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RebelDave

Your Thoughts? Knowledge Skills

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I know there are a number of Knowledge Skills listed in the book, and they correspond to the Character sheet.

 

But there is also a box for Other. I assume for your own ideas.

 

Would you say it would be out if line, when my Mechanic tries to apply Modifications to weapons, to give him a Setback Dice, because he is an Engineer... not a Weaponsmith?

 

And allow him the chance to pick up the skill at some point?

 

Would I then have to grant him Boost dies as he improves his knowledge in this area?

 

The same could be applied to Armour, Droidsmithing, and other more focused engineering fields?

 

 

Is this being too harsh?

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I would say it is too harsh unless your players are interested in going into that level of granularity.  A lot of games have skills that are specialized, and many that have specialization systems.  This is not one of them.

 

Personally, I would focus on broader skill additions if you need them.  Ones that aren't covered with the existing skills.

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I would say it is too harsh unless your players are interested in going into that level of granularity.  A lot of games have skills that are specialized, and many that have specialization systems.  This is not one of them.

 

Personally, I would focus on broader skill additions if you need them.  Ones that aren't covered with the existing skills.

 

Fair point, It just struck me suddenly when I realised the Tech in my group was just as good at fixing a ship, as he was at fine tuning a weapon, or modifying armour, or fixing a landspeeder (And as it happens, Slicing a computer, and building droids and a whole heap of other things)

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I would say it is too harsh unless your players are interested in going into that level of granularity.  A lot of games have skills that are specialized, and many that have specialization systems.  This is not one of them.

 

Personally, I would focus on broader skill additions if you need them.  Ones that aren't covered with the existing skills.

 

Fair point, It just struck me suddenly when I realised the Tech in my group was just as good at fixing a ship, as he was at fine tuning a weapon, or modifying armour, or fixing a landspeeder (And as it happens, Slicing a computer, and building droids and a whole heap of other things)

 

 

It makes sense, but more recent games seem to be scaling back the number of potential skills.  Especially narrative ones.  

 

That said, there is an optional Cybernetic skill in the Beyond the Rim adventure you may want to look at as a possible template when you present it to your players.

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That said, there is an optional Cybernetic skill in the Beyond the Rim adventure you may want to look at as a possible template when you present it to your players.

 

 

do you have a page # for this? or chapter?

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Think about your traditional science fiction mechanics.  Jordy Laforge, Scotty, Samantha Carter, Rodney McKay, Quinn Mallory, Maximilian Arturo, and countless others.  They all can do everything from fix a computer to adjust projected fields in order to protect, pull, push, or hide any given object.  The techno jargon and fake science creations drive many stories in the science fiction world.  It is not unreasonable for a person to want to play a character they love from their favorite science fiction.

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Think about your traditional science fiction mechanics.  Jordy Laforge, Scotty, Samantha Carter, Rodney McKay, Quinn Mallory, Maximilian Arturo, and countless others.  They all can do everything from fix a computer to adjust projected fields in order to protect, pull, push, or hide any given object.  The techno jargon and fake science creations drive many stories in the science fiction world.  It is not unreasonable for a person to want to play a character they love from their favorite science fiction.

 

True... and as bat as it sounds, I am trying to bring a player down from the pedestal they have managed to place themselves on, by giving them challenges they didnt expect.

 

It was just an idea that popped into my head as I was looking at someone else, and its by far had very very little thought put into it.... but yes, I think it might overcomplicate things alittle bit.

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If one player has taken the spotlight away from others deal with it person to person rather than in game.  If you try to deal with it in game you have a high chance of pissing someone off.  Talk the the person in question and ask him/her to let others have a chance to be the hero for a few episodes. 

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It's not a case of taking the spotlight, its a case that he has crafted a character he claims can pretty much do anything Mechanical/Computer related, and that nothing is beyond his abilities in these areas.

 

Case in point: (And granted, I got the rules wrong, but in this case I accidentally got them right too).

 

He bought the parts to modify his blaster, he made 3 consecutive rolls (I had house ruled one of the Purples had to be Red - Misread the rules)

He passed the first 2, and was on the 3rd roll. (So now, was rolling something like 4 purple and 1 red - which would have happened anyway I had used a Destiny point)

He rolled a despair, and sulked about it (Granted, it was the end of the session)

 

Afterwards, online, he was complaining that he SHOULD be good enough for that, and that the rules were wrong (Yes, I mis understood them, and as per another thread, the resulting dice pool was still valid, just got to it the wrong way).

