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Old 06-27-2015, 03:31 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

Fishing is the Per/E skill of catching fish, with whatever methods and equipment are normal to your culture. Different methods presumably have familiarity penalties, but the only listed modifiers are for equipment, which can be improvised. The only default is Per-4.

Survival is the Per/A skill of living off the land, and exploiting the natural environment in general. To live by Survival, you need to roll each day, but you can look after up to 10 other people. Failure causes 2d-4 damage to each person, rolled separately, which can presumably be zero. You can also use it as a knowledge skill about the environment, as an "eye for country", which is useful with Geology and Prospecting, and for trapping wild animals. The listed modifiers are up to -5 for bad weather and equipment modifiers: note that you need at least Personal Basics (B288) to avoid penalties. Survival defaults to Per-5, another specialisation of Survival-3 or Naturalist for the same planet at -3. Camouflage defaults to Survival-2, presumably for the current environment.

Urban Survival is the Per/A skill of surviving without money or assistance in a town or city. It appeared in 3e Compendium I, as Survival (Urban), but became a separate skill in 4e, presumably since it doesn't have meaningful defaults to natural environments. It likely takes familiarity penalties for different TLs and cultures. The only default is Per-5.

The reason Fishing isn't part of Survival, along with trapping, is presumably because the same fishing skill seems to work for several different environments that would be different specialisations of Survival, some of which wouldn't be legal specialisations for land-dwelling creatures anyway. And anyone with enough Perception to be good at Survival can learn Fishing easily anyway.

Survival has an comprehensive set of specialisations for different environments, with separate lists for land-dwelling and aquatic (new at 4e) creatures, and defaults between specialisations. Those lists assume an Earth-like planet. Defaults to the same environment type on other planets of the same basic type are at -4, with no default to different types of planet. The GM is free to create specialisations for unusual environments, such as (Radioactive), which don't need to have defaults.

Foraging rules, covering Survival and Fishing, are on B427; B430 has the use of HT-based Survival (Arctic) in place of HT for surviving cold, and B434 has corresponding rules for heat. Wild animals have Survival at Per for their native environment.

Survival is a common skill on templates for any kind of "outdoors" character; Fishing is usually confined to professionals, and Urban Survival to dedicated city-dwellers. Action has Urban Survival on a lot of its templates, and has uses for it as a supporting skill to Scrounging and Driving. Banestorm has monks who live largely via Survival, and some interesting modifiers; Abydos has uses for Urban Survival. DF expands on Survival as a knowledge skill in DF16, uses lots of flavours of Survival on various specialised characters, and gives quite a few Fishing or Urban Survival. High-Tech has a lot of survival equipment and details of using it. Low-Tech has equipment and methods for Fishing and Survival, and LTC3 has more, including living as a hunter-gatherer. PU3 and PU7 have examples that include all of these skills. Powers, Enhanced Senses, Thaumatology and Chinese Elemental Powers have abilities that improve Survival rolls. Space has familiarity rules for Urban Survival. Ultra-Tech has even more equipment, and Underground Adventures adds the (Underground) specialisation to Survival.

Plenty of my characters have had Survival, rather fewer Urban Survival, and I don't think any have ever had Fishing. What have you, or your players, done with these skills?
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Old 06-27-2015, 04:10 AM   #2
Tai
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

One general archetype I play almost always has as high an Urban Survival skill as I can feasibly afford. The group I game with (not so much lately but, used to at least) generally rule that high levels of Streetwise or Urban Survival allow finding general kinds of businesses by knowing the 'feel' of a city - you might not know specifically where Larry's Bar And Grill is, but you can find the bar district just by feel of how the city's laid out, with penalties for unfamiliar cities and unorthodox locations. Sort of an 'eye for the city' type thing.

We also tend to allow it as a complimentary skill to a lot of things within city limits - Stealth/Shadowing to find good spots most wouldn't realize to look in, Observation to know the spots others wouldn't think of, Area Knowledge to narrow things down (usually part of the above - you might vaguely recall that Larry's is on St George's Road or George's Street or something like that, but if you know the district it's in, you can just find the road that sounds about right), etcetera. Basically anything where having an in-depth knowledge of the environment would be beneficial.
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Old 06-27-2015, 04:22 AM   #3
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

That all seems very plausible to me. Presumably this archetype has good Perception? As Phil Masters pointed out to me a few years ago, there are kinds of low-life who need Per, but can survive without the rest of IQ.
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Old 06-27-2015, 04:37 AM   #4
Tai
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
That all seems very plausible to me. Presumably this archetype has good Perception? As Phil Masters pointed out to me a few years ago, there are kinds of low-life who need Per, but can survive without the rest of IQ.
Yeah - he's one I tend to file the serial numbers off and transplant into a lot of settings, but he's basically 'murderous street rat Batman' in a nutshell. I generally downplay IQ and ST in favour of a sky-high DX, solid Per and HT, and usually Flexibility, often Perfect Balance, and a Talent of one kind or another, depending on setting.

