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Skill Mastery: Is it worth it?


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#1 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 07:04 AM

I've been looking through the rules for Skill Mastery, and feel a little unsatisfied. I am a believer that skill masters should be better than those with three skill trainings, but I don't think the rules bear that out.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Here's how it breaks down to me.


The three benefits to Skill Mastery are:

1. The ability to ignore rolls against Simple (0d) and Easy (1d) checks, except in rolls against opponents. Said rolls are assumed to succeed with 1 success.
This doesn't strike me as a bonus to someone already rolling three expertise dice. Even if your ability is rated at two, the three expertise dice by themselves are usually enough to handle a 0-1 difficulty roll. On top of that, you are leaving out the chance to get boons, sigmar's comets, or crazy strings of exploding successes.

This seems like someone's houserule to streamline play, and would be a fair trade for someone with max trainings. I fail to see, though, how this is better than max training. Maybe on some outlier roll that is 0d, but with 10 misfortune it would be handy, but for most rolls a master wouldn't be any better off than a fully trained character.

2. The ability to not roll any expertise dice and instead take 1 sigmar's comet.
This is another one that seems balanced against 3 expertise dice rather than being better than it. With three expertise dice, you have a slightly lower than 50% chance to get a single comet result, but you also have a significant chance to get multiple successes, boons, or multiple comets. Again, it is a good even trade for three expertise dice, but Mastery should be better than that.

There is one case that this ability shines, and that is with enhance cards. This ability still works even after expertise dice have been traded in for enhance card effects. As long as you still have 1 die to give up, you can have your free comet. While this is definitely a bonus over max training, it only works in certain circumstances, and assumes that in those cases that you actually can use an enhance card, you want to dump all your expertise dice.

3. Access to certain higher level action cards.
This one is clearly a benefit, but by itself isn't really much for the advance.


So we are left with 2 benefits that are situational at best, and otherwise statistically the same or worse than having three trainings. Masters should be actually better than those less trained, but I don't think the rules currently reflect this. Most of the benefits seemed to be balanced against rolling 3 expertise dice, rather than being an upgrade.


I am currently thinking of the following solutions/changes:

  • Allow skill masters to ignore rolls of up to Average (2d) difficulty, taking 1 success, except against opponents.
  • Allow one expertise die to be converted to a single comet.

I think both of these show a benefit to skill mastery, but aren't so powerful that they would imbalance the game.


What are your thoughts, community? Does anyone else see this as an issue? Does anyone have any better solutions?

 


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#2 Yepesnopes

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 07:31 AM

Although I have not yet tested it myself, I share the same feeling as you.

Nontheless, I hold to one hope, the one you comment somewhere on your dissertation. Mastery gives you access to some action cards that are only available if you have a certain mastery in a given skill. I would reaaaaaly hope, that in a nearly future, the developing team from WFRPG 3rd ed releases one (or two!!!) POD with epic action cards for non-caster careers, and I am talking about combat, ranged and support.

I have contradictory feelings regarding the efforts the designers are putting on casters. From one side, I love magic, I like it varied and powerful, but on the other hand, if I have to be cold headed, it is no sense to release a huge amount of cards for casters, including many of rank 4 and 5 while keeping non-caster PC's and NPC's with the usual "low-level" action cards.

I say this of-course having in mind that caster careers occupy, in the best of the situations, 1/3 of the total PC slots of a party.

So, I hope to see soon more epic action cards for non-casters, both NPCs and PCs with a lot of "requires mastery in...."


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#3 Matchstickman

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:10 AM

 Yeah I agree with your assessment entirely, I was just too lazy to break it down and post it like you have!

 

The only time I would buy a mastery is if I wanted access to an action and/or a career I was in would give me a benefit... and it would probably have to be both.



#4 nephtys

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:35 AM

had the same feeling there.

we have not yet discussed the problem yet in our group but we'll have a session this weekend and i'll bring it up. maybe we can come up with some better advantages for mastery.

yours are already good i think, maybe we'll rule em like this, but i'll keep you updated on what my guys have to say!



#5 Cabello

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:05 AM

 one case where mastery really shines however is when rolling for favor/power. not having to worry about that chaos star is very nice



#6 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 06:39 PM

Cabello said:

 one case where mastery really shines however is when rolling for favor/power. not having to worry about that chaos star is very nice

Eh, that chaos star effect isn't that bad, unless you are trying to really overchannel (in which case, you wouldn't just accept the single success). With only 1 challenge die, there is no chance of a miscast from basic Channel Power.


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#7 Spivo

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:09 AM

I find the sigmar comet thing very strong.

First of all, many action cards have a strong effect that only kicks in with a comet, and getting that with certainty is quite good.

Second, miscast can happen both with channeling and invoking, so not having to roll would for many wizard be very attractive.

The action cards which requires skill mastery is just the icing on the cake I'd say.



#8 Emirikol

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:43 AM

This game is in terrible need of an orange die (the negative equivalent to the yellow die).  NO chaos star, but plenty of negatives rather than rolling 10 misfortune dice and spending over-long figuring it out.

In a pinch, a GM could have "optional" purple dice where the chaos star is marked orange/red.  In such case that it is substituted for 2 black dice, there''s no increase in chaos chance, however there is a significant reduction in the amount of accounting and tabulating.

