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Old 10-25-2014, 09:57 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

Carpentry and Masonry are IQ/E craft skills, mostly about building practical stuff. There are Artistic skills that do the same kind of thing to artistic ends: Artist (Woodworking) defaults to Carpentry -3, but Artist (Sculpture) doesn't default to Masonry, presumably because it can use other media. Housekeeping can replace either skill for simple household repairs. Carpentry is more often useful in breaking and entering. Masonry lets you organise simple engineering tasks, at Masonry-3.

Tools are very important for both skills, and Carpentry, though not Masonry, tool kits are in Basic. More tools for both skills are found in Low-Tech, along with details on low-tech armoury and security systems, and LTC3 adds much more on mundane work and business. High-Tech and Ultra-Tech have Carpentry tools, although the UT ones don't seem very imaginative.

There are powers in Chinese Elemental Powers that substitute for fine-quality Carpentry and Masonry tools, and the Shape Plant spell from Magic does much the same for Carpentry, although Shape Earth doesn't help Masonry. Underground Adventures has Masonry as the primary skill of miners, and several Techniques for the skill.

PU3: Talents has a couple of talents, including the ever-popular Artificer, that include both skills. PU6: Quirks and PU7: Wildcard Skills have examples including carpentry. Templates including one or both skills can be found in Banestorm, Crusades, Dragons, Fantasy, Reign of Steel: Will to Live, SEALs in Vietnam, Supers, Underground Adventures and Zombies.

I don't think I have ever used either skill in a GURPS game. They seem to exist mostly for simulative, rather than dramatic, purposes. I have done quite a lot with stone-working for D&D dwarves, but my only GURPS dwarf character is a bard.

Have these skills been important in any of your games?
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

Carpentry can be used to spot Nightingale Floors or just creaky boards while sneaking.
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Carpentry can be used to spot Nightingale Floors or just creaky boards while sneaking.
or anything else odd in the room made from wood, such as secret draws and doors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harald B
On a related issue: since you suggest Search is not it, what is the skill to use to search for an item that's been hidden in a room? And what would be the skill to thoroughly search a room for interesting items? Under investigative circumstances this could come into play quite often...
Rooms are so big that you need separate skills for different things (on top of basic Perception for things sitting out in the open):
  • Architecture for hidden features of the room itself.
  • Carpentry to notice something odd with the woodwork.
  • Criminology to find macroscopic evidence left behind by a criminal.
  • Electrician to spot something strange about the lights or wiring.
  • Forensics to discover traces of blood, explosives, fibers, etc.
  • Masonry to identify unusual stonework.
  • Observation to "case the joint."
  • Tracking to pick up on footprints on the floor.
  • Traps for traps and secret doors.
These do overlap some, of course. The GM could allow a single Detective! roll for all of it, I suppose, but as that skill implies, this would be cinematic. Real detectives ask forensic scientists, firemen, the locksmith, etc. to take a look for a good reason. A detective might have Criminology and Observation, and maybe Tracking (if he works outdoors a lot) or Forensics (if he works in a lab some of the time). He would have Search, but for patting down suspects, not for poking in cupboards. They're not really closely related.
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

Several of the characters in the Atlantis game had carpentry in the context of ship repair, and Joop van der Rijk in the Age of Sail Pirate Crew has it for the same reason, but otherwise it's rare in my character files.

Masonry's even more so: in fact the two characters who have it also have Carpentry.
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

I don't think I've used either of these ever.
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Old 10-25-2014, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

I always liked Masonry as a job skill for larger than man races. Low Tech quarries can always use a super strong back with skilled hands.
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Old 10-25-2014, 06:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

Any scope for using masonry to give bonuses vs. stone golems etc.?
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

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Any scope for using masonry to give bonuses vs. stone golems etc.?
That would fall under Expert Skill: magical constructs, or Breaking Blow if you meant as a way to fight them.
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

I can see both of those being useful for helping escaped slaves build a safe settlement. Unfortunately I suspect it might get relegated to a background skill, in the sense of “so you have Carpentry/Masonry, well you build them some homes” and it becomes a hand-wave during downtime that is then forgotten about. I would love to see these skills, combined with things like Camouflage & Engineer, used to make a defensible hidden settlement much in the style of the cimaroons (actually the whole plot is very cimaroon-inspired).

My impression is it is the kind of skill you need to actively make important in your game.

However, this thread is giving me ideas. Maybe you could use it to make nightingale floors or creaky boards, or make secret compartments, or hidden niches for ambushes.

I assume Masonry would be most useful for working with adobe bricks, and both skills seem useful for building something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4gkmcmwBrw

I wonder how they keep the rain out.

But again, I wonder if having the skill is going to be entirely a matter of yes/no: meaning as long as you have the skill it at all it would let you do these things, but there’s not much engagement with the skill, few rolls, and so it doesn’t really matter whether you are an expert or just have 1 point in it.

Anyway, for that kind of scenario I could see those skills being useful.
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Old 10-26-2014, 01:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Carpentry and Masonry

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Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
My impression is it is the kind of skill you need to actively make important in your game.
To be fair, in my opinion, this is true of all skills. It's just that we, as gamers, regularly practice games where Broadsword and Psychology are not just important skills, but built into the fabric of the game. So we don't think about how to use them, because we're often use them. We don't regularly practice games where Carpentry or Masonry are part of the game. But if you need examples of games where they would be, just check out Dwarf Fortress or Minecraft or any other of those "Build the world" games. A survival game set on an island might be another good example of a game where carpentry or masonry are built into the fabric of gameplay.
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