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Perform, Sleight of Hand and Trapwork: Thoughts?

 
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Merlin_Sylver
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:38 am    Post subject: Perform, Sleight of Hand and Trapwork: Thoughts? Reply with quote

This thread is for the conversation regarding a couple of new skills I have been using in a few of my campaigns. These aren't really 'missing' skills, but more skills used in some of my home-brew settings. What I'd like to know is how the rest of you handle these skills.

By the way, Perform and Trapwork are skills inherent to my homebrew fantasy setting. Sleight of Hand, I have added to all my games. No, I haven't added extra skill points to starting characters, but I do something else that nets my players roughly two extra edges at Novice (0 XP), and these can always be spent on skills instead.

Perform (Spirit)
Any character with this skill knows how to tell tales, play a variety of instruments and generally entertain folks. This is an essential skill for a court jester or a bard.

Trapwork (Smarts)
Anyone with this skill can attempt to bypass or disarm the sort of traps one comes across when delving into dungeons. If a given trap is not one that can be disarmed or bypassed, then this skill can sometimes be used to determine the best way of going about engaging the trap with a minimum of harm or hindrance.

The term 'trap' is pretty loose and can refer to a number of types of obstacles in a dungeon. Generally, any hidden mechanism that, when triggered can deal damage, capture or in some way hinder the party is considered a trap. Some traps are obvious obstacles, such as a corridor filled with swinging blades, or a room that spouts random gouts of flame. Either way, a successful Trapwork roll will provide the character with what he needs to know to get past the threat.

Generally, disabling traps requires a set of tools simply known as 'thieves tools'. Trying to disable a trap without such tools incurs a -4 penalty. Finally, anyone with the Thief edge gets the +2 skill bonus to this skill.

Sleight of Hand
This skill can be used in a variety of situations. It can be used to palm a 'holdout' weapon, to shoplift or pick pockets, and can be used to perform minor tricks. This skill can be used to perform Tricks in combat, as well, generally opposed by Smarts (or perhaps Notice, on a case by case basis).
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually lump traps under Repair or Lockpicking, depending on what kind of setting it is and how elaborate the trap is, but I can see a case for Trapworks or "Mechanical Devices" or whatever if it's going to come up a whole lot. I'd just be worried about players building thieves, since they have to spread skill points out as is.

Perform is fine a you have it.

Sleight of Hand seems more like a good use for Agility or Stealth, expanding those things - I can't really think of a character that would use it. But I'm also thinking of players yelling at me, "why do I need a skill to put a gun in my pocket?"
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:52 am    Post subject: Re: Perform, Sleight of Hand and Trapwork: Thoughts? Reply with quote

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
What I'd like to know is how the rest of you handle these skills.


Since this is the specific question, I feel somewhat safe in saying... pretty much by the core rulebook.

Trapwork is under Lockpicking "Lockpicking is also be used to disarm the catches and triggers on traps, unless a more relevant skill seems appropriate for a particular trap." Or as Slasher mentioned, Repair usually serves as the "more relevant skill."

And Sleight of Hand is under Stealth, "Stealth is the ability to both hide and move quietly, as well as palm objects and pick pockets."

For Perform, I use the craftily named... Perform. Wink The version from Wizards & Warriors or the Fantasy Companion. If bards don't have powers, they can just use the mundane function of it.
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SavageGamerGirl
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a bit of a noob, so I'll offer my input with that caveat.

My advice is instead of adding new skills, add Professional edges that enhance certain aspects of the existing skills Clint mentioned.

Like a Pickpocket professional edge. The Pickpocket edge provides a +2 bonus to Stealth checks to perform slight of hand, etc. You might even want to expand it by also allowing a +2 bonus on Notice checks to detect when someone else is using slight of hand since you know the tricks of the trade.

Trap-Mastery could also be a Professional edge, providing a +2 to Notice and Lockpicking or Repair checks to find and disarm traps.

And so on.
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Merlin_Sylver
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I'm not worried about negative critiques on my experiments... If a concept can't hold up to a single round of scrutiny, then it's obviously not a very good concept. That said...

As for Sleight of Hand being it's own skill instead of a combination of Agility and Stealth: Until recently I've been doing the same thing, but a couple of glaring examples stand out that made me want to codify it: A character is one of my games is a gymnast with a very high Agility. Does it make sense that an awesome gymnast would, by default, also be a good pickpocket? Does the fact that someone is a member of Ghost Recon (high stealth) mean he is automatically a master shop-lifter?

On the other hand... would this dynamic be served better by a Professional Edge?
Faster than the Eye (Agiltiy d8, Stealth d8
This edge grants the character a +2 bonus when making an Agility roll or a Stealth roll for picking pockets, shoplifting, or when performing high dexterity actions such as spinning a coin over one's knuckles or magic tricks.

As for Trapwork, I see how Repair and Lockpick, and a smattering of Smarts rolls could easily cover this skill... in fact I'd all but made the decision to cut it from my campaigns already. It fit my sensibilities when I first conceived of it, but the more I delve into SW the less I care for this skill.

