Skills which are worth 1:1 and skills that aren't

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Skills which are worth 1:1 and skills that aren't

Postby Anthony » Mon Apr 14, 2003 6:22 pm

The big problem with 3:1 skills is that, frankly, some skills really are quite valuable. On the other hand, many skills are _not_ all that valuable. Given this, I thought I'd run through the skills, looking at which seem to be good or bad.

1) High Value Skills
These skills are ones that tend to come up frequently, where success or failure is quite significant, and either a similar effect cannot be done with powers, or the power equivalent is comparable in cost/utility to the skill. The following skills seem 'high value' to me:
Bluff, Computers, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Gather Information, Intimidate, Listen, Search, Spot, Taunt

2) Medium value skills
These skills either come up less frequently, are more easily duplicated with powers, or have only secondary effects on the plot. The following seem 'medium value' to me:
Acrobatics, Concentration, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Hide, Language, Move Silently, Open Lock, Read Lips, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand

Remaining skills are low value, for one of the following reasons:

Duplicated by powers, which are cheaper and better:
Balance, Climb,Medicine, Swim

Used for an ability that you have to also pay PP for (may also be useful for background color, or to handle a plot device)
Craft, Demolitions, Drive, Handle Animal, Pilot, Repair, Ride

Used for a plot device: rarely comes up, usually to handle specific plot devices. May be made important by the GM, if he chooses.
Knowledge, Science

Background: may be rarely useful, but mostly just gives color to the character.
Innuendo, Perform, Profession, Survival

My inclination as a house rule is:
1pp: gives rank 3
2pp: gives rank 5
+1pp: gives +1 rank.

Marginal skills will usually have 1-2pp put into them; other skills may have more.

Anyway...thoughts?
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Postby Strict31 » Mon Apr 14, 2003 9:31 pm

My thoughts on the matter are that there will always be a guy out there waiting to get into your game who will throw a kink into your system... :wink:

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Postby Jack » Mon Apr 14, 2003 9:40 pm

My group sorta splits the difference and goes for a 2 skill points per 1 point cost. Not a perfect solution, but easily than going through and categorizing all the skills.
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Postby John Bock » Tue Apr 15, 2003 4:40 am

yeah, too complicated. Heck I got lost reading it...
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Postby projectdaedalus » Tue Apr 15, 2003 5:58 am

I may end up eventually going 2:1. Categorization is too crazy, no offense. MnM is designed to make characters easier to create, so I'd have to vote no on it as well.
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Postby Superfreak » Tue Apr 15, 2003 7:26 am

I tend to think that there is no real way to categorize skills (or other things, such as feats versus other feats, powers versus other powers, etc) as to what is more useful or frequently used than others. The GM creates the world the players play in, the threats they face, and hence the opportunities to use certain skills, powers, feats, etc. If you let a player create a character with max ranks in climb, you better be willing to put that character in the occasional situation where having the skill works. Same for Profession (basketweaving). In what YOU may be thinking as a typical superhero campaign, there may be skills that are more useful (and I agree, inwhat I would typically run, there are some that are a better idea to get than others), that is not necessarily true for everyone's campaign; it's up to the GM to engage his players by providing opportunities where they can use their character's skills, feats, powers in ways to win, with some element of risk for failure so that they all balance out. If there are skills that are going to be more useful than others, suggest players take them in creating their characters or provide details about the type of campaign in advance (heavy on combat, more mystery type; etc) so that they can "clue in" as to what a useful character for the campaign would be.
As an aside, it cracks me up when people talk about the "mistakes" players make by creating a certain type of player (like one with protection maxed out, durability, immunities and regeneration) and then the GM shows them the "mistake" by having a certain other type of villain appear that exploits a weakness (like having said character above attacked by a mental blast). This is all make-believe; there is no way to make a totally fool-proof character, and to me it is no fun to have a player try to do so or me as a GM simply try to take that character out and blame it on their "mistake." RPGs are a group exercise in creating a story with dice helping guide the way or shift paths in the story; things can happen largely because the GM makes them happen, or things can happen because the GM provides opportunities for the dice to decide.
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Postby Anders Gabrielsson » Tue Apr 15, 2003 9:49 am

Superfreak wrote:I tend to think that there is no real way to categorize skills (or other things, such as feats versus other feats, powers versus other powers, etc) as to what is more useful or frequently used than others. The GM creates the world the players play in, the threats they face, and hence the opportunities to use certain skills, powers, feats, etc.


