Back to Crafty Games Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
November 23, 2014, 07:05:04 PM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Welcome to the Crafty Games Forums!

Note to New Members: To combat spam, we have instituted new rules: you must post 5 replies to existing threads before you can create new threads.

+  Crafty Games Forum
|-+  Products
| |-+  Spycraft Third Edition
| | |-+  Modern Skills: More Skills vs More Checks per Skill.
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Go Down Print
Poll
Question: How should modern skills be handled?
Add more skills.   -2 (12.5%)
Add more checks, but keep the same skills.   -11 (68.8%)
Other (detail in a reply to the topic)   -3 (18.8%)
Total Voters: 16

Author Topic: Modern Skills: More Skills vs More Checks per Skill.  (Read 2161 times)
Sletchman
Control
******
Posts: 4108


Gentleman Scholar.


View Profile WWW
« on: August 06, 2012, 10:56:22 PM »

Pat / Alex:  If you have already made a decision for SC3 / 10kB or don't want this discussion, then feel free to delete this thread (or just say "hey, we've made a decision already").  I'm looking for my own improvisation use for home games, but I figure that some fan feedback might help you guys make a decision too.  Plus with the Combat, Gearing Up, Firearms and general Wishlist threads, it seemed like a good fit.

I'm looking at a more modern FC game, and have been considering how to handle technological skills, so I figured I'd seek some board feedback.  Looking through the skill list, almost everything has a match up to existing FC skills.

Going through the list, all that's missing from FC is:
Analysis (Authenticate1, Examine Media, Forensics)
Bureaucracy (Bribe)
Computers (Hacking (Dramatic Conflict) - Optimise is covered by Craft)
Manipulate (Harass, Slander)

Cultures became a Study, Electronics / Mechanics / Science are all covered by Craft (which has Build, Disable, Modify, Optimise, and Repair), and Networking became the new Contact prize option.  Security is a funny one - it became Craft and Prestidigitation, but those checks should still fit in a modern context.

1 - Covered by Search / Notice in FC, but I've kept it in the above list for more advanced / technological forgeries.

The way I see it, there are two approaches for modern skills:

1: Add more skills.
From the above list, the things that look important are Analysis and Computers.  The former covering Forensics, Analyse Media, and Authenticating items (in fact, I'd consider calling the skill Forensics).  Computers would be a cinematic hacking skill, as well as covering computer operations.  We'll continue to ignore Bureaucracy and Manipulate because the checks that they cover are easily handled through roleplaying - and if Mechanics are necessary, they can be folded into Haggle (Bureaucracy: Bribe) and Intimidate (Harass and Slander).  Having 2 new skills makes it easy to put a new Basic Skill pair into the mix, though I'm not sure what to call it (one could rejigger the existing pairs though, for a modern environment).

2: Add more checks to existing skills.
Investigate (Decipher) already covers codes, puzzles and the like so it's easy to extend to cracking Computer Passwords - which lets it be used for Hacking checks pretty easily.  Authenticate is easily handled as a Search check with a synergy from Craft (since it covers forgery).  Examine Media and Forensics is covered to a lesser degree already in Investigate, so leaving those checks in there seems like a pretty small logical leap.  The big advantage of this is that it leaves Spellbound (and Fantasy Craft) 100% plug and play with with 10k Bullets, which makes games like Dresden Files, Vow of Silence, or Shadowrun fairly easy to run with little hassle.  Classes are equally easy to port between games - if you want to play a modern Swashbuckler, no problem.  It might make Investigate a little bit too butch though, which is my only real concern.

Thoughts, opinions, etc?
Logged
aegis
Fantasy Craft Playtester
Control
******
Posts: 1029


A little dab'll do ya.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2012, 04:04:48 AM »

I would say Add more checks but I agree that some things might require a few new skills as well. Analysis might fall into Investigate and Search for me, honestly. Bureaucracy is covered by the Bribe options of Impress. Manipulate can easily be folded in Bluff, Impress, or even Tactics. Indeed, Networking has gone into Haggle and Contacts themselves, Electronics/Mechanics/Science are covered by Crafting, Cultures are now Interests, and Security is both in Crafting and Prestidigitation.

Which leaves us with Computers... I must say I'm having a trouble with this one. Since it's just one skill, I would like to fold it into others, just not to add a new one. But at the same time, it's a skill that makes completely no sense in a fantasy world and that can't be overlooked in a modern setting, so it definitely has its place without requiring any change from FC's rules ... So for this one, I think I would like a distinct skill. With checks related to programming (Downtime), hacking/defending, virus planting, software-assisted decyphering, quick security bypassing, etc.

The other one I'm a little bit concerned about is Ride/Drive. I really would have liked a difference between animal-powered and motor-powered riding/driving. I can understand how riding a horse and driving a dog-drafted snowstuff fall into the same category, I can even understand how driving a car and piloting a plane fall into their own. But from horse to plane, it's a bit too much stretching for me. But that would change things in FC as well, since boats fall into even another category (let's say crew-driven vehicles). So I don't know about this one. I wouldn't be perfectly happy with a single skill, but I can see how dividing it in two or three might create compatibility issues... I think Spycraft had some merit in attributing the "driving" ability to different skills depending on the vehicle used. Maybe something not too complicated can be devised for crew-driven vehicles though, I don't know...
Logged
Desertpuma
Control
******
Posts: 4319


Highest Level LSpy Agent 16th, almost 17th


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 08:31:20 AM »

I would say add a couple more skills. As for Computers, you could put that into Craft the way the skill is written in SC2.0, optimizing your computer. Hacking is really investigate now while both Electronics (build, disable, repair) and Science (program) can cover the rest.

I still think Analysis needs to be available because there is so much additional stuff that can be done with it but I also understand the need to keep it in Investigate.

As for Ride/Drive, go with the SC2.0 model where there are different focuses with ride animal being one in a modern game. In FC though, I can completely understand it the way it is. Crew based vehicles are really about a team under one person's control so could keep it under Tactics.
Logged



Living Spycraft Masterm
Coyote0273
Operative
****
Posts: 465



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2012, 12:24:35 PM »

I honestly think the "Drive/Ride" skill should be 4 separate skills. Ride, Watercraft, Drive, and Pilot. There is very little in common between those four types of requirements. Given just how many focuses there were in Spycraft for each of the modern skills, it would branch people out, even if being slightly annoying.

I disagree with Computers being split into anything else. Vehemently so with the Hacking aspect. I'm a pretty good investigator. Especially when it came to figuring out how something went wrong at work and following it to its source. I couldn't hack a Commodore 64 to save my life.

Logged
MilitiaJim
Control
******
Posts: 4362



View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2012, 01:46:42 PM »

I could see separating Drive into Air, Land, and Water but unless every class is getting a few more skill points I'm against adding more skills to the SC3 list.
Logged

"Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."  ("A sword is never a killer, it's a tool  in the killer's hands.")
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca "the younger" ca. (4 BC - 65 AD)
Sletchman
Control
******
Posts: 4108


Gentleman Scholar.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2012, 08:43:35 PM »

I honestly think the "Drive/Ride" skill should be 4 separate skills. Ride, Watercraft, Drive, and Pilot. There is very little in common between those four types of requirements.

There's plenty of common ground for many (smaller) Watercraft and Drive, but I agree Ride and Pilot are totally different  skill sets.  That said, I would really not like to see them be 4 separate skills.  I think with a large number of SC3 focus options available, and the removal of the "Int mod in bonus focuses" rule that you won't see any real weirdness.  It also makes a Wheelman who wants to fill the "I can drive anything" concept kinda weak - half your skill points go towards driving, making it hard to contribute to non-driving scenes (something the wheelman has copped a bad rap for since 2.0's release).

Quote
I disagree with Computers being split into anything else. Vehemently so with the Hacking aspect. I'm a pretty good investigator. Especially when it came to figuring out how something went wrong at work and following it to its source. I couldn't hack a Commodore 64 to save my life.

Computers are largely my only problem with the "keep the same skills" option.  It's not even computers, really, it's Hacking.  Building, maintaining and repairing computers are all blatant uses of the Craft skill (Electronics focus), but actual Hacking just isn't Investigate.  It's a bigger problem in some ways because it only fits into a certain era window, too.  It's useless in Fantasy Craft (for obvious reasons), super important in Modern / Near Future games, and back to useless in somewhat Further Future games (quantum computing will produce effectively unhackable encryption - which means you'll need research and social engineering (investigate and bluff / impress / sense motive) not a terminal and some time).

Hacking probably should be a strictly downtime check anyway - the time it takes is simply so long that the rest of the time will have a day / week of downtime anyway.  On mission, it should be all social engineering / gadgets (for biometrics).  Even as a downtime operation, the Hacker needs something to be rolled (and I'm not entirely happy with Investigate, though it with "Decipher" or maybe even Craft are the best choices for that role).
Logged
Coyote0273
Operative
****
Posts: 465



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2012, 08:49:30 PM »

I honestly think the "Drive/Ride" skill should be 4 separate skills. Ride, Watercraft, Drive, and Pilot. There is very little in common between those four types of requirements.

There's plenty of common ground for many (smaller) Watercraft and Drive, but I agree Ride and Pilot are totally different  skill sets.  That said, I would really not like to see them be 4 separate skills.  I think with a large number of SC3 focus options available, and the removal of the "Int mod in bonus focuses" rule that you won't see any real weirdness.  It also makes a Wheelman who wants to fill the "I can drive anything" concept kinda weak - half your skill points go towards driving, making it hard to contribute to non-driving scenes (something the wheelman has copped a bad rap for since 2.0's release).

