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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 150 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Athletic skills: Scope & Reason of being  (Read 4075 times)
Barna
Member

Posts: 68

El portuges errante


« on: May 07, 2006, 08:13:51 AM »

I like the freeform structure of skill in HQ, but it is a definite change from the usual, more structured game systems I tend to use. Something I never liked about R&K 7th Sea is that Athletic skills were needlessly subdivided; therefore, in order to have a decent "swashbuckling" character you had to spend dozens of XP to buy Leaping, Rolling, Running, Climbing, Jumping, Swinging, etc, etc.

This ws one of the main things I vowed to correct in my HQ conversion. However, I am a bit stumped yet again. Having a single "Athletics" skill seems a bit too general; not because it does not mimic the movie reality (where swashbucklers run, leap, swing at more or less the same level of proficiency) but because it rules out the possibility of a great climber or leaper, which can be interesting indeed. Still, using the old R&K spread of Athletic sub-skills will only bring things back to the old system and I really don't want that.

So I guess the question is: how do you handle "athletic" skills in your games? how broad are they?
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"No era el hombre mas honesto ni el mas piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente"

Arturo Perez Reverte, primera linea de "El Capitan Alatriste"
Bankuei
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2006, 08:41:17 AM »

Hi,

Have you considered just giving the swashbuckling characters a skill called, "Swashbuckling" and then if they're particularly good at one thing, another skill to augment with/be augmented?

"Swashbuckling 15 augments Climbing 17 for a +2, total 19 to Climb?"

Heroquest is easy like that.

Chris
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TheLHF
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2006, 08:48:12 AM »

Never come up in any of my games, but if I wanted to build a swashbuckler, I would just give my character the abilities "Swashbuckling Flair" and "Swashbuckling Rapier Fighter". Swinging across the room on a chandelier would be Swashbuckling Flair and tossing a pitcher of wine in my opponents face then jumping on a table and swing my sword would be Swashbuckling Rapier Fighter.

--Victor
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Barna
Member

Posts: 68

El portuges errante


« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2006, 11:18:33 AM »

Bankuei, I think I will follow your advice with a twist. In R&K 7th Sea there's an attribute called "Panache" which is simply a measure of your flair, style and heroicje ne sais quoi. Amongst other things, it determines the number of times you act during a combat round, driving home the idea that "stylish" characters get more screen time.

Since HQ does not have attributes or mechanics to support this, I was thinking of giving all characters at "Panache" skill starting at 17 (the level could change, not sure yet). Basically, it could be used to augment any sort of stylish or heroic action the characters do, including Athletic stunts, which are a large part of this events. Therefore, I'm keeping the standard Jump, Leap, etc, but characters can augment these both with their general "training" keywords ("In good physical shape", "Athletic training", "Outdoorsman", etc) and, if situation warrants, with their Panache skill.

I also think that Panache could be used as the main skill and be augmented by others when the character is trying mainly to impress and do a "cool" move of some sorts.
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"No era el hombre mas honesto ni el mas piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente"

Arturo Perez Reverte, primera linea de "El Capitan Alatriste"
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2006, 12:02:43 PM »

Hi,

This is a good way to go, and it works like a keyword and helps define what your game is about.  You might also want to look into other "genre based" keywords, such as "Villainy", "Honor", "Daring", etc. if you expect them to be the core concepts of your game.  Come up with 3-12 of them, and you can make basic builds for the genre.  For example, probably any character with a name gets Panache, though you can have fun with the fact that both honorable villains and roguish heros probably both have "Honor" & "Villainy", just at different levels.

Also be aware that mechanically, HQ tends to reward having -lots- of skills to augment with, over having a few high skills.  If you want these kinds of abstract genre tropes to have more influence, simply require that everything has to augment one of them, not the other way around.  ("Climbing, Swordsmanship, and Daring augment Panache to swing from ship to ship fighting along the way" not "Panache augments Swordsmanship").  Otherwise, you'll probably find players won't waste much time raising these kinds of skills.

Chris
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Jane
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Posts: 41


WWW
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2006, 02:08:18 PM »

There's a concept of "broad skills" that you may find useful here. "Athletic" would be a broad skill, where "climbing" would be more narrow, and "climbing castle walls" very narrow indeed. You then apply modifiers depending on relevance, and a broad skill will apply in many situations, but almost always take a modifier. What you'd regard as the "norm" for relevance is up to you: possibly "climbing" is the norm, and "climbing castole wall" would get a relevance bonus if that is indeed what's being climbed.

Or I suppose you could treat "athletic" as  a keyword, and charge for it accordingly.


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Barna
Member

Posts: 68

El portuges errante


« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2006, 03:43:44 PM »

Now that I've thought about it a bit, I beleive there's another reason for keeping individual athletic skills. As Bankuei says, HQ is a lot about augmenting. In the swashbuckling genre in general, not all characters who do crazy stunts are actually trained athletes. But they do have Panache, are Physically Fit, Passionate, In Love with the Damsel etc.. That is, they have LOTS of other skills/personality traits/relationoships which can augment their athletic skills.

I was just thinking of an example with the castillian swordsman in the original CG version I made of him (before applying all the experience of the last three years of gaming). Let's suppose that the is trying to Leap from one rooftop to the other to rescue a Damsel in distress while being shot at. His total would be 17 from his Leaping skill with the following augments:

+2 from his "Defend the helpless" 20
+2 from his "Good physical shape" 17
+1 from his "Natural athlete" 13
+2 from his "Panache" 20

That alone would bump his total to a 24. Indeed HQ is about augmenting! :)



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"No era el hombre mas honesto ni el mas piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente"

Arturo Perez Reverte, primera linea de "El Capitan Alatriste"
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2006, 10:05:11 AM »

You're overthinking this. A lot.

In HQ there is no set ability list. Players will take whatever they want to take. And you should generally let them (check out the rules for "broad abilities" as mentioned, however). What you'll find is that this problem largely takes care of itself. Players will describe their character's abilities in ways that make sense to them, and that'll come out in play.

Keep in mind that in HQ, a character with Climb 6, the default level, isn't that bad at climbing - he's average, likely (unless his culture all know how to climb well). Can you climb? I can. Not great, but depends on what we're climbing, right? Remember to keep resistances low for all but demonstrably unlikely sounding actions, and you'll find that characters can do what they should be able to do.

Keep in mind the Improvisation rules. That is, one can climb with Good Athlete as the primary ability, probably, but I'd give it a -5 or so. Between generalized uses of abilities and augmenting, you'll get a great idea of how characters are accomplishing these goals.

Mike
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Barna
Member

Posts: 68

El portuges errante


« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2006, 10:52:12 AM »

I did not know of the rules for "broad" abilities, as I do not have the book in my hands yet. I will make sure to take a look at it, it sure sounds like a simple way to deal with this and other "skill depth" issues.
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"No era el hombre mas honesto ni el mas piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente"

Arturo Perez Reverte, primera linea de "El Capitan Alatriste"
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2006, 11:20:58 AM »

Heh, it's actually a pretty complicated way (3 ways, actually) to handle broad skills. But fortunately one that's really rarely ever needed once people get an idea of the sample abilities.

Mike
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Barna
Member

Posts: 68

El portuges errante


« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2006, 11:36:42 AM »

My players come from a more structured RPG background, so I guess itīs gonna take them a while to get used to the "what-you-like" skills. In the end, however, I beleive they will come to appreciate the flexibility of the whole system. Still, I talked about it with one of my players the other day and he was interested in the concept.
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"No era el hombre mas honesto ni el mas piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente"

Arturo Perez Reverte, primera linea de "El Capitan Alatriste"
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