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Old 05-14-2014, 03:26 PM   #21
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

Realistically, two skills that default to one another probably have a shared core of common fundamentals, and then there are specific details that you only learn under the one skill. To give a sports example, epee and foil fencing have a great deal in common, but someone who's only learned epee won't have learned the right of way rules in foil. The question for defaulting, then, is what portion of skill improvement comes from improving shared fundamentals, and what portion comes from learning tricks that are specific to the narrower field; the first will improve all your defaults, the second won't.

The only method GURPS has of representing this sort of thing is Techniques; there is no generic group skill bonus (which would represent training the fundamentals). However, simply capping defaults doesn't really help, many skills really are mostly about fundamentals.
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:43 PM   #22
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

One thing that occurs to me that I should mention is that I intend to change Improving Skills from Default at some point. I haven't mentioned house rules because I don't have any yet and I haven't been thinking of them right now but I don't intend that it will take 4 points to increase and make trained a high skill level achieved by default so pushing our nigh-unparalleled master to learn the skill he has been neglecting won't cost him as much. I'm sorry if failing to mention this was significant to anyone's points.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Why precisely do you feel weapon skills should have good defaults at low level, but shouldn't at higher level? Knowing where you're coming from here will give me a better idea of what problem you're trying to fix.
Because low skill levels involve a greater percentage of improvement in transferable fundamentals common to all fighting than higher skill levels. There is a substantial difference between someone who has trained in anything and gotten past the initial efficacy valley and someone who hasn't even if the specific weapon isn't being used. Even with the improvement specific to the weapon the basics of similar weapons are more similar than the more advanced parts of the skill.

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As for cinematics, skill 20 is a master who is essentially unparalleled in that skill, and while this itself isn't cinematic, having enough cases where it could be problematic most likely is (and getting to the point where defaulted skills are at 20+ means rather high base skill). Still, if you're seeing your problem at base skills well below potentially-cinematic levels, then it is indeed problematic.
You only need one case for it to be problematic. PCs aren't evenly distributed across the population. They have a strong tendency to be the guys who are nigh-unparalleled masters.

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Allow me to state it differently then - a character who is a nigh-unparalleled master in a given skill being competitive with experts in rather similar skills doesn't stretch my sense of disbelief at all.
Competitive isn't a problem, better is a problem. Up to a point a nigh-unparalleled master should be better than specialists in a weapon he has neglected but past that when dealing with lesser masters in the weapon he should have difficulty. Ideally we want him to try to engage them with his mastery of his chosen weapon where he is strong rather than where they are strong and provide mechanical means for him to do that than for him to simply defeat them because he is so good that even with a weapon he has neglected he is better than masters of that weapon.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Agreed - my own GURPS Combat Skills Overhaul has basically all melee combat defaulting to each other at some level, although it's arguably too generous.
This is in fact one of the threads that is proving influential while developing my melee combat defaults.

Last edited by Sindri; 05-14-2014 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:55 PM   #23
dcarson
 
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

I use ‎Familiarity penalties to deal with them not knowing that sort of thing. So give them an hour or so practice to learn the rules, be shown the trick and they have full default.So you Epee fighter that gets sent in to replace the Foil that twisted his ankle. If it happened just now -3, -4 off the default. If it happened this morning and they had a few hours to get ready full default.
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:03 PM   #24
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

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I use ‎Familiarity penalties to deal with them not knowing that sort of thing. So give them an hour or so practice to learn the rules, be shown the trick and they have full default.So you Epee fighter that gets sent in to replace the Foil that twisted his ankle. If it happened just now -3, -4 off the default. If it happened this morning and they had a few hours to get ready full default.
As would I, though I'm not sure if I would use higher than standard familiarity penalties. Once you spend those eight hours though there isn't anything pushing you to become trained if your skill is high enough.
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:42 AM   #25
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Competitive isn't a problem, better is a problem. Up to a point a nigh-unparalleled master should be better than specialists in a weapon he has neglected but past that when dealing with lesser masters in the weapon he should have difficulty. Ideally we want him to try to engage them with his mastery of his chosen weapon where he is strong rather than where they are strong and provide mechanical means for him to do that than for him to simply defeat them because he is so good that even with a weapon he has neglected he is better than masters of that weapon.
I am not following. Some of it is wording but... maybe get back to using some actual examples?

