The Climb Skill

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MGibster
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The Climb Skill

#1 Postby MGibster » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:26 am

I hope this is the proper forum. I suppose you could also include swimming.

Most of the skills in Savage Worlds have pretty broad applications. For example Fighting covers every melee weapon from fists to kukris to whips. The Boating skill covers everything needed to operate a ship including tying knots, making simple repairs, etc. Swimming and Climbing are two skills in Savage Worlds that seem to have very narrow applications.

I'm usually hesitant to modify the SW rules because minor changes can equal a big deal. However I went ahead and eliminated Climbing from my current campaign and stated that PCs can just make a straight Strength or Agility roll depending on their desires. I also thought it might be better to just eliminate Swimming and Climbing and making a skill called Athletics that would cover both skills. Or maybe just eliminate them altogether and have them default without penalty to Agility or Strength.

Any thoughts?


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#2 Postby Kakaze » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:24 am

In my group, we just have house ruled the Athletics skill. It works very well and people seem more likely to take it than either Climbing or Swimming.

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#3 Postby Snate56 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:25 am

Well, to each their own, I suppose. In a fantasy setting, a whole lot of people don't know how to swim, so if you eliminate it you remove some of the differences people naturally have. Those skills, and Hindrances like Illiteracy, help define characters.

For climbing, it's not just skinnying up a tree. It covers whether you can freeclimb that cliff face; all 200 feet of it, whether you can skinny up that tree fast enough to escape the bear, whether you can sneak into the castle by scaling that sheer wall.

In a lot of cases, they may not come into play much; It depends on the GM to make them more useful or not.


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#4 Postby 77IM » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:32 am

One middle-ground is to use Strength for simple climbing (pulling yourself up onto a ledge, pulling yourself up a rope quickly) and Climbing for complicated scenarios (Snate56's example of scaling a 200' cliff face). So characters without the skill don't feel gimped and those with the skill feel more unique (it is more of a skill and less of something we all learned on the jungle gym).

I do like the idea of a combined Athletics skill though. You could have minor hindrances of "Can't Climb" and "Can't Swim" for when it's important to the character concept (the desert warrior might have Can't Swim for example, and is treated as untrained for swimming).

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#5 Postby kreider204 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:00 pm

77IM wrote:One middle-ground is to use Strength for simple climbing (pulling yourself up onto a ledge, pulling yourself up a rope quickly) and Climbing for complicated scenarios (Snate56's example of scaling a 200' cliff face). So characters without the skill don't feel gimped and those with the skill feel more unique (it is more of a skill and less of something we all learned on the jungle gym).


It's my understanding that skill rolls are never required for simple maneuvers, only the complicated ones. E.g., in a modern setting, any typical character can drive, and driving skill rolls are only needed for races, chases, etc.
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#6 Postby CAM » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:14 am

I treat all actions like Common Knowledge rolls (Smarts -2) except I allow any attribute to be used, so it means everyone can attempt most actions (within reason).

Having Skills makes things considerably easier, especially if the GM is applying difficulty modifiers to the target number according to the situation.

So I'ld allow characters to attempt climbing with either Agility -2 or Strength -2, maybe Agility -2 for swimming etc and so forth.

This way everythings covered, but there is a practical use to learning Skills

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#7 Postby GranFalloon » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:49 am

I usually roll climbing and swimming into an Athletics skill, but I left them alone for 50 Fathoms. Ropes and oceans, there's a lot of reason for both.

I also roll Tracking into the Survival skill. You know. Just in case you wanna be like me.

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#8 Postby Lord Lance » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:32 am

I think those skills are useful 'cause they "explain" how to use them in the game. Of course you can avoid "guts" in a no-horror game, or gambling or tracking or survival in a school dating rpg... but have the rules to manage those situations is always nice.
So I think that S.W. should be a good, complete core book, then you can houserule it a little, if you like so.
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#9 Postby Snate56 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:48 am

Lord Lance wrote:I think those skills are useful 'cause they "explain" how to use them in the game. Of course you can avoid "guts" in a no-horror game, or gambling or tracking or survival in a school dating rpg... but have the rules to manage those situations is always nice.
So I think that S.W. should be a good, complete core book, then you can houserule it a little, if you like so.


Actually my school dating involved a lot of gambling, tracking and survival...


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#10 Postby maeloke » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:02 pm

My group has also houseruled climbing and swimming into one Athletics skill. Even with it's expanded utility, it's still not a real heavy investment for many characters, but at least people take it (as opposed to Climb and Swim, which almost never were).

Of course, there are a lot of sort of weird, narrow skills in the base list. Considering SW:EX is a setting-neutral book, the inclusion of boating, gamble, and tracking all seemed a bit odd to me. Ah well, that's what houserules are for.
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#11 Postby MGibster » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:26 pm

GranFalloon wrote:I also roll Tracking into the Survival skill. You know. Just in case you wanna be like me.


Well you are pretty cool. So I shall take it under advisement.

Thanks for the input, folks. Glad to see I'm not the only one who has given this some thought.

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#12 Postby Clint » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:38 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that not all skills are designed the same way. Maybe Climbing and Swimming don't come up very often (really dependent on the GM of course), but when they do, guess which character is suddenly very important to success.

