What's in a (skill) name?

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Jounichi
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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#41 Postby Jounichi » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:57 pm

Almagest wrote:
Jounichi wrote:But in a setting which places an emphasis on weird science? You specifically need two scientific knowledge skills to qualify for Gadgeteer. Now, if you wanted to use the skill specialization setting rule found on page 95 of SWD:EE to sort of shortcut that at your game table that's your business. Unless I'm misreading this, you're saying a d8 in a single knowledge skill would let me be proficient in latin, chemistry, and accounting. That just doesn't sit right.


I agree that depends on the type of game you want to run. The rule intention really is to allow your character to be proficient in chemistry, accounting and Rome history (I would leave Latin to the multiple languages setting rules) :D without it costing more than a warrior would pay to learn "Fighting".

Weird Science I would keep as an arcane background skill, separate.

But why? For what purpose do you want a person to be able to specialize in such a weird array of knowledge skill? Each rule needs a purpose and should add something meaningful. It shouldn't just be "because I want to."

Weird science is an arcane skill so naturally, it's going to remain distinct. My point is if a weird scientist wanted Gadgeteer would you still require two separate skills at d6 or better, or would you allow them to circumvent that with a single knowledge skill at d6 with two scientific specializations? What about Scholar? What about using a specific knowledge skill to generate income?Being knowledgeable in chemistry and Roman history doesn't help me balance a ledger.

So, why a single skill instead of a menagerie of skills at d4? There's a difference between representing how wide your knowledge base is and how knowledgeable you actually are about specific topics.
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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#42 Postby Deskepticon » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:00 pm

Almagest wrote:The "problem" that the house rule tries to fix it's the number of skills that a savant character needs to get in comparison with a soldier/warrior type, specially when Knowledge tests are not that common. If a group like your skill list to be more like a simulation, more power for them. This rule is not for everyone.

Imagine that you are modeling a character like Scully from X-Files. You need to have at least three regular Knowledge skills (Medicine, Forensic Scientist and FBI Agent). Or Fitz for Agents of SHIELD, that seems to be a technology, weapons, computers, deus ex machina expert


What I was saying is that a Scully or Fitz wouldn't need three or four skills. Give Fitz one skill: Knowledge (SHIELD Scientist); it covers everything you mentioned above. Non-Shield scientists can take the skill, but it doesn't represent the same extent of knowledge. What Fitz knows with a success, others might need a raise or two. Background should be taken into consideration.

Almagest wrote:Using very broad Knowledge skills is a interesting solution too. Some suggested to do away with Knowledge skills altogether, using just character concept and background with Smarts tests...


And perhaps specially tailored Professional Edges to help round things out.

Almagest wrote:
So for a single point (half an Advance?) you can buy a specialization instead of increasing the die type? Or does each die step give you a specialization? Or is it both?
Because one of the issues I see is that you can have a Knowledge skill of d8, buy a new specialization for 1 point, and presumably roll that specialization at d8.


I meant both. You get a specialization when you increase the die and you can buy then separate for a single point.


So like I mentioned, a character can have Knowledge at d8, spend an Advance to pick up a couple specializations, which they can immediately roll at d8... and that just seems wrong to me.
I know you keep saying the rule is not for everyone, but I would argue it's not for anyone. It violates logic.

You might be better off with the "no knowledge" option above. If you want to be better in a specific field buy an Edge. If you want to be better in all of them, increase Smarts.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#43 Postby Almagest » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:33 am

Guys, I just answered the "why" and the reasons that lead me to adopt it. If you don't agree, fine, but it's not because the house rule don't have logic or no reason to be. I don't think that's useful to discuss finer points if we are not in the same page in the basics. Let's agree to disagree.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#44 Postby Deskepticon » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:51 am

Almagest wrote:Guys, I just answered the "why" and the reasons that lead me to adopt it. If you don't agree, fine, but it's not because the house rule don't have logic or no reason to be. I don't think that's useful to discuss finer points if we are not in the same page in the basics. Let's agree to disagree.


Man, no one's slapping the dice out of your hand! You can do whatever you want at your table, and if it works for you and the group, that's fine.
But that doesn't mean that the rule change is without its flaws...

And if I or someone else is missing a finer point somewhere (as it seems you're suggesting), why don't you think it's useful to correct us?

