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Old 12-14-2012, 06:21 PM   #41
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

The problem there is that there really is a large body of general knowledge which one learns in a job like "infantryman" and which is separate from the skills of most outdoorsmen or marksmen or electronics repairmen. It does increase with time and skill, so it can't just be a perk (and a perk takes up as much space on the character sheet as a skill).

Most GMs and players won't know exactly what things would be included for a given job and culture, so it makes sense to use one skill to include them all. But I think that overlapping skills is a good thing, as long as one skill does not include all of another.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:26 PM   #42
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

To me the Soldier Skill basicly coveres the general gruntwork of "Soldiering" that doesn't have it's own skill, such as knowing how patrols work, marching long distances without getting exausted, understanding chain of command, organized Foraging/looting in less civilized places, Drilling, Battlefield Formations, where and how to get your pay, and so on.

Because those Redcoats you are running in an american reveloution game aren't rolling a March skill when they move en-masse through the country side.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:57 PM   #43
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kol View Post
To me the Soldier Skill basicly coveres the general gruntwork of "Soldiering" that doesn't have it's own skill, such as knowing how patrols work, marching long distances without getting exausted, understanding chain of command, organized Foraging/looting in less civilized places, Drilling, Battlefield Formations, where and how to get your pay, and so on.
- how patrols work: Tactics at 1-point level.
- march long distances: Hiking.
- chain of command, how to get your pay: Savoir Fair (military)
- formations and drilling: that's a tricky one that could justify it, but I'm not sure how it actually comes up in game play that often
- foraging/looting: Scrounging and/or Survival.

Most of the things in the Soldier skill are covered already by other skills - IQ-based Guns (or other skill rolls) to maintain gear; Hiking to avoid trenchfoot, Stealth and Camouflage for concealment, and so on.

Basically, it just seems like a cheap way to buy Talent (Military Stuff) or save the 6 character points to define the basics, while also adding some odd metagaming rules ("roll vs. this skill each day or the GM will screw you.").
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:08 PM   #44
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

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Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
- formations and drilling: that's a tricky one that could justify it, but I'm not sure how it actually comes up in game play that often
While I do think there's a place for sweeping low-level skills, this one above might be handled by the Standard Operating Procedure type perks from Tactical Shooting.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:25 PM   #45
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

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Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
Basically, it just seems like a cheap way to buy Talent (Military Stuff) or save the 6 character points to define the basics, while also adding some odd metagaming rules ("roll vs. this skill each day or the GM will screw you.").
If you're doing it by the book, you'd need at least 4 points in soldier (for IQ+2) before it could start to match having one point in every subsidiary skill (for a minimum of IQ-2), since generally rolls you can use soldier on you could instead use the specific skill at at least +4.

Except of course there are a bunch of things Soldier covers as well as or better than any other skill, found scattered throughout Tactical Shooting for instance.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:35 PM   #46
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

Soldier seems to mainly give defaults to skills a layperson would know jack squat about.
Unless it's really defined in game, it might best be listed as a Background Perk: Basic Training.
(I love that perk by the way.)
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:36 PM   #47
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

There are two books sitting on my shelf that I think give a good idea of the depth and bredth of the Soldier skill:

http://www.amazon.com/Soldiers-Manua...=STP+21-1-SMCT

and

http://www.amazon.com/Soldiers-Manua...STP+21-24-SMCT

These represent all the stuf every soldier is supposed to know, or at least have in their hip pocket. (The first looks like just a couple of points in the skill, the second alot more).

My NCOs were assigned a set of tasks in these books that they could teach at a moment's notice. It helped fill up dead time in the training schedule.

Unless I'm wildly missing the intent of the skill...
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:00 AM   #48
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

Seems like part of the problem is that people who haven't actually BEEN soldiers have trouble grasping what's actually in the Soldier skill (and what isn't). I suspect that leads to the tendency to either (a) beef up the Soldier skill to something useful by including more tasks than it's actually meant to cover, or (b) split the skill into its apparent components, each of which is a useful skill on its own, and either get rid of Soldier altogether or reduce it to a Perk or something.
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:26 PM   #49
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
It should cover tourniquets, I'd think. IMO TL7-11 Soldiers have basic first aid (enough to stop bleeding, but not heal hit points)
Probably this is better covered by 1/2 or 1 point in First Aid. Half point cover basic military training, one entire point cover good military training.
In other terms, I would never allow a character to stop bleeding by a Soldier roll. If he wants to stop bleeding, there's a First Aid roll; if the player wants to role a soldier, I recommend him in advance to put one point in First Aid as part of character's military training.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:14 PM   #50
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Default Re: Some questions about the Soldier skill

I like the Soldier skill- it solves a lot of problems. I also agree that most people who don't seem to "get it" were never soldiers.

