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Lloyd Dupont

About APP

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

 

 

I was working on a BRP variant awhile ago that did something along these lines. THe relevant points are:

  • I eliminated base skill percentages, and instead each skill started at the base category percentage. This was something like two or three Characteristics added together. For example the Knowledge Category started at INTx2%. or INTx3% Melee was something like DEXx2+STR.
  • The skill categories covered every skill. For instance, if a character picked up a sword for the first time, he would default to whatever his melee base percentage was. 
  • Hard Skills used half the base, and Easy skills twice the base. Stuff that cannot be done untrained, such as speaking a language that a character was never exposed to before or performing neurosurgery, would just ber at 0% as with the current rules.
  • Skill checks and training improved individual skills (like driving, sword, read Latin, or first aid).
  • Characters could add 1/10% the base skill category to improvement rolls. So Someone with a base of 30% with knowledge rolls and add 3%.

The idea was that we only had to track a half dozen skill categories, rather than dozens of indivual skills, most of which aren't going to be improved much anyway. Not every character becomes a gem-smith or a pilot,. Also, no one is going to be rolling a skill at 10-20% unless they have to, so all we really need for those skills is a default score. Once a character puts work into a skill, then we bothered to track it. 

Well I finished my skill revamp. It's all in my draft document text file, yet to go my word document / rule booklet! :)
just sharing here for feedback since we are talking about it 😛 
(and you shall soon see how it helps APP to somewhat shine in some case, at the very least be critical in maxing out skills)

- 1st I am using XP (1XP = 1 improvement skill check) and to avoid spending XP on skill not in character I went the Mythras way, standard skill that everybody knows and professional skill that one must learn (moderate effort, at creation or 5XP + 1month part time learning) before being able to spend XP on them.
- 2nd, all skill start at a flat 20%. Unknown professional skill 5% and jump to 20% once learnt.
- 3rd every skill has a leading characteristic which is use for improvement roll. Giving (Characteristic-10%) bonus to the roll, somewhat like RQ3. 11 or more in the leading characteristic is needed to unlock skill percentage over 100%, otherwise skill limited to 90+characteristic (this will help high APP shine a bit.. amongst top performers at least)

- 4th in Character creation
------ chose a race, roll characteristic, get skill bonus (including possible bonus professional skill)
------ chose a profession (10 skill), pick optional professional skill, and add 1skill+50%, 2skill +40%, 3skill+30%, 4skill+20%
------ chose 1 hobby professional skill
------ hobbies: add +20% to 8 standard and known professional skill once and +30% once
------ also (scifi) chose 4 common transhumanist augments

At any rate, I hope this creation procedure is simple enough to not confuse anyone! :D

To go into more details... since I like POW vs POW more than power skill vs willpower kind of resistance test, but I like to have a little bit of skill based improvement, I do have Willpower and Endurance. But one doesn't roll them. Instead Willpower/10% is added to POW for POW save. Same with endurance and CON. Conversely the power skill% / 10% is added to the attacker's power.

And here is my (semi-final) skill list (might have to tweak a few)

Standard Skills
        DEX Evade         
        CON Endurance    skill/10% added to CON save roll
        POW Willpower    skill/10% added to POW save roll
        STR Unharmed    
        STR Wrestle        

        STR Melee Weapon
            Exotic (all the others..)
            Axe (scythe), Club, Dagger, Flail, Hammer, Polearm, Spear, Sword, Unharmed (blackjack)
            Shield
        DEX Range Weapon
            Axe, Blowgun, Bola, Boomerang, Bow, Crossbow, Throw, Dart, Javelin/Spear, Throw Knife, Sling
            Pistol (&Revolver), Rifle, Shotgun, Other (flamethrow, taser), 
            Energy Pistol, Energy Rifle
        
        INT Appraise    (&customs)
        APP Bargain        
        STR Climb        
        DEX Dance        
        INT First Aid    
        DEX Hide        
        APP Influence    (deception, persuasion, command)
        POW Insight        
        STR Jump        
        CON Listen        
        INT Research    (use with another skill for diagnostic, or alone for fact and data)
        DEX Repair         (used in conjunction with other skill)
        CON Spot        
        APP Sing        
        DEX Stealth        
        STR Swim        


