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 07-11-2018, 10:09 AM   #11
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

The plausible minimum for me is probably three skills:
  1. A hobby. This could imply an actual Hobby Skill, but it might be something else: Combat Sport (if you study karate at the gym), Connoisseur, Dancing, Driving (if your idea of fun is cruising around in your lowrider all day), Games, Musical Instrument, Sports, Swimming, . . . almost anything. Those old guys who sit on the park bench all day, every day would take Area Knowledge or Current Affairs of some sort as a hobby, for instance.

  2. An occupation. This might require a Professional Skill, a trade (Carpentry, Masonry, etc.), or something else: Driving for a cabbie, Housekeeping for a maid, Panhandling for a beggar, Savoir-Faire for a trust-fund kid, and so on. If it's how you obtain your money – or the necessities of life directly – it counts.

  3. A lifestyle. The relevant skill covers negotiating your daily life, whether that's Carousing for staggering through booze-filled nights, Housekeeping to fetch the groceries and heat up food, Streetwise to avoid getting stabbed, Urban Survival to sleep in the streets, or something else.
Plenty of hobbies, occupations, and lifestyles demand multiple skills. In practice, it's hard to be a card-playing, hard-drinking cabbie in a big city if you don't have all of Area Knowledge, Carousing, Driving, Gambling, Games, Streetwise, and maybe a bit of Intimidation or Merchant for collecting certain fares. Interesting people are likely to have six to nine skills.

Which has nothing to do with the heroes of adventures, of course. Those are generally not only interesting people, but also exceptional ones.

Even a "pure combat monster" in fantasy will want a Melee Weapon skill and Shield; Knife for backup; a ranged combat skill; Fast-Draw for their melee weapon, knife, and/or ammo; and unarmed striking and grappling skills. That's seven to nine skills just for violence, and their friends will likely insist that they also take Climbing, Hiking, and Stealth so they're not a liability. Now we're up to 10-12 skills, and the GM might be unwilling to accept the character if there's no context, be that Armoury for a mercenary who has to look after his own gear, Leadership and/or Tactics for a captain, or Riding and Savoir-Faire for a knight. Call it a dozen skills.

The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying game offers a good case study. That game has a greatly condensed skill list relative to GURPS. Even so, discounting spells, the 15 pregenerated characters for it have 17-31 skills apiece, with 22 skills being the mean and median, and one of the modes. So heroes are going to be boasting close to two-dozen skills even in narrowly focused campaigns such as those featuring little but dungeon crawls. I'd expect even higher numbers for broad-focus campaigns where the PCs must be self-reliant and ready for anything: Age of Sail explorers, modern-day commandos or spies, futuristic space crew, etc.
__________________
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My LiveJournal [Just GURPS News][Just The Company]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 10:36 AM   #12
tanksoldier
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by scc View Post
Housekeeping, because they need to eat and keep their apartment clean.
Navigation (Land) so you can find your way around.
Area Knowledge, how can you not know stuff about the city you live in?
Current Affairs, at the very least for NYC, also possible a state and national or even international versions depending upon how much you keep up with the news.
Computer Operation, you live in the 21st century after all, you can use a computer.
Savoir-Faire or Streetwise, you can talk to people right?
Hiking, Driving, or Bicycling, you have some means of getting around.
Accounting assuming you can balance a checkbook and aren't living paycheck to paycheck.
Administration or maybe something like Bureaucracy, because you have to deal with the government at some point
Urban Survival, enough said..
GURPS explicitly states that most people get by on their defaults. It also states that doing the same repetitive tasks in a job or that you normally do counts for 1/4 (I think) training time. Some people after years of driving might have a few points in it. MOST people are operating at or near default in driving.

Few people I’ve encountered know who their city councilmen or aldermen are, few know who their state legislators are, a few might know federal legislators or what district they are in. Very few know any alternate route from their work to their house, even when several exist.

Navigation would imply being able to navigate other places than where you live... most people get around by going places they ha e already been, taking the same street, riding the same train... that’s not navigation. If they are really good at it and know all the lines and so on it might be a point in area knowledge.

Now, all that said I like my characters to have a broad experience so I usually do have many one and two point skills, but the average real life person doesn’t. Whether characters should depends on the flavor of the game...

There was another thread or post somewhere about “critical skills” or some such that every character should have for emergencies: fast talk, escape, forced entry + some others. I like that idea but I always require that a player justify out of character skills or abilities. How did your librarian learn to kick in doors?

