I have been using a few methods to make the relative level (say, DX+2) more important than the skill (say, 16 for DX 14 and DX+2) sometimes.
There isn't anything especially exciting or new here, but I think sometimes people forget you can do this.
Floating the base stat. I think my players, especially the newer ones, are still getting used to this. But I do this fairly often.
- Beats are based on ST-based weapon skill rolls. Ruses are IQ-based.
- I've used Per-based Alchemy to smell or spot likely potions, and the normal IQ-based roll to identify them.
- DF floats Traps and Lockpicking all over the place.
- I've allowed IQ-based weapon skill to identify subtle things the NPCs are doing with their weapon skills that the players wouldn't notice but the characters might. Per-based would do for spotting, but IQ does well for understanding.
Relative Level Bonuses. Every unarmed skill has a bonus for exceeding DX. And since we use a stripped down version of Technical Grappling, those unarmed bonuses just keep on coming for grappling. Weapon skills get that for Weapon Masters. Forced Entry gets it for bashing down doors and walls.
Hybrid float-and-bonus. This is allowing a skill with a positive relative skill level to augment a stat. For example:
- In my Lost City game, many of the basic daily rolls vs. exhaustion and FP loss, jungle diseases, etc. roll against the better of HT or HT-based Survival.
(A couple truly nasty things out there roll HT-based Survival, because it's what you know and how well your body fights it off. Default is HT-5 . . . )
- I sometimes limit bonuses to your relative skill level for complex gear - you can only get a bonus equal to what you know to put in. So very fine lockpicks give +2 to rolls if you have Stat+2 or better, but only +1 for Stat+1, and no bonus for Stat+0 or less. You just don't have the skills to make the gear do its thing.
I've found that by sprinkling this stuff into a game, or by liberally using it, people value points in skills. Suddenly munchkiny "never raise more than 4 DX based or 4 IQ based skills" are actively limiting your flexibility . . . because something Stat+5 is more important and useful than a higher stat and lower relative skill.