What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

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What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  LoganAura on Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:22 pm

I've noticed that some skills seem to fall to the wayside (Endurance), or appear to be limited to one area (Arcana and magecraft).

I thought it'd be fair to give examples where someone could use various skills, and this thread is open for others to put places you think you'd use certian skills.

For example:
Athletics could be used to push a boulder along a track.
Endurance might be used to keep yourself from succumbing to a poison's effects.
Acrobatics would probably be used for parkour and free-running like things
Stealth could be used to sneak your way past guards.
Mechanics would probably be used for tweaking with a technological device..
History could be used to compare the architecture of a building with the other buildings.
Heal might be used when analyzing how the immune system in an unknown body works.
Arcana would possibly be used to learn the past usages of a particular spell
Persuasion might be a tool for intimidation.
Perception could be used for noticing minute details off about a disguise before you wear it yourself
Streetwise could be used to analyze the best place to buy parts for specific devices.

Anyone have any other ways?

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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Ramsus on Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:31 pm

I pretty much use Streetwise as if it were also Survival since there's no actual skill for that and there's very little time where the skill could be used as both.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:15 pm

I don't think it's much of a secret that "Perception is Best Pony" though what's interesting is to think why. This system's perception stat notices both physical object details and personality aspects which is usually split in two in other systems (though a GM may give small situational bonuses to one if you're freakishly high in the other). One thing I've done in a game I'm GMing elsewhere is have the History skill be used for researching books and documents while Perception notice details on the document itself. It's a two part concept of needing to actually understand what you're looking at (Knowledge) and that one of the players has a CM in History.

I think Endurance really comes down to how many diseases, curses, and adverse weather conditions exist in the campaign. Though there's also situations where being pushed, especially if you're surprised, should be Endurance.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Zarhon on Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:44 pm

Athletics is pretty straightforward - anything an athlete would do, sports, muscle...

Endurance is picky - rulebooks states is pretty much ONLY for physical aspects of enduring something, so stuff that tires you out or otherwise harms your body. Magic and willpower don't add up to it, excluding "willpower to resist pain".

Acrobatics is pretty much balance, and other "body movement" related activities like leaping, throwing something...

Stealth is pretty much just that - anything that needs to avoid attention or notice.

Mechanics is machinery, tool use/work, constructions, architecture, physics knowledge...

History is more or less "lore" - anything written down as information, books, tales, fables, or simply recalling memories or rumors of past (e.g. newspaper articles).

Heal apparently is about medicinal knowledge or identifying aliments, and technically would be tied to healing injuries, but not for combat-related purposes (excluding "comatose", which needs a few minutes of such).

Arcana is the go-to skill for *anything* magical, including casting, or even defending against such (resist mind control, for example). It's pretty much the only thing linked to magical activity, outside of maybe written spells.

Persuasion is talking and convincing others, or simply lying.

Perception is pretty much essential, as you use it for EVERYTHING - you can't tell what you're dealing with otherwise, since you have to look at it first, or otherwise inspect it or see details about it.

Perhaps streetwise could be considered as "intuition"? Gain a hunch, or insight on something that's vaguely defined? Figure out if someone is being honest, or scamming you? Granted, that counts a perception as well... In other uses, it's learning of shady town secrets, less-known knowledge, urban oddities... Maybe even as an alternative to persuasion for liars.


From my experiences, I've seen:

1) Arcana being entirely overused whenever magic is common (as it's the only skill to represent it properly).
2) Endurance being extremely rarely used or useful, and generally hard / impossible to actively use. Crits are also tricky, since there's little room to "improve" on them. Overall, the least fun skill to have, focus, or improve upon.
3) Streetwise being used to decent effect once or twice, but never outside of a town/urban area, and usually the same ways (find someone, find a location in a town, find some shady areas/persons).
4) Precision being used without modifiers, as neither acrobatics nor mechanics can be rationalized for something that requires accuracy (e.g. aiming a gun, trying to punch someone in a specific part of the body...).
5) Heal being finicky from game to game, with different agreements on how healing checks and combat mix.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:16 pm

Zarhon wrote:Arcana is the go-to skill for *anything* magical, including casting, or even defending against such (resist mind control, for example). It's pretty much the only thing linked to magical activity, outside of maybe written spells.

