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Morgenstern
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2012, 11:02:01 AM »

The new attribute names:  Thumbs up.  They lack the accumulation of 40 years of expectations while still being evocative.

That's the hope, and ideally correctly evocative of what they will do at the table. I'd like for eating this pie to be intuitive Smiley.

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What's the importance of the key skill?

The key skill is essentially "What the attribute is all about. It's main use. The skill that if you thought to yourself 'I want to call for an old-style naked attribute check' then using this skill for that impromtu roll would not steer you far wrong." In some ways I see the key skill as the primary avenue for honing the attribute it's based on. What to leverage general fitness? Grab more ranks of athletics. Want the world to really feel the depths of your Guile? Pile on the Parley ranks.

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Eliminating the active passive distinction is a shame but it seems like it wasn't very popular with the player base or at least that no one seemed to get it.

The benefits never outweighed the sheer amount of confusion it unleashes. And it also served in large part as a skill point tax - dividing up several crucial activites into two skills so that mastering the activity as a whole cost you double. I'm largely confident the other skills can be consolidated and buffed up to the point where they are legitimate competitors for your limited skill point budget verus the power houses of Vigilance and Stealth - whech still counter each other nicely. That's part of why I'm not overly affraid of making Expertise a 'must have' in some people's eyes, because Vigilance and Stealth are already must haves in the eyes of other player's with slightly different tastes. At some point the opportunity cost of having more 'must have' choices than you have skill points is going to catch up with you Smiley.

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Blend:  What does it do now?  Does it just duplicate the Hide check?  Associating it with Grace makes me think it could use a crowd handling check.  Sort of a social tumble Smiley but based on working through a crowd.
 

That's the idea. Too much time watching the Bourne Movies I guess but urban evasion seems pretty valuable to me. I think it's as strong as Stealth once Stealth gets slapped around a few times with the limitation its largely impossible to move through even a thin a crowd hidden by only physical factors.

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Disguise doesn't seem to fit into Grace as well as it should.  Then again, if you called it Acting it would fit perfectly....  So I think Grace based skills need a couple new checks to make them feel right but that's for down the road.

Encompassing more heroic tropes effectively is always a good goal Smiley. Grace as an attribute is a powerfully evocative term for me because of my Aikido experience. When you move with economy of energy and whole-body precision, you can do some amazing things. Likewise social graces are a powerful force for navagating personal encounters Its not quite as outgoing in feel as charisma, but the results can be quite similar. Grace can be the difference between smooth and slick - both made it look easy, but only one of them doesn't make you feel like you need to wash afterwards Smiley.

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Counterfeit could live in Deception fairly easily.  Calm could live in Focus to make it a bit more attractive.
 

Counterfiting is really just a craft check - you make something that looks like something. That doing so is illegal or fraudulent is a social consideration not a skill check Smiley. It's probably viewed better as a footnote on the crafting table rather than a seperate check.

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I think Escape should generally be an Acrobatics check (Bursting bonds is Athletics though)

Another activity to consider. I'll be looking at the overall list and distribution of plot-impact across the skils before commiting Smiley.

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Focus skills in general seem troublesome. Do you see any negative ramifications (other than effects on Knowledge checks) of using interests instead of foci?  Then again, there may not be any real positives to that.

Ok, here's my current hair-brained scheme I'm mulling over.

Lets call the fields of specialized professional knowledge you possess "Expertises". So medicine is an expertise, Programing is a modern era expertise. Etc. The skill currently known as Craft and the new skill slinking around under the name Sabotage BOTH access your expertises list. If you have Woodworking and Craft, you make wood stuff. If you have woodworking and Sabotage you have a bag of evil little wood tricks. If you have ranks in Craft and Sabotage when you acquire a new expertise, you get both kinds on new applications at the same time.

I dunno if I can make it work yet, but it does satisfy Mr. Andersen's possition that booby-traping/sabotaging should be tied to having the appropirate focus (if not neccessarily the same skill - see the difference between a locksmith and a safe cracker). I Don't have a problem with on focus being effective across multiple skills Smiley. If the checks can be divvied up in a sensible fashion, great.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 12:40:27 PM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2012, 11:30:26 AM »

The Expertise/Sabotage linkage also sort of appeals to me from a purely meta-game stance that it makes all three Precision-skill have focuses. Not entirely out of place to thinly slice skills attached to a term like precision Cool.

Its interesting. If you boil the core check of Expertise down to "make relevant gear" and attach a few "use relevant gear" checks as needed, then having a Sabotage skill with the main check being "creatively disrupt said gear" could put those two on very nearly equal footing right there.

I was leary of mentioning it, but now I can actually see Transport kicking into the same list. Heres an Automobiles focus. Once you have it, use your Transport ranks to drive them, your Expertise ranks to build/repair/upgrade them, and your Sabotage ranks to turn them into deathtraps (or just plain break it).