Professional Skills
        INT Cooking
        DEX Craft
            Painting, Stonecraft, Woodcraft, Metalwork, 
        APP Disguise
        DEX Drive / Pilot
            type 1, type 2, type 3... TODO
        INT Electronic
        INT Engineering
            Appliance, Chemistry, Construction, Forcefields, Programming, Vehicle, 
        DEX Gaming
        INT Hacking
        DEX Juggle        
        INT Language\Culture (Bulrathi, Elerian, etc......)    
        INT Medicine    
        INT Media Production
        APP Oratory        
        APP Play [Instrument]
        APP Ride Mount
        APP Teach
        INT Track
        APP Seduction    
        DEX Sleightof Hand    
        POW Meditation (only native psioinic)
        INT Science
            Biology, Economy, History, Law, Mathematic, Planetology, Physics
        POW Psionic Power (each)

BTW I don't have pick lock or make trap intentionally, this is all electronic these days....

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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5 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

- 1st I am using XP (1XP = 1 improvement skill check) and to avoid spending XP on skill not in character

That's your choice as the Gm/Designer. I prefer the other direction as I think the XP method leads to what is essentially character classes, with any imporment in a side skill coming at the expense of the main skills. But again, your game, your choice.

 

5 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

- 2nd, all skill start at a flat 20%. Unknown professional skill 5% and jump to 20% once learnt.
- 3rd every skill has a leading characteristic which is use for improvement roll. Giving (Characteristic-10%) bonus to the roll, somewhat like RQ3. 11 or more in the leading characteristic is needed to unlock skill percentage over 100%, otherwise skill limited to 90+characteristic (this will help high APP shine a bit.. amongst top performers at least)

So the benefit of high Characteristics is solely in terms of improvement. 

5 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

BTW I don't have pick lock or make trap intentionally, this is all electronic these days....

You might want to keep the door open for the low tech approach. You never know when someone might have something done the old way. In a recent game I ran, the PC were going to check out a warehouse. One of the characters is a IT specilaist, and managed to dig up all sorts of information on the warehouse online, including building plans, and access to the warehouse's inventory program via WIFI.  Then, their "intrusion specialist" got past the door,...and nearly stepped into the dog's water dish. I was a great moment to play out. THey group were all confident in thier high tech, but overlooked the idea of a guard dog.

Turned out the dog was just a pet and went home with it's owner after hours, but that water dish completely altered how the players handled the warehouse.

 

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That's your choice as the Gm/Designer. I prefer the other direction as I think the XP method leads to what is essentially character classes, with any imporment in a side skill coming at the expense of the main skills. But again, your game, your choice.

I do prefer XP.
However you made me pause and unravel the evolution of my preferences. It has been a while I haven't used check mark and I couldn't remember why I disliked them.

I thought about it some more. And then I remembered Oblivion, Skyrim.. and how one spend the whole game jumping just in the hope of augmenting Athlectics and how some skill are hard to increase and that create contrived behavior.
And that is my main reason to use XP. I let the player augment whatever they want to augment for the same effort: 1xp. 

I personally believe the opposite of you, that it is much less class like that the generic adventurer everyone becomes using skill check mark...

Anyway, I could accept it being a short coming of my GMing style (that it is hard to get some check mark on some skill), but hey, Xp compensate my shortcoming well enough for me! :) 

 

6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

So the benefit of high Characteristics is solely in terms of improvement. 

mmm, yes... I hope it's good enough..
though it could be argued 90% in influence is good enough, no need to go over 100% and one could get that at character creation by passing the APP help.. 
Anyhow I am rolling characteristic in order without tweak, not using point buy or swapping dice, so it's not too bad whether APP is more or less important. (I do give player a final bonus though to add anywhere, just for feel good)

so, to circle back, yea APP might be the least usefull characteristic.. and I would ditch it if I were using point buy.... (but point buy don't work for aliens! :P )
but it does have an (significant but indirect) impact on social skill that way! :)
 

6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:
Quote

BTW I don't have pick lock or make trap intentionally, this is all electronic these days....

You might want to keep the door open for the low tech approach. You never know when someone might have something done the old way. In a recent game I ran, the PC were going to check out a warehouse. One of the characters is a IT specilaist, and managed to dig up all sorts of information on the warehouse online, including building plans, and access to the warehouse's inventory program via WIFI.  Then, their "intrusion specialist" got past the door,...and nearly stepped into the dog's water dish. I was a great moment to play out. THey group were all confident in thier high tech, but overlooked the idea of a guard dog.

Turned out the dog was just a pet and went home with it's owner after hours, but that water dish completely altered how the players handled the warehouse.

I mean I am not against low tech, but for pick lock, they just don't produce picklock repair and electronic skill will be used

As for trap.... mmm.... I think it's because I prefer to use crafting or survival roll...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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9 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That's your choice as the Gm/Designer. I prefer the other direction as I think the XP method leads to what is essentially character classes, with any imporment in a side skill coming at the expense of the main skills. But again, your game, your choice.

As for myself, I'm in favor of a "middle ground" : let the GM assign half the Xp/ticks he gives to skills used in-game, and let the player chose the other half.

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12 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

So the benefit of high Characteristics is solely in terms of improvement.

Well, characteristics do do a lot of things in BRP apart from (slightly) influencing skills, and have done so in other games long before skills were a thing. Damage bonus, ability to wield heavy or tricky weapons, strike rank, hit points, resisting poison, etc., etc. That's one of the reasons I've moved away from skill category bonuses or characteristic-derived base chances for skills.

In some ways, their most important feature IMO is simply helping players visualise characters (PCs and NPCs alike).

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38 minutes ago, Vile Traveller said:
13 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

So the benefit of high Characteristics is solely in terms of improvement.

Well, characteristics do do a lot of things in BRP apart from (slightly) influencing skills, and have done so in other games long before skills were a thing. Damage bonus, ability to wield heavy or tricky weapons, strike rank, hit points, resisting poison, etc., etc. That's one of the reasons I've moved away from skill category bonuses or characteristic-derived base chances for skills.

In some ways, their most important feature IMO is simply helping players visualise characters (PCs and NPCs alike).

Nobody missed out the little overlooked fact that STR and SIZ influence damage bonus, SIZ and CON influence HP and poison resistance, INT and DEX influence initiative and spell known. For example.

But you seem to have overlooked that APP does..... little! 😮 

All I settled for was a big impact on improving social skills. Much bigger than default BRP. That is what Atgxt was pointing out reproachedly....
But you know what? I think it's probably enough...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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12 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

But you seem to have overlooked that APP does..... little! 😮 

Sorry, it probably wasn't clear that that's what my last point was aiming at - characteristics do a great job of building an image of a character, and APP is probably the most important one of the lot in that respect.

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3 minutes ago, Vile Traveller said:

Sorry, it probably wasn't clear that that's what my last point was aiming at - characteristics do a great job of building an image of a character, and APP is probably the most important one of the lot in that respect.

mm.... I see.... well it does say whether or not the character looks good! ^_^

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2 hours ago, Vile Traveller said:

Sorry, it probably wasn't clear that that's what my last point was aiming at - characteristics do a great job of building an image of a character, and APP is probably the most important one of the lot in that respect.

Yes, but it often has no actual effect on play, and it often should. Let's face it, a gorgeous looking character is  more likely to talk another character into doing something because they are gorgeous.

I'm of the option that if a characteristic has no impact on game mechanics it can, and probably should be, dropped. People can just as easily choose their character's appearance. Yes, it will probably lead to the character being better looking that the norm, but that is sort of self correcting (if everyone is drop dead gorgeous, then looks have less of an effect) and certainly fits in with a cinematic campaign style. After all, we end up tracking lots of data for each character, we don't need to track stuff we won't use.

Either that or give the characteristic some actual game use.

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3 hours ago, Vile Traveller said:

Well, characteristics do do a lot of things in BRP apart from (slightly) influencing skills, and have done so in other games long before skills were a thing

Yes, but has already been pointed out APP doesn't do much. Compare the benefits of STR 18 in most BRP games ,to those of APP 18. STR 18 is far and away more useful. However in real life APP 18 probably does more for you.

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7 hours ago, Mugen said:

As for myself, I'm in favor of a "middle ground" : let the GM assign half the Xp/ticks he gives to skills used in-game, and let the player chose the other half.

That's not really a middle ground. Let me try to clarify what I mean:

  • In a game with skill checks, the skills that a character improves in are determined mostly by what a character does in the game. 
  • In a game where the players are given improvement rolls as a reward for play, then the skills that a character improves in are determined by choice, and limited by number of rolls awarded.

That means that a character in a skill check system will tend to improve organically, getting better at the things he or she does. But in a award system (XP) the character will tend to improve only in those things that they (or the GM for a GM assigned pick) choose to improve. This will lead to the character focusing on a handful of key skills to the exclusion of everything else. For instance if a character is supposed to be a warrior, and he is normally awarded 3 checks per session, then he will probably improve his primary melee weapon, primary parry, and primary missile weapon skill each session. Improving anything else comes at the expense of improving one of the big three skills. The end result is very similar to a class based RPG, as anyone who diversifies does so at the expense of their primary skills. Once improvement rolls become resources, they will be treated as such. 