Quote
I disagree with Computers being split into anything else. Vehemently so with the Hacking aspect. I'm a pretty good investigator. Especially when it came to figuring out how something went wrong at work and following it to its source. I couldn't hack a Commodore 64 to save my life.

Computers are largely my only problem with the "keep the same skills" option.  It's not even computers, really, it's Hacking.  Building, maintaining and repairing computers are all blatant uses of the Craft skill (Electronics focus), but actual Hacking just isn't Investigate.  It's a bigger problem in some ways because it only fits into a certain era window, too.  It's useless in Fantasy Craft (for obvious reasons), super important in Modern / Near Future games, and back to useless in somewhat Further Future games (quantum computing will produce effectively unhackable encryption - which means you'll need research and social engineering (investigate and bluff / impress / sense motive) not a terminal and some time).

Hacking probably should be a strictly downtime check anyway - the time it takes is simply so long that the rest of the time will have a day / week of downtime anyway.  On mission, it should be all social engineering / gadgets (for biometrics).  Even as a downtime operation, the Hacker needs something to be rolled (and I'm not entirely happy with Investigate, though it with "Decipher" or maybe even Craft are the best choices for that role).

I'll agree with the skill points in regards to Ride/Drive, though I do believe that should be at least two skills (Ride and Drive/Pilot/whatever). Though, the pilot focus should definitely be enforced for those who don't have the right ones.

I would argue the downtime Hacking just on the basis of what the game is designed to be. In the movies/tv shows (realistic or not), hackers can do it on demand. Though, there might be class options to cover that as well, I don't have the book handy at the moment to check.
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10835


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2012, 09:43:35 PM »

I honestly think the "Drive/Ride" skill should be 4 separate skills. Ride, Watercraft, Drive, and Pilot. There is very little in common between those four types of requirements. Given just how many focuses there were in Spycraft for each of the modern skills, it would branch people out, even if being slightly annoying.

Decompressing what I like to simply call a unified Handle skill into the different mediums of travel is a horrible idea. There simply aren't enough skill points as it is, so you utterly bone Wheelman/Transporter type characters from being able to do anything else.

Decompression is bad; there's a reason why the unified Acrobatics and Athletics skills were so very well received.

There's plenty of common ground for many (smaller) Watercraft and Drive, but I agree Ride and Pilot are totally different  skill sets.  That said, I would really not like to see them be 4 separate skills.  I think with a large number of SC3 focus options available, and the removal of the "Int mod in bonus focuses" rule that you won't see any real weirdness.  It also makes a Wheelman who wants to fill the "I can drive anything" concept kinda weak - half your skill points go towards driving, making it hard to contribute to non-driving scenes (something the wheelman has copped a bad rap for since 2.0's release).

What weirdness? Losing the bonus starting foci due to intelligence would be just as big a mistake as adding those pointless extra skills.

Quote
Computers are largely my only problem with the "keep the same skills" option.  It's not even computers, really, it's Hacking.  Building, maintaining and repairing computers are all blatant uses of the Craft skill (Electronics focus), but actual Hacking just isn't Investigate. 

Hacking probably should be a strictly downtime check anyway - the time it takes is simply so long that the rest of the time will have a day / week of downtime anyway.  On mission, it should be all social engineering / gadgets (for biometrics).  Even as a downtime operation, the Hacker needs something to be rolled (and I'm not entirely happy with Investigate, though it with "Decipher" or maybe even Craft are the best choices for that role).

If you're not simply blindly running scripts, hacking is a combination of Investigate (researching social, physical and software weaknesses) and Craft (programming) to create the code to exploit them as well as modify such code on the fly. Maybe a Reflex save to seize a momentary gap in a process runtime or a Will save to implement an exploit before you'd be busted. But there's no way you need any sort of hacking skill.

Actual hackers would definitely have Blend -- which I'd argue should also be treated as a focus skill, because take someone like Bubbles from The Wire. His ability to mix into the Baltimore street crowd is one of the things that made him an invaluable CI, but there's no way he'd look or act like he belonged if you put him in a suit and dropped him into a corporate meet and greet, or the middle of a forest
Logged

Sletchman
Control
******
Posts: 4108


Gentleman Scholar.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2012, 11:33:42 PM »

I would argue the downtime Hacking just on the basis of what the game is designed to be. In the movies/tv shows (realistic or not), hackers can do it on demand. Though, there might be class options to cover that as well, I don't have the book handy at the moment to check.

