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New Advanced Skills
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 10:54 am    Post subject: New Advanced Skills Reply with quote

I think Advanced Skills are one of the more underutilized aspects of the RAW, and I'm always looking for ways to expand my list of available Advanced skills. I thought of a concept for a new one recently, and was looking for a suitable topic to post it, but couldn't find a recent one devoted specifically to house-ruled Advanced skills. So I decided to start one. Here's my latest thought:

(A) Menacing
Prerequisite: Intimidation 6D
Description: A character with this skill seems to emit an ominous aura that inspires wariness and/or fear in everyone they encounter. In game terms, a character with (A) Menacing may roll their Advanced skill dice as a Free Action once per round, with the effect of an Intimidation skill roll.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another one, based on the discussion we're having here.

(A) Alertness
Prerequisite: Search 5D
Effect: A character may roll their (A) Alertness skill once per round as an automatic Free action, having the same effect as a successful Perception or Search roll. The character may also substitute their (A) Alertness dice for Perception when rolling Initiative.
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I'd be leery about putting too much credit into something like 'menacing' as a skill.

What you describe would be based on SO many factors...the character's as well as those who might be affected by it.

I find it hard to picture certain species coming off as menacing to certain other species for example. If the skill is stacked up to a high level....what exactly does that entail? Acting tough?

You can see it in something like a big, burly wookiee or gamorrean or something. But is a Jawa going to be that intimidating....and if so, how would you describe it aside from 'Well...that's just what he rolled. So everyone is scared of what he might do next.'

It's a further problem, in my mind anyway, if the character is full of threat and menace, but has nothing to back it up.

Sure there are softies that could come across as dangerous people, and truly dangerous people that could come across as harmless. But I think most people have a degree of sense when it comes to a gut feeling of whether to be afraid of someone based on first impression appearance and demeanor
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dredwulf60 wrote:
Personally I'd be leery about putting too much credit into something like 'menacing' as a skill.

The idea is to represent people like Vader who're pretty much always menacing no matter what they do.
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the concept of menacing, but I also think it might make Intimidate a bit too easy. Once you get Menacing up to 2D, you're going to be effortlessly scaring a good number of people... and you can do that with a starting character.

4D Knowledge + 2D Intimidation + 2D Menacing. Sure, most of your starting dice are in "Scaring People", but you do it very effectively.

At the very least, I'd move the prerequisite to 7D... people who are beyond human level of intimidation. There might be some aliens who can start at that level, but at least it's not an easy default.

As for Alertness, I would change the last sentence.

From: "The character may also substitute their (A) Alertness dice for Perception when rolling Initiative."

To: "The character may also add their (A) Alertness dice to Perception when rolling Initiative."

As it was, someone with a very high Alertness would be able to replace their Perception, but anyone with a lower level of Alertness would be no more alert than someone without Alertness.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrNexx wrote:
4D Knowledge + 2D Intimidation + 2D Menacing. Sure, most of your starting dice are in "Scaring People", but you do it very effectively.

IMO, I'd never allow a character to start like this. The idea here is a skill for experienced and formidable characters who've all earned their ability to naturally intimidate. If a player brought me a character sheet with all of their starting dice dumped into Intimidation and Menacing, I'd tell them to go back and try again.

Quote:
At the very least, I'd move the prerequisite to 7D... people who are beyond human level of intimidation. There might be some aliens who can start at that level, but at least it's not an easy default.

That's fair.

Quote:
As it was, someone with a very high Alertness would be able to replace their Perception, but anyone with a lower level of Alertness would be no more alert than someone without Alertness.

But that's sort of the point. I don't want it to be too easy for a PC to bypass rolling Perception for Initiative. Either way, it's going to require a bit of CP expenditure to reach point where this becomes an option; a character with lower Perception will have to spend more CP to improve the prerequisite, while a character with higher Perception (and thus a lower bar to clear on the prerequisite) will have to spend more CP on (A) Alertness to reach the point where it's worth rolling (A) Alertness instead of Perception on Initiative.
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Tupteq
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:13 am    Post subject: Re: New Advanced Skills Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I think Advanced Skills are one of the more underutilized aspects of the RAW, and I'm always looking for ways to expand my list of available Advanced skills. I thought of a concept for a new one recently, and was looking for a suitable topic to post it, but couldn't find a recent one devoted specifically to house-ruled Advanced skills. So I decided to start one. Here's my latest thought:

(A) Menacing
Prerequisite: Intimidation 6D
Description: A character with this skill seems to emit an ominous aura that inspires wariness and/or fear in everyone they encounter. In game terms, a character with (A) Menacing may roll their Advanced skill dice as a Free Action once per round, with the effect of an Intimidation skill roll.


Again, as in previous topic - there's a Fear (2) Special Ability in D6 Space (p.33). It works slightly different, but the subject is the same.

I wouldn't solve such things as skills (even advanced), it's something extraordinary and rather hard to learn. As a GM I could allow player to buy such Spacial Ability in case he'd take it very seriously (e.g. look like Vader), not when he'd just get intimidation at some level.
Also - advanced skills add to their prerequisite skill rolls (R&E p.29), so Menacing would quickly (and cheaply) raise intimidation rolls to extreme levels.
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

IMO, I'd never allow a character to start like this. The idea here is a skill for experienced and formidable characters who've all earned their ability to naturally intimidate.


But a guy like Vader doesn't have to try to be scary. His reputation, stature, look and actions speak for themselves.

I would wager that a character who wants to be intimidating could spend those points in actually becoming more dangerous and playing that role to much greater effect.

