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esmdev
04-01-2003, 03:41 AM
I was wondering if someone could explain to me the reasoning behind using skill ranks rather than skill totals throughout the draft rules? More than one player has pointed out to me, rightly so, that this can lead to serious exploitation of rules.

For example.

Player 1:

Diplomacy 4 (Charisma 16: +3 to skill, Bloodmark: +1 to skill)

Skill total: 8, Rank total: 4

Player 2:

Diplomacy 4 (Charisma 3: -4 to skill)

Skill total: 0, Rank total: 4

Using regency collection as an example, both collect the same regency, despite the actual skill total difference of 8.

irdeggman
04-01-2003, 11:13 AM
The only time that all modifiers come into play is when a character is actually making a skill check. Synergy bonuses (for example handle animal and ride skills) are dependent on ranks in the related skill, prestige classes list ranks (not total modifiers) as prerequisites. The intent was to reflect how much "time" a character spent on learning to be a better regent, sacrificing other skills to work on this. Skill focus is the one case where argueably it could be interpreted as an equivalent rank increase, unfortuneatly the core rules don't recognize it as such - probably to prevent running into the max ranks allowed cap.

This method of RP collectin will probably be modified based on the number of comments. At the very least how it relates to blood line score will be tweaked.:)

CMonkey
04-01-2003, 08:56 PM
> prestige classes list ranks (not total modifiers) as prerequisites
Which is because ranks represent training, not aptitude - done the basic training, "congratulations cadet you are now a level 1 ubermage". Plus it means there is a concrete level minimum (required ranks - 3).

>Synergy bonuses (for example handle animal and ride skills) are dependent on ranks in the related skill
Again, because ranks represent training, synergy bonuses represent picking up a little something about X along the way.

Regency collection is a use of a skill, even though it doesn't have a skill check and as such I'm seriously starting to agree with the "totallers" rather than the "rankers".

CM.

Ariadne
04-02-2003, 12:14 AM
Basing it on ranks makes sense in some manner. The problem is: Feats like "Master Diplomat" are useless for RP collection...

10 ranks in the skill to get 100% is REALLY hard (7th level class skill, don't ask cross class). Maybe changing it to special other bony...

esmdev
04-02-2003, 01:21 PM
I guess my biggest question is still, why should a person gain the same regency with a total skill value of 0 against someone with a total skill value of 8? Just because they have 4 ranks does not make them both equally proficient in admin, diplomacy, warcraft, etc. If you do not factor in the entire skill (ranks, attributes, feats, blood) it doesn't make sense.

irdeggman
04-02-2003, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by esmdev


I guess my biggest question is still, why should a person gain the same regency with a total skill value of 0 against someone with a total skill value of 8? Just because they have 4 ranks does not make them both equally proficient in admin, diplomacy, warcraft, etc. If you do not factor in the entire skill (ranks, attributes, feats, blood) it doesn't make sense.

Because the things you mention are what makes someone better when they do something. Bonuses from raw talent (what comes from ability modifiers, etc.) are not a reflection of how much time someone puts into getting better at it.

The whole point of the skill based system was to reflect that a regent can't be good at everything. All characters must focus on certain things in order to be good at them - this is the core of any skill based system. Hence if a regent wants to be good at managing a trade-based domain then he focuses his energy (i.e., ranks) on learning the skills that apply to that. If he wants to be good at managing a source-based domain then he focuses his energy on the skills that applicable to that type of domain.

If there was a skill check involved (I think Mark V. proposed an aggregate type skill for this purpose) then all bonuses applicable to that skill (or those skills) would apply. There purposefully were no skill checks incorporated in the playtest version in order to keep the collection system as streamlined as possible. Many DMs have complained over the years of how much time was spent in "book keeping".

This is the reasoning of why the system in the BRCS playtest version was proposed. IMO due to the amount of discussin on this issue it definitely needs to be revised and I know that Mark_Aurel was working on a revised version to RP collection. So don't work under the assumption that what is in the playtest version is "the official" version and cannot (or won't) be changed. My comments are just reflecting why it was written the way it was and how that way should work - not that it is "the" way for the system to be.:)

ryancaveney
04-02-2003, 08:59 PM
On Wed, 2 Apr 2003, irdeggman wrote:

> Because the things you mention are what makes someone better when they
> do something. Bonuses from raw talent (what comes from ability
> modifiers, etc.) are not a reflection of how much time someone puts
> into getting better at it.

