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The Case for Advanced Skills
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
You completely ignored the rest of my post. At this point, I wonder if you're just trolling me?

If so, then well played, sir. Well played. Smile

No, I read it. I just don't see it making the point you say it's making.

The Advanced Skill Medicine, as defined, covers a specific scope of activities that can only be performed by using the Medicine skill. That much, we agree on.

My point is that nowhere in the RAW does WEG explicitly state that "all Advanced Skills must take the form of having a specific scope of activities that may only be performed by rolling the Advanced Skill and only the Advanced Skill." They specifically defined how Advanced Skills could be learned, how they could be improved and how they could stack with their prerequisites, but they never specified exactly what rule form an Advanced Skill had to take. What's more, they declined an opportunity to clarify that ambiguity when they upgraded from 2E to 2R&E, despite all the other changes they made.

As such, my stance is that an Advanced Skill can be used solely as a CP bargain bin, subject to appropriate restrictions.

If you will examine my track record of actual Advanced Skills (i.e. ones where I actually posted a stat, as opposed to just speculating), you'll see that I don't actually support the idea of Advanced Skills as an unrestricted CP bargain bin.
    Marksman - (A) Skill dice used to generate distance for Extreme Range. Skill must be bought separately for each Prerequisite skill.

    Mindshadow - (A) Skill dice applied to Difficulty of opposed Force powers, such as Danger Sense or Lightsaber Combat

    Lightsaber Forms - (A) Skill stacks with Prerequisites on a conditional basis only, based on the combat involved.

I'm not opposed to including balancing factors; I just don't agree that an Advanced Skill should be defined solely by the example of Medicine, especially when WEG gave us no guidance beyond a very limited sample.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, given your obviously high level of command over the English language, I am at a loss as to how you can interpret the RAW the way you do. Contextually, I believe that the argument I've presented is insurmountable when viewed in light of modern English interpretation.

But, so be it.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Well, given your obviously high level of command over the English language, I am at a loss as to how you can interpret the RAW the way you do. Contextually, I believe that the argument I've presented is insurmountable when viewed in light of modern English interpretation.

It could certainly be interpreted that way. However, my read is that what is not said is just as important as what is. (A) Medicine is an example of how an Advanced Skill can be used, but nowhere is it stated that (A) Medicine is an example of how an Advanced Skill must be used.

The absence of specific limitations and guidelines for the internal structure of an Advanced Skill, compounded by WEG's decision not to clarify any limitations with the release of 2R&E, combined with other quotes by WEG (see my signature), has led me the conclusion that WEG deliberately left the Advanced Skill system vague so as to allow individual gaming groups to define and use Advanced Skills as they saw fit.

Naturally, there is the potential for abuse of the system, but the GM is the final arbiter of what is or is not allowed in his game.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup. I understand you position.

My argument rlies entitely on the context in which each point is presented. Information wothout context is open to interpretation freely.

I regard context as the ultimate and most important (and often, the only relevant) factor in interpreting a statement.

Taken in context, I fail to see any other possibly correct interpretation.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Respectfully, I think you're taking the context further than intended. The context of (A) Medicine is that there are certain things that can only be done using (A) Medicine and only (A) Medicine. We agree on that. However, you are taking the context as indicator of a subtext in Advanced Skills as a whole, when the only clearly applied context is within the confines of (A) Medicine.

Basically, you're stating that, if A is X, and A is part of Q, all of Q must also be X. However, and this is key, nowhere is it explicitly stated that all of Q actually is X.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
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.

Naaman, you yourself admit that RAW doesn't give us much to go on for how advanced skills work. It's not really a different interpretation being discussed here. CRM is doing more of an expansion where some advanced skills go in different directions than medicine did, while you seem to be more in support of a stricter extrapolation from our single RAW example. Neither one of you is wrong.

Now just to muddy the bacta further, I present to you RAW's bacta tank rules which are not located in the medicine skill rules quoted above in the thread (R&E p.99):

Quote:
Characters must have the (A) medicine skill to use a bacta tank. On most planets, only licensed doctors can administer bacta treatments. A Very Easy (A) medicine skill is necessary to use a bacta tank — regardless of the wound level. If the roll is made, the character will heal — it's just a matter of time.

A character attempting to use a bacta tank without the (A) medicine skill must make a Heroic first aid or Technical roll. If the roll fails, the patient's injury worsens two levels.

Must! In reading the first paragraph, using bacta tanks is emphatically an advanced-skill-only action. Necessary!

Then in the very next paragraph, that is contradicted. You can use first aid to use bacta tanks too, but there is a different difficulty and chance of worsening the patient. Using the medicine skill is obviously strongly preferable and recommended, but not absolutely necessary. Even if you disagree with CRM's broader take on advanced skill, he has a valid point that RAW has almost no guidelines on advanced skill. A general point you made as well.

Naaman, you probably won't like this but I was inspired by the bacta rules for my current lightsaber skill concept. The jury is still out on wether TFA and TLJ will be fully canonized into my SWU or not, but in the mean time I have incorporated some things like some planets and aliens. But I was also inspired by Finn to revise my lightsaber rules. As a FO stormtrooper Finn has melee training, but he never held a lightsaber before he used it fairly proficiently (without cutting himself).

So I thought melee uses of lightsaber use the melee skill with RAW's significant danger of hurting yourself with a low roll. A high melee skill can overcome that danger. What if the lightsaber skill is an advanced skill that stacks on melee for melee uses of it, but just having the lightsaber skill greatly reduces the danger of cutting yourself. So a character with 4D melee and 1D lightsaber may have the same effective fighting skill as a character with only 5D melee, but the second character has a greater chance of hurting himself because he has no advanced training in lightsaber. Yes it will be more cost effective to raise the lightsaber skill, but the down side is that it doesn't help you use any other weapons, sort of like specializing instead of raising the base skill. And another downside could be that if an advanced rule tweak requires a trainer to improve the lightsaber skill, the GM controls PC access to the skill and availability and skill level of trainers. (And if you feel that no one would ever need a trainer after the first 1D and want to value the skill more, you could add a restriction that that the lightsaber skill die code is the maximum Force dice benefit that can be used for melee and reflecting blasters.)

So I was thinking that Finn was someone using a lightsaber with only the melee skill, Grievous had the lightsaber skill but no Force ability, and all the Jedi and Sith characters in the films had the lightsaber skill and Force ability. I'm not worried about forms at this point but those could be specializations of the lightsaber skill added down the road.

But if it's any consolation, I am reconsidering my advanced rules. 8)
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Respectfully, I think you're taking the context further than intended. The context of (A) Medicine is that there are certain things that can only be done using (A) Medicine and only (A) Medicine. We agree on that. However, you are taking the context as indicator of a subtext in Advanced Skills as a whole, when the only clearly applied context is within the confines of (A) Medicine.

Basically, you're stating that, if A is X, and A is part of Q, all of Q must also be X. However, and this is key, nowhere is it explicitly stated that all of Q actually is X.


Let A = Advanced skills and let M = Medicine, let O = other advanced skills.

A includes both M and O.

In the rules for A it states:
When a character purchases an advanced skill, it begins at 1D.

Advanced skills do not begin at the same level as their corresponding attribute.
(Emphasis is in the original)

This is a distinct departure from the rules for regular skills, indicating that advanced skills always start at 1D. This statement is unequivocally clear.

The next thing we get is an example of how A works (remember, the context of this passage is in the section on rules for how advanced skills work [you can look at the medicine skill for rules specific to that particular skill]).

Example: A character has first aid at 5D and (A) medicine at 1D. He rolls only 1D for medicine checks such as when performing surgery or diagnosing an unusual disease. (Emphasis mine).

At this point, since we are reading from the section on advanced skills, it is reasonable to conclude that the example given applies to all advanced skills. Remember, the context is: the section on using advanced skills in the game (not using just the medicine skill--those particulars are found in the medicine skill entry... which does not indicate that it stacks with the prerequisite skill... that aspect of the rule is only found in the section that ALSO states that advanced skills are to be rolled on their own when doing the advanced thing). Therefore, if A includes both M and O, there is nothing in the passage that 1) distinguishes M from O, or 2) suggests that M should be any different than O. Therefore, M is representative of O and, ultimately, A.

