Mutants & Masterminds
HQ    ABOUT M&M    SUPER-VISION    GIMMICK'S GADGETS    M&M SUPERLINK    ATOMIC THINK TANK    M&M SHOP
Saving the world, one d20 roll at a time

Pondering the Skill System.

This is the catch-all forum, for Mutants & Masterminds threads that you're not quite sure where to put.

Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Nillaman » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:00 am

I had an odd idea. Why not set a maximum limit on skills but keep it separate from Power Level?

In other words, from PL 0 to PL 20, you can buy up to the same number of skill ranks, with Power Level instead being used to determine combat traits, maximum Effect ranks, and defenses.

Thoughts?
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Monolith » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:34 am

Establishing pl is really about setting the tone of the game. You set your game at pl 15 you know you're the best of the best. Set your game at pl 10 you know you're among the average. Set your game at pl 6 and you know you're not much better then a trained person.

It's basically the same for skills. At pl 10 your skill maximum if 20 with a routine check of dc 30, which puts you in the heroic range with the potential to reach nigh-impossible when rolling. The gm wants things to be challenging. Simply spending a hero point will guarantee you a 31+, though. How often does someone really need to make checks in the 31+ range? The highest DC I remember in the game was dc 40 for a super-max prison security system and +5 more if you didn't want anyone to notice. So if the most impossible thing in the game is dc 45. Throw in an equipment circumstance bonus and some hero points and a 20 skill person can do it.
Monolith
Superhero
Superhero
 
Posts: 2087
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:07 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Murkglow » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:20 am

Skills aren't entirely divorced from combat though. Stuff like Feints or Escaping Grabs are based on your "non-combat" skills yet matter in combat just the same. Then you have stuff like Invention and Rituals... Personally I do think there should be a skill limit tied to PL but if you can find a better number then PL +10 I might not disagree with you on it.
User avatar
Murkglow
Paragon
Paragon
 
Posts: 3090
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 12:02 am

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Nillaman » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:47 am

Well, I did have two other ideas.

Four tiers. Baseline, Enhanced, Superhuman, and Cosmic. Each of them representing the different levels of the superhero genre. First tier has a 10 rank skill limit, then a Power Level 5 limit on other traits. Each tier beyond that increases the Skill limit by 10 ranks and the other traits by 5 power levels. This approach does mean that one loses the fine tuning one can pull off using the current system, so I'm not entirely convinced it's a good idea.

The other idea is to just take your Power Level, multiply it by two, and that's your Skill Rank maximum. Everything else in the system can remain untouched. Lower levels have far fewer skill ranks to purchase while higher levels end up having far more, compared to the current system. Again, this system is untested, but I hope both of these help spark ideas for other people.
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Brianide » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:24 pm

What's the problem you're trying to solve? As it stands now, Skills are expensive, so most people won't be hitting those higher caps at higher PL (I doubt people are hitting them as is). And hindering low-PL characters with a lower Skill cap might disadvantage them unfairly.
Check out my builds and my campaign!
Brianide
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 813
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:56 am
Location: Kansas

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Nillaman » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:37 am

Brianide, there's no problem I'm trying to solve. This is about providing alternate rule sets that people can use in games, to establish different tones and feels for their adventures.

One of these is to disconnect skill ranks from Power Levels entirely and set a base maximum. This means that, power level 1 characters could reach the same heights as power level 20 characters with enough points, meaning that Batman and Darksied are probably equally intimidating, even if their effective combat-power traits are not.

Another is to provide four tiers of power, each with a +10 stacking limit to their skills the higher you go, which is closer to how the game currently plays out. Or to set skill ranks equal to a character's power level times 2, which keeps the inherent flexible nature and fine-tuning capability of the current system, while granting higher level characters greater flexibility.

In your case, I would suggest my first option, but lower the limit on skill ranks to about 20 or so. Also lowering the success thresholds presented in the book, making 30 a general limit on how difficult a task might be. With the 2 ranks per power point system still in place, that means it only takes about 10 power points to become a true master in one subject. Not counting Abilities purchased that are linked to the skill in question.

