Skills and Obstacles

Talk about any rules that don't directly fall under personal combat
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Benedict
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Skills and Obstacles

Post by Benedict » 15 Sep 2016, 07:06

After some though and testing I've some to the conclussion that Skills are really underpowered, or the Obs Table is too demanding.

Now, some rule quoting.
Table 04.01: Attributes
Dots Attribute
0 Nonexistent — The quality is entirely lacking, such as the Cunning score of a coma patient, or the Strength score of someone with full body paralysis. The character is either dead or unplayable.
1 Poor — Cunning of young children or the mentally challenged, Strength of the small and frail.
2 Average — Physical scores of your average clerk or other sedentary occupation. Average mental scores for someone whose profession doesn’t require advanced training or education.
3 Good — A sharp mind, or the physical scores of someone who is considered “fit.” Body of someone used to labor or soldiering.
4 Impressive — Champion athletes or brilliant scholars. Upper level of what is possible for normal human development.
5 Awe-Inspiring — Pinnacle of human achievement, the type that exists once in a generation. Hawking, Conan.
Table 04.04: Skills
Dots Attribute
0 Untrained — You have no idea what you’re doing. Good luck.
1 Novice — Basic familiarity, but no practical experience. An enthusiast.
2 Apprentice — Beginnings of an education in a given craft. You know more than your average layperson, but are not yet competent.
3 Journeyman — Competent bordering on professional. You understand what to do, but lack the hands-on experience and tricks of the trade.
4 Master — Professional in your own right. People would pay you to do this. Most people never get past this level.
5 Grandmaster — The highest dedication to craft. The upper echelons of human achievement in a skill.
6+ Savant — The kind of skill that comes once a generation.
So far so good. The problem comes when you hit the Obs Table.
Table 02.02: Example Obstacles
Ob Description
Ob1 Trivial — Mostly meant for unskilled characters to succeed in basic tasks. Skilled characters don’t roll for these except for under dramatic circumstances — wounded, etc.
Ob2 Routine — Keeping one’s footing on a precarious surface; noticing you’ve wandered into the bad part of town, etc.
Ob3 Average — Getting a frightened horse team under control; quickly climbing a moderately high fence; busting down a regular door.
Ob4 Challenging — Calming a frenzied horse; navigating a ship through dangerous reefs using adequate maps; fishing with bare hands; general surgery.
Ob5 Hard — Bending soft iron bars or hinges; surgery concerning vital organs of the body; lifting a heavily laden cart off a child; busting down a secure, reinforced door.
etc...
Lets say you have attrib2 skill2 (average ratings). That's 4 dice. By reading the Obs table that means you will miss Routine tasks 50% of the time (Ob2) and passing Average skill checks is even harder.

To elaborate further you need a dice pool of 6 (stat3 skill3) for a 50% chance to pass average Obs.

Imo that is a bit too far. :)
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nemedeus
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Re: Skills and Obstacles

Post by nemedeus » 15 Sep 2016, 07:47

I think the "Bug" is that a "trivial" Ob should be 0, and a "routine" Ob should be 1.

Ob3 is basically Challenging for anyone with less than 6d, but "Challenging" is relative so i would avoid that word (Basically, "challenging" is any Ob above 1/2 of your dice pool).

I think these descriptors may as well be moved down 1 across the board. Even with 10 dice, i wouldn't want to face a Ob of 9.

So, what i think it should be like:

Ob0: Trivial
Ob1: Routine
Ob2: Non-Trivial
Ob3: A professional is required
Ob4: A professional will have difficulties
Ob5: Infeasable even for a professional


It seems like there is a link between difficulty of a task and expertise level of a successful performer of that task. So...

Ob0: A task you could only fail with an attribute value of 0 (sitting down in a chair, not forgetting to breathe...)
Ob1: Everyman Task
Ob2: Apprentice Task
Ob3: Journeyman Task
Ob4: Master Task
Ob5: Grandmaster Task

The scale changes up a bit after this because it wouldn't make sense otherwise:

Ob6: Masterpiece (As in, the best a Master would achieve)
Ob7: Pinnacle of your Career
Ob8: Historical Achievement
Ob9: Heroic Deed of a Legend
Ob10: Beyond the Humanly Possible/Divine Intervention (which i think is fitting, going by "Seeing Cthulhu devour your neighbours alive and inviting it in for a hot cup of earl gray")
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thirtythr33
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Re: Skills and Obstacles

Post by thirtythr33 » 15 Sep 2016, 08:06

You are neglecting a lot of factors such as:
  • You never roll for non-conflict tasks
  • All Sales Are Final (you never get cheated out of a success)
  • Resort to Violence
  • Exploding dice
  • Story Aspect Dice
  • Burning Story Aspects (Yes, but...)
  • Taking Point
  • Sharing Successes
  • Expertise
  • Associated Skills
  • Tools
  • Edges & Flaws
  • Advantage from circumstances
By the look of it, BoB is balanced assuming that the player will get 2 or so dice from non-attribute and non-skill sources.

Once you consider all of that, meeting Ob3 with Attribute 2 and Skill 2 is really very easy.
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Benedict
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Re: Skills and Obstacles

Post by Benedict » 15 Sep 2016, 09:13

thirtythr33 wrote:You are neglecting a lot of factors
Actually I am not neglecting anything, I just forgot to clarify I was talking about basic pool construction and odds. Since you posted them one by one I'll adress each one seperately.
  • Exploding dice: Explosions always make probabilities a mess. Still, applicable if you are rolling 10s in the first place, then succeed at rerolls.
  • Story Aspect Dice: Assuming SA applies.
  • Burning Story Aspects (Yes, but...): Yes. MoS0 with a Major Complication. (A major complication is bad news, often as bad or worse than the original conflict
    being resolved)
  • Taking Point: Not applicable when alone.
  • Sharing Successes: As above.
  • Expertise: +1 die, making that average 4 dice pool 5 dice. Still less than 50% chance to succeed at average Ob3 tasks.
  • Associated Skills: +1 die for a relevant rank3 skill, or +2 dice for a relevant experise of a rank3+ skill. Not an everyday thing.
  • Tools: At best provides an advantage*.
  • Edges & Flaws: Applicable under certain situations only.
  • Advantage from circumstances: See tools*.
* Note that you either have advantage or not. Having the ideal tools for a task at the certain time of the month when the stars are right, etc, etc, won't reduce TN more than 1. While being injured can increase your TN up to 10.

thirtythr33 wrote:By the look of it, BoB is balanced assuming that the player will get 2 or so dice from non-attribute and non-skill sources.
Once you consider all of that, meeting Ob3 with Attribute 2 and Skill 2 is really very easy.
Extra dice has less bearing on success than adjusting TN or Ob. You can get extra dice from many sources, while TN bonus only from advantage.
Oh, and there's the 10+ Rule which gives you auto successes. Useful, but not something you see every day.

Plus I was talking about basic chance, not conditions, assumptions, or modifiers. :)
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thirtythr33
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Re: Skills and Obstacles

Post by thirtythr33 » 15 Sep 2016, 09:55

Benedict wrote:Exploding dice: Explosions always make probabilities a mess. Still, applicable if you are rolling 10s in the first place, then succeed at rerolls.
A shortcut for calculating BoB exploding dice is that it will add 1/9th more expected successes. Eg, rolling 9 dice that explode has the same expected number of successes and rolling 10 that don't. (But expected successes can be misleading... see below).
[*] Expertise: +1 die, making that average 4 dice pool 5 dice. Still less than 50% chance to succeed at average Ob3 tasks.
This is not true. Even ignoring exploding, 5 dice have exactly a 50% chance of passing an Ob3 task. With exploding that percentage goes up to 56%. Basically, you are thinking of the Expected Successes on 5 dice as 2.5 (correct, except for neglecting exploding) but that is not the same as having a 50% chance to score 2.5 or more successes on 5 dice. To find the true probabilities you need to look at binomial distributions and combinatorics, not expected successes.

Here is a copy of the calculator I made a while ago to compute these.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bnqjkhffj5q2h ... .xlsx?dl=0
Extra dice has less bearing on success than adjusting TN or Ob. You can get extra dice from many sources, while TN bonus only from advantage.


Making some approximations:
-1 Ob = +2 dice pool
-1 TN = +1/5th of your dice pool in dice
Exploding = +1/9th of your dice pool in dice

1 dice will actually have more bearing on success than Advantage for dice pools of 4 or smaller.

If you are interested, here is another calculator I made for opposed rolls (includes unsymmetrical obs, but doesn't include exploding)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/20b11zxy902g3 ... .xlsx?dl=0
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Benedict
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Re: Skills and Obstacles

Post by Benedict » 15 Sep 2016, 10:13

thirtythr33 wrote:
Benedict wrote:
[*] Expertise: +1 die, making that average 4 dice pool 5 dice. Still less than 50% chance to succeed at average Ob3 tasks.
This is not true. Even ignoring exploding, 5 dice have exactly a 50% chance of passing an Ob3 task. With exploding that percentage goes up to 56%. Basically, you are thinking of the Expected Successes on 5 dice as 2.5 (correct, except for neglecting exploding) but that is not the same as having a 50% chance to score 2.5 or more successes on 5 dice. To find the true probabilities you need to look at binomial distributions and combinatorics, not expected successes.
Yes, you are correct. Made a quick table for Ob3.
Ob3 4d 5d 6d 7d 8d 9d 10d
TN5 47% 68% 82% 90% 95% 97% 98%
TN6 31% 50% 65% 77% 85% 91% 94%
TN7 17% 31% 45% 58% 68% 76% 83%
TN8 8% 16% 25% 35% 44% 53% 61%
TN9 2% 5% 9% 14% 20% 26% 32%
TN10 0.37% 0.86% 1% 2% 3% 5% 7%
Roughly confirms your approximation.
thirtythr33 wrote:Making some approximations:
-1 Ob = +2 dice pool
-1 TN = +1/5th of your dice pool in dice
Exploding = +1/9th of your dice pool in dice
Thanks for those links. :)
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