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Old 02-04-2014, 10:03 PM   #41
ericthered
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Default Re: How to Build a Boy Scout

I think I'm leaning towards making it a skill that covers lots of little things.

Such an approach could be expanded for other situations in which a broad smattering of skills is gained. 'Modern western education' would allow decent rolls on writing specific kinds of documents, knowing general scientific principles, and other things that we normally are unsure how to price.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:32 PM   #42
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I think I'm leaning towards making it a skill that covers lots of little things.
That is certainly an option, I just dislike aggregate skills, and probably will until there is some kind of ruling on how they relate to the narrower skills they replace. Dabbler is more bookkeeping, but feels cleaner to me.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:59 AM   #43
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That is certainly an option, I just dislike aggregate skills, and probably will until there is some kind of ruling on how they relate to the narrower skills they replace. Dabbler is more bookkeeping, but feels cleaner to me.
It seems pretty clear to me already. They don't "replace" any skills, they simply cover some, but not all, the stuff contained in the other skill.

Personally I think the problem case isn't that skills overlap, it's the nonsensical way GURPS wants to deny that happens. That is the "error" is treating defaults as "you can do anything covered by other skill at a penalty" instead of "covers some but not all of the stuff other skill does. Roll against either of them to do this particular thing, not necessarily at the same difficulty modifiers".
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:28 AM   #44
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Default Re: How to Build a Boy Scout

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It seems pretty clear to me already. They don't "replace" any skills, they simply cover some, but not all, the stuff contained in the other skill.
If aggregate skills have to be codified, maybe it could be something like "any task with a bonus of +X due to task difficulty"?
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:23 AM   #45
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It seems pretty clear to me already. They don't "replace" any skills, they simply cover some, but not all, the stuff contained in the other skill.
In theory, yes, but in practice the ability to draw the line is dependent on actual, real-world familiarity with the two skills involved - does the average GURPS player/GM know exactly what demolition tasks Soldier covers, and would they be able to tell whether or not someone with Scout would know knots for rigging a ship or scaling a cliff?

How would the first aid contained in Scout be used to treat a gunshot wound? The Scout certainly knows some of the general concepts better than someone without such knowledge, but someone who had First Aid from an EMT course would have covered the specifics. So... should there be a penalty for one person but not the other?

And there is definitely overlap - someone who has both Explosives (Demolitions) and Soldier has paid twice for a certain sub-skill, something that doesn't happen when you just use Dabbler.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:38 AM   #46
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In theory, yes, but in practice the ability to draw the line is dependent on actual, real-world familiarity with the two skills involved - does the average GURPS player/GM know exactly what demolition tasks Soldier covers, and would they be able to tell whether or not someone with Scout would know knots for rigging a ship or scaling a cliff?
But that's always true. Would someone with Armory (Heavy Weapons) be able to turn this artillery shell into an IED? Could I use Seamanship to tie those knots? Same problem.

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And there is definitely overlap - someone who has both Explosives (Demolitions) and Soldier has paid twice for a certain sub-skill, something that doesn't happen when you just use Dabbler.
The only real solution to this is to have a separate skill for everything it is possible to do. Millions and millions of them. "Skills" are a playable simplification, and sometimes simplifications will have to simplify.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:08 AM   #47
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Default Re: How to Build a Boy Scout

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How would the first aid contained in Scout be used to treat a gunshot wound?
1) Treat for shock. 2) Apply pressure and/or tourniquet to slow bleeding. 3) Call 911 to get them real medical professionals.

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The Scout certainly knows some of the general concepts better than someone without such knowledge, but someone who had First Aid from an EMT course would have covered the specifics. So... should there be a penalty for one person but not the other?
I don't think so. A Scout might have 1 point in First Aid and a +1 home/camping First Aid Kit. An EMT probably has First Aid 12+, a +2 professional First Aid Kit, at least a point in Diagnosis, and maybe Electronics Ops (Medical) and more-sophisticated equipment, depending on TL, institutional budgets, etc, and in the current decade and timeline may be a veteran with field Surgery experience as well, so there are plenty of reasons to tag-out to them ASAP even if you have unpenalized "real" First Aid.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:40 PM   #48
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Default Re: How to Build a Boy Scout

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The only real solution to this is to have a separate skill for everything it is possible to do. Millions and millions of them. "Skills" are a playable simplification, and sometimes simplifications will have to simplify.
Right. The way GURPS handles the distinction is by skill levels. Low levels are for amateurs and hobbyists and the high levels are usually for practicing professionals. If some non-professional practices until he gets really good at some narrow portion of a skill, that's a technique or Perk.