 

He declared failure should be on a Threat result... when I pointed out that there should be some risk to what he was doing, he pretty much refused to listen (Granted, I was getting fustrated)

 

His justification was that when you reach the end of your Talent tree, you SHOULD be that good... but he isnt anywhere near the end of his Talent tree... he has 50xp total so far. And he can already pass pretty much ANY roll I throw at him.

(He has a habit of creating very power starting characters)

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His justification was that when you reach the end of your Talent tree, you SHOULD be that good... but he isnt anywhere near the end of his Talent tree... he has 50xp total so far. And he can already pass pretty much ANY roll I throw at him.

(He has a habit of creating very power starting characters)

My knee-jerk response is QQ. Sometimes characters fail dice rolls in games. It happens - that's the whole point of chance-based rolls, to describe that sometimes even Han Solo does a bad job of flying. You don't always win. Them's the breaks. An RPG system in which the characters always win is boring and more suitable for a video game, not a tabletop RPG. Where's the excitement and risk if you can't ever fail?

Edited by Kshatriya

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To the OP, like many others have already posted, I would not break the mechanics skill up.  Other skills cover multiple areas that would be separate skills in other systems.  For example, Skulduggery covers a huge range of criminal activities.  In other systems, pick locks, sleight of hand, and disguise are all separate skills.

 

As far as challenging the PC, you could present him with ancient technology (ie. Rakatan) or buttons/messages in an alien language that he can't read (ie. the trandoshan warning signs from Long Arm of the Hutt).  While he might understand the mechanical/computing principles involved, you could require rolls beforehand like Knowledge (Lore) or Knowledge (Xeneology) at various difficulties depending on how obscure the tech is.  Afterward, he can still attempt the Computer and Mechanics checks if he fails these checks but with Setback dice.

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To the OP, like many others have already posted, I would not break the mechanics skill up.  Other skills cover multiple areas that would be separate skills in other systems.  For example, Skulduggery covers a huge range of criminal activities.  In other systems, pick locks, sleight of hand, and disguise are all separate skills.

 

As far as challenging the PC, you could present him with ancient technology (ie. Rakatan) or buttons/messages in an alien language that he can't read (ie. the trandoshan warning signs from Long Arm of the Hutt).  While he might understand the mechanical/computing principles involved, you could require rolls beforehand like Knowledge (Lore) or Knowledge (Xeneology) at various difficulties depending on how obscure the tech is.  Afterward, he can still attempt the Computer and Mechanics checks if he fails these checks but with Setback dice.

 

Aye, I am leaning this way certainly... as I said, the original idea popped into my head and I posted it immediatly, I didnt give it any significant thought, so there was not 'development' behind it.

 

I am sure its probably not the way to go, I was just spitballing while it was fresh :)

 

 

Thanks all for the input though!

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I've been very curious about the "other skills" box for quite a while myself...
I personally love the idea of incorporating new skills, such as the cybernetics skill mentioned in Beyond the Rim, but I am also slightly puzzled by it...
If a new skill is learned as part of the narrative of a campaign (or as a reward for completing it) such as in Beyond the Rim, what incentive is there for the player to spend time and XP building up the new skill when they could just fall back on other skills that have already been built up? (using the cybernetics skill example...why use it when they could just use mechanics or computers?)

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I've been very curious about the "other skills" box for quite a while myself...

I personally love the idea of incorporating new skills, such as the cybernetics skill mentioned in Beyond the Rim, but I am also slightly puzzled by it...

If a new skill is learned as part of the narrative of a campaign (or as a reward for completing it) such as in Beyond the Rim, what incentive is there for the player to spend time and XP building up the new skill when they could just fall back on other skills that have already been built up? (using the cybernetics skill example...why use it when they could just use mechanics or computers?)

 

It is best to introduce new skills at the start of a game not in the middle of it.  That way you can state that only that skill is useful for those actions.  Otherwise there is no reason at all for them to use the skill, unless of course the group agrees to the full change part way.