Having said all that, I completely respect your position, and your penchant for meticulous detail and clarity. I still think you are misreading the rules; but to be clear, I'm not interested in trying to prove you wrong, only asserting that "the case for advanced skills" is overlooking what seems to me to be the only possible correct way to interpret the English language as used in the RAW.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Naaman wrote:
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.

Naaman, you yourself admit that RAW doesn't give us much to go on for how advanced skills work. It's not really a different interpretation being discussed here. CRM is doing more of an expansion where some advanced skills go in different directions than medicine did, while you seem to be more in support of a stricter extrapolation from our single RAW example. Neither one of you is wrong.

Now just to muddy the bacta further, I present to you RAW's bacta tank rules which are not located in the medicine skill rules quoted above in the thread (R&E p.99):

Quote:
Characters must have the (A) medicine skill to use a bacta tank. On most planets, only licensed doctors can administer bacta treatments. A Very Easy (A) medicine skill is necessary to use a bacta tank — regardless of the wound level. If the roll is made, the character will heal — it's just a matter of time.

A character attempting to use a bacta tank without the (A) medicine skill must make a Heroic first aid or Technical roll. If the roll fails, the patient's injury worsens two levels.

Must! In reading the first paragraph, using bacta tanks is emphatically an advanced-skill-only action. Necessary!

Then in the very next paragraph, that is contradicted. You can use first aid to use bacta tanks too, but there is a different difficulty and chance of worsening the patient. Using the medicine skill is obviously strongly preferable and recommended, but not absolutely necessary. Even if you disagree with CRM's broader take on advanced skill, he has a valid point that RAW has almost no guidelines on advanced skill. A general point you made as well.

Naaman, you probably won't like this but I was inspired by the bacta rules for my current lightsaber skill concept. The jury is still out on wether TFA and TLJ will be fully canonized into my SWU or not, but in the mean time I have incorporated some things like some planets and aliens. But I was also inspired by Finn to revise my lightsaber rules. As a FO stormtrooper Finn has melee training, but he never held a lightsaber before he used it fairly proficiently (without cutting himself).

So I thought melee uses of lightsaber use the melee skill with RAW's significant danger of hurting yourself with a low roll. A high melee skill can overcome that danger. What if the lightsaber skill is an advanced skill that stacks on melee for melee uses of it, but just having the lightsaber skill greatly reduces the danger of cutting yourself. So a character with 4D melee and 1D lightsaber may have the same effective fighting skill as a character with only 5D melee, but the second character has a greater chance of hurting himself because he has no advanced training in lightsaber. Yes it will be more cost effective to raise the lightsaber skill, but the down side is that it doesn't help you use any other weapons, sort of like specializing instead of raising the base skill. And another downside could be that if an advanced rule tweak requires a trainer to improve the lightsaber skill, the GM controls PC access to the skill and availability and skill level of trainers. (And if you feel that no one would ever need a trainer after the first 1D and want to value the skill more, you could add a restriction that that the lightsaber skill die code is the maximum Force dice benefit that can be used for melee and reflecting blasters.)

So I was thinking that Finn was someone using a lightsaber with only the melee skill, Grievous had the lightsaber skill but no Force ability, and all the Jedi and Sith characters in the films had the lightsaber skill and Force ability. I'm not worried about forms at this point but those could be specializations of the lightsaber skill added down the road.

But if it's any consolation, I am reconsidering my advanced rules. 8)


Touche.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that WEG skimped on their editing (I don't know how 1e or 2e worked out... I only have 2R&E).
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
At this point, since we are reading from the section on advanced skills, it is reasonable to conclude that the example given applies to all advanced skills.

I think a more accurate statement would be that "it is reasonable to infer that the example given applies to all advanced skills."

Infer (v): deduce or conclude from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements.

What's missing in the RAW is the explicit statement. In the absence of that explicit statement, either one of our premises can be inferred from the available evidence and reasoning.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough.

