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Old 11-26-2009, 08:37 AM
weswood weswood is offline
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Default Survival skills

As I was reading the Gold thread, I was thinking skills would be more valuable than material goods.

Forget being able to shoot a gun, how many people know enough about farming to plant a garden big enough to live on? I sure don't.

Reloading ammo? I know enopugh to reload small arms ammo, but what about when ready made supplies of powder and caps run out? I'm fairly knowledgable, I could make black powder, but fulminate of mercury for the caps? Smokeless or nitro powder? Ha, go fish.

I know how to ride a horse, but I really don't have much of a clue about taking care of one other than feed and water. And cows and other farm type animals? Just an idea about that.

I can hunt, and butcher game, and figure out how to tan the leather, and one of my hobbies is leather working, so at least I could have clothes and shoes.

How about doctors? Chemists? I can see the local hospital being guarded by the local government's troops, not just because of the drugs, but to protect the skilled personnel. There's an adventure idea- having to kidnap the local physician for an operation. Or being guards for a Doc as he makes his rounds.

Any other valuable skills?
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:56 AM
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Default Other skills for survival

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Any other valuable skills?
I can think of one or two. Along with the Doctors being guarded, I would think the pharmicists would be another high priority.

Wood working/carpendry. Repair of exisiting housing is going to be a priority.

As weswood said, hunting, fishing, gleaning, processing any thing found.

Knowledge of water supplies. Where is some clean or at least cleanable water.
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Old 11-26-2009, 09:07 AM
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Forget being able to shoot a gun, how many people know enough about farming to plant a garden big enough to live on? I sure don't.
Why forgetting about shooting a gun? I can (Rifle, MG and crossbow) and I can hit a target but that's not that easy and if I know it's because i started practicing when i was less than 10. However, I'm shit with a pistol.
Worse is using a knife, a spear or something like...

For the garden, no problem. I might even know how to care for a garden that is big as a small field (without mechanical machinery).

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Originally Posted by weswood View Post
Reloading ammo? I know enopugh to reload small arms ammo, but what about when ready made supplies of powder and caps run out? I'm fairly knowledgable, I could make black powder, but fulminate of mercury for the caps? Smokeless or nitro powder? Ha, go fish.
About the same. However, I can make simple bows and arrows.

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I know how to ride a horse, but I really don't have much of a clue about taking care of one other than feed and water. And cows and other farm type animals? Just an idea about that.
No problem with that except when it come to cows. Never had to care for any. Horses are not a problem for daily care but problems arrise when it goes down to horseshoes.

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I can hunt, and butcher game, and figure out how to tan the leather, and one of my hobbies is leather working, so at least I could have clothes and shoes.
I let you hunt. However, I can help you with butchery and I learned how to poach when I was young. I still have memories of that. So we could complementary.

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How about doctors? Chemists? I can see the local hospital being guarded by the local government's troops, not just because of the drugs, but to protect the skilled personnel. There's an adventure idea- having to kidnap the local physician for an operation. Or being guards for a Doc as he makes his rounds.
Just forget about them and look for the priest or the other local weirdo.
Health taker might be intersting to.

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Any other valuable skills?
Plantlore: a friend of mine can feed you simply by walking the mountain range and picking plants (I have asked her to teach me). However, this is a local knowledge.

Mushroom lore

Sewing (Yes! I got my wife)

I'm good with wood working (for housecare) but I'm living in a stone house and with that I'm bad, very bad. Need a stone carver.

A plumber can be intersting too and knowing how to make and care for a roof.

You also need someone who knows how to work metal and a glass maker can be useful.

If you don't have the glass maker you need to have some means to carry stuff around: a potter may be or a barrel maker may be.

Something important and widely forgotten is someone capable of caring for your knives and metal tools (don't know the name: someone who knows how to make it sharp without reducing it to the size of a small nail).

I stop here I have to pick up my kids but the list is going to be long, very long.
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Old 11-26-2009, 09:09 AM
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I would think the pharmicists would be another high priority.
Not really except if you have a fair supply of chemical medications. Someone knowing curring plants will be better (or a chinese pharmicist).
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Old 11-26-2009, 12:36 PM
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Let's see... Before they reattached my legs, I could do alot of things. And the more I exercise and rehab myself, i'm getting alot better at walking. So hopefully one day I'll be able to do all these things again.

Farming. I grew up learning how to farm from my grandfather.

Fishing. see above. use to go fishing with my grandfather when i spent the summers with my grandparents.

Carpentry. See above. spent the summers with my grandparents, working in my grandfathers carpentry shop in the evenings after working in the garden all day. being 12 and building a birdhouse by yourself is an amazing thing (until you go to school and tell everyone your summer was spent on a farm doing all these things, and they look at you as if you where crazy).

Hunting. My childhood friends in the mountains taught me. even taught me how to butcher deers after the hunt.

Reloading Ammo. I know the basics from watching my dad do it when i was growing up. He even allowed me to load shotgun shells.

First Aid. ex-Corpsman.

Sewing. I have two younger sisters whom I am 9 years older than that I had to babysit, and sawing them doll clothes helped me keep them happy.