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This is why I always mention that Knowledge (Warfare) and Lightsaber are available skills in my EotE games. Not that everybody has any legitimate reason to take them, but they certainly do exist. OTOH, I don't usually include the Cybernetics skill, having Computers, Medicine, and Mechanics cover various aspects of cyber.

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His justification was that when you reach the end of your Talent tree, you SHOULD be that good... but he isnt anywhere near the end of his Talent tree... he has 50xp total so far. And he can already pass pretty much ANY roll I throw at him.

 

Does he have the skills maxed out too? If not, well, there's still plenty left for him to need to know.

 

And yes, I'll agree that he should be good enough to take on any challenge you set out for him. Should be good does not mean he must pass every test. His dice need to cooperate. There are plenty of examples of fictional characters who fail at what they are good at. If you never fail you are a Mary Sue character and that's just boring.

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He currently has 3 ranks in Mechanics with an Intellect of 4, with the Gearhead Talent (So can ignore a Setback), and a couple others that dont really effect things in this case.

 

50XP total so far. But even so, thats 3 Yellow and 1 Green already

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Specialized applications of Mechanics or Computers checks could be used to upgrade the difficulty of the checks.  Example Droid Engineering, without access to schematics or the proper training it would not be unheard of to say creating your own 3P0 droid carries a difficulty on par with two upgraded die pools on what might already be Daunting or Formidable mechanics check.  The fact that the parts all have their code written in Gree may add two additional setback dice, not having access to all the proper tools used in regular manufacture another setback dice.

 

Creating specialized fields of study for mechanics and computers that might require specialized training to learn is just a narrative optional decision for the GM, same could be done for something like Vehicles and Starships if you so choose, where a basic mechanic may be able to attempt the skills at a much higher difficulty with the possibility of upgraded die pools.

 

This method could be used for a number of general skills though I don't recommend it for any skills that already carry potential opposed checks regularly, such as combat skills and social skills.

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Remember that the official batch of skills have been planned out and thoroughly intregrated into the game play and mechanics of the system.  This includes being doled out as career skills, being used in talents, etc.  Adding a new skill, especially one that breaks down a commonly-used official skill, such as Mechanics, can throw off the balance of the game in ways you may not even realize.

 

If I were to create my own skills (and I haven't had the need yet), I would probably limit them to specialized knowledge-type skills, where a certain character may have specialized knowledge in some obscure area, or to certain other feats or abilities that have more of a roleplaying aspect, rather than mechanical aspect.  Even then, there would still be overlap with existing skills.  So, say, a character has a custom skill in "Knowledge (Trandoshan Culture)".  Anyone could still use "Knowledge (Xenology)" to get the same information on Trandoshan views of honor or slavery, but I would probably lower the difficulty of the custom skill's use by one or two.  This is similar to how you can use different skills to accomplish the same goal, but the more appropriate skills might have a lower difficulty (Mechanics or Skulduggery to open a door, for instance).  The same could also be done for, say, "Joke-Telling" (Charm) or, I don't know, "Origami" (Coordination?).  They'd still be covered by a general skill, but would have lowered difficulty if using the specialized skill in an appropriate manner.

 

Now, when you do something like this for Mechanics, which is used throughout the rules in all sorts of situations, you're going to open up a big can of worms.  First, you'd have to make the specialized skill available as a career skill for certain careers and specializations where it seems to make sense.  You'd have to house rule that certain talents (but not others) can use the specialized skill in place of Mechanics in certain situations, but not others.  You'd also have to house rule exactly how much difficulty is lowered using that skill and in what situations (if you want to give it this effect), or how else it differs from using straight Mechanics, or whether or not Mechanics now gets increased difficulty, or difficulty upgrades, or setbacks, or whatever other effect, when used in place of your new specialized skill.

 

Personally, I don't think it's worth the hassle, and it ends up changing the game way too much and throwing off the balance.  If you want to add a fluff skill... sure, why not, give your Trandoshan bounty hunter the "Knowledge (Trandoshan Culture)" skill if it makes him happy and he doesn't mind wasting XP on it.  But you have to think long and hard when you mess with other skills that are more emeshed into the core mechanics of the system.

