A forum for the original Sunday Group.
 
HomePortalGalleryFAQRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Skill granularity

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
SteveL
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1029
Join date : 2008-08-15
Location : Camore

PostSubject: Skill granularity   Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:14 pm

One of the chief problems when defining a skill system is making them "equal" (e.g., who would choose "tie a bow" over "conquer the world"?). Actually, to me, equality would largely consist of the amount of time and effort to learn and develop a skill. But playability is perhaps the overriding concern.

So, should there be a "wilderness survival" skill (keyed to climate and terrain), or should it be broken up into constituent skills instead?

I thought I'd solve this one by listing all the skills that wilderness survival would entail, and then trying to lump them into as few skills as possible:

  • Finding potable water
  • Finding food
  • Finding/building shelter

Some of these could be broken down further. So, finding food might include tracking, trap construction, trap-setting, preparing game (which could include gutting, smoking, cooking). Some of these might fall under hunting. Also, what about fishing? Finding/building shelter might include fire-building.

Other related skills would impart a bonus to the wilderness survival skill. Examples: fauna lore, flora lore, stealth. I don't see navigation as being central to wilderness survival.

This is a rough list. let me know if I missed something or got something wrong.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://mailedfist.blogspot.com/
SteveL
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1029
Join date : 2008-08-15
Location : Camore

PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:33 pm

From Wikipedia's "Survival skills":

  • lighting and maintaining a fire
  • finding/creating shelter
  • finding/preparing potable water
  • finding and identifying food
  • treating injuries
  • climbing, hiking, and swimming
  • using specific or makeshift tools
  • signaling for rescue
  • tracking mental awareness/emotional status

Ideas for discrete skills:

Wilderness Survival. A miminalist skill that includes finding and preparing potable water, lighting and maintaining a fire, and finding/creating shelter. The character will eventually starve unless he has a food-gathering skill such as Hunting, Trapping, Fishing, or Flora Lore.

This skill could be used abstractly to determine whether a character can survive; a roll would be made at the end of the day; failure (or the lack of the skill) means that the character is weakened. A successful food-gathering skill roll would mitigate the weakening effects. Multiple participating characters would have separate rolls, but travel progress would be slower.

Hunting. Actively killing and preparing game for food. Synergistic skills: fauna lore, tracking, animal handling if hunting with animals, weapon, stealth.

Fishing. Synergistic skills: Fauna Lore.

Trapping. Creation and setting of game traps. Synergistic skills: Fauna Lore, Tracking.

Flora Lore. Can be used to find and identify edible plants.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://mailedfist.blogspot.com/
Hawkstone

avatar

Posts : 8
Join date : 2008-08-19
Age : 48
Location : Zarahemla

PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:58 pm

Something to consider might be to have a general wilderness skill that has a base chance of say, 10%, and improves by 2% whenever it is improved upon; and have specific survival skills that start at 40% and improve by 5% (as an example). So some players might think they would rather take a few select specific survival skills, while others might think it would not fit their character, but don't want to be totally helpless, and so take the general wilderness skill. All of them would perhaps still be climate/terrain specific, or (perhaps to be more realistic and fair), subject to a table of modifiers for trying to do something in progressively more unfamiliar areas. You would have to create rules for whether or not you could stack general and specific skills.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://ca.geocities.com/pandros@rogers.com
Hawkstone

avatar

Posts : 8
Join date : 2008-08-19
Age : 48
Location : Zarahemla

PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:08 pm

Navigation? Probably not, but maybe direction sense. Finding food I think should be broken down into hunting, fishing and foraging. Building a shelter and making a fire should be kept separate, in my opinion. I guess it all depends on how charactes learn these skills. Can they take a course, perhaps from the local military, on varoius subjects, which might include a braod range of topics? In which case, the course on shleters might include fire building, so whoever takes that course gets the shleter skill, which includes how to build a fire. But the concept of D&D seems somewhat spoiled by the idea of taking a course. Chances are, skills are learned in more isolated ways. When I was in scouts, I learned how to build a fire, but did'nt learn much about building a shelter. It depends on how much you want to drill down, I guess.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://ca.geocities.com/pandros@rogers.com
kubera

avatar

Posts : 1364
Join date : 2008-08-15
Age : 54
Location : suburb of Kolab

PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:29 am

The problem is keeping it simple enough not to become cumbersome while trying to give it some feel of reality and forcing people to learn rational skills for their NWP. The system itself rewards the killing of orcs but not the creation of a fire or a hut both of which can also save your life, this in turn makes people take skills like blind fighting/brawling/quick draw instead of real day to day skills that keep you alive. This is a weekness of the established system. Small xp rewards for doing mundane things should be considered.

Both players and DMs take a lot of things for granted. We all say things (before the advent of light coins) such as I a light a torch or candle and we immediately get on with business. Without things like accelerants or matches starting a torch or candle could take 10 minutes to hours depending on conditions. Of course the level of alchemical knowledge in these fantasy worlds should make us expect that matches would be invented, or a lbinary iquid fire starter would make sense, without such firestarting aids nearly everyone should in reality be taking this skill.

