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Old 08-29-2018, 03:13 PM   #71
Tenex
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

You know, another problem with the Woodsman talent, as written, is the overlap with common life skills in a peasant/medieval/fantasy setting. A peasant in the Middle Ages would have known a lot more about gathering edible plants, constructing a waterproof shelter and starting a fire with primitive methods than the common man today.

I think a lot of modern readers look at the Woodsman skill and think "oh cool". But some/many of the abilities aren't really beyond what a common average IQ 9 peasant should have had back then.

All I'm arguing for here is some useful abilities to be defined in the skill so it isn't so ambiguous.
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Old 08-29-2018, 03:17 PM   #72
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Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

I think another argument can be made, purely from a literary view point, that the idealization of "woodsman" was not as common as you might think in the medieval setting.

The fact that many of our stories which date from this time have a unique character identified as "the woodsman" implies that being a woodsman, even then, meant something special.
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Old 08-29-2018, 04:10 PM   #73
Tenex
 
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Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

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Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
I think another argument can be made, purely from a literary view point, that the idealization of "woodsman" was not as common as you might think in the medieval setting.

The fact that many of our stories which date from this time have a unique character identified as "the woodsman" implies that being a woodsman, even then, meant something special.
Yeah, so I agree with this, but that just means the Woodsman talent needs some specifically articulated "advanced" skills because for it to mean anything at all it must go beyond common peasant knowledge.

I believe the common peasant knew how to find common edible plants, snare small game, fix his thatch (or whatever) roof and build a fire without matches.
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Old 08-29-2018, 06:21 PM   #74
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Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenex View Post
You know, another problem with the Woodsman talent, as written, is the overlap with common life skills in a peasant/medieval/fantasy setting. A peasant in the Middle Ages would have known a lot more about gathering edible plants, constructing a waterproof shelter and starting a fire with primitive methods than the common man today.

I think a lot of modern readers look at the Woodsman skill and think "oh cool". But some/many of the abilities aren't really beyond what a common average IQ 9 peasant should have had back then.

All I'm arguing for here is some useful abilities to be defined in the skill so it isn't so ambiguous.
Woodsman Talent is IQ=11. Average Joe Peasant is probably IQ=10 or 9. Sure they may know some of the things mentioned. And as a generic activity, they probably wouldn't need to worry about rolling when it is within 5 miles of their home. (I would grant them that.)

However, this is a skill that can be used in the woods, mountains, desert... most any domain. (I would grant them finding stuff under normal situations, but only when it is important would I have the Woodsman roll on this skill.)
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Old 08-29-2018, 06:54 PM   #75
Tenex
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

Charles, JPG,

So my issue is, aside from "making fire in the rain", the Woodsman skills as articulated in the talent description are pretty benign. "Find edible plants" and "build a camp". This is kind of in the common peasant category.

As far as city dwellers go, even they are going to be making fires in their fireplaces without matches. The nature of a "city-dweller" is also up in the air. City-Dweller in 1200 AD means something considerably different than today, although I confess to not being an expert on the middle-ages or Renaissance.

The written description of Woodsman does not articulate an ability to "survive in a blizzard in the dead of winter without shelter, food, etc."

And as far as "Advanced Woodsman" or Woodsman 2 or whatever... That is the issue being debated. Steve Jackson and others don't think there is a need for Woodsman 2. Furthermore, among those who think it's a good idea, there is no consensus on what the skills should be.
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Old 08-30-2018, 01:00 AM   #76
zot
 
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Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
TFT has 3 stats (plus MA), and there is just no way to accept that and move on unless you consider each to be an umbrella category of a variety of things. Effectively, IQ is a measure of how good you are at things that the game stipulates depend on IQ rather than ST or DX. Of course you can make games with more granular stats, and there are literally hundreds of examples to choose from. But that isn't the design of TFT.
Using the middle-valued attribute (whatever that happens to be) doesn't require any extra stats but makes more balanced characters better at certain things than heavily specialized characters would be. It gives you one "virtual attribute" that the GM can use for things they deem appropriate.

One problem with TFT using IQ for social interaction, courage, perception, etc. is that wizards end up excelling at those things. I think using "M" (middle-valued attribute) fixes the tilt towards wizards and opens up new possibilities without adding any complexity to the game. Because it's the middle one, it only has half the variance of a "real" attribute but it still starts on the hump of the bell curve so it should respond properly to talents. Nils' simulation results had a wide range of M values among participants at all levels of success.
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:30 AM   #77
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Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

Woodsman talent buys you several concrete benefits during overland travel that are more or less equivalent to what Aragorn does for the Fellowship when they are wandering around in the wilderness. Whatever medieval peasants did or didn't know about nuts and berries, it feels like a good move to have a talent that represents a special level of skill at this sort of thing.
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:39 PM   #78
Tenex
 
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Default Re: The Woodsman Talent

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Originally Posted by Charles G. View Post
Your extensive reply.
Without belaboring the point, I think people seriously underestimate what a peasant knew about living with the land and the seasons. However, I concede that the peasant would not know about a variety of environments.

I think you've got some good points there. As I think about it I find that I'm not as committed to a Woodsman 2 as I thought, but it would require a lot of clarification of the basic Woodsman talent. I think some of the skills I noted in my post #46 need to be addressed, although those could come in a basic Woodsman talent or a reworked Naturalist.

For clarification, my point about city-dwellers was only regarding firemaking. They are all going to know how to gather dry wood, identify suitable tinder of various types and use a flint & steel. They'll know how to coax a fire to life from a coal, the difference in how various species of wood burn by heat and speed, the uses of dry wood vs. green wood and how to identify a half dozen types of local wood. Everyone in that society used fire on a near-daily basis, city dweller or not.

Part of my problem with the talent is the ambiguity of the skills. It says skilled in living off the land without rations and camping equipment. That's different from "naked into the wilderness". That could be interpreted as meaning a Woodsman needs some basic tools like a knife, flint or more. Those are two different levels of skill or at least an added die to an attempt to do something.

Last edited by Tenex; 08-31-2018 at 08:59 AM.
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