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Ghostwriter

Quick question about Professional Skills

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So I was wondering what happens when a character lacks a Professional skill. I assume the simply cannot attempt a roll (unlike with Standard skills), but I cannot seem to find such a statement either in Mythras core, nor in Imperative. Thanks in advance!

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There was a discussion of this a while ago on TDM's forum, and Loz mentioned a "house ruling" that he has used; key points:

- If there's an alternative Standard skill available (such as Influence instead of Oratory), then you can substitute that at the Hard grade of difficulty.

- If you want to attempt an untrained Professional skill, then the chance of success is at its base characteristics, and at Hard difficulty.

- Also bear in mind another rule: any roll of 05 or less is a success. This is irrespective of any skill and could, in theory and as the rules stand, be applied in these circumstances.

Edited by TheGrayFox71
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Pg. 13 of Mythras:

"Professional skills are further explained in the Skills chapter on page 44, but in brief  they represent those skills which cannot be attempted without years of rigorous study and specialised training. Whereas a character has a basic ability in all  Standard Skills, they have zero ability in any Professional Skill unless chosen as part of their cultural upbringing or career."

The discussion (including Loz's suggestions) can be found at  http://designmechanism.freeforums.org/untrained-profession-skills-t1014.html

Edited by TheGrayFox71
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There is some debate about how to handle this.  

I am sure that the previous version of the TDM rules (RQ6) specifically stated that a character could not use a Professional skill that was not known, period.  However, Loz himself has softened this rule, in the forum discussion that TheGrayFox71 mentions above.  Furthermore, I agree with you, Ghostwriter:  I am shocked to be unable to find an explicit statement in the current edition of the MYTHRAS rules!  I would have sworn it was still in there.  I think it must have been removed mindfully, but quietly.

I prefer to stick to the idea that you can't use a Professional skill that you haven't "bought".  However, for a skill that would be ideal in a given test, there is often another (which might be a Standard skill instead) that could be substituted--usually at a penalty grade.  When I write a scenario, I try to include a few alternatives, to help out the GM and players and keep things from seeming hopeless.

TheGrayFox71, I would dispute your "always a 5% chance" idea on technical grounds:  That rule is true, and a 01 is always a crit...but only when you are allowed to roll.  If the GM says you can't roll, that's it, end of story--and that's the case under debate here.  That said, I don't find it an outlandish idea, and Your Mythras May Vary, as we always say.  I would not let a player try to push me around on this particular point (why do we even have these character sheets?), but I would listen to a cogent argument for an exception.

I think that I might make the character attempt the unknown skill at base score, and have it cost a Luck Point. 

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Aha, thanks TheGrayFox71--sanity checked.  I stopped looking when I couldn't find it in the Skills chapter, ahem.

Yes, Loz's suggestion, I see now.  As many know, here and on the TDM forum, I tend to be a rules stickler.  Loz, meanwhile, seems to have a much keener sense of when to bend a rule, and how, for Maximum Gaming Fun.

Edited by Matt_E

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In my long, long career as a GM, I've found that there's infinitely more fun (for everyone) at the table when I say 'Yes' or 'Sure, give it a go' rather than 'No you can't do that because the rules say...'. My Mythras is My Mythras, and all that. I see no reason in being overly draconian if someone doesn't have a particular Professional Skill, but does have a Standard one that's a reasonable facsimile. It happens IRL all the time, so I let it happen in my games, when circumstances warrant it, with an appropriate penalty.

Perhaps this will find itself being written into a future Mythras update.

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I think some explicit advice along these lines in RAW would be welcomed by many, especially new GMs.

Just to be clear, I do basically agree with Loz here. :)  I, too, allow the substitution of skills when reasonable, as I do find it models real life appropriately, and I, too, would call an absolute rule against it "draconian" (especially if I were a player).

After 30 years (minus some hiatuses) as a RQ GM, I have finally begun to really internalize the lesson that, when possible, it's better to say "Yes, but" than "No".  Identifying the "when possible" moments is the key, I think.

Edited by Matt_E
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1 hour ago, Matt_E said:

I think some explicit advice along these lines in RAW would be welcomed by many, especially new GMs.

Just to be clear, I do basically agree with Loz here. :)  I, too, allow the substitution of skills when reasonable, as I do find it models real life appropriately, and I, too, would call an absolute rule against it "draconian" (especially if I were a player).

After 30 years (minus some hiatuses) as a RQ GM, I have finally begun to really internalize the lesson that, when possible, it's better to say "Yes, but" than "No".  Identifying the "when possible" moments is the key, I think.

The yes but lesson took me a bit as well. A lot of reading other RPGs and getting that experience. 

Prior to this discussion, I would allow for a default roll on professsional skills at half skill, but think I will kick that up to Hard instead. 

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Experience from playing Traveller, I often fill the gaps in skills by looking at the character's intelligence score, and applying some mod from there.

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