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Thread: Mechanic: Skills

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    Mechanic: Skills

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    I've begun work on the skills mechanic. Tell me if it seems too complicated:

    Skills are based on one of the three vital statistics (vs), then keyed to a core ability. Skills are improved in ranks and measured in values. The working value of the skill is acquired by completing the following equation:

    vs base + [skill rank x relevant core ability] = skill value

    An example and an overwritten brainstorm list of skills follows. It's all here, if you want to take a closer look.

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    Could you explain what you mean by vital statistic and core ability? Those kind of sound like the same thing to me, such as Strength perhaps. Would Strength be a vital statistic or a core ability? What would fill the other role?

    The math itself doesn't seem too bad, but the value ranges of the core ability is going to have a pretty significant effect on the curve there... is that something that's going to have a small value range to keep that under control perhaps?
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliff View Post
    Could you explain what you mean by vital statistic and core ability? Those kind of sound like the same thing to me, such as Strength perhaps. Would Strength be a vital statistic or a core ability? What would fill the other role?
    Strength is a core ability. There are eight core abilities, all detailed here.

    There are three vital statistics, which are calculated by adding certain core abilities together. The vital statistics are described here.

    The math itself doesn't seem too bad, but the value ranges of the core ability is going to have a pretty significant effect on the curve there... is that something that's going to have a small value range to keep that under control perhaps?
    Core abilities will range between 2 and 11 for beginning characters. Theoretically, there is no limit to improving core abilities, although they will be progressively difficult/expensive to increase. Core abilities above 20 should be quite rare.

    Since skill ranks are actually multipliers of core abilities when it comes to determining skill value (ug, that's confusing), they will tend to be single digit numbers. Achieving double digit skill ranks will have to be quite costly, in terms of experience investment.

    Vital statistics, being sums of core abilities, will typically be double digit numbers.
    Last edited by Hiraevun; 03-08-2010 at 05:11 PM.

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    Sorry for taking so long to respond, was out of town... I'm curious, have you done a linear analysis of how this is all going to play out?

    I'm still not quite wrapping my head around what you describe perfectly, but my gut tells me that there's going to be some strange imbalances caused by this. I could well be wrong, but it really seems like a difference of only a point in skill or ability is going to result in a huge difference in difficulty curve.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliff View Post
    Sorry for taking so long to respond, was out of town... I'm curious, have you done a linear analysis of how this is all going to play out?
    I wouldn't know where to begin.

    I'm still not quite wrapping my head around what you describe perfectly, but my gut tells me that there's going to be some strange imbalances caused by this. I could well be wrong, but it really seems like a difference of only a point in skill or ability is going to result in a huge difference in difficulty curve.
    Maybe. First off, it depends on what you feel is "imbalanced". What I am envisioning is a system that makes progress fairly substantial and combat very risky. Combat is gritty rather than epic, and a knife wound is potentially deadly, especially for unseasoned characters.

    You'll notice that there are also a couple of different ways to improve skills <http://swail.wikispaces.com/Skills>:

    1. through improving skill ranks
    2. through improving the core ability tied to the skill

    Skill ranks are multiplied by the core ability, then added to one of three vital statistics in order to get a value for the skill. Choosing to improve a core ability rather than a skill rank results in not only the skill value being improved, but also in one (or two) vital statistics being improved. For this reason, core abilities will be more costly to improve than skill ranks.

    My idea is to base character improvement on "experience investment" rather than leveling. Experience points will be used to "purchase" improvements for your character: things like skill ranks, core abilities, additional archetypes, and houses, are all aspects of the character that can be improved through experience investment.

    I hope that makes the proposed system a little bit clearer; it's still quite rough at this point. As far as "difficulty curve": that's certainly something I'll need to consider, especially for fixed tasks, like healing, that are to be resolved by using skills. At this point, my focus has been on the "opposed combat roll" mechanic, but of course not all skills are combat skills and not all skills will necessarily be resolved by opposed rolls. Most likely, skill tasks like healing will be assigned difficulty numbers (like 20 or 30 or whatever), which will be subtracted from the character's skill value + a random number; any positive difference results in a degree of success, while a negative difference indicates failure (perhaps ranked in degrees of failure).
    Last edited by Hiraevun; 03-16-2010 at 09:03 PM.

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    I'm currently utterly buried at work (it's 8:50 and I'm still working, same as last night, going to continue for several days), but when I get the chance, I'll try to crunch some numbers and see if I can do a good linear analysis of how it stacks up.
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    That's quite kind of you.

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    I love indie developers, both tabletop and video game... it's you guys who push the boundaries and try to reinvent and reinvigorate things. I'm glad to do what I can to help.
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