Rampant Games - Player Skill and Character Skill
Jay Barnson tackles the thorny issue of player and character skills in RPGs:
In my mind, for a game to qualify as an RPG, it has to implement at least some of the player’s commands through the filter of character skill. The canonical example is attacking an enemy. In many kinds of non-RPG games, the player hits if he (or she) has aimed correctly, and does damage based on the weapon. In an RPG, the chance of hitting or the amount of damage that is done, or both, are determined by the character’s skill. The player’s “aim” may or may not be a factor.
But this does NOT mean that an RPG does not require player skill.
The dependence upon character skill and random chance does not remove player skill from the game any more than it removes player skill from Chess and Poker.