Adding a "retraining" option

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barasawa
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Gotta agree

#21 Postby barasawa » Sat May 09, 2009 4:49 pm

What 'The Angle' said is correct.
The whole retraining think in D&D4th is help players keep a character it becomes apparent it's screwed up.

For example, if a PC took the skills of Dungeoneering and Diplomacy, but for the last 10 character levels the entire campaign has been on a zombie crewed ship fighting unintelligent sea monsters. Those are a couple of wasted skills. Is it the players fault? Does it matter? For all intents and purposes the Player feels his character got shafted.

There are several things that might happen here. The player may quit the game. The player will kill/retire the PC, often making a virtual clone that changed only the messed up stuff. Or the worst option, they will whine constantly and annoy everyone until they get their way, or someone kills them and hides the body in the trunk of your car.

It's a basic way to retune a character to deal with the inadequacies that were unintentionally created by the player, campaign, or GM.
It was never meant as a cheap means to 'respec' a character for each adventure.

I personally see no real problem with the players coming up to me after a game and asking to change something that is otherwise not working or not appropriate. Sometimes I use in-game excuses for it, but more often, none was needed as they hadn't even used it yet.

Of course, this kind of thing works out best as houserule in general, not something requiring edges or advances for the character. (Otherwise they'll start demanding value for their expenditures...)
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Re: Gotta agree

#22 Postby Sitting Duck » Sun May 10, 2009 4:33 am

barasawa wrote:For example, if a PC took the skills of Dungeoneering and Diplomacy, but for the last 10 character levels the entire campaign has been on a zombie crewed ship fighting unintelligent sea monsters. Those are a couple of wasted skills. Is it the players fault? Does it matter? For all intents and purposes the Player feels his character got shafted.


One of the advantages Savage Worlds has over some other systems is that its skills for the most part have a much broader application.
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Re: Gotta agree

#23 Postby Count Zero » Sun May 10, 2009 10:15 am

Sitting Duck wrote:
barasawa wrote:For example, if a PC took the skills of Dungeoneering and Diplomacy, but for the last 10 character levels the entire campaign has been on a zombie crewed ship fighting unintelligent sea monsters. Those are a couple of wasted skills. Is it the players fault? Does it matter? For all intents and purposes the Player feels his character got shafted.


One of the advantages Savage Worlds has over some other systems is that its skills for the most part have a much broader application.


Yes and no. Boating is boating and you won't be using it for anything else, so with regards to respec swapping that out for Fighting, which is completely different, is a bit broken. Skills in D&D are more peripheral than skills in SW so the changes are much more apparent in characters of the latter.
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#24 Postby Sam_Rose » Sun May 10, 2009 2:31 pm

I guess since the rest of my group is fairly new to either SW or gaming in general everyone is allowed to respec if they find their character sucks the big time.

But not just because they get the feeling they might need a certain skill to make the next adventure easier. If you can't swim and we're heading someplace really wet... guess you better bring swimmies!

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#25 Postby chugosh » Sun May 10, 2009 3:31 pm

I might say if a character doesn't use a particular skill for a couple sessions, then it can lower a die type and the points can be put elsewhere, like you get rusty with the unpracticed skills and the brain latches onto new skills in their place.

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#26 Postby Count Zero » Sun May 10, 2009 3:50 pm

Sam_Rose wrote:I guess since the rest of my group is fairly new to either SW or gaming in general everyone is allowed to respec if they find their character sucks the big time.

But not just because they get the feeling they might need a certain skill to make the next adventure easier. If you can't swim and we're heading someplace really wet... guess you better bring swimmies!


Kinda what I do. I let anyone respec after the first session so no one gets stuck with a character they don't like. After that they should know better and any request to respec is purely a min/max ploy. ;)
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#27 Postby Count Zero » Sun May 10, 2009 3:51 pm

chugosh wrote:I might say if a character doesn't use a particular skill for a couple sessions, then it can lower a die type and the points can be put elsewhere, like you get rusty with the unpracticed skills and the brain latches onto new skills in their place.


That works too. It would definitely have to be on a case by case basis, but at least its logical.
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#28 Postby Sam_Rose » Sun May 10, 2009 7:40 pm

min/max ploy


why whatever do you mean :twisted:

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Re: Gotta agree

#29 Postby Sitting Duck » Mon May 11, 2009 7:15 am

Count Zero wrote:
Sitting Duck wrote:One of the advantages Savage Worlds has over some other systems is that its skills for the most part have a much broader application.


Yes and no.


Hence why I said, "for the most part."

Count Zero wrote:Boating is boating and you won't be using it for anything else, so with regards to respec swapping that out for Fighting, which is completely different, is a bit broken.


That depends entirely on the type of setting being run. Boating does cover pretty much every kind of watercraft, from rowboats to battleships. While it certainly possible for a campaign to see little use of water travel, a setting which focuses primarily on intrigue and/or investigation could also be made to have little use of the Fighting skill (admittedly not common, but conceivable).
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#30 Postby Lord Lance » Tue May 12, 2009 4:40 am

chugosh wrote:I might say if a character doesn't use a particular skill for a couple sessions, then it can lower a die type and the points can be put elsewhere, like you get rusty with the unpracticed skills and the brain latches onto new skills in their place.

Me too. With a new Rank I allow to lower a skill almost unused and boost another one, IF THIS FITS IN THE STORY FLOW.
Of course to gain a new skill at d4, the player must lower 2 skills. This is allowed.

Come on, if you have Tracking or Knowledge - Battle, but you spend years on a ship, your unused skills rusts, and without regular study you can forget a learned notion. So why not to concede a PC to "retrain" if this isn't a powergaming mechanic, but a nice story driven system?

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#31 Postby Clint » Tue May 12, 2009 7:53 am

You know to me (with Savage Worlds specifically), "retraining" would not be the issue.

If the player has a skill that isn't being used, then the GM either isn't tailoring his game to his PCs or he didn't explain to the player up front that the skill would not be useful.

It's not like the system has dozens and dozens of skills that would be hard for the GM to track which PC has what. If someone has Survival and Tracking, then at some point following a trail across a harsh environment should come up, and if someone has Boating and Swimming, then some water travel with the chance of someone falling overboard needs to be planned.

And if that isn't possible, then the GM just needs to look at the character before the game even starts and let the player know they should switch their points around (perhaps with the caveat that if it does actually come up, the GM will allow a Common Knowledge roll with a +2 bonus for the PC).

Anyway, just seems to me that the player "retraining" the character because skills don't come up in game is kind of the reverse solution for SW where it's much easier for the GM to insure they come up in game to begin with. In short, I'd prefer to adjust the story to fit the heroes instead of changing the heroes to fit the story.
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#32 Postby TheLoremaster » Tue May 12, 2009 8:15 am

Clint wrote:If the player has a skill that isn't being used, then the GM either isn't tailoring his game to his PCs or he didn't explain to the player up front that the skill would not be useful.

Another possibility is that the player took a Skill, then simply never used it. One of the cases that started this whole discussion occurred in my Slipstream game, where the Robot Man Weird Scientist took Taunt d4 at creation. He has only used this Skill maybe once or twice throughout the campaign, which is now in its 7th month. Why should he when he has the Blast Power that is far more effective at neutralizing enemies?

The question then is, should I as the GM let him spend that 1 Skill point elsewhere? Considering that the Skill is consistently useful in many situations, isn't underpowered in the setting, and only needs another point or two to be very effective, I say no. IMO, it's up to him to actually use that Skill, and it doesn't hinder him from taking any other future level-up.

As a counter-argument, when one of the players took Guts at creation, I did let him know to use those points elsewhere, since I was applying the "Spirit-Not-Guts" house rule for the campaign. In that case, I knew that that Skill would be useless for the campaign, but Taunt is almost always worthwhile.
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#33 Postby Clint » Tue May 12, 2009 8:30 am

TheLoremaster wrote:The question then is, should I as the GM let him spend that 1 Skill point elsewhere? Considering that the Skill is consistently useful in many situations, isn't underpowered in the setting, and only needs another point or two to be very effective, I say no. IMO, it's up to him to actually use that Skill, and it doesn't hinder him from taking any other future level-up.


And to give an example of how as GM I might adjust the story to that unused skill, for Slipstream I might make a hostile race that is tough with an innate Deflection ability (they come from a fragment in a rock and dust could), but they aren't very smart and they are Proud (-2 to resist Taunts).

Anathraxa (or whomever the big bad of the season is) uses them like mercenary troops when the heroes start interfering too much. I'd give the PCs some head's up on them and their pride issue before facing them, and after one big adventure with them, use them a bit sparingly so as to not overwhelm the story with them.
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#34 Postby TheLoremaster » Tue May 12, 2009 12:07 pm

Clint wrote:
TheLoremaster wrote:The question then is, should I as the GM let him spend that 1 Skill point elsewhere? Considering that the Skill is consistently useful in many situations, isn't underpowered in the setting, and only needs another point or two to be very effective, I say no. IMO, it's up to him to actually use that Skill, and it doesn't hinder him from taking any other future level-up.

And to give an example of how as GM I might adjust the story to that unused skill, for Slipstream I might make a hostile race that is tough with an innate Deflection ability (they come from a fragment in a rock and dust could), but they aren't very smart and they are Proud (-2 to resist Taunts).

Precisely my point. Primals are dumb brutes, and are never going to be smarter. But the counterpoint is that a successful Taunt only affects one target, while a well-placed Blast can affect 5+ targets. From the player's perspective, it's more effective to use Blast instead of Taunt. So why increase Taunt?
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#35 Postby Tavis » Tue May 12, 2009 1:22 pm

That depends on the trapping of the Blast, and what other things it might 'set off' if used ...

Why use a blast when it will ignite the breathable-but-highly-flammable gas that infuses the caves of the fragment that you're on and wound/kill every organic form there ... when you can Taunt your foes instead?
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#36 Postby Lord Lance » Thu May 14, 2009 3:23 am

x Clint: about the retraining. It's common to see a couple of players taking the same skill (i.e. Tracking) when they create their characters, but after 3 months of play one of these become the party specialized scout, while the other focuses on melee combat. The latest never uses his d4 in Tracking, 'cause they ever adventure "in group", so his skill "rusts" while the scout does all the tracking job.

So I'm not so adverse, if the melee player asks me to "convert" the abandoned Tracking skill for the daily trained Fighting. This "follow" the course of the story.

(Of course, another player could stay with his d4 in Tracking, because he knows that he can't ever count on the scout boy. Maybe the party splits up, or the enemies beat the scout up... I don't force anyone to exchange their skills...)

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#37 Postby Clint » Thu May 14, 2009 8:32 am

Lord Lance wrote:x Clint: about the retraining. It's common to see a couple of players taking the same skill (i.e. Tracking) when they create their characters, but after 3 months of play one of these become the party specialized scout, while the other focuses on melee combat. The latest never uses his d4 in Tracking, 'cause they ever adventure "in group", so his skill "rusts" while the scout does all the tracking job.


Well, I can see some cross-role issues, but on one hand, it's not hard to look at the characters from the beginning and say, "You know, you both took Tracking; let's talk about that."

And on the other hand, I don't see why the character would never use his Tracking because that character is a prime candidate to provide a Cooperative Roll to the other tracker. Even with a d4, he's likely to provide a +1 bonus to the other character maybe a +2 or better.

Heck, with its modifier for tracks being hidden or over a day old, Tracking is actually one of the prime skills for someone else in the group to have to help with. Even a character with a d8 Tracking and Woodsman for a +2 bonus against tracks like those above would go from an 81% chance of success to a 91% chance of success (halving his chance of failure) if someone gave him just another +1 on the roll.
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