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Old 02-14-2020, 08:10 AM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Restricting Access to Wildcard Skills

Wildcard Skills are good for representing characters who are hypercompetent within a single broad field and, with the bonus point rules from Monster Hunter, are actually worth the points compared to attributes. However, not every character deserves Wildcard Skills, even in a cinematic/supers setting, as there should be some minimum competency required to purchase Wildcard Skills. In essence, only the best of the best should be allowed to purchase

Wildcard Skills should probably be limited to characters with a minimum of 14+ in the associated attribute or possess a related Wildcard Skill at (Attribute)+2 and who possess the advantages of Combat Reflexes and Luck. For example, a DX 14 and IQ 12 character with Combat Reflexes and Luck could purcase Guns! without issue, but they would need to increase it to 16 before they could learn Ten-Hut! Certain Wildcard Skills should be further limited to characters with Magery (in the case of Magical Wildcard Skills) or one of Gunslinger, Heroic Archer, Trained by a Master, or Weapon Master (in the case of Style! Wildcard Skills).

So, how do you restrict access to Wildcard Skills in your games? Would the above restrictions be useful in your games or are they too restrictive/too permissive? What other restrictions have you seen placed on Wildcard Skills?
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:24 AM   #2
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: Restricting Access to Wildcard Skills

I note certain unsupported "should" statements in your OP. Perhaps you could elaborate on them.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:33 AM   #3
Turhan's Bey Company
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Default Re: Restricting Access to Wildcard Skills

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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I note certain unsupported "should" statements in your OP. Perhaps you could elaborate on them.
Cosigned.

On those rare occasions I use wildcard skills, it's for mechanical simplicity. For me, they're there to use instead of, not alongside, their component skills. I restrict them essentially as a campaign setting.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:03 AM   #4
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: Restricting Access to Wildcard Skills

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Wildcard Skills should probably be limited to characters with a minimum of 14+ in the associated attribute or possess a related Wildcard Skill at (Attribute)+2
That goes against the entire point of Wildcard skills. Wildcard skills are meant to replace taking multiple related skills for someone who is skilled in a broad field.

While Wildcard skills aren't apropriate for every character, it is the GMs responsibility to look at proposed builds and approve, adjust or outright decline individual characters for use in a particular campaign. If a character in the GMs mind would not have a Wildcard skill, that character simply should not have that Wildcard skill regardless of the general availability of Wildcard skills in the campaign.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:50 AM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Restricting Access to Wildcard Skills

I generally see Wildcard Skills as a replacement for high Attributes rather than a replacement for broad Skills, though some of them are not worth the effort (such as Boat!). As for the 'should', it is just a reflection of the majority of the templates in Actions, Monster Hunter, and Supers that possess Wildcard Skills (though there are a few exceptions). While Wildcard Skills should probably not be allowed in realistic campaigns, they do fit quite well within most cinematic campaigns, and Wildcard Skills help differentiate the heroes from the zeros (and the villains from the mooks).

For example, a cinematic martial arts campaign may benefit from allowing the Style! Wildcard Skill for characters with the suggesting Attribute levels and prerequisite advantages. Each character possesses their own Style!, meaning that you have some conservation of role, but everyone is capable of kicking rear when needed. Ancient masters (and other frightening characters) might have Style! (X) up to DX+10, meaning that they will usually be able to beat the stuffing out of most PCs. The Big Bad and/or the Dragon of the campaign may have Style! up to DX+10, requiring the players to be really careful in direct confrontations, as they will likely be defeated easily if they do not have a good plan.

Last edited by AlexanderHowl; 02-14-2020 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:25 PM   #6
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Restricting Access to Wildcard Skills

Wildcard skills are for emulating those cinematic characters who have unreasonably broad skills compared to the scope of GURPS skills. Someone whose wildcard skill encompasses every Piloting skill, for instance, doesn't have to take every single possible Piloting skill individually and hope the GM doesn't introduce a vehicle type the player hadn't thought of. The wildcard Pilot! can pilot ANYTHING. Someone with Scientist! doesn't have to think of EVERY possible specialization of every science-related skill itself an impossible task for any player. Wildcard skills are not just accounting shortcuts or discounted skill packages. They cover all the stuff you couldn't possibly anticipate beforehand.

Wildcard skills should only be allowed to those characters whose character concept, agreed to by the GM, includes such a cinematically broad skill area. If the cinematic engineer wants to have Guns! wildcard skill and the GM doesn't think anyone in his or her campaign should have Guns! skill unless they are a cinematically skilled gunslinger, then the character can't have that skill. It comes down to what works in the campaign, and has nothing to do with point costs.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:11 PM   #7
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Restricting Access to Wildcard Skills

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
As for the 'should', it is just a reflection of the majority of the templates in Actions, Monster Hunter, and Supers that possess Wildcard Skills (though there are a few exceptions).
Could it not be that those genres just happen to have templates with high attributes? I don't think this is illustrative of any kind of limitation or restriction on wildcard skills. It's just that the kind of campaigns that include unrealistically broad skills also include an implausible frequency of high attribute levels, for the same reason.

Quote:
While Wildcard Skills should probably not be allowed in realistic campaigns, they do fit quite well within most cinematic campaigns,
I disagree. Not all, or even necessarily most, cinematic stories involve characters with unrealistically broad skills. Not all types of cinematic setting have the same sort of cinematic properties. If I were running, say, a Vikings hack-and-slash campaign with over the top action but a grim outlook, I would allow cinematic combat options and some cinematic advantages and disadvantages, but I wouldn't allow wildcard skills. Picked up a weapon you don't have a skill for? Too bad, here's a penalty. Go find a better weapon. Managed to impossibly avoid that death-blow? That sure was Lucky!

Quote:
and Wildcard Skills help differentiate the heroes from the zeros (and the villains from the mooks).
So do high skill levels, not using mook rules, and giving special abilities to the important characters.
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