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Dexterity specialties

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  • Dexterity specialties

    Hello everyone. I began a story with my friends and one of them want to play a guy who likes fighting, and his character has high Dexterity, so he can choose a speciality. We read books many times and can't understand what they really do. For example, there's the list:
    Smooth, Graceful, Nimble, Feline Reflexes, Hand-Eye Coordination.
    Aaaand they say nothing. It's very hard to understand in which situation you can use specialties. Okay, the last is to catch flying things, or winning in Mortal Kombat using very long and difficult combo. But it's the exception, others we don't understand. We decided "okay then, we just invent our own specialties"
    So what can I give to him? I don't want "fight" speciality, cause it's a little OP, it's boring, but I still want to underline his fighting skills and his years of studying in the temple (he's former monk).

  • #2
    Generally speaking, I think you have to start off thinking about Dex (or any attribute) by acknowledging the central conceit of the WoD system: White Wolf broke down the full range of human capacity into nine discrete categories. That means that if you are a champion long-distance runner or rower, you very likely have a very high stamina because of your cardiovascular conditions--but it also probably means you have an amazing capacity for soaking a punch, even though you're probably not very big (I mean, people who run ultra marathons are, generally speaking, on the leaner and more wiry side). Similarly, a super hot shot Marine scout/sniper probably has a very high Perception rating (I think the rationale for that is self-explanatory)--but that also means that, dice pool-wise, they are also going to be particularly good at writing poetry, painting, composing music, etc. The specialties somewhat acknowledge this, and most of them seem to be designed to allow the player to isolate and highlight one aspect or purview of a given attribute that their character is especially good at.

    Bringing this back to Dex, all those specialties listed in the book could be construed as either (a) words or terms that one might use conversationally to describe a particularly dexterous person (e.g., Smooth, Graceful, Nimble, lightning Reflexes, fast, precise) or (b) simply a category of aptitude that falls under the broad umbrella of dexterity (e.g., hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, steady, flexibility).

    Originally posted by MesmerOfLife View Post
    It's very hard to understand in which situation you can use specialties.
    The way I do this is sort of by working backwards form whatever the specialty is called--in other words, I ask myself "in what sort of IRL situation would I describe someone as smooth/graceful/nimble/fast/quick/etc.?" Moreover, I think the process becomes easier if the specialty is not adjectival or qualitative, because IRL we would typically not describe most feats of (what White Wolf calls) Dexterity, as being feats of "dexterity." I can probably count on both hands the number of times I've heard someone use that word outside of an RPG context. If someone asked me what I think it takes to be a really good surgeon, I would say it takes very good fine motor control; if someone asked me what it probably takes to be very good at badminton, fencing or jai alai, I would say you need ridiculously good hand-eye coordination. Catching a fly that appears out of nowhere with chopstick is a feat of both good reflexes and hand-eye.

    Originally posted by MesmerOfLife View Post
    Okay, the last is to catch flying things, or winning in Mortal Kombat using very long and difficult combo. But it's the exception, others we don't understand. We decided "okay then, we just invent our own specialties"
    For catching flying things, I more or less addressed that above. For mortal combat, I would say maybe "nimble", if only because of the cliché "nimble fingers," but I could also see it as a feat of "precision." This obviously more art than science, but it typically shouldn't be hard to get some consensus around the table as to how it makes sense to characterize any given feat.


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    • #3
      agile, athletic, catlike reflexes, coordinated, deft, delicate, fleet-footed, flexible, graceful, gymnastic, light touch, limber, lithe, nimble, perfect balance, quick, smooth-motioned, steady, supple, sure-footed, swift, willowy

      The list goes on. and its 100% OK to make your own specialities

      otherwise to quote exalted as give a decent example of what specialities can or cant be:


      Specialties can be as broad or narrow as you like, but
      there must be notable situations where they can’t apply.
      Melee (Swords) is perfectly acceptable, but Melee (While
      Armed) or (While Breathing) are not. Sure, your character can try and keep fighting while asphyxiating, or
      literally have his breath stolen by a Sidereal attacker,
      but those are edge cases. The Storyteller has the final
      say in whether or not a Specialty is acceptable.

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      • #4
        I wouldn't use the definitions in Exalted as a hard-line ruling for WoD, they work differently and are designed to be practically in the game more

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        • #5
          that is of course true, however i dont recall WoD having an actual description of what a speciality can or cant be, and this fits into what my group have always played with, so it is better than nothing

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