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Beta Rules Update v2.0 and Preview Material

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2 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Again, I don't have a problem with the concept. I have a problem with the concept not translating into the list of skills. And that's bad, because we are missing out on essential stuff because of it like Horsemanship, Stealth, or Investigation, while Design, Sentiment, and Seafaring are getting their own special treatment for reasons unknown. 

Why are Horsemanship, Stealth and Investigation essential skills?

Horsemanship is just a specialized way of handling an animal. The only reason that a game would have such a skill is to make being able to ride a horse more expensive.

Investigation and Stealth are less skills and more a way of applying skills.

These 3 would actually work far better as Distinctions (with ways of buying them) than actual skills.

18 minutes ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

Only if Tactics is the main skill for finding my keys in a messy room or looking for someone in a crowd, in an efficient manner.

Tactics would apply if you are searching in an organized manner rather than just randomly looking in places, search based on memory.

18 minutes ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

They are the same skill, they work the same way, you use the exact same techniques.

Using the same techniques doesn't mean you are using the same skill. Searching for you keys and searching for a person are far different.

Edited by Ultimatecalibur

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There are some overlapping issues here.  Firstly, expertise appears to be missing, but secondly, the skill groups themselves are essentially goals and some of the tasks we are used to assigning ourselves in play do not easily map onto an approach.

There are effectively 25 methods in the game at present with each of the actual skills approximating a specific sub-application.

Refine, Feint, Analyze, Trick, Con

Restore, Withstand, Recall, Reason, Produce

Invent, Overwhelm, Theorize, Incite, Innovate

Adapt, Shift, Survey, Charm, Exchange

Attune, Sacrifice, Sense, Enlighten, Subsist

You can't do things not covered by those approaches and some skills don't appear to fit into these 25 slots.  Sneaking? Riding? They don't clearly fit a column.  This issue already exists on several skills, medicine for one, but also meditation and sentiment which makes more sense as a social skill, except for the fact that it's verbs match the scholar approaches more closely.  At least if you wanted to add investigation you could do so easily, it's a no-brainer for the Scholar group.

Infiltration only fits if you squash it into the Air line, but doesn't work as a row hence skulduggery - the general "bad stuff" skill.

Both the trade and artisan groups also have the biggest issues with overlapping or overbroad skills, but I suggest this is to do with trying to shoehorn skills into groups for the express purpose of creating narrow application of expertise.  If you allow any skill to apply to any of the approaches, it becomes alot easier to make skills fit the system, but then the skill groups themselves become obsolete.

I'm not 100% convinced this is actually a problem with the game and not just a problem of expectation, but it's interesting to see how very different this really is.  If it's suffering from anything, it's that it's clearly causing some confusion in how to interpret the system.

Edited by GaGrin

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If you want perception, get water. Getting a skill is redundant and is too general (its easily the most rolled skill in every rpg). Also if you are making people roll for a huge blood sladder in the middle of the room then you are breaking 2 of the rules of "when should you roll?": is it possible to fail? Is it interesting? With out this rolling rule a lot of systems fall apart- it cant be ignored.

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12 hours ago, Daeglan said:

Requiring 20 different skills that make no sense for a character to have in order to be observant is dumb. 

An observant person will notice out of place things. I have friends like this. A person who has skulduggery might specifically notice thing out of place from that petspective but may not notice the mud on the persons boots has blood in it.  So while it is great to say those skills will give you certain clues. You still need a general i am good at noticing stuff skill.

I do feel a person must have some frame of reference to grasp what "out of place" is though.  If you were to walk into my room and didn't have an awareness of hentai manga you might see the posters on my wall and think I just like cartoons - completely missing the one of them which is from a hentai manga.  Likewise you might see the techno cube next to my tv and assume it was some gaming device, not realizing it was a vaporizer.  A major part of police training and detective work is gaining an understanding of how the other side works.  Without knowing what Opium looks like you're not going to catch someone smuggling it.

12 hours ago, Daeglan said:

Also the skill lisr is still crap. It is too specific in some places. And too specific in others. Some skills are strangely mashed into a single skill while others are broken up weird. 

I do agree the skill list needs refinement - part of your complaint is likely because the skill list doesn't properly define the areas of knowledge or expertise.  The Investigation concept isn't going to change, and I don't think it should - I think this is one of the advances this game is going to make that other games are going to pick up on.  What you might do instead is revise the skill lists to reach a concept which would properly cover your needs.