I''ll have to playtest that and do the numbers…

jh



#9 nephtys

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:04 AM

Emirikol said:

This game is in terrible need of an orange die (the negative equivalent to the yellow die).  NO chaos star, but plenty of negatives rather than rolling 10 misfortune dice and spending over-long figuring it out.

nice idea, but even MOAR dice hehe.

no, serioulsy, nice thought. but you can also always houserule this i think



#10 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:32 AM

Spivo said:

I find the sigmar comet thing very strong.

First of all, many action cards have a strong effect that only kicks in with a comet, and getting that with certainty is quite good.

Yes, but choosing the guaranteed comet comes with a higher chance of failure. Statistically, it''s not worth it considering how often you will get a comet on three expertise dice. 

Spivo said:

Second, miscast can happen both with channeling and invoking, so not having to roll would for many wizard be very attractive.

Yes, but RAW states that chaos stars on action cards are resolved before miscasts are drawn. For Channeling, as long as the difficulty is 1d there is no chance of miscasting since the one on the card will trigger first.

That leaves those few spells that don''t affect opponents. That''s a narrow set of applications for something that is supposed to be broadly beneficial. 


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#11 Emirikol

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:36 AM

That''s what I''m thinking.  Not more dice, but just converting a purple or three to "non-0chaos" purples."  Not a big deal I suppose to just add up more dice, but if 2 blacks are equal to a non-chaos-purple, seems it may lend to smaller pools in more epic games. 

 

jh



#12 Cabello

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:46 AM

Doc, the Weasel said:

 

Second, miscast can happen both with channeling and invoking, so not having to roll would for many wizard be very attractive.

 

 

Yes, but RAW states that chaos stars on action cards are resolved before miscasts are drawn. For Channeling, as long as the difficulty is 1d there is no chance of miscasting since the one on the card will trigger first.

That leaves those few spells that don''''t affect opponents. That''''s a narrow set of applications for something that is supposed to be broadly beneficial. 

Except that the miscast doesnt use up a chaos star and so happens in addition to any other bad things that it might otherwise trigger



#13 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:00 AM

Cabello said:

 

Except that the miscast doesnt use up a chaos star and so happens in addition to any other bad things that it might otherwise trigger

 

 

I don''t have the books with me where I am (and don''t want to derail my own thread), but the rules are pretty clear. You use chaos stars for spells on the action card first, then apply leftovers to miscasts. It''s the one place where the GM doesn''t allocate them as they see fit.

edit: what is happening to apostrophes► They seem to be doubling up.


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#14 nephtys

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:10 AM

i dont have the book with me either, but i''m pretty sure it said something like that:

as soon as a chaos star symbol is rolled the action is considered a miscast….

could be wrong there, bit i think ir ead that once



#15 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:19 AM

Strangely enough, I''ve had this discussion with Spivo before.

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp►efid=167&efcid=3&efidt=490676

The rule is in the Tome of Mysteries, on page 35.

 


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#16 dvang

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:19 AM

1. It is actually pretty powerful. The player does not have to worry about rolling chaos stars, fatigues, or delays, in addition to the possibility of failing (no matter how small it might be). The point of this is not, for example, to be used for combat type rolls, where the quantity of rolls matters a great deal. Instead, it is primarily used for routine out of combat checks, typically where pass/fail is more important.

2. As someone else mentioned, the ability to guarantee a comet is pretty powerful. Comets are pretty powerful by themselves, not just in triggering a card effect, but also for the versatility of counting as a success, boon, or critical at the owner''s discretion.

 



#17 Yepesnopes

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:33 PM

Just to finish with the miscast thing

"When an arcane spellcaster generates one or more Chaos Stars on a Spellcraft check to cast a spell, he risks a severe miscast. If any Chaos Star effects can be triggered based on the spell attempted, those effects are resolved as with any other type of action.

Next, if there are any unassigned Chaos Star results in the dice pool after resolving any effects listed on the spell, the player must draw a Miscast card. Each card in the Miscast deck lists one or more possible consequences. The player finds the line matching the number of unresolved Chaos Star symbols from his Spellcraft check and suffers the effect listed there, until all Chaos Star sym-bols have been satisfied. Note that success or failure on the check is irrelevant: any Chaos Star result may trigger a miscast.

Chaos Stars that fuel miscast results remain available to trigger environmental or other Chaos Star effects - in effect, a Chaos Star that is used to fuel a Miscast is not "spent" and may still be applied to other effects. "

 

After this point is clear, I agree that the mastery rule is good for Channelling checks, but this is a marginal thing which have only impact on spell-caster characters.


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#18 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:46 PM

It's kinda sad that in the epic play supplement, the pinnacle of skill mastery allows you to get mediocre results on easy rolls.


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#19 k7e9

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:30 AM

dvang said:

1. It is actually pretty powerful. The player does not have to worry about rolling chaos stars, fatigues, or delays, in addition to the possibility of failing (no matter how small it might be). The point of this is not, for example, to be used for combat type rolls, where the quantity of rolls matters a great deal. Instead, it is primarily used for routine out of combat checks, typically where pass/fail is more important.

Agreed, I view the rule as a "I'm so good at what I do that I can do it in my sleep"-kind of thing. Which actually fit quite well with reality, if you'r really good at something you'll never fail at a routine task, but you might not allways look to maximise the result, but instead getting it over with efficiently. As you have the option to succeed 100 % of the times when rolling 1 or 0 purple dice. Auto-succeding at marginally important roll, while not risking delay/exhausion symbols can be pretty powerful. Rolling some bad symbols at those kind of rolls can really take a toll on a character.

By the way, if you have 1 challenge die and a lot of misfortune dice, can you still use the skill mastry ability? That would make it even more useful.






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