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Old 06-21-2018, 03:48 PM   #11
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

I understand some people prefer that all changes in odds be handled as stat modifiers, but I have always used changes in numbers of dice rolled as my main way of varying the level of difficulty for tasks, leaving stat modifiers to the few idiosyncratic rules that would be too hard to change (like armor, or the RAW for missile weapon ranges - though the latter would be a good place to simplify by switching to added dice rolled per range category!).

For the specific issue of unskilled rolls, I always use the 'add 1 die' rule, unless one is discussing some very exotic skill that can't be meaningfully attempted by the uninitiated. I've been very satisfied with this approach.

More generally, I find TFT improves in playability and simplicity when you do everything you can to replace all modifiers larger than ±2 with one or more die additions/subtractions. I use this for multi-weapon fighting, ranged attacks and spells in my highly house ruled variants, and most other things. Players easily 'grok' how this works, there is less arithmetic overall.
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:07 PM   #12
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
I understand some people prefer that all changes in odds be handled as stat modifiers, but I have always used changes in numbers of dice rolled as my main way of varying the level of difficulty for tasks, leaving stat modifiers to the few idiosyncratic rules that would be too hard to change (like armor, or the RAW for missile weapon ranges - though the latter would be a good place to simplify by switching to added dice rolled per range category!).

For the specific issue of unskilled rolls, I always use the 'add 1 die' rule, unless one is discussing some very exotic skill that can't be meaningfully attempted by the uninitiated. I've been very satisfied with this approach.

More generally, I find TFT improves in playability and simplicity when you do everything you can to replace all modifiers larger than ±2 with one or more die additions/subtractions. I use this for multi-weapon fighting, ranged attacks and spells in my highly house ruled variants, and most other things. Players easily 'grok' how this works, there is less arithmetic overall.
I'm tending towards this view now, I must admit.
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:22 PM   #13
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

I think what it's like to try to use a talent without have it, should strongly depends on what the talent is.

High IQ with no talents should not make someone literate, or sexy, or charismatic, or good with animals, or able to physick people, or a ventriloquist, or a(n) (al)chemist.

I think the existing talent list does fairly well already, but could use a little embellishment to mention in each case (if it doesn't already) what it means to NOT have the talent.

Also, it gets us into the territory again where probably there should be more levels of skill than "has the talent, or not".

Car driving is a good familiar example. There are people who have never or almost never driven a car. Then there are people still learning to drive, who aren't ready for the driving test, and maybe lump them in with people who are just atrocious drivers for whatever reason. Then there are people who can just barely pass their driving test. Then there are most of the people on the road, who are competent and experienced and aren't usually dangerous. Then there are the really good drivers. Then there's are pro race car drivers. Those are really very distinct categories we're probably familiar with (well, you could maybe combine the first two, too), and I think many skills have as many categories. I listed 6 categories, call it 5. TFT offers 2 for most talents (have it or not), 3 for some (e.g. Fencing, Thrown Weapons, Missile Weapons, Master Thief or Physicker or Bard, Expert Naturalist), and six (yay) for Unarmed Combat.

I think it should vary by the talent, but that there could be good use made of more levels for various talents... though not everyone will like that. Might be good for an optional rules expansion or house rule. For example, Literacy should probably have at least 2, maybe 3 or 4 levels above illiteracy. i.e. some people really can't read, some people can sort of try really slowly, and should be allowed a roll of some sort, but will also be very slow. Seems like most actual ancient/medieval people who could read, could read surely but were rather slow compared to modern readers. That's three levels. Above that would be fast readers, and then people with actual writing talent (or maybe that's another talent). (Of course, here I go wanting to get into GURPS territory again... and it can work to just have Literacy as one level, but make a note if you want to specify exactly how literate someone is.)
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:30 PM   #14
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

Yes, I'd thought of maybe highlighting (with an asterisk) those Talents that could be performed at a deficit by those who don't have it (silent movement, climbing etc) as opposed to those which are either absolute (Warrior, Running) or require special knowledge/training (Alchemist, Mechanician) but I'm not sure if this doesn't unnecessarily complicate matters.
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:32 PM   #15
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

Well there's necessary for a veteran GM, versus necessary for novice GMs and players. I seem to remember having to figure out many things as a new 11-year-old GM that now I wouldn't think twice about.
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:35 PM   #16
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Well there's necessary for a veteran GM, versus necessary for novice GMs and players. I seem to remember having to figure out many things as a new 11-year-old GM that now I wouldn't think twice about.
I'm sure you're right and Steve will no doubt make an informed decision on the matter.
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:39 PM   #17
KevinJ
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Arizona
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

There are examples of tiers Talents. Horsemanship and Expert Horsemanship, Armorer and Master Armorer, Physicer and Master Physicker.

Having Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, and Master levels of some talents might not be a bad thing. Then, within the Talent Desc you could include what not having the Talent at all means in the mechanics. Rifle, You'll shoot your eye out, Kid! Alchemy, KABOOM!

Not all Talents would need or deserve this kind of articulation, some might just be X while others might be X and Master X.
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Last edited by KevinJ; 06-21-2018 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:04 PM   #18
Wayne
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Geelong, Australia
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

I like the idea of adding more dice for unskilled use and for extra difficulty.
To cope with attribute abuse you could do something like ‘an unskilled figure must roll against the appropriate attribute or 14, whichever is less’.
That way the IQ 20 wizard only has IQ 14 for talents she’s not skilled in.
It’s possible this already exists my memory of TFT is a bit hazy.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:54 PM   #19
David L Pulver
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: In the UFO
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

Quote:
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.
I prefer a -4 modifier as rolling extra dice is annoying enough as it as it, and tends to encourage stat inflation; I prefer the simplicity of modifiers.

In general, I rather liked that in TFT a large number of the Talents are not connected to die rolls but produce flat effects.

In an adventure, as a GM I would much rather say "you don't have Armorer skill? Okay, the solution is FIND AN ARMORER." (or Physicker or whatever)

If the solution is instead for everyone to make a 4d or 5d roll against IQ until they succeed, it changes a natural story-based solution to a die-rolling solution.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:15 PM   #20
Steve Jackson
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Re: Unskilled rolls

The point about the current -4 penalty for unskilled weapon use is well taken.

Absolutely, some talents cannot be replaced by high-stat "winging it." And it may be necessary to use an asterisk or something. Swimmer, frinstance - some people can thrash about and stay on top of the wet stuff. But the Diver talent - nope, you can't fake that.

Unskilled archery? Not impossible, especially with a short bow. Unskilled fast archery? Impossible.

Hmm. Giving GMs and players more tools = good. Complexity = bad. Must . . . think . . .
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