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The Case for Advanced Skills
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CRMcNeill
Director of Engineering
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KageRyu wrote:
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.

He can, however, quite effectively perform First Aid, as his general medical knowledge (acquired from his extensive medical experience, as represented by his Medicine skill) does not desert him simply because he isn't scrubbed in in an OR suite. An engineer does not lose his understanding of starship design just because he isn't sitting in front of a CAD program or a drafting board. And this knowledge does carry over into practical application (read: prerequisite skills). I think you are arbitrarily and unnecessarily limiting the scope of Advanced Skills here.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
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.

I would agree that designing starships is not a campaign skill, but Engineering is not just an NPC skill. There is a PC template Tongue-Tied Engineer, and it certainly would make sense if a PC with an engineering background to have the skill at char gen. In the campaign, the advanced skill would normally only be used to help the applicable prerequisites.
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CRMcNeill
Director of Engineering
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Location: Redding System, California Sector, on the I-5 Hyperspace Route.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
CRMcNeill wrote:
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.

I would agree that designing starships is not a campaign skill, but Engineering is not just an NPC skill. There is a PC template Tongue-Tied Engineer, and it certainly would make sense if a PC with an engineering background to have the skill at char gen. In the campaign, the advanced skill would normally only be used to help the applicable prerequisites.

One possibility could be to tie my Using Technical Skills for Sabotage concept to the Engineering skill. Maybe say that, if you want to just do regular repairs, you can use the basic Repair skill, but if you want to be able to do more esoteric things, like sabotage or jury-rigging, you need the Engineering skill. It wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility to tie Starship Upgrades to it, as well.

All of that together would certainly make the Engineering skills much more fun in-game than a simple dice boost to repair skills...
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to agree that knowledge gained through more advanced study can be applied "out of context." For example, I only learned how to drive stick shift by reading about the internal workings of a transmission.

I would reason that you only need specialized equipment when doing something that requires specialized equipment.

I can also see an argument for reducing the benefit gained by advanced skills: a lot of technicians, for example, would tell you that engineers know next to nothing about working on things (that is, fixing them) and so their designs are theoretically efficient, but practically tedious. An engineer would certainly know how to diagnose problems and certainly how to locate and address the physical components at issue, but the "hands on" aspect is a skill set unto itself, as I understand it.

This may be too crunchy even for CRM, however.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
I can also see an argument for reducing the benefit gained by advanced skills: a lot of technicians, for example, would tell you that engineers know next to nothing about working on things (that is, fixing them) and so their designs are theoretically efficient, but practically tedious. An engineer would certainly know how to diagnose problems and certainly how to locate and address the physical components at issue, but the "hands on" aspect is a skill set unto itself, as I understand it.

This may be too crunchy even for CRM, however.

I'd argue going the other way, that the conceptual bar for Advanced Skills should be lowered. For example, having 1D in Medicine shouldn't mean you are an MD, and having 1D in Engineering doesn't make you an Engineer. Engineering and Medicine (and all Advanced Skills) should represent a greater, deeper understanding of the concept expressed in the prerequisite, not a job title.

A Registered Nurse or Medic, for example, might have 3D-4D in Medicine, which allows the operation of a bacta tank and the administration of drugs, even though they aren't a doctor. A really good mechanic might have Repulsorlift Engineering at 4D or 5D representing a broader level of understanding as to how all the components of a repulsorlift fit together to form a functioning vehicle.

And, after having had a night to think about it, I'm even more convinced that the Improvement aspect of Repair skills should be tied to the (A) Engineering Skill, and not the prerequisite, as should attempts to jury-rig or sabotage something.
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, it's not about losing knowledge, it's about not having the necessary tools or equipment to benefit from that knowledge.
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CRMcNeill
Director of Engineering
Director of Engineering


Joined: 05 Apr 2010
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Location: Redding System, California Sector, on the I-5 Hyperspace Route.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KageRyu wrote:
Again, it's not about losing knowledge, it's about not having the necessary tools or equipment to benefit from that knowledge.

