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Old 01-17-2015, 05:34 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

Dancing is the DX/A skill of performing dances appropriate to your culture. It defaults to DX-5, and people who know the skill are able to learn new dances quickly, apparently acquiring familiarity after doing a dance three times, rather than needing a day's worth of practice. Dancing takes Cultural Familiarity modifiers, and seems to be the only DX-based skill that does so. Exotic dances (Bull-dancing, fire dancing, snake dancing) can be separate DX/A skills defaulting to Dancing-5 at the GM's discretion.

I suspect that many kinds of popular dance are have substantial skill bonuses, and anyone with points in the skill is a "good dancer" by the standards of the general population. Professionals, naturally, will have substantial training. Group Performance (Choreography) has a prerequisite of Dancing, and defaults to Dancing-2.

Dancing is a worthwhile social skill for "Face" characters, and a lifeline for high-DX low-IQ characters who have to operate in high society. It's a common entertainment and social activity in most human societies and important in some religions' rituals.

Dancing is a common background skill on templates, but rarely compulsory. There are a few templates and archetypes that have it as a primary skill, such as the Wardancer in Fantasy, who is mostly an entertainer, and Shamans in Lands Out of Time. Madness Dossier Irruptors can use it for Enthrallment, because they can use anything that allows communication, and LTC1 points out its usefulness in attaining trance states. Martial Arts has Dancing Feints and other ways to use it in a style, which Yrth Fighting Styles builds on. Social Engineering has it as a substitute influence skill, and a complementary skill to influence skills. PU2: Talents and PU7: Wildcard Skills have examples that include Dancing.

I've played a scenario recently where Dancing was important, since one had to reproduce a sacred dance to get past a magical barrier. I also have a character who, thanks to Dr Kromm, uses Dancing for movement in tight quarters without bumping into people - it's a good way of sneaking through doors while you're invisible.

What have you done with Dancing in a game?

Last edited by johndallman; 01-17-2015 at 05:52 PM. Reason: LTC1, not LTC3
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:19 PM   #2
DangerousThing
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

I created a martial arts style based a lot on dancing and acrobatics, along with karate, judo, and wrestling.

It stressed graceful movement.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:42 PM   #3
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

I'm pretty sure it's LTC1 that has Dancing as a way to enter a trance.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:51 PM   #4
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I'm pretty sure it's LTC1 that has Dancing as a way to enter a trance.
Apologies, you're right. Edited.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

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Originally Posted by DangerousThing View Post
I created a martial arts style based a lot on dancing and acrobatics, along with karate, judo, and wrestling.

It stressed graceful movement.
Capoeira is the most famous acrobatic dance martial art, I believe.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I'm pretty sure it's LTC1 that has Dancing as a way to enter a trance.
Technically, any repetitive skill would work for trancing.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Technically, any repetitive skill would work for trancing.
You might note that I did say "a way to enter into trance" and not "the way"?
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:02 PM   #8
trooper6
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

One of the grandest Dancing related moments I GMd was in a Traveller:ISW campaign. The PCs (all Terrans) all ended up at a very fancy diplomatic Vilani ball. The tensions between Vilani and Terrans were at an all time high and war loomed on the horizon. They had uncovered a Terran plot to assassinate one of the Vilani politicians at the ball in a really obvious way...which would just give the leader of the Vilani sector the pretense she needed to start war. They also uncovered that the plot was actually orchestrated by her in the first place...the target? One of her political rivals...but they didn't know which rival and had a few different potential assassin options. They had some intel the assassin might use a very short range bomb for the attempt...very dramatic. It would kill a bunch of people in a very small range, and leave most of the people in the ball safe.

One of the PCs had a very good Dancing skill, because she was the daughter of a diplomat. Other PCs...eh. It was really, really important not to have it look like the Terrans were dangerous, trouble-makers, uncouth, or disrespectful.

What ended up happening was a combat-like (i.e. we went to the combat map and used a turn sequence) experience where the Diplomat's Daughter Doctor PC was dancing with the target of the assassination attempt. The engineer had jury rigged a very short range signal jammer, the Pilot had it hidden in his tuxedo jacket and he was trying to maneuver his dance partner to stay within range of the most likely assassin so the assassin couldn't trigger the bomb. The assassin was trying to get close enough to the target to trigger the bomb while also getting far enough away from the signal jammer. The other team members were trying to remove the fake Terrans whose mission it was to be rude, insulting, and provocative.

