Clevermed
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon 11 Jan 2021, 23:25

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Wed 13 Jan 2021, 08:42

I think that having very specific things like that which overlap significantly doesn't really fit the design of the game, although I see where you're going with it. It sounds like an approach more consistent with the existing design would be something like the Electronics skill but then an Electrician specialty which allows more sophisticated "moves" or even just to skip die rolls altogether in some circumstances. (on the other hand a core concept in the game is that we shouldn't be rolling for menial tasks of any kind... it's sometimes hard to square that up with big variance of skill levels).
Solid point, I may be just looking at previous editions of Twilight 2K too much when really, it'd be more apt to probably look at the other Free League games and adjust accordingly as I've already seen people doing. I would still argue Education has a place as a skill if Profession doesn't, and the idea of instead translating those more career specific talents onto specialties would be a good replacement instead if you don't dig my implementation. It's not a very granular system in the first place, yeah, but my intent with homebrew is seeing how nice of a balance I can strike between the dynamic storytelling stuff Free League games seem good at promoting, while also staying true to some of the realism-based granularity that is the hallmark of a T2K post-nuclear setting.
The answer here is that if you get trained in slinking around the dark and going into places you don't belong, you're going to learn most if not all aspects of that! The Rangers are gonna teach you how to step softly and how to avoid shadows and how to use breaker bars, wire-cutters, and bypass common security elements. Because it's all part of the same job. And the same could be said for if you were a criminal. Sneaking your way up onto a ledge is great until the first time you need to get into a locked window. These skills are in pursuit of the same goal. So approach them from a goal-oriented perspective and it all makes sense.
I won't argue the semantics of what military organizations would teach what or etcetera, because I find a lot of people get bogged up in "realism" arguments (not to say T2K isn't a game that benefits from it), but it boils down to me wanting to differentiate a character who picks up Stealth because they learned it in the context of the military, versus a career criminal/intelligence agent/special ops character who is actually trained in how to break into a place, case a building, lockpick, etcetera. While you may be inclined to ALWAYS want both of them, I can see situations where a backstory would explain why someone is only good at one as opposed to the other. Only good at stealth? Yeah, Airborne taught the character how to evade enemy patrols once we're in the AO, but Sarge sure as fuck didn't give them a class on how to lockpick the door to the farmhouse they could hide in. Only good at intrusion? Character was a career criminal who was more focused on smash and grab along with intimidation, it wasn't his job to sneak into the place. I agree with most of your assertions though, particularly that fleshing out specialties would most likely be the best route to go if you're trying to go in-line with the original intent of the system.

If you're looking at languages in the context of the base setting, then yes, it'd be limited particularly if you go off of the information available in the 4E Alpha lore. But outside of Polish, English, and Russian, you have all of the languages of the coalition/soviet allies that have gotten wrapped up in this post-nuclear clusterfuck and I think it's worth keeping track of languages in a more nuanced way than just whether you're fluent or not. That way, you can create interesting points of tension or suspense that otherwise wouldn't be present if the player simply either couldn't communicate or could do it just as intended. The Soviet soldier is offering to show you a way through the minefield, but you can only understand that much from the little bit of Russian you picked up since the bombs fell. Do you choose to trust him, not knowing the full context of what he said? Stuff like that. Again, maybe a bit too granular/specific for a system like that and better suited as a specialty, but I'd probably prefer it as a skill. (Not to say that, you would have someone rolling language EVERY time they try to communicate. If it's within the scope of their knowledge and reasonable to convey without them fumbling on their words, they wouldn't need to roll. Telling the Polish militia that a marauder technical equipped with a mounted SPG-9 is about to crest over the hill however, with a D in Language (Polish), would probably need a roll to convey the specifics needed for them to react accordingly with that info.)
 
welsh
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Wed 13 Jan 2021, 16:59

I take the view that few English-speaking NATO soldiers would have picked up much Polish, and would be limited to a kind of pidgin-Polish consisting of a few commonly used words.

The reality is that soldiers chiefly interact with other members of their unit, especially in a war zone. We didn't see soldiers returning from Europe after WWII with functional German, Dutch, or French skills -- this is true even among Canadian soldiers who returned home with Dutch war brides. And we don't see American soldiers with multiple tours in Iraq or Afghanistan returning with functional Arabic or Pashto language skills.

So unless the party has an interpreter, they're going to be dealing with a language barrier. Having an easily-obtained language skill that lets everyone speak passable Polish is a nice game convenience but it takes away a challenge that the group really ought to have to face. And it creates a role for a character who may lack all kinds of other skills but who becomes invaluable because he speaks Polish and has an exhaustive knowledge of, say, pre-war Polish sugar-beet production.
 
omnipus
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Wed 13 Jan 2021, 20:56

Fair enough. All comes down to what is interesting or fun with your group of people. Personally I've never found "he doesn't understand you at all" to be much fun or even interesting more than once in a blue moon. Whereas "just don't try to communicate anything too sophisticated" is a pretty fine barrier to have come up occasionally. The problem with making it a "skill" the way all others are is that there really isn't any kind of mechanism in the game for what is or is not trivial and does or doesn't require a roll, other than common sense. Language makes this abundantly and constantly clear.