I meant to preface that line with "Realistically" - my bad.  I totally get that cinematic hacking has to be in the game, because it's in an enormous amount of the source material.
Logged
Sletchman
Control
******
Posts: 4108


Gentleman Scholar.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2012, 11:53:09 PM »

There's plenty of common ground for many (smaller) Watercraft and Drive, but I agree Ride and Pilot are totally different  skill sets.  That said, I would really not like to see them be 4 separate skills.  I think with a large number of SC3 focus options available, and the removal of the "Int mod in bonus focuses" rule that you won't see any real weirdness.  It also makes a Wheelman who wants to fill the "I can drive anything" concept kinda weak - half your skill points go towards driving, making it hard to contribute to non-driving scenes (something the wheelman has copped a bad rap for since 2.0's release).

What weirdness? Losing the bonus starting foci due to intelligence would be just as big a mistake as adding those pointless extra skills.

The weirdness of a airforce pilot whose aerobatic dogfight training makes him able to drive a big rig.  I was replying to a suggestion that Ride be broken up into 4 skills (something I'm quite clearly against) because of weird crossovers like that.  My point is that due to the large number of focus options you shouldn't see any of that weirdness (unless a character specifically wants to have that combination) and you don't bone the wheelman.

I just went through Fantasy Craft pretty carefully, and can't find bonus starting focuses equal to Int mod anywhere, so either it was removed by Crafty or it's in a terribly obscure and non-intuitive location (neither of which would surprise me).  Did you find it somewhere odd in the book / houserule it back in?  How is that working out for you?  I had always assumed since Mastercraft has half the number of focus skills that the rule was removed to avoid players having to many focuses at character creation.
Logged
ludomastro
Control
******
Posts: 1683



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2012, 12:06:38 AM »

I voted to add two skills: Computer/Hacking and Forensics to borrow Sletchman's terminology; however, I could live with the 20 (21 with Spellcasting) we have now.

While I can certainly see the appeal of keeping the skill count at 20, I feel that centuries of progress (comparing today/near future to the historical counterparts of the various Eras of play) result in more knowledge and more options, thus more skills.  Two additional skills seem like a reasonable expansion/compromise without abandoning the core principal of simplicity.

Regarding Ride/Drive and the possible distinctions between piloting and animal handling:
I think we should keep a single skill with focus groups and let the player decide if they want to be able to ride a house horse, drive a team of oxen, fly a plane, pilot a yacht or drift through the streets of Tokyo.  However, I might give the wheelman an extra focus or two as part of his class abilities.

EDIT: corrected from house to horse, though being able to drive a house could be awesome in the right setting.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 09:20:53 AM by ludomastro » Logged

Agent 333
Control
******
Posts: 2035



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2012, 08:21:13 AM »

I voted to keep the same skills. In addition to making it as smoothe as possible to port classes between Mastercraft systems, the need for extra skills is (as demonstrated) highly debatable. As a Software Engineer by profession, I am more than happy to say that 99% of what a "computers" skill does should be handled by other skills.
Logged

When all your problems are nails, all your tools start looking like hammers.
Sletchman
Control
******
Posts: 4108


Gentleman Scholar.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2012, 11:32:36 PM »

I'm going to be running Stargate game starting next week, so I'll give the "same skills more checks" approach a go and see how it turns out.  Granted, Stargate doesn't exactly have crazy quantities of hacking compared to espionage or cyberpunk (among other genres), but it should still give an idea.
Logged
spinningdice
Control
******
Posts: 1455


The power of the Dice compels you!


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2012, 03:27:52 AM »

I still miss forte's and think a lot of the issues with focus skills could be remedied by bringing them back in as more specific specialisms, so your hot-shot pilot could instead of getting focus in everything get focus in Fixed Wing Aircraft and forte in various specific aircraft (i.e. entries on the appropriate gear table).
You'd still eventually have to branch out (maybe, depending how specific the gear tables are) but you can delay it a lot longer) and your do anything guy can still do anything, just be missing out on a bonus.
Logged
Sletchman
Control
******
Posts: 4108


Gentleman Scholar.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2012, 04:41:57 AM »

I still miss forte's and think a lot of the issues with focus skills could be remedied by bringing them back in as more specific specialisms, so your hot-shot pilot could instead of getting focus in everything get focus in Fixed Wing Aircraft and forte in various specific aircraft (i.e. entries on the appropriate gear table).
You'd still eventually have to branch out (maybe, depending how specific the gear tables are) but you can delay it a lot longer) and your do anything guy can still do anything, just be missing out on a bonus.

I liked them too.  One thing I was considering was +5 Complexity for Craft Fortes - but probably make it specific (Craft: Metalworking (Blade Forte)).  Gives you a little more ability with your chosen field.  Ride is a little less obvious as to what to apply the bonus to.  I like the idea of a bonus to Defence, Save or Handling (if something like that is added).
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.13 | SMF © 2006-2011, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!