General Contracting. My father was a general contractor who built houses on the sides of the mountain, and I grew up helping out around his contruction sites. So i know the bare basics of electical work, pumping, masonry, ect.
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Old 11-26-2009, 12:48 PM
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Sewing. I have two younger sisters whom I am 9 years older than that I had to babysit, and sawing them doll clothes helped me keep them happy.
That was smart. My sister is 8 years younger than I and should have done that too. Instead I taught her to play with GI joes, tanks and space lego.

As a result, I don't know how to sew and she doesn't know how to start a washing machine or how to make dinner. However, she is good at riding horses, shooting with a rifle and driving at more than 120 mph.
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Old 11-26-2009, 12:59 PM
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That was smart. My sister is 8 years younger than I and should have done that too. Instead I taught her to play with GI joes, tanks and space lego.

As a result, I don't know how to sew and she doesn't know how to start a washing machine or how to make dinner. However, she is good at riding horses, shooting with a rifle and driving at more than 120 mph.
LOL.

Ironically, my sisters know how to do all that as well!

Growing up in the mountians, and spending summers with our grandparents on a small family farm makes it easy to learn all that. Not to mention having the parents we've got. Dad was a Greenskeeper at a golf course for over 15 years, worked as a volunteer firefighter, a volunteer police officer, an EMT (he and mom worked with our local doctor to build the Hickory Nut Gorge EMS).

Living in the mountains back then you had to wear alot of hats, and you learn alot of things while just growing up. Self-sufficiency is very important when the cloest hospital is an hour helicopter ride away...
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:11 AM
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interesting to read about everyones backgrounds here .

I am thinking - for a survival game like T2K shouldnt there be more skills available on the PC sheet ?

Bushcraft,animal husbandry,sewing,plantlore etc

Should it be bunched into groups like FORAGING concerns all survival related skills ? HORSEMANSHIP deals with everything from the shodding of a horse to walking a dog ?

your thoughts ?
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by headquarters View Post
interesting to read about everyones backgrounds here .

I am thinking - for a survival game like T2K shouldnt there be more skills available on the PC sheet ?

Bushcraft,animal husbandry,sewing,plantlore etc

Should it be bunched into groups like FORAGING concerns all survival related skills ? HORSEMANSHIP deals with everything from the shodding of a horse to walking a dog ?

your thoughts ?
There is a vast plethora of skills available in my campaign. Very rarely has there not been a skill available for a given task in my campaign.
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:43 AM
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I just finish posting on the value of precious stones.

As a result, barter and negotiation are going to be very important skills.
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Old 11-27-2009, 11:50 AM
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Probably a lot of those kind of skills are covered by house rules. I would think an Animal Handling skill, specific to a chosen animal would cover things like care & feeding of farm animals to training a hunting dog.

I use tracking as a general catch all for hunting related skillsfrom finding the game to butchtering and hide tanning.
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:57 PM
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Could be but I would advise a GM to change that. Caring for a horse, raising a sheep or training a dog have nothing in common. Riding a horse and handling one is even absolutely different.
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Old 11-27-2009, 03:11 PM
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You forgot the most valuable resource of all.... BOOKS. All those skills are available in written form and once the end comes... imagine how valuable a copy of the SAS survival guide would be?
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:20 AM
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Could be but I would advise a GM to change that. Caring for a horse, raising a sheep or training a dog have nothing in common. Riding a horse and handling one is even absolutely different.
Exactly. Maybe I wasn't clear, the character would have to have Animal Handling (guard dog) or Animal Handling (hunting dog). If he wanted to have bothe the skills he would have to learn them seperatley. One skill per animal type.

There used to be a series of books I think called Foxfire(?) that dealt with things from building log cabins to identifying plants that would be very useful.
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:58 AM
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Exactly. Maybe I wasn't clear, the character would have to have Animal Handling (guard dog) or Animal Handling (hunting dog). If he wanted to have bothe the skills he would have to learn them seperatley. One skill per animal type.
Thanks. That's about what I'm using.
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:05 PM
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Blacksmith works black metal (iron) on hearth/forge
Tinsmith works white metals
Smelter turns ore into metals useable
Sandcaster cast objects after making molds in sand
Ferrier makes shoes for horses, mules, oxen.. specialized blacksmith
Ironmonger turns iron ore into useable iron for the smith
Miller turns grain into meal/flour for humans and animals
Brewer makes beer and ale
Distiller makes spirits from beer, wine, ale, mead
Vinter makes wine and could also expand the process to vinegar (the next stage)
(mead and cider also fall in there somewhere that a vinter could handle easily)
Maltster turns grain into malt for the brewer
Baker turns the millers meal/flour into breads and pastries.
Butcher kills, skins, and process meat
Tanner takes the hides from the butcher and turns it into leather
Furrier is a specialized tanning with the fur/hair left on.
Leatherworker makes items from leather but general not specialized usually
Cobbler makes shoes and footwear
Saddler makes saddles and harness, and repairs same
Potter makes items from clays..
Cooper is the barrel maker, a very rare skill outside some specialized areas.
Woodworker makes items from wood, not to be confuzed with a carpenter.. more the carver and specialized style
Carpenter makes items from wood from furniture to buildings.
Candlemaker makes candles from rendered fats
Soapmaker makes soap from rendered fats
Spinner makes thread/yarn from fiber..
Weaver turns thread and yarn into cloth
Dyer dyes cloth/threa/yarn
Taylor makes clothing and sews
Dairyman process milk into cheese, butter, and other dairy products
Teamster drives teams of horses, mules or oxen pulling wagons and carts.. should specify if equine or ox though, they are very different.
Ropemaker turns fiber into cordage, not to be confused with spinner though the process is similar
Retter turns flax, hemp and other plants into fiber that the spinner or ropemaker can use. (often a skill the farmer would have in old)
Shearsman one who shears sheep, alpaca, llama, etc for 'wool'

