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Why doesn't Scholar apply to the Common Knowledge skill?

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  • Why doesn't Scholar apply to the Common Knowledge skill?

    I'm asking because I'm not sure why this is.

  • #2
    It can apply.

    Scholar represents
    Learned professors, devoted students, and amateur enthusiasts spend great amounts of time and energy studying particular subjects. They become experts in these fields, and rarely fail to answer questions in their particular area of expertise.
    Common Knowledge is basic geography, major social / political figures, current events, popular culture, and "everyday" technology use.
    If a GM feels that a character can become a learned scholar of current events and pop culture then Common Knowledge is a viable candidate for the Scholar Edge (Smarts-based and "knowledge"). But the text implies that PEG feels, and I agree with this idea, that Common Knowledge is too fluid, too broad, and too shallow to allow for the specialization that Scholar indicates.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • #3
      Thank you.

      I imagine having Scholar for Common Knowledge implies for example Jeopardy champions and other professional trivia-players, or characters like Sherlock Holmes who can deduce all kinds of things about a person just by seeing what cigarette brand they are smoking.


      • Donald Schepis
        Donald Schepis commented
        Editing a comment
        Sherlock Holmes has a d4 in Common Knowledge. He is unaware of the heliocentric model because it has nothing to do with solving crimes:

        Originally posted by A Study in Scarlet
        What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.

      • Aristarkos
        Aristarkos commented
        Editing a comment
        That's the Quirk Hindrance you're talking about, a funny sidegag that has no bearing on his actual crime-solving skills other than highlighting how single-minded he is.

        Sherlock Holmes has an obscenely high Common Knowledge because he can make sweeping deductions about people by putting together disparate bits and pieces of knowledge on fashion, culture, local knowledge, street knowledge etc to form a coherent picture.

      • Radecliffe
        Radecliffe commented
        Editing a comment
        Actually I'd say Sherlock would have a fairly good Common Knowledge Skill just because he's fairly well versed in what's going on in the world around him. However, his main skills are going to be Academics and Science for Human Psychology, Sociology and the hard Sciences to solve crimes. And an insanely high notice skill of course.

    • #4
      I don't see why you couldn't take Scholar and apply it to Common Knowledge, since Common Knowledge is a 'Smarts-based “knowledge”-type skill,' as long as the GM approved (if a player of mine hypothetically wanted to take Scholar and apply it to Common Knowledge, I'd allow it. I can't imagine a +2 in Common Knowledge being a game-breaking thing to worry about, unless you were planning on the climax of your campaign being a rousing trivia night). RAW I certainly don't see anything prohibiting it.

      Also, yeah, to echo what Donald said, Sherlock Holmes definitely doesn't have Common Knowledge. Alertness, Master in Notice and Research, Investigator, Jack of all Trades, Streetwise, sure. But high Common Knowledge? No.
      Last edited by ellipses; 05-05-2021, 09:52 PM.


      • #5
        Originally posted by ellipses View Post
        Also, yeah, to echo what Donald said, Sherlock Holmes definitely doesn't have Common Knowledge. Alertness, Expert Notice, Investigator, Jack of all Trades, sure. But high Common Knowledge? No.
        In my games the extreme amount of trivia he carries around to be able to reason his way towards things would translate to Common Knowledge in addition to high Science and less high Academics.


        • Montjoy
          Montjoy commented
          Editing a comment
          I would agree with you on the Common Knowledge and Science but I am not sure if I would make his Academics any lower than the others.
          His abilities with Latin, various cultural understandings and depth of information on History, I would argue would make them equal.

        • Radecliffe
          Radecliffe commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, his Academics would be just as high as his Science. Academics would include the soft sciences such as Psychology and Sociology which he often uses to great effect in his deductions.

      • #6
        Like the Deluxe version mechanic that lent its name to Common Knowledge, I think of the skill is being akin to "worldly" knowledge. It's something gained through experience and participation in society that any sort of study.

        That said, I wouldn't disallow Scholar from applying if the player provided a good enough reason.


        • #7
          Really, the powers of deduction Sherlock Holmes has would best be represented as a custom edge. It’s certainly not something as simple as a high Common Knowledge.

          I am not a game designer, but I would probably start with something like:

          Elementary - Weird Edge

          Req: Seasoned, Sm d10+, Notice d8+, Research d8+

          Thanks to their extraordinary memory, extensive research and keen eye for detail, the character may spend a Benny to cast Empathy or Object Reading as if they’d received a single success. These spells last for their normal duration and cannot be maintained.


          • Deskepticon
            Deskepticon commented
            Editing a comment
            Wouldn't that just be AB (Gifted)?

          • ellipses
            ellipses commented
            Editing a comment
            Deskepticon more or less, yeah, but Smarts based instead of Spirit, and much more limited. I'd also considered something like Mind Attic, which would let a character retroactively make a Research roll to see if they'd ever learned the relevant detail in the past.

            Obviously I'm just spitballing here (this is also where I reiterate that I am not a game designer), but I still think Holmes' deductive skills fall outside of RAW SWADE and probably need something extra to push it in that direction.

          • paladin2019
            paladin2019 commented
            Editing a comment
            It uses the currency of Bennies instead of Power Points and, if specifically for Sherlock, could be argued that it exists in a setting where AB isn't allowed. Of course, I would consider creating Sherlock as Gifted, anyway, and possibly have Weird Science in play, too.

        • #8
          It seems off to me to want to take a character displaying incredibly vast trivia about society, culture and local knowledge and give him a d4 in Common Knowledge just because of an off-hand comment he made in one of the books. It's like giving a world-class athlete a d4 in Athletics because they once mention that they truly suck at ballet and refuse to learn it. But you do you.