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Author Topic: Morg's Springing feat chain  (Read 10530 times)
TheAuldGrump
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« Reply #75 on: July 19, 2007, 10:41:10 PM »


Ah, but one of the cornerstones of the Spycraft 2.0 system is one skill per task. We worked very hard to create hard divisions there to avoid "debate" over the correct skill for any given task.

Okay, but what of Bribe then? I like bribe being both under streetwise and bureaucracy... it makes sense and gives you a way to differentiate suits who know how to "work the system" from folks with friends in low places.

Bribe was a point of contention during design (technically, so was Streetwise), and the ultimate presentation was a compromise. I was and still am against the Bribe split, and don't believe it should be used as the basis for further dilution. Ultimately, one of the reasons the skill system is built so rigidly is that it allows GCs to - in our minds - more easily modify it. When you know exactly where each check is, what it does, and how, you can shift checks from one skill to another quite easily, mixing and matching to get your favored scheme. Those who want to move Haggle can. Just apply the new skill ranks and key attribute(s) and you're done.

Heck, with the example Bribe sets, you could even split another skill or two if you're so inclined. So you could have your multi-skill Haggle rule. We won't go there, though, because we feel it's too complicated.
Hmmm, I will have to think about any changes I might want to make for Streetwise/Haggle. While when I originally made the comment about the Skill and Check being reversed Iwas being a tad flip I am actually beginning to lean that way - that Streetwise is as much an environmental/situational check as a separate skill. I may actually end up swapping the two - the Art of the Deal is more universal than the largely urban Streetwise.

I dislike modifying the language more than I dislike modifying rules. (Actually, I don't dislike modifying rules at all. I am at heart a tinker, as those who saw all the changes and modifications I started with for Elements of Magic can attest. Tongue I also enjoy playing with language, and digging up odd meanings for words. )

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Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #76 on: July 20, 2007, 02:35:52 AM »

Of course it could just be turned upside down - Haggle might be the skill, Streetwise one of the tasks.... You can bargain anywhere from the streets of Los Angeles, to a market in Calcutta, to the Farmer's Coop in Huron, Kansas. Streetwise would be the check for finding the folks to bargain with when looking for those 'hard to find' items. Tongue

Ah, but you misunderstand what Streetwise is, because there's never really been a streetwise-style skill that actually DOES anything. Seeing as we don't have Knowledge skills in Spycraft, Streetwise' function is about generating money "off the books." Gambling, fencing, haggling, bribing - getting stuff and money for your skills and knowledge is what this skill actually does in the real world.

Part of the reason haggling ended up in Streetwise is because the system's other skill check umbrellas were tight - splitting a skill just to use the black market (already difficult and prohibitively expensive) undermined the motif and the utility of the skill. People don't haggle in stores - they haggle in bazaars, night markets, over cigarettes and whiskey in bars and dark basements. It's about getting the "friend price" as some ladies of the night in Beijing put it to a friend of mine years ago, and that's where it (IMNSHO)belongs.

I'm tremendously happy with Streetwise as it functions now - it is a perfectly fitting member of the 'environmental' skill trifecta (with Bureaucracy being the organizaional survival skill and Survival being the outdoors survival skill) and moreover it really MEANS something when applied to its environment. That it is desirable for more than just criminals and cops is exactly the proof it is a good, useful skill Grin
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #77 on: July 20, 2007, 01:26:30 PM »

The other thing to remember about ALL of Spycraft 2.0 is the name is a label covering the top of the stack, not the root at bottom. Player options are about what you can do first, with their name being a tag for recognition a distant, distant second. Not all characters with "Soldier" levels are in or have been in a national military - the most important thing is they are good in a fight. That's what their mechanics do for them. Soldier is a label to sugest one of thousands of ways you could acquire that skill set. The same is no less true with skills. If Athletics were only "athletics" as rigidly defined by the name of the skill, it would have the sports check and that would be the end of it. Instead it grants ability with a whole cluster of physical activites, many of which have nothing to do with each other in real life (not that many weight-lifter/marathon runners out there). "Athletics" is a title that sits on top of that heap - not defining the heap, but providing a reference to the heap's general functionality. It is perhaps the most recognizable of the concepts embodied by the skill, but it is not the limit of what the skill can offer.

Ditto with Streetwise.