I originally had a wall of text but the short version is... some of this feels like improper GMing. I know that sounds harsh, but this is not some proclamation from on high: personally I'm a lousy GM (hence why I rarely do it!). I also may have just space off some important point while reading some of the responses: 25 posts isn't long, but it isn't short especially when discussing GURPS. XD

Otherwise... if there is a situation where using a Skill from default should be more challenging than using the Skill having properly trained in it, the GM needs to assign an appropriate penalty to the roll and/or use any of the other approaches already built into the game to help mitigate this situation... but when there are no such extraneous circumstances, don't sweat it.
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:56 AM   #26
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
General wisdom among people who do this stuff is that true mastery of a weapon comes with realizing that the weapon isn't the essence but merely a prop, and that concepts such as controlling distance, maintaining situational awareness, staying mobile, and having good timing are universal.
"What is steel compared to the hand that wields it? Contemplate this on the tree of woe."

(For context, this scene was filmed a few years after the mass suicide at Jonestown)

Last edited by Anders; 05-16-2014 at 03:59 AM.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:31 AM   #27
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post


Points spent aren't relevant. The points in a skill are spent so a character is an expert in one thing. Whether they get to be an expert in another thing as well without spending any time mastering it won't diminish the first skill. The attribute likewise is buying plenty with it's purchase of higher trained skill levels. A level of 20 is also not important in itself but just chosen as an example.
I think think this is going to come down to who close you think certain skills are to each other.

I have no problem with saying that when it come to closely related skills being an expert in one means it pretty likely you'l be really, really good at another. This is is especially true of the probably overly precise family of melee skills.

As to your general point about it not being about the points, a skill of 24 brought up from base attribute 10 is what 67 for an average skill. A cost that is based on the current assumption of how defaulting works as well. So if you do decide to further penalise defaulting you have just given that person less for their 67 pts. I.e the points cost is already includes the familiarity defaults and isn't just to be an expert in one specific area.

Accordingly if you were to makes defaults worse, I think you need to reduce the number of skills to counter balance that.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:50 AM   #28
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Because low skill levels involve a greater percentage of improvement in transferable fundamentals common to all fighting than higher skill levels. There is a substantial difference between someone who has trained in anything and gotten past the initial efficacy valley and someone who hasn't even if the specific weapon isn't being used. Even with the improvement specific to the weapon the basics of similar weapons are more similar than the more advanced parts of the skill.
The things that are truly important in combat are universal, as Kromm has noted. I suppose I could see cause for improved defaults at lower levels (something like "If you have at least [8] points invested in combat skills, Easy combat skills default to a minimum of DX, Average to DX-1, Hard to DX-2, and Very Hard to DX-3"), but not for poor defaults at higher levels.

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
You only need one case for it to be problematic. PCs aren't evenly distributed across the population. They have a strong tendency to be the guys who are nigh-unparalleled masters.
True masters are typically a once in a generation (if even that often) affair, so having 5 of them running around together strikes me as cinematic. This is probably just a difference in opinion on what constitutes "cinematic," however.

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Competitive isn't a problem, better is a problem. Up to a point a nigh-unparalleled master should be better than specialists in a weapon he has neglected but past that when dealing with lesser masters in the weapon he should have difficulty. Ideally we want him to try to engage them with his mastery of his chosen weapon where he is strong rather than where they are strong and provide mechanical means for him to do that than for him to simply defeat them because he is so good that even with a weapon he has neglected he is better than masters of that weapon.
First off, the master does have a very good reason to engage his foes with his chosen weapon, because having Skill 26 against a Skill 20 foe is far better than having Skill 22 against that same foe.

