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-   -   What if all skills were average difficulty? (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=171054)

Dingle 11-08-2020 02:51 PM

What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
I'm planning to run a cinematic game (Stargate SG-1), and one of the house rules I plan to use is to reduce skill-to-skill default penalties. I find that characters in that setting who are experts in one area seem to be experts in adjacent areas. I think GURPS Action hints at this when it suggests that GMs may ignore skill specialties and skill defaults.

I'm currently statting the PCs, and keeping track of the skill difficulty levels (Easy/Average/Hard/Very Hard) feels like a lot of work.
What problems could I run into if I made every skill an Average skill? (1 point gives attribute -1)
Would these problems be more or less significant if the penalties for defaulting skills are also reduced? (e.g. Attribute -4 or Skill -2/-1)

Anaraxes 11-08-2020 03:23 PM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
Did you consider Wildcard Skills? Seems like the easier way to go if you don't want to deal with detailed skill lists.

Keeping track of many skills seems like a lot more work than the difficulty -- especially since the difficulty is pretty much irrelevant except at build time, and your character design tool (GCA / GCS), if you use one, takes care of that anyway.

I don't think anything would break terribly if you just made everything Average. There's a few traits that call for a H or VH skill as a prereq, but you could just ignore that. The characters will all have extra character points to play with, but that's not really any different than just picking a higher initial build total.

If you reduce the defaults much, and especially if you add a lot more defaults, you'll probably find players that just crank a few skills to max and just let everything else default from their one skill as "the most efficient". (Increasing one skill for 2 points increases them all.) You'll probably need to put in skill caps to force some breadth, and do some early GM tricks to get them to appreciate that breadth (forcing them to fight without their favorite weapon, putting in some NPCs that can show the benefit of unarmed skills even for armed fighters, social encounters with NPCs with predetermined reactions and varying modifiers for different Influence skills so it's not all Charisma diplomancer all the time, and so on).

Dingle 11-08-2020 03:54 PM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
I'll consider wildcard skills. They don't seem like the ideal solution as there is a lot of overlap between characters. Having the full skill list is handy because I still need to distinguish the Air Force Theoretical Astrophysicist from the ex-special forces Colonel who dabbles in astronomy, who in turn needs to be distinguished from the Alien General.

I'm creating 6 characters as the GM and handing them out, so I think I can artificially add breadth of skills.

For influence skills, I'm currently planning to give 1-2 to each character and allow some defaulting between them.

Stormcrow 11-08-2020 04:17 PM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
The only characters in the Stargate franchise who seem to have actual wildcard skills are the scientists. Carter probably has Science!, and Jackson might have something similar to the History! skill from Infinite Worlds (replace the artistic skills with Linguistics). But only the principal scientists have wildcard skills; any others just have their specialties as normal skills.

If you just want to modify defaults, don't change the difficulty levels of skills. Just change the defaults arbitrarily. But I think wildcard skills for just the scientists will probably cover what you need for Stargate. You might use wildcard skills for other types of characters, but we don't really see Pilot! or Engineer! or that sort of thing all that much in Stargate. TV science is the rule in Stargate.

Dingle 11-08-2020 04:56 PM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
There are also some examples of characters picking up new weapons or aircraft immediately, but that could be an example of ignoring familiarity instead of easy defaults or Soldier! or Pilot!.

Donny Brook 11-08-2020 05:17 PM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
All my characters would have Judo, Staff and Throwing Art.

Dingle 11-08-2020 06:05 PM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Donny Brook (Post 2352819)
All my characters would have Judo, Staff and Throwing Art.

Jaffa have Judo, and Staff, but O'Neill is using a default from spear (bayonet) for melee combat, and maybe boxing.

kirbwarrior 11-08-2020 11:17 PM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
There's a handful of skills (I'm pretty sure exactly five) that are specifically built around how difficulty works, but if you stumble across them you can fix them directly. Even Kromm has commented about removing skill difficulty and making it all average just for the sake of an easy price (each +1 above attribute is 4pts).

ericthered 11-09-2020 05:55 AM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dingle (Post 2352802)
I'm planning to run a cinematic game (Stargate SG-1), and one of the house rules I plan to use is to reduce skill-to-skill default penalties. I find that characters in that setting who are experts in one area seem to be experts in adjacent areas. I think GURPS Action hints at this when it suggests that GMs may ignore skill specialties and skill defaults.

I'm currently statting the PCs, and keeping track of the skill difficulty levels (Easy/Average/Hard/Very Hard) feels like a lot of work.
What problems could I run into if I made every skill an Average skill? (1 point gives attribute -1)
Would these problems be more or less significant if the penalties for defaulting skills are also reduced? (e.g. Attribute -4 or Skill -2/-1)

Quote:

Originally Posted by kirbwarrior (Post 2352841)
There's a handful of skills (I'm pretty sure exactly five) that are specifically built around how difficulty works, but if you stumble across them you can fix them directly. Even Kromm has commented about removing skill difficulty and making it all average just for the sake of an easy price (each +1 above attribute is 4pts).

Setting them all as average will only matter in a few situations, mostly situations where a more expensive skill is strictly better than a cheaper one (except for price). The examples I can think of are:
  • First aid and physician. Physician gives you first aid with a default of -0
  • Brawling, Boxing, Karate. Karate is strictly better than brawling, and mostly better than boxing, but is hard rather than easy or average
  • Wrestling vs Judo. Judo is strictly better than wrestling, but is hard rather than average.
Other than that, it really doesn't matter than much.

SilvercatMoonpaw 11-09-2020 09:35 AM

Re: What if all skills were average difficulty?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 2352867)
Setting them all as average will only matter in a few situations, mostly situations where a more expensive skill is strictly better than a cheaper one (except for price). The examples I can think of are:
  • First aid and physician. Physician gives you first aid with a default of -0
  • Brawling, Boxing, Karate. Karate is strictly better than brawling, and mostly better than boxing, but is hard rather than easy or average
  • Wrestling vs Judo. Judo is strictly better than wrestling, but is hard rather than average.
Other than that, it really doesn't matter than much.

In that case you could maybe combine those skills. Maybe even do something where the combined skill requires a certain rank to count as the better/more expensive ones.


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