Thinking outloud. Sleep approaching. More later.
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« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2012, 12:15:38 PM »

Disguise doesn't seem to fit into Grace as well as it should. Then again, if you called it Acting it would fit perfectly....  So I think Grace based skills need a couple new checks to make them feel right but that's for down the road.

Ok, you now owe me a Grace skill... I looked at Disguise... poor lonely Disguise, the skill that made it into a mere 2 base classes and realized... merge it's check with Blend's singular lonely check and you actually have something worth taking. A real tradecraft skill. Possibly evocative enough to bump Impress out of key skill status for the Attribute. Agent-quality skill point sink.

...but it left a modest cratter in my lovely little balancing act Tongue.

After 3 editions, who'd have thunk Charisma-type skills would be in short supply? Grin
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 01:29:36 PM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2012, 12:17:40 PM »

Sletch's problem seems to be his strange assumption that every check you can make with Expertise is actually a focus; he made the same mistake in Alex's thread
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2012, 04:50:00 PM »

I think the grace skill you're looking for is Acrobatics.  If you want to evoke physical and social grace you need a physical use.  Acrobatics is physical grace pretty much.

But now you need a Fitness skill and that's a bit harder.  Let me put out something I noticed about the other abilities and see what you think.

Awareness
Vigilance is a physical awareness skill - being aware of your physical surroundings.
Sense Motive is a social awareness skill - being aware of what others really mean.
Investigate is a mental awareness skill - becoming aware of facts and knowledge.

Now you could argue that argue that all of the awareness skills are physical, mental, and social but I think it's pretty clear what I mean.  Let's run with this.

Survival is a physical determination skill, focus is mental, and Intimidate is social (antisocial Smiley ).  Again, you could argue a bit.

Until I opened my mouth about Lie checks Deception was a purely physical skill, Tactics is knowledge/mental, and Parley is purely social.

All the Precision skills deal with physical stuff so I'm going to go out on a limb here.  Expertise is knowledge based, Sabotage is the most social of the three (even if only as targets) while Transport is straight up all about the rides. 

For Fitness, Athletics and Acrobatics are both purely physical.  Laugh at me if you want but I'm going to put Stealth in the social category because it deals with avoiding people.  Hiding has been my primary social skill since grade school.  Grace has the purely social Impress and the mostly social Disguise/Blend skill. 

I think Grace strongly needs a physical skill and Fitness could use a less directly physical use.  I also think moving Acrobatics to Grace is a good fit.  A physical resistance type skill (resisting the effects of pain, torture) might be a good fit but it might overlap with some decent uses of push limit too.

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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2012, 10:09:00 PM »

What would be wrong about taking ranks in Expertise and making your first focus "medicine"? That would in my mind enable all the pertinent checks that are in the Medicine skill now and should be workable at level 1?
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Not at all. I'm just unclear where the idea that one focus would do so little is coming from. The idea is one focus makes you N ranks competent with everything involved with that focus. If you've got computer hardware, you can build it, repair it dismantle it etc.

When I posted, the listed focus options were Mend, Treatment, Calm, etc.  4 focuses for Medicine alone.  With the current text revision, it's less of a problem (balance wise) but it does make the skill itself look awful sloppy.  It's quite obviously the "Oh no, where do we put all this stuff?" skill.  That's not necessarily a balance issue, but it is far less elegant then the rest of the system (which is fantastic).

Sletch's problem seems to be his strange assumption that every check you can make with Expertise is actually a focus; he made the same mistake in Alex's thread

When you have a focus skill listed with no other focus options beyond the aforementioned Mend, Treatment, Build, Calm, etc then it's by no means a strange assumption that each of those listed options is a focus.  It's poor communication of intent.
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2012, 10:58:47 PM »

When I posted, the listed focus options were Mend, Treatment, Calm, etc.  4 focuses for Medicine alone.

Gotcha. Ok, to be perfectly clear I've never offer a comprehensive focuses list (that is a huge task I'm still putting off Cheesy). What's in the post is a list of checks - this is true of both the Precission-based 3 focus skills and the non-focus skills). Having the the Medicine focus enables the use of all relevant checks, which there would be several. Just as having a single woodworking focus would enable the use of make it, fix it, and salvage it checks for wooden items. One focus, multiple checks enabled.

When you use the Craft skill as it exists in the game now, you're not making broadly capable woodworkers spend 4-6 focuses (1 per check) to get up to speed, are you? I'm a bit worried the RAW gave you the wrong impression, not just my little overlay.
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2012, 11:04:32 PM »

Let me put out something I noticed about the other abilities and see what you think.