Though, I still do not see any logical way to extrapolate your interpretation given what is there (and any reference to what is not there is explicitly addressed by what is there.. that is, when doing advanced things, only the advanced skill is rolled, since O = M and both are representative of A).
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Fair enough.

Though, I still do not see any logical way to extrapolate your interpretation given what is there (and any reference to what is not there is explicitly addressed by what is there.. that is, when doing advanced things, only the advanced skill is rolled, since O = M and both are representative of A).

What's missing, IMO, is the explicit statement that all (A) skills must have exclusively advanced things that necessitate using only the (A) Skill Dice. Medicine does, certainly, and it can certainly be inferred that the same would be true of all (A) Skills, but it is not explicitly stated that it must be true.

I once took a course in building inspection, with intense focus on the wording of various building codes. Entire passages could have completely different meanings depending on whether the passage used the words "may" or "shall".

In legal terms, "may" was advisory or optional, while "shall" was explicitly mandatory.

That's the difference I see here: the (A) Medicine skill makes it clear that "an (A) Skill may (read: optional or suggested) cover explicitly advanced things that can only be used by rolling the (A) Skill Dice."

However, there is no accompanying RAW statement to the effect that: "All (A) Skills shall (mandatory, not optional) do exclusively advanced things that shall only use the (A) Skill Dice."
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
One thing I think we can all agree on is that WEG skimped on their editing (I don't know how 1e or 2e worked out... I only have 2R&E).

With regards to the subject at hand, Advanced Skills weren't in 1E, but are almost entirely unchanged from 2E to 2R&E. The only obvious difference is how they handled training times (in 2E, it was 2x CP Cost and 3x training time compared to normal skills).

It is noteworthy, however, that in D6 Space, they threw Advanced Skills out and folded First Aid into the Medicine Skill, which is now a regular skill that covers all aspects of both.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
It is noteworthy, however, that in D6 Space, they threw Advanced Skills out and folded First Aid into the Medicine Skill, which is now a regular skill that covers all aspects of both.

It is a bit more noteworthy that D6S returned to what it was in SW 1e with a regular medicine skill that worked for first aid and medicine stuff.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
CRMcNeill wrote:
It is noteworthy, however, that in D6 Space, they threw Advanced Skills out and folded First Aid into the Medicine Skill, which is now a regular skill that covers all aspects of both.

It is a bit more noteworthy that D6S returned to what it was in SW 1e with a regular medicine skill that worked for first aid and medicine stuff.

I can see both sides, especially after the discrepancy you found on the Bacta Tank stat. Just lumping everything into a single skill would be consistent with the rest of the RAW skills. And Engineering is really just an NPC skill; very few PCs are going to be taking the time in-game to sit around designing and building starfighters and space transports from the ground up.

Now, what would be fun is some sort of Tech-based advanced skill that allows a character to invent and construct useful devices mid-game, like portable jammers, jury-rigged explosives, etc. Not sure what it would be called, though. (A) Macgyver, perhaps?

And that's the other side of it: even we revert back to the 1E Medicine skill, I've already found some uses for the Advanced Skill concept that I really like.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
KageRyu wrote:
It's not about losing knowledge, it's about lacking the tools or equipment that knowledge calls to be used.

So, a doctor who learns all kinds of extra information about various injuries and illnesses can no longer make use of this information because he lacks a bacta tank or a surgical suite? This makes no sense. There are all kinds of stories about doctors using improvised implements to perform advanced first aid techniques like tracheotomies, or even emergency apendectomies. A doctor doesn't suddenly lose those skills just because he doesn't have access to the "proper" equipment.

If the skills he learned make use of specialized tools and equipment - then yes, exactly. A surgeon without surgery tools cannot effectively perform surgery. Would love to elaborate, but pressed for time right now.

It's like a Starship Designer trying to use that advanced skill to perform repairs on the fly without access to shipyards, advanced engineering or design tools, etc...

It doesn't make sense to gain benefits from a set of skills you lack the proper tools to benefit from.

A more personal example - I could not benefit from my skills in Photoshop and image manipulation if I am using a pencil and sketch pad only.
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