I should also add that the games I played or run in GURPS seem low powered compared to many described here. We usually play at the 150 point level and occasionally 250. Attributes over 14 require unusual background, and we use the book definition of skill levels: 12 is some training or talented beginner, 14 is federal agent level firearms skill (which we take to mean someone who often might have to shoot somebody for a living), and 18 as the best shooter of a generation. the skill levels rarely exceed 16 and never 18 so far... usually 15-16 for main combat skills and 14 ish for supporting skills and 12-10 for hobby and background skills.

A recent college graduate with a BS is Chemistry probably has Chemistry 12, Physics-10, and Mathematics ((Applied)-10.

Quote:
like Sex Appeal for women
I think I begin to see OP’s difficulty.

Quote:
A few of these I expect a majority to have 1 point in; most people probably do in Housekeeping, and one of those transportation skills, though it's certainly possible not to. Others (like Area Knowledge o
I have responded to a tidy house exactly once. Most people do not keep tidy houses or apartments... not messed up from a fight or whatever, just normally and obviously untidy and unclean.

Last edited by tanksoldier; 07-11-2018 at 11:05 AM.
tanksoldier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 10:59 AM   #13
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying game offers a good case study. That game has a greatly condensed skill list relative to GURPS. Even so, discounting spells, the 15 pregenerated characters for it have 17-31 skills apiece, with 22 skills being the mean and median, and one of the modes. So heroes are going to be boasting close to two-dozen skills even in narrowly focused campaigns such as those featuring little but dungeon crawls. I'd expect even higher numbers for broad-focus campaigns where the PCs must be self-reliant and ready for anything: Age of Sail explorers, modern-day commandos or spies, futuristic space crew, etc.

I compared Action to this. Its templates have 14 to 25 skills, with 19 as the median and one of the two modes... but they also have 20 points set aside for lenses, and at least half of those are likely to be spent on points.


Monster hunters ranges from 19 to 30 skills, with 24 as the average and the median. (there is some variability in here, but not too much).
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 11:28 AM   #14
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post

I compared Action to this. Its templates have 14 to 25 skills, with 19 as the median and one of the two modes... but they also have 20 points set aside for lenses, and at least half of those are likely to be spent on points.

Monster hunters ranges from 19 to 30 skills, with 24 as the average and the median. (there is some variability in here, but not too much).
All told, "around two-dozen skills" seems typical for the heroes in genres with a sharp focus on a relatively narrow mission: dungeon-crawling, shooting and car chases, hunting monsters, etc. That's supported by the relevant supplements and jibes well with my hands-on experience.

I can find less to back up my argument in broad-focus campaigns, but in my secret-agents game, the range was 31-48 skills, the mean was 41, and the median was 45. I'd say "three to four dozen skills" would be fair there.

I wouldn't call any of these figures a "minimum" in the usual sense. Still, when I'm the GM, these figures would establish a cutoff below which I'd start looking more closely at the character to see whether the player had sacrificed skills to load up on attributes, advantages, and all the rest. I'd certainly have a lot of trouble with a dungeon delver who had only around 10 skills, or a supposed international man of mystery with maybe 20.

Part of this, of course, is because a good skill base is an important part of what makes a hero more than just a cog, like the lesser fortune-seekers and troubleshooters they're called in to replace, and like the generic opposition they face in droves.
__________________
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My LiveJournal [Just GURPS News][Just The Company]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 12:33 PM   #15
evileeyore
 
evileeyore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: 100 hurricane swamp
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by scc View Post
Some people in my recent thread about the Magic seem to think characters shouldn't have very many skills, one person saying a character should have between 4 and 10, and I believe another saying that if a character has more then 15 skills the GM should be looking over the campaign, lets look at how wrong this was.
I don't think it's 'wrong', but it is a different style of play.


For me, I go skill heavy. My Characters, and my Player's Characters tend cover a lot of bases, because we don't want to be rolling at default.

Our Characters are Big Damn Heroes, and BDH don't flub simple tasks because they are rolling at defaults*.


* Unless they want to fail for humour sake or other reasons.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
-One consider that most people operate at default, or at most a dabbler perk on most day-to-day skills, with a full skill point (or more) reserved to notably skilled people.
-the other consider that anyone using a skill more than occasionally have at least a dabbler skill, with a full point gained very fast as soon as you start using it regularly. Higher level being harder to earn.
Actually I do fall into the first camp. But as mentioned above, my group isn't playing "The Boring Routine Of Realistic People".

