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Skills question.
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Vinzent
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:30 am    Post subject: Skills question. Reply with quote

So Shooting covers everything from bows to machine-guns.

But why are Intimidate, Taunt, and Persuasion separate skills? It seems to me that a taunt is persuading someone to lose their cool while Intimidate is persuading someone you are very scary.

Is there a game balance reason for this or can I just roll them up into one skill?
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shadd4d
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is there a game balance reason for this or can I just roll them up into one skill?


If you roll them up, then I'd probably reduce starting skill points.

Quote:
But why are Intimidate, Taunt, and Persuasion separate skills? It seems to me that a taunt is persuading someone to lose their cool while Intimidate is persuading someone you are very scary.


I disagree. They each have different uses and outside uses. Look at pg 73 in SW:EX about tests of will outside of combat. While they are all tied to spirit, they are different uses. Intimidation would also relate to torture or also in terms of just inciting fear. Taunt is also about provoking an outcome, like getting you to lose your cool. Persuasion is about securing agreement.

Other uses would be like witty dialog (taunt or persuasion depending on the goal: provocation or agreement), disguise (persuading someone you are you you're trying to portray), acting (see persuasion as disguise), conveying threats (intimidation).

Basically, the skills aren't about persuasion; it's about provoking (taunt), securing agreement (persuasion) or conveying fear/threats (intimidation).

Don
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kreider204
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's better to compare Persuasion, Taunt, and Intimidate to Fighting, Shooting and Throwing - not in the sense that they are analogous, just in the sense that it breaks martial combat and (I guess what you would call) Social combat into three types each.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a good point there kreider, which I think is what I was trying to get across.

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UmbraLux
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Skills question. Reply with quote

Vinzent wrote:
Is there a game balance reason for this or can I just roll them up into one skill?
Savage Worlds appears to set skills based on how likely they are to be used rather than an arbitrarily generic level. So we see multiple skills relating to combat, vehicles, and influencing opponents but very generic single skills for other areas.

Given that model, I'd adjust the skills by how much you expect them to be used in your game. If it's not used much, roll it up into something more generic. Also, if you expect some other skill to be used commonly, specify it as a separate skill.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to think in terms of character concept. Someone who is very Persuasive might not be very Intimidating and vice-versa. And it's a common enough distinction to be worth keeping separate skills.

So if you roll them into a single skill, you should make them Edges (Persuasive, Intimidating, Taunting) so that players can still represent those character concepts mechanically.

If you roll them into one skill, it's going to be a very valuable skill -- one that everyone might want. Whenever you have an ability so good everyone will want it, consider giving it out for free. Otherwise it becomes a point-sink. I think this is why so many settings replace the Guts skill with Spirit -- since most characters would just buy Guts up to their Spirit anyway.

So what you could do is say that Intimidation and Persuasion are just Spirit checks, and Taunt is just a Smarts check, and then provide Edges and Hindrances that give +2/-2 to characters that want to be particularly good or bad at these tasks.

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Vinzent
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Persuasion, intimidation, and taunt are all about convincing someone to do what they would not normally do (albeit using different tactics).

Shooting is about putting holes in things from a range.

But in the former's case, the tactics are broken down into individual skills. However with Shooting, it's assumed you can shoot a bow as well as a gun. Archery is a very different skill than shooting a gun. So it seems odd to me that one would be broken down while the other just lumped together.

Quote:
I tend to think in terms of character concept. Someone who is very Persuasive might not be very Intimidating and vice-versa. And it's a common enough distinction to be worth keeping separate skills.


You don't have to be a big ugly thug to be intimidating. Beauty can be intimidating. A weasally IRS accountant can be intimidating.

The secret to Persuasion is knowing what buttons to push in a person. Pushing one button generates fear, another generates fury, and another may generate friendship.
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shadd4d
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vinzent wrote:
Persuasion, intimidation, and taunt are all about convincing someone to do what they would not normally do (albeit using different tactics).