As for Perform... I SERIOUSLY need to get this Fantasy Companion... this is like the third or fourth issue that I've posted about and have been pointed to the exact thing I was thinking of in that book.

A new thought (watch this be in the Fantasy Companion too): I know that it would basically be splitting up Knowledge skills, but why not offer Craft skills? I have one player in my compains that ALWAYS takes craft skills, and enjoys using them. As I said, I know that these things are covered by Knowledges... but what are the thoughts on offering Craft(_____) on a character sheet?
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
Oh, I'm not worried about negative critiques on my experiments... If a concept can't hold up to a single round of scrutiny, then it's obviously not a very good concept. That said...


Nothing I posted was a critique really, just answering the question of how I handle it. It may be a common answer, but doesn't mean it's the right one for your game or group.

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
As for Sleight of Hand being it's own skill instead of a combination of Agility and Stealth: Until recently I've been doing the same thing, but a couple of glaring examples stand out that made me want to codify it: A character is one of my games is a gymnast with a very high Agility. Does it make sense that an awesome gymnast would, by default, also be a good pickpocket? Does the fact that someone is a member of Ghost Recon (high stealth) mean he is automatically a master shop-lifter?


To the latter, yeah, I think he would be very good at it. To me though a "master" will have an Edge that supports an ability, so the Ghost Recon guy will have an Edge with a bonus to Stealth for sneaking... which would mean no bonus for picking pockets or shoplifting, so he would not be as good as he was at sneaking.

The gymnast example doesn't work for me as it's Stealth for picking pockets not Agility. So the Ghost Recon guy would be pretty good at it (not a "master" but pretty good), and unless the gymnast learned some Stealth, they wouldn't.

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
On the other hand... would this dynamic be served better by a Professional Edge?
Faster than the Eye (Agiltiy d8, Stealth d8
This edge grants the character a +2 bonus when making an Agility roll or a Stealth roll for picking pockets, shoplifting, or when performing high dexterity actions such as spinning a coin over one's knuckles or magic tricks.


Pretty good (and yeah, I'd personally follow SavageGamerGirl's thoughts on adding an Edge to enhance an ability), but, and I rarely get to say this, I'd add more to it like, "The character also gets the +2 bonus to Agility rolls needed to draw a weapon or item."

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
As for Perform... I SERIOUSLY need to get this Fantasy Companion... this is like the third or fourth issue that I've posted about and have been pointed to the exact thing I was thinking of in that book.


Don't need to for Perform; as I said, it's also in Wizards & Warriors which is a free download from the Pinnacle website.

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
A new thought (watch this be in the Fantasy Companion too): I know that it would basically be splitting up Knowledge skills, but why not offer Craft skills? I have one player in my compains that ALWAYS takes craft skills, and enjoys using them. As I said, I know that these things are covered by Knowledges... but what are the thoughts on offering Craft(_____) on a character sheet?


As with any added skill as long as it did something unique and would be used on average of every other session (or an equivalent level of importance), then it would be fine to me. But it has to have a defined effect.

But again, consider SGG's ideas. Making an item is really just an extension of being able to Repair an item. So instead of a new Skill maybe an Edge...

Craftsman
Requirements: Smarts d6, Repair d6

Your character is skilled at making items. He may make any item listed in the allowed gear list using raw materials equal to half the cost. It takes 1 day per $10 of the item's cost and a successful Repair roll to make it. A raise on the roll halves the time required.

A character with this Edge and a Knowledge skill appropriate to the item being made may use it as a Cooperative Roll to their own Repair roll to make the item.


In a setting where "minor" magic items can be made without having an Arcane Background, the Edge could allow that as well only requiring the creator to have Knowledge (Occult) or the equivalent. Heck, the GM could specify maybe up to four or five Knowledge skills that covered all the relevant skills needed to build items, and at least one is required to take the Edge. The character can then only build items under that Know skill, but if he takes the others, he doesn't need to take the Edge again.

Like, Know (Smithing) for mostly metal items, Know (Carpentry) for mostly wood items, Know (Sewmanship) for leather/cloth, and Know (Occult) for minor magic doohickeys.
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
On the other hand... would this dynamic be served better by a Professional Edge?
Faster than the Eye (Agiltiy d8, Stealth d8
This edge grants the character a +2 bonus when making an Agility roll or a Stealth roll for picking pockets, shoplifting, or when performing high dexterity actions such as spinning a coin over one's knuckles or magic tricks.



Now THIS has some flair - now I can see a character with it. I lilke Clint's suggestion too about +2 to actions required to draw weapons; it enhances Quick Draw without replacing it.

As for whether it should be a Professional Edge or not...well, not as written. However, if you want, this could be reskinned to being a Stage Magician (in which case, I'd advise a Perform d6 requirement on top of things Wink )
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SavageGamerGirl
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clint wrote:

Craftsman
Requirements: Smarts d6, Repair d6

Your character is skilled at making items. He may make any item listed in the allowed gear list using raw materials equal to half the cost. It takes 1 day per $10 of the item's cost and a successful Repair roll to make it. A raise on the roll halves the time required.

