Jump to content

Specialisations (talent substitute)


Nikoli

Recommended Posts

Hi Guys,

I’ve always liked the idea of talents to diversify characters, or the old White Wolf and WEG Star Wars (2e) system of specialisations. For Magic World, this could be easily implemented to further diversity characters and give then more colour.

-System

When a skill reaches 75%, the player chooses a word to specialise the skill and to denote an area of talent or further focus. E.g., Climb (trees/building/sheer surfaces/wet surfaces); dodge (swords, axes, etc); track (greenskins); Sense (danger, lies, movement, ambush) etc. Anytime a character gets 75%, he chooses a speciality. When the player rolls under the sphere of this speciality, he can ‘flip’ the die, making the units tens and the tens units, in order to succeed. (I would use this instead of a reroll, as I would use fortune points for regular rerolls.) So a roll of 63, whether successful or not, can be flipped to 36 at the player’s choice. 
 

Weapon skills might denote the particular weapon being used, such as broadsword, though if you have other suggestions, let me know. Perhaps the type of opponent: broadword (orcs; humans; duels) or bow (long shots; hunting; from cover) etc. Knowledge skills can likewise be specialised, such as Own Language (research/translation/oratorical tone) etc.

So, what do you think? It seems a relatively simple and colourful way to add depth to player characters and NPCs.

Thanks,

N.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like specialisations, I loath dice manipulation tricks (too many players over too many years getting stressed by them)... but leaving aside that personal aversion to a mechanical detail,  I have a similar house rule where skills are general and specialisations have a variety of effects: some specialisations are requirements (without the specific specialisation you do NOT get to roll), with some not having them makes the roll more difficult and with some having it makes the roll easier.

So if the character does NOT have any languages in the same group, they can't even attempt a languages roll to understand the strangers; a language in the same family would allow a roll but its hard (halve skill) and if the have the language they get a normal roll. A character without a specialisation in the High Nines can attempt a Navigate roll to find the high pass at Tan Hill, but without the specialisation its a hard roll. An Apothecary with a specialisation in healing poultices can use spherum to making a healing poultice with an easy roll.

One thing I want to test in anger once I can game face to face again is reducing weapon skills in MW to Melee, Unarmed, Missile (thrown / self-powered things like darts, slings, bows) and Projectiles (Cross bows and other stored energy weapons), with MW weapon classes as specialisations.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

I like specialisations, I loath dice manipulation tricks (too many players over too many years getting stressed by them)... but leaving aside that personal aversion to a mechanical detail,  I have a similar house rule where skills are general and specialisations have a variety of effects: some specialisations are requirements (without the specific specialisation you do NOT get to roll), with some not having them makes the roll more difficult and with some having it makes the roll easier.

So if the character does NOT have any languages in the same group, they can't even attempt a languages roll to understand the strangers; a language in the same family would allow a roll but its hard (halve skill) and if the have the language they get a normal roll. A character without a specialisation in the High Nines can attempt a Navigate roll to find the high pass at Tan Hill, but without the specialisation its a hard roll. An Apothecary with a specialisation in healing poultices can use spherum to making a healing poultice with an easy roll.

One thing I want to test in anger once I can game face to face again is reducing weapon skills in MW to Melee, Unarmed, Missile (thrown / self-powered things like darts, slings, bows) and Projectiles (Cross bows and other stored energy weapons), with MW weapon classes as specialisations.

You might be right about the mechanic being a bit fiddly. Maybe an extra reroll is enough, though I might try the flip mechanic.

I like your ideas. I’m also sympathetic to the general melee, missile, unarmed, etc., skills, with specialisations in particular weapon classes. WEG Star Wars does that. Though perhaps a person really can be a noob with certain weapons, like a swordsman trying to use nunchuks. But specialisations in general give more depth and colour to characters, which I think is needed in a game that is not heavy on skill lists and, with MW, has no talents. I kept looking at the character sheet and imagining that characters would appear too samey...but now I feel they can have some colour, with specialisations relating to their histories or, if a skill goes over 75% in play, it should relate to the adventure. A WFRP Troll Slayer might have Battleaxe (trolls) and dodge (trolls), for example. Previously I was struggling to pitch the game to counter the way D&D can allow such customisation/differentiation. I think specialisations are the key to do it.

I’m wondering whether to allow more. Perhaps another ever 25% or ever 50%. So either another at 100 or 125. I’m not sure. I suppose allowing it at 100 would also further allow customisation and for the adventure to shape the characters. So an adventure that took players navigating through the High Nines, where the navigate skill increases over 75% or 100%, would see High Nines taken as a specialisation (if being quite specific) or, perhaps my approach, with ‘Navigate (passes)’. 
 

The current MW character sheet has plenty of room to write in specialisations, so I’m quite happy about this. I neglected to mention the flip (or reroll) might only occur once per session. I’m not sure if it should be a constant, but maybe it should be? I suppose it might make sense to have that benefit always on. I’m not sure if it’s too powerful then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Nikoli said:

You might be right about the mechanic being a bit fiddly. Maybe an extra reroll is enough, though I might try the flip mechanic.