See, as a GM I'd allow someone to attempt to resist some magical affects using Endurance.  Perhaps official definitions should allow this?

Perhaps streetwise could be considered as "intuition"? Gain a hunch, or insight on something that's vaguely defined? Figure out if someone is being honest, or scamming you? Granted, that counts a perception as well... In other uses, it's learning of shady town secrets, less-known knowledge, urban oddities... Maybe even as an alternative to persuasion for liars.

Streetwise being used to decent effect once or twice, but never outside of a town/urban area, and usually the same ways (find someone, find a location in a town, find some shady areas/persons).

Perhaps it should be renamed Intuition.  I find it odd that people would use it in such a limited fashion since it's the type of thing you could get tons of mileage out of from the right GM.  I wonder if the name is why people are only using it in urban areas.

Precision being used without modifiers, as neither acrobatics nor mechanics can be rationalized for something that requires accuracy (e.g. aiming a gun, trying to punch someone in a specific part of the body...).

The description for Mechanics makes it sound like manual dexterity so it would be the skill that needs to be used for accuracy.  I really am wondering if a few of these need renaming for better clarification.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:32 am

Arcana is magical knowledge. Endurance should be used to resist magical effects (unless, of course, you're trying to counterspell them with magecraft or it's a mental thing you're trying to resist).

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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Zarhon on Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:41 am

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Arcana is magical knowledge. Endurance should be used to resist magical effects (unless, of course, you're trying to counterspell them with magecraft or it's a mental thing you're trying to resist).

This needs a clarification then - there ain't anything suggesting endurance is for anything non-physical or non-body related.

What do "mental assaults" count as? Persuasion? Arcana? Endurance?
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Ramsus on Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:44 pm

What do you mean by "mental assault"? If it's a straight up psychic mind blast, probably Arcana or Endurance. If it's an illusion, Perception or Arcana. If it's a mind control spell, probably Perception, Endurance, or Arcana. If it's telepathic white noise, probably those last three again.

Edit: The above was for resisting. As for performing the act... probably either Persuasion or Arcana (or both depending on what you're doing).
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:47 pm

Endurance is about enduring anything physical, whether the source is magical or not.

If you're resisting something mental - a straight Sense or Knowledge check works fine; though you can also use any other skill that makes sense in the context (a mental battle based on force of personality, clever mind-tricks and similar might be represented by Persuasion for example).

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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:25 pm

I think many of these could stand to be reworded for clarity and inclusiveness of portions of the game.  So my suggestions would be:

Revised Skill Descriptions Proposal:
Brawn
Athletics: Climbing a mountain, leaping onto a passing train, any physically taxing action performed with raw strength.  Can often overlap with Acrobatics - as both raw athletic ability or precise skill could let one dodge a falling object.  However, Athletics couldn't be used to walk on a narrow wire - that takes balance and precision.
Endurance: Physically resisting any number of negative effects such as disease, poison, prolonged hunger, harsh environmental conditions, or even some magical effects.


Precision
Stealth: Attempting to undertake just about any action while trying to avoid someone noticing.
Mechanics: Various feats of manual dexterity and coordination ranging from from picking a lock to building a machine or even lining up your aim.
Acrobatics: Tumbling, leaping, balancing - physically taxing acts performed with precision. Can often overlap with Athletics - as both raw athletic ability or precise skill could let one climb a mountain. However, Acrobatics couldn’t be used to hold a door shut - that takes raw force.


