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The Case for Advanced Skills
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: The Case for Advanced Skills Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
Increase training time, and do not allow improvements by use in game...

It is already RAW to not allow improvements just by use in-game. "A character must train to improve an advanced skill." (R&E p.34)

As far as the increased training time, that's makes a lot of sense.

Naaman wrote:
I also feel that many advanced skills should have more than one skill prerequisite.

That is one of the things I've done.

CRMcNeill wrote:
I'm fine with the RAW in this case. Advanced Skills aren't going to be accessible to just anybody

True, and it is pretty easy for a GM to control the accessibility of advanced skills.

CRMcNeill wrote:
I've never seen any restrictions in the RAW on when Advanced skills can and can't be used.

You (the king of house rules) support how advanced skills work in RAW. Check. Here you are posting a thread to make the case for how they work in RAW. Check. But you can't use "That's the way it works in RAW" to support the case for RAW. With all the thousands of other things you change about RAW, you don't get to claim RAW as an argument for anything. It comes across as quite absurd!

Some of us who feel advanced skill RAW should be tweaked feel that restrictions not present in RAW can be appropriate. You never having seen any restrictions in RAW on when advanced skills can and can't be used does not prevent other GMs from house ruling restrictions.

I have made some normal skills into advanced skills, when I think it should be advanced, when I don't want the skill to default to attribute, and/or when a skill should be under multiple attributes. I've added multiple prerequisites, both skills and attributes. Not all the prerequisites are 5D. Obviously, none of the attributes are. Most of the skill prerequisite levels are lower than 5D.

With these tweaks, it would be quite ridiculous to stick with the RAW about stacking the advanced skill to all uses of all the prerequisites. There's no such situation where house ruling some aspects of advanced skills requires strict adherence to other aspects. A GM implementing some of these tweaks is capable of deciding when it would make sense to allow the stacking bonus or not. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.



5D attributes are rare in my game, but if an attribute of any level meets a skill prerequisite for an advanced skill, then I do not require a pip on top of it to qualify for the advanced skill because IMO that is a violation of the very premise of normal skills which is the basis of this entire skill-based game system: normal skill default to attribute level. 2e introduced advanced skills which do not default, but if a prerequisite is a normal skill then an attribute can meet it. In my game some advanced skills have specializations which have additional prerequisites the base advanced skill doesn't have (i.e. the difference kinds of engineering). If any advanced skill has another advanced skill as a prerequisite, then no, attribute level can't meet that because advanced skills do not have attributes.

I'm feel in almost all cases, Medicine is going to stack with First Aid. Medicine also has some non-first-aid uses like surgery. Those are just Medicine as First Aid won't help those, and those may require proper equipment to preform. Most uses of First Aid just require a medpac, but Medical knowledge is usually going to help without surgical tools, etc.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The argument that I'm (admittedly) struggling to make here is that the restrictions so far suggested for Advanced Skills seem either arbitrary or based on a redefinition of what an Advanced Skill is. One of Medicine's only real advantages at lower levels is that it stacks with First Aid, so it's not completely useless while a character is trying to improve it. There is nothing in the definition of the skill:
    (Characters with this skill can perform complex medical procedures such as surgery, operation of bacta tanks, and the installation of cybernetic replacements and enhancements. They are also familiar with all types of medicines and are capable of using them to best effect.)
that would justify not stacking it with First Aid. Hell, Medicine was practically the only reason Advanced Skills exist in 2E in the first place, and nobody at WEG seemed to feel the need to change it for 2R&E.

If I were to summarize my argument, I'd say that I come up with house rules when I feel the RAW is either in error, or because I see a way it could've been done better. None of the arguments so far presented meet that standard.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: The Case for Advanced Skills Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I've never seen any restrictions in the RAW on when Advanced skills can and can't be used.


Check out page 29 in 2R&E. It explains that the advanced skill only stacks when rolling the base skill. But when doing the advanced thing, you don't get to stack them.