I would think wilderness survival would be a generalist skill as suggested that should give a basic skill in all the other skills it overlaps but would max out a point where you'd need to specialize to increase you skill,

Of course many of these skills need to be bonused or penalized by the DM on the fly because you cannot chart or table all possible modifers. Food gathering/foraging 10 would be fine but our move from Georgia/florida climate to the Amedo jungle would quickly bring that skill down to 2.

Its also impossible to chart all the overlaps of skills adequately.

Wilderness lore/herbalism/flora lore/agriculture would overlap at points in reguards to identifying edibles. I think its important not to over analyse and try to codify all the possibilities
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.canadiansilverbug.blogspot.com/
SteveL
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1029
Join date : 2008-08-15
Location : Camore

PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:45 pm

kubera wrote:
The problem is keeping it simple enough not to become cumbersome while trying to give it some feel of reality and forcing people to learn rational skills for their NWP. The system itself rewards the killing of orcs but not the creation of a fire or a hut both of which can also save your life, this in turn makes people take skills like blind fighting/brawling/quick draw instead of real day to day skills that keep you alive. This is a weekness of the established system. Small xp rewards for doing mundane things should be considered.

Both players and DMs take a lot of things for granted. We all say things (before the advent of light coins) such as I a light a torch or candle and we immediately get on with business. Without things like accelerants or matches starting a torch or candle could take 10 minutes to hours depending on conditions. Of course the level of alchemical knowledge in these fantasy worlds should make us expect that matches would be invented, or a lbinary iquid fire starter would make sense, without such firestarting aids nearly everyone should in reality be taking this skill.

I would think wilderness survival would be a generalist skill as suggested that should give a basic skill in all the other skills it overlaps but would max out a point where you'd need to specialize to increase you skill,

Of course many of these skills need to be bonused or penalized by the DM on the fly because you cannot chart or table all possible modifers. Food gathering/foraging 10 would be fine but our move from Georgia/florida climate to the Amedo jungle would quickly bring that skill down to 2.

Its also impossible to chart all the overlaps of skills adequately.

Wilderness lore/herbalism/flora lore/agriculture would overlap at points in reguards to identifying edibles. I think its important not to over analyse and try to codify all the possibilities
I agree. I think the skills I defined a few posts above should handle the mechanics with a minimum of GM/player effort.

In D&D, XP traditionally accrued to treasure acquisition and monster slaying, as you pointed out. The type of rewards that the rules define will tend to steer players in that direction. Thus, in AD&D, PCs are driven to kill and loot, and whittling a set of high-flow cylinder heads doesn't pay off except indirectly. I'm not sure how the current iteration of D&D manages XP, but several AD&D writers proposed XP systems in which an adventure or a portion thereof could be considered a challenge with its own XP reward value. Like Chaosium's games, Mailed Fist™ rewards skill usage by enabling characters to improve in the skills they actually use or train in.

This brings me to another game design problem. If every successful skill usage allows the player to "mark" that skill for development at the end of the season, wouldn't players "game" the system by using every skill in order to advance in all of them as rapidly as possible? On the one hand, this is not a problem because it mirrors real life (sort of). In real life, one would practice the skills one desires to improve, and would actually use the skills that pertain to his daily life. So, the problem is to manage the practice activity without getting bogged down in note-taking. In Cells & Serpents™, the players were supposed to note the skills they were going to practice in the coming period. I am developing rules for practice (study, training) that are separate from successful skill checks.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://mailedfist.blogspot.com/
Bruzynski

avatar

Posts : 203
Join date : 2008-08-18
Location : in a dank basement reading someone else's mail

PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:57 pm

i like the first idea of having a survival skill tied to a particular climate or terrain type.  then this is modified by different terrain types, time of year, weather etc...to survive you need a whole package of skills and it is difficult to imagine having hunting without some sort of tracking, flora and fauna lore, fire building, shelter building etc.

and i also think that everyone should start with survival skills particular to the region where they live.  After all these characters survived long enough to start the game.  i can think of some situations where this may be untrue, but for the most part survival is an indicator of ability to survive.


Last edited by Bruzynski on Fri May 19, 2017 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Regnar

avatar

Posts : 77
Join date : 2008-09-05
Location : in the corners of my mind...

PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:13 pm

that is something I always liked, the DM giving 'freebee' skill points based upon character history, place of origin, parental careers.. etc.
Skills are tricky. I liked my sjh house ruled in this sense, lovingly ripped off from Cthulhu, in that you didn't necessarily have to 'pick' them but could use them and have a chance to go up without shelling out points (common skills), and learned skills, which are kinda like the specialty stuff, like weaponsmith, etc...
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Skill granularity   

Back to top Go down
 
Skill granularity
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Reb Bull Romaniacs - Unbelievable Skill!
» Hockey'sFuture: Ottawa Senators European prospects big on size and skill
» Howard Clark Commentary Skills (Use of the English language)
» Best piece of skill seen on a pitch
» Touch Tennis...it's the future I say

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Checkerseekerdoors :: Mailed Fist-
Jump to: