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Just a silly rant about silly things (like the names of things)


j0nnyfive

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It's late, I'm tired. This may be a silly thing (especially since I have yet to play these games)... I'm seeing what looks like a trend that I don't like and I want to start an official petition to stop it. And, that is, the use of the term "athletics" as a skill in a FANTASY-based game. Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop it people. lol

For example, and I won't give the name of the game, some game that rhymes with Shroomquest decided it would be funny to lump "jumping, climbing, swimming, and throwing" all together under "athletics" while simultaneously making it a point to be so detailed as to require it's players to use hit points per location. What an odd combination.

Do you guys have any idea how different climbing is from swimming? There are some amazing swimmers that can barely waddle on land. Some Olympic lifters can jump pretty high, but they aren't the best runners (putting it mildly), especially "over any distance".

Also, do you know how hard it is for me to get the picture of a Gorgon wearing Reeboks out of my head? Gorgons are NOT.... athletic. They can swim maybe, and slither quickly...

I dunno. And "brawn" when you already have a strength attribute? If someone can't apply their strength, then how would you know they were "strong?" But I digress. Such detailed distinctions... STR vs "brawn", hit locations.... "athletics". lol Lace up those Nike Air's Mr dragon and gimme 50!!

Sounds petty, I know, but "athletics" is like the first skill I read under a lot of these monsters' descriptions. Starts with an 'a' I guess. And what's the deal with making skills not end in a '0' or '5' about? Okay, I'll shut up now. Goodnight.

(If anything about this is inaccurate, just gimme the ol' "what fer". I'm half-way silly... no, but seriously!)

EDIT: WHOOPS!! Swimming IS separate! My bad. lol Okay, but I still think the rest need to be broken out and the term "athletics" not used cuz it sounds funny on monsters. Kinda immersion breaking for me. I'm having trouble getting my 'mersion on.

Edited by j0nnyfive
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The Reebok comment was for humor. Sorry.

The main point is that when I think "athletics" I think of sporting competitions, or the preparation of sporting competitions. Doesn't "have" to be. But, I'm not sure why go to such lengths to be detailed in many areas (especially combat), and draw laser-like distinctions between hit locations and things like strength and brawn and 61% vs 60% skills... and then lump climbing, jumping, and running together using a word that conjures up thoughts of people lacing up their Reeboks and going for a run on the track. :P lol Other than this, it looks like a pretty charming game.

(I checked out that link, they were still talking about sports, even though I acknowledge you don't have to be playing a sport to be considered athletic. According to my book, dragons are only 80% athletic so one may still be able to beat them in the discus) I'm a little delirious right now... sorry... lol It's just something that really jumps out at me since I have a background in physical training. I think they should go ahead and split athletics back out on their next go around. That's... just me.

Back to trying to sleep...

Edit: I'm not just picking on RQ. I'm looking at you to, OQ. ;););) Got my eye on ya... all you athletic monsters. Ghouls... I bet they can run a mean mile.

Edited by j0nnyfive
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I'm with you, at least sort of lol.

D&D does something similar with their skills in 4.0. It's a way to consolidate skills for the sake of simplicity and to move the game along at a faster pace. Does it simulate reality better? - No. But it is quicker to lump skills under an applicable umbrella, as it were.

I think what would bug me is the simplicity in one aspect while choosing a more sophisticated and detailed system for another aspect (such as hit locations). One would think that for the sake of continuity a game designer would use one approach across the board.

Edit: Then again that's why I've chosen the BRP system and the use of the BGB. It's modular. Just swap which skills system you want. :)

Edited by Nakana
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The Reebok comment was for humor. Sorry.

D'oh, sorry for not having gotten the drift.

Your complaint of course makes sense, in fact old-school simulationist RPGs like the earlier editions of Runequest or Rolemaster or GURPS have long lists of very specific skills. I think the authors of the latest editions of RQ wanted to make a game that was more tightly focused on what characters in fantasy novels comics and movies actually spend most of their time doing. If (I haven't bought it yet) RQ6 has a single "athletics" skill covering all kinds of (dry land) physical feats, it might be not enough if, for example, you wanted your bronze age heoes to take part in the Olympics. Adding skills to a BRP based game, however, has always been a trivial task. And if it's the name that bothers you, just change it to one that you think is more evocative, like... I don't now, English is not my first language.