This can be traced back to the design process of the game - putting together the clusters of effects we wanted character to be able to accomplish came First. Naming those clusters (with an eye towards intuitive recognition and evocative tittling) came Second. Sometimes our slightly poetic choices do it for people, and sometimes that don't, but at least most of them sound pretty good when they are being thrown around the table. "Give me an Impress check!" "Roll Drive and we'll see what happens...", "Oooo that last step's a doozy. How good's your Acrobatics?"
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spinningdice
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« Reply #78 on: July 20, 2007, 02:21:05 PM »

I'm not quite sure what else you could call it without having a more explanatory name, perhaps "Dellboy skillz"
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Nepenthe
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« Reply #79 on: July 20, 2007, 02:21:44 PM »

As a rule, I think too many people look at the label of an ability/whatnot and not what it does (those familiar with the D&D Tome of Battle and the "it's so animuh!" discussion might know what I mean). As a DM/Control, the one thing I like most is creating these kinds of combinations where the "labels" take second place for a nice new combo... Or something, but it's a pet peeve of mine Smiley
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TheAuldGrump
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« Reply #80 on: July 20, 2007, 02:51:10 PM »

Of course it could just be turned upside down - Haggle might be the skill, Streetwise one of the tasks.... You can bargain anywhere from the streets of Los Angeles, to a market in Calcutta, to the Farmer's Coop in Huron, Kansas. Streetwise would be the check for finding the folks to bargain with when looking for those 'hard to find' items. Tongue

Ah, but you misunderstand what Streetwise is, because there's never really been a streetwise-style skill that actually DOES anything. Seeing as we don't have Knowledge skills in Spycraft, Streetwise' function is about generating money "off the books." Gambling, fencing, haggling, bribing - getting stuff and money for your skills and knowledge is what this skill actually does in the real world.

Part of the reason haggling ended up in Streetwise is because the system's other skill check umbrellas were tight - splitting a skill just to use the black market (already difficult and prohibitively expensive) undermined the motif and the utility of the skill. People don't haggle in stores - they haggle in bazaars, night markets, over cigarettes and whiskey in bars and dark basements. It's about getting the "friend price" as some ladies of the night in Beijing put it to a friend of mine years ago, and that's where it (IMNSHO)belongs.

I'm tremendously happy with Streetwise as it functions now - it is a perfectly fitting member of the 'environmental' skill trifecta (with Bureaucracy being the organizaional survival skill and Survival being the outdoors survival skill) and moreover it really MEANS something when applied to its environment. That it is desirable for more than just criminals and cops is exactly the proof it is a good, useful skill Grin
Okay, put that way it makes sense - When I have used Streetwise in other (non-D20/OGL) games I have always treated it as a combination of Gather Information (includes finding, but not haggling with, the black market), Knowledge (Local), and Knowledge (Criminals) - mostly this was in the old version of Storyteller. It saw a lot of use, so I wouldn't say that it 'didn't do anything'.

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Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #81 on: July 20, 2007, 03:26:52 PM »

Okay, put that way it makes sense - When I have used Streetwise in other (non-D20/OGL) games I have always treated it as a combination of Gather Information (includes finding, but not haggling with, the black market), Knowledge (Local), and Knowledge (Criminals) - mostly this was in the old version of Storyteller. It saw a lot of use, so I wouldn't say that it 'didn't do anything'.

Heh, well when we did the new system, Knowledge was integrated into every skill, thus making a skill that traditionally is just "knowledge of the streets" to lose a bit of its mustard Smiley That's what my first iteration of Streetwise (back in 1e, then called Knowledge (Streetwise)) looked like. But all Knowledge was declared passive, rather than action, since it's not about doing something in the same way all of our skill checks involve an action of some sort. Streetwise then collected the off the books methods of moneymaking and that became its primary function. So when I say "do" something, I'm refering to an action associated with the skill...which basically every Streetwise before this one never had Smiley
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TheAuldGrump
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« Reply #82 on: July 20, 2007, 03:36:21 PM »

Okay, put that way it makes sense - When I have used Streetwise in other (non-D20/OGL) games I have always treated it as a combination of Gather Information (includes finding, but not haggling with, the black market), Knowledge (Local), and Knowledge (Criminals) - mostly this was in the old version of Storyteller. It saw a lot of use, so I wouldn't say that it 'didn't do anything'.

Heh, well when we did the new system, Knowledge was integrated into every skill, thus making a skill that traditionally is just "knowledge of the streets" to lose a bit of its mustard Smiley That's what my first iteration of Streetwise (back in 1e, then called Knowledge (Streetwise)) looked like. But all Knowledge was declared passive, rather than action, since it's not about doing something in the same way all of our skill checks involve an action of some sort. Streetwise then collected the off the books methods of moneymaking and that became its primary function. So when I say "do" something, I'm refering to an action associated with the skill...which basically every Streetwise before this one never had Smiley
Well, I will say that Gathering Information is doing something, but I understand about the passive nature of pretty much everything else about the skill.

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« Reply #83 on: July 23, 2007, 03:20:57 PM »

Well, I will say that Gathering Information is doing something, but I understand about the passive nature of pretty much everything else about the skill.