Awareness
Vigilance is a physical awareness skill - being aware of your physical surroundings.
Sense Motive is a social awareness skill - being aware of what others really mean.
Investigate is a mental awareness skill - becoming aware of facts and knowledge.

Now you could argue that argue that all of the awareness skills are physical, mental, and social but I think it's pretty clear what I mean.  Let's run with this.

Woo... not something I intended, but its a framework I'd love to make stick. Probably for a reason you haven't goten to yet - I'd like a clear list of physical skills so that armor check penalties have a definite target list.

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I think the grace skill you're looking for is Acrobatics.  If you want to evoke physical and social grace you need a physical use.  Acrobatics is physical grace pretty much.

I've been thinking that for a while, but I didn't have a good enough excuse to move it Smiley.

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A physical resistance type skill (resisting the effects of pain, torture) might be a good fit but it might overlap with some decent uses of push limit too.


Certainly something to think on Smiley.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 12:26:55 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2012, 11:23:37 PM »

When you use the Craft skill as it exists in the game now, you're not making broadly capable woodworkers spend 4-6 focuses (1 per check) to get up to speed, are you? I'm a bit worried the RAW gave you the wrong impression, not just my little overlay.

No, of course not.  The book has what the focuses are listed.  You're not going to need to Stabilise a piece of dying steel, so it seemed that you were listing focus options.  Something like this would make it far easier to parse:

Expertise*:  Computers (Hacking, Operation, Programming); Craft1 (Build, Dismantle, Improvise, Repair); Medicine (Calm, Mend, Stabilise, Treatment); Salvage (Scavenge, Improvise).

*: Focus Skill.  Focus options are listed after it, with check types in parenthesis.
1: You must choose a specific crafting type when taking the Craft focus.  Examples include:  Chemistry, Metalworking, Woodworking.


The unfortunate side effect is that it becomes clear that it's a clearing house of a skill (3 in 1 with the above example), and that is really shows that everyone should take it (and I'm of the belief that if everyone needs it you may as well just give it to everyone).  The alternate is to make it not a focus skill, but rather you take it separately (multiple times).

Ex:
Medical Expertise: 5 (4 Ranks + 1 Int Mod)
Computer Expertise: 3 (2 Ranks + 1 Int Mod)

I actually (vastly) prefer this.  No problems with extra skill types for new genres, no weird skill feat combos.  No supercharged uber skill.  It also eliminates Enlightened Expertise (or worse: PHD Expertise) from becoming too good - the master hacker is also the master surgeon and also the master engineer for your space opera game.  Pity that a level 2 keeper eliminates the need for 2-3 other crewmembers.
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« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2012, 12:05:11 AM »

So, for thinking out loud, but with pictures and diagrams...

Environmental skills - interacting with environment
   Vigilance (Awareness): “Detect” was awareness (page 78), Perception (page 81)
   Survival (Determination): Forage, Track (page 82)
   Athletics (Fitness): Climb, Jump, Swim (page 70)
   Acrobatics (Grace): Balance, Breakfall, Tumble (page 69)
   Deception (Guile): Conceal Action, Stash (page 79)
   Transport* (Precision): Maneuver (page 80)

Technical Skills - interacting with tools and situations
   Investigate (Awareness): Decipher (page 76), Identify, Research (page 77)
   Stealth (Fitness): Hide (page 82)
   Focus (Determination): Concentrate (page 80)
   Acting (Grace): “Blend” was Stealth (page 71), “Disguise” was Mask (page 74), Imitate (new)
   Tactics (Guile): Ambush, Outmaneuver (page 83)
   Expertise* (Precision): “make it”, “fix it”, “scavenge it”, (page 72-73, 82-83), “Use it” (page 78)

Social Skills - interacting with people
   Sense Motive (Awareness): Canvass (page 76), Detect Lie (page 82)
   Competition (Fitness): Pursuit, Push Limit (page 69), Sports (older editions)
   Intimidate (Determination): Browbeat, Coerce (page 75)
   Impress (Grace): Calm (page 78), Influence, Persuade (page 74)
   Parley (Guile): Bargain (page 74), Lie (page 72), Negotiate (as per Spycraft 2.0)
   Sabotage* (Precision): “break it” (page 79), “fake it” (new), “Turn it into a trap” (new)

Well... hello there new Fitness skill. I've missed you Smiley.

Now there's a nice touch - there are 2 key skills in each category. Give the attibutes themselves a bit of direction and distribution~

Awareness and Fitness are primarily environmental, but can be used in technical and social ways.
Determination and Precision are primarily technical, but can be used in environmental and social ways.
Grace and Guile are primarily social, but can be used in environmental and technical ways.