I think that currently - Design, Labor, and Skulduggery could equally be used as a "search" skill, but I don't think a "notice" skill is possible, or needed.

2 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Again, I don't have a problem with the concept. I have a problem with the concept not translating into the list of skills. And that's bad, because we are missing out on essential stuff because of it like Horsemanship, Stealth, or Investigation, while Design, Sentiment, and Seafaring are getting their own special treatment for reasons unknown. 

I can agree with this - the skill list needs to be refined.  Maybe that's something we should consider - what a better skill list would be.  It seems a bit odd to me that Seafaring is on the list when few games are likely to use it, but it does make sense as a field of study being that there are many things which are involved in seafaring between reading the currents and winds, charting the stars, recognizing load capacity of a ship, buoyancy of a makeshift raft, ect. 

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41 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Tactics would apply if you are searching in an organized manner rather than just randomly looking in places, search based on memory.

Dude, "searching in an organized manner" is the whole point of learning how to search for things. Randomly looking in places is just incompetency that gets you nowhere most of the time. The only thing you where successful in describing was the difference of someone that have the Investigation skill and someone that doesn't.

 

41 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Using the same techniques doesn't mean you are using the same skill. Searching for you keys and searching for a person are far different.

No, they are basically the same. The way you divide the area you are going to search into sectors, search them in a certain order, what and how to look for... Using the same techniques to do similar but different things is precisely why it is a Skill.

 

29 minutes ago, RodentJoe said:

If you want perception, get water.

Yes. And what I do if I want Investigation? The fact that all the last editions had both the Perception attribute a Investigation Skill makes it very clear what the problem is.

 

29 minutes ago, RodentJoe said:

Getting a skill is redundant and is too general (its easily the most rolled skill in every rpg).

That makes no sense whatsoever. If this is the most rolled skill in every RPG, isn't that a sign that Investigation is goddamned important and a point for its inclusion in the game instead of against it?

Edited by Mirumoto Saito

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5 hours ago, Daeglan said:

I like notice type skills. The important thing is a successful notice roll should not be requires. A successful notice roll shpuld give you more info.

That depends highly upon plot importance.

Let's give a scale - plot-vital, plot-useful, plot-neutral, and non-plot.

  • Finding the whetstone is pretty much plot-neutral at best - it confirms only that someone in the scene was clan-born ronin, and later, that he rushed it
  • finding the footprints are two different sizes is plot-vital; contextualizing them to sensibility is not.
  • Finding the lack of blood spatter on the walls from castoff is plot-useful - it helps establish that Keinosuke only struck once. This should be mentioned, but isn't.
  • Arterial Spray
    • Finding a lack of arterial spray would indicate clearly that keinosuke struck a dead man.
    • Finding a limited amount would indicate that the target was bleeding out, but not yet dead.
    • Neither of these are plot-vital, and neither are mentioned. Either one would be useful to mention, however, as corroboration of Keinosuke's lack of intent. And of his cowardice. (If he'd simply struck her down, it would have been his word alone, and everything would revolve around whether they found eveidence of her maho. But we can see Keinosuke isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • noticing the door damage is plot-useful as well. It corroborates his testimony that he was outside
    • again, contextualizing it is other skills

So, in that room, only three vital bits really are there in the village:

  • there was a murder
  • two people were involved.
  • Keinosuke went south

And two of those are given in the introductory fill.

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Investigation/Search/Notice isn't important because it's a good skill, it's important because it's a catchall skill. Training your ability to notice things would, in the rules of this game, be training your survey approach most likely, which is raising your water. So in your example, you took a class that helped increase your water. You can totally notice one of these things is not like the other, but you may have to google what the thing is to understand why. And again, because you can still succeed without skill dice, you are better at noticing things than people who didn't train their water up. But you're not going to have as easy a time if you don't understand what to look for, like someone with a lower water, but points in the skill.

 

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55 minutes ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

That makes no sense whatsoever. If this is the most rolled skill in every RPG, isn't that a sign that Investigation is goddamned important and a point for its inclusion in the game instead of against it?

No. Not really. If walking or "doing a thing" was a skill then you would end up rolling for it all the time because people walk and "do things" a lot. It doesnt mean they are good or interesting skills. It could just mean they are too mundane or generalized. Yet people would be required to waste points on them because everyone wants to "do things". These are extreme examples obviously but it does make the point that "most rolled" does not mean "most interesting or fun".