Here's the problem; it's definition. They aren't all about convincing. While I can see how they could be lumped together, they aren't all about convincing, at least in my opinion.

Look at how kreider defined it. Imagine if we were having this same conversation about breaking down and defining a skill entitled Attack which covered shooting, fighting and throwing. Why is that a less valid model?

Shooting isn't just about putting holes in things; it's also use of multiple weapons. Depending on setting, it would be everything from slingshots to mounted weapons and everything in between.

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Blogotron
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Archery is very different from shooting a Gun...and there is no reason why a player should be able to do both with equal proficiency. I would never allow a PC to just jump on a motorcycle after he just explained to me that his guy is an Indy car driver and be able to handle the bike. Give him a penalty to his drive...or in your case archery until you think he has gotten the swing of things.

But as others have pointed out...driving is not a combat skill and thus should be rolled into one skill to make it feasible that the entire game is not screwed up because no one thought to take a point in Motorbikes.

Combat, and skills most useful during combat are divided up because combat is typically the single biggest chunk of gaming needing rules. In a Driving centric game I would divide up different sorts of vehicles and roll the Social skills together, in Hellfrost my Axe Wielding Saxa Warrior should not be punished for not knowing how to drive a team of oxen over driving team of Clydesdales. He should be penalized for not understanding the intricacies of courtly conduct as he Intimidates everyone around him rather than Persuading them.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for skills, I have to stress two things about Savage Worlds:

1) This is a cinematic game - meaning it is not going for strict realism. Heroes in heroic fiction seem to never have trouble with switching weapons around. Does Rambo ever say "Nope...can't handle that broadsword, so I just have to leave it lying there and use my dagger." Does Clint Eastwood-types ever say "Hmmm...never fired a Buffalo Gun before...best stick to my pistols." Does Inidana Jones....ahhh you get the point. Heroic Fiction heroes use whatevers is around, somewhat equally. If they really excel in a weapon, they take the Edge to get a bonus in that particular weapon. You can see why there IS an argument for sub-classing each weapon (buffalo guns do not fire as shotguns or rifles or musjets, etc.), but SW leans to the cinematic for fast and furious fun.

2) The 'Charisma' skills are seperated because they have different lasting roleplasying effects upon a target. The target of Intimidation will definately feel differently about the affecting hero than the target of Persuasion. Those two skills are the two sides of the same coin: Attitude change. Like Streetwise and Research are the two sides of the 'Info Gathering' coin.


Yet, overall, it is best to remember that Savage Worlds is a 'Core Rules' design. It is designed to be easy and to look at things in terms as fast game effect, which allows for extreme flexability. You, the Gamemaster, can delete/merge/add skills to your particular setting, but you must see if there is any 'unintended consequences' (as: if you merge a number of skills or sub-divide them, it will alter the need for Skill Points in both Chracter Creation and Advancement). I think it was either Wiggy or Clint that at one time suggested there be no skills and everything work of Attributes! I've also seen some home-grown games with a skill list a mile long (ah...like the 1980s!). Just remeber that each change may have unintended consequences, but change means evolution and better performance as well!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I like the way the skills are set up in Savage Worlds. In my Rippers campaign last night the players ended up using skills such as Streetwise, Persuasion and Intimidation all in very ingenious ways. The fact that different characters had different skills in these areas asked for a lot of teamwork and cooperation in order for them to get the info they needed.

Shooting, throwing and fighting tend to be developed more through the use of combat edges rather than defining individual skills.

The system works and my game group are loving the Savage Worlds setting. Whilst some of the skills may seem over simplified my group have come to appreciate just how much depth is available in Savage Worlds. Every time they level up I let them pour over the books for an hour discussing with each other what they should do (ie improve a trait, increase skills, gain a skill, new edge). Big decisions that can have a big impact later on.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vinzent wrote:
Persuasion, intimidation, and taunt are all about convincing someone to do what they would not normally do (albeit using different tactics).

Shooting is about putting holes in things from a range.