Knowledge
Arcana: Knowledge about magic, like identifying what type of spell is being cast.  Can be used to counter an active magical effect though high rolls or specialized talents may be required for many particularly powerful spells.
History: Knowing recent history, ancient history, cultural practices, legends, and lore.  Can also be used as a general researching skill for trying to discover new information.
Heal: Treating out of combat wounds, helping an ally fight off poison and disease, providing long term medical care, and overall medical knowledge.


Sense/Horse-Sense
Perception: Noticing things, ranging from physical details to changes in someone's mood.  Can allow you to spot a distant object or see through someone's attempt to deceive you.
Persuasion: Persuading someone of something, whether through diplomacy, intimidation, or lies.
Streetwise: Figuring out how things work through natural intuition or sixth sense.  You can find seedier parts of town, figure out the safest way to navigate a dungeon's traps, and generally be at the right place at the right time.

Personally, I think "Heal" could stand to be renamed to "Medicine" since it's care and knowledge as opposed to laying glowy hands on people.  The rest should be fine with their original names with the new descriptions.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Nice input. Redescribing skills is definitely one of the things on our agenda. Interestingly, we'd talked about renaming Heal to Medicine already - so definitely with you there. However, it might make the skill too narrow flavor-wise...

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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:39 pm

ZamuelNow wrote:Athletics: Climbing a mountain, leaping onto a passing train, any physically taxing action performed with raw strength.  Can often overlap with Acrobatics - as both raw athletic ability or precise skill could let one dodge a falling object.  However, Athletics couldn't be used to walk on a narrow wire - that takes balance and precision.
I don't agree with the thought that there should be things that Acrobatics can do that Athletics can not. I think it was designed so Athletics can do everything Acrobatics can and more, which is why it was tied with the 100% Situational Endurance while Acrobatics is tied to the Godlike Stealth and the Pretty Cool To Have Mechanics...

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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:19 pm

Paper Shadow wrote:I don't agree with the thought that there should be things that Acrobatics can do that Athletics can not. I think it was designed so Athletics can do everything Acrobatics can and more, which is why it was tied with the 100% Situational Endurance while Acrobatics is tied to the Godlike Stealth and the Pretty Cool To Have Mechanics...

I disagree with that. Conceptually, there simply are things that are balance and motor skill oriented that raw muscle aren't meant for. In a typical adventure campaign they may be less common but they do come up. Besides, a well rounded athlete is probably going to be 9/9 or 10/8 in Brawn and Precision anyways. The other thing is that I don't see Endurance as situational at all, just somewhat poorly described and woefully underutilized. The sheer fact that no one uses it to resist at least some magical effects says a lot.

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Nice input. Redescribing skills is definitely one of the things on our agenda. Interestingly, we'd talked about renaming Heal to Medicine already - so definitely with you there. However, it might make the skill too narrow flavor-wise...

Well, considering resurrection uses the Heal stat, the name is probably is fine as is. The sheer act of updating the descriptions will help out a number of these.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:49 pm

ZamuelNow wrote:
Paper Shadow wrote:I don't agree with the thought that there should be things that Acrobatics can do that Athletics can not. I think it was designed so Athletics can do everything Acrobatics can and more, which is why it was tied with the 100% Situational Endurance while Acrobatics is tied to the Godlike Stealth and the Pretty Cool To Have Mechanics...
I disagree with that.  Conceptually, there simply are things that are balance and motor skill oriented that raw muscle aren't meant for.  In a typical adventure campaign they may be less common but they do come up.  Besides, a well rounded athlete is probably going to be 9/9 or 10/8 in Brawn and Precision anyways.  The other thing is that I don't see Endurance as situational at all, just somewhat poorly described and woefully underutilized.  The sheer fact that no one uses it to resist at least some magical effects says a lot.
Endurance is so situational that it is considered balanced that there is a passive utility talent which allows you to roll twice on all Endurance rolls, and even then it is rare that you see it on a player. It's a reactionary skill; it requires the GM to throw it at the player. For pretty much every other skill a player can say "I want to roll X here". There is no active use for Endurance. I'm not saying it is useless, but you'll see it far less than Stealth checks...
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:57 am

I really gotta wonder what GMs do here. Are there really no exploratory campaigns or enemies who spread illness? While it's true that you can't actively use it, being passive also means you can't forget it. The GM will explicitly tell you to roll for it while even someone with good eyesight can miss details. Also, you can "actively" use it by putting yourself in situations where it can be used like running back into the burning building to save someone or volunteering to be the one to carry the hazardous artifact.