Maybe this could be broken up in a critical success granted a character a bonus skill check that was outside the normal XP awards? That way the number of improvement rolls would be about the same, and the odd critical would lead to characters improving other skills, either become they got a bonus check in that skill, or one in a primary skill, giving them a "free" check to assign elsewhere.

 

 

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17 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That's not really a middle ground. Let me try to clarify what I mean:

Well, my proposal is a middle ground, because it only lets the player chose half the skill checks he receives at the end of the session.

The other half will be chosen by the GM, depending on what happened in the session, exactly like in a skill-box system. But the GM could give checks even on skills that were not rolled. For instance, if you spent days in game on saddle or in court, but with no significant event requiring a skill check.

Also, I disagree XP systems automatically lead players to chose to always increase the same skills. At least, that's not my experience.

Edited by Mugen
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Well... Mugen, while I don't disagree with you, in fact I even prefer XP too!
I think you might have missed one of the core message of Atgxtg: is that XP vs in game skill check mark is ultimately a matter if taste!
Stress on GM's taste here....

 

Other than that I am not all disagreement, thanks for illustrating how the 2 system differs :)
I do believe the XP system is not as bad as Atgxtg make is sound! ^_^ 
In fact I think it's quite good.. pacing progress and letting player increase what they want, and also "as realistic" as progress system goes...

For example: a sport student and a science student both attend a LARP tournament and do their study. One month later: even though both have increased their wooden sword fighting skills, I am pretty sure the sport student would have increased sword skill and physical skill more, while the science student will have continue to increase science topic as well!

 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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Question for Atgxtg or like minded people.

Would make an exception on the 20% flat skill value start for Influence. And make it 2xAPP% instead be a... more satisfactory change?

Nevermind, not going to do it...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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23 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I'm of the option that if a characteristic has no impact on game mechanics it can, and probably should be, dropped.

Taking things out of the context of BRP, I actually believe a skill-based RPG would be better without any characteristics at all. I think their existence in BRP is simply due to the evolution of RQ out of D&D. But I've gotten used to the seven in this game (whether the last one is CHA and APP), so I'd be reluctant to drop any regardless of their mechanical utility. 🙂

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Another possible angle would be to make CHA (not APP) and POW a single characteristic: POW. A high Power could mean someone of charisma who can exert influence and manipulate others if wanted.

Edited by el_octogono
typos
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18 minutes ago, el_octogono said:

Another possible angle would be to make CHA (not APP) and POW a single characteristic: POW. A high Power could mean someone of charisma who can exert influence and manipulate others if wanted.

YUp.

'Dexterity' already includes both fine-motor (Dexterity) and gross-motor (Reflexes or Agility or Speed).

'Intelligence' already includes academic ability and depth of thinking (Intelligence) and acuity, processing-speed and awareness (Perception)*.

So folding Charisma into Power and/or Size into Strength make perfect sense and quite inline with the existing precedence.

 

*admittedly the d100-family is not completely consistent here: sometimes Perception depends upon intelligence (the Idea roll for example), sometimes on Power and sometimes on both.

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6 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Well... Mugen, while I don't disagree with you, in fact I even prefer XP too!
I think you might have missed one of the core message of Atgxtg: is that XP vs in game skill check mark is ultimately a matter if taste!
Stress on GM's taste here....

 

Other than that I am not all disagreement, thanks for illustrating how the 2 system differs :)
I do believe the XP system is not as bad as Atgxtg make is sound! ^_^ 
In fact I think it's quite good.. pacing progress and letting player increase what they want, and also "as realistic" as progress system goes...

For example: a sport student and a science student both attend a LARP tournament and do their study. One month later: even though both have increased their wooden sword fighting skills, I am pretty sure the sport student would have increased sword skill and physical skill more, while the science student will have continue to increase science topic as well!

 

I think (and all obviously IMMOO) the hybrid halfway house model allows for MGF.