Why does the game need investigation? This isnt supposed to be confrontational- its a legitimate question. What does adding investigation add that isnt covered in the system currently? I can tell it matters to you a lot so you can always add it in if you like it- but im not sure I understand the need or appeal.

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1 hour ago, Soshi Nimue said:

reading the currents and winds, charting the stars, recognizing load capacity of a ship, buoyancy of a makeshift raft, ect. 

1

You mean things already represented in Survival and Labor? Seafaring can be easily implemented as a small section called 'Art of Seafaring' or something, rather than a full-blown Skill. Do you want to navigate around? Use Survival or even Design (to draw star maps and such). Operate a ship? The obvious choice is Labor or Command/Government if you are relying on the crew. 

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4 minutes ago, RodentJoe said:

Why does the game need investigation? 

 

Hah, I can answer this. We need Investigation because it is supposedly an important aspect of the game and thus needs a steady and easy-to-perceive presence on the mechanical level. PCs will most likely investigate a lot, maybe more than they will do Intrigue (or even duel!). I suppose having a sub-system for investigation should be kinda too much, so the only remaining option is having it as its own Skill. The current "Art of Investigation" is a disservice to the whole concept and quite insulting when we have three different artisan skills that essentially do the same thing. It is just grossly unbalanced gaming-wise. 

Horsemanship and Stealth are in the same category by the way. 

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2 hours ago, Soshi Nimue said:

I do feel a person must have some frame of reference to grasp what "out of place" is though.  If you were to walk into my room and didn't have an awareness of hentai manga you might see the posters on my wall and think I just like cartoons - completely missing the one of them which is from a hentai manga.  Likewise you might see the techno cube next to my tv and assume it was some gaming device, not realizing it was a vaporizer.  A major part of police training and detective work is gaining an understanding of how the other side works.  Without knowing what Opium looks like you're not going to catch someone smuggling it.

I do agree the skill list needs refinement - part of your complaint is likely because the skill list doesn't properly define the areas of knowledge or expertise.  The Investigation concept isn't going to change, and I don't think it should - I think this is one of the advances this game is going to make that other games are going to pick up on.  What you might do instead is revise the skill lists to reach a concept which would properly cover your needs.

I think that currently - Design, Labor, and Skulduggery could equally be used as a "search" skill, but I don't think a "notice" skill is possible, or needed.

I can agree with this - the skill list needs to be refined.  Maybe that's something we should consider - what a better skill list would be.  It seems a bit odd to me that Seafaring is on the list when few games are likely to use it, but it does make sense as a field of study being that there are many things which are involved in seafaring between reading the currents and winds, charting the stars, recognizing load capacity of a ship, buoyancy of a makeshift raft, ect. 

See the problem is design, labor, and skulduggery dont say search and in no way says use this for searching. And that is the problem. The skill list should be intuitive for both the gm and the players should be able to easily know what skill to use in any situation. This skill list in no way accomplishes that. In fact it obscures what skill to use. The way this game is set up you are goi g to.end up flipping through the book to know what skill applies. That is extremely detrimental to the flow of the game. I like the approach system. Different rings meaning you go about a task in different ways is a great idea. But the skill list is seriously screwed up. 

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5 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

You mean things already represented in Survival and Labor? Seafaring can be easily implemented as a small section called 'Art of Seafaring' or something, rather than a full-blown Skill. Do you want to navigate around? Use Survival or even Design (to draw star maps and such). Operate a ship? The obvious choice is Labor or Command/Government if you are relying on the crew. 

Totally agreed on Seefaring. It sticks out in the list. I suppose this thing is only here so that we know what starting skill to give a Mantis :P 

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At this point, I would either change Meditation or Sentiment. If altering Meditation, I'd change it to either "Awareness" or "Reflection" and adjust the skill so it covers being aware of and reflecting on one's self and the world around them. This way it can cover the basic notice and investigate while still covering what meditation already does while keeping a thematic continuity. This also fits with the broad nature of skills in the game. If changing Sentiment, I'd change it to Perception and wrap noticing more than just emotions into the skill. Have it be about perceiving the world around you and noticing the changes in the environment and in others as well as insight into those changes. This would keep the skill uses thematically appropriate and set it up as the main investigation skill while working great with the approaches for the skill group.