A character with this Edge and a Knowledge skill appropriate to the item being made may use it as a Cooperative Roll to their own Repair roll to make the item.


In a setting where "minor" magic items can be made without having an Arcane Background, the Edge could allow that as well only requiring the creator to have Knowledge (Occult) or the equivalent. Heck, the GM could specify maybe up to four or five Knowledge skills that covered all the relevant skills needed to build items, and at least one is required to take the Edge. The character can then only build items under that Know skill, but if he takes the others, he doesn't need to take the Edge again.

Like, Know (Smithing) for mostly metal items, Know (Carpentry) for mostly wood items, Know (Sewmanship) for leather/cloth, and Know (Occult) for minor magic doohickeys.


This is awesome. Can we call this official? Mr. Green
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Merlin_Sylver
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clint wrote:

Craftsman
Requirements: Smarts d6, Repair d6

Your character is skilled at making items. He may make any item listed in the allowed gear list using raw materials equal to half the cost. It takes 1 day per $10 of the item's cost and a successful Repair roll to make it. A raise on the roll halves the time required.

A character with this Edge and a Knowledge skill appropriate to the item being made may use it as a Cooperative Roll to their own Repair roll to make the item.


In a setting where "minor" magic items can be made without having an Arcane Background, the Edge could allow that as well only requiring the creator to have Knowledge (Occult) or the equivalent. Heck, the GM could specify maybe up to four or five Knowledge skills that covered all the relevant skills needed to build items, and at least one is required to take the Edge. The character can then only build items under that Know skill, but if he takes the others, he doesn't need to take the Edge again.

Like, Know (Smithing) for mostly metal items, Know (Carpentry) for mostly wood items, Know (Sewmanship) for leather/cloth, and Know (Occult) for minor magic doohickeys.


I like this... though I had thought that the Knowledge (carpentry) would already allow the character to make wooden items.
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin_Sylver wrote:
I like this... though I had thought that the Knowledge (carpentry) would already allow the character to make wooden items.


Sure, but not with all the "enhancements" of the Edge. A real carpenter is going to have to buy wood in bulk to save on the cost, and he is probably going to have to spend more than 10 days (5 days on a raise) making a completely finished spear.

The Edge isn't really about being able to make something, but the ability to make something without setting up a small shop or business and giving up adventure.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can only buy one book, get SWEX. If you can only buy two, get SWEX and Fantasy Companion. (Unless, of course, you don't care about fantasy genre gaming... the FC is pretty tightly focussed, in a good way.)

As for your skills, I think they seem pretty reasonable. Here's my feedback on each:

Peform: Seems reasonable, although a bit weak; maybe include some rules for how this is actually used (maybe it functions like Persuasion, but takes longer, but can also be used to make money?).
Trapwork: This seems to step on the toes of Lockpicking and Repair, which I think are already slightly weak skills.
Sleight of Hand: You could do a lot of interesting things with this. I like that it can be used for tricks. Maybe you can use it in place of Agility to draw a weapon as a free action, too.
Craft: Seems redundant with Repair, which like I said tends to already be weak in a fantasy setting.

An alternative to Perform and Craft is found in the Common Knowledge rules: just use a relevant attribute or skill check. The example given (dancing) suggests not applying the bonus to this check but I think it would work better to keep the bonus. So someone with Common Knowledge (song) would get a +2 bonus on Persuasion (or Spirit?) checks made to sing, someone with Common Knowledge (blacksmithing) would get a +2 bonus on Repair (or Smarts? or Strength?) checks made to forge a sword, etc.

So I'd probably handle it that way by default, and/or allow a player to take a Talent edge to represent substantial mechanical benefits.

-- 77IM

PS. Love the Craftsman edge too!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a "Lost world" type scenario, similar to the Hollow earth books. I decided that for crafting, there wre three categores

Simple - like a raft by lashing logs togehter, makeing a spear by attaching a knife to a stick. Treat as common knowledge, roll a smarts check

complicated - dugout canoe, adding a simple sail to a raft, making a simple bow. Repair check, with penalty or bonus based on background and skills; if you don't have Boating, there's a penalty to the dugout

Very comples - building a sloop or galleon. requries Kn:(boatbuilding)

and I aded an edge, I can't remember what it's called, but the prereq was Jack of All Trades, I think it was Primitive builder
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I am all for breaking Stealth down into Stealth (Hide and move silent) and Sleight of Hand (pick pockets, palm objects, holdout, etc).

I'd actually ditch Gambling to make room for it. In my opinion, Gambling as a skill is unneeded. Knowledge of the rules would be common knowledge if the game is part of your culture. For games that are not part of your culture, Knowledge (Gambler) or Knowledge (Culture) would cover it. Bluffing for poker falls under Persuasion. Spotting a Bluff or tell would be notice. Sleight of Hand would cover palming dice and card manipulation. A gambler edge could grant bonuses and/or other benefits .
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