundays (Precision):
Useful for tricksy maneuvering on any kind of automobile, be it popping a wheely on your motorcycle, eluding Elwood Blues in your cop car, or driving your 18-wheeler through the china shop without breaking anything. Frequent use may increase your insurance rates.

Hack Into NORAD And Start World War III, Just Innocently Trying For A Game of Tic Tac Toe (Intelligence):
Like that kid in that movie, only a Celestial schooled in the use of computers can try to break into all sorts of systems to start all sorts of wars just innocently trying for all sorts of games. (-2 for trying to hack into any Muckrosoft Whine-doze system, however, because they'll probably crash as soon as you get the password right anyway.)

Remember What Fork Goes In Which Eye (Precision):
Beating people up with style. You still have to roll your Psycho Archangel Michael Shit to do damage, but if you succeed with this skill before the fight, you can do it in a proper manner for the venue. You can also do it without mashing up all the furniture -- the local restaurant staff will GREATLY appreciate such a uniquely considerate hero, especially since they just got the plate glass windows re-installed from the LAST time Steven Seagull came through.

Run Blindly Into Hellish Damnation Because, Hey, Lucifer Did It, And Now He Has His Own Talk Show (Will):
More specifically, overriding whatever survival instincts you might have and busting in someplace only a Malakim would normally be dumb enough to go.

Suddenly Realize, Hey, That Novalis Chick's Got A Point (Will):
A skill usually called upon by demons when Lawrence's Malakim drop by, and by Angels when that troop of Belial's Calabim kicks in the door. If successful, you MIGHT convince your opponent to give peace a chance..or you might just spend your Trauma making pathetic whimpering sounds and drawing snickers from anyone passing by.

Anyway, hope that helps, but I'm about at the limits of my Draw Inspiration From One Cheesy Idea (Intelligence) skill for the night.

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j n m ( m n j )
"Random, we can't afford to lose you!"
"We haven't finished making the payments!"
-- another quotation capped by ShanRose