Other skills that need some love:

I would break off riding from survival and create a whole animal handling skill that covers all aspects of dealing with animals from riding mounts to training hunting dogs and falcons to befriending wild animals. I'd put it in the social section if keeping approaches tied t a skill group, else leave it as a trade skill if no longer tethering approaches to particular skill groups.

I like the idea of a sidebar on using skills at sea and dropping seafaring. Perhaps even expand on this for other environments or situations and maybe do the same for Skullduggery.

Skullduggery seems like a catch all skill for being a devious nija/scoundrel. It overlaps with other skills and seems a tad over powered as a sneaky PC can get by with less skill investment thanks to this skill.

Skullduggery is also slang for oral copulation performed on a man so they might want to change the name.

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One other thing I’ve been pondering, on Investigation. Thing is, if we wrap it all up under a single skill, we will have:

1) every character sorely needing that skill if they don’t want to sit on their hands during investigation scenes, and/or

2) this one guy who maxed out that single skill outshine everyone else in those same scenes, whatever the context

By spreading the action across several skills, each PC will potentially have an area of expertise that will let them contribute significantly, and in their own way, to the investigation. Everyone in the party can be in on the fun and do something useful. 

Now if someone does chose to introduce a scholar skill for Investigation (which would be perfectly fine if that’s what suits their table), I’d recommend making the TN a bit higher for the “general purpose sleuthing” than for a more specific skill (if any other would make sense). This would somewhat mitigate issue #2 above. 

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6 hours ago, Daeglan said:

See the problem is design, labor, and skulduggery dont say search and in no way says use this for searching. And that is the problem. The skill list should be intuitive for both the gm and the players should be able to easily know what skill to use in any situation. This skill list in no way accomplishes that. In fact it obscures what skill to use. The way this game is set up you are goi g to.end up flipping through the book to know what skill applies. That is extremely detrimental to the flow of the game. I like the approach system. Different rings meaning you go about a task in different ways is a great idea. But the skill list is seriously screwed up. 

Skills are secondary to and enhance Approaches with specialized knowledge.

Part of the problem is that currently the beta presents things in reverse.

5 minutes ago, jmoschner said:

Skullduggery is also slang for oral copulation performed on a man so they might want to change the name.

Skullduggery has for far longer been a byword for criminal and unsavory acts. An uncommon slang term based on association of an act with the terms primary definition is no reason to change it.

Edited by Ultimatecalibur

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Well the word itself does sound like... a mouthful!!

Seriously though, I could see Skulduggery split into two: knowledge of criminal activities, left side of the law, smuggling routes, etc (the old Lore: Underworld in 4ed); and the more physical part encompassing stealth, sleight of hand, ambush, etc. 

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1 hour ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Skills are secondary to and enhance Approaches with specialized knowledge.

Part of the problem is that currently the beta presents things in reverse.

Skullduggery has for far longer been a byword for criminal and unsavory acts. An uncommon slang term based on association of an act with the terms primary definition is no reason to change it.

And you miss my point. I would not look at skulduggery and think this is the skill to notice stuff. I would not look at design and think this his the skill to notice stuff. 

I would think of these skills as the thing that tells me about what I noticed. The whole skill list is pretty much garbage. It is not intuitive. Compare the star wars skill list.or the genesys skill list. Both of those I know hat skill to use for what. The L5R skill list is just weird? It is missing skills that would fit the setting.

 

You are not going to convince me they did it right. So far they have convinced me they are doing it wrong and not to bother buying it. The skills need revamped. They are not done right at all. 

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8 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

You mean things already represented in Survival and Labor? Seafaring can be easily implemented as a small section called 'Art of Seafaring' or something, rather than a full-blown Skill. Do you want to navigate around? Use Survival or even Design (to draw star maps and such). Operate a ship? The obvious choice is Labor or Command/Government if you are relying on the crew. 

Navigating at sea is very different than navigating by land.  You can see this by looking at real history to see how long people navigated across the continents compared to how long they navigated at sea.  Even once they could build boats that were large enough navigation changes so much that it really isn't applicable.  Navigation by land is done primarily through large natural landmarks, man made markers, beaten paths, ect.  Civilizations that were unable to venture from from the coastline continued to use these, going as far away as they could keep them in site.  The great navigators of the seas were able to navigate with currents, winds, and stars.  Things you wouldn't use at all on land, or even on a river.  When at land the load capacity of a card is calculated much differently than the buoyancy of a vessel.