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5 hours ago, Vile Traveller said:

Taking things out of the context of BRP, I actually believe a skill-based RPG would be better without any characteristics at all. I think their existence in BRP is simply due to the evolution of RQ out of D&D. But I've gotten used to the seven in this game (whether the last one is CHA and APP), so I'd be reluctant to drop any regardless of their mechanical utility. 🙂

I've toyed with the idea of eliminating attributes and replacing them with a merit/flaw system. The idea being that the vast majority of people are average, and we don't need to track average stats. Everything not average would be a merit or flaw., for example, a character who is strong, could get a +1d4 damage bonus, possibly a +5% increase to certain skills, and lifting. 

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11 hours ago, Mugen said:

Well, my proposal is a middle ground, because it only lets the player chose half the skill checks he receives at the end of the session.

The other half will be chosen by the GM, depending on what happened in the session, exactly like in a skill-box system. But the GM could give checks even on skills that were not rolled. For instance, if you spent days in game on saddle or in court, but with no significant event requiring a skill check.

THe reason why it isn't a middle ground is becuase someone is still choosing. Therefore all advancement is by choice. 

 

11 hours ago, Mugen said:

Also, I disagree XP systems automatically lead players to chose to always increase the same skills. At least, that's not my experience.

It depends on how many increases they get. The fewer the awards the more likely those awards will be put towards key skills. Look at some experienced Mythas characters compared to similarly experienced BRP characters and the Mythas characters will tend to be more narrow focused. It's practically a mathematical certainty, since such characters will, on average,  get fewer checks, since the GM awards a certain number.

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On 6/18/2020 at 1:25 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

I do prefer XP.
However you made me pause and unravel the evolution of my preferences.

It's your choice.

 

On 6/18/2020 at 1:25 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

It has been a while I haven't used check mark and I couldn't remember why I disliked them.

I thought about it some more. And then I remembered Oblivion, Skyrim.. and how one spend the whole game jumping just in the hope of augmenting Athlectics and how some skill are hard to increase and that create contrived behavior.
And that is my main reason to use XP. I let the player augment whatever they want to augment for the same effort: 1xp. 

Ah, basically the old "skill check hunting" argument.Interesting, except that RQ and BRP games always noted that skills had to be used in stress situations and that the GM was the abriter of what merited a skill check or not. So someone going around making a bunch of frivolous jumps wouldn't work, so no check.

 

On 6/18/2020 at 1:25 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

I personally believe the opposite of you, that it is much less class like that the generic adventurer everyone becomes using skill check mark...

Well, it should be easy to spot with an experienced group. My  argument is that as improvement roles become scarcer, the more likely players will spend them on their key skills, becuase they improve their chances of survival. A PC is better off with Sword 80% than Sword 40% and Axe 40%. IN BRP, depending on circumstances, players tend to pick up the odd check here and there in a skill that they didn't want to use but were stuck using. 

But again, it's a matter of preference. 

On 6/18/2020 at 1:25 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

mmm, yes... I hope it's good enough..

Yeah. Personally I'd consider altering the skill bases (say Attribute+10% or Attribute x2% instead of the flat 20%), but even that isn't a huge difference. 

On 6/18/2020 at 1:25 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

I mean I am not against low tech, but for pick lock, they just don't produce picklock repair and electronic skill will be used

As for trap.... mmm.... I think it's because I prefer to use crafting or survival roll...

Okay, so you still have high tech skills that can be used for the job, just not those specific skills. Sounds good to me. I was more concerned about making everything high tech, and losing out on some low tech obstacles. 

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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:
Quote

It has been a while I haven't used check mark and I couldn't remember why I disliked them.

I thought about it some more. And then I remembered Oblivion, Skyrim.. and how one spend the whole game jumping just in the hope of augmenting Athlectics and how some skill are hard to increase and that create contrived behavior.
And that is my main reason to use XP. I let the player augment whatever they want to augment for the same effort: 1xp. 

Ah, basically the old "skill check hunting" argument.Interesting, except that RQ and BRP games always noted that skills had to be used in stress situations and that the GM was the abriter of what merited a skill check or not. So someone going around making a bunch of frivolous jumps wouldn't work, so no check.

Since we are debating it.. Another 3 problems I fear from skill check marks, and I am curious to read your repartee:

- 1. Most players will increase all their combat skills... And almost no player will increase any other skills... and most player will end up looking the same
- 2. most of the other skill will rarely if ever increase
- 3. I find it a bit too easy to make a warrior-mage-thief-alchemist with skillmark. Whereas with XP, one can do it too, but it takes a bit more effort

 

8 hours ago, Al. said:

I think (and all obviously IMMOO) the hybrid halfway house model allows for MGF.