This is why advanced combat skills are shady (especially when you allow the advanced component to apply when stacking skills). An advanced skill is supposed to be a stand alone skill that enhances the base skill when using the base skill. But the base skill does not enhance the advanced skill.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:05 am    Post subject: Re: The Case for Advanced Skills Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
CRMcNeill wrote:
I've never seen any restrictions in the RAW on when Advanced skills can and can't be used.


Check out page 29 in 2R&E. It explains that the advanced skill only stacks when rolling the base skill. But when doing the advanced thing, you don't get to stack them.

This is why advanced combat skills are shady (especially when you allow the advanced component to apply when stacking skills). An advanced skill is supposed to be a stand alone skill that enhances the base skill when using the base skill. But the base skill does not enhance the advanced skill.

What do you mean by "combat skills?" Are you talking about any base skills like First Aid (for Medicine) or the various Repair skills (for Engineering) when they are used during combat? What about when used out of combat?

Also, I don't think CRMcNeill is arguing that the base skill gets added to the advanced skill when rolling the advanced skill:

CRMcNeill wrote:
I fail to see why it's shady. Using your Medicine example, the stacking only works one direction.

The RAW are pretty clear that it's a one-way street.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:31 pm    Post subject: Re: The Case for Advanced Skills Reply with quote

I missed this earlier...

Naaman wrote:
I also feel that many advanced skills should have more than one skill prerequisite.

Consider what that would do to the CP cost. Every additional prerequisite just makes the Advanced Skill that much more potent. The chart in the OP shows the advantage in CP cost for just one prerequisite at 5D. Add in a second skill at 5D and all the CP costs on the Prerequisite side of the table double. Just as an example, here are the first three lines, modified to reflect two 5D Prerequisites instead of one:
    CP Cost for Advanced Skill vs. Two Prerequisites at 5D each (Total CP)
    0D->1D = 2 CP vs. 5D->6D = 30 CP (2 vs. 30)
    1D->2D = 6 CP vs. 6D->7D = 36 CP (8 vs. 66)
    2D->3D = 12 CP vs. 7D->8D = 42 CP (20 vs. 108)

Every prerequisite added just makes the Advanced Skill more and more valuable from a CP cost perspective.

Not that I'm complaining: I've stated repeatedly that I think the Advanced Skill system is horribly underutilized.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:50 pm    Post subject: Re: The Case for Advanced Skills Reply with quote

nuclearwookiee wrote:
What do you mean by "combat skills?" Are you talking about any base skills like First Aid (for Medicine) or the various Repair skills (for Engineering) when they are used during combat? What about when used out of combat?

The gist of his argument seems to be that home-brewed Advanced Skills should not be allowed for combat use

Quote:
Also, I don't think CRMcNeill is arguing that the base skill gets added to the advanced skill when rolling the advanced skill:

CRMcNeill wrote:
I fail to see why it's shady. Using your Medicine example, the stacking only works one direction.

The RAW are pretty clear that it's a one-way street.

Exactly. So long as it's structured properly (i.e. as an advanced field of study that stems from the prerequisites), I have no problem with combat-oriented Advanced Skills. I've already used it for building my version of the Seven Lightsaber Forms, as the description of Forms II-VII fit very nicely with the definition of an Advanced Skill: a more specific field stemming from learning the basics (I will admit it needs a bit of a rethink, but the core idea is sound).
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
The argument that I'm (admittedly) struggling to make here is that the restrictions so far suggested for Advanced Skills seem either arbitrary or based on a redefinition of what an Advanced Skill is... Medicine was practically the only reason Advanced Skills exist in 2E in the first place, and nobody at WEG seemed to feel the need to change it for 2R&E.

I don't at all see my advanced skills as a redefinition of the essence of what advanced skills are. Here's the definition from RAW (R&E p. 29):

Quote:
Advanced Skills
If there is an "(A)" listed in front of a skill name, it's an "advanced skill." Advanced skills demand years of disciplined study to master and cannot be attempted unless a character has the skill. Some examples include (A) medicine, (A) space transports engineering, (A) starfighter engineering and (A) droid engineering.

A character may have an advanced skill listed on the template. If your character meets the "prerequisite skills" requirement, you may put beginning skill dice in the advanced skill...