But I guess it's like a lot of the other social skills. A player can role play as a person great at persuasion...but needs the skill roll to back it up.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The skill name "menacing" feels off to me. The skill names in SWD6 are typically nouns or verbs/gerunds... so using an adjective throws things off a bit (for me).

"Menace" being a noun might work... if you care about such things...

As to the rules themselves, it makes sense to me that a character's reputation, persona, countenance and strength of presence should all contribute to how "intimidating" a person is... but consider:

If Vader showed up in a game, the GM wouldn't even have to roll... the players themselves would be vicariously cowed by the notion of their characters having to face him.

But if we attach a rule to this idea, it represents a character who either IS terrrifying or who knows how to appear terrifying, even if they can't actually back it up (they are convincing enough to get what they want through threats/coercion).

A jawa who is able to build a reputation could certainly have a skill like this: it relies on others' perception of the character, not the capabilities of the character (though, the capabilities may or may not be what fuels that perception).

The alertness skill looks good to me.
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:


A jawa who is able to build a reputation could certainly have a skill like this: it relies on others' perception of the character, not the capabilities of the character (though, the capabilities may or may not be what fuels that perception).



I would agree that a jawa could have an aura of menace. But I think it would require that the people reacting to the jawa have pre-knowledge about the jawa's history and predilections for taking no prisoners/ torture/ volatile anger or whatever else the reputation is built upon.

Now all of that could be rumours and wild speculation that grows with telling and re-telling. Such a jawa could have his reputation precede him in such a way and be incredibly exaggerated. A Dread Pirate Roberts kind of effect.

I think what CRM is getting at is that the advanced skill, 'Menacing' is a kind of automatic wide-angle intimidate.
Why would the Jawa character spend valuable points on this?

Maybe he wants desperately to make a name for himself; like certain outlaws in western movies. "Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh, C'mon, you must have heard of me? I've killed 65 beings, not counting Rodians and Sand people!"

But why would Vader?
Do people fear him because he force chokes those who fail him, or because he has cultivated a way to act and look?

Would characters who do all kinds of nasty things earn this advanced skill gratis?

Or would you have to justify to the GM points spent to get or raise the skill by citing certain actions your character has done, such as killing a group of enemies, but leaving one alive to tell the tale?

I have a feeling that if I tried to introduce this, I would have characters that aren't inherently frightening trying to buy a die in Menacing, to comedic or sad effect when they start cowing everyone around them.

Sad

I already have a hard time with some egregious uses of the Intimidate skill.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dredwulf60 wrote:
But a guy like Vader doesn't have to try to be scary. His reputation, stature, look and actions speak for themselves.

That aspect of Vader is what sparked the idea for this. I can't find the topic, but it was discussed a while back here on the Pit that, to a certain degree, Vader would be automatically intimidating no matter what he did, but that he could also turn up the juice on command and be truly terrifying. Because of the way Advanced Skills are structured, this would allow someone with, say, 8D in Intimidation and 6D in (A) Menacing to make an effective 6D Intimidation roll even in his sleep, and an effective 14D Intimidation roll if he really put his mind to it.

Quote:
I would wager that a character who wants to be intimidating could spend those points in actually becoming more dangerous and playing that role to much greater effect.

True, and Tupteq is right that this would probably be a better fit to Special Abilities from D6 Space. However, without a clear method of actually purchasing Special Abilities in the SWU, there isn't really a way to do allow characters to acquire and improve this ability short of structuring it in a way that allows characters to spend CP on it and improve it over time.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
The skill name "menacing" feels off to me. The skill names in SWD6 are typically nouns or verbs/gerunds... so using an adjective throws things off a bit (for me).

Menacing is defined as the crime of displaying a weapon with the intent of placing another person in fear of imminent physical injury or death. The various other definitions of "menace" have overtones of the implication of threat, as opposed to the actual application. The word just seemed appropriate...

Quote:
If Vader showed up in a game, the GM wouldn't even have to roll... the players themselves would be vicariously cowed by the notion of their characters having to face him.

I much prefer actually rolling the action out. I dislike the idea of declaring actions to players without giving them a chance to roll it out and see what happens.

Quote:
The alertness skill looks good to me.

Smile
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dredwulf60 wrote:
I think what CRM is getting at is that the advanced skill, 'Menacing' is a kind of automatic wide-angle intimidate.
Why would the Jawa character spend valuable points on this?

Exactly. In fact, I'm on the fence as to how much I'd allow PCs to access this. In many ways it feels more like something that should be added to major NPC stats to represent their degree of ominousness.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For whatever its worth, d20 Star wars has two in-game features that do exactly what Menacing is trying to do.

All character in d20 have a reputation score. This score is added or subtracted from social skills anytime the character interacts with people who have a chance of knowing who he is. The more renowned a character is, the bigger the effect of the reputation bonus/penaty.

For example, if Chancellor palpatine tried to convince some fellow denizens of Naboo that he was NOT Sheev Palpatine, his reputation score would be applied as a penalty on his bluff check.

On the other hand, if Emperor (not Chancellor) Palpatine wanted to scare the daylights out of some imperial officers suspected of espionage, his reputation score would be applied as a bonus on his intimidate check.

The other game element in d20 is a feat called "frightful presence." The mere presence of the character generates an area-of-effect demoralization (subject to resistence rolls) in all characters lower in level than the frightening character.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be a decent addition to D6. Certainly there are other - arguably better - ways of doing what the (A) Menacing skill does, but none of them have a clear structure within the RAW as to how it can be attained and improved.
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