Skills - a trick

Discussion on playing Earthdawn. Experiences, stories, and questions related to being a player.
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ChainWolf
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Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:50 am

Skills - a trick

Post by ChainWolf » Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:19 am

Both the gaming tables I play at don't particularly like systems with Classes & levels.
We like to make characters that fit a concept then advance them organically during play.
Classes limit what your character can do. They make it so you have to choose a class then create a concept that fits - in short they limit creativity.
Levels then package up what the class says you can do and dole out predetermined parcels of it once you hit an arbitrary number of XP. - no organic advancement.
Now Earthdawn changes that up a bit by having you increase your abilities until you hit a point where your determined to be the next level, rather than giving you the increased power all at once. But its still Classes & levels.

However when the system was suggested to us we looked at it and saw the skills. Sure they were a very limited list compared to the talents & generally weaker but they seemed to represent a way to have our characters learn abilities not available to a chosen class.
So it looked like we could still grow our characters organically.

How wrong we were!
None of us looked at the advancement rules for skills so we missed the ridiculous time frames involved.
Seriously 4 weeks solid training to get Rank 4 in a skill, then longer and longer.
Assuming a party of 4 that's 3 characters standing around twiddling there thumbs? Why would they do that?
4 weeks is more than enough time to have several adventures, what possible reason would they not leave that person to train and meet up later?
So if you want to train in a skill you better hope everyone else also wants to do so as well other wise make a second char or sit out and do nothing.
Games are supposed to be fun but these training times...

We have come to the conclusion that skills only exist for 2 reasons -
1) to round out your character and represent things they learnt in the past, never to be looked at again.
2) so the GM can make non adept NPC's that are actually capable.

Yes im saying that the training times make Skills useless to PC's, unless you hand wave what the other characters do during these training times.
But if you hand wave that you should change the training times.

Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Skills - a trick

Post by Slimcreeper » Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:48 pm

You could look at how 1879 uses tags to advance skills. I personally don't use tagging in my 1879 game, but it might work as a way to get around skills for your game. Some of my players are in other games that do use the tags and they like them.

You can also give a free skill rank at circle advancement. If you want skills to tie into the Discipline, maybe they get a skill as half-magic. Also look at knacks that function as skills, like Evaluate for Haggle.

I personally don't mind the training times, but I have no problem with extended downtime in my games. Stresses me out to think of rushing from one adventure to another. Of course, I also am not really into all the accounting of calendar days and hours in the day. I can barely do that in real life!

The other thing to consider is that most skills only really need a few ranks to be useful.

The design decision was that the game would focus on Adepts, and their magic, so skills are less emphasized. If you want more organic growth, handwave away! You could even let players train while they are adventuring. For example - listening to the Troubadour tell epic tales around the campfire as a way to learn Kn: Legends and Heroes. Real talk - there are no such things as RAW games in the wild. There's just too much. It's like the bible. Everyone who reads it picks what they want and interprets it to suit their game.

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etherial
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Re: Skills - a trick

Post by etherial » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:51 am

ChainWolf wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:19 am
Assuming a party of 4 that's 3 characters standing around twiddling there thumbs? Why would they do that?
They wouldn't. Some will be raising Skills while others raise Attributes while others perform Research while others Craft Potions while others Forge Weapons and Armor.

Sharkforce
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Skills - a trick

Post by Sharkforce » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:53 am

etherial wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:51 am
ChainWolf wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:19 am
Assuming a party of 4 that's 3 characters standing around twiddling there thumbs? Why would they do that?
They wouldn't. Some will be raising Skills while others raise Attributes while others perform Research while others Craft Potions while others Forge Weapons and Armor.
some of them might even take the unheard-of step of just taking a break from being under constant threat of death!

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Skills - a trick

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:14 am

And yes, most Adept characters I have seen don't bother very much with skills. Talents are supposed to be much better. Talents are (usually kind of cheaper), and are much faster, easier, and can have karma spent on them. I would say that everybody including the OP are correct that skills are there as the tool that non-adepts have to work with, and they are there for PCs to round out their characters with a few low level ranks of.

But they are usually a pretty minor component for Adept characters.

ragbasti
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Re: Skills - a trick

Post by ragbasti » Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:07 pm

Rank 10 in a Skill represents Mastery of a certain craft or area of expertise via traditional learning.
Taking that into account, the training/practice periods are pretty accurate. Gaining rank 10 in a skill is not something that should be achieved easily, or in many cases at all. These things are for NPCs or PCs who have devoted serious time during decade-long (in-game time) campaigns.

Reducing the training times so that people could easily up their skills would be the same as handing a Stradivarius to a 12 year old that's just gotten the hang of the violin. It trivialises the significance of Disciplines and their special place in the setting.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Skills - a trick

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:49 pm

Really, between the questors, multi-disciplining, paths, and skills, it's hard for me to imagine how much more customization you'd need.

FrozenVomit
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:21 pm

Re: Skills - a trick

Post by FrozenVomit » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:49 pm

At our table we use books! Books that gives free LP!

So let say you find or buy a book about creature lore It need 8 week to read and give 1300 LP.
1 level 200 LP
2 level 300
3 level 500
and 300 in bank

Then you find an other book about creature lore that need 2 week to read and gives 500 LP
There you have complete your 4th level of creature lore!

Book can be expensive, or be given as a reward instead of LP or magic Item.

You can read only 1 book at time, you just need to read 30 mins a day and can read on the road and while in training, not in dungeon.

Also each time we use a skill we add a bar beside it, that represent day of study that can be use to lower the time of studying. See this as experience and practice.

Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Skills - a trick

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:18 pm

I allow books as providing a +1 or +2 rank in a particular Knowledge skill. They don't stack with actual skill, and it's a sustained action to access them.

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