And another issue I see is that you said you're running a newbie group, yet you've made a number of questionable design choices that may very well skew the game experience. Call me nuts, but shouldn't they learn the core rules first before you go in and change things drastically?

I was dwelling on Knowledge because it made the least sense they way you proposed it, but I have some issue with half of the changes you made. You say you have reasons for the change, but you haven't demonstrated that the reasons are good ones. Or that the solutions are any better.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#45 Postby galu » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:23 am

Almagest wrote:There's no change to Common Knowledge. The new Skill represents formal knowledge or specific training relevant to the setting, but need not to be represented by various Skills (having to buy two or three Skills that are rarely used in game can be crushing).

This house rule means to emulate action drama rules, so, for example, a CSI doesn't have to spend 12 points to have Knowledge (Biology) d8, Knowledge (Medicine) d8 and Knowledge (Forensic Science) d8. Look at "science" characters in scifi shows. They don't just know one field, like Physics, Engineering and Computers. They are savant in a crap load of them, something that would cripple them as SW characters.

I see the need for a change, but I also think the concept of what a Knowledge skill actually represents can simply change from setting to setting.
So, for example, your forensic investgator can simply buy Knowledge (forensic science) and gain all the other skills you mentioned automatically; as long as it matches her backstory, she should have that abilities easily.



I do this all the time too, especially in settings with pre-20th century education/sciences (victorian, early modern, medieval, etc.).

In my current filler campaign (castle falkenstein-ish - with fae but without steampunk - victoriana) the education skill is used for this. d4 is basic knowledge (1 additional language, basic math, knowing to read and write) with higher die-steps are a good secondary school/mentors, university diploma, while the top die ranks are professors.
Education is for: mathematics, history, literature (classic and latin quotes), foreign languages, chemistry, physics.

It also works in settings like Ghostbusters and Fallout: "scientist!" is expected to know everything from gene splicing to hacking a mainframe. (maybe there is a distinction between scientists/academics but more is not important)


Generally, I tend to forget about common knowledge too. If there is a chance a PC knows about this, and the player asks for info, I tend to tell them the answer without a die roll. If they don't ask for info, I forget about the common knowledge roll :)

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#46 Postby Almagest » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:16 pm

galu wrote:I do this all the time too, especially in settings with pre-20th century education/sciences (victorian, early modern, medieval, etc.).

In my current filler campaign (castle falkenstein-ish - with fae but without steampunk - victoriana) the education skill is used for this. d4 is basic knowledge (1 additional language, basic math, knowing to read and write) with higher die-steps are a good secondary school/mentors, university diploma, while the top die ranks are professors.
Education is for: mathematics, history, literature (classic and latin quotes), foreign languages, chemistry, physics.

It also works in settings like Ghostbusters and Fallout: "scientist!" is expected to know everything from gene splicing to hacking a mainframe. (maybe there is a distinction between scientists/academics but more is not important)

Generally, I tend to forget about common knowledge too. If there is a chance a PC knows about this, and the player asks for info, I tend to tell them the answer without a die roll. If they don't ask for info, I forget about the common knowledge roll :)


I saw your post earlier, I liked the skill list tailored for the theme, "Bravery" is very evocative to the genre. :) And "Education" fits perfectly to swashbuckler fantasy (if I understand your setting right). In Fate Core, use the Lore skill in the same way, but suggest that you rename it to Academics or Science depending on the campaign world
.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#47 Postby Ilina_Young » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:43 am

a knowledge (Geekdom) skill would also be extremely versatile dependent on a setting where Geeks are Expected to be knowledgeable in lots of stuff. like Ghostbusters or most pre 1950's science fiction. like Fallout for example.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#48 Postby Jounichi » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:59 am

Almagest wrote:
galu wrote:I do this all the time too, especially in settings with pre-20th century education/sciences (victorian, early modern, medieval, etc.).

In my current filler campaign (castle falkenstein-ish - with fae but without steampunk - victoriana) the education skill is used for this. d4 is basic knowledge (1 additional language, basic math, knowing to read and write) with higher die-steps are a good secondary school/mentors, university diploma, while the top die ranks are professors.
Education is for: mathematics, history, literature (classic and latin quotes), foreign languages, chemistry, physics.

