What's in a (skill) name?

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Sitting Duck
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What's in a (skill) name?

#1 Postby Sitting Duck » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:47 am

Usually, skills in Savage Worlds are broad in application and straightforward in name, like Fighting and Shooting. However, there are a few instances where the skill name can imply something more limited than is actually intended. For instance, the name Lockpicking conjures an image of a guy sticking a couple of metal sticks in a keyhole and fiddling about, even though the skill description spells out other applications. Perhaps with a name like Security Systems, such misperceptions would be dispelled. Any thoughts?
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#2 Postby sablemage » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:26 am

"Security Systems" carries overtones of modern or SF gaming for me, which is still limiting, just with a different limit.

Traveller called the skill "Intrusion" IIRC, which is a bit more generic.

No reason why an individual GM couldn't rename any skill to suit their own campaign. And then rename it again when they change campaigns.

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#3 Postby Zadmar » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:30 am

I prefer single-word skill names when possible, so I'd probably just go with "Security".

WoD had a Security skill which covered locks, alarms, traps, hot-wiring vehicles, safecracking, etc - as well as designing and setting up security systems, working out where a thief broke in, etc. I like the name "Security" because it's broad (as you mentioned), but also because it doesn't imply criminal intent. It would fit a security consultant just as much as a burgler.

NWoD changed the name to Larceny, and expanded it to include concealing stolen goods, picking pockets, and so on. I like that too, but I think I prefer Security.

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#4 Postby islan » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:56 am

I don't like the word "Security" just because it makes me think "security officer" more than "security infiltrator". :|

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#5 Postby Snate56 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:29 am

Actually, I like Intrusion. :-D




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#6 Postby Enno » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:56 am

It all depends on the setting and the importance in it. One word descriptions are preferred, but can be longer if fits the mood better.

Since SW is more edge- then skill-centric, FMPOV it's rarely worth the try to fuss with skills, combining or changing them. Less questions from the players...
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#7 Postby Jounichi » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:20 pm

Lockpicking suffers penalties without the proper tools, so it's up to the setting to provide tools and use for the skill. I see the skill working on any kinds of lock.

Opening a simple wood door locked with a key, cutting power to the magnet-lock on a more modern door, bypassing electronic locks that require combinations or key cards, disabling the handle bar lock on a motorcycle, picking bicycle locks, handcuffs, and properly using a slim jim to break into a car all cover uses of the skill.

And those are just uses off the top of my head.
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#8 Postby herrozerro » Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:35 pm

It reminds me of a 4e blog taking one the whole Thievery skill. Officially it's mainly used in lockpicking and B&E sense. But the poster argued that Thievery is kinna like the mythbuster skill. Using things in ways they were not meant to be used. Kind of like a MacGuyver skill.

I much prefer Thievery or Intrusion I like better than lockpicking.

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#9 Postby dugfromthearth » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:03 pm

Snate56 wrote:Actually, I like Intrusion. :-D

SteveN


I like Intrusion, but I would expect it to cover stealth and climbing and such as well.

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#10 Postby Sitting Duck » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:59 am

Actually it was my hope that this topic would provoke discussion on other skills for which this could apply and I used Lockpicking as the obvious starting point.
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#11 Postby DMbobby » Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:26 am

I personally like adding trappings to skills, then based on the trappings determine what uses the player can tweak for their skills. In my games it's opened up tons of opportunities for players to do cool unexpected things with their skills and unless they chose to have a boring character that does everything cut and dry then the tricks they come up with for their skills are unlike any of the tricks the other players can do.
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#12 Postby SavageGamerGirl » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:18 pm

Well, there's Persuasion, which covers both diplomacy and fast-talking.

There's Notice, which is some parts sensory observation, and some parts psychology in re the ability to tell when someone's lying.

There's Stealth, which is not only moving silently, but hiding as well as sleight of hand.

In settings that have crafting rules, they often use Repair for it, which by name would just mean fixing things.
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#13 Postby Lord Inar » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:10 pm

Gambling could be expanded to any kind of bluff/misdirection, like forgeries, and broad deceptions that may have less to do with face to face interactions (requiring Persuasion).

Repair is often considered a catch-all Mechanics skill, so then you could call it Mechanics then have a catch-all Electronics skill, or still keep them bundled together.

Investigation could really be Research (to this day Investigation is still the most misinterpreted skill name among new players) as it definitely covers the more "academic" side of Investigation.

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#14 Postby Sitting Duck » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:31 am

Lord Inar wrote:Gambling could be expanded to any kind of bluff/misdirection, like forgeries, and broad deceptions that may have less to do with face to face interactions (requiring Persuasion).


I like this concept, as Gambling is definitely one of the more apparently limited in application skills.
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#15 Postby Zadmar » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:58 am

Lord Inar wrote:Gambling could be expanded to any kind of bluff/misdirection, like forgeries, and broad deceptions that may have less to do with face to face interactions (requiring Persuasion).

Ah, that's a good one! Perhaps "Deception" or "Subterfuge"? Indicates that you're skilled at maintaining a poker face, and perhaps also at reading other people (expressions, motives, tells, body language, etc), as well as forgery and bluff. It could also cover disguise, as I never felt too comfortable using Persuasion due to the Charisma bonus (Very Attractive people are harder to recognise when in disguise?). Perhaps it could even be used for acting?

Lord Inar wrote:Repair is often considered a catch-all Mechanics skill, so then you could call it Mechanics then have a catch-all Electronics skill, or still keep them bundled together.

Perhaps "Craft" or "Handcraft" would work as well.

Lord Inar wrote:Investigation could really be Research (to this day Investigation is still the most misinterpreted skill name among new players) as it definitely covers the more "academic" side of Investigation.

I like using Investigation for searching as well, to give it more utility (and make Notice less of a catch-all for everything perception-based) - for example when carefully searching a crime scene for a clue, or trying to find a secret door. Perhaps I should rename it "Search"...Search for active perception, Notice for passive perception.

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#16 Postby Jounichi » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:52 am

Space 1889 treats disguises differently. Notice rolls to identify you are opposed by Stealth rolls to conceal your identity; it's a nice system.

And I think different skills can be used while searching for evidence. Notice might be good for spotting the murder weapon, blood trail, or sifting through the trash bin. Investigation could be checking the victim's computer, sifting through shopping receipts, or piecing together the remains of documents from their paper shredder. Granted some of these would only apply in more modern settings, but I wouldn't want to penalize someone for not having a poor Notice.

And let's not forget that Investigator basically makes this moot.
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Re:

#17 Postby Lord Lance » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:13 am

Zadmar wrote:Ah, that's a good one! Perhaps "Deception" or "Subterfuge"? Indicates that you're skilled at maintaining a poker face, and perhaps also at reading other people (expressions, motives, tells, body language, etc), as well as forgery and bluff. It could also cover disguise, as I never felt too comfortable using Persuasion due to the Charisma bonus (Very Attractive people are harder to recognise when in disguise?). Perhaps it could even be used for acting?

Subterfuge became my standard skill for deceive, bluff, cheat, gamble, feint, distracting, disguise. Of course, I removed the standard Gambling skill. It works like a charm!

Lord Inar wrote:Repair is often considered a catch-all Mechanics skill, so then you could call it Mechanics then have a catch-all Electronics skill, or still keep them bundled together.

Zadmar wrote:Perhaps "Craft" or "Handcraft" would work as well.

I use Craft too.

Lord Inar wrote:Investigation could really be Research (to this day Investigation is still the most misinterpreted skill name among new players) as it definitely covers the more "academic" side of Investigation.

I love Research, I use it too.

FInally, I "upgraded" Tracking. In my games is used for: find and keep track of someone's passing, look for clues in a scene, look for hidden objects.

I use Athletics (Str) as default "catch-all" skill for: Climbing, Throwing, Swimming.
Then, I added an edge "Dexterity", that change the default Stat from Str to Agi, and double the range brackets for thrown objects/weapons.
Finally, I added a hindrance "Incomplete Preparation" (minor/major) that gives -2 to one of the Athletic aspects (chosen from Climbing, Throwing or Swimming). The major version gives -2 to two aspects.
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Re: Re:

#18 Postby Jounichi » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:40 am

Lord Lance wrote:I use Athletics (Str) as default "catch-all" skill for: Climbing, Throwing, Swimming.
Then, I added an edge "Dexterity", that change the default Stat from Str to Agi, and double the range brackets for thrown objects/weapons.
Finally, I added a hindrance "Incomplete Preparation" (minor/major) that gives -2 to one of the Athletic aspects (chosen from Climbing, Throwing or Swimming). The major version gives -2 to two aspects.

I've yet to play in a game where climbing and swimming were important enough to consider rolling into a single skill (hell, they've barely come up for me at all), but I do caution against rolling Throwing into the mix. That's specifically a combat skill which can be used as a prerequisite for Mighty Shot. I just don't see how being able to throw really well means I should be an awesome free climber or swimmer.
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Re: What's in a (skill) name?

#19 Postby SteelDraco » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:28 pm

I use the following...

  • Athletics merges Climbing and Swimming. They can also roll it for their running die if they want.
  • Tracking is merged into Survival.
  • Investigation is renamed to Research, to clarify what it's actually used for.
  • Gambling and Persuade are merged into Speech, as it's more of a generic term, and I'm using it for a Fallout game, and that's the term for it there.
  • Repair and Knowledge (Computers) are merged into a Tech skill, which is used for anything to do with computers or high technology.

The first three I do for any Savage Worlds game; the last two are specific to the game I'm currently planning.

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

#20 Postby Porkchop Express » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:48 am

SteelDraco wrote:I use the following...

  • Athletics merges Climbing and Swimming. They can also roll it for their running die if they want.
  • Tracking is merged into Survival.
  • Investigation is renamed to Research, to clarify what it's actually used for.
  • Gambling and Persuade are merged into Speech, as it's more of a generic term, and I'm using it for a Fallout game, and that's the term for it there.
  • Repair and Knowledge (Computers) are merged into a Tech skill, which is used for anything to do with computers or high technology.

The first three I do for any Savage Worlds game; the last two are specific to the game I'm currently planning.


I like Athletics and expanding the Survival skill quite a bit. May go on to steal that.

I usually change Lockpicking to Thievery Skill (depending on setting). It strikes me that many of the skills in SW have rules for discussion as to when they might apply, so having it be a general term works just fine for me.


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