Edited by MatteoN
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Yeah, I'm bugged too much by presentation of things. Word choice can really throw me. I'm too sensitive to this kind of stuff. My last rant was about skill ratings, but now I've got that lined out nicely. But this is something I think many game designers are starting to do more and more. This is just my opinion (I know), but you do NOT want to lump together the basic physical competencies such as jumping or climbing. You lose too much descriptive power I think. Dragons: climb 95%. To me, that sounds "scarier" than Dragons: athletics 95%. There just seems to be a trend of using "whatever" language "works" for the sake of convenience. Savage Worlds (a good set of rules, but the language!!): smarts. trappings. bennies. Sounds like a card game at an old southern baptist church or something. lol But you're supposed to use this game for Interface Zero? Wow. genre clash. Just my opinion, and etc.

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Ah, well, I am guilty of using "Athletics" to cover Climb, Jump, Run and Swim, "Stealth" to

cover Hide and Sneak, and so on. =O

Actually I am using the Root/Branch skill system of the Ringworld RPG, where a character

first develops a general ability (in the case of Athletics a general fitness and agility) as a

Root Skill and then specializes in one or more of the Branch Skills (in the case of Athletics

for example Climb, Jump, Run or Swim - the character can do all that with his Root Skill,

too, but not very well).

The reason to use the general Root Skills is to avoid skill creep, which otherwise can ruin

especially a science fiction setting rather quickly. There are lots and lots of potentially use-

ful skills, especially technical and scientific ones, but there is only a limited amount of skill

points, so keeping the number of skills low in order to enable the characters to be good at

a sufficient number of important skills is a necessity.

As for the term "Athletics", I see it as one which is easy to understand and to connect with

physical skills which require physical fitness. The original meaning would be "Competitor"

(in the sports of classical Greece), but since few people will know this, I do not care.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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The goal was to use the broad skills to help simplify the amount of bookkeeping- especially for NPCs that won't be showing up again.

Athletics isn't all that unreasonable. Those people who are gifted at running tend to be above average at jumping, climbing and swimming.

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

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Some people prefer it, some don't.

Legend has split Swimming out, but has Athletics for other things.

I can see the point, if you want reduced skill lists. I like more skills, so would prefer Climbing and Running to be different skills, but I don;t mind either way.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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That's why I liked skill categories. It's nice to have some sort of generic rating to see if an NPCs can do something if the PCs do something unexpected. Chances are, we won't need to know the Orc Guard's storytelling or seduce skills, but it's nice to have some sort of generic "social" skill on the writeup to fall back on, just in case.

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

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I have a suggestion!

You could have just two skills on the character sheet, Physical Athletics (STR+DEX) and Mental Athletics (INTx2).

Bang! All possible eventualities covered, and so much simpler than having to faff about with...

Oh no wait!

I have a better idea!

We could just have a skill called Skill (STR+DEX/INTx2) and then all of our characters and NPCs could be created in seconds...

I'm sorry I'm not really being serious here... but I do sympathise with the original point. Just extrapolated it a bit :-/

Mr Jealousy has returned to reality!

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We could just have a skill called Skill (STR+DEX/INTx2) and then all of our characters and NPCs could be created in seconds...

Sure, and we could then give each character 100 skill points to start with,

and so get rid of almost all of those unnerving dice rolls, too. B-)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Actually I am using the Root/Branch skill system of the Ringworld RPG, where a character

first develops a general ability ... as a Root Skill and then specializes in one or more of the Branch Skills...

That sounds a lot like Traveller, and Athletics used like this would make more sense to me.

Mr Jealousy has returned to reality!

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lol Funny, guys!

Yeah, I understand the "why" and "what fer" of using an umbrella term to encapsulate other terms to prevent skill creep. I have two separate points that I want to re-iterate.

1. Running, jumping, and climbing are three very different things.

2. The term athletics sounds funny when describing a mythical "awe-inspiring" creature. When's the last time you saw a chimera at a sporting event eating a hotdog?

Does the term "work"? Yes, like a patch. A quick fix. It gets the job done. It's "okaaayyy." Why not use a word other than something that means competitor, as it was put? How about the term "physical" or something like that. Or just leave jumping and climbing separate since they don't relate to each other.

