Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-01-2009, 11:20 AM   #1
ardashir
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Default 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

More dumb questions --

What ways are there for characters in a 'modern' setting (20th-21st centuries) to gain skills that should exist in pre-technological settings? I.e., the kind of things that these people do?

And how far would you let it go before you started asking for an Unusual Background? Would actual combat skills with sword and shield be okay? How about the lance (there are some groups that do actual jousting as living history), or 'period' blacksmithing or weapons-making?

Thanks again for any help.
ardashir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 12:12 PM   #2
trooper6
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Medford, MA
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

I use "Unusual Background" for really out there things. If a player comes up with a plausible background that is realistic (in a realistic game)...I let them go for it. Though I always look out for other skills/Ads/Disads that would logically follow. Like for a historical reinactor, I may suggest Claim to Hospitality (Other Reenactors), History skill, etc.
trooper6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 12:16 PM   #3
Ed the Coastie
 
Ed the Coastie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

I generally don't bother with an Unusual Background requirement. Rather, I assume that most of what the reenactors do can be summed up under the skill Hobby (Chosen Period Verisimilitude) and justified through an appropriately crafted character background. I also tend to suggest that at least a few other points be expended to reflect other period skills that the character may have picked up.

For example, many of my own modern-day characters are SCA members (an easy way to get a VERY basic grounding in medieval combat) and will generally have a point or more each in:
  • Broadsword Sport
  • Shield Sport
  • Games (SCA Heavy Combat)
  • Hobby (Chosen Period Verisimilitude)
  • Savoir-Faire (SCA)
For a more in-depth character, particularly if he might actually have to use those combat skills effectively, I may raise the Broadsword and Shield skills from their respective defaults (and place a note in the character background that he is an ARMA member), add History (Chosen Period) and a couple of craft skills -- usually Armoury (Body Armor) and Hobby (Homebrewing) -- and maybe even invest in the Anachronistic Training perk.
__________________
"It's never to early to start beefing up your obituary." -- The Most Interesting Man in the World
Ed the Coastie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 12:25 PM   #4
weby
 
weby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

Historical skills are still practiced as hobby by many people so it should not be that hard to find such people if you look for them.

Thus one can laearn many such skill by spending money and time like any hobby.

Specially crafts done the historical way are quite popular in certain circles.

As for those people in the link doing military stuff, well most such recreations tend to have anacronisms, regardless of how hard they try to be real. But many of the skills one uses for such are learnable..

Want to learn ancient strategy: read history and boardgame them.. (you would still have a familiarity penalty doing them for real ofcourse)

Want to learn to use a sword: Learn the sport skill Kendo.

And so on..
weby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 12:27 PM   #5
aesir23
 
aesir23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: China
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

I've known a lot of reenactors and experimental archaeologists.
Plenty of real world people know craft skills at below their own tech level.

I had an archaeology professor with high levels of Armory (Missile Weapons) TL 3 and Spear Thrower, he held an annual atlatl competition with several neighboring archaeology departments. In the event of a zombie apocalypse or unexpected time travel, he's certainly no better off than a modern bow hunter or martial arts instructor.

If someone wants to play such a character, and their background is appropriate to the campaign, I won't charge them any points for it. It isn't particularly game breaking for someone to buy brewing or armory skills several TLs below their own, and I'm not convinced that a SCA stick jock with several points in Sword and Shield Fighting (possibly with Sport skills instead of combat, but not necessarily) has a significant advantage over a TL 8 police officer.

[EDIT] My archaeology professor actually had armory for TL 0, not 3.

Last edited by aesir23; 06-02-2009 at 12:36 PM.
aesir23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 12:36 PM   #6
NorphTehDwarf
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

And let's not forget simple age. My grandfather has several Electronics Operation/TL6-7 specialties, because he learned them back during the War.
NorphTehDwarf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 02:22 PM   #7
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

Unusual Background is the catch-all charge to compensate for advantages that are, um, unusually advantageous in a particular campaign because they're generally unheard of. The textbook example is a magic-user in the modern world, which doesn't believe in magic, and thus has a complete lack of magical defenses, counterspells, and so on.

UB is not used simply for rarity. Not a lot of people learn how to smith these days, but putting points into Smithing doesn't have extra powers because of that. It's unusual simply because the skill will often be a "waste of points" from the modern point of view.

Keep in mind that fictional heroes are usually unusual.
Anaraxes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 02:27 PM   #8
The Colonel
 
The Colonel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weby View Post

Want to learn to use a sword: Learn the sport skill Kendo.

And so on..
I'd go with kenjutsu personally - kendo will teach you to use a katana about as well as European fencing will teach you to use a smallsword or sabre.
And there are at least two or three martial arts associations out there teaching Western fighting styles - AEMMA and AERMA spring to mind, and I think there's a Norse one as well. And don't some of the Amerindian tribes do a traditional warrior skills school for their kids?
The Colonel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 03:54 PM   #9
ardashir
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed the Coastie View Post
For a more in-depth character, particularly if he might actually have to use those combat skills effectively, I may raise the Broadsword and Shield skills from their respective defaults (and place a note in the character background that he is an ARMA member), add History (Chosen Period) and a couple of craft skills -- usually Armoury (Body Armor) and Hobby (Homebrewing) -- and maybe even invest in the Anachronistic Training perk.
May I know just ARMA is?
ardashir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 05:05 PM   #10
Darkclaw
 
Darkclaw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lurkerville...
Default Re: 'Historical' skills for modern characters?

ARMA is the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, probably the largest and most controversial of any of the organizations that practice and study Historical European Martial Arts.
__________________
"The dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."
T.E. Lawrence
Darkclaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.