Thread: Skill use
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:01 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: PA
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Originally Posted by kcdusk View Post
I'm currently role playing a "solo" game. Single character with a couple of tasks to complete, while staying alive.

Cross a hostile country, not get detected, get intel on an enemy base in some hills, blow a bridge, delay a pursuing force, all while on foot.

I find myself using stealth, observation, navigation and forage quite a lot. Do other refs or players use these skills much? I see them as important and practical skills, can be used in non-combat situations - and can provide different challenges (again non-combat for some variety).

For example, make a navigation check, and off you go in what the character thinks is the right direction. I have the character make the roll but not see the result. Of course, the character thinks they are right. But it's not until an hour or more later they can begin to realize they were right, or wrong (that lake shouldn't be there!). Introduces some new challenges.

I guess stealth and observation have mainly been used as opposed skill checks. Who see's whom first kind of thing. Before the rifle skill comes into play.

Anyway, i didn't know if these non-combat skills were used much by you. I like having non-combat skills being used in my game. Characters are more rounded, the game is more gritty and it stops players maxing out rifle, hand to hand and pistol skills before scattering around any other skills they have left.
Land Navigation plays a major part in my Africa Campaign, along with Water Purification/Survival skills, Observation, Stealth, Persuasion and a host of other skills. My players MUST be well-rounded in order to survive.

I make this possible by changing the way Skills are purchased. I allow a player to purchase a number of skills equal to the sum total of INT, EDU, WILL (I added this as a measure of mental strength) and CHA. You may have already determined that this averages 20 Skill Points per term. This is ok because each Skill Point is actually an EXPERIENCE POINT. You must apply multiple EXP to acquire a Skill Level. The cost in EXP is equal to the new Skill Level being sought. Skills must also be bought at Skill Level 0 first (meaning you can use the skill with only the controlling characteristic as your skill roll). Thus, raising a Skill from Level 2 to Level 3 will cost the player 3 experience points. I also limit the number of Experience points you can apply to a single skill in a single term to the LOWEST score of the four characteristics used to generate the experience points.

Tegyrius and the 2013 crew gave me a valuable tool as well. The use of Qualifications is something I adopted for my game. For those who don't know, Qualifications are a "skill within a skill." In my version, they can NEVER be higher than the parent skill and are bought identically. Some examples of Qualifications in my game include;

Surgery as a qualification of Medical Skill.
Rebreather as a qualification of Scuba Diving.
Tracking as a qualification of Observation.
Leadership as a qualification of Persuasion (yes I moved this).
Mountaineering as a qualification of Climbing.
Heavy (over 5 tons) as a qualification of Wheeled/Tracked Vehicle.
Multi-Engine, Jet and Instrument Flight as qualifications of Pilot.
Remote Ops as a qualification of any Driver/Pilot/Boating Skill.
Hacking as a qualification of Computers Ops.
Martial Arts as a qualification of HTH Combat.

And the list can go on and on.

Essentially a Qualification allows everyone to use a base skill, BUT REQUIRES the aforementioned Qualifications to make an unadjusted check using more complex equipment or performing more complex skill applications. This can greatly expand the skill list WITHOUT requiring major additions to the Career Lists. The GM must simply rule whether or not a given Qualification is applicable to a given Career.
I also allow the Players to carry any Experience Points not spent to achieve a new Skill Level into the game as Experience on the Skill they were spent on during character generation.

General Land Navigation:

If you want to make a test of Land Navigation more interesting, you can add the following difficulty adjustments to the Skill test. Please note that I use different Difficulty Levels in my Skill Tests. You may have to modify my house rules.

All difficulties assume the character is able to use "Terrain Association" (comparing terrain features they can see to symbols on a map). If they cannot do this because it is Dark or the terrain masks vision (like a Forest would), increase the difficulty for each factor (navigating at night in the woods would be TWO Difficulty shifts).

Navigation using a Good Map and a Compass: A good map is defined as having a well-defined Distance Scale, a Proper Declination Scale and accurate Details of Terrain Features. Most military maps will be good maps. The Difficulty Rating of a navigation task using these items is ROUTINE (1.5 X Skill).

Navigation using an Average Map and a Compass: An average map will have a fairly well-defined Distance Scale, no Declination Scale, and some representation of Terrain Features. Most vehicle roadmaps fall into this category. The Difficulty Rating of a navigation task use these items is AVERAGE (1 X Skill).

Navigation using a Bad Map and a Compass: A bad map has no accurate scale and terrain features might be out of alignment or exaggerated. The "tourist guide" style maps or handmade copies often fall into this class. The Difficulty Rating of a task using a bad map is DIFFICULT (0.5 X Skill).

Navigation using a Compass but NO Map: This method can only be used for General Navigation to large/visible terrain features or known locations. The Difficulty Rating for navigating to a large but generally unknown feature is FORMIDABLE (0.25 X Skill).

Navigation using MAKESHIFT Navigational Aids: Navigating without a map OR compass can only be used to find large terrain features. Finding a general direction and maintaining it without a compass is an IMPOSSIBLE (0.1 X Skill) Task.

Point Navigation:

Navigating to a specific point in space is one of my favorite challenges to give my players. In general land navigation, you are locating a large terrain feature like a city, mountain, intersection or river. In point navigation, you are trying to find a specific point in the world. Examples include the observation post on hill 491 and a specific address in a city. This is a much more demanding task and the Navigational Difficulty roll will INCREASE by at least 1 Level (ie an AVERAGE task becomes DIFFICULT).

Deviation in Point Navigation:

When the players roll for a navigation task, I record the number they rolled and subtract it from the Target Number of the Task. I subtract the TARGET NUMBER from the ROLL for a FAILED Skill Roll. I use this "Modifier" to reduce or increase any Incurred Deviation during travel. For every 10km the characters travel, I roll 1D6-1 (for a roll of 0 to 5) and subtract 1 for each point of "Modifier" the players earned rolling UNDER the Task Number OR add 1 for each point the Task Roll was missed by. This number is the amount the characters "Deviate" from their path of travel in HUNDREDS OF METERS. Thus an Incurred Deviation roll of 3 would be 300 meters off course over 10km. I just use a simple Left (1-10) or Right (11-20) Deviation roll. While this may not seem too bad, it can completely ruin a player's tactical plan. This is because you can miss your intended destination if you deviate off course by more than the Range of Observation listed for the various terrain types.


In my world GPS in alive and well (I'm playing a Merc Campaign). Navigation using GPS is an EASY (2 X Skill) Task. The big problem in Twilight2000 would be even getting a signal from the few remaining (untimed) satellites wobbling around in orbit. I do have some notes on GPS as well as stats for the Plugger and the Dagr but I'm not at home to reference them at the moment. If anyone is interested, I'll post them when I get home.

As you can see from my post, I use Non-Combat Skills a great deal. It is a good way to challenge players WITHOUT killing characters. I also believe it makes the game world feel that much more "Real" when the players are thwarted by a locked door or "balled-up navigation."

Last edited by swaghauler; 12-22-2017 at 07:41 PM. Reason: correcting an editing error that could cause confusion.
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