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Old 11-11-2016, 02:31 PM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

Speed-Reading is the IQ/A ability to read very quickly. It has no default, and no skills default to it. Your reading speed is increased by 10% times your skill level, so Speed-Reading-15 adds 150% to your reading speed, making it 250% of normal. The skill takes language comprehension modifiers, and appeared in Compendium I for GURPS 3e.

Typing is the DX/E skill of using a typewriter-like keyboard. It defaults to DX-4, or skill-3 for several skills that require using a keyboard at the appropriate TLs, including Administration, Computer Operation, Research, Professional Skill (Journalist) and Writing. Typing speed is skill x 3 words per minute on a manual typewriter, or skill x 5 on an electric typewriter or computer keyboard. Different keyboard layouts seem like familiarities. The skill appeared in Compendium I for GURPS 3e.

Speed-Reading has some unique mechanics. When you finish reading, make a skill roll to retain what you have read. If you succeed, you remember the material as well as if you'd read it normally. If you fail, then each time you try to use the material, you need to make an IQ roll at a penalty equal to the margin of failure. If you fail, you can't remember it; on a critical failure, you remember it wrongly, but believe your memory to be correct. To eliminate this IQ roll, you need to re-study the material at normal reading speed.

At TL6-7, typing was a low-status activity, and it was unheard of for managers to do their own. That was what secretaries and shorthand typists were for. They were trained in "copy-typing", transcribing handwriting without changing its phrasing, which is a different familiarity from composing on a keyboard. This meant that typing up a document was a significant step, and it usually would not be changed much after that, simply because of the labour required to retype entire pages. I learned to type, at late TL7, from a teacher who normally trained copy-typists and she was adamant that composition on the keyboard was just wrong. I'd read Isaac Asimov's autobiography, and carried on doing it anyway. The appearance of computers on many office desks early in TL8 changed the world of copy-typing, after some resistance.

Typing shows up in only a few GURPS books: High-Tech describes typewriters, Infinite Worlds lists it as a skill that may have cross-world penalties, and Horror, oddly puts it on a few templates that have skills which provide a default. Fairbairn Close Combat Systems and SEALS in Vietnam use it more convincingly.

Speed-Reading is a fairly common option on templates for library researchers and sages, and thus some kinds of magician. Action has rules for really fast research, and DF has the same for magical writings, lets Scholars use it for changing their Modular Abilities, and has a version of Oracle that can use it. High-Tech has a default reading speed for use with this skill, and Monster Hunters has rules similar to Action. There are talents, a quirk and wildcard skills for Speed-Reading in the Power-Ups series, Enhanced Senses has a specialisation for Braille, and Back to School has a cinematic rule for acquiring temporary knowledge.

I've never run into the lack of these skills. They seem to be mostly enablers, or needed for NPCs. Have you done much with them?
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Old 11-11-2016, 02:59 PM   #2
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

My problem with both of these skills is they don't pass the reality test. My computer lab teacher in high school could type 120 words per minute with perfect accuracy - he'd have to have a skill of 24 to do that. Even if you give a +4 for "non-combat use" and he'd still need a skill of 20....so he either had a god-like DX or Typing at DX+10. I can't believe that. Sorry. I can accurately type at almost 140 words per minute for 10-15 minutes (drops to about 110 when referencing material or doing transcription). So that means I have a Typing skill of 28...no. Just. No.

When I asked him how he did it he replied with "It's a combination of memory, visualization, and manual agility. Manual agility is useful, but you can make up for that with the other two." Mr. Pearson was totally right. I spent several lunchtimes in his classroom doubling up for practice because I wanted to be as fast a typist as I could. It didn't click in my head for almost a year, but I finally understood what he said:
  • Memory is all about understanding the keyboard so intuitively that you could type in gloves while blindfolded.
  • Visualization is getting what you're typing into your head in a way so that it flows from mind to fingers.
  • Manual agility is pretty obvious.

Don't get my started on reading. I have a tested words per minute rate of over 700. And several people I know can do 500 or more. I devour 2-3 novels per day. My skill would need to be astronomical.

