First, there was a question...
From: Doug Rutsch
With combat and Dexterity related things a huge portion of the game, and knowledge and technical used sparingly, why would anyone be a character who can have a maximum knowledge of 6D, or a Technical of 6D, when they could have Blaster 8D, or be a REALLY strong alien?
Then, there were answers...
From: Steve Lamb
"Oh, I'm sorry, but you just missed the roll to fix your thrusters. You're stuck on this rotten hellhole of a planet for eternity... or until the end of your life... Whichever is shorter."
That answer it?
From: Jared Leisner
Just remember that Knowledge governs how well you can remember and how
smart you are. If they have low knowledge, they're dumb <2D is the
'average' human> and they can't remember details and stuff. If they have
low Kno and high Tech
From: Carl Strayer
Well, are you a role-player? Why does anybody pick anything? They pick it because they think it'll be good. If all you care about is being good at fighting then those skills will be high. But if you take the time to make a concept, or a character with (this sounds harsh, but...) a point, then you take other skills. Being someone that usually plays characters that can't fight, I can tell you that they are a load of fun. When put in a bad situation, they fight the best they can, and sometimes actually succeed (had a character with no dice in combat skills, just a 2D strength, deck a guard. It can happen) What you need to remember is that the whole game isn't (or shouldn't be) combat. That seems to be a common "newbie" mistake. Fighting ability has no bearing on how good you are in combat. Remember, the nerdy professor could start off with a higher Intimidation than the buff Wookiee.
And as for races like Wookiees, remember, they can be more than fighters and pilots. A friend of mine made a Wookiee surgeon ("Ruggh! Rwor, ruuunnggg!" translated to: "These are surgeon's hands!"), and I once played a Wookiee poet. Just because a race -can- have a 6D Strength/Dexterity/Perception doesn't mean they have to.
From: Stewart Werley
I agree with Jared's comments. But it is really up to the GM to write adventures where those skills are important, where they are used, where they are part of the adventure, and a portion (major or minor) depends on rolls in this area.
When custom writing an adventure for my players, I look closely at the skill list and try to find skills in each area to use during a segment of the adventure. Not just incidental side stuff, but important story elements. Make your characters HAVE TO beast ride to get somewhere, or put them in a delicate situation with a race of aliens, and they MUST find a way to communicate (languages, alien cultures) or know how to present the appropriate gift to a tribe to get their help.
Use a subplot where a character gets arrested due to mistaken identity and the characters must use bureaucracy (sp?) or law enforcement to get the character through the red tape and back into the adventure, or maybe they need to get arrested to get them to the inside of the prison island so they can assist in a jail break from inside.
It is always easiest to write an adventure where the only obstacles are combatants. Stretch the story to make other things important. It usually doesn't take much. Throw some aliens in the mix and suddenly you've got an excuse to use one of several KNO skills, or throw a paperwork, legal technicallity in and you've got planetary systems, law enforcement, beaucracy, etc. If the majority of the conflicts in your adventures are resolved in combat, then your players will gravitate toward strong (physically) characters. Make it your responsibility to highlight skills and cause them to be used in adventures.
My players have taken to making note of these lesser skills when they use them (for some unknown reason they get pretty worked up over beast riding). Whenever a player uses a secondary skill, they mark that on their sheet and then make sure to update that skill at least one pip at the end of the adventure (usually this is because they found they were woefully weak at Alien Cultures for example, and ate the wrong thing at the multi-species dinner and got sick, or did not follow a protocol and insulted a diplomat- endangering the mission). When this happens, I'll sometimes cut the character a break on upping their skill, charging them one less point for the upgrade.
The other thing I try to do is prevent skill group specialization. I try to keep the party from having one KNO monger and a TECH monger and a MECH guru, each of whom has a high base attribute and manages to do well because of that- the whole party ends up relying on that character and it becomes a problem, so I'll sometimes injure that character in combat (try real hard) so they are less able to help. I also have help from the group leader. He is a GM himself, and he runs the party like a real military group. He takes responsibility for making sure characters are 'cross trained' so if you have a weak demolitions skill, and it needs building up, he'll order your character to diffuse the bomb while the demolitions guru leans over his shoulder. This way, not only do they use demolitions, but they combine skills, use teamwork, and also the command skill. (This is not as easy with unwilling or new players- all of my players are minimum 15 year gaming veterans and this helps quite a bit).
From: Ed Obarowski
Don't forget Astrogation...its always nice to be able to plot a hyperspace course worry free and planetary sysatems to know where your going. Believe me, its important to have other skills besides blaster and brawling, though they are important too. Try to keep a healthy mix, because you never know when your navigator or engineer is going to end up unconscious.... pesky little STs are EVERYWHERE!! : )