I mean, the fact that Perception is essentially two skills combined means it'll probably always be best. I'm just shocked Endurance isn't somewhere around the number 3 spot.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Ramsus on Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:53 am

Endurance can also be used whenever you do anything for a really long time. Still, there's enough overlap that people can often get away with using some other skill. Really, skills aren't all equally good in every campaign. It really depends on your setting and the GM.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Zarhon on Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:24 am

The problem with endurance is that it is extremely passive - you can't actively do almost anything with it, you have to wait for the DM to use it on you and tell you to roll it. Getting crits on that is non-exciting as well (and CMC's are sort of hard to make awesome unless something extremely dangerous is involved).

I say that endurance should be tied to "body mass/pain tolerance" skills to make it more active - athletic acts that most ponies would not be able to do due to them being unpleasant or them not being tolerant enough to pain - for instance, not using a tool, but using your bare hooves/hands (painful, but possible). Or ramming a door with your body or head (possibly painful or ineffective), or smashing through a window, or simply trials in stubbornness/willpower/patience (e.g. staring contest or bracing yourself to be immovable).
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Ramsus on Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:23 am

I'm not sure anyone ever said you couldn't use it like that. Mostly just that anyone who wants to do those things probably took Athletics instead. As for CMCs being non-special with Endurance, yeah that's true (though you could CMC Endure running over lava or something and that'd be pretty amazing) but, it's not the biggest deal as, as far as I've seen almost every GM on the forum pretty much massively downplays how awesome CMCs are supposed to be. Often this is because there's just nothing for the CMC to do that would be more impressive than great success but, I've also seen & heard of CMCs getting results that were not all that impressive (heck, I've gotten ones I don't consider even worthy of a nat20 effect) or results that weren't at all what the character who got them really wanted to accomplish. (Seriously, of the CMCs I've gotten the only ones that stick in my mind were 1) trying to turn clouds into grasping smoke and instead lighting the sky on fire and 2) attempting to reason with people and instead blasting them with sticky rainbow goo and terrifying them into talking. And this isn't because I've not gotten other CMCs. I've just gotten completely bland results from them that weren't in any way really better than "you succeeded".)
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:03 pm

Is the name "Streetwise" hurting it in people's opinion and use of it? Intuition seems more broad and with the Living Legends half of the system, it would seem better for a fantasy setting.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Ramsus on Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:08 pm

Intuition doesn't sound very different from Sense. It doesn't really imply anything in specific the way Streetwise does.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:05 pm

My thought is that it probably shouldn't. Granted, neither Streetwise nor History have any utility talents buffing them but all skills except Perception should probably err on the side of being more broad. Perception, as built, is by far one of the most useful skills and I'd go as far as to say it's the one with the most capacity to break a campaign.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  Ramsus on Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:10 pm

I don't see how Perception can break a campaign any more than any other skill can. The GM still decides what information the skill gets.
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Re: What are some ways to use each of the subskills?

Post  ZamuelNow on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:02 am

I'm probably coming from a skewed perspective due to a tabletop I'm in for a different system. Got a player there with freakishly high Perception who tends to roll well and has super senses so it tends to negate plot by reducing the number of surprises and mysteries in any given situation. And that's for a system where it has object/detail perception and emotional insight as separate skills rather than the fused one here. Even if it doesn't outright break things, there's a sizable "knowledge is power" aspect to it that's even greater than the actual Knowledge stat since it gives you the ability to prepare for things.
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