Mind you I would agree that while different enough from Labor, these skills are so rarely needed they might as well be bundled into labor as a sub-skill, to be particioned out only if the GM felt the skill was valuable enough in the campaign to buy on its own. 

7 hours ago, Daeglan said:

See the problem is design, labor, and skulduggery dont say search and in no way says use this for searching. And that is the problem. The skill list should be intuitive for both the gm and the players should be able to easily know what skill to use in any situation. This skill list in no way accomplishes that. In fact it obscures what skill to use. The way this game is set up you are goi g to.end up flipping through the book to know what skill applies. That is extremely detrimental to the flow of the game. I like the approach system. Different rings meaning you go about a task in different ways is a great idea. But the skill list is seriously screwed up. 

None of the skills need to say "search."  What they all say is "sphere of knowledge."  The problem is likely your interpretation that all skills are active components, when they are actually massively encompassing fields.  If you were searching for smuggled goods then Skulduggery is exactly the skill you would use, as you are using your knowledge of what the goods look like, and how they may be smuggled to locate them.  Or you could use Labor to meticulously examine or disassemble the smuggler's cart using your knowledge of how these things are built, thus how they should come apart, and what parts or connections may be superfluous indicating hidden goods.  If you were a Kitsuki Investigator you would likely use Government - as the survey branch covers specifically watching for illegal things - but obviously a Bayushi official might use a different approach as they've been trained on the smuggling side first, not the government side.

The skills in this game are meant to be extremely broad, all encompassing fields of knowledge, not just the active ability to perform such and such a feat.  This is exactly the change this game is trying to make, and why they can't have a skill so narrow as "noticing something."  Just imagine it like this - if you had a skill that was "notice something" what would the different approaches even be?  Would they all just be notice by using earth, notice by using air, notice by using water...  Its just too narrow already!  It can only exist as an approach within a field of knowledge, as it is not its self a full field of knowledge.

52 minutes ago, Franwax said:

Well the word itself does sound like... a mouthful!!

Seriously though, I could see Skulduggery split into two: knowledge of criminal activities, left side of the law, smuggling routes, etc (the old Lore: Underworld in 4ed); and the more physical part encompassing stealth, sleight of hand, ambush, etc. 

It does sound awful...  I really hope they have a better word to replace it before release.  I just think pirates every time I see it...

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3 hours ago, Franwax said:

Totally agreed on Seefaring. It sticks out in the list. I suppose this thing is only here so that we know what starting skill to give a Mantis :P 

We have seafaring but not horsemanship. Yet I suspect more horse riding is going g to happen in people's games. 

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3 minutes ago, Soshi Nimue said:

Navigating at sea is very different than navigating by land.  You can see this by looking at real history to see how long people navigated across the continents compared to how long they navigated at sea.  Even once they could build boats that were large enough navigation changes so much that it really isn't applicable.  Navigation by land is done primarily through large natural landmarks, man made markers, beaten paths, ect.  Civilizations that were unable to venture from from the coastline continued to use these, going as far away as they could keep them in site.  The great navigators of the seas were able to navigate with currents, winds, and stars.  Things you wouldn't use at all on land, or even on a river.  When at land the load capacity of a card is calculated much differently than the buoyancy of a vessel.

Mind you I would agree that while different enough from Labor, these skills are so rarely needed they might as well be bundled into labor as a sub-skill, to be particioned out only if the GM felt the skill was valuable enough in the campaign to buy on its own. 

None of the skills need to say "search."  What they all say is "sphere of knowledge."  The problem is likely your interpretation that all skills are active components, when they are actually massively encompassing fields.  If you were searching for smuggled goods then Skulduggery is exactly the skill you would use, as you are using your knowledge of what the goods look like, and how they may be smuggled to locate them.  Or you could use Labor to meticulously examine or disassemble the smuggler's cart using your knowledge of how these things are built, thus how they should come apart, and what parts or connections may be superfluous indicating hidden goods.  If you were a Kitsuki Investigator you would likely use Government - as the survey branch covers specifically watching for illegal things - but obviously a Bayushi official might use a different approach as they've been trained on the smuggling side first, not the government side.