People who are good at singing also tend to be good at musical instruments, dancing, and socializing. How about "entertain" or "social stuff"? :P

A skill called skill? lol

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I'm with you on this one (despite my stupid post above). I had a similar moment when I realised going from RQ3 with its Search and Scan became BRPs Spot. Doesn't make a lot of difference to most people, unless you are short or long sighted. Both of which I have as disadvantages in Aces High...

Mr Jealousy has returned to reality!

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People who are good at singing also tend to be good at musical instruments, dancing ...

This is why a couple of roleplaying games have a skill named something like

"Perform" or "Performance" ... ;)

Or just leave jumping and climbing separate since they don't relate to each other.

I am not so sure. Living in a mountain area, in my experience one is likely to

need a combination of both skills to move around in this kind of terrain - plus

running if one encounters aggressive livestock. :)

Edited by rust

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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1. Running, jumping, and climbing are three very different things.

Not really. They are all fundamental physical abilities that most human beings are capable of, and those that practice one or more of them are generally better than average at the others. Can you specialise in them to noticeable excess? Yes of course, that is why we have a tiny minority of the world's population who can perform a bidoigt or swinging-lieback, or people who train for Olympic competition. However, do people normally specialise in one to the exclusion of the others? Rarely in modern life where we have time to pursue it, hardly ever in historical times where that sort of luxury doesn't exist - even ancient Greek and Roman athletes (beyond the daily health regimes at the baths or gymnasium) were sponsored.

So for simplicity's sake, to prevent skill creep and to ensure (N)PCs have enough skill points to be vaguely competent, the three skills are conflated.

Following your line of thought and musician joke, one can say the same thing about most of the skills. If we are going to be really anal about it why stop at just a Running skill? Surely we need Sprinting, Jogging, Marathon, and do I make Hurdling a separate skill or fold it under Jumping... Which then brings up the need for Long Jumping skill, High Jumping, Parachute Rolling and Roof Hopping. They are all quantifiable different types of action and in real life require specialised training to be any good at.

2. The term athletics sounds funny when describing a mythical "awe-inspiring" creature. When's the last time you saw a chimera at a sporting event eating a hotdog?

Maybe to you. Sounds fine to me, and better defined than the more nebulous "Physical". Athletics is a universal term which fits a multitude of both historical settings and traditional fantasy without any problem. Indeed giving a classical monster a classically named skill sounds perfect to me! Then again mythology and history were fundamental as part of my British upbringing, early education and entertainments I pursued. Since you refer to Reeboks and Hotdogs as part of your expressed cognitive dissonance, I'm assuming they weren't for you.

Anyway, silly rant is indeed silly. Its easy enough to just hive off the climbing skill, and rename Athletics to Physical if that helps you. :)

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Following your line of thought and musician joke, one can say the same thing about most of the skills. If we are going to be really anal about it why stop at just a Running skill? Surely we need Sprinting, Jogging, Marathon, and do I make Hurdling a separate skill or fold it under Jumping... Which then brings up the need for Long Jumping skill, High Jumping, Parachute Rolling and Roof Hopping. They are all quantifiable different types of action and in real life require specialised training to be any good at.

Like button, like button? Trif where is the "like" button? Oh well. +1

Anyway Pete. You beat me to it. I was going to say pretty much the same thing. Every game designer has to make these decisions, and not everyone is going to agree with them. I will admit that to me, Athletics works better with skill improvement awards than with skill check boxes, but then again, you didn't implement the skill with skill "checks" in mind.

I prefer a more condensed skill list then one taking up half the sheet, and I like hit locations as well. So I guess I must also prefer "silly" rules.;)

Rod

Join my Mythras/RuneQuest 6: Classic Fantasy Yahoo Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RQCF/info

"D100 - Exactly 5 times better than D20"

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I still think the rest need to be broken out and the term "athletics" not used cuz it sounds funny on monsters. Kinda immersion breaking for me. I'm having trouble getting my 'mersion on.

This really shouldn't be immersion breaking at all because its a monster's skill score. You as a player are never going to see the skill "in game". Instead, the GM is simply going to tell you as a player, that the monster climbs the cliff successfully, outruns you, falls on its face, etc. Immersion maintained.

I know in your first post you mentioned that while you are reading several RPGs, you have not actually played one (other than the excellent Skyrim, which doesn't count cause its mechanics are hidden in computer code). You should really check out a local game store and find a group. Either ask if you can participate or even just watch. I think you'll find that a lot of these "silly" things you mention make sense "in game".