When a character purchases an advanced skill, it begins at ID. Advanced skills do not begin at the same level as their corresponding attribute.

They may not all require "years" to learn in my game but there definitely is a time factor as I deem appropriate for each skill. It is true that I do not really consider advanced skills to have a "corresponding attribute". I have added attribute prerequisites to some advanced skills, including in come cases multiple attributes. But the primary reason I do not consider advanced skills to have a corresponding attribute is that the very premise of this skill-based game has always been that skills default to attributes. In 2e, advanced skills are introduced as the exception in that they do not default. In RAW, "corresponding attribute" is virtually meaningless except for maybe a rare effect of something that reduces a specific attribute. I don't ever see that in my game but if it came up I would rule as I feel appropriate for that circumstance.

The premise of advanced skills is that there are some things that should not default to attribute, things that require special training. However even RAW isn't really in strict adherence to its own guideline about not being able to attempt advanced skills without it because R&E's only detailed advanced skill, medicine, is used to operate bacta tanks but it has a rule for using First Aid (a much higher difficulty and chance of worsening the patient). I consider RAW's bacta tank rules to be a working example of the way advanced skills can work.

CRMcNeill wrote:
If I were to summarize my argument, I'd say that I come up with house rules when I feel the RAW is either in error, or because I see a way it could've been done better. None of the arguments so far presented meet that standard.

Here are some advanced skill examples from my game with prerequisites. Please keep in mind that average human attribute is 2D+1 in my game, and I have renamed/combined some skills.

Quote:
(A) Medicine: Knowledge 2D+1, Alien Species 3D, First Aid 5D, Scholarship 3D, Perception 2D+1, Technical 2D+1

The attribute requirements are there because I can't see someone being less than average in these abilities and having a medical degree. Scholarship is what I call Scholar, and 3D approximately represents the general studies requirements of the bachelor degree medical students get on their way to medical school. As in RAW, Medicine stacks with First Aid. Medicine could stack with biological/medical uses of Alien Species, but in most cases would not stack for cultural uses of the skill. And I also have surgery/medical procedure rules for the Medicine skill that R&E only refers to but doesn't have. Medicine is required for this use - There is no normal skill option like there is for bacta tanks.

This is all very logical and intuitive to me. Let's look at another, a normal skill in RAW that I made into an advanced skill.

Quote:
(A) Forgery: Bureaucracy/Law 3D, Perception 3D, Search 3D+1, Deception 4D, Technical 2D, Computers/Droids 4D, Security 3D

Bureaucracy/Law is a combination of Bureaucracy and Law Enforcement, Deception is a more generalized Con, and Computers/Droids is the combination of the Computer and Droid Programming and Repair skills. This one doesn't have Knowledge attribute or Scholar requirements because it is an outlaw activity that you can't learn in college. As you know, this isn't the archaic manual dexterity skill of making your handwriting look like someone else's or changing grades on your report card. This is making high tech fake IDs, permits, and other electronic documents.

RAW puts it under Perception. OK sure, there is a perception aspect to it but there is also a very technical aspect. Making it an advanced skill can make both be aspects. And I have no qualms about this high tech skill not being accessible to the unskilled by using attribute default. The Perception prerequisite is 3D which recalls RAW's attribute placement - I think it is quite reasonable to require 3D in this attribute to be a forger. I think 2D in Technical is a reasonable minimum to qualify for this very technical skill, even for an outlaw.

By itself, the Forgery skill makes the documents. I think it is reasonable to allow the Forgery skill to stack on Perception or Search rolls to spot the forgery - Forgers have an advantage over non-forgers. Forgery could stack with some uses of Bureaucracy/Law specifically pertaining to the rules and procedures that are bypassed by forgeries. Forgery would not normally stack on Deception, Computers/Droids, and Security, but I am confident that I would be able to judge whenever it might be applicable.

Quote:
When a character uses one of the prerequisite skills, add the advanced skill to the prerequisite skill's roll.

My house rules only change this RAW to:

"When applicable, add the advanced skill to a prerequisite skill's roll."
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I don't at all see my advanced skills as a redefinition of the essence of what advanced skills are.

