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Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture
What to use for "Survival"?
skills, core rules

I'm curious what Skill people are using to represent "Survival"? I'm thinking the outdoorsman type character, who can hunt, track, find herbs, make natural remedies, forage, enduring the elements, etc. 

While Scholarship might encompass some of that, it's hard to imagine the rugged woodsman with Scholarship.

Survivalist Advantage encompasses some of the foraging and feeding folks, but doesn't provide a mechanism for a Risk around Survival.

Would houserulig a "Survival" skill be overkill?

John

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Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Notice for scavenging and forage. But I am ok with scholarship for the knowledge aspects. My late grandfather, as an example, never finished school because of the depression and WW2. But he had a better grasp of math than some engineers I know, grew gardens to rival any botanist and had ridiculous self taught talent for woodwork. He learned by having to do things either for his job or to stretch his modest income and support the family. A woodsman just got his education in the field instead of a textbook.
Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Salamanca

    That makes sense. I was thinking more of the reverse situation. Say our Woodsman using Scholarship to represent his survival instincts, plants, weather etc. Then there's a roll for knowing the History of the Montaigne Monarchy. Does our Woodsman with the 4 Scholarship know the same information that our Courtier with Scholarship 4 does about that?

    Also, does the Courtier who took Scholarship because he spent years in education institutions now suddenly become great at knowing the different between bear tracks and deer tracks?

    To me they seem like very different learning/education that would benefit from different skill sets. 

John

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture

With a limited skill set covering vast ranges, it lands in the zone of player responsibility to be a grown up for a change and admit they DO NOT know that sort of thing due to background.  The GM can also fill in the blanks in different fashions for different players. 

Could be that Courtier read an illustrated book on animals and HAS seen a drawn version of deer tracks.  But maybe by GM ruling, he is unclear on which direction is forward, has confused them with bear tracks or, because the artist was lousy, is following a cow. Or maybe he can recognize them but has no knowledge of following them.  Maybe that book let's him guess what nearby foliage would draw the deer to feed.  

That Woodsman may not know the book knowledge of the the Montaigne Monarchy but maybe he knows a tale of how one of the former kings was a renowned hunter and took great pride in bringing home the largest kill in each hunt... provided by a cadre of mercenary foresters who made the kills for him in secret. 

As the keeper of all in world information, the GM always has final say on what they know.  But I see no reason to limit a player from volunteering something interesting IF they have a good story behind why they would know it. 

Sister Sonya and I had a similar discussion regarding what Scholarship covers and if it limits the player to predetermined ranges.  In truth, it doesn't.  It covers physics, history, medicine, herbalism and everything else under the sun.  It falls to the player to limit themself on what their character would, could and should be versed in.  The backgrounds are a good thumbnail for this.  If the player has a background (or advantage... or backstory) that makes it reasonable to have the info, they probably do.  If they are exploiting a small skill list to do EVERYTHING, they should be called on it. 

But great adventures often have a moment where someone gets a brilliant idea that seems totally out of place. 

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

What you say makes sense and I'm sure I'll play as is :) It just struck me as odd that there was no encompassing 'outdoorsy' skill.

Doc the Weasel
Doc the Weasel's picture

I'm thinking of an Dramatic sequence of a chase through the wilderness. You have to find food, lay traps for pursuers, throw them off the trail, and avoid other natural hazards. 

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

I'm a big fan of 1st edition's chase rules and have adapted them for my Witch Hunter campaign, so I'd really like to see you expand on this idea.  A General framework for using DS (or AS) for chase scenes would be phenomenal!

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Without more description on how from the player, that sounds like a Thief type series of events. Skulking, scavenging, laying ambushes.
Doctor
Doctor's picture

“Also, does the Courtier who took Scholarship because he spent years in education institutions now suddenly become great at knowing the different between bear tracks and deer tracks?

I have struggled with this as well and finally came to the realization that it can, for the most part, be solved with a simple question: “How did you learn this?” If the player just mutters something about how obvious it is, then it’s no good, but if they can rattle off something that makes sense considering their backstory, I’d let it fly, though perhaps with alterations.

Example

Player: I want to roll my Scholarship to determine what type of tracks these are.

GM: How did you learn how to do that?

Player: Remember that my character spent three years in the noble courts of Ussura? Hunting is a big thing for them and I attended a few hunts.

GM: Yes, but you likely weren’t actively participating. Give me a roll, Opportunities for more information with extra Raises.

Player: 2 Raises

GM: Okay, well, one thing you know for sure is that these tracks don’t belong to anything you hunted in Ussura, which were foxes, deer, or wolf. Also, you remember that pompous fool Count Peschov whining petulantly that he couldn’t find decent boar hunting south of Eisen, and you are certainly south of Eisen.

 The answer was a little shaky, so I changed the stakes from “identifying the tracks” to “ruling out animals.” Who is Count Peschov? No idea, I just made him up, but you can be sure that he’ll make some sort of appearance at some point. While I may have allowed a roll that was shaky, I also 1) didn’t give away the store, a real woodsman would have been much more effective, 2) encouraged my player to more fully develop the character’s back story, 3) effectively gave myself another tool in my kit, a character which the player accepts was in his back story.

Obviously, if someone tries to go nuts with this, you have to shut it down. Someone will always want to claim their character has gone everywhere and done everything (“…back when I used to pick coffee beans in Guatamala…”) but the more they try that, the more contradictions they will create.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

You got the spirit and idea of 2nd edition. This is not your ordinary tactical combat Lizards & Labyrihts, but Roleplaying game. The skills are broad, but it does not mean someone with Scholarship 3 knows as much as someone else with same skill level. Their general level is same but their skills can be totally different.

I would also add one simple thing: The rule of GM:ing on 2nd edition is simple: You try to find with players HOW IT COULD WORK, not how it could not work like in majority of RPG systems. Your duty is trying to figure out explanation how it can be done like player wants. And that everyone enjoys.

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