I would argue that those historical examples only sort of apply... first of all I know at least a couple guys who picked up basic Arabic competency as a result of deployments, because they found it useful to their success and survival. But mostly, those guys you mentioned all knew they were going home. They were taken care of by their forces. If the 101st had somehow been left in Bastogne for a year with failing communication, supply, and no idea if America even still existed really, it's a fair bet that a much large % of the guys would have started realizing their odds of survival were tied much more strongly to the local situation and the native populace.
 
welsh
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Wed 13 Jan 2021, 22:35

Interesting/fun is where language causes lots of problems, for sure. Making simple communication into a challenge can get old fast. But I would rather have an interpreter character than just say, okay, everyone knows basic Polish.
 
Nicolas Michon
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun 06 Sep 2020, 21:18

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Wed 13 Jan 2021, 23:44

I really like the idea of redistributing the skills, since some of them were too broad. A bit more skeptical re: mechanics under strength (even though Construction would certainly fit) and the distinction between HUMINT and the others, but it is clearly a step in the right direction. Generally speaking, the lack of differentiation could be an issue if you want to take a gaming crew to another area (after the stomping through Poland). My proposed way of dealing with it would have been to add more specialties, AND to make some of them "technical" specialties, the absence of which would severely penalize you if you only have the basic version. Examples could be neurosurgery, nuclear science, but also more social skills. For instance, I was thinking of including "bureaucracy" as a persuasion skill, to cover dealings with all kinds of administrations (from getting supplies to bribery), since they tend to operate along similar lines, and "Law (country)" if you are dealing with a place that still has a sorta-operational legal system (say Spain, France, Switzerland, parts of Italy....)

Another idea I was toying with, since there are only 4 skill levels would be to add intermediate steps to "flatten" the experience curve. This would add a "+" (D+, C+ ...) after the rating, allowing the character, once per gaming session, or maybe twice if the session is long, to reroll or roll as if he/she were at the next higher level. What do you think?
 
omnipus
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Thu 14 Jan 2021, 00:12

That's an interesting idea, but is it necessary? How many rolls do you have? Consider: a given character may only make one roll per skill per session. They can already push; this seems like pushing without consequence, yes? And then they can still push after that? The combination of all of those factors would seem to make a D+ a much better rating to hold than a C.

I think there needs to be more guidance on certain required skills or specialties. You simply can't attempt brain surgery if you haven't been trained in brain surgery. You can say this sort of thing by GM fiat, sure (and I think the rules even say as much), but more thorough guidance on when to fairly apply that would help manage everyone's expectations a lot, I think.
 
leonpoi
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri 08 Jan 2021, 05:10

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Fri 15 Jan 2021, 06:14

Lol - I think you could ... attempt it .... but even on a percentile system I don’t think I personally would be very successful even if I rolled a 01.

I agree that guidance on can try / cannot perquisites would be useful. Eg can I really try to pick a lock without the speciality? I think it would be a little tough!

;)
I think there needs to be more guidance on certain required skills or specialties. You simply can't attempt brain surgery if you haven't been trained in brain surgery. You can say this sort of thing by GM fiat, sure (and I think the rules even say as much), but more thorough guidance on when to fairly apply that would help manage everyone's expectations a lot, I think.
 
Nicolas Michon
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun 06 Sep 2020, 21:18

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Sat 16 Jan 2021, 23:46

That's an interesting idea, but is it necessary? How many rolls do you have? Consider: a given character may only make one roll per skill per session. They can already push; this seems like pushing without consequence, yes? And then they can still push after that? The combination of all of those factors would seem to make a D+ a much better rating to hold than a C.

I think there needs to be more guidance on certain required skills or specialties. You simply can't attempt brain surgery if you haven't been trained in brain surgery. You can say this sort of thing by GM fiat, sure (and I think the rules even say as much), but more thorough guidance on when to fairly apply that would help manage everyone's expectations a lot, I think.
Very good points. I think I may just add specialties (and "advanced" ones, that give you steep penalties or prevent you from attempting the action if you don't have them).

Another trick would be (this is based on a soon-to-be released game system by French editor Sethmes) to grant players, once per session, a better shot in using a skill they don't have but that matches their story (ex: you may not be a chemical engineer, but you may have worked in a factory that used product X, and therefore know that it can be explosive if combined with product Y: sugar, fertilizer .....)
 
leonpoi
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri 08 Jan 2021, 05:10

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Sun 17 Jan 2021, 02:40

One of Free League’s earlier games - Forbidden Lands - had a similar system already called Pride. In summary, each character had a Pride - which is something they think / are great at ; e.g. “I graduated Chemical Engineering with first class honours”. Any time you’ve failed a push roll but want to try again (maybe it was once per day - but I don’t remember) you could invoke your Pride if it make sense in story context. This would allow you to roll a d12. In tw2k context it would allow you to get a success on 6 and a double success on 10, 11, 12. So 7/12 chance of being successful BUT if you fail, then you fail as normal AND you lose your Pride, spend one session without one, and then next session you rewrite a new one basis things / story that has been going on. Something like this could work.
 
AEB
Posts: 131
Joined: Sat 19 Sep 2020, 06:01

Re: [ALPHA] Thoughts on Skills/Homebrew

Sun 17 Jan 2021, 05:30

Dealing with Translation problem gives the Referee options to introduce Interpreter NPCs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdxAVKDq27g

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