The skills in this game are meant to be extremely broad, all encompassing fields of knowledge, not just the active ability to perform such and such a feat.  This is exactly the change this game is trying to make, and why they can't have a skill so narrow as "noticing something."  Just imagine it like this - if you had a skill that was "notice something" what would the different approaches even be?  Would they all just be notice by using earth, notice by using air, notice by using water...  Its just too narrow already!  It can only exist as an approach within a field of knowledge, as it is not its self a full field of knowledge.

It does sound awful...  I really hope they have a better word to replace it before release.  I just think pirates every time I see it...

That is neither intuitive or useful method of doing skills. In fact I would say it is a terrible way to do skills since using a skill is active. Also the some of the skills are broad. Others are etremely specific. Like seafaring. The whole premise is garbage. 

We need a will let that reflects the setting. Like we have with star wars. I think pretty much anyone could come up with a better skill list that is more useful to his and players.

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14 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

That is neither intuitive or useful method of doing skills. In fact I would say it is a terrible way to do skills since using a skill is active. Also the some of the skills are broad. Others are etremely specific. Like seafaring. The whole premise is garbage. 

We need a will let that reflects the setting. Like we have with star wars. I think pretty much anyone could come up with a better skill list that is more useful to his and players.

Seafaring is far from specific.  It involves so many things.  Navigation, construction and maintenance, load calculation, winds and tides, storms, and more are all part of this skill.  I still think its a bit of a throwaway in Rokugan where few are ever going to leave to sea really...  but its a mistake to think Seafaring is a narrow skill.

While it is not as intuitive as you may like, this is how they are designing it.  I don't think anything is going to change their design from a finite list of broad all-encompassing skills to a large, possibly unending list of narrow skills to suit each action.

The only way to really bring change is to find out what will work following their method.  Think of Notice as a specific approach - ie ring + skill combination.  Then imagine what field of knowledge that resides in.  BAM you have a notice ability built within a field.

(I also think they should stop calling them skills, but call them fields of knowledge, fields for short.  Calling them skills just brings up the wrong connotation.)

((also I think they should just have one "martial arts" skill, and allow techniques fill in the gaps for being better with swords than bows.  All samurai traditionally were trained in all weapons)

Edited by Soshi Nimue

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1 hour ago, Soshi Nimue said:

Seafaring is far from specific.  It involves so many things.  Navigation, construction and maintenance, load calculation, winds and tides, storms, and more are all part of this skill.  I still think its a bit of a throwaway in Rokugan where few are ever going to leave to sea really...  but its a mistake to think Seafaring is a narrow skill.

While it is not as intuitive as you may like, this is how they are designing it.  I don't think anything is going to change their design from a finite list of broad all-encompassing skills to a large, possibly unending list of narrow skills to suit each action.

The only way to really bring change is to find out what will work following their method.  Think of Notice as a specific approach - ie ring + skill combination.  Then imagine what field of knowledge that resides in.  BAM you have a notice ability built within a field.

(I also think they should stop calling them skills, but call them fields of knowledge, fields for short.  Calling them skills just brings up the wrong connotation.)

((also I think they should just have one "martial arts" skill, and allow techniques fill in the gaps for being better with swords than bows.  All samurai traditionally were trained in all weapons)

Yeah. That is terrible. As has been pointed out noticing things does not require a skill in a field. Knowing what it means does. The skill list should be such that knowing what skill accomplished a goal is obvious. the current method is about as obtuse as you can get. Thinks bad. 

The method isn't bad. The list of skills is terrible. It is poorly thought out for their design goal.

Edited by Daeglan

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11 hours ago, GaGrin said:

There are some overlapping issues here.  Firstly, expertise appears to be missing, but secondly, the skill groups themselves are essentially goals and some of the tasks we are used to assigning ourselves in play do not easily map onto an approach.

There are effectively 25 methods in the game at present with each of the actual skills approximating a specific sub-application.

Refine, Feint, Analyze, Trick, Con

Restore, Withstand, Recall, Reason, Produce

Invent, Overwhelm, Theorize, Incite, Innovate

Adapt, Shift, Survey, Charm, Exchange

Attune, Sacrifice, Sense, Enlighten, Subsist

You can't do things not covered by those approaches and some skills don't appear to fit into these 25 slots.  Sneaking? Riding? They don't clearly fit a column.  This issue already exists on several skills, medicine for one, but also meditation and sentiment which makes more sense as a social skill, except for the fact that it's verbs match the scholar approaches more closely.  At least if you wanted to add investigation you could do so easily, it's a no-brainer for the Scholar group.