If your ever in New Hampshire, I'll gladly let you sit in with my group. ;t)

Rod

Join my Mythras/RuneQuest 6: Classic Fantasy Yahoo Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RQCF/info

"D100 - Exactly 5 times better than D20"

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Not really. They are all fundamental physical abilities that most human beings are capable of, and those that practice one or more of them are generally better than average at the others. Can you specialise in them to noticeable excess? Yes of course, that is why we have a tiny minority of the world's population who can perform a bidoigt or swinging-lieback, or people who train for Olympic competition. However, do people normally specialise in one to the exclusion of the others? Rarely in modern life where we have time to pursue it, hardly ever in historical times where that sort of luxury doesn't exist - even ancient Greek and Roman athletes (beyond the daily health regimes at the baths or gymnasium) were sponsored.

So for simplicity's sake, to prevent skill creep and to ensure (N)PCs have enough skill points to be vaguely competent, the three skills are conflated.

Following your line of thought and musician joke, one can say the same thing about most of the skills. If we are going to be really anal about it why stop at just a Running skill? Surely we need Sprinting, Jogging, Marathon, and do I make Hurdling a separate skill or fold it under Jumping... Which then brings up the need for Long Jumping skill, High Jumping, Parachute Rolling and Roof Hopping. They are all quantifiable different types of action and in real life require specialised training to be any good at.

Maybe to you. Sounds fine to me, and better defined than the more nebulous "Physical". Athletics is a universal term which fits a multitude of both historical settings and traditional fantasy without any problem. Indeed giving a classical monster a classically named skill sounds perfect to me! Then again mythology and history were fundamental as part of my British upbringing, early education and entertainments I pursued. Since you refer to Reeboks and Hotdogs as part of your expressed cognitive dissonance, I'm assuming they weren't for you.

Anyway, silly rant is indeed silly. Its easy enough to just hive off the climbing skill, and rename Athletics to Physical if that helps you. :)

I really doubt your mythology classes described dragons has athletes. Come on, now! I just Googled "athletics definition" for further clarification.

ath·let·ics

aTHˈletiks/

noun

noun: athletics

1.

physical sports and games of any kind.

Brit.

the sport of competing in track and field events, including running races and various competitions in jumping and throwing.

"athletics championships"

synonyms: sports, sporting events, games, races;

track and field events, track;

contests;

working out, exercising

The new "Dragon"

;-D Yeah, baby!

Thanks for your input, guys! I'm trying to "see" it. Squinting... really... hard!

It's opinions vs opinions.... Fight On! lol Thanks, guys!

Edit: I don't REALLY mean "fight". I just like finding fun places to insert the old D&D 0e quote!

Edited by j0nnyfive
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I really doubt your mythology classes described dragons has athletes. Come on, now! I just Googled "athletics definition" for further clarification.

ath·let·ics

aTHˈletiks/

noun

noun: athletics

1.

physical sports and games of any kind.

Brit.

the sport of competing in track and field events, including running races and various competitions in jumping and throwing.

"athletics championships"

synonyms: sports, sporting events, games, races;

track and field events, track;

contests;

working out, exercising

The new "Dragon"

;-D Yeah, baby!

Thanks for your input, guys! I'm trying to "see" it. Squinting... really... hard!

It's opinions vs opinions.... Fight On! lol Thanks, guys!

Edit: I don't REALLY mean "fight". I just like finding fun places to insert the old D&D 0e quote!

World English Dictionary

[TABLE=width: 100%]

[TR=class: tr1]

[TD=class: td1, colspan: 2]athletics (æθˈlɛtɪks) [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=colspan: 2] [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: tr2]

[TD=class: td2, colspan: 2]— n[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: tr3]

[TD=class: td3n1, width: 1%, align: right]1.[/TD]

[TD=class: td3n2]a. track and field events[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: tr3]

[TD=class: td3n1, width: 1%, align: right] [/TD]

[TD=class: td3n2]b. ( as modifier ): an athletics meeting[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: tr3]

[TD=class: td3n1, width: 1%, align: right]2.[/TD]

[TD=class: td3n2]sports or exercises engaged in by athletes[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: tr3]

[TD=class: td3n1, width: 1%, align: right]3.[/TD]

[TD=class: td3n2]the theory or practice of athletic activities and training[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

So, sports or exercises engaged in by athletes describes running, and jumping. Climbing might be seen as a specialised activity, especially in modern times.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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