Thick Skull (Strength)
This player treats a roll of 8 on the Injury table, after any modifiers have been applied, as a Stunned result rather than a KO’d result. This skill may be used even if the player is Prone or Stunned.
Thick Skull has changed in LRB5 from being a Mutation to a Strength skill meaning that every player can potentially gain it now. It has also changed from being a 4+ roll to be stunned instead of KO’d, to just treating an 8 roll on the injury table as a stunned and just a 9 roll being a KO. This takes an extra dice roll out the game and speeds things up a small amount when playing. It has given the players who take it a slight boost as well as a result though. An 8 will be rolled 5/36 times while a 9 will be rolled 4/36 times. So the old 4+ rule saves you 4.5/9 of KO’s while the new version saves you 5/9 times a KO is rolled. Even so considering the player needs to be knocked over (or fall over), have an armour break and then a KO result has to come up, it is very circumstantial and the benefit in real terms is highly negligible.
The obvious benefits of it are that it is that bit harder to remove the player from the pitch when they get knocked over. More players on the pitch makes it easier for you than if you had less, pretty obvious stuff here! It applies to any injury roll for the player as well, including fouls and crowd injuries.
In all honesty I can’t really see this skill being that useful to anyone, sure it has it’s benefits but there will be better alternatives to take when your players skill up. Why would you take it over Block, Guard, Mighty Blow, Tackle etc on a normal skill roll. Also any player who requires a double to take strength skills will have an even wider selection of skills to choose from. If you come across someone who has taken the skill I would be surprised to find out if they took it for any reasons other than for team character reasons or because they are fairly new to the game. Maybe I can be enlightened here as to any tactical benefit compared to the opportunity cost of a different skill. I can see some benefit to it as a late skill on players who are often in the thick of it and get hit a lot, but I’m not sure it will make a difference enough times to justify the choice due to the specifics when it comes into play.
As I’ve suggested no one will really take the skill as part of development but it comes in handy for those players who already start with it, most notably Dwarfs. That isn’t to say that I think it would be wrong to take it under every circumstance, if you are playing perhaps in a more characterful environment then by all means go ahead. Teams with more character may perhaps get blessed by good fortune by Nuffle! An example would perhaps be a player who always seems to get stunned on armour breaks, or always comes back from a KO first roll (if you keep track and notice this kind of thing). Maybe you just want a team full of Thick Skull Elves or something unusual. You could also be using random skill selection, either for fun, a personal challenge, or to handicap yourself if playing against lots of newer coaches to ease them into the game. You don’t always have to take tactically the best skill available for every increase.