Most of this happened through contests of Dancing skill. The assassin trying to lead his dance near enough t the target through the dance skill (in order to look inconspicuous), the dancing partner PC trying to stay near enough to the assassin to jam the bomb signal, and the Diplomat Doctor PC was trying to backlead her dance partner (the target) away from the assassin and anyone else looking dangerous, without it being obvious.

The it was awesome! The assassin would move closer closer on the map and the everyone else would dance around as well. It was very tense. Mainly because the assassin was a very good dancer...as was the Diplomat PC...the Pilot was not. So the Assassin would get out of the way of the jammer pretty easily and only the skill of the Doctor getting out of the way quickly enough stopped the explosion that one turn. Then the assassin gets close enough....but the Pilot had a great roll and got close enough to jam the bomb just in the nick of time! Then the maneuvers began again while the rest of the team was subtly removing villains from the ballroom--They should drug this one, flirt with that one, fast talk that one.

The climax happened when the Doctor PC convinced the target to ask the Villain Mastermind to dance and then asked the assassin to dance. Then it was assassin and PC dancing on the floor! Both trying to maneuver each other. The thief PC (Quartermaster) decided to dance with the Pilot to try and pickpocket the bomb from the assassin on the dance floor. The two couples are able to get close enough to each other for the Thief to try the pickpocket (lots of Dancing contests here)--which works! And the Thief and the jamming pilot are able to get off the dance floor with the bomb before the assassin realizes what happened. The pilot and the engineer jump in the hover car and gets the bomb out of the area...defusing of bombs happen, the plot is thwarted and no one is the wiser!

It was very tense...then, of course, the political meeting happens the after the ball and there are lots of testimony and negotiations and maneuvering. The mastermind doesn't get what she wants, but the heroes don't get everything they want either.

No hot war...but the cold war is on!

It was great!
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

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Originally Posted by trooper6 View Post
[ . . . ]

It was great!
Yes, great story indeed. This is exactly the sort of way in which seemingly innocuous skills can be made awesome.
Alas, I don't have any cool stories with Dancing, and in fact I so far was unable to make even mundane uses of dancing all that relevant to my campaigns, both as a player and GM.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:44 PM   #10
trooper6
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Dancing

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Yes, great story indeed. This is exactly the sort of way in which seemingly innocuous skills can be made awesome.
Alas, I don't have any cool stories with Dancing, and in fact I so far was unable to make even mundane uses of dancing all that relevant to my campaigns, both as a player and GM.
Some of this has to do with character creation philosophy and sorts of GMing things I do, I think.

I was GM'ing with some stat normalizers on RPoL for whome realistic PCs were at 50-75cp and had very few skills...most things happening on default. Nobody even had the dancing skill or any background skills like that and were discouraged from taking them..."because those would all be at default."

I like going for a realistic feel with PCs at 150+cps. Rather than really high stats and a few really high skills, a encourage reasonable stats with lots of skills. Many of those skills being skills that flesh out the character life. So all PCs in my game, without some sort of good reason why not, are going to have Area Knowledge (Hometown). They will have hobby skills and background skills, etc. So a lot of "pointless" skills...like Dance. And then as a GM, I always to make sure that each adventure session has a situation where one of these skills might be useful in an interesting way.

The character with Hobby Skill: Video Games gets into an epic video game battle with someone in a bar, who turns out to be the daughter of a local planetary governor who becomes an ally.
The character with the Fashion Skill notices an interesting clue based on the clothing worn by the dead body they found.
The character with the Dancing skill gets to use that skill to maneuver away from an assassin at a Ball.

I do the same thing with random advantages and disadvantages.

I want my players to take a lot of these interesting things and when they do I make sure those interesting things will have some chance of doing something.

It also has resulted in great inspiration for plot situations. The ball was a great moment and it happened because I was looking over character sheets and noticing which skills the PCs hadn't used yet. Same as when the Engineer was able to determine that the big name Terran race car driver who was going to attend the ball was actually the assassin by using his Current Events: Sports to recognize some inconsistencies in the race car driver's stories about this exploits thus revealing him to be an imposter.

I think because that is a priority to me...just as much as whatever some big bad might be doing, I have gotten into a habit of challenging myself that way as a GM.
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