While I know that's not average it's obvious to me that Speed-Reading and Typing just doesn't work as it is currently when you get to the higher levels. I'd be curious how other people have houseruled or "fixed" this gap in their games.
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Old 11-11-2016, 03:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

Personally I think both of these should be perks. Reading and typing at all don't make anymore sense as skills than talking and writing (the action not the craft) do. All these "skills" really do is give speeds and that seems like something you could do with a leveled perk.
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
My problem with both of these skills is they don't pass the reality test. My computer lab teacher in high school could type 120 words per minute with perfect accuracy -
Now time him with an actual typewriter. None of that electric garbage either.
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Personally I think both of these should be perks. Reading and typing at all don't make anymore sense as skills than talking and writing (the action not the craft) do. All these "skills" really do is give speeds and that seems like something you could do with a leveled perk.
That sounds spot on to me.
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Old 11-11-2016, 05:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

I have an article that includes an update to Speed Reading in the Vault. I still have hopes it'll see the light of day, but until we get a pyramid wishlist update, I don't know if it's even worth submitting at this point. Its rules are based on actual research data, and it seems to give pretty good results both at the realistic end of the spectrum and the cinematic.

I don't think I addressed Typing, so maybe that's something I should go back and examine. I'd have to find some research on the subject, since personal accounts are basically worthless. Shouldn't be killer.

Here's a question for the Hive Mind: is a typical base reading speed listed anywhere in RAW? I don't recall ever finding one suggested when I wrote that article.
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Old 11-11-2016, 06:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Now time him with an actual typewriter. None of that electric garbage either.
He actually had an Underwood #5 on his desk to prove that point (he typed pretty fast on that to - but I don't clearly recall speed). I was taught to type on Selectric by my mother when I was about six - one of her "skills all young men must know" lessons.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
That sounds spot on to me.
Yeah, Doug and I were talking about this. And it seems that a perk might be in order. Maybe something like DX attribute x4 as starting speed (40wpm) and then each level of the perk you take doubles your speed. So "Fast Typer 1" and "DX 10" would give you 80wpm. That seems fair.

Do the same for reading: Average reading speed is about 200wpm, so IQ attribute x 20 as a starting speed (200wpm) and then each level of the perk gives you an additional 100 wpm or perhaps 1.25 wpm.

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Originally Posted by Humabout View Post
Here's a question for the Hive Mind: is a typical base reading speed listed anywhere in RAW? I don't recall ever finding one suggested when I wrote that article.
No. I think we discussed this as well and at the time it wasn't listed. I believe GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses (p. 23) says something like "IQ x 25 words per minute" - which is just a skosh to high.
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Old 11-11-2016, 07:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
No. I think we discussed this as well and at the time it wasn't listed. I believe GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses (p. 23) says something like "IQ x 25 words per minute" - which is just a skosh to high.
Yes, I see that x 20 better fits the Wikipedia estimate. On the other hand, if you have IQ 15 and put 1 point into Speed-Reading that gives you 720 wpm, which goes to 864 wpm if you start with x25; and the Wikipedia article also says that the top 1% read around 1000 wpm. You're trying to use the product of two linear functions to approximate something that is likely more complex, so you won't get a perfect fit. I don't see a big problem with being 25% high, but if it bothers you, it's really trivial to change to x20, at the price of making really high reading speeds less common.
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Old 11-11-2016, 07:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Yes, I see that x 20 better fits the Wikipedia estimate. On the other hand, if you have IQ 15 and put 1 point into Speed-Reading that gives you 720 wpm, which goes to 864 wpm if you start with x25; and the Wikipedia article also says that the top 1% read around 1000 wpm. You're trying to use the product of two linear functions to approximate something that is likely more complex, so you won't get a perfect fit. I don't see a big problem with being 25% high, but if it bothers you, it's really trivial to change to x20, at the price of making really high reading speeds less common.
Actually, I was using a paper (which is about 200 wpm for most folks). I'm not saying the rules from Enhanced Senses are bad - it's just if I had been in the playtest I would have suggested a 20x rate vs. 25x. It's high - but GURPS sometimes borders on the cinematic vs. realistic (for obvious reasons).
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Speed-Reading and Typing

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Yes, I see that x 20 better fits the Wikipedia estimate. On the other hand, if you have IQ 15 and put 1 point into Speed-Reading that gives you 720 wpm, which goes to 864 wpm if you start with x25; and the Wikipedia article also says that the top 1% read around 1000 wpm. You're trying to use the product of two linear functions to approximate something that is likely more complex, so you won't get a perfect fit. I don't see a big problem with being 25% high, but if it bothers you, it's really trivial to change to x20, at the price of making really high reading speeds less common.
FWIW, I still used a linear relationship dependent on IQ for base reading speed and applied a bonus based on Speed Reading, but I deviated a bit from IQx25. It seems to get a pretty good fit with the research I read, both at lower and higher reading speeds. Admittedly, it's not as simple or graceful as just a straight IQ x k relationship.
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