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Skill base chances. What do you prefer ?


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One of the factors I am always wondering is, that many GMs dont care what the fact means that a PC or NPC has a very high skill. I think this means that this skill dominates his life and he has probably not much time to do anything else than practice and train this skill. Eg. consider a modern athlet who is able to jump 7m or more. He has to train his jump skill the whole day and would never be able to participate in longer adventures. So high skills may be ok for cinematic games but for realistic ones specialists with over 100% should have a time/motivation problem.

In that case (long jump), it is as much a limitation of innate capabilities than one of training and dedication.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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The skill system works very good, if you use either the simple one (without modifiers) or the complex version. Of course its not an absolute law per se. You have to do some houseruling from time to time, just to adapt the system to specific situations.

Regarding Einstein, I would say that he had a very high INT and EDU and a math skill of maybe 110% or so. Normally I regard 45%-65% as standard. Only a few extraordinary people ever reach skills above 100%.

One of the factors I am always wondering is, that many GMs dont care what the fact means that a PC or NPC has a very high skill. I think this means that this skill dominates his life and he has probably not much time to do anything else than practice and train this skill. Eg. consider a modern athlet who is able to jump 7m or more. He has to train his jump skill the whole day and would never be able to participate in longer adventures. So high skills may be ok for cinematic games but for realistic ones specialists with over 100% should have a time/motivation problem.

A few games, like HARNMASTER do have rules for skill decay. Usually they are a little forgiving on the requirements for maintaining a skill. The Harn rules would work in BRP too. Basically I think it is a question of how far do you want to go with such details. RQ has never tracked armor damage either. It certainly happens, and is at least as important as skill maintenance, but generally isn't considered worth the effort.

Then again, if we are going to be realistic about skill maintenance, then we should be so for skill acquisition. Realistically speaking, the experience check method is much too generous. Most improvement would be by training, and the D6 increase is way too much. More like 1 point, maybe 1D2 with training.

It all boils down to where we want to draw the line.

I can think of dozens of things that are equally unrealistic that we allow, including all the fantastic monsters and species. It's hard to push for realism in a unrealistic setting.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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There is a HUGE difference between realism per se and internal consistency, though.

I think they are two separate things. A game can be internally consistent and be completely unreal, and vice versa. One thing about an RPG is that it has to balance out several differernt objectives to attempt to be a playable compromise.

No two people ever agree to what extent component X, Y, or Z should be stressed. Hence we have had hundred of RPGs over the years.

It gets even more complicated since the items to be stressed change from genre to genre. So even a game that handles one setting very well, probably needs to be altered to be able to handle another one well.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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A few games, like HARNMASTER do have rules for skill decay. Usually they are a little forgiving on the requirements for maintaining a skill. The Harn rules would work in BRP too. Basically I think it is a question of how far do you want to go with such details. RQ has never tracked armor damage either. It certainly happens, and is at least as important as skill maintenance, but generally isn't considered worth the effort.

As I recall, RQ:AIG had optional skill decay rules. As you say, its mostly an issue of whether you want to deal with the extra bookkeeping.

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As I recall, RQ:AIG had optional skill decay rules. As you say, its mostly an issue of whether you want to deal with the extra bookkeeping.

I think the easiest method was was was used in HARNMASTER and Flashing Blades. Basically you had to get a skill check every so often or decline. Training and practice also counted.

What was nice about the Flashing Blades approach is that it allowed adventuring to help maintain skills. I once had a character end up going to war for six months and got enough checks to keep my primary weapon skills going just fine.

Eventually, I hit a point where I could maintain one or two skills at peak form and had to let the rest slide a little. That is probably about the right way to handle that in an RPG. There was nothing capping off any of my skills either than the time I had free to train.

I was reaching the point where I was considering retiring from my position as Constable General to have time to devote to mastering my rapier. My "sideline" as a banker was providing most of my income at that point anyway.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I don't know. Where is "here"? Right now I can narrow it down to about 13,000km.

I'm in the Twin Cities. (That's St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota to anyone not knowing the reference.)

Just that they don't cover all situations. Basically opening the door for Quantum mechanics. Still, "Newtonian" Physics don't "work" all the time either, but will work nicely for practically any walk of life except for physicists and some electronics specialists.

Yep. Newton covered everything (except electricity) for day-to-day life. It's only really small and really big things that his work breaks down for. The field of nanotech may actually change that, interestingly.

Personally, I don't think we've figured out just how the universe actually works. Physics is sort of like a very detailed RPG. I models what the real world does very well, but isn't quite what the real world is actually doing.