Fighting, Shooting, and Throwing are all about killing people (albeit using different tactics).

So why not consolidate them into one skill, called Combat?

We can go around in circles like this, combining some skills and separating others, with justifications based on how they work or what their game goal is. Where to stop?

In my opinion, doing it this way is backwards. Instead of looking at the skill list, think about character concepts first. Make a bunch of characters. When developing a setting or campaign, come up with some archetypal characters for that campaign. Then try to classify their abilities.

I find that I rarely have a character who is good at all three (Persuasion, Intimidation, Taunt). Most commonly, a character will have some ability in one or two of these; more if they are a socially-oriented concept. For example:

* Grognar the Barbiarian is a scary dude. He isn't much of a talker though. High Intimidate.
* Trixie the Thief is really annoying. High Taunt.
* Jebediah the Healer has a sympathetic bedside manner. High Persuasion.
* Fran the Desperate Housewife is beautiful, but also scary, and has as sarcastic wit. High levels of all three skills.


If you find that the characters you create are either "socially apt" or "socially incompetent," then you could roll these three skills together without any problem. This may well be very appropriate for a combat-heavy campaign, like a dungeon crawl or war campaign or action-oriented swords-and-sorcery.

-- 77IM
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, its the thing I love about this game system. .. it's so easy to modify in order to fit your play style, or even individual settings. For instance, I've taken to adding a Sleight of Hand skill to my home-made character sheets, only because, in my mind, being able to palm something bears little resemblance to sneaking around. On the other hand, my players make lots of theives, and such tomfoolery is alomost always a part of our game night... if your party typically only has one thiefly character, and that more for spotting traps and picking locks, then the Stealth skill should suffice.

Bottom line: If you think your game NEEDS it, then add it. Just be careful when doing this because correcting mistakes can be a pain in the butt.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any GM would be perfectly within his bounds to say that if all your character has ever done is shoot pistols/rifles then he/she should have a -2 to hit to hit with something like a bow for a while (maybe a session or two). After that, normal shooting applies.
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Vinzent
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I'm not so concerned with realism here. It's more my perception that SW bundles skills to keep things F!F!F!, which I'm totally fine with. But it seems to me that these three skills should also have been bundled, but weren't.

I'm trying to find out if there's was a more intentional reason for it (game play balance factor) other than "we think they are totally different".

As for skill point allocation, it's not a problem. I added the Performance skill and there's always Knowledge specialties. Plus, with the attribute-skill cost limitations, you can't really munchkin the character.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regards Shooting and bows vs. guns vs. slings: Most of the time in my games, things get by just fine without any distinction in Shooting skill - but that's usually because one campaign or another might feature ray guns or pistols or bows, but not a combination of the above.

It mostly gets messy with hybrid genres (ala an attempt at Deadlands: Hell on Earth, Savaged), where bows and slings and machineguns are just as likely to be wielded, depending upon what's available. I've made some iffy GM calls before (mostly regarding exotic weapons such as bullwhips, or else a gunslinger picks up a bow), whereby the PC can't effectively use the weapon until he's had some "off-camera time" wherein we can justify him training himself how to use the weapon. (And then, for the sake of simplicity, he gets to use his full Shooting skill, just because I don't want to have to deal with a whole "Shooting skill tree" in an otherwise simple system.) I mean, that's practically how D&D has done it for the longest time, anyway: you have some flat bonus to ranged attacks, and you either can or cannot use any particular ranged weapon based on your proficiencies.

If a PC called my bluff and tried to use such a weapon despite my unclearly-stated penalties, I think what I'd do is let him roll his Fighting or Shooting, but without the Wild Die. If he rolls a 1, it's a botch (Innocent Bystander, or he hurts himself). If he Aces, and gets a high roll anyway, then more power to him. At some dramatically-appropriate time (e.g., in between adventures), we've established that he's familiarized himself with this kind of weapon, and he can use his Wild Die as per normal.