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Specialized applications of Mechanics or Computers checks could be used to upgrade the difficulty of the checks.  Example Droid Engineering, without access to schematics or the proper training it would not be unheard of to say creating your own 3P0 droid carries a difficulty on par with two upgraded die pools on what might already be Daunting or Formidable mechanics check.  The fact that the parts all have their code written in Gree may add two additional setback dice, not having access to all the proper tools used in regular manufacture another setback dice.

 

Creating specialized fields of study for mechanics and computers that might require specialized training to learn is just a narrative optional decision for the GM, same could be done for something like Vehicles and Starships if you so choose, where a basic mechanic may be able to attempt the skills at a much higher difficulty with the possibility of upgraded die pools.

 

This method could be used for a number of general skills though I don't recommend it for any skills that already carry potential opposed checks regularly, such as combat skills and social skills.

 

You might also consider setting these specialized fields up as a type of Advanced Skills. Like a type of Knowledge Skill - Example: Knowledge (Driod Engineering), but to apply the skill to a Skill Check you need to meet the prerequisite number of ranks in Mechanics.  Example: You need 3 Ranks in Mechanics to apply the Knowledge (Driod Engineering) to a specific Mechanics Skill Check. 

On the Flip side another PC might have the skill Knowledge (Driod Engineering) without ranks in Mechanics, but this is for the purpose of being an expert on Driod Manufacturing; aka a Driod Connoisseur. 

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He currently has 3 ranks in Mechanics with an Intellect of 4, with the Gearhead Talent (So can ignore a Setback), and a couple others that dont really effect things in this case.

 

50XP total so far. But even so, thats 3 Yellow and 1 Green already

That... Isn't that great. Sure, above average, but I've been playing a Wookiee that is rolling 4Y1G on Computers checks for several sessions. He also rolls 3Y2G on Medicine AND Mechanics. I still fail rolls every now and again. Granted, I usually don't, but sometimes I do.

Remind him that the dedication talent can increase a characteristic. He won't truly be a master until he is at the natural cap of 6 intellect and has 5 ranks in his skill of choice.

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Remember that the official batch of skills have been planned out and thoroughly intregrated into the game play and mechanics of the system.  This includes being doled out as career skills, being used in talents, etc.  Adding a new skill, especially one that breaks down a commonly-used official skill, such as Mechanics, can throw off the balance of the game in ways you may not even realize.
 
If I were to create my own skills (and I haven't had the need yet), I would probably limit them to specialized knowledge-type skills, where a certain character may have specialized knowledge in some obscure area, or to certain other feats or abilities that have more of a roleplaying aspect, rather than mechanical aspect.  Even then, there would still be overlap with existing skills.  So, say, a character has a custom skill in "Knowledge (Trandoshan Culture)".  Anyone could still use "Knowledge (Xenology)" to get the same information on Trandoshan views of honor or slavery, but I would probably lower the difficulty of the custom skill's use by one or two.  This is similar to how you can use different skills to accomplish the same goal, but the more appropriate skills might have a lower difficulty (Mechanics or Skulduggery to open a door, for instance).  The same could also be done for, say, "Joke-Telling" (Charm) or, I don't know, "Origami" (Coordination?).  They'd still be covered by a general skill, but would have lowered difficulty if using the specialized skill in an appropriate manner.
 
Now, when you do something like this for Mechanics, which is used throughout the rules in all sorts of situations, you're going to open up a big can of worms.  First, you'd have to make the specialized skill available as a career skill for certain careers and specializations where it seems to make sense.  You'd have to house rule that certain talents (but not others) can use the specialized skill in place of Mechanics in certain situations, but not others.  You'd also have to house rule exactly how much difficulty is lowered using that skill and in what situations (if you want to give it this effect), or how else it differs from using straight Mechanics, or whether or not Mechanics now gets increased difficulty, or difficulty upgrades, or setbacks, or whatever other effect, when used in place of your new specialized skill.
 
Personally, I don't think it's worth the hassle, and it ends up changing the game way too much and throwing off the balance.  If you want to add a fluff skill... sure, why not, give your Trandoshan bounty hunter the "Knowledge (Trandoshan Culture)" skill if it makes him happy and he doesn't mind wasting XP on it.  But you have to think long and hard when you mess with other skills that are more emeshed into the core mechanics of the system.