Yes, exactly -- and ruling a realm is precisely "doing something".
Therefore I think you have just made, in so many words, the primary
argument for calculating from totals, not just ranks. Variable
distribution of talent means some people are just inherently better at
ruling a realm than others are. How good you are at doing something
(e.g., ruling a realm) reflects not only how much time you`ve put into it,
but what relevant natural talents you had from birth.

> The whole point of the skill based system was to reflect that a regent
> can`t be good at everything.

Yes, exactly. And the whole point of ability scores is to reflect that
even with identical amounts of practice at a given skill, some people are
just naturally better at it than other people are.

> All characters must focus on certain things in order to be good at
> them - this is the core of any skill based system.

But any skill-based systems must admit that some people are just
inherently better at some skills than others, because of ability
variations. Focus is not the only thing that makes you better.

> Hence if a regent wants to be good at managing a trade-based domain
> then he focuses his energy (i.e., ranks) on learning the skills that
> apply to that. If he wants to be good at managing a source-based
> domain then he focuses his energy on the skills that applicable to
> that type of domain.

This makes any regent better than he himself used to be; but whether he is
better or worse than any other regent depends not only on how much effort
each has put in, but also on the inherent aptitudes each had before either
made any effort at all.

> If there was a skill check involved (I think Mark V. proposed an
> aggregate type skill for this purpose) then all bonuses applicable to
> that skill (or those skills) would apply.

How is ruling a realm not exactly a (huge number of) skill check(s)?

> My comments are just reflecting why it was written the way it was and
> how that way should work - not that it is "the" way for the system
> to be.:)

OK, then -- since the argument used for it is in fact against it, let`s
change it! =)


Ryan Caveney

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Arjan
04-02-2003, 09:22 PM
-----Original Message-----
From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
[mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM] On Behalf Of Ryan B. Caveney
Sent: woensdag 2 april 2003 22:50
To: BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM
Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] Problem with ranks vs. skill totals [36#1516]

On Wed, 2 Apr 2003, irdeggman wrote:

> Because the things you mention are what makes someone better when they
> do something. Bonuses from raw talent (what comes from ability
> modifiers, etc.) are not a reflection of how much time someone puts
> into getting better at it.

Yes, exactly -- and ruling a realm is precisely "doing something".
Therefore I think you have just made, in so many words, the primary
argument for calculating from totals, not just ranks. Variable
distribution of talent means some people are just inherently better at
ruling a realm than others are. How good you are at doing something
(e.g., ruling a realm) reflects not only how much time you`ve put into
it,
but what relevant natural talents you had from birth.

> The whole point of the skill based system was to reflect that a regent
> can`t be good at everything.

Yes, exactly. And the whole point of ability scores is to reflect that
even with identical amounts of practice at a given skill, some people
are
just naturally better at it than other people are.

> All characters must focus on certain things in order to be good at
> them - this is the core of any skill based system.

But any skill-based systems must admit that some people are just
inherently better at some skills than others, because of ability
variations. Focus is not the only thing that makes you better.

> Hence if a regent wants to be good at managing a trade-based domain
> then he focuses his energy (i.e., ranks) on learning the skills that
> apply to that. If he wants to be good at managing a source-based
> domain then he focuses his energy on the skills that applicable to
> that type of domain.

This makes any regent better than he himself used to be; but whether he
is
better or worse than any other regent depends not only on how much
effort
each has put in, but also on the inherent aptitudes each had before
either
made any effort at all.

> If there was a skill check involved (I think Mark V. proposed an
> aggregate type skill for this purpose) then all bonuses applicable to
> that skill (or those skills) would apply.

How is ruling a realm not exactly a (huge number of) skill check(s)?

> My comments are just reflecting why it was written the way it was and
> how that way should work - not that it is "the" way for the system
> to be.:)

OK, then -- since the argument used for it is in fact against it, let`s
change it! =)


Ryan Caveney

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kgauck
04-02-2003, 11:40 PM
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ryan B. Caveney" <ryanb@CYBERCOM.NET>
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 2:49 PM


> > All characters must focus on certain things in order to be good at
> > them - this is the core of any skill based system.
>
> But any skill-based systems must admit that some people are just
> inherently better at some skills than others, because of ability
> variations. Focus is not the only thing that makes you better.

A specific example of this is the feat Skill Focus. If only ranks count, a
character doesn`t get credit for his skill focus, even though by any
reasonable estimation he has studied more intently than a character with
equal ranks and no skill focus.

Ranks are only one key measure of skill-ability.

Kenneth Gauck
kgauck@mchsi.com

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Airgedok
04-20-2003, 01:53 PM
Here is an example why rank is better than total. Rank represnets a min. amount of study needed to obtain the result.

