General skill vs. Specialty skill

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Egil Skallagrimsson
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:36 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:I can't see any problem with "Gun combat 0" being transferrable to all gun combat specialisms.
Funny how players will error on the side that benefits them.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:"Pilot 0" is a bit more tricky, but if we accept it as basic skill in handling a space craft, it is not unreasonable to extend that to capital ships or small craft, the principles should be the same.
I wouldn't let a Pilot 0 near my capital ship. I think you are playing Traveller as a video game.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:The good thing about the speciality skills is it allows some characters to be very effective as certain things
I hope you're not assigning 4s and 5s to all your specialty skills.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:In MgT there isn't such a skill as "science"
See Vargr book.
Answers in order of the questions;
1. Use the same criteria whether GMing or playing.
2. Basic principles are basic principles, normally your capital ship will have a very experienced capital ship pilot, because these are expensive bits of kit, however, in an emergency, Ordinary Spaceman Jenkins with his pilot 0 can keep an eye on things. That's why all naval personal have some degree of pilot skill.
3. No, we operate an unofficial cap of specialist skills at 4 anyway, but, in practice, few characters end up with 3 or 4, and those which do are pretty useless at anything else (like my barbarian with "large blade 3", but almost nothing else, ended up getting shot).
4. Yes, I have always seen that as a piece of carelessness, and treated it as meaning "any science (characters choice)".
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:45 pm

F33D wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote: I can't see any problem with "Gun combat 0" being transferrable to all gun combat specialisms,

Egil
Not remotely possible. Other than the fact that both a revolver and a laser rifle cause damage, there is little commonality in mechanics. Someone who is used to something (laser) where the shot is not affect by gravity, wind, target motion (you won't be leading a target with a laser rifle*), etc., is going to be using a slug thrower at a penalty.
*deflection
You spend a lot of time shooting laser weapons, do you? The mechanics are, basically, the same, you point, you aim (sometimes), you pull the trigger, you release the shot (or package of energy), you repeat. Gun combat 0 indicates a basic, and easily transferrable, ability. Again, the character recognises how to safely handle fire arms, and with any weapons, whether a revolver or laser rifle, will be able recognise which end the projectile or beam leaves from, and enough knowledge to have some chance of hitting a simple target. Of course, if the weapon is from a very much more technologically advanced society, you might need a bit of help identifying what all the buttons do, but I don't see that as much of a problem.

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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:12 pm

CosmicGamer wrote: The Learning New Skills post chargen section is yet another place. It simply says "To increase a skill, a character must train for a number of weeks equal to his current Skill Total plus the desired level of the skill."
The thing is not to take the learning skills rule out of context of everything else, it is a rule to be used after characters have been created. A typical 4 term character end chargen with 8-10 levels of skills. If, during play, there is a need to develop another skill, it would take that character 8-10 weeks to do so (after which I would give them a level 0, though the rules could be interpreted to give a level 1). Trav is not really about the acquisition of better and better skill levels, as your character progresses from serf to super hero, if you need that, D&D is the game for you.

If you want the learning system to model life, then you really need to overhaul the whole career system. In reality some skills are much easier to learn than others. You also need to think a lot more about skill caps, both for individual skills and in total, and if you do not practice a skill regularly your talent will start to fade. The RAW assumes that the character is using his downtime to maintain his skills (and, for that matter, his characteristics), but how much time does that leave to gain new skills?

However, I see the MgT chargen as a very successful way to create playable, and (usually) interesting rpg characters, and if used in the spirit intended, and using the obvious interpretations of the CRB, very workable. Of course, picking bits out of context and looking for extreme examples will tend to create absurd consequences, but that doesn't undermine the rules, it just proves the old adage, if you ask a silly question, you get a silly answer.

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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby F33D » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:38 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:You spend a lot of time shooting laser weapons, do you?
Irrelevant. I have spent a lot of time shooting "powder" weapons. And, I understand the physics of lasers. If you had similar knowledge & experience you wouldn't make comments such as that...
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:06 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:However, I see the MgT chargen as a very successful way to create playable, and (usually) interesting rpg characters, and if used in the spirit intended, and using the obvious interpretations of the CRB, very workable. Of course, picking bits out of context and looking for extreme examples will tend to create absurd consequences, but that doesn't undermine the rules, it just proves the old adage, if you ask a silly question, you get a silly answer.
A lot of players don't like flawed characters. They want John Wayne (or some over-paid celebrity on steroids) for their character every time. Any character less than that is NPC material in their eyes. Old characters are a no-no also, even though they have more skills. So one ends up with young and dumb characters that haven't rolled for age yet.