Interesting. If I'm reading you right, what you're saying is that physics describes what's happening and frequently accurately predicts what will happen, but fails to describe why it happens. That is true. There's a lot of "why"s that are known, but a many more that aren't. Gravity is the classic example of that: well known, described, and predicted, but exactly why two mass attract each other is a mystery.

Yeah. From what I've seen about Eistien he probably couldn't balance his checkbook. It is really difficult, if not impossible to handle things like leaps on insite in RPG terms. Discovers tend to seem very logical cause & effect, after they are made. Its a lot like knowing who the killer is after you read the book.

The issue I was thinking about was a dynamic vs. static universe. He never accepted a dynamic (increasing) universe, despite the fact that his theories are what lead people down the path fo discovering that the universe is in fact increasing in size...and lead to the concept of the universe once existing in single point.

Caps don't work for a lot of setting too. Rune Level characters either become impossible, or need a loophole (like in old RQ, when only Rune Levels went over 100%).

Good point.

Regarding Einstein, I would say that he had a very high INT and EDU and a math skill of maybe 110% or so. Normally I regard 45%-65% as standard. Only a few extraordinary people ever reach skills above 100%.

I set my steps a bit higher than that. I roughly think of 50% as being someone with experience or training in a skill, but only the verge of making a living with it. I set a journyman level at 75% and then the master level (per the rules) at 90%. So, I assume that it's very common for an experienced, dedicated person to have a 90% in their primary wage-earning skill...or at that 75%+ level in several skills if they are all core to the profession. It's tough to get from 90% to over 100%, but 100% skills are fairly easy to come by in RQ so they come up frequently. The big deal is when skills get in excess of 125% in my experience. It's not uncommon for an experienced PC to do this, but it definitely takes time and the right skill/stat set.

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I'm in the Twin Cities. (That's St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota to anyone not knowing the reference.)

Ah, since in on the East coast that's "only" half a country away. ;)

Interesting. If I'm reading you right, what you're saying is that physics describes what's happening and frequently accurately predicts what will happen, but fails to describe why it happens. That is true. There's a lot of "why"s that are known, but a many more that aren't. Gravity is the classic example of that: well known, described, and predicted, but exactly why two mass attract each other is a mystery.

A good part of it. Without knowing the "whys" we tend to miss a bit of the "hows". Gravity is always a fun one to mention since unlike most other unexplained things, it's existence is accepted. People know that gravity exists, design vehicles to counteract it, and yet really don't know what it is.

But I also suspect that some of what we "know" is actually not true, but simply an approximation that happens to fit our data. Science is good for the occasion paradigm shift. Sort of like the Sun going round the Earth. Everyone knew it was how things worked, until they found out that it didn't-and even then they had to have it rubbed in their faces to get the point across.

Our models for the universe are better than those of our ancestors, but they are still models. I'm sure there are a couple of surprises left in store for us.

The issue I was thinking about was a dynamic vs. static universe. He never accepted a dynamic (increasing) universe, despite the fact that his theories are what lead people down the path fo discovering that the universe is in fact increasing in size...and lead to the concept of the universe once existing in single point. [.quote]

Well, anyone who stated that God did not roll dice can't be right about everything. :D

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Regarding Einstein, I would say that he had a very high INT and EDU and a math skill of maybe 110% or so. Normally I regard 45%-65% as standard.

Actually, Einstein wasn't that good at Maths, apparently. He apparently had a Mathematician, whose name escapes me, who did a lot of the maths for him. Of course, I was told this by a mathematician at University whilst on a Pure Maths course, so I might be a little biased.

He certainly had a Theoretical Physics skill of over 100%.

Only a few extraordinary people ever reach skills above 100%.

Now, there I would disagree.

I don't know the penalties in BRP for doing something difficult, but if you had a problem that was difficult (-50%) and a very skilled person could do this just about every time he tried it, then he would have a skill of 150%. It's difficult to generalise about these things without concrete examples to back them up, but I would say that a lot of experts would have skills way above 100%.

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Now, there I would disagree.

I don't know the penalties in BRP for doing something difficult, but if you had a problem that was difficult (-50%) and a very skilled person could do this just about every time he tried it, then he would have a skill of 150%. It's difficult to generalise about these things without concrete examples to back them up, but I would say that a lot of experts would have skills way above 100%.

