I took lots of fighting stuff for my character because it made sense, but ultimately I'm much more interested in the roelplaying than the fighting. If my character never fights I will be more than happy.
In the process of discussing people's character ideas it is occurred to me that there need to be a few more non-combat skills. I have added 3 new skills:
Pickpocket - the act of taking things from people without them knowing. Requires Pick Lock. Chemical Engineering - The application of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering principles. Requires Tech and either Medic or Demolitions Expert. Engineering - The design of physical, electronic or mechanical systems. Requires Tech and one of the *smith skills.
Both of the engineering skills can also be used as a step towards Science.
While the Engineering skills are good I'm less sure about pickpocket. There is no defense against it, but if there was it would be a perception or awareness skill. Basically pickpocket seems like an unnecessarily antagonistic skill.
As opposed to shooting and stabbing people?
One problem people have with it, is that with shooting and stabbing, it becomes very obvious what you have done. It can become public very fast. And a lot of people will pull back from actually killing another character.
With Pick Pocket you have no idea who has stolen from you. And if there is no limit to it, you could basically keep stealing off people until you have all their items. And the person is handing over what could be personal items.
Now personally I am not against Pick Pocketing in games, it can add flavour and be a part of certain characters. I just feel you need to be careful with it. I know it's something a lot of overseas games HATE.
I can think of a few ways I would deal with the situation in game.
How about Craft/Tinkering (making basic stuff out of other basic stuff, not engineering, science or tech, or even weaponry, but say, stuff like using cheese cloth to make a water trap, turning plastic bottles into planters, even, making toys out of rubbish, basically recycling). I know a lot of people might have learned how to do this, but this could be a natural/or highly developed knack of just being able to make use of anything.
Also, Diplomacy - used to stop potential combat and haggle. Very useful in a traders' town, I would think? You could play it like a "brawl" roll with Rock Paper Scissors, eg: "Diplomacy Check - it would not be in your best interests to serrate this person..."
Actually I have been thinking about this a lot and an over heard conversation between Ellen and somebody else got me thinking. There will need to be a challenge to pick a person's pocket. Essentially if you are able to attach two token's to a person's back (think laundry pegs) with out them noticing then you have picked their pocket. You then tell me (or another GM) and we go talk to the target. That person is then not allowed to have their pocket picked by you again for the rest of the session. You must be attempting to get a specific item, not just fishing for stuff, "their purse of chips" is an item.
I'm happy to discuss this further and if people have a real problem with it I'll remove it from the game.
I see Survival as covering this stuff. It is the catch all skill for doing practical things to survive.
Unfortunately social skills like this are very difficult to replicate with out adding more and more rules to roleplaying, which does have the affect of ruining immersion. But with haggle I'm happy to do some sort of rock, paper, scissors thing. I'll think on it.
This seems reasonable to me, it is a skill that allows you to do something, but you still have to be sneaky. Much like the melee skill doesn't make you awesome at weapon fighting, it just means you can try. I'm a big fan of not abstracting skills too much in LARPs.
I like the idea, but I feel like the jury-rigging this represents could fall under Repair?
Hmm... I'm not such a fan of abstracting social interaction with skills in LARP. I would much prefer that someone comes up with a good reason in-character for why they shouldn't get attacked. It can really break the immersion if it's just a "Hold on! I use my diplomacy power, now you can't hurt me because I've convinced you I'm nice despite continuing to say really abrasive things."
Now, if it's a power that allows you to glean information as to what might be a useful way of talking down the other person like "Fraser wouldn't strike an unarmed person so if you throw down your weapon, he might listen to you" then I'm much more on board.
Fair points, I guess. Also, I'm just wondering how people use character skills that they (the player) don't actually have (assuming you can do that), or whether there are levels/restrictions to said skills, depending on materials. Example: if a character has repair and armoursmith, but they wouldn't have access to, say, steel, can they just be able to repair leather armour and be better at it? (One would think there would be differences between a bit of leather sewn onto a back, and a full hardened-leather breastplate. Or is that making it too complicated?) And if the character has Survival and wants to trade his skills at, say, crafting something useful for someone else - but the player can't actually do it - how does that work in-game?
PS: re: Diplomacy, I didn't mean for it to sound like a "I have this skill so I can stop anyone from doing anything I don't want them to," just thinking it could be a useful non-combatant skill that not everyone would have, but be potentially quite valuable. EG: would the town (or each tribe) have designated Traders and Negotiators whose main skill is getting the best deal or knowing just how much to bribe the militia for them not to take all the grain, or something?
Well yes it's quite different. Shooting and Stabbing people is a very open activity. If I pulled my gun on someone they might back down, or they might pull their gun. There is still a ton of roleplaying to be had.
Pick pocketing isn't that. You just do it and move on. Even if you use the peg challenge idea, or you have to draw a chalk cross on someone it's still something that happens. A GM has to come in and intervene and tell you that your item is gone. Now you know your item is gone but you don't know. It changes the way you play everything.
I have no problem with story/plot crew picking my pocket and then letting em know when I go for something it is gone. I'm happy for that to pretty much happen. But it feels uncomfortable when a player has the ability to run around picking everyone's pocket. Yeah I get that people do it to survive, it's a lowish resource game after all, but it has no limits.
And if they challenge is too difficult they caught so they don't do it. If they do get caught they probably aren't long for this world in a game like this.
Yes theoretically you could have a character that goes around stabbing and killing everyone but they would suck. Conflict is good, outright antagonism not so much.
Ultimately Rock Paper Scissors is a pretty poor mechanic for anything. Better to just roleplay it. I know some players might be better at diplomacy than others, but that's pretty much the same as combat. I wouldn't want to be on the opposite team to Nick Pitt for example.
Between Engineering, Survival, Tech and Repair I think tinkering is probably covered.
Re: Pick Pocketing again
Not as a skill but as a player goal for a session this could work. I.e. Player X has been forced to work for someone. They want player X to get a bunch of money by end of session. One way is to pickpocket people. The challenge would be to peg 10-15 people over the night. Player X is really just looking for currency, so it's probably no major loss to any of the players. It is difficult goal, though each peg could be worth 5% of the goal or something and maybe there are a few other ways to make some coin.
As much as I love the idea of more non combat skills, my preference is for them to be against the world or npc issues as its difficult to have skills that artificially change your perception or behaviour like diplomacy. To some extent, a players own skill is probably the most relevant much as in combat. I'd accept something boosts the result, rather than influencing in the first place though? E.g a pc talks two other pcs down from a fight. The others know he has peacemaker skill, so slightly ameliorate their future aggression, but can still act as they like for the most part.
Similarly, I dont like the idea of pick pockets as it breaks memesis as you play to suddenly do a test or be told you lost something and have to pretend otherwise.
Current rules are great for not having ones that break stride in game. I mean, at present the skills allow you to play a whole session and theoretically not require you to stop and check things. Which is awesome!
I did have skill ideas, but they wrap skills up with resources and influences for out of game impact. Which isn't really the point of the game thus gave up thinking about it!
E.g feed large numbers of people, facilitate transport with horses, etc
Apologies for typos, am on tiny phone!
The best argument for not having pick-pocketing in a post-apocalyptic setting: its a highly developed skill requiring years of training, teamwork and (and this is the very important bit) a very large social environment in which people are anonymous and can lose themselves in crowds. Which obviously doesn't work well in small post-apocalyptic villages. Locals get caught; strangers get watched. Neither is conducive to anything but the most amateur attempts (which might as well be represented by player skills rather than mechanically).
Plus of course it requires that people actually have a) pockets; and b) small valuable things in those pockets to steal. Again, not necessarily true in post-apocalyptic settings where a lot of trade may happen by barter.
There's some interesting insights in this piece about its demise in the modern US (outside of stage magic), as the social network by which new pickpockets are trained has been disrupted by law enforcement and broken down. That network would be even more disrupted by social collapse. Though it is alive and well in France apparently...
Re pickpocket being antagonistic
If someone goes around picking everyone's pockets then to be honest I would expect other characters to take them to task on it. This is a brutal world, and if you make it known that you can slip things out of people's pockets then those people are going to get angry. From a GMing point of view I will take badly to anyone abusing pickpocket in much the same way as I would someone just randomly shooting every second person. For the time being I'm going to keep it in, to see how it works. If the feedback after game 1 is overwhelmingly in favour in getting rid of it then I will.
Also with pickpocketing I will inform the character as well as the player that something is missing. I honestly don't see this as all that different to someone locking all the good stuff away in a lockbox that gets picked and everything taken. But like I said above, if people hate it and it's ruining their fun I will remove it.
Re introduction of faults
I hear the concerns about 'gamifying' this further, and I promise that this is as far as it goes. Age will not have added drawbacks. I was just interested to see how people would play it. Being illiterate is optional for all people, other than those from Tribes. The reason I gave an extra skill is if you aren't being taught to read and write (i.e. going to school or being given lessons at home) then you were out there doing other things and learning other skills.
Re non-combat skills
Skills like haggling, diplomacy etc are not going to be given rules. I see them as roleplaying, and as such up to the player to make it work. I will make sure that the crew are aware that giving up, talking through problems and not using violence are often as good a choice as reaching for their guns. But some people are just bloody minded. As many people have mentioned sometimes you'll need to pull on knowledge across multiple skills (and therefore multiple people) in order to achieve things. Rock, paper, scissors just gets in the way of immersion and I'm keen to limit that as much as possible.
Thanks all for your discussion on these things, I know it will make it a better game.
Thanks for your explanations, that makes a lot of sense (and, I may add, a good use of Diplomacy skill ).
I suspect that whatever personalities and background we give our characters, it's probably going to make a lot of sense to base their main skills on those we already have as players. Some of us are better actors/roleplayers than others, so those of us who don't have the gift of the gab might be better to leave roleplaying diplomatic scenes to our more-seasoned comrades, and concentrate on trading on the skills and talents we are well-versed in!
I'm sure the crew will keep an eye on things and effectively help us all remember this is just a game (-: one thing I do remember from 10 years ago is how easy it can be to immerse yourself...
PS: I'm still not sure whether to take Literacy or not, but I kind of like the idea of it being optional. As mentioned, Tribes may have their own forms of literacy, though it might make it harder to trade...
I've moved the debate about literacy over to it's own thread, feel free to continue it over there.
Couple of quick questions, Sophie, does this mean that the 20 ammo counts as a gear choice for a Wanderer? i.e. Gun, ammo and two other things?
So it's definite now that making new ammo cannot be done with Repair and Ranged? Only Gunsmith?
I'm happy for gun + ammo to count as one item. And yes, I think that in order to make the ammo limits meaningful that it's hard to get ammo refilled, so only full gunsmiths can do it.
All good. Trading for ammo works for my character. I'm just glad I still get three gear items after taking the gun and ammo.
Yeah gun and ammo being two items would be a little unfair