For similar reasons, I'd give Batman Urban Survival skill in a heartbeat, even if he's never used it for the actual 'survival' portion of the skillset.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:13 AM   #5
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

I would be interested in hearing how GMs choose among Urban Survival, Area Knowledge and Streetwise for various tasks.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:15 AM   #6
Mathulhu
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I would be interested in hearing how GMs choose among Urban Survival, Area Knowledge and Streetwise for various tasks.
Urban Survival is for living in and understanding the urban landscape. It will allow you to figure things out if you gather the information through your own observations or being told.

Area Knowledge covers knowing things in a given area, mostly things that are observable but not just that.

Streetwise is the skill for talking to and interacting with criminals.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:22 AM   #7
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I would be interested in hearing how GMs choose among Urban Survival, Area Knowledge and Streetwise for various tasks.
Streetwise is fairly specifically the social skill of interacting with the underworld and the not-quite-underworld. The examples of things it lets you do all seem to come from social interaction.

Area Knowledge is knowing about an area already; several of the Streetwise examples seem to come from using Streetwise to make use of other people's Area Knowledge.

Urban Survival is about figuring out an environment by yourself, and making use of it.

Say you're looking for someone in a town. You know he's fond of gambling, that it's illegal here, and that he is familiar with the gambling scene in this town.

If you have Area Knowledge for the town and Streetwise, you know plausible places for him to be: roll Area Knowledge, Streetwise is a prerequisite for having that specific information.

If you don't have Area Knowledge for the town, use Streetwise to talk to people and find out where the action is, but don't ask about your target: word will get to him faster than you.

If you lack Streetwise, you can look for plausible place for illegal gambling dens with Urban Survival, but it's going to be slow work. You might also try helping out some street people via Urban Survival, and then use another social skill on them to get them to use their Streetwise. Again, slow work.

But once your target has found out about you and is after you with his gang, Urban Survival is the go-to skill for finding places to hide and ways to live without anyone knowing where you are.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:42 AM   #8
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

I would make the distinction in a slightly different place on one point. If you have Area Knowledge, I'll let you know what parts of town are likely to have gambling establishments. But if you go there, you won't look like you fit it, and you may be a target for anything from cheating to violence.
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:30 AM   #9
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I would make the distinction in a slightly different place on one point.
I missed the case of a character with Area Knowledge, but no Streetwise. I agree with you for that.

Last edited by johndallman; 06-27-2015 at 10:47 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:57 AM   #10
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fishing, Survival and Urban Survival

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Plenty of my characters have had Survival, rather fewer Urban Survival, and I don't think any have ever had Fishing. What have you, or your players, done with these skills?
None of my players have ever taken Urban Survival, plenty have had Streetwise. I think two have had Fishing. I've taken Urban Survival plenty of times on characters as well as Fishing and Streetwise.


My break down:

Fishing may be used anywhere there is water and Fish, I allow Survival specs that could also fish (almost all of them*) to Fish outside their area of specialty with a -2 Familiarity penalty (I basically wrap Fishing into Survival for free). Likewise though, I give Fishing a Familiarity penalty if the character is in a 'Fishing Environment' they are not used (ie. Deep Sea fishing when they are used to creeks and rivers) as there is a difference, but it's not that big of one.

* I have disallowed it once to some desert Characters that had no experience with fishing when they traveled outside the area they had never previously left (there being no fishable water sources in the rocky desert they lived in). However once they had someone teach them (a native guide) I let them Fish with only Familiarity penalties from then on. So they had Survival (Desert) with Beach Familiarity (yes, I allow that.


Urban Survival is all about Food, Shelter, and Environmental Safety. I allow it to default to and from Streetwise with a -4. I do not allow it to recognize local street gangs, criminal syndicates, areas of heavy police patrol, etc, all that is Streetwise.

Streetwise is all about Information (and making and using Contacts), the whys, wheres**, whos, and sometimes hows of the criminal street world.

** Relatively speaking, you'll know "the docks are where the heavy mob activity is" (and once at the Docks which parts to watch out in) but Area Knowledge is how to get from Uptown to the Docks.

Area Knowledge is knowing where stuff (people, places, things) is and how to get there from here.
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