If you use the CoC way of difficulties (1/2 skill for Hard), that means he has over 200%, not counting he has situational modifiers. And it seems the new BRP works that way. So, skills over 250% should be feasible.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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As I recall, RQ:AIG had optional skill decay rules. As you say, its mostly an issue of whether you want to deal with the extra bookkeeping.

Well, I did meant that specific rules should be necessary in order to maintain extreme high skills. I ranted because it seems that many GMs dont seem to waste a second of time thinking about the implications such a high skill probably poses to the player and the game itself. I would even be satisfied with a "light" (a symbolic and not so realistic) solution, like the player describing (or maybe playing out) some training sessions every few days, just to say "Hey people look, I dont forget that I have to pay a price for my super skill".

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Well, I did meant that specific rules should be necessary in order to maintain extreme high skills. I ranted because it seems that many GMs dont seem to waste a second of time thinking about the implications such a high skill probably poses to the player and the game itself. I would even be satisfied with a "light" (a symbolic and not so realistic) solution, like the player describing (or maybe playing out) some training sessions every few days, just to say "Hey people look, I dont forget that I have to pay a price for my super skill".

Seriously, is that really necessary? Making the player say every session "oh, by the way, I train in my skills."

I assume that while not adventuring, the character is practicing his/her skills in their field of expertise or job. That is sufficient for me. The training rules are for extra training above and beyond the normal upkeep of their current skills, or learning new skills althogether.

Now, the concept of skill decay is a valid one I think, but only in very specialized skills and situations. For example, a demolitions expert who hasn't done anything in a couple of years or more. In highly specialized fields, skill decay represents that the body of knowledge in that field has moved forward while the character has not keep up with techniques and technologies.

If I were using skill decay rules, then I would include specialized combat skills like Martial Arts, but not simple combat skills like Fist or Mace.

BRP Ze 32/420

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Seriously, is that really necessary? Making the player say every session "oh, by the way, I train in my skills."

I assume that while not adventuring, the character is practicing his/her skills in their field of expertise or job. That is sufficient for me. The training rules are for extra training above and beyond the normal upkeep of their current skills, or learning new skills althogether.

Now, the concept of skill decay is a valid one I think, but only in very specialized skills and situations. For example, a demolitions expert who hasn't done anything in a couple of years or more. In highly specialized fields, skill decay represents that the body of knowledge in that field has moved forward while the character has not keep up with techniques and technologies.

If I were using skill decay rules, then I would include specialized combat skills like Martial Arts, but not simple combat skills like Fist or Mace.

I'd say that it has a lot to do with the style and tone of the campaign. One thing to consider though is that if the GM stresses training and decay, then he should also be responsible to ensuring that the bad guys/monsters need to train too. So if a PC has been chasing some guy for weeks and hasn't been able to maintain his skills, the other guy is probably in the same boat.

We generally don't worry much about armor maintenance, or the minor aches and pains, colds, shaving, or even going to the bathroom in gaming. Would we want to?

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I'd say that it has a lot to do with the style and tone of the campaign. One thing to consider though is that if the GM stresses training and decay, then he should also be responsible to ensuring that the bad guys/monsters need to train too. So if a PC has been chasing some guy for weeks and hasn't been able to maintain his skills, the other guy is probably in the same boat.

We generally don't worry much about armor maintenance, or the minor aches and pains, colds, shaving, or even going to the bathroom in gaming. Would we want to?

Yeah. There's usually a limit to the depth of simulation that even simulationist-bent types want to go to, here.

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Just to be clear: I'm not knocking your opinion on this subject Enpeze. :)Personally, I don't need to go into that level of detail with my games. Once again, I think that skill decay rules are fine in some cases. I just might differ on the rate of decay, and which skills are affected by decay than other people.

BRP Ze 32/420

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Yeah. There's usually a limit to the depth of simulation that even simulationist-bent types want to go to, here.

Yeah. I remember once, having to keep track of how much Toilet Paper my character had. But that was in a post WWIII RPG, where Toilet Tissue was a luxury.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Just to be clear: I'm not knocking your opinion on this subject Enpeze. :)

No prob. IMO exchanging opinions is one of the good things of this forum.:)

Personally, I don't need to go into that level of detail with my games.

Its not adding any "detail" per se. My rant is just about roleplaying the physical, psychical and social implications of very high skills and that most GM and players tend to ignore these.

Once again, I think that skill decay rules are fine in some cases.

