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trystero

Can negative category modifiers reduce skills to 0%

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I'm rolling up my first RQ:G adventurer (a Sartarite Humakti, why do you ask?), and hit my first rules question: if I have a Communication category modifier of –5, and no bonuses to Act skill (base 05%), is my Act skill 0%, or is there a rule somewhere that I can't find that says it can't go below 1%?

I see that situational penalties, such as the one for darkness (p. 224), never lower the chance of success below 5%, but I'm not sure whether that applies to permanent skill levels.

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Yes they can, without training or a change in the communications modifier Acting is at Zero and cannot be used. Unfortunately I'm not able to access my PDF of the rules so can't immediately give you the reference. This is / has been consistent across all Chaosium editions of RQ.

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p.142 Success
A result of equal to or less than the ability’s rating indicates a success. A roll of 1–5 on D100 is always a success, even if the ability rating is lower.

All skills are guaranteed 5% success, even if it is zero or negative.
Only the exception to this rule is skills with base chance (00). You have not acquired those skills until you improve it.

 

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"The lowest value a skill can have is 00%, which represents
zero chance of success. A skill never has a minus value; if a
bonus would make a skill start below 00%, write in 00%." (p 57)

Edited by prinz.slasar
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I think both the quotes by Hanataka and prinz.slasar are correct and consistent. If your skill is modified to 00 or less, write it down as 00%. However when rolling for success, if your skill is less than 05%, then a roll of 05 or less is still successful. Skills with a base of 00 are a special case.

Simon Hibbs

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There's always been a difference between a skill that has a zero base (like read/write) and a skill that has a base that is wiped out by a category modifier. The latter is just like any other skill number, you always still a 01-05 chance of success.

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12 hours ago, simonh said:

If your skill is modified to 00 or less, write it down as 00%. However when rolling for success, if your skill is less than 05%, then a roll of 05 or less is still successful. Skills with a base of 00 are a special case.

This is a reason I keep my skill level and my category bonus separate.  The skill level is still 5%.  Your ability bonus just doesn't help.  However, you might have magic to overcome that, or be inspired, and either would modify the chance of success.  

That is not the case for skill level of 00%.

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Thanks to everyone who replied. I'd completely missed the rule on p. 57. So I have a 0% Act skill, but can still benefit from the 01–05 rule (p. 142), since it's not an untrained base-00% skill.

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On 6/6/2018 at 4:15 AM, trystero said:

Thanks to everyone who replied. I'd completely missed the rule on p. 57. So I have a 0% Act skill, but can still benefit from the 01–05 rule (p. 142), since it's not an untrained base-00% skill. 

The Quickstart is a bit clearer regarding this topic and complement your reading.

"Abilities with a rating of '00' have zero chance of a success" (p 2)

So a skill with a rating of 0% has a 5%-chance of success and a skill with a rating of "00" a zero chance.

Page 57 seems wrong and mingle two separate facts. The lowest possible skill rating of 0% and that abilities with a rating of '00' have zero chance of a success.
 

Edited by prinz.slasar

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On 6/5/2018 at 10:15 PM, trystero said:

Thanks to everyone who replied. I'd completely missed the rule on p. 57. So I have a 0% Act skill, but can still benefit from the 01–05 rule (p. 142), since it's not an untrained base-00% skill.

Yeah the idea is that something that starts off at 00% is something that you have no knowledge of (in fact it is usually a Knowledge skill) and so have no chance of success. Something like speaking a foreign language that you've never hear before. 

On the other hand, a skill that starts off with a higher base, but gets reduced down to a 0% success chance is something that you do have some knowledge of,   you're  just really bad at it.

 

So your character can act, he's just a very very bad actor. 

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On 6/5/2018 at 11:54 PM, jajagappa said:

This is a reason I keep my skill level and my category bonus separate. 

I know people who do this. It makes my skin crawl. I have to do addition every time I roll a skill, not a problem skillwise for me, but it just adds complicaton every time and makes me have to remember to do it. 

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