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  • Specialties

    How useful are specialties if they don’t affect rolls with the skill you’re specialized in? I’m having trouble coming up with specialties that are useful enough for me to care about coming up with them.

  • #2
    Specialities are useful in other situations. Let’s say you want to climb a tree and your survival have a speciality in trees, you get an enhancement. Another example less bizarre, you need to shoot a bomb to make it explode, if you have speciality in Bombs related to technology you get an enhancement.

    You must think indirectly on the stuff you are specialist, using a gun is the direct use of Aim, setting a camp in a position that is both hidden and good to see the target is an speciality for Aim using Larceny.

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    • #3
      I found the new specialty rules to be a very interesting concept, but I ultimately house ruled them. My players had the same problem OP had. When they could decide what the specialty could be they didn't feel very special to them, and they incentivised you to pick a specialty that was tangentially related to the skill. We ended up treating them like 1e specializations, they just give a flat one die bonus. It isn't very interesting, and I wanted something more dynamic like the rule as written, but in the end that house rule works for my players and made specializations feel more special for them.

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      • #4
        If you don't want to give a flat bonus, you could do like Scion and give an extra point of Momentum if someone fails a roll they have a Specialty with. I personally think the rules work well for TC, since it helps characters be better rounded with their skills, which fits the feeling of hyper-competent characters. "That guy really knows his guns," is something which would be said about a TC character.

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        • #5
          I was discussing this with one of my players last night, and I think our problem with the specialty rules is one of our own expectation, not any real problem with the rule (which again, I find very interesting). In a sense I think it is a branding problem. In 1e a specialty made you better at a thing when you did that thing. In 2e the Aeon version of the rule makes you better at other things. But my players have the expectation that a specialty in guns would make you better at shooting guns, not better at cross applying your skill in guns to other arenas. I think if it had been called something else, like "skill expansion" or something, my players wouldn't feel rubbed the wrong way by it. We played a lot of 1e and I think that just baked some expectations in at my table.

          As for the Scion version of specialties, I think that is also an interesting rule, but it also fails to make you better at the skill in which you specialize. There your expertise only comes up in failure. While it does soften the blow of failing at your signature skill, I think it still fails to meet my expectations when I think about specialties.

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          • #6
            The actual bonus of 1 enhancement is fine for me. I prefer it over the momentum thing from Scion. I want specializations to help me succeed a goal, not make failure less sad. I feel like some skills lend themselves better to specialties you can apply to other skills than some. I have a harder time figuring out an athletics specialty that will ever matter than I do a technology speciality. Specialized in biotech? Great. Hacking (Enigmas) with a biotech computer. Piloting a biotech motorcycle. Shooting a biotech gun. Science to develop some new biotech concept. Medicine to operate a biotech blood filter device. A persuasion specialty isn't going to help me with very many skills.

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            • #7
              Watching Chernobyl this week I noticed one example of Technology and Science Specialities (in this case Radioactivity) using in Medicine. The scientists have little to no knowledge of medicine, but they know the effects of radiation on the body with a certain level of detail. That’s the kind of thing I see as speciality.

              For sure the Specialities on the “studding” skills are more flexible than the “training” ones, usually there are more cross referencing and theoretical knowledge is more flexible than practical knowledge (practice is more focused and efficient, but less flexible).

              That’s way, even the most specialist shooter will have enough technology or science skill dots to get Specialities to improve aiming on some conditions or with some specifics kinds of weapons, and the melee fighters with some knowledge in medicine became more capable of hitting the right spot during the fight.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by werlynn View Post
                How useful are specialties if they don’t affect rolls with the skill you’re specialized in? I’m having trouble coming up with specialties that are useful enough for me to care about coming up with them.
                They are significantly more useful than a single extra die in a skill you already have a high rating in (how specialties work in Stiryteller games that most of us are implicitly comparing this too). The ability to bolster rolls you’re weaker in because of a connection to your specialty field is A LOT more versatile and helpful!


                Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Slagheap View Post
                  I was discussing this with one of my players last night, and I think our problem with the specialty rules is one of our own expectation, not any real problem with the rule (which again, I find very interesting). In a sense I think it is a branding problem. In 1e a specialty made you better at a thing when you did that thing. In 2e the Aeon version of the rule makes you better at other things. But my players have the expectation that a specialty in guns would make you better at shooting guns, not better at cross applying your skill in guns to other arenas. I think if it had been called something else, like "skill expansion" or something, my players wouldn't feel rubbed the wrong way by it. We played a lot of 1e and I think that just baked some expectations in at my table.

                  As for the Scion version of specialties, I think that is also an interesting rule, but it also fails to make you better at the skill in which you specialize. There your expertise only comes up in failure. While it does soften the blow of failing at your signature skill, I think it still fails to meet my expectations when I think about specialties.

                  Same here. I like the concept, I just wish a different name had been used. In just about any TTRPG I can think of, a specialization represents a narrower focus within a skill that that character is better at than the rest of the skill, not a part of the skill you are able to apply as a boost to a different skills.

                  It does confuse my players and last we played Scion 2ed I still hadn't been able to get them to change their understanding of how a specialization works because to them, based on their experience with various other games, that isn't how a specialty works. We'll get around it... it just would have been easier if they had named it differently or added the cross-skill application as an additional benefit rather than a replacement.

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                  • #10
                    The name is really a misdirection... The Scion specialisation is a specialisation, not standard “make you better” but still specialise the character. Trinity specialisation could be called Synergy, but still you are an specialist, so good you can use your specialisation on other fields of knowledge...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
                      The name is really a misdirection... The Scion specialisation is a specialisation, not standard “make you better” but still specialise the character. Trinity specialisation could be called Synergy, but still you are an specialist, so good you can use your specialisation on other fields of knowledge...
                      I only think it’s misleading because people are carrying assumptions from how the term is used in other games. It is very much a specialty, it just plays out by bolstering other skills when they overlap with your specialty.


                      Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                      • #12
                        Yes, the misleading is more about what we expect from a “speciality” in WoD, CoD, EtC, and not much what about what an Specialist can do.
                        As I see, a specialist would get a better change to get good results, but not a far better result, I would maybe change one dice in a Enhancement, or allow the use of enhancements even if no successes are achieved.

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