That really goes a long way towards scratching my itch about getting some new, robust attributes up in this place Grin.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 12:58:29 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2012, 12:12:52 AM »

When you use the Craft skill as it exists in the game now, you're not making broadly capable woodworkers spend 4-6 focuses (1 per check) to get up to speed, are you? I'm a bit worried the RAW gave you the wrong impression, not just my little overlay.

No, of course not.  The book has what the focuses are listed.  You're not going to need to Stabilise a piece of dying steel, so it seemed that you were listing focus options.  Something like this would make it far easier to parse:

Expertise*:  Computers (Hacking, Operation, Programming); Craft1 (Build, Dismantle, Improvise, Repair); Medicine (Calm, Mend, Stabilise, Treatment); Salvage (Scavenge, Improvise).

*: Focus Skill.  Focus options are listed after it, with check types in parenthesis.
1: You must choose a specific crafting type when taking the Craft focus.  Examples include:  Chemistry, Metalworking, Woodworking.


The unfortunate side effect is that it becomes clear that it's a clearing house of a skill (3 in 1 with the above example), and that is really shows that everyone should take it (and I'm of the belief that if everyone needs it you may as well just give it to everyone).  The alternate is to make it not a focus skill, but rather you take it separately (multiple times).

Ex:
Medical Expertise: 5 (4 Ranks + 1 Int Mod)
Computer Expertise: 3 (2 Ranks + 1 Int Mod)

I actually (vastly) prefer this.  No problems with extra skill types for new genres, no weird skill feat combos.  No supercharged uber skill.  It also eliminates Enlightened Expertise (or worse: PHD Expertise) from becoming too good - the master hacker is also the master surgeon and also the master engineer for your space opera game.  Pity that a level 2 keeper eliminates the need for 2-3 other crewmembers.

Heehee. I'm now clear your concerns are with the RAW not the overlay. Craft is already the uber skill you're concerned with, just that folding Medicine into it makes it more uber. Got it. Buying up different version of expertise is a seperate topic I'll eyeball later. From my perspective Medical Expertise and Computers Expertise side by side on the page like that IS opening the door to massive skill propegation, but there may be ways to keep that in check. Having PhD and other skill cap-type abilites work for only one focus at a time is appealing, and something I'll tuck away to tackle later - it requires serious diging into the rules for focus skills, not Expertise per se. I know that focus skills need pretty elaborate handling and it's going to eat some think-time. I'm largely back-burnering it until the rest of the array is mostly in hand. So, don't feel like I'm ignoring it if I set it aside for now, just prioritizing for a bit Smiley.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 12:50:46 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2012, 12:16:46 AM »

I just want to say, watching game design as it happens is amazing.
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2012, 12:29:31 AM »

What if focuses had an escalating cost? First one's free, the next is one skill point, the third is two, fourth is three, etc. A set of campaign qualities with the different options would be good.

Also, which attributes would the species/talents get as bonuses/penalties?
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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2012, 12:48:15 AM »

heehee. I'm now clear your concerns are with the RAW not the overlay. Craft is already the uber skill you're concerned with, just that folding Medicine ito it makes it more uber.

Not at all.  Craft isn't uber because it's core use is actually kinda useless - you make things using the same chart as any other money generating check.  At it's base, there's no advantage in crafting goods vs using Athletics to get a job as a labourer and buying goods.  So when you get down to it, all it does is let you repair and improve things.  Not uber at all - in fact it's kind of bland (or rather, lacking in heroic application).  It certainly isn't a "must have".

The problem only comes when you fold in 2 additional full (and useful) skills with no added cost of disincentive.   Computer (Hacking / Operation / Programming) is a full skill in every game ever (more then one in many).   Medicine is a full skill in every game.  Both are useful in most games, too.  There is no reason I would ever not take max ranks in Expertise - it gives me 2 full (useful) skills for the price of one, and even throws in a bit of Crafting as a freebie.  Best value for skill point ever.  Even if you threw out the crafting bits, it's still incredible value for skill points.  So it is definitely not the Craft aspects that are broken.

The only setting I see Expertise as written working in, in a balanced fashion, is classic fantasy - where it's only real use is Medicine.  Even then there's a huge logical disconnect - being a better surgeon makes you a better blacksmith?  WTF?

I know that focus skills need pretty elaborate handling and it's going to eat some think-time, but I'm largely back-burnering it until the rest of the array is mostly in hand. So, don't feel like I'm ignoring it if I set it aside for now, just prioritizing for a bit Smiley.

I totally understand.  Start with the framework and then finesse the details.  Design 101 (not just tabletop either...).
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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2012, 12:57:36 AM »

Hmm, if multiple skills are going to access your Expertise focuses, should they even still be tied into your skill ranks with one? I have a feeling this can be productively combined with level-based Interests in some way...I mean, I can only speak to my own games, but knowledge checks have never gotten the love or felt as powerful as they probably should be.
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