The problem with putting 1 point into a dozen skills like Electronics Operation (Communications), Tactics, Hazardous Materials, Armoury, Engineer (Combat), etc. is that this makes the soldier far too competent in these skills to be realistic. (It also results in laughably bloated point totals for anyone who has ever been in the military.) Most soldiers get very narrow training on only the basic applications of their own service's basic equipment and squad-level tactics. Soldier skill lets them perfom some tasks for which they really shouldn't be so qualified as if they put a full point in them, but also perform better at those narrow tasks than if they were operating purely from default (which is quite logical and passes the reality check).

It's sort of a variant of Dabbler (a bunch of military crap), or perhaps a non-cinematic bang skill...

Here's how I handle it:

The Communications component of Soldier lets you use your own nation's most common squad-level radios competently. That's it. Nothing else. You can change batteries and set frequencies and fills, and use the most basic sort of code-book. You also know your service's phoenetic alphabet and standard procedure words, such as "WILCO". It should not allow you to improvise an HF antenna, work a satellite uplink, or organize a cellular network.

The Hazardous Materials component of Soldier lets you use your own services simple pre-made kit to test for common chemical agents, and to decontaminate yourself and personal equipment. Maybe it lets you read a radiacmeter. It does not allow you to use the full capabilities of a FOX NBC reconnaisance vehicle, identify atypical agents, or safely transport VX.

The Tactics component of Soldier skill allows you to intelligently follow the instructions of someone will the full-fledged Tactics skill from the same service as you. You can be told "we're going to orchestrate a hasty sniper-initiated L-shaped ambush with bases of fire along the axis of the trail and along the power lines" and know what you're job in the ambush is. It allows you to know what your job is in a stack, and how to enter a room as a member of a team without stepping into your buddy's line of fire. It does not allow you to plan the hasty assault of a campany-sized element against a deliberate defense- that's Tactics skill.

I'm kind of conflicted about whether Soldier should allow you to don a gas mask and protective suit, since that is very specifically what NBC Suit skill is for. Your call. IMO Soldier should at most cover the use of your service's standard protective mask and suit but not any other one, and certainly not the level 4 biohazard suit that you found in the USAMRIID lab. It absolutely should not allow one to improvise NBC equipment the way that full-fledged NBC Suit skill would.

The Armoury component of Soldier skill lets you maintain common platoon-level weapons systems, do function checks and immediate action, act as a member of a weapon crew (i.e. feed ammunition or help change a quick-change barrel even if you don't have Gunner (HMG) skill), and maybe set the headspace on a heavy machinegun. In the U.S. Army this might cover the M16 family, M9, M249, M240, M2, and maybe the Mk19. It does not allow you to tune a sniper rifle for a fine (quality) bonus, replace the sensor on a IR-homing missile, or even replace a worn barrel (unless, of course, it's a machine-gun with quick-change barrels).

The Combat Engineer component of Soldier skill lets you dig an individual or crew fighting position (i.e. "foxhole" or "trench") and place barbed wire. It also allows you to place a universally-taught mine such as the M18 Claymore. It does not allow you to plan the demolition of a bridge, plan a star-fortress, or dig a countermine, or even design an anti-tank obstacle- those are all Engineer (Combat) skill, the domain of specialists.

The Camouflage component of Soldier skill lets you camouflage that fighting position you just dug. An argument could be made for using Soldier skill to comouflage a standard vehicle with which you are familiar no larger than a tank in a static position. So, tankers could camo tanks but most soldiers would only be able to camouflage a HMMWV, jeep, 2.5t truck or equivalent. (But even this may be too broad- it would cover 90% of uses for camouflage skill. I'd probably just stick to the fighting position.) It does not allow you to camouflage an entire building against satellite reconnaisance, for instance. And If you're a sniper and want to camouflage yourself in a ghillie suit, get Camouflage skill. But Soldier does let you apply face paint in a useful manner, so that you don't clash with your surroundings.

Personally, I think that the majority of junior enlisted soldiers should not have Savoir-Faire (Military). IMO knowing who to salute and when, identifying rank insignia of your own nation, being able to recite the Ranger Creed, etc, would all be at +4 to Savoir-Faire (Military) and should all thus be covered by Soldier skill. Savoir-Faire should generally be used for higher-level stuff such as officiating at ceremonies, running a flag detail, hobnobbing at the Army ball, and kissing up to the general- this is the domain of NCOs and officers. I might even allow Savoir-Faire to be used to identify the rank insignia of foreign militaries, at an appropriately hefty penalty, but I would never allow Soldier to be used for that.

Absolutely, Soldier skill needs to be specialized by nation, service, and era.

I agree- I might let someone with Soldier skill bandage a wound, but not stop bleeding or do a tracheotomy (which is a -4 penalty anyway, and thus doesn't qualify for Soldier). But most TL7+ soldiers will have a point in First Aid anyway- so using Soldier skill as a substitute would mostly be limited to lower-TL soldiers. Actually, I'm not even sure that bandaging would fly, since it isn't done at a +4 bonus, is it?

Last edited by acrosome; 11-06-2016 at 07:52 PM.
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