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Knowledge (Occult) Skill Specializations

 
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Thunderforge
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:42 pm    Post subject: Knowledge (Occult) Skill Specializations Reply with quote

In this thread, a gamer noted that Knowledge (Occult) covered quite a few things, ranging from identifying monsters' weaknesses to recognizing magic to identifying a Harrowed. There was a great suggestion in there to create a new skill called Knowledge (Cryptozoology) for recognizing monsters, but I thought it might be interesting to take a different approach. What about using the Skill Specialization rules in Savage Worlds Deluxe solely for Knowledge (Occult)?

As a reminder, this means that a character need only purchase one skill, Knowledge (Occult), but all checks for it are at a 2 unless they have the appropriate skill specialization, which costs one point each. This prevents someone with Knowledge (Occult) from knowing everything about the strangeness of the Weird West and makes book learners who do know everything more valuable. It would work like this:

Knowledge (Occult): Knowing things that the common man says aren't real. Includes the following specializations:
  • Arcana: Knowing about magic and those who use it
  • Cryptozoology: Knowing about the strange creatures seemingly native to the Weird West (not "classical" monsters, that'd be Lore)
  • Dark Arts: Knowing about evil pacts and other black magic
  • Hunting Grounds: Knowing about what lies within the Hunting Grounds
  • Lore: Knowing about mythology, folk tales, and other accounts of the unnatural
  • Supernatural: Knowing about manitou, loa, nature totems, and other spirits as well as those they directly influence, like Harrowed

I thought about adding Reckoning to the list to cover Servitors and the general Reckoning, but that seems to be a situation of you either know it or you don't (although that might change by the time of the Hell on Earth era).

Thoughts?
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RJack
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Joined: 27 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overall, I like the concept. It could work to give those characters who are more intellectual something to spend their advancements on after they've picked up obvious ones like Scholar and Investigator.

Some of your proposed specializations seem a little similar to each other. Arcana and Dark Arts for example, and Lore and Supernatural. Perhaps consider merging these.
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another possible thing to factor in is whether the character has an Arcane Background, and if so then which one. For example, a Shaman orn Huckster is naturally going to be more familiar with the Hunting Grounds, and perhaps they might get that speciality free?
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Re: Knowledge (Occult) Skill Specializations Reply with quote

Thunderforge wrote:
This prevents someone with Knowledge (Occult) from knowing everything about the strangeness of the Weird West

I would counter that dice rolls do the same thing.
Not to mention scaling the difficulty based upon how obscure something is (-1/-2/-4/-8 ).

But, if you're looking to nerf the power of Knowledge (Occult) then this is a fine rule.
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Thunderforge
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose one way to look at it is that the skill specialization automatically adds a 2 "obscurity" penalty to most types of occult that they haven't specialized in.

I wasn't sure about merging Arcana and Dark Arts, but I guess it works being together. After all Velvet van Helter did have a good idea about the faustian bargain that Lady Cynthia had made in Perdition's Daughter. The Hunting Grounds one was intended more for actually being the Hunting Grounds than knowing about it.

I'm not sure that arcane backgrounds should necessarily get some of these for free. After all, I imagine there are Hucksters don't have a clue what they're really doing (and are likely in for some nasty consequences).

How about the following changes:

Knowledge (Occult): Knowing things that the common man says aren't real. There's no penalty for something relatively simple, like recognizing a Harrowed or knowing that a Huckster deals with the devil, but anything more difficult requires one of the following specializations to avoid a 2 penalty:
  • Arcana: Knowing about magic and those who use it, for good or for evil
  • Cryptozoology: Knowing about the strange creatures seemingly native to the Weird West (not "classical" monsters, that'd be Lore)
  • Hunting Grounds: Knowing about what lies within the Hunting Grounds and being able to navigate within it.
  • Lore: Knowing about mythology, folk tales, and other accounts of the unnatural and supernatural

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