Anyway, James over at Grognardia was talking about skills in a recent post and it got me thinking. I don't know if I ever really bought into 2e NWPs...I mean, it really did lead to a lot of rules lawyering and the dreaded "if you don't have the proficiency, you can't ride a horse" stupidity which, come on, really?
Anyway, I'm working on my system and have taken the 2e approach to thieves, sort of, and I give a T0 a 10% chance to do any of the "thief skills" on my list (I have more than the 2e PHB lists) and a T1 can divvy up 90 points to spread out (you can read the "rules" in the above post).
What this suggests, however, is that any and every schmoe in Daen Ral has about a 10% chance to pull of anything. So...if you want to add a "skill" - well, I guess that's DM fiat territory here - you find a teacher and, depending on how much money, time, energy you spend on it...you increase your %age chance to do a certain skill.
Now, I won't put up with the "can only ride a horse 10% of the time, then" junk that got NWPs in trouble. Here's my take on it. In a medieval-esque society, some skills are a given (again, DM fiat - my world, my rules, right?) so you can ride a horse, build a fire, gut an animal, find water, etc. Skills are for when you want to do something extraordinary like - ride a Water Buffalo or have a horse do tricks or jump a small chasm, for building a fire that will only damage a certain section of a house or to build a fire in a downpour in a swamp, or to gut a dragon or whether or not beholder meat is edible, or finding water in a desert... Yeah, you get it.
So, how to adjudicate it? Dunno. Maybe something like 10% or 20% per level (or per amount of money and time spent?). And some skills just have to cost more of one resource or another (alchemy would have to cost a lot of money for materials to practice with as well as taking a fair amount of time but very little energy, though learning trick riding should cost a lot of time and energy, but not so much in money necessarily).
How to simulate the cost in energy? Perhaps a temporary CON drop or hp drop? Or STR? Maybe it's not necessary. I'm not thinking of "balancing" these things - just trying to figure out how to throw this stuff at my (as yet theoretical) players.