For my .02, I have to disagree somewhat on the skills discussion. If the player wants his PC to have a scouting background so it justifies points in Survival, Climbing, Navigation, First Aid, and Knot-Tying, by all means let him, particularly if those skills have been used more recently in the PC's background: "I learned how to build a snow cave in the scouts, and since I've been a volunteer on the ski patrol, I've been grateful for that merit badge."

Further, the 200 hours is not a hard and fast rule, simply because you can learn skills quickly in other ways -- such as adventuring, or with intense training, or through self-study (which is even slower). If the training for these skills is so narrow and unhelpful, besides Dabbler or a catch-all skill, I highly giving the scout a default while the other PCs get none at all. I'd suggest you brutally enforce defaults if that is who you want to adjudicate background skills.

Having been a scout, and an outdoorsy kid who fished, camped and hunted as a kid, I found many of the things I learned in scouts transferred very easily to camping, Jungle Survival school, and living in developing countries. That may be because I had good scoutmasters who were in fact real outdoorsmen -- hunting, fishing, and hiking are common recreation in my area, and many of these lower middle class men hunted "for meat."

Betraying my background in education, perhaps it is an issue to raise whether we are in fact talking about real instruction in the scouts, as opposed to sham instruction, or just plain old self-leaning of a skill. For instance, my scout leaders (in the 1980s) taught us to use a flint and steel (and char cloth), to make cordage, and to set a snare. We actually did those things, as well as cook biscuits, pancakes, cobbler, etc. in dutch ovens (even stacking them vertically to cook a whole meal at once). So, maybe it sounds like the scout books and merit badges are worth at most 1 point of self-learning and as in most cases you need an instructor who knows something (not just a harried volunteer reading from the book) to go further.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:00 AM   #49
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Right. The way GURPS handles the distinction is by skill levels. Low levels are for amateurs and hobbyists and the high levels are usually for practicing professionals. If some non-professional practices until he gets really good at some narrow portion of a skill, that's a technique or Perk.
Yeah, this. The One-Task Wonder Perk (PU2: Perks p 17), in particular, is pretty handy for getting you exactly one feat that falls under a Hard skill such as Naturalist (not really economical for Average or Easy) at IQ for just 1 point.

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For my .02, I have to disagree somewhat on the skills discussion. If the player wants his PC to have a scouting background so it justifies points in Survival, Climbing, Navigation, First Aid, and Knot-Tying, by all means let him, particularly if those skills have been used more recently in the PC's background: "I learned how to build a snow cave in the scouts, and since I've been a volunteer on the ski patrol, I've been grateful for that merit badge."
I fully agree that "Boy Scout" is a great justification for a full point in any of those skills, especially if supplemented by practice outside Scouting, and for the record have only been arguing against full points as a requirement for a theoretical Boy Scout template.

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[snip stuff I agree with]

Betraying my background in education, perhaps it is an issue to raise whether we are in fact talking about real instruction in the scouts, as opposed to sham instruction, or just plain old self-leaning of a skill. For instance, my scout leaders (in the 1980s) taught us to use a flint and steel (and char cloth), to make cordage, and to set a snare. We actually did those things, as well as cook biscuits, pancakes, cobbler, etc. in dutch ovens (even stacking them vertically to cook a whole meal at once). So, maybe it sounds like the scout books and merit badges are worth at most 1 point of self-learning and as in most cases you need an instructor who knows something (not just a harried volunteer reading from the book) to go further.
I'd say that you can get a real point in any of this stuff with genuine effort devoted to a merit badge book and with an instructor who knows what they're doing both with the skill in question and with teaching, but that in GURPS terms it'll take you 2x as many hours to gain a point in downtime learning with the former compared to the latter, and that plenty of kids learning from both versions end up with Dabbler or nothing in it if they don't care to do more than the minimum to chalk up the badge.
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