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grover2000

Why so many skills?

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Just got the Core Book and it is awesome.  I love a ton about the system -- more narrative focus, gradations of success, obligation, etc.

 

I wasn't involved in the playtest at all and was surprised at the number and some of the skill choices however.  It's pretty good and certainly not horrible (ala Use Rope, separating all the science knowledge skills in SAGA, etc.) but I still scratched my head a little.  Especially with the trend in other modern games (FATE Core, D&D4e) for more streamlined skill lists. 

 

For instance, Astrogation as a standalone skill?  The knowledge skills also seem to be undermined by a few talents.  The Talent Far Suns (I think this is the name) is fairly deep into a tree and allows you to make a hard check (including core world check) to find out about a planet's culture, etc.?   Isn't this what the skill is all about in the first place?  I could see this as a talent for a newly discovered planet or something but even then it seems weak.

 

Certainly in my games I will be very lenient in letting players declare facts (like FATE) with Knowledge skills and also perhaps add a dice as "create advantage" as a maneuver using their knowledge depending on situation.

 

I also will probably use something like Diaspora's social combat resolution mechanic to run extended non-combat encounters (even non-social ones) as this can also allow Knowledge skills to shine.

 

How has the skill list been for those of you who have played the game?  Have you made any house rule tweaks?

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running RAW, partly because after playing so much Fate I'm ready to run a ruleset rather than hack one, and also because i don't want to get houserules established that cause problems once AoE and FaD arrive. so far I've found everything to be pretty tidy. Keep in mind the current list was whittled and playtested down from a much larger list. I don't personally find it too cluttery at all. Any odd skill questions I've had have been answered via the Order 66 cats, especially concerning the whole coerce/discipline, perception/vig thing.

Edited by Keeop

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The Beta had one skill not in the release.

 

The total number of skills is less than many other Sci-Fi games on the market; Mongoose Traveller has 44 core skills, but 18 of them have 6+ separate subskills each. Spacemaster has more like 60. Space Opera has over 100. Palladium has about 75, varying slightly by specific game. GURPS has over 200, many with specializations required.

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For instance, Astrogation as a standalone skill?  The knowledge skills also seem to be undermined by a few talents.  The Talent Far Suns (I think this is the name) is fairly deep into a tree and allows you to make a hard check (including core world check) to find out about a planet's culture, etc.?   Isn't this what the skill is all about in the first place?  I could see this as a talent for a newly discovered planet or something but even then it seems weak.

 

Not every character in the game will know the math behind charting a hyperdrive course. Most would rely on navicomputers and astromechs.

I don't feel like the Talents undermine the skills, but they do compliment them. If i remember correctly, Far Suns is only available in one or two trees, whereas Knowledge skills are useful in many situations.  Coreworlds can cover alot more than just culture, including laws, politics, markets, just about anything.

 

Read through the skill descriptions to get a better idea of what they are, and how they are different.

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For instance, Astrogation as a standalone skill?  The knowledge skills also seem to be undermined by a few talents.  The Talent Far Suns (I think this is the name) is fairly deep into a tree and allows you to make a hard check (including core world check) to find out about a planet's culture, etc.?   Isn't this what the skill is all about in the first place?  I could see this as a talent for a newly discovered planet or something but even then it seems weak.

 

Not every character in the game will know the math behind charting a hyperdrive course. Most would rely on navicomputers and astromechs.

I don't feel like the Talents undermine the skills, but they do compliment them. If i remember correctly, Far Suns is only available in one or two trees, whereas Knowledge skills are useful in many situations.  Coreworlds can cover alot more than just culture, including laws, politics, markets, just about anything.

 

Read through the skill descriptions to get a better idea of what they are, and how they are different.

 

 

The talents also allow skills to work as a default in a way for a broad application of a skill.  The career specilaization represents the practical application of a skill based upon additional training.  I hope that makes sense to more people than just me.

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I dont think it undermines the skill at all.  Your example, Familiar Suns, only allows you to access a specific set of information, whereas Knowledge(Core Worlds) would give you that plus much more (ala, do I know anyone on this Core planet? Do I know the major landmarks?Leaders?Flora?Fauna?Cities?etc).  The knowledge skill may give you a wealth of information about the planet, whereas the talent gives you some limited idea of where you are.

 

I see some of the talents that seem like this as giving a class that ordinarily may not have the knowledge skill to be able to have some "common knowledge" about planets etc. that many other people may overlook..  

Edited by Hida77

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So without having an in-depth read of the specific rules and skills you are referencing, I would say the talents vs skills also allow different ways to build a charecter. One can fore-go the skill in favor of something else if one is satisfied with the limitations of the talent, or choose the skill and fore-go the talent and spend XP in another area.

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 Far Suns is only available in one or two trees, whereas Knowledge skills are useful in many situations.  Coreworlds can cover alot more than just culture, including laws, politics, markets, just about anything.

