Skills Study and Training Program.   Posted by StarMaster.Group: 0
StarMaster
 GM, 673 posts
Mon 1 Feb 2016
at 23:22
Skills Study and Training Program
After a conversation with another player, he pointed out that using the 'weeks of training' system for skill progression involves absurd and unnecessary bookkeeping. Coupled with the slow game time on-line, it really results in an impractical if not outright unplayable system.

For whatever reason the original author didn't want to use 'classes and levels', what it wound up doing is eliminating any benchmarks for your character's progression. Then again, there didn't seem to be any intention of letting a character get better. "Here's the adventure, and here are your characters." It was as if you were never supposed to play the same characters more than once.

So the first thing I had to do was establish benchmarks. In other games I'm running that have classes and levels, I've been using Major and Minor encounters. Two Minor encounters equal one Major encounter, and two Major encounters equal a level progression.

I briefly toyed with using some sort of Skill Point system, but that got back to the bookkeeping. Instead, this is what I've come up with.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maximum number of skill ranks that you can have: Int + Dex, times 3.
(With a maximum ability score of 15, that would mean maximum ranks of 90.)

Characters are constantly learning, studying and training in various skills that they have as well skills they'd like to acquire. This takes place whenever the character has a bit of free time. Eventually, of course, he'll have learned enough to actually be better at that skill.

At the end of every Major Encounter (usually an adventure), a character can attempt to improve one or two skills by making a Skill Check for that skill. You can attempt to improve only one Mental Skill and one Physical Skill at a time.

Skill Check: roll 2 dice, apply new rank you are attempting to gain as a negative modifier. Standard roll of 8 succeeds.

ADDITIONAL MODIFIERS
Int or Edu for Mental Skills.
Dex for Physical skills.

-2 if you are attempting to improve 2 skills.

If you don't succeed, it just means you haven't studied or trained enough yet.

After every Minor Encounter, you can attempt to gain one Skill at Rank 0 (zero).


Improving Ability Scores:

Rather than improve a Skill, you can attempt to improve an Ability Score.

Roll an Ability Check.

Modifiers:
  1-2 Ability Score: -0
  3-5 Ability Score: -1
  6-8 Ability Score: -4
 9-11 Ability Score: -5
12-14 Ability Score: -6
Note that if your ability score is already 15, it can't be improved any further.
Samantha Kilgore
 player, 253 posts
 Pilot and Security expert
 With more hidden talents
Wed 3 Feb 2016
at 12:02
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
StarMaster:
Modifiers:
  1-2 Ability Score: -0
  3-5 Ability Score: -1
  6-8 Ability Score: -4
 9-11 Ability Score: -5
12-14 Ability Score: -6
Note that if your ability score is already 15, it can't be improved any further.


Don't those modifier make it impossible to improve an Ability score past 8? 2d6 maximum = 12 - 5 (for ability 9-11) = 7?
Kaengarr Ruzokh
 player, 287 posts
 Gvegh Vargr
Wed 3 Feb 2016
at 12:43
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
  The table doesn't account for racial modifiers either.
Walter Zeller
 player, 314 posts
 Merchant/Noble
Wed 3 Feb 2016
at 14:18
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Samantha Kilgore:
Don't those modifier make it impossible to improve an Ability score past 8? 2d6 maximum = 12 - 5 (for ability 9-11) = 7?

Maybe factor in +1 for 9-11 stat and +2 for 12-14 bringing it to a 12

It will be easier for Walter to boost his physical stats since he only needs an 8
As a thought maybe

  1-2 Ability Score: 6+
  3-5 Ability Score: 8+
  6-8 Ability Score: 10+
 9-11 Ability Score: 11+
12-14 Ability Score: 12
No mods to the die roll for your ability and maybe a +1 for each prior attempt that failed

(+1 for every two prior attempts at 12-14 and you can not try to boost a stat to 12+ at the same time as a skill)
StarMaster
 GM, 683 posts
Wed 3 Feb 2016
at 15:47
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Sharik: It's an ability check, so your modifier would apply.


Kaengarr: What racial modifiers and why would they apply?


Walter: Prior tries would require admittedly minor bookkeeping, which is what I was trying to steer clear of. The Traveller system has a simply rule: 8 or better is success. I didn't want to create a different system just for this.


In retrospect, I'm not sure I crunched the numbers correctly.

As it is now, you need to roll a 12 if your ability score is 9 or higher. I'm thinking that 6-8 would only need to roll a 10 or better, 9-11 would only need to roll an 11 or better, and 12-14 would need to roll a 12. And keep in mind that subtracting a negative modifier is the same as adding the number, which would apply for raising an ability score of 1-5.

I can come up with any number of more elaborate systems, but I was trying to keep it simple.

It's not supposed to be easy to improve ability scores.
Kaengarr Ruzokh
 player, 288 posts
 Gvegh Vargr
Wed 3 Feb 2016
at 17:52
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
  At the moment the only two we have to worry about are the Aslan and Vargr. Both have modifiers to their Str/Dex/End, and a higher cap on one. Vargr also use Charisma in place of Soc and it generates differently (1d6+2 instead of 2d6) as well as being meant to change occasionally during gameplay (without special training rules). I don't know about the Aslan racial stat.

  Cha can probably be handled like the rest as long as the potential for a 'natural' change is still applied, and for the Str/Dex/End ones the table shifted up or down accordingly (and the cap adjusted to match)?


  Even with your current ability modifier applying though, anything 6+ under the original proposal would only improve on a 12 result. Unless you've already hit your cap for skills it's hard to see it being worthwhile to spend your improvement chance on those odds.

  Maybe rather than basing it on the current stat, maybe it should simply be an unmodified roll with the difficulty based on how many times you've improved it before? That would let everyone improve on their natural potential, but only to a point. I also can't see it happening enough to be a real bookkeeping bother to keep track of attempts, since it's not like this is going to be happening constantly.

  So something like 10-12 for the first increase to a stat, 11-12 for the second, 12 for the third; +1 for each unsuccessful prior attempt at that increase.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:02, Wed 03 Feb 2016.

StarMaster
 GM, 695 posts
Fri 19 Feb 2016
at 22:52
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Kaengarr came up with an idea for skill development that seems like it'll work. After kicking it around for a couple of days, here's what we've decided (so far):


SKILL ADVANCEMENT TABLE

After each adventure, a player constructs a two-column table similar to the Service Skills tables in Careers. Each column has only 6 entries, no skill can be entered more than once, and you can only put one Ability in each column.

You then roll one die for each column. The result indicates the skill or ability that you've advanced.

After subsequent adventure, you can continue to use the same table, swap out only one or two skills, or completely rebuild the table.

Sample Table

DIEOPTION 1OPTION 2
1StealthFlyer (Grav)
2CommsDEXTERITY
3ReconTactics (Military)
4Gun Combat (Energy Pistol)Medic
5AstrogationMelee (Unarmed Combat)
6ENDURANCELanguage (Vargr)




Some other things to consider...

Using this system, should we allow Jack-of-All-Trades to be inserted into the table?

If we use this system, do you want to have the table and rolls dealt with under each character's Private Eyes thread? Do you want to see a common Skill Advancement thread where everyone's tables and results are viewable? Or would you rather see a separate private Skill Advancement thread for each character?

Another option I'm considering: if, for instance, you really want to improve Stealth, but roll results in Comms instead, the NEXT time you roll on that column, you can roll 2 dice and choose the result you want.

My 2 cents: Having the tables and die rolls viewable by everyone would be fun around the gaming table; not so sure about on RPoL.
Walter Zeller
 player, 320 posts
 Merchant/Noble
Sat 20 Feb 2016
at 00:20
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Like the idea of the table. Concerning J-O-T, I think that it should be left off as to me it represents the assimilated talents that were picked up during your career.

As for the tables, split them in two. The first one is skills that you might want and focus on in your day to day activities, the second might be generated by the GM, from what occurred during the adventure, to reflect learning on the fly. I am leaning towards a 2d6 chart for the second table to give it a bell curve. In the underwater adventure, first aid came up once, combat more often.

Also to reflect it getting tougher to get a higher skill, once that skill comes up, it can not be added for X adventures where as X is your current skill level. For example, Sir Walter is Broker-4, and I have it on table 1 on the #1 spot. If a one was rolled, since I would now be Broker-5, I can not add it on the table until 5 adventures pass.
Kaengarr Ruzokh
 player, 319 posts
 Gvegh Vargr
Sat 20 Feb 2016
at 01:53
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
  I'm the one who originally pitched this idea so I'm a bit biased, but of the points that were raised and some of the discussion with the GM...


  I did not expect JoAT to be learnable this way because it's not normally available post-creation.

  My original thought is that one table would ideally be constructed from skills that the character used during the adventure, while the second would represent their off-time training during that period.

  This 'virtual career term' was meant to cut out any tracking over time, which is something the GM has been trying to avoid. To that end, higher skills aren't more difficult/longer to raise. If you roll it, you have it now. If it sounds like high skill ranks are too easy to get, the next few points relate to that.

  While it can happen, a given skill is unlikely to raise repeatedly (you never have more than a 1-in-6 chance each time) on the rolls.

  A typical adventure in the RPOL context has taken almost a year each - the game has been going for ~19 months and two adventures are complete - so skill rank ups won't be happening often to begin with. Hence, anything involving multiple rolls or requiring that you wait for multiple adventures pretty much means 'you will never see this'.

  The RPOL time frame is also why I'm not worried about how fast it's happening in-universe; you have to make allowances for the medium, and play-by-post is a very different beast from the tabletop play that game design tends to assume.

  Effective skill ranks via programs, augments, etc, already exist. This allows it to be more about the character and less about their credits (and makes it less or a requirement to turn into a cybernetic/bioengineered hybrid as a part of 'character development'.)

  Rank 4 doesn't actually strike me as being all that unusual when you consider the context. Aside from the fact that PCs tend to be exceptional, if rank 4 represents "a famous surgeon or specialist" (an example from the book), we've got lots of those on a 9-billion person planet in the current day, and that's just counting medicine. Now transpose that to a tens/hundreds/thousands of trillions population section of the galaxy, with better educational methods to boot. Sure, not everyone will be rank 4 in something, but it wouldn't exactly be rare either.

  Specialization becomes more important as the group size gets bigger, and we've got a very big group at this point (10 characters; RPGs generally expect ~4-5), so the prospect of characters getting high ranks in a few skills shouldn't be particularly alarming and may even be desirable.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:59, Sat 20 Feb 2016.

Pablo Esteban Ryzov
 player, 145 posts
 End 8, Str 6, Dex 2/9
 Gun for hire
Sat 20 Feb 2016
at 04:35
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
If rank 4 is not rare, why would you be famous for having it?
Kaengarr Ruzokh
 player, 320 posts
 Gvegh Vargr
Sat 20 Feb 2016
at 06:47
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
  Specialist doctors might be rare relatively speaking, but you wouldn't be shocked to meet one or more in your day to day life. Expand that to all of the other skills, add in the population difference, and Mr. Rank 4 may be specialized or famous or whatnot in their field but it's not as though it's hard to know about or even find someone who fits that description. (Remember, famous doesn't have to mean 'celebrity star' - you can be famous in your field without being in the public eye all the time.)

  Joe Average wouldn't have it, but PCs tend not to be Joe Average types all in all. (Just look at who we have here...) They won't all be specialized surgeons but it's not hard to imagine a PC group including or developing highly skilled specialists in various fields.

  All I'm getting at with this is that rank 4 may not be an everyday level of skill but neither is it jaw-droppingly exceptional. The above method isn't likely to produce a bunch of characters with piles of rank 4 skills in any case. It may get someone to rank 4 now and then, but even if they're starting at rank 3 (a high-quality professional) it's a 1-in-6 chance per adventure for it to happen - assuming that they were actively using or studying the skill during that time.

This message was last edited by the player at 07:04, Sat 20 Feb 2016.

StarMaster
 GM, 696 posts
Sat 20 Feb 2016
at 07:18
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Probably it's the definition of 'famous' that's confusing.

For instance, let's say that there is a Rank 4 doctor in every major city in the United States. The one in Chicago might be a neurosurgeon, the one in Baltimore might be a heart surgeon, and the one in Los Angeles might be a brain surgeon.

They are each probably famous in their field, such that any other Rank 4 doctor has heard of them. And if you Google search for 'brain surgeon', the one in LA will show up (plus the 12 in New York City).

In other words, 'famous', in this case, doesn't mean that every person with Medic-1 has heard of them... or that they appear weekly in the tabloids. On the other hand, if the LA brain surgeon was dating Jennifer Aniston, he'd then be famous for a whole 'nother reason.

I don't follow baseball at all, so I doubt if I can name even one current baseball player, but does that mean NONE of them are famous?

Or the President's personal physician is a Medic-4 doctor. How many people actually know his name? Or his medical standing?

Rank-4 anything isn't 'common', per se, but neither is it all that rare. It really gets down to number crunching. If .001% of the population is Rank-4, and the population is 10 billion, that's still 10,000 people that are Rank-4. They are the cream of the crop; they tend to rise to the top, which is why they are 'famous'.

Anyway, that's by 2 cents.
Vonon Ronkunu
 player, 214 posts
 Vargr and Spacer
 ex-Patrol Commander
Sat 20 Feb 2016
at 20:42
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
In reply to StarMaster (msg # 12):

Here's an idea to avoid the mentioned issue of rolling the same skill/attribute time after time, in a row.

Build the two lists as mentioned, placing the skills and 1 attribute in each that you want.

Now, when you roll on a table, whatever result you get comes off the table, and you cannot immediately put it back on, for next time.

The next time you get to roll on the table, you remove that result, but now the previous result from the roll before this one is back in play, and you can put it back on the table.

Very little book keeping, here. Just exclude a rolled result from being available for the next roll, then afterwards, it's back in play.
StarMaster
 GM, 889 posts
Wed 14 Nov 2018
at 09:39
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Mainly because someone asked about this again... and have we actually used this system yet?