It's messy, but that's just the rough idea I have in mind, should this sort of situation come up again, because there ARE a few situations where it just doesn't make sense for the rifle sharpshooter to be just as lethal with a slingshot or hunting bow. (Sure, anything can be justified/handwaved, but sometimes it starts to hurt the story element.)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vinzent wrote:
Okay, I'm not so concerned with realism here. It's more my perception that SW bundles skills to keep things F!F!F!, which I'm totally fine with. But it seems to me that these three skills should also have been bundled, but weren't.

I'm trying to find out if there's was a more intentional reason for it (game play balance factor) other than "we think they are totally different".


A bit of both really. Taunt and Intimidate are there primarily for Tests of Will. And they are separate because we do think they are different and that is why they also mechanically are linked to different Attributes and are opposed by different Attributes.

Sometimes it can be hard to understand the effectiveness of a Test of Will, but a flat +2 bonus to your next action against a target (no matter what that action is) is pretty darn powerful in SW, and that's the effect for a normal success not a raise.

Plus, as I noted in another recent post, Taunt and Intimidate might get people to do stuff, but it's generally only immediate stuff, and the character has ticked them off to get it done.

Persuasion is more long term (or can be) and doesn't have the downside that even a success eventually causes a negative reaction.

To use an analogy made above, Taunt/Intimidate are kind of like Fighting; they might get the job done, but you are definitely at risk. Persuasion is a bit like Shooting where it's possible to achieve a similar goal from a much safer position.

To really compare Shooting everything from bows to machineguns to these skills then it's not a question of the effect but the "weapon" used.

Taunt is everything from mocking to a surrepticious wink to a flash of cleavage. Intimidate could be a verbal threat, steely glare, or chambering a round in a pump shotgun. And Persuasion could be calm logic, seduction, or flat out lying.

Those are the effective "bows to machineguns" for those skills. If that makes any more sense.
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Vinzent
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see, thanks Clint.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vinzent wrote:
Okay, I'm not so concerned with realism here. It's more my perception that SW bundles skills to keep things F!F!F!, which I'm totally fine with. But it seems to me that these three skills should also have been bundled, but weren't.

I'm trying to find out if there's was a more intentional reason for it (game play balance factor) other than "we think they are totally different".


Well I think the rules of Savage Worlds are neither realistic nor balalanced. Its quite unlogical and sometimes even unintuitive. But they are still alot better than most other rule sets out there, and easy to understand if you got the basics.

Personally I dont like the way taunts are handled. Its implausible that a victim of a raise in a successful taunt is shaken and I have problems to describe the shaken-through-taunt effect ingame. From a intuitive POV it would be more plausible that a exceptionally taunted (with raise) enemy throws all caution overboard and charges the taunter. (At least if my translation of taunt is correct with "provocation") No idea why such a guy should be instead "shaken".
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that Taunt attempts can cause an immediate, extremely hostile reaction from the subject... if it's done wrong. Having been a real smart-ass in high school, I can attest to the real fact that I have escaped more fights by making fun of my opponent. If you know what buttons to push, you can leave someone standing right where they are, speechless, trying to figure out just what it was I said. The 'how dare you?' reaction can easily last 6 seconds.

On the other hand, I do see how this would be very hard to pull off after blows have already started flying. But then again, I have my own problems with SW's round timing system; as a firearms afficiando, I can attest that I can squeeze off way more than one bullet in sex seconds. Sure, I will lose some accuracy by firing so quickly, but not much. Additionally, I've been trained in an americal grappling art, and within 6 seconds there may be as many as a dozen 'Fighting rolls', and advantage can shift back and forth quickly. I'm not very good at striking arts, but I know I can throw more than one punch in six seconds....

However, olther than this relatively minor and easy to fix problem, I've found SW to be VERY intuitive. The simple ruleset is so easy to modify, even in the midst of an actual session. I can't tell you how many times I've made a ruling in game, went back to the core rules later only to find that I had ruled it almost perfectly.

Sorry... way off topic here, but I can't bring myself to just backspace it all into oblivion.
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