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Old 05-11-2014, 12:10 PM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

(And Aerobatics and Aquabatics) There's a lot of good stuff about Acrobatics in Martial Arts and Action 3: Furious Fists, but one of the most important things comes from this recent Kromm posting:
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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Something to bear in mind is that GURPS' Acrobatics skill could fairly be called Combat Mobility. It covers acrobatic attacks, feints, movement, etc. in a fight, and lets you stand quickly in combat; is rolled for Acrobatic Dodge; is the basis for the Acrobatic Stand technique and an option for Breakfall, Evade, Quick Mount, and Roll with Blow; provides the recovery roll for Drop Kick, Flying Jump Kick, Jump Kick, and Pole-Vault Kick; and lets you resist Sweep and Trip. While it does also encompass gymnastics and circus feats, those aren't its core, so they'll be at a penalty. If someone wanted a variant that erased up to -x on noncombat stunts like walking ropes, I suppose I would allow it; it and the combat version would default either way at -x, meaning that all combat techniques and tricks would be at -x when using it. Call x = 3, make the new skill Acrobatics Sport or Acrobatics Art, and give it to most realistic performers.
The only particularly odd thing I've ever done with Acrobatics is take an optional specialisation. This is not RAW, but I was a lot less familiar with 4e at the time. The specialisation was "Follow closely", for a character with pretty good invisibility and stealth, who wanted to get through doors very close to people without giving himself away. Fairly obviously, this should be a Technique: it probably defaults to full skill and then takes penalties depending on the size of the door, the speed of movement, and so on. I'm not sure if it's Average or Hard.

What weird things have you done with Acrobatics?

Edit: Here's a subsequent thread on Acrobatic Dodge.

Last edited by johndallman; 07-15-2014 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

I'd say that this "Follow closely" is a technique based on either Stealth or Escape but certainly not on Acrobatics.
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

Shadowing. That is a skill in 4th, right? Or was it subsumed into stealth? I don't have my books handy at the moment.
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

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Shadowing. That is a skill in 4th, right? Or was it subsumed into stealth? I don't have my books handy at the moment.
Yeah, Shadowing may suit as well.

But Acrobatics is the farthest there.
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

Shadowing, as I understand it, is about following someone without being obvious. It's done at a distance, and it needs other people around (B219). What I'm trying to do here is a bit different.

The required trick works like this: you're following someone absolutely certain that you can't be seen, and with enough Stealth that you're confident of not being heard. You've taken precautions so that you don't smell strongly (although dogs are a potential problem). Your target comes to an ordinary door, opens it, goes through and closes it. You need to go through with him, without bumping him so he notices, or noticeably getting in the way of closing the door.

That seemed like fine movement skills and rapid change of posture, for which Acrobatics seemed like a start - although Escape is a possibility I hadn't thought of.
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Old 05-11-2014, 02:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

Escape reads "This is the ability to slip out of ropes, handcuffs, s and similar restraints." as per p. B192; I don't see how this is relevant to sneaking around behind/around someone without them knowing, by employing dynamic maneuvering.

Shadowing reads "this is the ability to follow another person through a crowd without being noticed. (In the wilderness, use Tracking and Stealth.)" as per p. B219. I could maybe see using Acrobatics to help with this, but it depends upon how much attention you can afford to draw to yourself from sources other than your direct target (person you are Shadowing).

Then again from the description as well as many works of fiction, it is hard to describe how Character A has followed Character B except as "acrobatic shadowing"; whether hiding in play sight or remaining in Character B's "blind spot", as needed Character A employs a swift, smooth movement... either so swift and smooth it goes unnoticed, or disguised as something a bit more mundane, which might also require Acting or the like to pull off.

Stealth really seems most appropriate; "This is the ability to hide and to move silently." If you're doing this in a crowd, it is shadowing, but if you're one-on-one, its Stealth... because the two skills use different techniques (lowercase "t") and methods based on those two facts: Stealth is about reducing/preventing yourself from making noise or being seen, while Shadowing is obfuscation so that whatever noises or appearances you make don't register... I think. =P

I could see a few ways to handle the almost cartoon-y skulking around in someone's blind spot. Depending on the exact situation, it really should require aspects from all three skills:
  • Making it a Technique that defaults from the lowest of Acrobatics, Shadowing, or Stealth -5, as this is a pretty impressive stunt that even an expert should struggle to pull off: moving dynamically without making a lot of noise or being noticed by both your target and onlookers!
  • A Technique that either defaults from one of Acrobatics, Shadowing, or Stealth but receives a bonus for knowing one or both of the other two. This could represent how the Technique really draws from all three skills, so if you know all three there is less to learn.
  • Multiple rolls because you're using multiple skills; adjust as you see fit whether it is three full, separate checks/contests, or if you can (or must) select one of the three, then roll against the other two to create modifiers (a bit like an Acrobatic Dodge).
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

Well, that move is certainly amidst three skills anyway.