Secondly, and the reason I don't see a problem with this situation (as well as part of why I had all skills with at least some level of default in my Overhaul), is the case of one Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi was a master swordsman who traveled Japan challenging other masters of combat - and consistently winning. He used everything from swords (two handed, one handed, or even dual wielding) to improvised polearms to a metal fan. If you have PC's with skills comparable to Musashi, the idea that they could pull off feats similar to him hardly strikes me as a flaw in the system.
Another thing to consider - and germane to the topic of Musashi - is that nobody with any high skill (particularly in a combat skill) is likely to have trained in a vacuum. A character with high Broadsword skill has probably spent some time practicing with some two handed swords, with shorter blades, with swinging his own sword by the blade (using Axe/Mace skill to strike with the hilt), and even in fighting unarmed. I don't think it's necessary to actually charge points for such, instead simply relying on defaults to show that, yes, the character has dabbled a bit in other combat skills.

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
This is in fact one of the threads that is proving influential while developing my melee combat defaults.
As noted, some of the defaults there are probably overly generous. Something I didn't mention in that thread was how I envisioned buying up from default - you can buy up a single skill at half price so long as you are within "default range" - so if you had Sword at 20, "default range" for 2H Sword is between 18 (where it's at from defaulting) and 22 (where it becomes the dominant skill, with Sword defaulting from it). How to deal with multiple defaults would probably be a bit hairy (and having not fully worked this out is one of the reason I never got around to posting the defaulting rules in that thread).
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:23 PM   #29
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The problems with such thinking as "someone who has Broadsword at 24 and thus a default of Two-Handed Sword of 20 shouldn't be as good as somebody who studied Two-Handed Sword specifically and raised it to 20" are twofold:

1. "Good with swords" is part of what you're paying for when you buy a sword skill. And the first character above did pay more . . . other things being equal, he bought a skill at 24 and defaulted another at 20, while the second character only bought a skill at 20 (and defaults the other way at 16). In GURPS, part of the value of a skill is being good at the skills that default to it. Skills are overpriced especially when they fall into clusters that cover overlapping tasks and are based on the same attribute. That's why skill-attribute optimization works. Letting people default lots of skills from a single master skill serves to mitigate this flaw (and yes, I admit it's a flaw). On a meta level, it makes more sense to me that a character can have, say, Merchant at some high level in order to get all of Accounting, Administration, Economics, Finance, Market Analysis, and Propaganda for what amounts to 4 points/level than that to forbid this and force someone to spend 28 points/level to raise all seven skills, meaning that all money-oriented PCs will become generalized IQ monsters instead, because IQ costs just 20 points/level and does more stuff.

2. Limiting someone after a certain level is actually the opposite of real life in the specific case of weapon-skill defaults. General wisdom among people who do this stuff is that true mastery of a weapon comes with realizing that the weapon isn't the essence but merely a prop, and that concepts such as controlling distance, maintaining situational awareness, staying mobile, and having good timing are universal. To quote the only fencing master I ever knew, "I could have defeated him as easily with a pot lid as a foil" . . . and when called on it, he did! A good case could be made that any Melee Weapon skill at 25+ gives you all Melee Weapon skills at some level; that is, there's a special uncapped default that works only at really high levels.
I would just like to say, thank you for saying this :)
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:35 PM   #30
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Capping Skill Default Levels

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
I am not following. Some of it is wording but... maybe get back to using some actual examples?
I'll try, but examples will be implicitly pretending that the gurps skill divisions are reasonable so I'd like people to keep in mind that I'm not actually going to be using them or their defaults for melee weapon skills when making objections.

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I originally had a wall of text but the short version is... some of this feels like improper GMing. I know that sounds harsh, but this is not some proclamation from on high: personally I'm a lousy GM (hence why I rarely do it!).
There is no GMing to be improper.