Well, again I want to say that I would not like to have game rules for decay. I dont want to have many rules in my games at all. BRP has enough rules. More are not necessary. I am not even sure if I like the skill decay some people here see as solution. Because there are other more important implications than decay. Like the fact that most PCs with such a high skill have surely absolute preferences in their lifes. Namely THIS skill and nothing more else. Eg. do you think that an athlete with lets say 100%+ has many more interests outside of his special sport? 80% of his wake time he is busy to learn more about his athletic passion, train, meeting with other equal sportsmen, taking enhancement nutrition and drugs, scientists which make specific tests with him, giving interviews in sports magazines etc. Probably nearly EVERYTHING in his life is under the tyranny of his passion. Otherwise he would never reach 115% (insert skill). That is what I meant. He dont have to say literally every day: "I train for my 110% gun". He should just roleplay that what he and his GM thinks a high skill means. If this is too uncomfortable for him and/or his GM they could still ignore it of course, like always. But they should realize that then plausibility of the game suffers, especially if they want to play a gritty and "realistic" game and not just a cinematic powergame (where everyone and his dog can play a Bruce Willis)

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Yes, I understand. I agree as well. There are several or more skills that support the one master skill, and the character would have adequate skill levels in those support skills.

I always like to have a good spread of skills for my characters (no matter the system), and one or two specialty skills. One-trick ponies are fine once in a while, but not for the majority of characters I create.

I am mildly amused when I see characters that are only focusing on one or two skills; especially in systems that have skills points or ranks to distribute at the player's discretion. Of course, this only my personal view. I am not knocking anybody's style of play or character creation and advancement.

Personally, I just like characters that are diverse and can handle themselves adequately in a wide range of situations.

BRP Ze 32/420

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Yes, I understand. I agree as well. There are several or more skills that support the one master skill, and the character would have adequate skill levels in those support skills.

I always like to have a good spread of skills for my characters (no matter the system), and one or two specialty skills. One-trick ponies are fine once in a while, but not for the majority of characters I create.

I am mildly amused when I see characters that are only focusing on one or two skills; especially in systems that have skills points or ranks to distribute at the player's discretion. Of course, this only my personal view. I am not knocking anybody's style of play or character creation and advancement.

Personally, I just like characters that are diverse and can handle themselves adequately in a wide range of situations.

That is one of my peeves with MRQ. By assigning skill improvement rolls rather than using the check system, it leads to characters having fewer skills. Most players will look at raising a perception or athletic skill as points that could have been used to raise combat skills.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Yeah. I remember once, having to keep track of how much Toilet Paper my character had. But that was in a post WWIII RPG, where Toilet Tissue was a luxury.

Back when we were playing Aftermath!, monitoring pretty trivial resources was routine, but I don't think I'd want to go to that extent even in a post-holocaust game these days.

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That is one of my peeves with MRQ. By assigning skill improvement rolls rather than using the check system, it leads to characters having fewer skills. Most players will look at raising a perception or athletic skill as points that could have been used to raise combat skills.

Well, the flip side of that is that under traditional RQ, you not infrequently ended up with the rich getting richer (as the people who already had a useful range of skills got more checks than other people; this could be particularly annoying when you had someone with a skill that was really only useful to have one person do (a lot of social skill usage, picking locks, and so on). I know you're not going to see this quite the same way I do given our past disagreement of what is easy to focus group activity on and what isn't, but it worked out that way in practice for a lot of people. You also had a tendency (irrational though it mostly was) for people to "skill hunt", that is to say, come up with excuses to find a reason to roll skills they didn't really need to use just to get a check.

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Well, the flip side of that is that under traditional RQ, you not infrequently ended up with the rich getting richer (as the people who already had a useful range of skills got more checks than other people; this could be particularly annoying when you had someone with a skill that was really only useful to have one person do (a lot of social skill usage, picking locks, and so on). I know you're not going to see this quite the same way I do given our past disagreement of what is easy to focus group activity on and what isn't, but it worked out that way in practice for a lot of people. You also had a tendency (irrational though it mostly was) for people to "skill hunt", that is to say, come up with excuses to find a reason to roll skills they didn't really need to use just to get a check.

This is part of the reason I started allowing skill checks for any attempt at a skill in stressful situation, regardless of success. It helped level the playing field for people trying something that they weren't so good at. Plus, basic logic dictates that you learn as much or more from failure than from success.

In theory, I know of skill hunting, but I've never actually seen it in play. If nothing else, much of BRP/RQ is deadly enough that the economies of using substandard skills in such situations is pretty poor....and if the consequences aren't dire than no skill checks are possible for success or failure. For example, I've read of people going for 2nd or 3rd weapons just to get skill checks, but I've never seen it not can I image why someone would do that with death so likely for a failed roll.

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