Try it in play. The “switch values” mechanic on d100 goes back to at least WFRP 1e and has its fans, so I wouldn’t be overly influenced by one nay sayer on the internet! 😉

Quote

I like your ideas. I’m also sympathetic to the general melee, missile, unarmed, etc., skills, with specialisations in particular weapon classes. WEG Star Wars does that. Though perhaps a person really can be a noob with certain weapons, like a swordsman trying to use nunchuks. But specialisations in general give more depth and colour to characters, which I think is needed in a game that is not heavy on skill lists and, with MW, has no talents. I kept looking at the character sheet and imagining that characters would appear too samey...but now I feel they can have some colour, with specialisations relating to their histories or, if a skill goes over 75% in play, it should relate to the adventure. A WFRP Troll Slayer might have Battleaxe (trolls) and dodge (trolls), for example. Previously I was struggling to pitch the game to counter the way D&D can allow such customisation/differentiation. I think specialisations are the key to do it.

I got into DP9s Silhouette system very late (like, last decade or so, bearing in mind DP9 stoped actively supporting RPGs in the early to mid 00’s...), and one of the features I liked was how that handled specialisations in its skill system.

I spent a decade (1990’s) steel weapon re-enacting the Wars of the Roses, and one of my oldest gaming buddies has a lot of HEMA & LARP combat experience and a common complaint from both of us is RPGs tendency to make specific weapons separate skills, when a huge amount of what matters in ones competence in hand to hand melee is independent of the specific weapons in hand. Absolutely there are specific techniques that apply to e.g. a one handed axe that do not apply to a long spear and vice versa: but the degree of distinction that a skill per weapon, or weapon class in Magic World, impose seem to us excessive. Unsurprisingly we are both big fans of RQ6/Mythras style Combat Styles. 

Quote

I’m wondering whether to allow more. Perhaps another ever 25% or ever 50%. So either another at 100 or 125. I’m not sure. I suppose allowing it at 100 would also further allow customisation and for the adventure to shape the characters. So an adventure that took players navigating through the High Nines, where the navigate skill increases over 75% or 100%, would see High Nines taken as a specialisation (if being quite specific) or, perhaps my approach, with ‘Navigate (passes)’. 
 

I would definitely do something like that - in fact, <shameless self promotion> I did in the Arete rules in Advanced Sorcery </ssp>. The exact thresholds were different, but the basic principle of simply being skilled enough got you a benefit was there.

So I might say you get your first specialisation at 51%+ (I divided skills: 50 or below was Inexperienced, 51-100 was Professional, 101+ was Master). So a Professional gets one specialisation, a Master gets a second and each 50 threshold thereafter would add another. But the specific thresholds are obviously up for debate and tailoring to the specific feel and pace of development one desires.

Actually, in my current house rules any skill one has improved in character generation (i.e. had actual training in, is not at base score and is marked as a profession skill for advancement) I give a free specialisation in.

Quote

The current MW character sheet has plenty of room to write in specialisations, so I’m quite happy about this. I neglected to mention the flip (or reroll) might only occur once per session. I’m not sure if it should be a constant, but maybe it should be? I suppose it might make sense to have that benefit always on. I’m not sure if it’s too powerful then.

I would be tempted to see what the player group thinks, maybe try it in play. My regular groups are generally not fans of that sort of “meta-currency” type approach, hence my “always on and it contributes to when and against what target you roll”, but if it works for your group, it’s all good.

Edited by NickMiddleton
Typos / generally clarity
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks! Lots of ideas to mull over. I like the idea of giving specialisations to the professional skills at character generation. Makes sense. I think the 51% also makes sense. I had considered it, and saw the 75% as something to attain, though it likely makes more sense to make the threshold at the entry to the professional level, or to profession skills generally, since the benefit of specialisations is the dept it gives to characters. So in that case having it as a carrot for development is maybe not as good as allowing them earlier on, either at 51% or in professional skills. 
 

Perhaps house ruling that increased professional skills get a specialisation as standard, as you do, and all other skills at 51%, might be the way to go. That would further make professions differentiate, so two with Bargain can have very different specialisations right out the gate (e.g., Bargain - for horses; Bargain -  for contracts).

Nice!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I quite like specialisations (when my players are up for the greater granularity). The key thing to always keep in mind for every specialisation is to make them of roughly equivalent utility. For example, you wouldn't want Climb [Mountains] and Climb [Rope Ladder] as the former would cover a much wider range of possible applications than the latter. I like my specialisations to be a bit specialised, but not too specialised. 😉

  • Like 1

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Vile Traveller said:

I quite like specialisations (when my players are up for the greater granularity). The key thing to always keep in mind for every specialisation is to make them of roughly equivalent utility. For example, you wouldn't want Climb [Mountains] and Climb [Rope Ladder] as the former would cover a much wider range of possible applications than the latter. I like my specialisations to be a bit specialised, but not too specialised. 😉

I agree. Though Climb (rope) might suit. I can see how some players, perhaps based on concept or the ongoing adventure, might choose or end up with specialties that are not strictly as useful. But I’d aim to make them useful and not be TOO specific. It’s definitely important to keep in mind!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...