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
Otherwise... if there is a situation where using a Skill from default should be more challenging than using the Skill having properly trained in it, the GM needs to assign an appropriate penalty to the roll and/or use any of the other approaches already built into the game to help mitigate this situation... but when there are no such extraneous circumstances, don't sweat it.
What am I trying to do here but come up with an appropriate penalty?

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
I think think this is going to come down to who close you think certain skills are to each other.

I have no problem with saying that when it come to closely related skills being an expert in one means it pretty likely you'l be really, really good at another. This is is especially true of the probably overly precise family of melee skills.

As to your general point about it not being about the points, a skill of 24 brought up from base attribute 10 is what 67 for an average skill. A cost that is based on the current assumption of how defaulting works as well. So if you do decide to further penalise defaulting you have just given that person less for their 67 pts. I.e the points cost is already includes the familiarity defaults and isn't just to be an expert in one specific area.

Accordingly if you were to makes defaults worse, I think you need to reduce the number of skills to counter balance that.
Skills are blatantly not utility costed and there isn't any cost difference based on what and at what penalty of defaults a skill gets.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
The things that are truly important in combat are universal, as Kromm has noted. I suppose I could see cause for improved defaults at lower levels (something like "If you have at least [8] points invested in combat skills, Easy combat skills default to a minimum of DX, Average to DX-1, Hard to DX-2, and Very Hard to DX-3"), but not for poor defaults at higher levels.
Making the lower level defaults easier while not changing the higher level defaults is also giving "poor" defaults at higher levels.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
True masters are typically a once in a generation (if even that often) affair, so having 5 of them running around together strikes me as cinematic. This is probably just a difference in opinion on what constitutes "cinematic," however.
Who said anything about five of them? As I said before you only need one case for it to be problematic.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
First off, the master does have a very good reason to engage his foes with his chosen weapon, because having Skill 26 against a Skill 20 foe is far better than having Skill 22 against that same foe.
Not engage with the weapon, engage with his mastery of the weapon. It's trivially obvious that he would use his weapon of choice if he had the ability to.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Secondly, and the reason I don't see a problem with this situation (as well as part of why I had all skills with at least some level of default in my Overhaul), is the case of one Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi was a master swordsman who traveled Japan challenging other masters of combat - and consistently winning. He used everything from swords (two handed, one handed, or even dual wielding) to improvised polearms to a metal fan. If you have PC's with skills comparable to Musashi, the idea that they could pull off feats similar to him hardly strikes me as a flaw in the system.
Musashi is irrelevant until you demonstrate that he only had points in one or a small number of those skills. I am not objecting to people who are experts at multiple weapons.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Another thing to consider - and germane to the topic of Musashi - is that nobody with any high skill (particularly in a combat skill) is likely to have trained in a vacuum. A character with high Broadsword skill has probably spent some time practicing with some two handed swords, with shorter blades, with swinging his own sword by the blade (using Axe/Mace skill to strike with the hilt), and even in fighting unarmed. I don't think it's necessary to actually charge points for such, instead simply relying on defaults to show that, yes, the character has dabbled a bit in other combat skills.
I on the other hand do. Aside from being aesthetically unpleasant for people to be permanently working off of defaults in core competencies it is vital that the trained/not trained distinction be usable for rules purposes and reflect incentivized behaviour.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
As noted, some of the defaults there are probably overly generous. Something I didn't mention in that thread was how I envisioned buying up from default - you can buy up a single skill at half price so long as you are within "default range" - so if you had Sword at 20, "default range" for 2H Sword is between 18 (where it's at from defaulting) and 22 (where it becomes the dominant skill, with Sword defaulting from it). How to deal with multiple defaults would probably be a bit hairy (and having not fully worked this out is one of the reason I never got around to posting the defaulting rules in that thread).
As I mentioned before I also intend to do stuff with improving from default. When I'm talking about people putting points into a skill to become trained I am absolutely not talking about needing to put 4 points in the skill. It would require at most 1 point.
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