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41 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I'd personally have condensed that into "PS: Pianist and Singer".  I feel that Background Skills are way too narrow generally for what you spend. 

 

PS: Musician would fit that (and match his collegiate background as a singer/pianist) but run into the same problem with lack of combat utility.

 

Arguably, his KS: Science Fiction/Fantasy would also meet the "lack of combat utility" criteria, except that he actually used it to come up with his Kzinti Challenge of Firewing in "Malva Awakens"

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26 minutes ago, segerge said:

Arguably, his KS: Science Fiction/Fantasy would also meet the "lack of combat utility" criteria, except that he actually used it to come up with his Kzinti Challenge of Firewing in "Malva Awakens"

 

That's pure plot device, it sounds like.  It's the author going, oh look!!!

 

And sure, GMs are encouraged to find some form of use but it's contrived as heck most of the time.

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3 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

That's pure plot device, it sounds like.  It's the author going, oh look!!!

 

And sure, GMs are encouraged to find some form of use but it's contrived as heck most of the time.

 

Got it in one :)

 

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On 2/24/2020 at 4:15 PM, unclevlad said:

But should they require points expenditure?

That's what you should ask your GM.  And don't be surprised if it comes up enough, the GM may ask you to buy the skill.

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48 minutes ago, dsatow said:

That's what you should ask your GM.  And don't be surprised if it comes up enough, the GM may ask you to buy the skill.

 

 

Comes up in what context?  Pure character development?  Or something related to the actual story?  And if it is coming up a lot, doesn't that sound like a combat-affecting skill?  

 

If it's, to stay with the theme here, the PS:  Singing...who cares if I use it in my civvie ID every session?

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Sure.  And skills that can commonly be expected to have a role in any challenge, is worth points.  But the key is *challenges*.  There has to be an advantage for succeeding and a consequence for failing.  Outside of challenges, why worry about it?  

 

It's a mindset difference, to be sure.

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2 minutes ago, unclevlad said:

Sure.  And skills that can commonly be expected to have a role in any challenge, is worth points.  But the key is *challenges*.  There has to be an advantage for succeeding and a consequence for failing.  Outside of challenges, why worry about it?  

 

It's a mindset difference, to be sure.

OK, now we're definitely on the same page. 

I fully agree, something highly unlikely to come up mechanically shouldn't cost points mechanically. 

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On 2/25/2020 at 7:18 PM, unclevlad said:

Comes up in what context?  Pure character development?  Or something related to the actual story?  And if it is coming up a lot, doesn't that sound like a combat-affecting skill?  

 

 

But if it affects the interaction of the story a lot, even if its not combat related, the GM may want you to buy the skill.

 

For example: If say you have PS: Singer 14-.  Normally, its just fluff and most GMs won't care if you buy the skill or not.  But if you use the skill a lot in the role playing session, it can be a factor.  Like say in one session, you sing to the troops to raise their morale.  In a bar, you begin singing to distract people from your teammates actions.  There is a crime boss you need to infiltrate,  you use your ability to sing to get into his night club.  None of these actions are combat related but could affect the game.

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9 hours ago, dsatow said:

 

But if it affects the interaction of the story a lot, even if its not combat related, the GM may want you to buy the skill.

 

For example: If say you have PS: Singer 14-.  Normally, its just fluff and most GMs won't care if you buy the skill or not.  But if you use the skill a lot in the role playing session, it can be a factor.  Like say in one session, you sing to the troops to raise their morale.  In a bar, you begin singing to distract people from your teammates actions.  There is a crime boss you need to infiltrate,  you use your ability to sing to get into his night club.  None of these actions are combat related but could affect the game.

 

Our GMs look for skills to use for our games. They're not useless points sitting around and greatly help with roleplaying. As dsatow mentioned above, the singer can affect the game. That poor singer rolled a 17 on his roll to try to get into the crime boss night club; better get ready for a beating.

 

The point of the game is to have fun, period. How a group chooses to do that is up to them. Having skills, even oddball ones, gives a flavor to the game and the players don't mind spending the points (although I'm sure I wouldn't charge anything for a KS: bee-keeping 11 or less). Someone says "don't charge points for skills", go for it -  whereas someone else says "skills cost points", which is good as well. Campaigns differ and it's up to the GM and players to decide about what costs points and what doesn't.

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It depends entirely on the setting of the campaign and the tone that I am going for. In a "realistic", lower pointed setting I do tend to use fringe benefits of this variety...particularly in a "modern" setting modeling something similar to "the real world". In a less realistic setting (such as supers) I don't because most of the time if I'm doing that sort of fantastical set up the focus is not on mundane things and too much granularity just pours grit into the gears.

 

However, most importantly, if I do require characters to pay CP for things I try my best to make it matter in-game. I actively do not like "concept tax" abilities and avoid them when possible and try to make them matter at least once over the course of the campaign to pay for themselves.

 

If, at the end of a campaign, I look over the player characters' sheets and see points spent that they never got to apply in some way over the course of the campaign, then something sub-optimal occurred -- either the player didn't incorporate such abilities into their portrayal of the character and make it matter or I as the GM didn't provide opportunities to make them matter, or a little bit of both.

 

If such things also happen to be perks (or whatever) that I made players take out of some pro forma obligation then it is even worse.

 

So, I make a conscious effort to make points spent on abilities matter commensurately to their cost and if I feel like that isn't going to happen, I'm not adverse to making adjustments to the pricing of certain things to discount them or to offer some other compensatory offset elsewhere on the character. I'll grant perks and similar things as story awards. I'll restructure contacts that aren't working out. I'll bundle fluff skills into some form that is costed based on benefit. Etc. I tune things as the campaign progresses in an active attempt to reach / maintain an equitable equilibrium.

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1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

It depends entirely on the setting of the campaign and the tone that I am going for. 

 

This

 

1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

I actively do not like "concept tax" abilities 

 

 

And this. 

 

 

That's how I tend to do it anyway, so it didn't bother me in the rules.  I have some exceptions, depending on the story being told, but mostly these. 

 

I look at as any other part of your character desription: if you want to be a big guy and get advantages from it, you buy Growth.  If you want to de a big guy and get disadvantaged by it, you take a Disadvantage: big.  If just want to be big, but its not disadvantageous nor does it provide a boon (beyond reaching things on high shelves), you say "he's really big: like six-five, broad shouldered, and thickly -thewed."   Done. 

 

I do fluffy background skills the same way.  Honestly, this is the first hint I've had that there are people who might charge for KS: Rock tumbling or PS: waitress.  I have a better understanding of why it takes 500 points to build a character these days.    :lol:

 

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