 

 

This is all very easy to get around though, ranks in the specialized skill roll for mechanics as normal, without ranks in the specialized skill you roll mechanics checks at an upgraded difficulty, again though its an optional system provided to the GMs and the Cybernetics skill at the end of Beyond the Rim is a good example for using one.

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Remember that the official batch of skills have been planned out and thoroughly intregrated into the game play and mechanics of the system.  This includes being doled out as career skills, being used in talents, etc.  Adding a new skill, especially one that breaks down a commonly-used official skill, such as Mechanics, can throw off the balance of the game in ways you may not even realize.
 
If I were to create my own skills (and I haven't had the need yet), I would probably limit them to specialized knowledge-type skills, where a certain character may have specialized knowledge in some obscure area, or to certain other feats or abilities that have more of a roleplaying aspect, rather than mechanical aspect.  Even then, there would still be overlap with existing skills.  So, say, a character has a custom skill in "Knowledge (Trandoshan Culture)".  Anyone could still use "Knowledge (Xenology)" to get the same information on Trandoshan views of honor or slavery, but I would probably lower the difficulty of the custom skill's use by one or two.  This is similar to how you can use different skills to accomplish the same goal, but the more appropriate skills might have a lower difficulty (Mechanics or Skulduggery to open a door, for instance).  The same could also be done for, say, "Joke-Telling" (Charm) or, I don't know, "Origami" (Coordination?).  They'd still be covered by a general skill, but would have lowered difficulty if using the specialized skill in an appropriate manner.
 
Now, when you do something like this for Mechanics, which is used throughout the rules in all sorts of situations, you're going to open up a big can of worms.  First, you'd have to make the specialized skill available as a career skill for certain careers and specializations where it seems to make sense.  You'd have to house rule that certain talents (but not others) can use the specialized skill in place of Mechanics in certain situations, but not others.  You'd also have to house rule exactly how much difficulty is lowered using that skill and in what situations (if you want to give it this effect), or how else it differs from using straight Mechanics, or whether or not Mechanics now gets increased difficulty, or difficulty upgrades, or setbacks, or whatever other effect, when used in place of your new specialized skill.
 
Personally, I don't think it's worth the hassle, and it ends up changing the game way too much and throwing off the balance.  If you want to add a fluff skill... sure, why not, give your Trandoshan bounty hunter the "Knowledge (Trandoshan Culture)" skill if it makes him happy and he doesn't mind wasting XP on it.  But you have to think long and hard when you mess with other skills that are more emeshed into the core mechanics of the system.

 

 

This is all very easy to get around though, ranks in the specialized skill roll for mechanics as normal, without ranks in the specialized skill you roll mechanics checks at an upgraded difficulty, again though its an optional system provided to the GMs and the Cybernetics skill at the end of Beyond the Rim is a good example for using one.

 

Right, but how do you get the skill?  When is it applied?  Which careers or specializations have it as a career skill?  What talents does it affect, and how?  What special rules does it use?  Do PCs with current Mechanics/whatever skills get their checks nerfed now in particular instances?

 

My point is that it's not just a matter of introducing a new skill, or even saying "XYZ skill gets upgraded difficulty/ability when used instead of ABC skill".  You also have to integrate it into the current mechanics of the game without throwing off game balance.  And that can be a lot more difficult than it might seem at first glance.

 

It's like any other house rule.  Even a simple change could have unexpected consequences in game play.  Not to say that you shouldn't have house rules, or custom skills (it's your game, you should do what you think is best), but you need to put thought into the changes, and play test, play test, play test! to make sure it works seamlessly with your group and the existing rules.  

 

Again, for me, personally, it's normally just not worth the hassle.  Any "house rule" that my group has is more of a game play preference.  For instance, my players get annoyed if I counter their Destiny Point use with one of my own.  So, I only play Destiny points to change the difficulty of tasks if they don't, or can't, upgrade their own checks, and vice-versa (they can't trump my Destiny point use, either).   Another little minor thing we do is that triumphs in initiative checks are given precedence over successes.  So, a triumph beats, say, 3 successes.  It's nothing that throws off game play, but it makes them excited when they roll a triumph during initiative.

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