This doesn't seem to add much to the conversation but, just out of curiosity, I wouldn't mind a plain English version!

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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19 hours ago, el_octogono said:

Another possible angle would be to make CHA (not APP) and POW a single characteristic: POW. A high Power could mean someone of charisma who can exert influence and manipulate others if wanted.

Well, that's how I understand the replacement of CHA by APP in the 80s : POW already covered all the non-intellectual aspects of communication except physical beauty. 

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11 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

This doesn't seem to add much to the conversation but, just out of curiosity, I wouldn't mind a plain English version!

Fair one.

I slipped into using two acronyms which I've internalised to the extent of not considering my audience:

 

IMO - In My Opinion became IMMOO - In My Monkey Overlord's Opinion - during a fairly heated debate on another RPG forum (some people stating that all statements should be prefaced with IMO to avoid being presented as incontrovertible fact and others responding that of course everything they stated was in their opinion, it wasn't forced upon them by their Monkey Overlord).

MGF - Maximum Game Fun - the idea that whatever rules decisions we make should be to maximise how much fun we are having at the table rather than elegance of algorithms, being true to the source materials, believability, realism or other fine sentiments.

 

So I suppose in plain language:

In my opinion, which I do not expect everyone or anyone to share, I think that; the most fun version of the experience rules would be if half of the improvements are chosen by the player and half allocated according to which skills are successfully used most often.

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12 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Since we are debating it.. Another 3 problems I fear from skill check marks, and I am curious to read your repartee:

- 1. Most players will increase all their combat skills... And almost no player will increase any other skills... and most player will end up looking the same

Not if they are using skills other than combat skills - and that depends a lot of the GM and the stype of adventures being run. If every adventure is something that comes down to a fight, and other skills aren't used, then yes combat skills will run away from the other skills, but if the game is gonig that way the same will certinaly be true in a XP award system, since the combat skills will be so much more important than the other skills. No one will spend XP  to raise a skill such as  Jump if they are't going to use it.

12 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

- 2. most of the other skill will rarely if ever increase

Only if other skills aren't being used. Again this problems would be more pronounced in a game using XP awards, as players won't spend XP on skills they don't use.  

12 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

- 3. I find it a bit too easy to make a warrior-mage-thief-alchemist with skillmark. Whereas with XP, one can do it too, but it takes a bit more effort

Your the first I've ever heard claim so. Not only that, but this statement seems to contradict  you previous 2 points. If only combat skills are going up and the other skills are lagging behind, then then how did their mage, their and alchemist skills go up?

12 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

This doesn't seem to add much to the conversation but, just out of curiosity, I wouldn't mind a plain English version!

Pendragon uses a mix of skill checks and selected improvements with it's chargen, winter training, and glory awards. What tends to happen is that players improve rapidly in the key skills for a knight (Sword, Lance, Horsemanship) and one or two other useful skills (Courtesy, Awareness, Hunting, First Aid, Tourney etc.) with the other skills (Religion (various), Read (Language), Swim generally going up slowly as they get used in play. The core skills tend to slow down once they hit 20 (100% in BRP), and the players will start to work on secondary and other skills once their core skills are maxed out or nearly maxed out. 

I think that has something to do with how skills work in BRP games as much as how improvement is handled. Generally speaking, players don't want to fail, and so avoid making skill rolls for skills below 10 (50% in BRP). In other games, difficulties are often scaled. So someone who has Boating +5 in a D20 game can row across a pond with an easy (TN 10) roll most of the time. With BRP games, such situations sometimes have a skills modifier or even a difficulty multiplier but more likely do not, or the modifier isn't as significant a factor. For instance a character with Boating 25% in BRP who doubles it for a easy roll is still failing half the time. This tends to make low rated skills practically useless, and something only used as a matter of last resort. For example,  a character trapped on the third floor of a burning building might use Jump 20% to reduce the falling damage, as it a better than nothing, but the same character probably isn't going around jumping over hedges.

Since character lives tend to depend more on combat rolls than other rolls, characters usually concentrate any awards into those skills.Skills with a nasty downside (Swim, Bomb Disposal) are particularly avoided when low.

Now the skill check mechanics help somewhat with this, as characters who do get stuck relying on a low skill that succeed tend to improve a little. For example a knight in Pendragon who repeatedly gets called upon to tell a story (Orate skill) should eventually become competent as doing so even if he never devotes any practice towards the skill. 

 

 

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