On that note, Abilities. How do people feel about them? Would the skill system be better or worse if they ended up being removed? Does the thought of losing Presence, Dexterity, Intellect really bother folks that much?
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby SilvercatMoonpaw » Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:56 am

Nillaman wrote:On that note, Abilities. How do people feel about them? Would the skill system be better or worse if they ended up being removed? Does the thought of losing Presence, Dexterity, Intellect really bother folks that much?

I've ended up just not liking Abilities. I don't like trying to break down inherent traits as much as has been done, since I'm always coming up in my head with situations in which they either are linked OR broken down even further.
SilvercatMoonpaw
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
 
Posts: 10068
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:57 am

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby saint_matthew » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:27 am

Nillaman wrote:This means that, power level 1 characters could reach the same heights as power level 20 characters with enough points, meaning that Batman and Darksied are probably equally intimidating, even if their effective combat-power traits are not.


Hahahahaha, no. I'm sorry if that seems rude but as much as the bat-fans will argue Batman is no where near as intimidating as Darksied... Batman couldn't out intimidate Darksied, not even on Batmans scariest day, with a utility belt full of fear gas. Regardless of what the offical builds say.

An really a power level 3 thug is just not as intimidating as a planet ruling despot, who has brave men killing themselves, rather then being taken prisoner. Because people with unilateral power over ending your life may be intimidating, but not nearly as much as someone who has unilateral power over ending your life, then brining you back to life so he can torture you to the point where you crave deaths sweet release... Because it was wednesday & he was bored

Its all about scale & thats why someone with a gun is not as intimidating as someone with real power.
“Anti-Intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”
-Isaac Asimov
User avatar
saint_matthew
Overlord
Overlord
 
Posts: 4381
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:31 pm
Location: Perth, AUSTRALIA

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Nillaman » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:04 am

That's not being rude, that's your personal opinion. I completely respect it, even if I don't agree.

Anyhow, I don't think it's too far out there to say Skills should be products of learning and experience.
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby JDRook » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:30 pm

Nillaman wrote:That's not being rude, that's your personal opinion. I completely respect it, even if I don't agree.

Anyhow, I don't think it's too far out there to say Skills should be products of learning and experience.

Personally I think the PL+10 rule is what allows plenty of room for learning and experience to be useful vs. "naturally" skilled characters with high Abilities. A PL 2 athlete with +12 Athletics would be equal in terms of running, jumping, climbing and swimming with a character with STR 12 and no training, a character who is literally a thousand times stronger than the athlete. In other words, it allows low-powered and/or skill-focussed characters to still be comparable to or occasionally surpass supers, which is something that comes up a lot in the genre.
Sorry, I can't hear your argument for realism over the sound of my eye beams. :P

My original characters thread (2e)
My League of Legends conversion thread (3e)
My Rules Musings in 3e
User avatar
JDRook
Superhero
Superhero
 
Posts: 1957
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:44 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Nillaman » Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:31 pm

Alright, I just want to point out, these house rules are not designed to be more right then others, merely to provide ideas and tweaks to the system in case people want a different flavor to their game.

On that note, your idea of a 'naturally' skilled character seems to be, and forgive me if I'm mistaken, someone who just instinctively knows how to swim and run and climb because they're tremendously strong. Even without experience, training, or some knowledge of the subject beforehand. But what you might actually mean is that where one character's adeptness with the skill is the product of hard work and determination, the others is the product of an innate physical superiority that might have been gained through an accident or similarly difficult training that is much more difficult to get through.

However, I can also see Athletics and Acrobatics used as the character's capacity to make the most out of their innate physical talents. Bodily control, rather then raw speed, strength, or endurance.
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Monolith » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:19 pm

It's just a game mechanic. Athletic is an everyman skill so everyone has it. Superman has it at +19 with no training. Batman has it at +15 with tons of training. Does it mean anything? Not really. Game mechanics only care about the final value.