Latest thinking has got me realizing that neither system presented here is particularly viable. I wouldn't want to keep track of any of this, so why would anyone else? Which is why I rejected the idea of assigning skill points after an encounter/adventure.

CHARACTERISTIC MODIFIERS
CharacteristicDice Modifier
03
122
351
68+0
911+1
1214+2
15+3

CHARACTERISTIC/SKILL IMPROVEMENT
CHARACTERISTIC SCORE TO BE GAINEDSKILL RANK TO BE GAINED2d6 ROLL REQUIRED*
1-206
3-417
5-728
8-939
10-11--10
12-13411
14--12
15513

* = Modified by your Characteristic Modifier.

After every Minor Encounter, you can roll once on the above table to see if you gain a Characteristic increase OR a Skill Rank increase OR a new skill at 0 rank.

After every Major Encounter or Adventure end, you can roll twice, either for two different skills or for the same skill a second time if you failed the first roll. You can only roll for one Characteristic.

If you don't succeed on the roll, it simply means you haven't studied or trained enough.


As of this post, the last adventure is ended, so everyone can roll twice.
Sharik Kaagira
 player, 329 posts
 Freelance: ex-IISS, ex-IN
 Serious about recreation
Wed 14 Nov 2018
at 19:14
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
We did also have this Skill Advancement thread as well (the system seemed to work okay last time):

  link to a message in this game
StarMaster
 GM, 890 posts
Wed 14 Nov 2018
at 19:40
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Yes, I know, looked it over again, and while it worked, I feel it's an unnecessary complication. I think the new system works easier and better.
Sharik Kaagira
 player, 330 posts
 Freelance: ex-IISS, ex-IN
 Serious about recreation
Wed 14 Nov 2018
at 19:57
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
StarMaster:
Yes, I know, looked it over again, and while it worked, I feel it's an unnecessary complication. I think the new system works easier and better.

*shrug* Okay, you want the rolls posted publicly here, or in PM/personal threads?
StarMaster
 GM, 891 posts
Wed 14 Nov 2018
at 23:26
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
No you don't need to post rolls here. Just put skill your rolling for in the dice roller.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:50, Thu 15 Nov 2018.

Serge Baklanov
 player, 56 posts
 Marine/Scout
Thu 15 Nov 2018
at 08:53
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
In reply to StarMaster (msg # 14):

If I want to improve STR from 5 to 6, and STR 5 gives -1 DM, so I have to roll 9+?
If I want to improve Gun Combat from 2 to 3, and DEX gives +1 DM, so I have to roll 8+?
Walter Zeller
 player, 485 posts
 Merchant/Noble
Thu 15 Nov 2018
at 12:03
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Looks like Sir Walter needs to spend more time at the gym.

Is there a break down of what stat goes to what skill?
Vonon Ronkunu
 player, 402 posts
 Vargr and Spacer
 ex-Patrol Commander
Thu 15 Nov 2018
at 18:04
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
In reply to Walter Zeller (msg # 20):

Mongoose chose to let that be kinda flexible--if you could make an argument for whatever Attribute you wanted to use to modify a Skill roll, and the GM accepted your argument, then you could use it.

They gave a couple of examples, but they were mostly focused on the obvious cross-overs between INT and EDU.  Since both represented your "smarts", but came at it from different directions.

One of the examples I remember was talking about how you could apply these two Attributes to Piloting, rather than the obvious choice of DEX.  Since INT represents your cleverness and intuition, "quick thinking", then you could say that you use INT with Pilot Skill because you're a "Seat-of-the-Pants" flyers; you fly by instinct.  Flip side of that is that EDU represents your "book-learnin", your repetitive practice of things, heck, even "muscle memory", so you could say that you use EDU with Pilot Skill because you're a "By The Book" flyer; you follow all procedures.

So, if you can come up with a legit argument for why your STR should apply to your Cooking Skill in any particular instance, tell the GM and he'll laugh at you or give you the OK.

All of which does not answer your question ^_^  However, for the skillset I chose for Vonon, I looked up each skill, and in their definition of each skill, there was usually an example of a use of the skill, and this example often gave one or two Attributes as part of the example.  I tediously went through all Vonons skills and got the one or two example Attributes for each.

Like, for Pilot (Small Craft) it was DEX or EDU, but for Pilot (Starships) it was EDU or DEX.  You see their logic?  For little ships YOU do the flying, for larger ships, the SHIP does the flying, you are just "in control" of all the equipment.
StarMaster
 GM, 893 posts
Thu 15 Nov 2018
at 20:04
Re: Skills Study and Training Program
Yep, Serge, you got it exactly right.


As for which Characteristic applies to a skill, I guess you have to use your best judgement. DEX or STR should apply if the skill seems more physically oriented, INT if it requires smarts, and SOC if it's status.