We're BDH and we require Big Damn Skills.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Part of this, of course, is because a good skill base is an important part of what makes a hero more than just a cog, like the lesser fortune-seekers and troubleshooters they're called in to replace, and like the generic opposition they face in droves.
I couldn't agree more.
__________________
Feel free to steal, borrow, fold, spindle, mutilate any rule, advantage, etc I come up with it.
evileeyore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 12:49 PM   #16
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

About Computer Operations, with the number of PEBCAKs, Layer 8 and ID10T errors I've been called to fix, I believe most people who operate computers use the skill at Default.

I just happen to have a high IQ and thus a higher default than most people, hence why I pass for a computer expert among my family despite knowing next to nothing about computers.

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.
WaterAndWindSpirit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 04:43 PM   #17
weby
 
weby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

I do not know about "minimum", but campaign style and point definitely matters a great deal. There is a huge difference between a low point short game and long running high point game.

In my long running fantasy game player characters currently have 210-252 skills each... But I have run campaigns where the characters have only about a dozen skills.

That large number of skills in the current campaign is the result of having quite many points(3206-3567), long running campaign(311 sessions now) and fairly low attribute caps. That has caused them to try to have at least one point in each skill they may have to use as defaults are fairly low and the points and time to get them.
__________________
--
weby's gaming stuff: http://weby.roto.nu
weby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 04:54 PM   #18
weby
 
weby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
About Computer Operations, with the number of PEBCAKs, Layer 8 and ID10T errors I've been called to fix, I believe most people who operate computers use the skill at Default.

I just happen to have a high IQ and thus a higher default than most people, hence why I pass for a computer expert among my family despite knowing next to nothing about computers.

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.
I would slightly disagree, I run a computer services company and have been doing such in slightly different forms from 1994. While no longer our core business we do offer basic computer support to companies.

One of the reasons why it is no longer a core business is because the average computer user in a company is a LOT better at doing normal basic things.

Some of it is that computers have gotten somewhat easier to use, but a lot of it is that most users actually can do basic troubleshooting, installation and such tasks fairly well. They do not really usually know why they are doing the things they are doing and they definitely are taking extra time and such, but that is what skill 10 is after all(average human with one point in computer operation), it does not make you professional in it.
__________________
--
weby's gaming stuff: http://weby.roto.nu
weby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 05:13 PM   #19
Rupert
 
Rupert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wellington, NZ
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
I wouldn't call any of these figures a "minimum" in the usual sense. Still, when I'm the GM, these figures would establish a cutoff below which I'd start looking more closely at the character to see whether the player had sacrificed skills to load up on attributes, advantages, and all the rest. I'd certainly have a lot of trouble with a dungeon delver who had only around 10 skills, or a supposed international man of mystery with maybe 20.
Back in 3e, with the default 100+40+5 point builds and the age based cap on points in skills, I'd also look askance at someone with less than their character's age in skill points. In my experience, most PCs had around 20-25 points in skills, and most skills had 1/2 or 1 point in them with only a couple of (usually combat) skills with more than that. Thus they would've had around 15 skills.

These days, I'm running a game that's gone from 150-point characters to 350-400 points for a new character and the PCs still in play from the early days run at 1000-1150 points. The number of skills ranges from 66 on the lowest point character (470 points, 136 in skills) to 90-100 for the higher point characters (with a mean of ~6 points per skill). The players still run into situations where their characters are lacking skills they want them to have.
__________________
Rupert Boleyn

"A pessimist is an optimist with a sense of history."
Rupert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 05:32 PM   #20
mr beer
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: Minimum Skill Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by weby View Post
Some of it is that computers have gotten somewhat easier to use, but a lot of it is that most users actually can do basic troubleshooting, installation and such tasks fairly well. They do not really usually know why they are doing the things they are doing and they definitely are taking extra time and such, but that is what skill 10 is after all(average human with one point in computer operation), it does not make you professional in it.
I don't know, I have no computer skill as such but I can perform some basic tasks that you list (installation, troubleshooting etc.) by following instructions which appear in front of me when I either click the relevant icon or Google my problem. So I think that computers are easier to use and also systems support is easier, in that the internet provides a giant user manual.
mr beer 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 06:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.