M&M's a game where many skills can be built with powers. Batman's great deductive reasoning can be done with limited precognition much cheaper. Much of the game mechanics of acrobatics can be done with wall-crawling and other movement powers. Many of the skills can be bought via powers and/or advantages. It doesn't seem like the pl limits on skills isn't something that can't be worked around even without house rules.
Monolith
Superhero
Superhero
 
Posts: 2087
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:07 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Nillaman » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:26 pm

Monolith, while game mechanics might only care about the final value, your Game Master and your fellow players are probably more interested in the character the number represents. Or so I hope. Someone trying to tell me that it doesn't matter where the numbers come from, so long as their higher, better, more then someone else, is not involved in a role playing game. Just a math problem.

Also, Superman never struck me as very athletic. He doesn't know how, when, or where to position himself. Pretty much brute forces his way through everything. No running, swimming, jumping, or climbing needed when you can fly. Even his fighting style relies far more upon just being stronger, faster, and tougher then his opponent. Presented in terms of game mechanics, lots of Strength-based Damage, lots of Power Lifting, lots of Flight, Immunity, Protection, Senses, and ranks Enhanced Traits to cover other areas. The moment he encounters situations, effects, and people who can bypass those powers, you're left with a fairly ordinary man who's got good intentions and probably hits Power Level 5, maybe less, with his mundane stats.

Heck, he might even have some unique Advantages, allowing him to use his Movement rank in place of Agility for Initiative, Strength-based Damage or Power Lifting in place of actual Strength for the purpose of a Grapple, and others that allow him to substitute powers for natural capabilities.

Also, let's look at that claim of yours about powers easily 'working around' the system. Let's see here, Movement powers. Wall-Crawling. That's easily two to four power points alone. Speed 1, Swimming 1, Leaping 1. That's ten to fourteen ranks of Athletics right there. Of course, if you want to keep up with superhero folks, you're going to need more ranks of movement then that. Ten points for Wall Crawling 2, Safe Fall, Swinging, Sure-Footed. Covering many of the major uses for Athletics and Acrobatics. Another nine to fifteen points for Speed, Swiming, and Leaping at 3 to 5 ranks a piece. And really, you can't cut out Swimming if you have no Athletics, because anything more troublesome then a calm swimming pool will make you roll checks, and failing one of those gets you to start drowning. Of course, with no Athletics or Acrobatics, you're unlikely to keep up with others when trying to catch a villain in a contested roll. There's also no chance you can win a contest of darts, shoot a good round of pool, play a game of baseball, avoid stepping on landmines, or anything else the GM may decides calls for a Athletics or Acrobatics roll.

Like Superman, you'll have lots of brute force, but little in the way of grace or control. And that might well make for an interesting character, but you haven't worked around anything. You mistake the simple one-note but efficient nature of powers and tell yourself how superior they must be to the 'weak' skills, when they can be used for a great deal more then your powers.
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Monolith » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:23 am

I don't want to get into a big debate on the subject. Clearly you feel passionate about it. I don't feel the current pl limits are very limiting. Like I said above, someone with a +20 skill at pl 10 can configure the game to allow him to make a dc 45 check.

As for what I was talking about with powers used as skills, using your athletics example: Athletic array: wall-crawling 1, AP: speed 1, leaping 1, AP: swimming 2, 4 points. For 4 points I'm guaranteed 100% success, no matter what the difficulty, while climbing, leaping, swimming, and jumping. That's far better then +8 athletics skill for the 4 points.
Monolith
Superhero
Superhero
 
Posts: 2087
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:07 pm

Re: Pondering the Skill System.

Postby Nillaman » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:47 pm

Monolith, your concerns over the utility of skills being easily replaced through the use of powers has been heard, when you have an idea for an alternate system that can provide a solution to that, I'll listen to that. I would play around with either removing skills entirely or having skills enhance the use of certain powers, to help get you started.

One idea might be to merge Athletics and Acrobatics together, since what they're trying to do is fairly similar, in that both attempt feats of physical excellence, but neither skill really does enough to justify it's full value under the current system. I'd say this new skill should still be something anyone can use, but training makes it easier to move your body in more and more superb ways.

Maybe with an Advantage that provides a +5 circumstance bonus to a particular athletic feat, something the Talent Powers profile mentioned before.
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Next

Return to General M&M



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests