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Old 05-16-2015, 05:19 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

Falconry is the IQ/A skill of hunting game with a trained hawk, of training and caring for the bird, and of acquiring new ones as chicks from the wild. It defaults to IQ-5 or Animal Handling (Raptors)-3; no skills default to it. Anyone planning to have Falconry be important in a campaign should definitely read T H White's The Goshawk, a marvellously evocative account of training a goshawk using medieval methods, by the author of The Once and Future King. It was really hard work, but modern techniques are rather easier.

Packing is the IQ/A skill of managing animals carrying, rather than drawing, loads. It defaults to IQ-5 or Animal Handling (appropriate type)-5 (Basic says (Equines), but that makes no sense for camel caravans). No skills default to it. It lets you load and unload animals efficiently, chose good routes, get good performance from animals on the march and buy good animals for the work. If the animals are un-cooperative, you need a successful Animal Handling roll before you can use Packing. A caravan without a packing master with skill 15+ moves at only 80% of best speed, but most templates with the skill aren't that good. It doesn't require specialisation by animal type, but would certainly take familiarity penalties.

Teamster is the IQ/A skill of driving animals drawing a load. It requires specialisation by animal type, and defaults to IQ-5, Animal Handling (same)-4 or Riding (same)-2; no skills default to it. Different specialisations default to each other at -3. It includes the ability to care for the animals, and to buy good ones for the work. You need to use Animal Handling to work with uncooperative ones, as per Packing. The rules for when you roll and the consequences of failures are too complex for brief summary. Modifiers include -2 for more than four animals, -2 for a team that you aren't familiar with, and up to -5 for bad terrain.

All of these skills are about animals, but they do more than just animal handling: Falconry covers finding and not spooking game; Packing and Teamster deal with logistics.

All of these skills are reasonably common on templates for low-tech characters. Falconry, being expensive and not very practical, is a sport of the wealthy, while Packing and Teamster are practical skills used for making a living. Fantasy has a chariotering technique for Teamster and some vehicles; High-Tech provides the Mounted Shooting technique. Lands Out of Time suggests Falconry for use with small flying dinosaurs. Low-Tech has much more on Teamster and Magic has the Horsemanship elixir. All the Talents in PU3 that affect any of these skills affect all of them, but they aren't included in any of the Wildcard skills in PU7.

I have had characters with all of these skills, but I don't recall ever using them. Have you done something cool with them?
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:15 AM   #2
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Falconry is the IQ/A skill of hunting game with a trained hawk, of training and caring for the bird, and of acquiring new ones as chicks from the wild. It defaults to IQ-5 or Animal Handling (Raptors)-3; no skills default to it. Anyone planning to have Falconry be important in a campaign should definitely read T H White's The Goshawk, a marvellously evocative account of training a goshawk using medieval methods, by the author of The Once and Future King. It was really hard work, but modern techniques are rather easier.

Packing is the IQ/A skill of managing animals carrying, rather than drawing, loads. It defaults to IQ-5 or Animal Handling (appropriate type)-5 (Basic says (Equines), but that makes no sense for camel caravans). No skills default to it. It lets you load and unload animals efficiently, chose good routes, get good performance from animals on the march and buy good animals for the work. If the animals are un-cooperative, you need a successful Animal Handling roll before you can use Packing. A caravan without a packing master with skill 15+ moves at only 80% of best speed, but most templates with the skill aren't that good. It doesn't require specialisation by animal type, but would certainly take familiarity penalties.

Teamster is the IQ/A skill of driving animals drawing a load. It requires specialisation by animal type, and defaults to IQ-5, Animal Handling (same)-4 or Riding (same)-2; no skills default to it. Different specialisations default to each other at -3. It includes the ability to care for the animals, and to buy good ones for the work. You need to use Animal Handling to work with uncooperative ones, as per Packing. The rules for when you roll and the consequences of failures are too complex for brief summary. Modifiers include -2 for more than four animals, -2 for a team that you aren't familiar with, and up to -5 for bad terrain.

All of these skills are about animals, but they do more than just animal handling: Falconry covers finding and not spooking game; Packing and Teamster deal with logistics.

All of these skills are reasonably common on templates for low-tech characters. Falconry, being expensive and not very practical, is a sport of the wealthy, while Packing and Teamster are practical skills used for making a living. Fantasy has a chariotering technique for Teamster and some vehicles; High-Tech provides the Mounted Shooting technique. Lands Out of Time suggests Falconry for use with small flying dinosaurs. Low-Tech has much more on Teamster and Magic has the Horsemanship elixir. All the Talents in PU3 that affect any of these skills affect all of them, but they aren't included in any of the Wildcard skills in PU7.