A genius at grade 1 doesnt not know more that a C- student that has graduated or even a child in grade 7. But the genius is getting A's when "skill checks" are called for. The grade 7 student gets only C-'s. What this translates into is that while the 0 skill total character is a poor character and fails or barely succeeds most of the time he has the training to do the job. While the +8 has both the traning and the talent. This is addressed in other was as well some skills are usable untrained some are not. It doesnt matter how much talent you have or how smart you are without a certain amount of training you cant make a skill check. The rank method is simply extending this concept beyond the 0 rank and 1 rank state of the trained and untrained sysytem.

ryancaveney
04-21-2003, 09:37 PM
On Sun, 20 Apr 2003, Airgedok wrote:

> Here is an example why rank is better than total.

I think your example illustrates why total is better than rank!

> A genius at grade 1 doesnt not know more that a C- student that has
> graduated or even a child in grade 7. But the genius is getting A`s
> when "skill checks" are called for.

That`s only if you adjust the DC of the skill check to the age of the
student. If the DC is fixed (you give all three people the *same* test,
not three different ones depending on their ages), then the grade they get
is determined precisely by what they actually know -- which is the product
(sum, in D&D`s log scale) of interaction between what they`ve studied
(skill ranks) and what of that study they can remember and relate to other
things (Int bonus). For precisely this reason, taking rank alone into
account is just as incorrect a model as using just ability score.

> The grade 7 student gets only C-`s. What this translates into is that
> while the 0 skill total character is a poor character and fails or
> barely succeeds most of the time he has the training to do the job.

If most of the time he can`t do it, having had the training (but obviously
not learned the material well) simply doesn`t matter. All that matters is
whether, when the test comes, he can actually perform -- and performance
in D&D is defined as die roll + skill ranks + ability score modifiers.

> It doesnt matter how much talent you have or how smart you are without
> a certain amount of training you cant make a skill check.

That depends on exactly what the skill is. More importantly, the amount
by which you benefit from a given amount of training is largely determined
by your innate talents. You cannot have a physical outcome of any kind
without involving both talent and skill; since realm actions are outcomes,
they must include all modifiers from both sides.


Ryan Caveney

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destowe
04-21-2003, 09:44 PM
Originally posted by Airgedok





Here is an example why rank is better than total. Rank represnets a min. amount of study needed to obtain the result.



But what we care about is the result.

This is like a DC check. It should not matter how the number was achieved, but what it is. The final result of the DC check is the important number, not the skill/feat/bonuses to get there.

rev spider
05-08-2003, 04:24 AM
As soon as skill totals are used, I'm gonna buy a couple 8000gp (only 4 GB! Well, a little more if you use the +10% variant) rings of [relevent skill] +20...

-rev spider

Eosin the Red
05-08-2003, 06:00 AM
> rev spider wrote:
> As soon as skill totals are used, I`m gonna buy a couple 8000gp (only 4
GB! Well, a little more if you use the +10% variant) rings of [relevent
skill] +20...
>
> -rev spider
>


If you could buy such a ring, you aren`t playing in any recognizable version
of BR. I heard the CoS, sold out of those and Holy Avengers.


Eosin

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rev spider
05-08-2003, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by Eosin the Red
If you could buy such a ring, you aren`t playing in any recognizable version
of BR. I heard the CoS, sold out of those and Holy Avengers.


Well, as to that, me and the Eyeless One play chess every Taelen... I'm sure he has a couple lying around.

My point is there are DM's out there who're gonna give their players standard access to D&D magical equipment. I know, I know- how could they DO such a thing? Seriously, though, the challenge ratings from the MM are (well, supposedly) balanced with your 15th level paladin's +5 holy, bane (undead), ghost touch adamantine bastard sword in mind... and wizards aren't the only ones who can trap a spell in a fine piece of equipment.

Of course, I'll admit I haven't quite read the playtest cover to cover.

-rev spider

ryancaveney
05-08-2003, 03:40 PM
On Thu, 8 May 2003, rev spider wrote:

> As soon as skill totals are used, I`m gonna buy a couple rings of
> [relevent skill] +20...

Others have mentioned the price and availability issues, so I won`t focus
on them.

Assuming you can get them, then yes, I think every regent ought to be
investing in magic items which make them better regents! It makes perfect
sense to me that they should be allowed to do so. There are a whole bunch
of regent-specific magic items in the Book of Magecraft which help you be
a more effective ruler in various ways, so it seems quite logical that
other (adventure level) magic items might also make you a more effective
ruler -- magic that enables or prevents mind control is only the most
obvious instance. I think this sort of thing ought to be a big part of
"domain treasure" (heirloom items of history and power), and making more
ought to be one of the main goals of court wizards.