Infiltration only fits if you squash it into the Air line, but doesn't work as a row hence skulduggery - the general "bad stuff" skill.

Both the trade and artisan groups also have the biggest issues with overlapping or overbroad skills, but I suggest this is to do with trying to shoehorn skills into groups for the express purpose of creating narrow application of expertise.  If you allow any skill to apply to any of the approaches, it becomes alot easier to make skills fit the system, but then the skill groups themselves become obsolete.

I'm not 100% convinced this is actually a problem with the game and not just a problem of expectation, but it's interesting to see how very different this really is.  If it's suffering from anything, it's that it's clearly causing some confusion in how to interpret the system.

This captures the prob!em really well

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My group has had a wonderful experience with "The Art of Investigation" so far. In 4e, and in many other games, players with investigation enter a room and then try to press A to investigate. Players--even the investigator--checks out until the investigation check is done. 

In contrast, when using "The Art of Investigation"--my players listen to my description of an environment, then follow up with specific questions/actions related to their skills. Everyone was engaged and involved

That, to me, is the biggest benefit of "The Art of Investigation": there's a chance for everyone to contribute and engage in the scene, not just the character with the highest investigation skill. Maybe it's not perfectly simulationist, but it's a good game mechanic (especially for a setting in which procedural investigation is a quirky practice of a strange family).

That said, I wouldn't be opposed to adding a knowledge-gate system like the Angry GM describes in this article about D&D. Gating certain information behind a ring or skill rank instead of behind a check avoids both "just giving away" clues and stalling the investigation when characters fail a roll. 

12 hours ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

Dudes and dudettes, Investigation is absolutely a skill. Another poster said that you could just look at training given to the police or military to see confirmation and that is absolutely true. I served in the army and we had to train extensively in things that would could as the Investigation skill when translated to a game. That is 100% a skill that you learn, just like shooting a gun or repairing a car engine.

Thanks for sharing your experience! Always nice when someone can contribute more than mere speculation on a controversial topic.

The important thing that such training demonstrates is that Investigation is learnable--i.e. characters should be able to spend XP to get better at it. What it doesn't demonstrate is that it must be a "Skillin this game. 

And indeed, you can spend XP on it in this game: up your Water (which will raise your Survey), and up your Air (which will raise your Analyze). For some non-XP representations of such training, consider taking a Distinction, or playing a Kitsuki.

9 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

[numbering added for ease of commenting]

  1. Hah, I can answer this. We need Investigation because it is supposedly an important aspect of the game and thus needs a steady and easy-to-perceive presence on the mechanical level. PCs will most likely investigate a lot, maybe more than they will do Intrigue (or even duel!).
  2. I suppose having a sub-system for investigation should be kinda too much, so the only remaining option is having it as its own Skill. 
  1. Exactly!!! It's super important. None of the other important systems are reduced to one single check of one single skill. Look at combat: there's five separate skills , five stances, a ton of techniques, and many kinds of weapons and armor. It's more complicated than "press A for combat", as it should be. If investigation is as important as Intrigues or Duels, of course it should be more complicated than a single skill check!
  2. I dunno. If it's so important, maybe it should have it's own subsystem. Though it'd be weird to structure it like a Conflict--with assessment and turns and resolution. To me, spreading investigation out over all skills seems like a kind of compromise between having a single skill and having a whole other system.

 

Also, general comment: for those groups that are getting stumped by "The Art of Investigation", don't forget that you can OP spend to learn the best approach and skill. 

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1 hour ago, sidescroller said:

My group has had a wonderful experience with "The Art of Investigation" so far. In 4e, and in many other games, players with investigation enter a room and then try to press A to investigate. Players--even the investigator--checks out until the investigation check is done. 

In contrast, when using "The Art of Investigation"--my players listen to my description of an environment, then follow up with specific questions/actions related to their skills. Everyone was engaged and involved

I don't think that the people asking for a general awareness skill have said it should replace the "Art of Investigation".

One would not preclude the other. It would just be a skill to notice stuff, but you would still need others skills to know what to do with it.
It should absolutely not be a skill to both find and deduce all that there is to know.

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