It also works in settings like Ghostbusters and Fallout: "scientist!" is expected to know everything from gene splicing to hacking a mainframe. (maybe there is a distinction between scientists/academics but more is not important)

Generally, I tend to forget about common knowledge too. If there is a chance a PC knows about this, and the player asks for info, I tend to tell them the answer without a die roll. If they don't ask for info, I forget about the common knowledge roll :)


I saw your post earlier, I liked the skill list tailored for the theme, "Bravery" is very evocative to the genre. :) And "Education" fits perfectly to swashbuckler fantasy (if I understand your setting right). In Fate Core, use the Lore skill in the same way, but suggest that you rename it to Academics or Science depending on the campaign world
.

Fate has it's own issues, but what you've both described looks a bit like how classic Deadlands broke up bits of knowledge. It has academic skills, language skills, and professional skills. Something like that with the skill specialization setting rule doesn't sound too out there. It still requires some decent investment, but arguably not as much as RAW is presented. I haven't done the math, so I can't say.

Ilina_Young wrote:a knowledge (Geekdom) skill would also be extremely versatile dependent on a setting where Geeks are Expected to be knowledgeable in lots of stuff. like Ghostbusters or most pre 1950's science fiction. like Fallout for example.

You keep saying this, but I've yet to see anyone else actually buy into the idea. "Geekdom" is such a broad and vague term it may as well be a trapping for Jack of all Trades.
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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#49 Postby galu » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:35 pm

Ilina_Young wrote:a knowledge (Geekdom) skill would also be extremely versatile dependent on a setting where Geeks are Expected to be knowledgeable in lots of stuff. like Ghostbusters or most pre 1950's science fiction. like Fallout for example.


I am not sure geeks in general are knowledgeable about stuff in general. THe internet is full of arguments about dual wielding, katanas, ninja culture (sic!), of how the 3rd Reich could have won WW2, how the US/SSSR alone won WW2 and other nonsense. Movie forums, where real cinema-fans hang out are full or members who don't understand Mulholland Drive, Donnie Darko or even Fight club.

Two other considerations:

- in most literature or movies, pop culture references are never used. (eg. the guy who is ambushed by zombies seemingly never saw any zombie films)
- still, there are some shows which used pop culture references, but mostly for comedy effect. (Buffy, Zombieland, etc.)



Jounichi wrote: but what you've both described looks a bit like how classic Deadlands broke up bits of knowledge. It has academic skills, language skills, and professional skills. Something like that with the skill specialization setting rule doesn't sound too out there. It still requires some decent investment, but arguably not as much as RAW is presented. I haven't done the math, so I can't say.


In some settings this works well I think.

a) it is not logical to have specialists
Sherlock Holmes knows about physics, geology, chemistry, classic music, foreign languages, the London underground system (in the "new" BBC version, he also is a hacker). In that era, this is very generic: the fields themselves are not that advanced (yet) to require a full specialist to understand them, this comes later in the 20th century.
Just think of 18-19th century inventors: most of them tried different fields, and made brakethroughs. Some of them even wrote poems or had columns in papers.

b) it doesn't fit the genre
What comes to my mind is Indiana Jones and STargate. You can expect Sam Carter to know the answer to everything science related, be it black holes, time travel or the workings of a signal laser, BUT she doesn't have a clue about ancient stuff. THat is JAckson's speciality, who seems to know every language (dead or alive), referring bit of history, religion or cultures.
Here, it works well to have "academics" and "sciences" but nothing else.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#50 Postby Ilina_Young » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:45 pm

by knowledge (Geekdom) i mean that most forms of knowledge in a setting from a prior era are less specialized than today's era. Sherlock Holmes had a lot of things he knew, as did the Medieval Order of Hermes. you could easily say they had a catchall knowledge skill because they clearly were not specialists, they just had a General Knowledge (Academics) skill that covered a wide variety of subjects. they also had other skills that would hint they had a catch all knowledge skill because knowledgeable characters from an era prior to knowledge specializations literally had to generally learn a lot of skills. Knowledge (Order of Hermes Education) gave pretty much anything you could learn from a Hermetic Teacher, which is a lot more than you could learn without access to one. most members of the Hermetic order were also capable of holding down day jobs quite well and were often hired to educate nobility on many of the facets of the noble life. so yes, a catchall knowledge makes sense for them. i mean, fighting is a catchall combat skill.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#51 Postby Jounichi » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:56 am