Read through the skill descriptions to get a better idea of what they are, and how they are different.

 

 

 

 

The talents also allow skills to work as a default in a way for a broad application of a skill.  The career specilaization represents the practical application of a skill based upon additional training.  I hope that makes sense to more people than just me.

 

 

 

I dont think it undermines the skill at all.  Your example, Familiar Suns, only allows you to access a specific set of information, whereas Knowledge(Core Worlds) would give you that plus much more (ala, do I know anyone on this Core planet? Do I know the major landmarks?Leaders?Flora?Fauna?Cities?etc).  The knowledge skill may give you a wealth of information about the planet, whereas the talent gives you some limited idea of where you are.

 

 

 

Ok, these replies are making me more confused.

 

The Familiar Suns Talent says once per session you can make a Hard Knowledge (Core Worlds) or Knowledge (Outer Rim) check and if successful you know the planet's environment, where habitation could be found, and hazards.

 

You seem to be arguing that the Knowledge skills give you access to much broader information, which I wholeheartedly agree with.   So why would you pay 15xp for a talent that lets you make a hard check to get information I would think is already baked into the skill? 

 

That's why I said "undermined'.   Whenever you have a special ability that someone needs to pay resources for that allows you to do X, it implies that you can't do X without it.  I think the Knowledge skills need to stay broad to be useful.

 

Maybe the intention of the talent is that you can make a Hard Knowledge (Core Worlds) or Knowledge (Outer Rim) for planets in unknown regions?    I don't know.  I'm just trying to make sense of it and was hoping someone that was in the playtest knows the intention of the Talent.

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As I'm reading it, it sounds like normal Knowledge (Outer Rim) checks, for instance, are used to interact with people and understand cultures and economies of Outer Rim planets, while the Familiar Suns talent is specifically for deciding if you know about the ecology of a planet.  The nice thing about Familiar Suns is, once you've rolled and found that you know about a certain planet, you can write that down as knowing about it, and you'll be able to have that information (and other related information) available in the future.

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I kind of do think a couple skills could get rolled into one, but I understand why they are not.

 

Astrogation/Computers, Stealth/Skullduggery, Streetwise/Underworld, Piloting (Planetary)/Planetary(Space), even Cool/Vigilance.

 

I understand the differences between these skills, but it might have been cool to paint some broader strokes and have less of them.

It doesn't bother me though.

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I kind of do think a couple skills could get rolled into one, but I understand why they are not.

 

Astrogation/Computers, Stealth/Skullduggery, Streetwise/Underworld, Piloting (Planetary)/Planetary(Space), even Cool/Vigilance.

 

I understand the differences between these skills, but it might have been cool to paint some broader strokes and have less of them.

It doesn't bother me though.

 

Yes, this is a similar list to what I was thinking.  I understand how you can have these as separate skills and distinguish between them but I think there is a compelling argument to combining them as well.    I think it would be interesting to know why the choices were made.

 

If most of the time characters are going to want both skills to flesh out the archtype then I'd rather go with combine, but if there are interesting combinations where someone might have one without the other than it adds some value.

 

Perhaps the reason for splitting some of them was spotlight considerations.    If the Pilot (Planetary) and Pilot (Space) experts are separate characters then you avoid one character being the spotlight character in all vehicle situations.  Same with Astrogation and Computers.   You could have the combat monster pick up ranks in astrogation so she becomes useful in noncombat space travel but doesn't overshadow/duplicate the tech guy, since she can only do that one thing with computers.

 

It doesn't bother me either in the sense that I think it's a perfectly playable set of skills.   I just think it's interesting from a design perspective and it's sometimes helpful to know the intent of the designers.  They did choose to combine some skills that are often separated, which I like.   For instance, Education is the "science guy" skill which SAGA split into physical, biological, etc.  Unless you are running some kind of group of scientists campaign, splitting these never made sense to me.

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Splitting them also helps control the level of investment required. In order for you to be a good all around pilot, it takes XP in two skills instead of one (more likely 3 if you include Gunnery and 4 if you include Astrogation). I imagine the designers decided that this was the level of XP investment that was appropriate for this archetype. You start fusing these skills and the needed investment is lessened, throwing off the balance.

Now, I don't really know if this is the case, but it makes the most sense to me.

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Jay and Sam actually addressed this point, more specifically the Cool/Discipline and Cool/Vigilance split, on the latest O66 podcast.

 

It's generally to cut down on instances of a character being super-awesome simply through buying up one skill, and also to avoid too many "gotta have it!" skills.  Much as I love Saga Edition, there were some cases where being trained in certain skills was almost mandatory if you wanted to be viable in a fight, with Initiative being a big one.  And that's not even bringing up the issue of Force-users and how easily they could dominate low-level opponents with their powers simply by taking Skill Focus (Use the Force).

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