Yup. That's why the process of gathering information is covered by actual skills, such as Investigation. Whether a character knows something without doing anything? That's Knowledge and it's an entirely passive enterprise.
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« Reply #84 on: July 23, 2007, 04:45:51 PM »

So ok, so long as the minds behind the machine are here....
Why the fusing of Spending Cash to Investigation? I don't particularily care for it, I see my lead character as being too committed to her role in the great game to allocate resources to anything as frivolous as "getting rich."
I find much greater comfort in my Possessions of 10 (Operative is great) and the knowledge that if somehow the Intel Phase never comes (nearly had our team wiped out by a combat that proceeded it once during an LSpy mod. I didn't have body armor, and Shadow didn't have ammunition, and we were stuffed in a killbox with 4 goons with broadswords and power attack. I alone was fit to escape when it was done, slogging away with the 3 still-breathing bodies on my hideously encumbered self) I'm ready for it.
My mistake, most probably, but how's this work in the mind of the Crafty collective?
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« Reply #85 on: July 23, 2007, 04:51:58 PM »

Why the fusing of Spending Cash to Investigation?

Because it's a rare kindness a stranger pays without getting something in return.

Besides, what kind of balance would we be offering you if the choice to get Possessions 10 didn't hurt? Wink
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #86 on: July 23, 2007, 05:02:54 PM »

This is why I had a small evilgasm when I saw the Lawman's The Badge ability and gave it to a partner-level contact.
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« Reply #87 on: July 23, 2007, 05:10:39 PM »

Why the fusing of Spending Cash to Investigation?

Because it's a rare kindness a stranger pays without getting something in return.

Besides, what kind of balance would we be offering you if the choice to get Possessions 10 didn't hurt? Wink

This is my Law Enforcement Cover ID (Pitfall), this is my Badge, this is my Intimidation (Wis) roll suggesting a world of hurt for non-compliance with an investigation into a possible terrorist plot. Law's reach stems mostly from the absence of option in a civilian's participation. I've come to ask, you'll answer.
Of course, allowing that kind of liberty just because of a specific type of cover isn't balanced at all -even with the possibility of greater exposure.
Well, sort of. Pitfall, and by extensions any Agents of its, have huge exposure by default anyway -to the point of immunity to the concept. Sort of like being from the DHS 2001-2005, you got what you wanted when you wanted it and there wasn't any asking of why, never mind getting nosey into what was involved with the titular It's use.
Anyway, yarr. I get it, and ty.

Indeed, I quite respect that. =]
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« Reply #88 on: July 23, 2007, 05:51:57 PM »

So ok, so long as the minds behind the machine are here....
Why the fusing of Spending Cash to Investigation? I don't particularily care for it, I see my lead character as being too committed to her role in the great game to allocate resources to anything as frivolous as "getting rich."

Agreed with Pat - if you're not spending cash directly to informants, you're buying hot meals for bums, or drinks for lushes, or new stereos and home appliances for street contacts. If you want to get around it, there's the Lawman class's The Badge ability, and don't forget the rules in Second Printing that reduce the Project Investment for Investigation to 1/5 IIRC. 
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« Reply #89 on: August 27, 2007, 03:06:35 PM »

Let's run down the list of stuff on this here topic.

I love the feat chain, Scotty. Then again, there is very little I haven't liked that you've put your touch on in regards to feats.

I think Urban is more than fitting enough. I have seen Jungle or Forest Training as a substitute but that's what is ...  a substitute. If you don't like it, then adjust it for your home game as to what classifies as Urban. Half this game is adjusting the toolbox for your own game.

Streetwise is the knowing how to handle yourself in "under the table" dealings or when you are attempting to not pay full price. So IMHO all aspects of the skill fit. Then again, as the GC, you can switch them around. I had a player who wanted to appeal to the common sense of someone for the Bribe and on a lark I asked for a Bureaucracy based on Wisdom as it felt appropriate.

Spending Cash: Ahh, the dump stat of Wealth. ... I've had a player create a character who's idea of Spending Cash was walking to the ATM with a broken chair leg as a weapon. I think it is invaluable as a source of gaining information and is too often overlooked. Note to self: Remember The Badge for one of my contacts.

Per Valentina, my LSpy does not have a Lifestyle above 4, holds a Possessions of 7 and a Spending Cash of 3. I want to have some spare change just in case I need the train ticket at the last moment or need to do some Canvass Area or even a small Bribe to cabbie to go faster than normal (or even so he won't say anything when I commandeer his cab by driving it myself while he holds on for dear life).

The only real bone I have to pick regarding the Errata would be the complete nerf of Gear Prep to one item. I would have preferred (and I have mentioned to Pat) it be Intruder class based as in how many levels, even gaining one extra pick at say 9th or 10th level and a final pick at 19th or 20th level. It still nerfs those taking it for just the 1st level (which even I admit was too often).
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