Jump to content
player966703

Decoupling Abilities and Skills

Recommended Posts

One likely issue will be your players will try to justify using their best characteristic for every check.   Expect a cunning use of research materials on the next knowledge check, after which they'll cunningly perceive the best place to cunningly stick the dagger into their opponent and then cunningly drive away unnoticed.

You should certainly allow special instances of decoupling skills from the base characteristics, but skills should have a default.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Dragonshadow said:

One likely issue will be your players will try to justify using their best characteristic for every check. 

In order to avoid this, differentiate between combat, knowledge, and social checks and how skills will apply to attributes. IE: Int+Brawl is only for recognizing fighting styles, Cunning+Brawl may be to recognize a weakness in someones attack/style. Presence+Brawl might be some sort of flashy (non-damage dealing) display, but Brawn+Brawl is the only way to drive the dagger home. This is similar to how White Wolf did it. The GM sets the stage and how decoupling works, not the players. State expectations ahead of time of how decoupling will work and there should be (in a perfect world :P) no surprises from the players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the "S.A.D. argument" is a legitimate critique of the decoupled approach, with this system, the GM is fully within their bounds to change (increase) the Difficulty and/or add Setbacks to the check if they feel the "Cunning" approach is not the optimal way to approach a situation.

That said, the problem still arises when you have to split hairs about Characteristic allocation. Is that a Cunning approach or an Intellect approach with this Skullduggery? Is that Willpower or Presence with that Coercion? Brawn or Agility with that Coordination?

There's so much overlap between Characteristics AND Skills in this system, I do feel like the de-coupling option is just asking for trouble and complications with game-flow, as debate is going to constantly arise about what is appropriate when/where.

Plus it's the non-standard approach, and will make your hack just that much (however incremental amount) less approachable than a similar setting or hack. If ease and of and wide spread community use is factoring into your choices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the biggest issue is one of balance. De-coupling from a player justification side CAN encourage players to stack a single statistic and try and run everything through that. You'll note star wars also has some expensive talents that switch skills from one attribute to another, so you lose that XP sink as well. 

That said, as a GM, if you don't make this a player situation so much as a GM fiat situation, where you are encouraging players to ignore their builds and focus on just playing the character and explaining what they want to do rather than picking a skill check specifically....then you as the GM can just couple the relevant skill check with whichever attribute you feel is most fitting. I feel like if you can develop that environment at the table, de-coupling makes a lot of sense, and it encourages players to keep their PCs somewhat balanced, because they don't have direct control over which attribute is used with any given skill, which alleviates any balance and XP concerns somewhat. 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, KRKappel said:

That said, as a GM, if you don't make this a player situation so much as a GM fiat situation, where you are encouraging players to ignore their builds and focus on just playing the character and explaining what they want to do rather than picking a skill check specifically....then you as the GM can just couple the relevant skill check with whichever attribute you feel is most fitting.

If the table can come to this mutual agreement, sure.

But the narrative-gamer in me screams, "You're taking away my agency!" when the GM wants to tell me essentially the action I am taking.

The collaborative-storyteller/PbtA-theorist/Burning Wheel fanboy in me says the Player should always get to say what they are doing, not only narratively, but mechanically. Both are aspects of Player Agency. The GM can do whatever they deem appropriate with the consequences (including increased mechanical difficulty) of that. That's their realm, and that's what I've signed on to, in the collaborative storytelling social contract. But leave me, to me.

Just had an ingame situation where the GM interpreted my RP as Coercion, because he interpreted the words of my Negotiation attempt in a way I didn't intend. Was frustrating because a significant part of what I fealt was a strong logical argument, was suddenly a liability to my effort.

I mean the same table discussion/agreement could be had while placing the control in player hands: "Hey guys, be intellectually honest/genuine. If you try to game this, I'm gonna smack you with a phone book." (as if anyone has those anymore...)

But again, it is another level of exception to your hack preventing it from being instantly recognizable/useable to the unsuspecting Genesys player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only real issue saddly is your players. If you have a good group that can roll with it, it is a really cool idea. I would encourge you to take a look at the l5r RPG Beta. That is how they set up that system and while I think it works quite well you may find that certain players will spend a lot precious game time arguing why they can use their highest stat. If you don't have those kinds of players it is great but it cane bog the game a tad if you do. As mentioned also keep in mind different levels of difficulty for different attributes. It might be easier to think your way around a problem that power through it or visa versa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What worries me is the Knowledge skill, which can also be gamed (depending on the setting, I suppose). The potential solution, of making a ton of knowledge skills, can also be poorly done. It would be easier to roll Knowledge + Driving to know about the limited slip differential of a '64 Skylark, than explain why a nuclear physicist knows this, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Occasionally it makes far more sense to decouple skills from attributes.

Case in point was from one of the live play episodes from The Dice Pool Podcast where Alyse (Holy Warrior) wanted to use her Devine skill to track an evil magic wielding vampire. I decided she could but to use her Cunning instead. It made far more sense doing that way rather than using Willpower.

Edited by GM Hooly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree you should not allow one stat to dominate all your rolls. But I also thing decoupling can make sense. Doing maintenance on your gun? Ranged+int makes sense. Wanna do martial arts that is deex based? I could see a talent like the lightsaber talents that lets you switch your brawl stat to agility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The story point is not a bad idea if it starts to become a problem with meta gamey players. I have had several gamers in the past that I would trust this idea with. It also makes it easier on skill bloat, since now anyone with a skill can ask to make a knowledge check about that field by using int+skill. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if the player is coming at it from the direction of

“I have this skill I’m good at, my character would try and leverage it in this situation so I want to do something different with it, to do that thing can I use a non standard and less beneficial characteristic?”

Then things are ok. If it’s more a case of

“My dex is high so I always use dex”

then just no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

I think if the player is coming at it from the direction of

“I have this skill I’m good at, my character would try and leverage it in this situation so I want to do something different with it, to do that thing can I use a non standard and less beneficial characteristic?”

Then things are ok. If it’s more a case of

“My dex is high so I always use dex”

then just no.

I think if the skill In Question and application of ability make sense yes. If not no.  Or if a different ability for the application in question. Ie int for gun maintenance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Rrok007 said:

"Why not? I'm verbally dexterous. I should be able to use Dex + Coercion to BS our way out of this!"

Funny thing is, there's already a characteristic for verbal dexterity: Presence. And to some extent: Cunning.

Note: I know you were joking. But I cannot help but give the expected GM response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, it's all about the presentation. For example:

The group is trying to impress  the patrons of a local tavern to gain some much needed coin.

Bard A - Wants to recite an epic poem about a local hero and his fight with the an evil witch. He uses Presence and Charm.

Bard B - Wants to awe the crowd by juggling half a dozen flaming short swords while balancing on one leg of a bar stool. He uses Dexterity and Charm.

Decoupling is actually something I do regularly for my players when they describe narratively what they are trying to accomplish. I think the Characteristic/Skill pairings should be the standard, but flexibility will bring much more enjoyment for you and your players, and let's the game flow more like a story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Silverfox13 said:

 

Decoupling is actually something I do regularly for my players when they describe narratively what they are trying to accomplish. I think the Characteristic/Skill pairings should be the standard, but flexibility will bring much more enjoyment for you and your players, and let's the game flow more like a story.

Especially in a system called the narrative dice mechanic, I think this is the best way to handle non standard pairings of attributes and skills. Also, with in most trpgs, I think it's a good way to go. The player describes their intended actions, gm decides on a what roll best represents that action and a fair difficulty needed, dice inform you of the end results. 

Edited by thecowley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...