RosenMcStern

CHAPTER 2: Skills and Traits

38 posts in this topic

32 minutes ago, Zit said:

- how does the Traits system avoid the D&D syndrom with each profession allowing a list of traits, like classes and specififc skills in D&D, leading to stereotyped characters (the question arose for bards in another topic)? One of the "trade mark" of D100 is that any character can train in almost any skill.

Can you explain the logic behind all this ?

Quite simply, the "coupling" of skills and backgrounds exists only at character creation. Once you are over with that process, you can gain any Trait you wish (save the few ones that have prerequisites). The list of "things" you know at character creation is already there in BRP/BGB and [former]RuneQuest 6, and it is the first time I hear of a "D&D syndrome" in it.

The new profession list will allow more options among the suggested traits, and you still have two free Traits to pick at character creation. That's 20% of your professional Traits. Not bad.

Quote

- when acquiring new traits, you start at least at the same level as the other traits of this skill. So a Swin specialist for example may acquire the Brawl trait and become on the spot a Brawl specialist as well. There is no intermediate level for Traits.

- there is no way to train in a single trait, so all traits belonging to the same Skill are trained together.

To this I will reply with another question: do you really need (that is, does your game benefit from) having a mechanical way of differentiating whether a good athlete is a swimmer or a weightlifter?

If the answer is yes, which may happen if you are running a "Chariots of fire" campaign, then you certainly need to have stunts for your varying athletics disciplines, probably differentiating even between Sprinter and Marathonete, i.e. more than an usual skill-based RPG provides you with.

If the answer is no, what is your problem in having your athlete learning weightlifting at the same level as swimming? You don't need that level of granularity, and so you will not miss it.

Counter-question: when the answer is yes and you need to differentiate between sports micro-specialties, how much do the classic D100 rules over-complicate the matter and force the GM to give out a gazillion of improvement rolls because the players need bring a trexazillion different skills close to 100%? With traits and stunts, things are way easier.

Finally, please note that here I have only generalised what happens for weapons and combat styles in RQ6.

 

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6 minutes ago, RosenMcStern said:

To this I will reply with another question: do you really need (that is, does your game benefit from) having a mechanical way of differentiating whether a good athlete is a swimmer or a weightlifter?

If the answer is yes, which may happen if you are running a "Chariots of fire" campaign, then you certainly need to have stunts for your varying athletics disciplines, probably differentiating even between Sprinter and Marathonete, i.e. more than an usual skill-based RPG provides you with.

If the answer is no, what is your problem in having your athlete learning weightlifting at the same level as swimming? You don't need that level of granularity, and so you will not miss it.

Counter-question: when the answer is yes and you need to differentiate between sports micro-specialties, how much do the classic D100 rules over-complicate the matter and force the GM to give out a gazillion of improvement rolls because the players need bring a trexazillion different skills close to 100%? With traits and stunts, things are way easier.

Finally, please note that here I have only generalised what happens for weapons and combat styles in RQ6.

 

 Just keeping the basic traits, without gazillions of skills or additional Stunts, a few exemples: training in Bargain trains in Playing the Luth (or whatever instrument) as well. Or training in any craft will increase First Aid. Same with Healing-region-litteracy (you may argue with Latin...), etc. These are quite unrelated Traits. Note that a RQ6 combat style is much less than than "Close Combat" which can include several combat styles. And RQ6 skills are more numerous.

Don't take my comment as a critic or an argument: I don't bother increasing several traits at once, even if from a pure simulationist point of view it may be disturbing. I undestand that rules design involves choices and sacrificing some aspects for playability. I think Traits and Stunts are a very flexible system. I'm just giving you here a chance to explain your logic to those it may bother.

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As another example, an expert at Communication, with a skill level of 90% and Traits of English and Literacy, spends some time in France, gains the French Language trait, and instantly goes from 0% proficiency to 90% proficiency in French. Not particularly realistic, but maybe that's okay. Maybe the GM requires the player to spend a year or more in France, but there's still no way to express in game terms the fact that the character is going to gradually get better at French. 

There are a couple of ways you could change/fix this, but they might introduce complexity you don't want.

1. You could have "levels" of French (or any other second language) that have to be bought as Traits, in order. (Start with Basic French; replace that Trait with Advanced French as you get better; then replace Advanced French with Fluent French.

OR

2. You could add a second Communication skill only for French and make the player progress in that skill separately, and buy Traits and Stunts separately for French, at least until Communication [French] is equal to Communication [English]. 

OR

3. If a character is on the way to learning French but hasn't acquired full proficiency, the GM could waive the rule that it's a required Trait and allow characters to use it with the Raw Skill column.

Either the game designer or the GM would have to determine which skills have levels, or progress on separate tracks, or under what circumstances a required Trait isn't really a required Trait. Like I said, more complexity, and you might not want that. I'm not necessarily recommending any of these methods--I like the simplicity of the system as is.

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1 hour ago, Aelwyn said:

Either the game designer or the GM would have to determine which skills have levels, or progress on separate tracks, or under what circumstances a required Trait isn't really a required Trait. Like I said, more complexity, and you might not want that. I'm not necessarily recommending any of these methods--I like the simplicity of the system as is.

This is exactly the point, Aelwyn. It is certainly more realistic. But is it necessary?

Adding a numeric score to Traits (making them Skills in the traditional D100 sense) increases realism. Is there any doubt about it? No.

But since this requires very detailed rules about what score to give you when you learn a related skill ('cause learning the skill from scratch is pain in the ***, and certainly not very realistic)... are you really sure that you want that level of complexity?

The more your characters develop advanced competences in their skills, the more learning "that new ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY skill the GM has found in the LATEST FANTASTIC SUPPLEMENT for d100" becomes absolutely impossible for seasoned player characters unless you retire the character from actual play. Ever experienced this problem?

While not completely realistic under all points of view, Traits and Stunts address this issue.

You will forgive me, but in this case I forfeited mathematically-precise, strictly realistic percentile chances of success in exchange for MGF (acronym not requiring explanation on these boards). I know, I know, I am getting old...

 

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11 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

You will forgive me, but in this case I forfeited mathematically-precise, strictly realistic percentile chances of success in exchange for MGF (acronym not requiring explanation on these boards). I know, I know, I am getting old...

 

There is nothing to forgive here :). We're all getting old, and I hope RD100 can bring fresh blood to the players community.

Anyway, are "mathematically-precise percentile chances" stricly realistic ? So-called "realistic" rules do actually not simulate reality, but the idea the designers have of reality instead.

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Quick final question on this subject before I consolidate the skill/trait chapter.

I have added Endurance to Survival, and it starts to make sense to me that First Aid becomes a Survival trait, too. Resisting fatigue and continuing to operate when you have a bleeding wound or a broken bone both sound like "Bear Grylls" feats to me. They might relate to Athletics, too, but there are already too many Traits for athletics and too few for Survival. As for First Aid, it is really not a Craft although it includes some manipulation, and if you have learned how to survive outdoors and resist wounds, you can also fix minor injuries, as these will certainly happen while operating in a hostile environment.

I had also thought of adding Streetwise to Survival, too, but it is really more of a Communication skill.

The problem is that Survival has an INT+WIL base at the moment, so defaulting the ability to resist injury in combat on INT is somehow unrealistic. CON+WIL could sound better, but then it would be unfit for First Aid, which should contain an INT component in the base.

What it people's opinion on this subject? Survival =CON+INT and emphasize the "find the solution" aspect, or CON+WIL and emphasize the "resist adversities" component? We will end up sacrificing a little bit of realism somewhere for the sake of game balance, but since it is impossible to find a solution that takes everything into account, I would rather go with the compromise that satisfies most people.

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I would be happy with Survival CON+WIL with First Aid under survival. You might want First Aid on Self under Survival and First Aid on Someone Else under Knowledge, so have First Aid under both skills.

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On 4/12/2015 at 0:21 PM, RosenMcStern said:

Reasoning on the same line, does it make sense to have

Agility -> CON + DEX (Acrobatics, Catch, Dodge, Take Cover, Throw)
Athletics -> CON + STR (Brawn, Climb, Jump, Running, Swim)?

So, in the end the final version of the skill will be renamed to Agility (DEX + CON) with the suggested option of splitting it into Athletics (STR+CON) and Agility.

There is an important reason for this, and it is the meaning of STR in Revolution. This characteristic is in fact a measure of both STR and mass (where in the interval of mass given for your size class you are). As such, if your STR is proportional to your mass, it does not provide you any benefit for doing sports or acrobatics. On the other hand, a high CON character probably has muscular strength superior to his or her body mass, and so is more agile. And superior stamina counts for most athletic feats, together with reflexes and coordination.

We have left STR as relevant for Close Combat only, where being "stronger than your mass" is less important than being able to "hit hard".

Adapting this to the individual tastes of the table is very easy, and in fact already suggested in the rules.

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Rules Question about conflicts (hope this is the right thread):

The way I understand it, a support action adds the trait bonus (+30) of one character to the roll of the character who is active in the conflict; each trait can be used only once per conflict in this way. But is there a limit to ho much support a single roll I can get? If I have a group of 5, and 4 have sensible ideas and traits to support, does the player who rolls the dice get +120? Or does the "only two traits" cap apply?

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He gets +120. However, practice will tell you that it is not so useful, and any bonuses that bring you above 150% are better kept in reserve for when the Nasty Narrator forces someone to roll against a low skill.

The whole idea of "beads" is for when the number of good ideas surpasses the current necessities, and bonuses carry over to the next round.

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Then it is possible to do a support action but save the actual bonus in form of a bead?

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Ah, sorry! This part is not in the SRD so you have not seen it. Yes, you can save it for later, and the sidebars suggest to use poker chips or "beads" in case the bonuses to carry over become numerous.

In most cases you will just use the bonus in the same round, but anything can happen and the Narrator has total freedom over "attacking" during a round or not, so you may also end up with unspent bonuses. The optional rules suggest what to do in the most peculiar cases, but not all of them were included in the SRD to avoid cluttering the basic core, which is already "beefy".

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