I like few skills and broadly interpreted.
What I mean is, take the Athletic Games skill as an example.
Athletic Games: (Ag/Qu or Ag/St) Bonus for playing any one game
primarily involving agility, coordination, and motor skills.
You see I don’t agree with that in a fantasy setting. In the modern world you will get footballers, basketball players, rugby players and so on and they are all specialists and have coaches to work on sport specific skills. At the end of the day though they are all about core strength and hand-eye coordination, balance and spacial awareness.
In a fantasy world you just don’t normally get professional footballers. As far as I am concerned if you have that mix of strength, balance, coordination and awareness then you could, with a little time and practice play any sport. Here is an example from our real world. My horseback archery coach decided that we (I) were going to work on core strength and balance for a session so he produced a balance ball (a big round soft ball) that I had to kneel up on and shoot arrows at the target. At first I could barely get upright before keeling over sideways in slow motion. After 5 minutes though I was kneeling up and shooting a couple of arrows. I practiced each day and at the end of the week I could shoot an entire quiver of arrows. So with less than 2hrs practice I got to grips with an entirely new way of balancing and coordinating my actions.
So I don’t beleive that characters have to buy one copy of this skill for every sport. What I say is one skill for all athletic sports but if you have never done it before then he firs time it is sheer folly as a difficulty and as you get more familiar with the sport then the the difficulty factor comes down.
All the musicians I know can play multiple instruments and they teach themselves new instruments to a passable standard in a matter of hours and certainly no more than a weekend. So I apply the same method to Music and playing instruments. The Music Instrument skill encompasses the understanding of music but the individual instruments are simply a matter of time to practice and playing well get easier over time.
This is my approach to skills. I would rather use this broad strokes approach to skills, have less skills and each one enables the character to do more then the 200 skills that give Rolemaster some of its bloat reputation.
Some skills such read tracks I don’t use at all. As far as I am concerned if you want to know more about the person you are tracking, make a harder tracking roll.
Really this is my attitude to skills. Avoid the bloat and make every skill work for its place in the game.
For my game I have cut the lost of skills down to just 43 skills.