And again, a doctor, with his extensive study of the anatomy of his patient, has his basic medical skills (First Aid) enhanced because of that knowledge, not restricted just because he isn't in an OR or medical suite.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this case, I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

In the real world, first aid is a skill set unto itself upon which entire careers are built. A medical doctor who isn't a trauma surgeon may actually realize no practical benefit when attempting to administer first aid to a critically injured patient. Life saving first aid could be achieved through a high first aid skill, or perhaps a specialization in (A) medicine: field medicine or combat medicine or paramedicine, etc.

The doctor may know what problems needs to be addressed in which order (though recent developments in first aid lead me to believe otherwise), but if he lacks familiarity with the medkit or other first aid tools (by comparison to a paramedic/emt) then he may not be fast enough with the solution to actually save the life.
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But his familiarity with the Medkit should be reflected by the 5D First Aid prerequisite to learn his first 1D of Advanced Medicine.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

I'd argue going the other way, that the conceptual bar for Advanced Skills should be lowered. For example, having 1D in Medicine shouldn't mean you are an MD, and having 1D in Engineering doesn't make you an Engineer. Engineering and Medicine (and all Advanced Skills) should represent a greater, deeper understanding of the concept expressed in the prerequisite, not a job title.

A Registered Nurse or Medic, for example, might have 3D-4D in Medicine, which allows the operation of a bacta tank and the administration of drugs, even though they aren't a doctor. A really good mechanic might have Repulsorlift Engineering at 4D or 5D representing a broader level of understanding as to how all the components of a repulsorlift fit together to form a functioning vehicle.

And, after having had a night to think about it, I'm even more convinced that the Improvement aspect of Repair skills should be tied to the (A) Engineering Skill, and not the prerequisite, as should attempts to jury-rig or sabotage something.


I tend to agree here in theory.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
But his familiarity with the Medkit should be reflected by the 5D First Aid prerequisite to learn his first 1D of Advanced Medicine.


Absolutely. The point was that either an emt also has some dice in medicine, or he has potentially way more than 5D in first aid.

Considering that 4D is "professional" level, it's a tough thing to balance between realistic representation and game mechanic function.

But the point was that medics/emts are more well versed in life saving first aid than a family practice doctor who has never worked in the field.
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBH, I feel like we should go back to 1st Edition's use of Medicine as a standard skill. 3D-4D would be someone competent in first aid and such, 5D-6D would be a family doctor, and 7D+ would be a specialist or surgeon.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's important to note that having dice in Medicine doesn't automatically make someone a doctor. A lot of medical professionals (nurses, paramedics, etc) are going to have dice that allow them to operate medical equipment; they may even be qualified to perform surgeries based solely on experience, even if they aren't authorized (the legal distinction between qualified and authorized is an interesting one).

Real world example: A pharmacy tech onboard a submarine in WWII performed an emergency appendectomy using improvised tools (spoons bent to serve as retractors) and an ether drip. He wasn't a doctor, but he would've needed at least some dice in Medicine to be able to prescribe drugs (which is covered under the Medicines portion of Wounds & Healing), which in turn gave him enough practical knowledge to read up on appendectomies (Preparation) and perform an emergency surgery that would've been performed only by a Doctor (authorized and qualified medical professional) under non-emergency circumstances.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course, the question of the patient's recovery is another matter. The roll would determine whether the operation was a true (permanent) success or if a real doctor needed to provide follow up care to fix any issues left over by the sub-optimal circumstances.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
TBH, I feel like we should go back to 1st Edition's use of Medicine as a standard skill. 3D-4D would be someone competent in first aid and such, 5D-6D would be a family doctor, and 7D+ would be a specialist or surgeon.

That's the route WEG took with D6 Space. Honestly, I can see both sides, but having found other uses for Advanced Skills, I'm disinclined to simply throw them out.
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"No set of rules can cover every situation. It's expected that you will make up new rules to suit the needs of your game." - The Star Wars Roleplaying Game, 2R&E, pg. 69, WEG, 1996.

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