The first is Stealth, certainly, because you need to make no noise by hitting door or its post.

I insist that Escape is second and Acrobatics is third since such a feat is mostly about fitting into narrow space of nearly closed door rather than jumping above or slipping below a person (though, things depend for non-humanoids or giants).

And yes, Escape does allow Squeezing, according to Action series:
Quote:
Squeezing: Roll against Escape to wiggle through a narrow crack, like a door pushed open with a security chain in place. Success gets you to the other side. Failure means you won’t fit, and can’t retry. Critical failure means you’re stuck and must be rescued.
However, if you rely on supernatural means of invisibility, I'd suggest to go through the door not past the person, but before it. Unless the circumstances are such that door is opened too little, like in the case of very heavy door, paranoidal or weak person, cumbersome environment and so on.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

In GURPS Characters, Acrobatics is defined as a gymnastic skill, not a combat one.
I've often used an optional specialization in "acrobatic dodge". Apart from lowering the cp cost, this specialization allowes for acrobatic dodges without forcing the PC to be a circus acrobat.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

The PC in my one-on-one campaign is meant to be an effective "free runner." As part of the style, she's included Acrobatics, Jumping, Running ... I don't think we ever included Escape, because neither of us thought of the "Action squeeze," but it'll probably get slipped in when the next CPs get awarded. Heaven knows she's been tied up enough.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acrobatics

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Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Well, that move is certainly amidst three skills anyway.

The first is Stealth, certainly, because you need to make no noise by hitting door or its post.

I insist that Escape is second and Acrobatics is third since such a feat is mostly about fitting into narrow space of nearly closed door rather than jumping above or slipping below a person (though, things depend for non-humanoids or giants).

And yes, Escape does allow Squeezing, according to Action series:

Quote:
Squeezing: Roll against Escape to wiggle through a narrow crack, like a door pushed open with a security chain in place. Success gets you to the other side. Failure means you won’t fit, and can’t retry. Critical failure means you’re stuck and must be rescued.
However, if you rely on supernatural means of invisibility, I'd suggest to go through the door not past the person, but before it. Unless the circumstances are such that door is opened too little, like in the case of very heavy door, paranoidal or weak person, cumbersome environment and so on.
I am glad that this time you cited the non-Basic Set rules you apparently were referencing earlier. It helps a lot to understand where you are coming from on wanting Escape to be a factor.

That being said, it still seems like reaching, but maybe I don't get what johndallman is really asking for help designing? Escape is about squeezing through things, but slipping through the doorway alongside someone isn't squeezing through, is it? Remember I am uncertain myself, so I am asking you to finish convincing me otherwise. XD

All that "Action Squeeze" does is turn Escape from an "exist" into an "entrance", allowing someone to force their way through a narrow opening instead of forcing their way free of one. Is that really what johndallman was asking for? I thought he was asking for that person who does things like slipping through the door behind the person who just entered through it, without being noticed by said person or anyone else.

The "anyone else" is why I suggested Shadowing does indeed apply... this too is something I realize may be incorrect, but I brought it up because johndallman reason didn't seem to fit all that well (distance tends to be a relative thing, after all). The reason I don't believe Escape fits is that you are even farther removed from that Skill's usage than Shadowing. Acrobatics is already there to help cover moving dynamically (Acrobatics) to get through, but it isn't contorting (Escape) into a tight place... it'd be contorting through an open space without touching anything at all, preferably quietly.

In reality (...even I've done this before on rare occasions, so it can't be too hard and it means we can indeed "reality check it") this is more about moving quickly and aligning yourself properly or quickly holding the door open for yourself without drawing attention to it, than forcing your body through a narrow opening. That or we are at the point where maybe this shouldn't be a single Technique? Is one just the Action Squeeze with an added Stealth and/or Shadowing check? The other an Acrobatics roll with an added Stealth and/or Shadowing check?
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