Here's something else that has sort of been hinted at in my past posts, but may merit a closer look:
SpyCraft characters often sneak around, especially if they're spies. They want to scout out a place, or steal something, or simply bypass potential threats to achieve objectives. Its what they do. But in my experience in tabletop, it can be difficult to play/run a scene that emphasizes stealth. The chief reason is that my players inevitably have one team mate who either can't roll worth a damn or who didn't get the right sneakery skill (Blend or Sneak). The result tends to be something like this:
Me: OK, you prepare to enter the Evil Mastermind's Secret Base. Since you're actively trying to be quiet about it, let me see some Stealth rolls.
Players; Oh, Hell. This never goes good.
(Players Roll Dice and Add Numbers)
Players: All of us got good rolls, but that one player who sucks at sneaking and/or rolls horribly all the time sucked and/or rolled horribly. Crap.
Me: LOL. You are spotted.
Players: So much for trying stealth! Let's kill some dudes!
This results in players who just don't bother with sneaking because of the drag effect of their one fellow player's lack of sneak skillz and/or bad rolls. I might be okay with this, but given the spy genre's occasional emphasis on subtlety and the fact some PCs are built
to be sneaky, it feels like we're missing an opportunity here. I mean, if one guy is a klutz and wearing an entire National Guard unit's worth of weapons and armor and ANOTHER guy is trying to be Solid Snake/Sam Fisher/Batman, it just doesn't seem right that Klutzy McArmament ruins the sneaky guy's time to show off. ESPECIALLY if the result is Klutzy McArmament then getting to waste the responding guards while sneaky dude feels suboptimal for said result.
First off, I can see that part of the problem here is on my end. The more die rolling that goes on, the more the chances of a lousy roll come up. Also, the more PCs that have to roll to perform the task, the more chances there are that one or more of them are suboptimal sneakers.
Second, its also partially down to the players' choices in character creation. If the team doesn't get together on making sure everybody has certain skills, its fairly likely that the mix will include at least one unsneaky PC (or one inept investigator, or one guy who can't swim worth a damn, or one person who ruins every social scene they're in). This is particularly true in 2.0, where being untrained in something is more than a little inconvenient, especially as ones PCs and thus one's opposition go up in TL.
One possible solution is making it a Cooperative check, but that can be complicated by the one unsneaky PC being untrained in the relevant skill and having a jacked chance to commit an Error. His participation, in other words, increases the chances the whole team will really foul up being sneaky. Breaking it out into a Complex Task with the best sneaker's skill being the one checked might work, but in a way it feels like a cheat that's hard to back up narratively; is Solid Snake letting Klutzy McArmament ride on his back? Signaling him when and how to move? Laying down soft mats for him to walk on? Or do we leave Klutzy behind when sneaking into the base - and how does that
work if/when things hit the fan?
Another possible approach is making sure the team understands what the gaps are in their skill set and structure their mission approach based on what they can or cannot do. Thus, if the players agree as a group that they ALL need Blend/Sneak because they want to be stealthy, they just find the skill points or Feats that'll let 'em do it.
In practice, though, this rarely was made apparent to my players despite any consulting they did with each other. Its real damn easy to miss or misinterpret some skills and what they mean - especially Blend and Sneak. Maybe its the word choice, maybes its the passive/active split (which I've whined about before), maybe its just the fact that players NEVER read the rulebook when making their characters (trust me on this; they don't read it all - just the bits that interest them or obviously hinge on their concept). Theoretically, as the rules maven and guy in charge of seeing the Big Picture, the GM should advise the players about this sort of thing, but this is another thing that can be hard to catch when you've got a lot of characters and rules to track.
Any thoughts on making stealth less useless in 3.0? Is it fixable with a Campaign Quality like: Sneaky PCs (All PCs can spend class skill points in Blend or Sneak and receive an equal amount of ranks in the other skill)? Should it be structured specifically with Cooperative Checks or Complex Tasks or even a Dramatic Conflict? Or should we just be okay with keeping one or more PCs out of a common spy genre scene because they chose the wrong class for it?