I was referring specifically to this conversation, not to all suggested Advanced skills in general.

As to the skills you listed, I'm mostly in agreement; my main quibbles would be some of your prerequisite choices. If we're going by the RAW, it would be (IMO), unadvisable to use the base Attribute as a prerequisite. I suggested elsewhere recently that they could be listed separately as Requirements (in short, non-stacking prerequisites). For example, using your two skills as examples:

    (A) Medicine
    Prerequisites:
    Alien Species 3D
    First Aid 5D
    Scholarship 3D
    Requirements: Must also have a minimum 2D+1 in Knowledge, Perception and Technical.

    (A) Forgery
    Prerequisites:
    Bureaucracy / Law 3D
    Search 3D+1
    Deception 3D
    Computers / Droids 4D
    Security 3D
    Requirements: Must also have a minimum 3D Perception and 2D Technical.

That way, you can divide your prerequisites into stacking and non-stacking; stacking an Advanced Skill with an Attribute would get out of hand very quickly.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I mean by "combat skills" is skills that are used to make an attack roll.

By RAW, any advanced combat skill would be rolled at 1D when trying to do the advanced thing. CRM already alluded to the advanced skill being useless at first if it doesnt stack in both directions. But, unless he is suggesting a change/redefinition of how advanced skills work, then by RAW, yes: you only get 1D to start and must work your way up to whatever die code would make the skill useful.

Unless he is arguing that the advanced skill should br taken advantage of just for the discount on boosting the base skill without regard to whether the character will ever even do the advanced thing.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
What I mean by "combat skills" is skills that are used to make an attack roll.

Again, what's the problem? If the description of the Advanced Skill is combat oriented, such as my Marksman Skill or the various Lightsaber Forms, then why wouldn't it stack? If a character has 5D in Lightsaber, then chooses to study up to 3D in Form III, why would you limit the character to just 5D or 3D when using a Lightsaber? The idea is that an Advanced Skill takes the basic knowledge and builds on it, not that you have to choose between one or the other.

And even if the only advantage gained is that of a CP bargain on an improved dice pool, so what? When I wrote up the Lightsaber Forms, there had to be some kind of advantage to taking one of the Forms as opposed to just improving the base Lightsaber skill, else no one would bother.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
If we're going by the RAW, it would be (IMO), unadvisable to use the base Attribute as a prerequisite. I suggested elsewhere recently that they could be listed separately as Requirements

I saw it in the other thread. Tomato, tomato...

CRMcNeill wrote:
That way, you can divide your prerequisites into stacking and non-stacking; stacking an Advanced Skill with an Attribute would get out of hand very quickly.

As I indicated in my previous post above, Forgery does stack with the base Perception attribute when rolling to passively notice a forgery. And I might even allow Medicine to stack on a Perception check to notice the medical condition of a character (who might try to be hiding illness or injury). So base attributes can't be completely ruled out as stackable, if particular circumstances warrant it. And I also indicated that Deception, Computers/Droids, and Security would not normally be stackable with Forgery. You listed them as stackable. They all meet the RAW definition of "prerequisite skill" because they are required a certain level just to even have the Forgery skill in my game, like First Aid at 5D is needed to have Medicine in RAW (and my game).

You seem to be overly hung up on uses of "prerequisite" skills always being stackable because of a single RAW sentence that says that on R&E p.29. The dictionary definitions of the words "prerequisite" and "requirement" do not have any game mechanical implications. In my system, I merely reworded the sentence about adding advanced skill die codes to prerequisite skill use to include attributes and the phrase when applicable. That covers it!

I don't need to pre-forbid certain stacks because I don't foresee it as an application. What if a player presents a case why Forgery should stack with a Droid programming roll in a certain situation. You are suggesting I list prerequisite skills in two separate categories so I can consult the list and then be like, no, sorry, this skill is in the non-stackable list. Also, this binary black and white division of normal skill requirements for advanced skills would work against the other side, where a skill is in the stackable list but it isn't an applicable situation. Stacking Forgery on Search is normally only going to be applicable for actively spotting other forgeries. If Search is on a stack list, then players can try to argue why non-Forgery-related Search rolls should benefit from Forgery. The GM (me or another GM using my rules) is perfectly capable of determining when advance skills should stack on prerequisite skill (and attribute) use, and when they don't.