Many of the 'cottage' skills are progressive, such as preparing fiber for the spinner, progresses to spinning, then weaving.. skills many women AND MEN knew how to do. Same with the maltster, brewer, distiller..

Just a SHORT list
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:15 PM
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You forgot the most valuable resource of all.... BOOKS. All those skills are available in written form and once the end comes... imagine how valuable a copy of the SAS survival guide would be?
YES!!! The saving of knowledge.
My very long list of books to have is lead by Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living (ECL), but John Seymour's books are close second. ECL is in it's umpteenth edition and the author died recently (last year or so), but IS chocked full of many many many good ideas and how to's of agriculture (for the US at least). Seymour's estate re-published one of his earlier books but it is NOT as good as the original. Much like movie remakes, it lost alot in the modernization.


Add papermaker, inkmaker, paintmaker to list of skills.

(note: brown ink is easiest to make.)
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:29 PM
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Great list Grae. My mum has always had spinning wheels and when I was a kid all my woolen sweaters had been created by my mum from scratch - she would spin yarn from a fleece (sometimes she would even source the fleece herself from road kill) and then knit sweaters. She taught me how to spin yarn but I haven't done it myself since I was a child. Same with knitting.

Mum has a hand loom too (currently disassembled because it takes up a lot of room) and has made several rugs. It took a long time to make each rug though.

Also my mum and her husband keep bees and mum makes mead (only in small amounts). Yum. And mum always has a vegetable and herb garden (she is a botanist as well as being a very avid gardener).
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:19 AM
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I can just see an old hand talking to a new member of a party- "Here's this book we've been using for toilet paper. It's in Polish, don't have a clue what it's about."

"You idiot! This was an encyclopedia of medicinal uses of plants, and you're down to 6 pages!!!!"
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by weswood View Post
I can just see an old hand talking to a new member of a party- "Here's this book we've been using for toilet paper. It's in Polish, don't have a clue what it's about."

"You idiot! This was an encyclopedia of medicinal uses of plants, and you're down to 6 pages!!!!"
Ignorance will sometimes, hell most of the time, get you killed in survival situations. That would be criminal in my mind.... makes me blood boil just imagining it... "use your finger next time and lick it off.. no more books!!"
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:32 AM
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With regard to the expanding of skills in t2k.

My RPG group have, over the last 20+ years, played primarily the Rolemaster system which is often mocked as Rulemaster due to it's complexity. It subdivides so many skills it is great for the perfectionst but can be unwieldy. As suggested, there are skills like Ride (*place animal type*) and Animal Handling (*place animal type*) and even Animal Healing as examples. Then one can further use similar skills - a good Sailor may have a free limited ability in Rope Use or Navigation or Boat Pilot.

I would recommend anyone looking for more detailed RPG skills check it out (although this is a fantasy game, Spacemaster is a sci-fi version with more modern skills).

My group love the system but it isnt for everyone, and initially they found it hard (going back to T2K) to roll on 'Recon' instead of the option of General Perception, Detect Traps, Locate Secret etc (or even Stalk/Hide, Ambush, Silent Kill) but they adapted to the simplicity and was a nice change. All in all, take these things to the level your group most enjoys, one Man's drink is another Mans' posion and all that
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:42 AM
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The lack of specificity in T2K has always bothered me. For example, firing a mortar in T2K is subsumed under Grenade Launcher -- My first MOS was 11C (mortar gunner) and I know they are nothing alike -- mortar gunners have to demonstrate not only proficiency with the mortar, they have to demonstrate it with the M-203 as well. Firing a Mk 19 is more akin to firing a heavy machinegun than firing a grenade launcher. Using a hand-held laser designator is a talent unto itself, and is much different than using a designator on a FISTV. Firing a TOW from a ground mount is very different than firing it from an ITV or a Bradley. The list goes on and on. But there's only so far you go with that specificity before the game has become unwieldy and unplayable. If you have to spend a whole game session just coming up with your characters, that's too much for to ask of players.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:00 AM
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But there's only so far you go with that specificity before the game has become unwieldy and unplayable. If you have to spend a whole game session just coming up with your characters, that's too much for to ask of players.
Once again this comes down to taste doesn't it? My players have always been happy with Gunmaster:2000's 3 to 8 hour char gen process. The resulting characters are very detailed and have ready to go back stories, contacts, enemies etc.
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