How to Write Jack of all Trades?

A lot of games encourage the player to focus and perfect one skill and the Jack of all trades character usually does poorly. However, I feel like it’s sometimes useful to have diverse skills and abilities such as a self sufficient nation wouldn’t suffer as much from a trade embargo compared to a nation that imports most of its food, single parents, and people trying to rebuild civilization after a disaster or apocalypse has destroyed most of the population would need a variety of skills.

My question is how do you implement a successful (or at least a player that doesn’t fail at everything) Jack of all trades while also not making them overpowered? Why don’t more games feature competent Jack of all trades and would you be interested in playing as a Jack of all trades?


You could have situations wherein you won’t always be able to rely on your best skill.

For example, if you always level up stealth, then have scenes wherein you have to enter a guarded castle at night, but all of the guards are on watch-alert, all the torches are lit, and there are several dogs roaming around.

So instead of going stealthily, you try to go the other way, like entering from the front gate instead and pretend that you are a priest or a slave. And then you will have to pass charisma/faith/intelligence check.

Basically, you will sort of punish a player if they’re only focusing on one skill, since your game is designed for jack of all trades.

Another example, if you always go with trading/commerce route, you find an enemy who cannot be bribe.
So you will to go to war against that enemy instead.

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Gotta have multiple levels of success for it to work, really. So that the jacks of all trades can get past a challenge, while the specialists still have an advantage over them in whatever the field is.


Another suggestion is, the plot/enemies that react based on your choices.

If you always play/level stealth, then in the succeeding scenes, your enemies will be more vigilant. Send in more spies to watch your movements. Have more guards. Have torches lit. Dogs roaming around. Other security measures.

If you are more commerce-oriented, then the enemies will build up their economy, and try to monopolise resources. Or sabotage your trading and businesses instead.

If you are war-oriented, then the enemies will focus on guerilla tactics instead and hamper your army without engaging you head-on.

Basically put, you will have to be flexible in your tactics.

You will have to write a lot of scenes and I imagine it will be a lot harder to code. Hahahah…

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I’ve been pondering this same question…I’m implementing some jack-of-all-trades options in Fantasy Foods currently.

My two ideas thus far have been:

  1. For opposing stats (say, quixotic vs. pragmatic), one could run a check that only succeeds if ((quixotic > 40) and (quixotic < 60)). “Oh, Jess can do it! There’s a perfect balance of bright ideas and good sense for you, if ever there was one!” That sort of thing.

  2. Another way is to allow the use of combined stats- something like this slightly complex example, which allows for either a specialist in one of two stats or a jack-of-all-trades inspired by a recently read Sherlock Holmes story:

    *temp checkstat1
    *set checkstat1 (tools +lockpick)
    *if (lockpick > 75)
    You quickly pick the locks, expert burglar that you are.
    *elseif (tools > 75)
    A bit of clever jimmying with your tools, and you’re inside the building.
    *elseif (checkstat1 > 120)
    Fortunately, you have your lock picks and other tools with you. A screwdriver, some grease, and a light tap with the back end of your hammer later, and you’re in!
    *goto succeed
    *elseif checkstat1 > 100
    *if (tools > 60)
    You’re not the best with your lock picks, but you have your other tools too. A moment’s work, and you have the doorknob off. Well done!
    *goto succeed
    *elseif (lockpicks > 60)
    Your tool kit is incomplete at best, but you’re never without both it and your lock picks. A bit of grease inside the tumbler, a bit of wiggling with a tension wrench, and you’re in!
    *goto succeed
    You mess about with your lock pick and tools for several minutes, attempting to pick the lock (it’s stuck) or remove the doorknob (you can’t get at the screws properly!). Finally, in exasperation, you manage to shimmy the lock with the edge of a metal ruler. Well done!
    *goto succeed
    Sadly, neither sweat, blood, nor tears is opening this door for you. What a pity you weren’t more proficient with your lock picks and tools–or both!
    *goto left_out_in_the_rain


I always try and do a jack of all trades in games I play I just like the feeling of being ready for anything

I am very sorry for offtopic, but i couldn’t help myself when reading “How to Write Jack of all Trades?” to remember some silly old tv show :slight_smile:

The best way is simply to have three variations to each choice.

  1. requires high stat (for specialised character)
  2. requires medium stat (for Jack of trades)
  3. fail

Alternatively have checks that can be passed with combined stats

Let’s say you have three main stats; characters, world building and originality. Then you come across the following scene.

The deadline looms you’ve only got a few days to write your short story. What do you do?

  1. write a gritty Sci fi.
  2. write a fun horror.
  3. write an epic fantasy.

To pass the check you can either have one of the stats high enough or if a combination check is passed I.e
*if (characters > 50) or (world_building > 50)
*elseif (characters + world_building) > 50

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I think it’s more about balance. If you choose to be great in all skills, you need to sacrifice in other areas (stats, maybe?), such as Humanity or Sanity or something. You can’t be great at all practical skills without being a little messed up in the head xD.

But I see what you’re saying I like to play a generalist who is good at a wide range of things so I don’t get caught in a corner, it’s frustrating at times!