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Old 08-03-2021, 12:07 PM   #1
Crystalline_Entity
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Default Maintaining skills with no default

I think I'm being dense, but I'm trying to work out how to use the optional rule on Maintaining Skills on B294 for skills with no default.

The text says "If a skill with only one point in it degrades, it drops to default level (that is, you are no better than someone without training)". That's fine... if the skill has a default. But what if it doesn't?

As a specific example, I used to play the piano when I was younger, I certainly don't have a point in it now, it's degraded from lack of use in GURPS terms, but I can find my way around they keyboard and play simple pieces of music if I put my mind to it. This sounds like default usage to me, but Musical Instrument (Keyboard) has no default from an attribute.

Am I missing a rule here or is this just a case of "GURPS is not a reality simulator"?
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:28 PM   #2
TGLS
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalline_Entity View Post
But what if it doesn't?
I believe the answer is: "The skill is completely atrophied and lost."
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Originally Posted by Crystalline_Entity View Post
Am I missing a rule here or is this just a case of "GURPS is not a reality simulator"?
It would seem to be the latter (Maybe there's something in "Back to School"?).

If you want a patch, then change the remainder of the paragraph to "If a skill with only one point in it degrades, the point is lost but the reduced skill level remains. Skill levels cannot drop below their default level or below zero."
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:28 PM   #3
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

Those rules are a gameable approximation of learning. I wouldn't consider them realistic in the slightest. Well, maybe a little - but not much. This is one of the things that falls through the cracks. That said, as a house rule I allow a default for skills that weren't maintained because it breaks my suspension of disbelief that suddenly you can't (for example) play the piano. I use Attribute-4 for easy, -5 for average, -6 for hard, and -7 or more for very hard defaulted skills.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:30 PM   #4
DangerousThing
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

You could, perhaps create a special default with the same default levels as normal skills. That is, nobody would get a default, except these people whose skill has dropped.

However, I do have to ask: why do you want to drop player character's skills? Is your game so harshly realistic that this is required? I do know that my players hated this rule in the one game I used it in. You are basically discouraging "flavor" skills, because these are the ones most likely to be ignored.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:39 PM   #5
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

I believe those rules were written before the Dabbler Perk existed. Personally, I'd say degraded skills simply drop by a further -1 until they hit the better of Default and the standard penalty for that difficulty (Att-4 for Easy, -5 for Average, -6 for Hard, and -7 for Very Hard). Note this means that once you learn something that lacks a default, you'll never completely forget how to do it.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:41 PM   #6
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I believe those rules were written before the Dabbler Perk existed. Personally, I'd say degraded skills simply drop by a further -1 until they hit the better of Default and the standard penalty for that difficulty (Att-4 for Easy, -5 for Average, -6 for Hard, and -7 for Very Hard). Note this means that once you learn something that lacks a default, you'll never completely forget how to do it.
That's clever and simple. I like it.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:47 PM   #7
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

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Originally Posted by DangerousThing View Post
You are basically discouraging "flavor" skills, because these are the ones most likely to be ignored.
I'd argue a "flavor" skill doesn't add much spice if it's never actually used. Sure, it's not going to be important, but if your character has a hobby of arranging flowers... have the character arrange some freaking flowers at some point within six months.

That said, however, I do agree that the skill degradation rules are unlikely to be popular.

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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
That's clever and simple. I like it.
Yeah, it also means for normal skills it gets rid of the oddity where you go from, for example, 12 to 11 to 10 to 6 (or lower, if it's not an Easy skill). Instead, it's a more gradual progression.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:52 PM   #8
Celjabba
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

If you really want to use the skill maintenance rules, then in this case, I would rule you cannot drop below 1 cp : if you cannot play piano/read music without minimal training, and if you can still play it, if badly, then you still have the minimal training.

But you have lost any familiarities you may have add, and any piece you have memorised except the easiest ones, so -2 for playing and -2 for reading, or attribute -6 for playing an average tune from sheet music ... which perfectly match a standard default roll for an hard skill.
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:12 PM   #9
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

In GURPS Locations: Worminghall, I provided an approach to learning spells that assumed that you first had to spend 8 hours memorizing the spell—in effect, gaining Familiarity with it. Once that was done, you gained the ability to cast the spell at a default of IQ+Magery-6 (or -7 for Very Hard spells). The rest of the 192 hours to gain a point in the spell went into painstaking rehearsal of the exact words, intonations, gestures, images to visualize, and so on, rather like being a musician trying to learn a musical piece. [The standard rules don't allow taking extra time to cast a spell, but I figured that you could do Symbol Drawing on a wax tablet, or on the sand (at -2 for improvised equipment), or in the air (at -5 for no equipment), and take extra time on that to gain a bonus to effective skill. But that added complication wouldn't apply to more mundane skills.]

So say you've learned to play the piano. If you don't practice, and your effective skill drops, well, I'd say that you're still familiar with the piano; and given that, I'd allow you a default roll at IQ+Musical Ability-6.
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:17 PM   #10
Plane
 
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Default Re: Maintaining skills with no default

Wizardly Dabbler (Magical Styles 33) opened the door to treating skills lacking defaults (spells, under basic rules) as if they did have them (in respect to a Dabbler perk) so I could see following that for other skills too.

Since an eighth/quarter/half of a skill point gives iq-6/iq-5/iq-4 in a Hard skill, and classic non-wizardly Dabbler gives def+1/def+2/def+3 for those fractions, this implies allowing a default in Hard skills (like Musical Instruments) of IQ-7, and probably IQ-8 in VH, IQ-6 in Average, IQ-5 in Easy.

The concept of -a default for the defaultless' has a special drawback in the case of spells though:
always work as if known at “skill 9 or less” when determining
rituals, energy costs, and casting times – even if your IQ and Magery give you a higher skill level for casting.
Since we can't adapt something like that to skills other than spells, one ought to apply some other kind of drawback in its place, like at minimum an extra -1 to the roll.

You can change a full ritual (words/gestures) spell (9 or less) to no-rituals via two perks in Magical Styles (No Gestures and No Incantations) so maybe even a -2?

If you house-ruled even more drawbacks to allowing Wizardly Dabbler (for example: charging double energy + double casting time for spells with less than 1 point in them like with Thaumatology 38's Spell Defaults) then you might even boost that to -3 or -4.

So if you were allowing musical instruments a default of IQ-10 or IQ-11 that's probably not going to break anything.

I also sorta like the idea of giving people "Incompetent" in a wide variety of skills they have no experience in, but that would ignore the limit of a maximum of five quirks.

Another way to penalize might be to remove equipment familiarity over time. I don't even know why that doesn't get quantified. You could treat it like a bunch of techniques you buy in fractions ilke Dabbler.
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