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Old 06-21-2018, 11:42 AM   #1
Steve Jackson
President and EIC
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Unskilled rolls

If you don't have the skill for a normal weapon you can use it at -4.

GURPS extends this principle to most of its skills, though some have no "default." Depends on whether it seems reasonable that somebody could try it without training. Silent Movement, for instance - not all of us are ninja, but all of us can try to put our feet down quietly and not knock over the hatstand. Well, we can try.

TFT does something similar in some places, usually be saying the figure with the talent rolls fewer dice, but there is no overarcing rule on the order of "If you don't have the talent, the GM may let you try anyway, rolling 1 more die, if he thinks it's reasonable."

Discuss.
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:50 AM   #2
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
If you don't have the skill for a normal weapon you can use it at -4.

GURPS extends this principle to most of its skills, though some have no "default." Depends on whether it seems reasonable that somebody could try it without training. Silent Movement, for instance - not all of us are ninja, but all of us can try to put our feet down quietly and not knock over the hatstand. Well, we can try.

TFT does something similar in some places, usually be saying the figure with the talent rolls fewer dice, but there is no overarcing rule on the order of "If you don't have the talent, the GM may let you try anyway, rolling 1 more die, if he thinks it's reasonable."

Discuss.
Yes Steve, I'd allow a roll of at least +1 die depending on the activity. But I wouldn't want high Attributes to compensate for Talents or there's no point in having them. So if all the characters want to jump a high fence on their horses, the Horsemen roll 3d6, the non-horsemen 5d6. If it's only +1 die, then a high DEX figure can artificially compensate for not having the Talent.

I think your statement is Ok, but I'd probably say "at least 1 more die, if he thinks it's reasonable."
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:57 AM   #3
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

I like "roll an extra die" better than -4 because there aren't enough times when you have to roll more dice. An extra die isn't quiiite a -4, it's -3.5 on average but I think the tactility and rarity of having to roll an extra die is worth the 0.5 point gain over -4.
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:01 PM   #4
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

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Originally Posted by zot View Post
I like "roll an extra die" better than -4 because there aren't enough times when you have to roll more dice. An extra die isn't quiiite a -4, it's -3.5 on average but I think the tactility and rarity of having to roll an extra die is worth the 0.5 point gain over -4.

Thinking about it, shouldn't using a weapon without the requisite Talent be 4d6 v DEX, rather than -4?
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:04 PM   #5
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Thinking about it, shouldn't using a weapon without the requisite Talent be 4d6 v DEX, rather than -4?
That's probably how I'll be running it from now on :)
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:16 PM   #6
Jim Kane
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

I only have one mathematical point to make, and one word of warning to add for consideration on this topic:
  1. -4 DX is a more consistent penalty than +/-1d6; as 1d6 averages to 3.5, but has a proportionately huge variance within the range expected outcomes; whihc the static -4DX does not have.

  2. I would hate to see us accidentally inspire potential player-abuse, where some of the more "crafty ones" will quickly discover that it may be better to purposefully forgo certain key talents they should rightly take (and pay for) when designing their characters, and instead, elect to roll-the-dice with the wide-variance - even though they are chronically engaging that talent - all in an effort to gain other talents they rightfully should not have at a certain point total when designing their characters (aka "milking it").

My 2 cents.

JK
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:21 PM   #7
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

I agree with that Jim, but I think that's where good GMing comes in. Now I admit that's not easy and takes time to develop, so the rules need to give some guidance to newcomers but by being too prescriptive they could play into the hands of those who would unfairly manipulate the rules.

It's a tricky balancing act for Steve to get right.
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:02 PM   #8
KevinJ
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Arizona
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

Adding dice (2d-5d) might be the answer for many Untrained Talents, depending on the cost of the Talent. Chemistry might require +3 dice to do the specific thing untrained, but only +2d for some other specific use of the Chemistry talent.

I think the place many players will skimp is combat skills. Even a -4 or +1d isn't that big a detriment to a character wiuth a good dex. The 2-shot archer and master fencer could easily forgo other weapon talents because the limitation of -4 or +1d doesn't hurt their 18 DX as much as it would the 10 adjDX meat shield.
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:38 PM   #9
JLV
 
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Location: Far northern California
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

We generally went with the "roll an extra die" for most things, because "beginner's luck" often seems to really be a *thing*, and because it DID improve the player's chance of success a bit, and if the players spend all their time failing at things, they get disgusted and quit. ;-)

If the task was really complex or unfamiliar to the "normal" person in the game world (like re-loading a blunderbuss or shooting a longbow at a target), we kept the -4DX modifier or even said "you simply can't do it," depending on the task.

But of course, YMMV...
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:43 PM   #10
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
We generally went with the "roll an extra die" for most things, because "beginner's luck" often seems to really be a *thing*, and because it DID improve the player's chance of success a bit, and if the players spend all their time failing at things, they get disgusted and quit. ;-)

If the task was really complex or unfamiliar to the "normal" person in the game world (like re-loading a blunderbuss or shooting a longbow at a target), we kept the -4DX modifier or even said "you simply can't do it," depending on the task.

But of course, YMMV...
I think generally we did the same, but most of our play was at low to medium levels so the 1d penalty was enough. The problems start when characters have high attributes and can potentially ignore the fact they don't have the required Talent. And I agree that the GM can justifiably say you can't succeed at it because you just don't know what you're doing.
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