Prerequisite skills and attributes are just that, requirements to qualify for the advanced skill. In my expanded advanced skill rules, the RAW stack sentence was just slightly edited to accommodate situational determination of stacking.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alternately, you could allow for Specializations as Prerequisites. For example, if you want a Forger to be able to appraise the quality of a forgery, give (A) Forgery a Prerequisite of Value: Forgery 4D.

Call me OCD, but I appreciate consistency, and having a rule that applies consistently across the board appeals to me.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Call me OCD, but I appreciate consistency, and having a rule that applies consistently across the board appeals to me.

I get that. I like consistency too. But I also like not having to make a bunch of exceptions to my rules. To prevent that, some house rules have GM situational judgement built into them when applicable. So instead of a player pleading with me saying, "Come on Whill, I know what your rule says but in this case, it makes sense for this advanced skill to stack with this normal skill," it will be, "This is the situation so what is your judgement?" I like not having to contradict myself too much.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Naaman wrote:
What I mean by "combat skills" is skills that are used to make an attack roll.

Again, what's the problem? If the description of the Advanced Skill is combat oriented, such as my Marksman Skill or the various Lightsaber Forms, then why wouldn't it stack? If a character has 5D in Lightsaber, then chooses to study up to 3D in Form III, why would you limit the character to just 5D or 3D when using a Lightsaber? The idea is that an Advanced Skill takes the basic knowledge and builds on it, not that you have to choose between one or the other.

And even if the only advantage gained is that of a CP bargain on an improved dice pool, so what? When I wrote up the Lightsaber Forms, there had to be some kind of advantage to taking one of the Forms as opposed to just improving the base Lightsaber skill, else no one would bother.


If that's how you want to do it, that's fine. But it's not how advanced skills are intended to work by RAW. If you are stacking, you're using the base skill to do base skill things, and the base skill does not influence the advanced skill when using the advanced skill.

Furthermore, if you allow stacking on advanced skill use, for a mere 7 CP, a character could buy 2 pips at a time when raising skills (5 for the base skill and 2 for the advanced skill), and now you've doubled the rate of skill improvement, taking a skill from a combined total of 6D to a total of 8D in three advancement steps and for the same CP cost as to raise a base skill from 7D to 8D (you effectively bypass the 6D-7D segment from a CP expenditure standpoint).

This cheapens the notion of advanced skills for me, rather than making them feel like something special or significant; it feels like power gaming or something along those lines.

Like I said, if it's how you like to do it, that's great. I've just come to a point where I feel that advanced skills were kind of an afterthought that WEG haphazardly installed into the game and never really took seriously from a game design standpoint.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I like consistency too. But I also like not having to make a bunch of exceptions to my rules. To prevent that, some house rules have GM situational judgement built into them when applicable. So instead of a player pleading with me saying, "Come on Whill, I know what your rule says but in this case, it makes sense for this advanced skill to stack with this normal skill," it will be, "This is the situation so what is your judgement?" I like not having to contradict myself too much.

Just to clarify, I went back and read through what you wrote about Prerequisites / Requirements, and I note that one of your objections was about putting a skill on the Requirements (non-stacking) list. If you go back and read what I suggested, you'll note that only Attributes are listed under Requirements, as in, in order to learn Forgery, the character must have a minimum Tech of 2D+1, but Forgery does not stack with the Attribute. All of the skills you listed would still be under prerequisites, so Forgery would still stack with Security and Droids/Computers.

Also, with regard to Medicine and Perception, the situation you describe would fall under the Discernment skill house rule. Is that something you make use of?

I'd be interested in hearing a detailed breakdown of why you included what you included as far as prerequisites for your Advanced Skills. I like what you've got, but I'd like to see if I can find a way to use Specializations to cover the Attributes for my own version.
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