Sword & Scoundrel 0.2.0 Feedback : Book I : Initiation
Posted: 15 Nov 2018, 11:46
Have at it gang.
Tabletop role-playing and miniature wargames
Disclaimer. It's your table and not me nor anyone can stop you from doing anything.thorgarth wrote: ↑22 Nov 2018, 20:23I´m changing that to a more traditional approach in which players can tap one attribute (the one that best applies to the situation at hand, though one still has to justify its use) plus one skill or trait.
So tapping formula would be Attribute+Skill or Trait, applying the three restrictions mentioned on pages 17 and 18.
In most rpgs like DnD skills are married to attributes. Want to creep past those guards? Roll Stealth/Sneak + Dex. In dice pool games like WoD it would be Dexterity + Stealth. The Scoundrels equivalent is roll Stealth + possible taps; if you lack Stealth / rank is too low you could sub Agility instead. Meaning that "the attribute that best applies to the situation at hand" is already taken into account when you roll Stealth. Allowing an Agility tap to a Stealth roll because "agile=silent" RAW and RAI is the definition of double-dipping. Tapping is about going above and beyond what the tested ability already brings to the table."the one that best applies to the situation at hand, though one still has to justify its use"
You have two tapping slots. By explicitly allocating Slot 1 to Attributes and Slot 2 to Skills/Traits you alter the weight of the Priority Table. Attributes suddenly become more valuable. Traits - which by default are mostly tapping resources - become less appealing.tapping formula would be Attribute+Skill or Trait
It's your table and your group, presumably, so you can do as you please. However, the rules are designed with the notion that attributes do not "govern" skills in the way they do in D&D or other systems. The example in the tapping section even directly calls out an example Attribute/Skill relationship in the form of Perception and says this is not the case.thorgarth wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 07:09Its a matter of interpretation Benedict. For me Attributes should have a direct bear in the performance of skills, adding (in this case since tapping only adds) to it, and by that differentiating the natural aptitude at a given area. Meaning, for me attributes are "above and beyond what the tested ability already brings to the table." Considering this interpretation it cannot be counted as double-dipping. In this I'm clearly closer to the first iterations of this "series".
Further, under the sidebar on the following page it points out that attributes aren't particularly common as taps because they are so broadly applicable that it makes it difficult to point to a specific benefit not contained within the skill you are tapping.Second, you need to explain how it applies to the situation. The thing you are tapping in must bring some benefit to the task that is above and beyond the normal scope of the ability being checked. Most of what an ability does is already assumed in the value of the ability itself. Having a high Perception doesn't make you better at Larceny, even if situational awareness is fairly crucial to breaking and entering. Your burglarizing ability is wholly contained within the Larceny skill.
Like I said, its a matter of interpretation... But assuming people to be agile just because they learned, even if just the basics, to be stealthy doesn't strike me as logic.Agamemnon wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 12:32
You can hack the game to do whatever you please, but the game is written with the opposite assumption about how things are set up. The point of tapping is to encourage players to be more creative with their approach to challenges, to make it mechanically advantageous to color their approaches based on other strengths their characters possess. Interesting to this point, I'd previously considered removing attribute taps from general conflicts entirely because it's so rare that they actually fulfill the design goal of adding interesting things to the narrative. Instead, people just try to justify them as a free bonus die for having scores. After all, to use your example: what does being "agile" in your stealthiness add to the narrative? It's not creative or colorful or even interesting. Agility is your hand-eye coordination and body control -- things that were already assumed in your ability to be stealthy in the first place. We haven't added anything to the situation or made things more interesting by saying "Yeah, but he does it extra agilely. With like, cartwheels and shit."
Totally agree. I cannot stress enough that any game—Scoundrel included—should help you play the game through the rules, not hinder you playing the game through the rules. That's why I said in the first place its your table, do what you will.
