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Old 11-06-2015, 04:04 PM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

Housekeeping is the IQ/E skill of running a household. The only default is IQ-4. It covers cleaning, basic cooking, easy repairs (anything where Sewing, Carpentry, or an appropriate professional skill would be at +4 or more for an easy task) and basic household budgeting. The skill has adventuring uses, such as cleaning up evidence, and infiltration: few people take much notice of the night cleaners in offices, or the daytime room service in hotels.

Housekeeping appeared in 4e, and is on a reasonable number of templates, although as an option rather than an everyman skill. Action makes Housekeeping a key skill for the Cleaner role. DF uses it for keeping monster parts fresh enough to sell. Fantasy-Tech uses it for mummy preservation, and for caring for TL2 gunpowder. Horror has it as a supporting skill for searching a building, Low-Tech has several small, but valuable applications, and LTC3 adds more. Monster Hunters has more on modern-day evidence clean-up. PU2, PU3 and PU7 have examples for Housekeeping, and Social Engineering: Back to School uses it in apprenticeships. Keeping up with the housekeeping is really important in Spaceships. Chinese Elemental Powers has several abilities that boost different areas of this skill, Ultra-Tech does it with microbot swarms, and it can help avoid catching Zombies' plagues.

The boundary between Housekeeping and Survival/Urban Survival can be a little vague at times, but having both makes hiding in an unoccupied house for a week a lot more comfortable.

I've never used Housekeeping as an adventuring skill, although it's been on a few characters as background. My evidence-destroying exploits have been under different game systems. What have you done with this skill?
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:35 PM   #2
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

Never seen it used, 'better' skills always seem to come to the forefront (Forensics, Cooking, Survival, Sewing, etc) on other characters at a higher level, so the guy with Housekeeping never uses the skill.

It has been on many characters though.
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:04 PM   #3
CeeDub
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

Pretty much all my characters have at least one point in the skill, unless I intend them to be slobs. I also recommend the same to any players whose characters regularly change their bedsheets, clean their dwellings and at least occasionally cook a meal instead of getting take-out. It's the Everyman skill, IMO.
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:23 PM   #4
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

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Originally Posted by CeeDub View Post
Pretty much all my characters have at least one point in the skill, unless I intend them to be slobs. I also recommend the same to any players whose characters regularly change their bedsheets, clean their dwellings and at least occasionally cook a meal instead of getting take-out. It's the Everyman skill, IMO.
That's the interesting question: Should the average IQ 10 character (keeping in mind that there are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of characters in any given RPG world) have 1 point in Housekeeping, or not?

Same as with Cooking or Driving (although Driving is controversial, on here). Or even Computer Operation (at certain TLs - it's fairly obvious that the average character didn't have any Computer Operation at early TL8, nor in that span of TL7 at which that skill had started being a thing).

There's also Dabbler. Why are you a slob if you've split your Dabbler four ways to put 1/4 point into Housekeeping, instead of putting a full point into Housekeeping? Are you a slob just because you have to text your mother when you need her advice on how to remove a particularly troublesome stain?

In fact there could be an Everyman version of Dabbler, split four ways into Computer Operation, Cooking, Housekeeping and one more (which isn't Driving - lots of people living in cities, at least European cities or perhaps American East Coast cities, can't drive), and if you don't have that then others will - eventually - conclude that there's something wrong with you (which could be a diagnosis of slobness).
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:32 PM   #5
weby
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

Note that spaceships requires it for habitat maintenance.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:05 PM   #6
Phil Masters
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
That's the interesting question: Should the average IQ 10 character (keeping in mind that there are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of characters in any given RPG world) have 1 point in Housekeeping, or not?
Many people don't. If you're asking whether PCs would be well advised to, that's up to them; in very many settings, they will have people (or robots, or house-elves) to do that for them. The theory that any decent person knows how to look after their own home is largely a modern conceit.

Incidentally, I recall it being used sometimes in runs of a Transhuman Space convention demo scenario of mine where the PCs woke up in ... inferior cybershells ... in what turned out to be someone's home. Long story. Sabotage, cleaning fluids, so forth.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:19 PM   #7
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

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Many people don't. If you're asking whether PCs would be well advised to, that's up to them; in very many settings, they will have people (or robots, or house-elves) to do that for them. The theory that any decent person knows how to look after their own home is largely a modern conceit.
Indeed. I've started exploring that more in my own homebrew RPG, how player characters from certain social backgrounds might be surprisingly unfamiliar with things that someone more naive will take for granted that everybody knows.

Doing something along those lines in GURPS, you could have one Everyman Dabbler Perk per gross social class (under, middle, upper), or even split it up into a 3x2 2D grid so that it's differentiated sex (by the sex that you were raised as), so that for instance a normal male medieval noble Dabbles in Broadsword and Riding to the tune of 1/4 point each, but lacks the Everyman Dabbler Housekeeping or Cooking that anyone from an underclass background would have (even males would have at least 1/8 Housekeeping).
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:22 PM   #8
Culture20
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

I used housekeeping in a pirate campaign to make the captain's quarters fit for visitors and lay out the silver properly.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:58 PM   #9
CeeDub
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
That's the interesting question: Should the average IQ 10 character (keeping in mind that there are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of characters in any given RPG world) have 1 point in Housekeeping, or not?
Hm, I don't think they'd need to have one. After all, such routine tasks without pressure and time constraint get enough of a bonus to the skill roll that lack of the skill is unlikely to matter. Worst case, they clean their apartment, still looks untidy, they just try again.

However, I think that one or more points in the skill reflects nicely that a PC makes something of a habit of doing their household chores regularly. They certainly rack up the required amount of hours of practice to pick up a skill point.

ETA: Lack of the skill, on the other hand, is a nice indicator of someone who does household chores only when they have to. Slobs, procrastinators... someone who has no routine for these things and has to make it up as they go. Kind of the definition of defaulting to IQ.

Nothing set in stone, just my personal interpretation. At the very least, it's a good flavor skill to have that also has some potential to actually come in handy.

Last edited by CeeDub; 11-06-2015 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:27 PM   #10
dripton
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Housekeeping

I've never even seen a PC with Housekeeping.

The PCs in my DF game are getting pretty rich, and the town near the dungeon is pretty small and doesn't have a lot of good stuff to buy. They should clearly hire some servants.
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