That's the scale to consider when pondering such a change; if the skill is unique, then the character with it is special. As it becomes more ubiquitous (either as a generic grouped skill or a simple Attribute roll), then characters become more uniform in capability, and the challenges presented by scenarios requiring said Skills are lessened.

Not necessarily a "good/bad" thing, just an effect to be aware of when fitting it to personal play style.
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#13 Postby Greg K » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:01 pm

I am not going to hold it against anyone for combining swim and climb. Personally, I won't nor will I play in a game that does, because as Clint wrote it matters when it does come up in play, but that is just my preference.

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#14 Postby Mylon » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:50 pm

What if Athletics affected the run die? I'm not sure how it ought to affect it though.

I think the system could do with some expansion on the 'common knowledge' chart, with skills like running based on vigor and climbing based on strength and music playing based on spirit and so on. Ways to cover all of the bases with non-adventuring skills so character sheets are more focused on adventuring skills.

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#15 Postby Snate56 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:57 am

Mylon wrote:What if Athletics affected the run die? I'm not sure how it ought to affect it though.


The larger the die in Athletics, the larger the run die.


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#16 Postby kreider204 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:21 am

It depends on the setting for me. In a standard fantasy setting, I want to be able to reflect the fact that, for example, my halfling thief is a great climber but a poor swimmer, so I keep them separate. On the other hand, I'm currently working on a conversion set in modern day America where such things are less important, so I have an Athletics skill that covers climbing, swimming, general athletics (sports, etc.), and can substitute for the run die if it's higher.
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#17 Postby MGibster » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:02 am

Clint wrote:One thing to keep in mind is that not all skills are designed the same way. Maybe Climbing and Swimming don't come up very often (really dependent on the GM of course), but when they do, guess which character is suddenly very important to success.


As a general rule if a skill comes up too infrequently then it isn't really fair that the player invested points in it. Swimming has only come up two or three times in my Savage Worlds games and the longest campaign I've run is Pirates of the Spanish Main. Maybe Swimming and Climbing are used more frequently in other people's games.

Greg K wrote:I am not going to hold it against anyone for combining swim and climb. Personally, I won't nor will I play in a game that does, because as Clint wrote it matters when it does come up in play, but that is just my preference.


So you never house rule anything? I can certainly understand why some people like to keep Swimming and Climbing as it is but you would turn down a campaign with people you like to game with because of this?

kreider204 wrote:It depends on the setting for me. In a standard fantasy setting, I want to be able to reflect the fact that, for example, my halfling thief is a great climber but a poor swimmer, so I keep them separate.


You know it really does. If I were running a Savage Blue Planet game there's no way I'd get rid of the Swimming skill. Of course I'd just call it Aquaculture and it would cover more than just staying afloat but the principle is the same.

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#18 Postby TommyBrownell » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:32 am

MGibster wrote:
Clint wrote:One thing to keep in mind is that not all skills are designed the same way. Maybe Climbing and Swimming don't come up very often (really dependent on the GM of course), but when they do, guess which character is suddenly very important to success.


As a general rule if a skill comes up too infrequently then it isn't really fair that the player invested points in it. Swimming has only come up two or three times in my Savage Worlds games and the longest campaign I've run is Pirates of the Spanish Main. Maybe Swimming and Climbing are used more frequently in other people's games.


When I sit down to prepare adventures, I use the PC's sheets as my guide, giving them moments to shine based off of their strengths as well as challenges keyed to their weaknesses. Unless the GM says up front "Guys, don't mess with taking this skill or that Edge because it would be wrong for this game", then it's as much (or more) on the GM as it is the players.
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#19 Postby Greg K » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:16 am

MGibster wrote:
Greg K wrote:I am not going to hold it against anyone for combining swim and climb. Personally, I won't nor will I play in a game that does, because as Clint wrote it matters when it does come up in play, but that is just my preference.


So you never house rule anything? I can certainly understand why some people like to keep Swimming and Climbing as it is but you would turn down a campaign with people you like to game with because of this?
Marc


I do house rule. My house rules list for Savage Worlds is smaller than for most games (the exception being Mutants and Masterminds 2e) and, primarily, involves breaking down a few skills to be less broad, removing gambling (which I think can be covered by other skills), and adding a few options like Clint's Martial Arts maneuvers.

And, yes, if i don't like particular house rules, I will not play in that game just as I won't play many rpgs either at all (e.g., Cinematic Unisystem, Star Wars: Saga Edition and D&D 4e) or without significant house rules (e.g., D&D 3e, Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game, Marvel Superheroes Roleplaying Game).

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Necro post I know but this interests me.

#20 Postby Cap'n » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:29 am

Personally I think keeping ones head above water and swimming effectively against a current etc are different. One is unskilled use and the other training specific.

Likewise there is a big difference between shinning up a drain pipe and setting up a belay or progressing on a very technical climb. I tend to use climbing as a covering mountaineering not just the classic thief wall crawling ability.

They don't come into play that often in most of my games but I keep them seperate as both of this skills can have life saving (or very terminal) effects if you don't have them/fail badly.


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