Thing is that Skills are designed in such a way that no single Attribute applies as a base to each respective Skill as games like DnD do. Take Larceny for example. What would be your take on that? Agility for picking locks and disabling traps? Perception for finding traps? Cunning or Perception for casing a scene for a future burglary? You see that it suddenly doesn't come down to a single Attribute/Skill combination.thorgarth wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 07:09For me Attributes should have a direct bear in the performance of skills, adding (in this case since tapping only adds) to it, and by that differentiating the natural aptitude at a given area. Meaning, for me attributes are "above and beyond what the tested ability already brings to the table." Considering this interpretation it cannot be counted as double-dipping. In this I'm clearly closer to the first iterations of this "series".
I'll give you a more extreme example.
thorgarth wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 07:09Now, just using the rules as is (not my interpretation, which means that supposedly the skills in both cases bring all they have to the table), we might actually think something is clearly wrong with this if both characters would have the same chance of actually using stealth, meaning 1d though their innate aptitude is so disparaging, BUT the fact is EVEN the rules acknowledge (if in a most indirect way) that attributes (as an ability) can go above, and even substitute a skill the character has. See Voluntary Substitutions.
You are forgetting a fundamental aspect of the rules tho. Task and Intent. If both said "I try to sneak past the guards" (which is boring by itself if you ask me) both should roll 1d. If Character2 (Stealth1 Agility7) said "I want to sneak past the guards using the rooftops above them" this is a different take; he'd get 3d (Stealth + Agility tap), but failing that shite might result in him being exposed to the guards by taking a dive to cobblestone below. Think that's a colorful way to use Stealth, and its RAW+RAI to boot.thorgarth wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 07:09I get that the rules strive to add some narrative theme to them, be colorful our creative, but when you are trying to be stealthy, for instance, you are not trying to be fanciful or colorful, or are trying to be efective so that you are not discovered, and extremely agile people will have a better chance than less agile, hence the example I gave about character 1 and 2.
It is not roundabout nor ambiguous. As I pointed above, you must take Task and Intent into account. You can't tap/sub Agility in Stealth because "you know, agiles make better sneaks". Either buy Stealth, or find ways to bring your Agility into play. It's not a guarantee.thorgarth wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 07:09"Under some circumstances, you might be better off choosing to sub in another skill or ability even when you have the most appropriate one for the check"
In this case although Character 1 is limited to his Stealth 1, simply put because his natural aptitude is, let's face it, ordinary, Character two CAN bring is Agility to the table and sub in Stealth by tapping is Agility (2d) instead.
In this roundabout way the rules acknowledge that attributes CAN bring something to the table in so much as substituting the skill.
My second point is interconnected to the first.thorgarth wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 07:09Your second point, "You have two tapping slots. By explicitly allocating Slot 1 to Attributes and Slot 2 to Skills/Traits you alter the weight of the Priority Table. Attributes suddenly become more valuable. Traits - which by default are mostly tapping resources - become less appealing.", will bear some thinking but I think even then traits will have appeal, because of the Drama mechanics, specially "playing for trouble" and "Temptation".
Missing your point here. Its not Attribute that adds on top of Proficiency to form Combat Pool; its the other way around. No one is forced to have a Proficiency score. Everyone is forced to have a minimum Rank1 in each Attribute.
This was the way Bastards handled things. Which led to Attribute heavy characters being equal or better at Skills than masters of said Skills. Basically that's one of the main reasons of switching from Bastards to Scoundrels, me being one of the most vocal ones—if not the most vocal one—against such a change. This now is history. If interested tho do search through the forums a bit. This thing has been discussed on numerous occassions.thorgarth wrote: ↑23 Nov 2018, 07:09"The skill pool functions in a similar way to the attribute pool, by pairing a skill with the attribute most relevant to the given task to calculate the number of dice to be rolled. Nearly all skills can be paired with multiple attributes depending on context. Hunting or tracking may be a function of Cunning/Survival, while foraging for food may be Acumen/Survival, and moving through dense woodlands may be either Agility or Stamina-based, depending on the circumstances."
What concerns me the most is that when you "marry" Attributes to Skills is that you downplay the Task & Intent concept which, lets face it, is great. I'll give you an example that came up in my table. Dude had Larceny6 Reflex4 Perception5. They were trying to break a really tough lock while outside the building during a heavy thunderstorm. He was using a hammer and chisel, trying to time his strokes to the thunder so they would avoid notice and he could strike as hard as possible. He got 6d from skill, +1 from Perception (noticing the lightning flash before the actual sound), and +1d from Reflex (timing strikes with thunder). From my point of view his Task and Intent was excellent and allowed him to tap two attributes for a total of 8d. Under your hack I am unsure if such creative approaches are possible.thorgarth wrote: ↑24 Nov 2018, 07:33The biggest diference in interpretation derives from the fact that you think that by choosing to tap agility the character needs to act in a certain, and different, way that he would if he only rolled his stealth, whereas I advocate that this agile nature (Agility 4 and above) allows him to try more difficult actions BUT can do any action in exactly the same way just better and/or safer. e.g. Is Agility of 7, meaning his higher coordination AND body control allows him to have a lesser chance to avoid bumping his leg against that trash can and making just the necessary noise to alert the guard, or navigate the trashy alleys without losing is footing or send that turnip rolling right up to the thug´s feet, or just recovering from a dash just slightly faster and making it into the right spot just before the person being shadowed turned his head around. It does NOT mean he has to do it cart walking or roof running, though if he wanted to or needed to (stealth via rooftops, not stealth by cartwheeling) he would have a higher chance of doing so against a higher difficulty action (higher requisites).
I can see where you're coming from, and in part, I say this take would be intriguing. Still I fear that since you'd have to marry Skills to Attributes this would have three major effects:thorgarth wrote: ↑24 Nov 2018, 07:33Like I stated before, I just think the natural aptitude of a character should influence the skill level the character brings to the table. This can come around in various ways. For instance Burning Wheel, which seems to me the biggest influence in this system introduces this by stating that standard skills "open" at half the root stat, which if adopted here would mean something like skills opening at the tapping value of the most relevant attribute, either automatically for base skills or as the first score as a character invest points in it for the first time.
The problem is that when you tie a Tap slot to Attributes and another to Skills/Traits/Proficiencies this means I cannot tap two Attributes/Skills/Traits in there. Problematic as it limits the approach a player can have towards Task & Intent.thorgarth wrote: ↑24 Nov 2018, 07:33Trying to stay as much in system as I can (from my perspective) I chose to make the possibility to tap an Attribute from uncommon (as the rules state) to common though the player still needs to frame it under Task and Intent, obviously. And like I also state before, the choice of Attribute though in most cases will be more or less a simple affair, its not a rigid reality. Like you state also any given skill could be used with a variety of attributes to solve different tasks. And in each and every case the character would need to address how his choice makes sense and how it plays out "in game".
Where a T3 (the assumed default value) would give me 5-4-4-4-4. +1 to all Skills across the board. Hrmph.thorgarth wrote: ↑24 Nov 2018, 07:33And yes, you could've characters have 5-5-5-5-5, but hey, they would have to choose T5 to be able to do it, as T4 would give you "just" 23 points to spend, which would mean 2 attributes would be 4 or one attribute would be average (3) . Which would mean less Skill points, and remember that in my approach skill levels add directly while attributes only add tap value.
Have fun hacking away. Would love to hear how it worked out. Cheers man.
Why should I increase it in any way? He wanted to open a back door lock in a populated area with heavy patrols during a storm without being noticed. Req was 6. Why should I increase req because he narrated a plausible way to milk 2d with tapping? It kinda defeats the whole taping concept, doesn't it?If you didn't increase the Req, we have this paradox of performing better under worse conditions