Ilina_Young wrote:by knowledge (Geekdom) i mean that most forms of knowledge in a setting from a prior era are less specialized than today's era. Sherlock Holmes had a lot of things he knew, as did the Medieval Order of Hermes. you could easily say they had a catchall knowledge skill because they clearly were not specialists, they just had a General Knowledge (Academics) skill that covered a wide variety of subjects. they also had other skills that would hint they had a catch all knowledge skill because knowledgeable characters from an era prior to knowledge specializations literally had to generally learn a lot of skills. Knowledge (Order of Hermes Education) gave pretty much anything you could learn from a Hermetic Teacher, which is a lot more than you could learn without access to one. most members of the Hermetic order were also capable of holding down day jobs quite well and were often hired to educate nobility on many of the facets of the noble life. so yes, a catchall knowledge makes sense for them. i mean, fighting is a catchall combat skill.

Most knowledge skills from settings in previous eras are less specialized than today? Maybe some, but in general knowledge has also advanced since those days. An understanding of science or medicine in the era of tall ships is less comprehensive than, say, the wild west; which is less comprehensive than what we have today. But some knowledge skills haven't progressed that much. A muckraker in 1880 has fewer tools than a modern journalist, but the basic principles of their profession haven't changed. Neither has carpentry, or how to balance an accounting ledger, or how to read and write foreign (even dead) languages. All of these are covered by existing specializations in the knowledge skill, and if you really want to add further specializations there's a setting rule for that found in SWD.

At your own table, running your own game, you're free to implement a catch-all knowledge if you so desire, but then what's the point? I find Knowledge (Order of Hermes Education) both oddly specific and incredibly broad given the lore you're surrounded it with. Why couldn't a character simply roll Common Knowledge if the Order pertains to their background? Going back to your Knowledge (Geekdom) example, we currently live in a zeitgeist of geekdom. Why can't that just be Common Knowledge, either? And if you want to disallow it, then why not provide the in-game means of letting your players look it up? If you're thinking back to previous eras, no all geeks are equal. A band geek is not a science geek, and both get awful clicky. A single catch-all skill does them a disservice.
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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#52 Postby Mavis » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:39 pm

I would have no problem with Knowledge (Geekdom) in a setting where it was appropriate.

I see Knowledge skills as very broad in scope, if the player presents a plausible reason why that skill might be appropriate in that situation I would allow its use. If backed up by other character based arguments all the better. I see the use of Common Knowledge as a last resort.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#53 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:31 am

i would make most of it common knowledge for characters with the appropriate backstories. but some edges require knowledge skills and i don't know whether or not i should wave the knowledge requirements because most of them serve to gate some extremely utilitarian knowledges.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#54 Postby Jounichi » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:28 am

Ilina_Young wrote:i would make most of it common knowledge for characters with the appropriate backstories. but some edges require knowledge skills and i don't know whether or not i should wave the knowledge requirements because most of them serve to gate some extremely utilitarian knowledges.

Unless I've missed something you're making zero sense. The only Edge in SWD which makes use of non-scientific knowledge is Scholar. Unless you've made up some custom Edges just to capitalize on some unique setting material what you're saying is irrelevant. It reads like you're omitting information which would make this conversation (and getting your point across) far easier.

As for utilitarian knowledges, that correlates in direct proportion to how often the GM decides to make the skill relevant. A doctor has a use for medicine, and we can safely assume it will come up often. Likewise, a wizard will make use of arcana and a priest, religion. But carpentry, for example, is a skill that might not always seem important. 50 Fathoms has a role for a ship's carpenter, but what about Deadlands? I won't disalow someone from taking the skill and rolling it into their background, especially if they can make money off it, but it's up to me to find a use for the skill.

Maybe Order of Hermes Education is better off as an Edge than a Knowledge skill.
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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#55 Postby Ilina_Young » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:48 am

Order of Hermes was a Hypothetical Example based on a mythological organization that somehow existed in Europe during the Middle Ages and was Referenced in Ars Magica. i was bringing up that in a setting based on Ars Magica, or on Mythical Medieval Europe, that an order like the Order of Hermes would have quite a broad education for the era, but likely would need to hold down mundane tasks like educating lords and knights. maybe it would be better represented as an edge.

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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#56 Postby Jounichi » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:53 am

From now on let's try to avoid pure hypotheticals when referring to the rules.
"Rush not in to fights. Long is the war. Only by surviving it, will you prevail." -Yoda

"Wise man once say, 'forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.'" -Michelangelo


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