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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 30 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Skill advancement doesn't feel right  (Read 2747 times)
Pen
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« on: November 13, 2010, 01:25:02 PM »

I came up with a roleplaying setting that I felt needed its own game system.  It's called The Raptured and it starts out on our current real world Earth and proceeds into being a scifi, intergalactic space roleplaying game.  The characters start as real world archetypes - our playtesting group of PC's had an American infantryman, a nurse, an ex-convict heroin addict, a 20 year old student looking for the man who killed his FBI father, a computer hacker, a professor and a kid who was a budding McGyver and liked making anything that blew up.  In other words, a wide range of skills come into play.

The entire system is currently based on 2d10.  You combine them to generate variables from 2 to 20.  Skills are rated on that scale.  If you make or miss your skill by 1, you can mark it and at the end of the game week, you get to roll to increase that skill by rolling higher.  The highest a skill can go is 19.  Rolling to increase higher than 19 instead gives you a feat in that skill (if your skill in Rifle is 19 and you roll a 20, you can choose from a list of feats related to Rifle skill, such as Precision Shooting or Crack Shot).  There are bonuses to the roll that kick in when you reach 19 in a skill so that advancement doesn't stagnate.  The system is a rough derivative of the old Runequest system that used D100 and had skill increases as I've just described rather than giving out experience points, which I personally abhor.

Combat is working really well.  But I'm finding that skill increases are problematic.  What I'm not liking is the trade off between training and "in the field" experience.  One can go into the military and be trained rather quickly to become a crack shot sniper or how to fight hand to hand.  However, things such as Engineering take a long time to learn.  I'm having a hard time figuring out a skill advancement tweak so that it takes a reasonable amount of time to learn some skills, yet doesn't make learning other skills, what I call Shoot 'em up skills (brawling, guns, driving, jumping, etc) to drawn out.  I want to keep the system simple, but I am starting to wonder if perhaps I should switch over to d100, because it allows me to stretch the distance from a beginner skill set to a masters skill set.  I can then say that certain skills increase by 1% each time, while others increase by greater %'s'. 

But on the other hand, I like the simplicity of everything works on rolling 2d10.  So I'm wondering if there might be some other alternative to skill advancement techniques that would allow me to easilly inhibit some skill advancments while allowing others to increase more easily without resorting to XP.

Anyone else out there grappled with this and won?
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Mathew E. Reuther
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2010, 02:18:17 PM »

Change the number of checks needed on a per skill basis. It's the addition of a single number to the skills, and a short addition to the skillup mechanic rules.
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Ar Kayon
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2010, 06:37:33 PM »

1d100 is technically 2d10, with the added benefit of a larger range of numbers and simple probability calculations.
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Pen
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2010, 06:57:43 PM »

Ar Kayon:  Actually, 2d10 is much different than d100 in a very fundamental, and for my purposes critical, way:  D100 is a linear progression.  Your chance to roll any one value is the same as your chance to roll any other single value.  2d10 is a bell curve.  It is much easier to roll 10 than to roll 2.  In fact, you have only a 1% chance to roll 2, but 9% chance to roll 10.  That means learning a new skill is very difficult at first, then, as you get the hang of it, it gets much easier until you near mastery, then it gets very difficult again.

That reflects a real life learning curve IMO.

Mathew:  That may be the simplest solution. 
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Mathew E. Reuther
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I came, I saw, I ordered the burrito . . .


« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2010, 08:11:00 PM »

Yeah, there's no curve on a d100. The more dice you are rolling and adding, the steeper the curve. Which is something particularly noteworthy in dice pool systems.
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Ar Kayon
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2010, 03:50:27 AM »

What I meant is that d100 was literally two d10s being rolled; there wasn't any more complexity in the rolling itself. 

I'm trying to understand what you are trying to do with your system.  What you're saying is that you roll to determine if you improve in skill?
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Ar Kayon
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Posts: 438


« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2010, 03:58:14 AM »

Also, you mean to say that every time you make a skill resolution check, you also check to see if you gain experience in that skill (ala Morrowind/Oblivion)?
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Ar Kayon
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Posts: 438


« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2010, 04:22:00 AM »

Finally, if what I'm assuming is correct, then a bell curve can be achieved with the d100.

If your success rate is 20% and it takes 2 marks to improve in skill, then it takes on average 10 rolls to improve.  If your success is 50%, then it takes 4 rolls.  Therefore, all you would have to do is increase the marks required to attain the bell curve on higher success rates.
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Finarvyn
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 08:55:40 AM »

1. I'd stick with 2d10. You like it, the rest of your game system is built around it, stay with it.

2. Make skill advancment less frequent. Don't check to improve each time they succeed, but instead check at the end of each adventure or at any major stopping point.

3. If the advancement roll has to beat your current skill roll, then it gets progressively harder and harder to advance. That's a good thing.  For example, a person with a 10 skill can roll 10+ on 2d10 roughly half of the time, but a person with 19 skill can only roll a 20 one percent of the time.
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Marv (Finarvyn)
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johnthedm7000
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2010, 10:47:57 PM »

Just to put my .02 credits (or universal earth currency, or cents) in, one thing I think that could be productive is if you just vary the amount of time before you get a roll to "mark" a skill. Perhaps you could break skills into categories such as "simple" "demanding" and "complex" and base the amount of time that you have to use the skill (whether through training or "field experience) before you get to roll to improve a marked skill on what category a skill falls under. The possibility of having certain skills require multiple marks is also a good one, and one that makes a character's aptitude at the skill really impact how quickly they learn it. The multiple mark method could also use skill categories divided by complexity. Perhaps simple skills require 1 mark before you get a roll after a week of game time, demanding skills require 3, and complex skills require 5 marks before you can roll to raise them.

If you wanted to make things really granular, you could even combine the two suggestions. A skill might have a varying number of marks that it has to achieve before you get to roll to raise it, and it might take a varying amount of time after those marks have been achieved before you can make the roll. It'd be detail-intensive, but would allow for a great deal of realism, and might help you eliminate that problem of all skills being learned at the same pace.

Another completely unrelated idea that I had is the possibility of rewarding characters who get more marks on their skill than necessary. Perhaps if a character earns more marks than are necessary to raise a skill, he gets a bonus to the "learning roll" equal to the number of marks in excess of what was required?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 01:34:10 PM »

Hello and welcome,

For this thread to continue, please set up and link to some external document that we can reference. It doesn't have to be your complete work, or even really anything more than what you have here. But it does need to be off-Forge. See the forum sticky thread for more about this policy.

Best, Ron
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