Actually, this combined with the idea many of us have that regent
spellcasters have easier (or even exclusive) access to item creation, and
the obvious fact that non-spellcasting regents are the potential patrons
with by far the most money to pay for item-makers` services, makes me
think that *most* magic items existing in Cerilia ought to be ones useful
to regents. In fact, I think that the magical treasure discovered even in
standard adventure campaigns ought logically to favor strongly those sorts
of items which are most useful to regents (and I think Items of Diplomacy,
Bluff and Sense Motive would be particularly popular) and avoid those
which are not of much domain-scale use (like magic weapons with just
pluses; those with additional flashy effects or battlefield morale boosts
or mind-affecting powers would have some domain use, but a straight +4
with no extras is just not very helpful, or at least not nearly so
helpful as a +1 sword of mind-shielding!).


Ryan Caveney

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Lord Rahvin
05-08-2003, 05:16 PM
> Well, as to that, me and the Eyeless One play chess every Taelen... I`m sure he has a couple lying around.
>
> My point is there are DM`s out there who`re gonna give their players standard access to D&D magical equipment. I know, I know- how could they DO such a thing? Seriously, though, the challenge ratings from the MM are (well, supposedly) balanced with your 15th level paladin`s +5 holy, bane (undead), ghost touch adamantine bastard sword in mind... and wizards aren`t the only ones who can trap a spell in a fine piece of equipment.
>
> Of course, I`ll admit I haven`t quite read the playtest cover to cover.
>
> -rev spider


Shameless plug:

This is a very good reason why D&D does *not* make a good core system for
Birthright. While the d20 system could easily work with Birthright, it
makes much more sense to draw inspiration from non-D&D materials that don`t
automatically assume this level of power, magical pervasiveness, spell
availability, and monster challenges. It makes much more sense to base
Birthright rules on low-magic or no-magic settings such as d20Modern,
Spycraft, or Wheel of Time.

-Lord Rahvin

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Eosin the Red
05-08-2003, 10:16 PM
>>>>> rev spider
My point is there are DM`s out there who`re gonna give their players standard access to D&D magical equipment. I know, I know- how could they DO such a thing? Seriously, though, the challenge ratings from the MM are (well, supposedly) balanced with your 15th level paladin`s +5 holy, bane (undead), ghost touch adamantine bastard sword in mind... and wizards aren`t the only ones who can trap a spell in a fine piece of equipment.

Couple of notes. I don`t use many monsters, the worst monsters in BR are players and the intelligent races. So adjusting monsters to fit in my game has never been a problem.

I don`t use standard D&D - I use a Wheel of Time RPG hybrid (added clerics and paladins). It works very well for BR and avoids the problems of "Standard D&D Magical Items."

I would rather tailor the rules to the world, than tailor the world to the rules.

Eosin

Later,

Randy ~ Eosin

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ryancaveney
05-08-2003, 10:36 PM
On Thu, 8 May 2003, Eosin the Red wrote:

> I would rather tailor the rules to the world,
> than tailor the world to the rules.

Woohoo! Sing it loud!


Ryan Caveney

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Osprey
07-25-2003, 07:40 PM
Wow, talk about a never-ending list of postings&#33; :)

I&#39;ve been running a D20 Birthright campaign for the last 6 months (since the playtest version came out). In my game, I decided that Regency collection should be based on ranks, not totals. Why? Because in some skills, like Diplomacy, it gets really easy to have high scores, thanks to multiple synergies (Bluff and Sense Motive), and the fact that many regents have good Charisma. So for the sake of game balance (because the average regent shouldn&#39;t get full collection for all holding types), I left it at ranks. It keeps things somewhat class-based (i.e., clerics are good at running temples, rogues at running guilds, etc.), and keeps low-level regents from being the political equals of very high-level ones. Personally, I like this aspect of the rules as is.
But when it comes to Synergies for Domain Actions, I decided to go with skill modifiers rather than ranks to determine synergy bonuses (+1 to the Domain action for every +5 in the relevant skill). I see these skill synergies as essential skills in governing a domain, and wanted to reward those with natural talents and enhancing feats. It tends to benefit those with high Intelligence and Charisma abilities, which only makes sense when considering what makes for a good ruler.
As for compatibility with the Players&#39; Handbook synergy rules, well...who cares? Domain Actions are quite a different world than normal skill use, so a different set of rules to govern them isn&#39;t unreasonable.
Hope my 2 cents was useful.
Osprey

Eosin the Red
07-25-2003, 09:30 PM
r this one for some time. If you allow total skill, which is not bad for domain actions, then you have Units that will never fail rolls. I played the Mhor and my write up has him at Warcraft of 21 and Lead of 20 - I know other folks like Boeruine can generate a 25+ and the Gorgon could generate a 40+ Lead roll. This effectivly means his armies never fail morale when he is present or when Kiras (?) is present on the field. That can be considered good or bad?



On the War system -



There are 2 or 3 mass combat rules coming down the pike (Malhavoc "Cry Havoc," and Eden`s whose name I forget.) I am hoping that these will have so canabilizable material for BR war actions.



"Cry Havoc" is in PDF now - I will wait for print but if any of you get it and care to comment here it would be appreciated.



Eosin~Randy









>

> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.

> You can view the entire thread at:

> http://www.birthright.net/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=36&t=1516

>

> Osprey wrote:

> Wow, talk about a never-ending list of postings&#33; :)

>

> I`ve been running a D20 Birthright campaign for the last 6 months (since the playtest version came out). In my game, I decided that Regency collection should be based on ranks, not totals. Why? Because in some skills, like Diplomacy, it gets really easy to have high scores, thanks to multiple synergies (Bluff and Sense Motive), and the fact that many regents have good Charisma. So for the sake of game balance (because the average regent shouldn`t get full collection for all holding types), I left it at ranks. It keeps things somewhat class-based (i.e., clerics are good at running temples, rogues at running guilds, etc.), and keeps low-level regents from being the political equals of very high-level ones. Personally, I like this aspect of the rules as is.

> But when it comes to Synergies for Domain Actions, I decided to go with skill modifiers rather than ranks to determine synergy bonuses (+1 to the Domain action for every +5 in the relevant skill). I see these skill synergies as essential skills in governing a domain, and wanted to reward those with natural talents and enhancing feats. It tends to benefit those with high Intelligence and Charisma abilities, which only makes sense when considering what makes for a good ruler.

> As for compatibility with the Players` Handbook synergy rules, well...who cares? Domain Actions are quite a different world than normal skill use, so a different set of rules to govern them isn`t unreasonable.

> Hope my 2 cents was useful.

> Osprey

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

kgauck
07-25-2003, 10:44 PM
ge -----

From: "Eosin the Red" <eosin_the_red@COX.NET>

Sent: Friday, July 25, 2003 4:08 PM





> I have struggled over this one for some time. If you allow total skill,

> which is not bad for domain actions, then you have Units that will never

> fail rolls. I played the Mhor and my write up has him at Warcraft of 21

> and Lead of 20 - I know other folks like Boeruine can generate a 25+

> and the Gorgon could generate a 40+ Lead roll. This effectivly means

> his armies never fail morale when he is present or when Kiras (?) is

> present on the field. That can be considered good or bad?



I think its accurate, as long as units can still fail morale on a natural 1,

or because of magical fear effects which should require will saves. Its

also good for there to be modfiers for weather, terrain, and supply so that

a Hannibal type situation is not a gimmie.



Kenneth Gauck

kgauck@mchsi.com

Birthright-L
07-26-2003, 09:33 AM
r />
> "Cry Havoc" is in PDF now - I will wait for print but if any of you get it

and care to comment here it would be appreciated.

>

> Eosin~Randy



Im reading it right now. Ill post something as soon as I try it.

Greetings,



Vicente

Eosin the Red
07-27-2003, 04:29 AM
rd to reading your comments. I will likely buy it when

it is in soft back but I would like to know if it is useful to BR first.



Randy

----- Original Message -----

From: "Zaor" <zaor81@HOTMAIL.COM>

To: <BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM>

Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2003 3:51 AM

Subject: Re: Problem with ranks vs. skill totals [36#1516]





> Hello,

>

> > "Cry Havoc" is in PDF now - I will wait for print but if any of you get

it

> and care to comment here it would be appreciated.

> >

> > Eosin~Randy

>

> Im reading it right now. Ill post something as soon as I try it.

> Greetings,

>

> Vicente

>

>



>

> Birthright-l Archives:

http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html

>

>

DanMcSorley
07-27-2003, 04:49 AM
Eosin the Red wrote:

> Thanks, I look forward to reading your comments. I will likely buy it when

> it is in soft back but I would like to know if it is useful to BR first.



There`s preview of it, including an overview of the mass combat rules, on

http://www.montecook.com/



Like you, I`m waiting for the dead tree version, but it looks good.

--

Daniel McSorley