Those players are the D20 crowd, or the Warhammer 40K crowd, or the SKYRIM crowd.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:Again, the character recognises how to safely handle fire arms, and with any weapons, whether a revolver or laser rifle, will be able recognise which end the projectile or beam leaves from, and enough knowledge to have some chance of hitting a simple target. Of course, if the weapon is from a very much more technologically advanced society, you might need a bit of help identifying what all the buttons do, but I don't see that as much of a problem.
Heck. Guns sound awfully easy to use. So why even have a stupid old Gun Combat skill anyways?
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:48 pm

F33D wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:You spend a lot of time shooting laser weapons, do you?
Irrelevant. I have spent a lot of time shooting "powder" weapons. And, I understand the physics of lasers. If you had similar knowledge & experience you wouldn't make comments such as that...
Not irrelevant, just pointing out that you don't seem to have much idea what you are talking about, though now you claim to have shot "powder" weapons. If you really had done much shooting you would not hold such limited views. Either your "experience" is actually quite limited, or perhaps you are just a slow learner and take a very long time to learn to shoot anything. If so, do not assume that everyone else is so limited.

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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:00 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:However, I see the MgT chargen as a very successful way to create playable, and (usually) interesting rpg characters, and if used in the spirit intended, and using the obvious interpretations of the CRB, very workable. Of course, picking bits out of context and looking for extreme examples will tend to create absurd consequences, but that doesn't undermine the rules, it just proves the old adage, if you ask a silly question, you get a silly answer.
A lot of players don't like flawed characters. They want John Wayne (or some over-paid celebrity on steroids) for their character every time. Any character less than that is NPC material in their eyes. Old characters are a no-no also, even though they have more skills. So one ends up with young and dumb characters that haven't rolled for age yet.

Those players are the D20 crowd, or the Warhammer 40K crowd, or the SKYRIM crowd.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:Again, the character recognises how to safely handle fire arms, and with any weapons, whether a revolver or laser rifle, will be able recognise which end the projectile or beam leaves from, and enough knowledge to have some chance of hitting a simple target. Of course, if the weapon is from a very much more technologically advanced society, you might need a bit of help identifying what all the buttons do, but I don't see that as much of a problem.
Heck. Guns sound awfully easy to use. So why even have a stupid old Gun Combat skill anyways?
Good points, to respond to your point one, my role playing group have all passed through the John Wayne, or Arnie, phase a long time ago, most of our characters have done 4 to 6 terms, and are not super heros. New players are "educated" in our way of doing things, or go back to the Warhammer table. Point 2, basically, yes, using a pistol, or any other firearm, to shoot someone 5 metres away is doddle. Part of the reasons for so many murders and accidental shootings in the US, modern firearms are very simple machines. I could see a strong argument for "Gun combat 0" to be a background skill in some planets or countries (as well as mellee, but that is another thread). Of course, scoring a headshot on a deer at 400m, that requires skill, dedication, and a lot of practice. In game terms, gun combat (slug rifle) 2 or 3, so still the need for the skill (though I suspect you are having a little joke in your second point :D )

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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby locarno24 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:36 am

A lot of players don't like flawed characters. They want John Wayne (or some over-paid celebrity on steroids) for their character every time. Any character less than that is NPC material in their eyes. Old characters are a no-no also, even though they have more skills. So one ends up with young and dumb characters that haven't rolled for age yet.

Those players are the D20 crowd, or the Warhammer 40K crowd, or the SKYRIM crowd.
Not so much for 40k. Have a try at Dark Heresy. You really, really aren't John Wayne on steroids; Standard player characters are just spods off the street, same as Traveller.
Yet another place the rules are unclear and open to interpretation. It simply says "To increase a skill, a character must train for a number of weeks equal to his current Skill Total plus the desired level of the skill." So I desire level 8!!!
We always assume 'increase a skill' means 'up a level by one' rather than 'jump to a level' - but yeah, if you somehow catch yourself pre-first term, then an MD is theoretically 1 week (level 1) + 2 weeks (level 2) +3 weeks (level 3) for a month and a half.

Just goes to show how much time those medical students waste in the bar!

The other question, of course, is whether 'increase a skill' allows you to get a skill you don't currently have. I tend to play it that it doesn't (or at least that it takes significantly more effort to get a 'new' level 1/level 0 skill, if only because it makes the instructor skill a damn sight more worthwhile.

It makes more sense, too. A dedicated self-taught student can push themselves to and indeed beyond professional level, but it's that initial stage where you literally have no idea what you're doing or where to find reference material that you most need support - either in person or in a pre-planned course of study.


WRT an energy rifle and a slug rifle skills - I personally think it's fine as is. There is definitely enough difference in the things that affect damage infliction and/or accuracy that they shouldn't be one skill, but knowing how to use a rifle of either type, and being comfortable(ish) with a potentially lethal weapon in your hands is going to stand you in good stead when forced on the fly to use the other type. Skill/0 isn't the same as good with that weapon, after all.

Yes, you could go down to more granularity - with a proportionally reducing unskilled penalty (say, for the sake of argument, that Slug Pistol is clearly a lot closer to Slug Carbine than it is to Energy Rifle), but there comes a point where I tend to say "oh, sod it, it's just a game".
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:14 pm

locarno24 wrote:Not so much for 40k. Have a try at Dark Heresy. You really, really aren't John Wayne on steroids; Standard player characters are just spods off the street, same as Traveller.
I meant the wargame 40K.
locarno24 wrote:We always assume 'increase a skill' means 'up a level by one' rather than 'jump to a level'
Mongoose states in one of their books what the difference between "increase" and "gain" is. Then proceeds to contradict the definition. In a nutshell, for me, any improvement/gain in a skill means going up 1 level. Not 2. Not 3. Adding a skill means getting a new skill which starts at 1 (0 if it is basic training for a career). If a 1 is mentioned, then the skill is acquired at level 1 or increased from 0 to 1 if already a learned skill.

Mongoose is keen on many level 0 and 1 skills rather than a few level 3 or 4 skills, since players can add DMs to their skill rolls anyway.
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby F33D » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:19 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
Not irrelevant, just pointing out that you don't seem to have much idea what you are talking about,
ACTUALLY, I have given real world data. You, nothing. Point out EXACTLY where my data is incorrect.


I'll wait, again. :roll:
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Nerhesi » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:23 am

Youve shot laser and powder weapons? Cool! :roll: :roll: :roll: I also see no real world data - just your opinion, like everyone elses.

Anyways; Ive been to several gun ranges with many friends. We have shot everything from 9mm glocks (Several variants) to revolvers, RPK-74, MP5s, AR10, M16s, AK47s and Sig 552. Also a variety of shot-guns.

The basics are all the same and can be taught in under 15 minutes - so lets not BS any more. Some sights vary, performance varies, preference varies, hell everything varies - but that is the key. It varies. Just like a laser rifle would be an AR10 with no recoil and shitload less noise.

Aim down sights. Fire. Thanks for coming out. Lets not kid ourselves about much difference between a pistol and a rifle when it comes to "how to use" and "Basics".
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:59 pm

Not trying to stir the obviously simmering flame war here, but...

WHEN we get around to designing laser weapons, wouldn't we DELIBERATELY make them operate similar to a conventional slug thrower? Not saying the internals are the same, but it would look basically like a rifle and you would hold, shoot and aim it like a rifle. As a designer, why would you do anything differently?

Maintenance etc. would be a lot different obviously, but the basic operation would be about the same as a conventional rifle. IMHO
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby JP42 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:28 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:Not trying to stir the obviously simmering flame war here, but...

WHEN we get around to designing laser weapons, wouldn't we DELIBERATELY make them operate similar to a conventional slug thrower? Not saying the internals are the same, but it would look basically like a rifle and you would hold, shoot and aim it like a rifle. As a designer, why would you do anything differently?

Maintenance etc. would be a lot different obviously, but the basic operation would be about the same as a conventional rifle. IMHO
I suspect the earliest models would do exactly this - it would play upon the familiar feel of pistol and rifle to make the transition easier. But after they'd been accepted? There's no need for a stock on a laser rifle as there's no need to cinch it up into your shoulder to account for the recoil. Depending on how the technology works, there might not be a need for a long barrel - no need to control the direction of a physical round, and no need for rifling. Other needs would become paramount. Perhaps placement of collimating mirrors, or the size of the power pack providing the juice. Second or third generation laser weapons might look slightly different from modern slug throwers, but fourth and then on would likely look far less so.
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby F33D » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:15 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote: WHEN we get around to designing laser weapons, wouldn't we DELIBERATELY make them operate similar to a conventional slug thrower? Not saying the internals are the same, but it would look basically like a rifle and you would hold, shoot and aim it like a rifle. As a designer, why would you do anything differently?
You would design them to make them less accurate that a laser natively is? I think a manufacturer might do that. Right before they went BK... :lol:
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:08 pm

F33D wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
Not irrelevant, just pointing out that you don't seem to have much idea what you are talking about,
ACTUALLY, I have given real world data. You, nothing. Point out EXACTLY where my data is incorrect.


I'll wait, again. :roll:
Keep on waiting, then, you don't seem to be able to understand replies anyway, if you had read my last reply you wouldn't have responded with something so empty. You have provided no real world data, just assertions based on something you claim to know, but your conclusion is so flawed you clearly don't know what you are talking about.

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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby F33D » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:15 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
F33D wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
Not irrelevant, just pointing out that you don't seem to have much idea what you are talking about,
ACTUALLY, I have given real world data. You, nothing. Point out EXACTLY where my data is incorrect.


I'll wait, again. :roll:
Keep on waiting, then,
Obviously.
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby dragoner » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:56 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:Not trying to stir the obviously simmering flame war here, but...

WHEN we get around to designing laser weapons, wouldn't we DELIBERATELY make them operate similar to a conventional slug thrower? Not saying the internals are the same, but it would look basically like a rifle and you would hold, shoot and aim it like a rifle. As a designer, why would you do anything differently?

Maintenance etc. would be a lot different obviously, but the basic operation would be about the same as a conventional rifle. IMHO
There would be a learning curve: no bullet drop, windage or leading the target as the laser is the speed of light. It's a hell of a nice AA weapon, infantry small arm not so much, but nice in space with no recoil.
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby hdan » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:36 pm

Remember also that "Gun Combat" includes weapon maintenance. Knowing how to clean a slug thrower probably won't help you maintaining an energy weapon, aside from the very rough "these things often screw together like this" type activities.

I don't think it's at all unreasonable to have Level-0 in all non-specialty weapons, so long as you have a level of SOME specialty. Though as a referee, I might rule that you can't properly maintain a gun properly without at least an appropriate level-1 skill, since that makes for fun party dynamics.

("Hey Khargh, can you clean my SMG for me?" "Ok, but it's gonna cost you a watch shift." "Aw c'mon, that' hardly a fair trade!" "...says the guy who doesn't want his fancy SMG to seize up on him next time things get ugly." "Fine, it's a deal, but next time we're in port, I'm getting a holovid on gun maintenance...")
/hdan
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby dragoner » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Yes, I agree, I find that playing the skill too much by the book, has the effect of the players using the skills as their playbook for the character. This I would rather not have, though definitely the greater skill, the better chance I would give on clearing a weapon malfunction in combat for example.
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Re: General skill vs. Specialty skill

Postby CosmicGamer » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:57 pm

It's a game where the mechanics allow a character with experience using a fully automatic assault rifle with adjustable sights on a world with low gravity, thin atmosphere, and little wind to be used with the SAME SKILL LEVEL as a ball and powder musket on a high gravity, dense atmosphere, high wind world. If one can accept this, I can't see the issue with a character with a high skill level with a slug rifle skill having laser rifle skill AT JUST THE MINIMUM SKILL LEVEL (level 0 only).

Someone here who claims to have real world powder weapons skill arguing their slug weapon skill somehow gives them the knowledge to judge it's ability to transfer to laser weapons, a skill they never were trained on, only proves that the skill is transferable - otherwise how could they judge the compatibility of a weapon they have absolutely no skill in?

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