I have had characters with all of these skills, but I don't recall ever using them. Have you done something cool with them?
Packing and Teamster give you a place in a caravan, and falconry gives you a place at a noble court. Certainly it is good for reputation.

More can be done with it. I remember once writing a story where a feud between two tribes of transhumints was solved by having a contest to capture the best eagle to give to their mutual overlord.
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Old 05-16-2015, 02:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

What other animals can be used for portage? Elephants, surely. Llamas, but those are just camels sans hump. Yaks?

Falcons can be used to hunt pigeons. Could be a way to intercept secret messages!
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Old 05-16-2015, 02:56 PM   #4
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

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Originally Posted by Not View Post
What other animals can be used for portage? Elephants, surely. Llamas, but those are just camels sans hump. Yaks?
Yup, also water buffalo, ox, reindeer, large dogs, and occasionally goats.
Quote:
Falcons can be used to hunt pigeons. Could be a way to intercept secret messages!
Ah, missed that. There was a sidebar on it in the 3e edition of High-Tech, but it seems to have fallen out of the 4e versions of High-Tech and Low-Tech.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3e High-Tech, p56
Homing pigeons do not have to be
trained; returning to their cote is instinctive.
A homing pigeon costs $35 (by contrast, a
pigeon to eat costs $1). Such a pigeon can
carry a message 50 miles in a day. Once the
bird is released, he is on his own. Roll 3
dice when the bird has had time enough to
reach its destination. On a roll below 16, the
message arrives. On 16 or above, the mes-
sage disappears.
Anyone who knows pigeons are being
used to carry messages can attempt to inter-
cept them. A successful Falconry roll, if the
bird is sighted, can bring it down. He could
also try to shoot it down, but its not an easy
target: effectively 6 in size, and moving
erratically at up to 60 mph.
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Old 05-16-2015, 03:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

http://www.svidensky.com/post.aspx?id=18

(yeah, she's exceptional because she's a girl; she's not exceptional in terms of her age or level of wealth)

Falconry is definitely not the reserve of the wealthy. I mean, depending on the campaign setting it might be, but that's purely cultural, and not tied to anything intrinsic to the art itself.

I'm not entirely sure why Falconry wasn't folded into Handle Animal; it is in essence a specialised function of that skill after all.

Last edited by Ashtagon; 05-16-2015 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:06 PM   #6
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

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Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
I'm not entirely sure why Falconry wasn't folded into Handle Animal; it is in essence a specialised function of that skill after all.
I started writing the original post with that view, then concluded that while Animal Handling is a large part of it, there are also things like where to find game, how to approach it and so on which can justify it as a skill. If you wanted to shrink the skill list, though, folding it back into Animal Handling would be an early step.
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

Economics for isolated peoples is tough to handle generally. There were pre-Columbian TL-1 tribesmen who wore gold trinkets that would impress a Spanish Empress. Falconry is expensive in the sense that it takes a lot of time and requires rare inputs (i.e., young raptors).

I think that Falconry is specific enough to merit its own skill. Birds are so very alien, not like dogs or horses at all.
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

I'm a little surprised there's no interaction between Advantage: Speaks with Animals and animal handling or falconry. You'd think it would help at least a little.
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:10 PM   #9
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
http://www.svidensky.com/post.aspx?id=18

(yeah, she's exceptional because she's a girl; she's not exceptional in terms of her age or level of wealth)

Falconry is definitely not the reserve of the wealthy. I mean, depending on the campaign setting it might be, but that's purely cultural, and not tied to anything intrinsic to the art itself.

I'm not entirely sure why Falconry wasn't folded into Handle Animal; it is in essence a specialised function of that skill after all.
Strictly speaking they are not, and haven't been since the days of sumptuary laws. However it was more common then not for any commoner who handled falcons to be a trainer. The chief exception that comes to mind are some steepe tribes.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:22 PM   #10
Rysith
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Falconry, Packing and Teamster

I had a game where the final battle with the Evil Overlord ended up with a falcon owned by one of the players being ordered to burn down the tree that the Overlord was using to cast his Ultimate Doom Spell, since all of the heroes were being held back in combat with minions. While the majority of the battle was the players trying to hold out against the minions while the falcon made it's attack run, the falconry check to get it to do what they wanted, followed by the falcon's attack roll (and subsequent missile scatter) were right up there on the tensest single die rolls of the campaign.
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