Cultural skills instead of traits

Last summer I ran a short four session story arc set in a feudal mageocracy. Sort of a cross between Discworld, Magicka and Harry Potter. An ancient curse, possibly caused by the very first mages, plagued the land. Moving outdoors after midnight was dangerous, as an eldritch breed of monsters stalked the land. The characters were students of a rural Magister. The players were limited to three-LPs and had to end in the Village Wizards Apprentice LP from the magic burner.

I knew they would have few skill points to spare. So instead of adding Culture Traits I opted to give each player the choice of a Cultural Skill. Particularly the -wises informed the players of the feel of the game, and gave them narrative control.
The skills were: diseases of the sheep-wise, drizzling rain-wise, darkness-wise, and ditch digging.

Fun, simple, and surprisingly direct way of getting players in the right groove. I wouldn’t this for higher powered games, but for short and sharp settings like Burning Robes? It worked wonderfully.


A cultural wise sounds like a really interesting way to tweak the game!

Cool beans.