I agree that there is no way to generally categorize skills. However, the GM can indicate beforehand how he intends to use skills, which ones will be more useful than others and so on. One way to do it is to loosely categorize skills for that campaign. (BESM does this for genres - Piloting costs more in a space opera campaign than in a martial arts campaign, for example. Of course, if you're running a space opera martial arts campaign you'll have to make up your own costs.)

I'm thinking of doing this for my upcoming pulp campaign. For example, Survival will probably be more useful than Craft, but I'll be using 3:1 so I probably won't bother.

OTOH, I'll combine all Science skills into just a couple (probably Nature, Culture and Technology), since it fits the genre better IMO.
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Postby projectdaedalus » Tue Apr 15, 2003 10:16 am

Yeah, if you let the players know up front how often skills are going to be useful (and which ones moreso than others), I think people will be able to build more effective characters for that setting/game.
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Postby Bard » Tue Apr 15, 2003 10:33 am

The idea of having different skills cost different amounts can be seen in the Tri-Stat games by Guardians of Order (like Silver Age Sentinels, for instance).

Personally, i prefer a seperate pool of Skill points since it tends to allow for highly skilled heroes to fight alongside relativly unskilled super-powered heroes and still be on the same power level.
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Postby corwyn » Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:33 am

Bard wrote:The idea of having different skills cost different amounts can be seen in the Tri-Stat games by Guardians of Order (like Silver Age Sentinels, for instance).

Personally, i prefer a seperate pool of Skill points since it tends to allow for highly skilled heroes to fight alongside relativly unskilled super-powered heroes and still be on the same power level.


Done and done. Stealing SAS' skill system and creating a pool of points by means of a new feat granting skill points. It means a bit of work to use stock villains but I've never used a villain unmodified anyway, so...
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Postby Luke de Sade » Sat Aug 09, 2003 5:59 am

Why would you guys use a 3:1 system? Just so you could use more points buying powers, BAB, and BDB? Isn't that powergaming? Min-Maxing? I've done lot of characters and I always use the 1:1 rule, and I always have enough points for everything.
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Postby Artimus » Sat Aug 09, 2003 8:11 am

Is Profession: Garbage Man really as good as a rank in Amazing Save?

I tend to use skills quite a bit in my games. I just find 1:3 to work out pretty well.
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Postby Strand0 » Sat Aug 09, 2003 4:33 pm

Artimus wrote:Is Profession: Garbage Man really as good as a rank in Amazing Save?

I tend to use skills quite a bit in my games. I just find 1:3 to work out pretty well.
Can you show us a character you've made and show us the difference in the PC with and without 1:3.
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Postby Anthony » Sat Aug 09, 2003 11:26 pm

Strand0 wrote:Can you show us a character you've made and show us the difference in the PC with and without 1:3.
8)


The point is not that the PC with 3:1 will be better than the PC without 3:1; that's obvious. The point is that at 1:1, the character with few skills will be better in most circumstances than the PC with many skills.
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Postby Tesuji » Sun Aug 10, 2003 7:06 am

Anthony wrote:The point is not that the PC with 3:1 will be better than the PC without 3:1; that's obvious. The point is that at 1:1, the character with few skills will be better in most circumstances than the PC with many skills.


In my experience, this is not true in practice.

Sure, any character can be built to be ineffective... any PC can spend a dozen skill ranks each on prof:harbage man and prof: fast food clerk and prof: other useless skill solely to make an extreme case...

IMX and IMC skills are worth it at 1-1. They serve valuable roles and are used as a part of the campaign. There are ways to buy super-skills much cheaper than 1-1 for cases where you want a lot of different overlapping skills (using super-ayys) which make even the super scientists types work out great.

As alternatives to 3-1 skills, which as you observe will OBVIOUSLY improve ALL characters not just the skilled ones you see as weak, there are other ideas like "skill stunts" and the like which will more specifically focus in on the "many skilled" characters and address their cost.

But, in any game, there will always be players who simply want every character to get more.
The points don't make balance right, balance in play proves the points right.
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Postby Artimus » Sun Aug 10, 2003 3:22 pm

If everybody gets 'more', how is there a problem?

Nobody ever talked about letting the PC's use 1:3 and charging everybody else 1:1. And if they did, they should be shot.
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1:3 Only at Creation

Postby Threedub » Sun Aug 10, 2003 5:20 pm

I wanted the PCs to come to the "world" as adults, already with a lot of life experience. To simulate that I allowed skills to be purchased at 1PP for 3 skill points, only at creation.

After the campaign began it is 1PP for 1 SP, which also helps slow down the overnight skill progression.

If I was running a teen mutant campaign I would use the 1:1 ratio.
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