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  1. #1

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    SWADE Skill Specialisations

    Greetings,

    Is there any way to make specialisations "double-click" activated? And thus their parent have a -2 to the roll?

    Thanks in Advance,
    D
    Thanks In Advance,
    D

  2. #2
    I've made queries about specializations in the past, but was told there's too much variation in their use to automate them. So there's nothing coded in the ruleset to apply the negative modifier to the parent skill. Some SW setting DLCs where specializations are uncommon but necessary like Weird Wars II, require the creation of a custom skill with a 2 word name consisting of the parent and the specialization; i.e. "Knowledge Bombardier". In theory it should be possible to create an extension, but despite having personally created a few SW extensions I wouldn't know which LUA scripts and XML to look in.

    I have an adaptation of a hard SciFi setting that just didn't capture the feel of it without specializations. I found I just needed to be on my toes at first as GM, until players got accustomed to entering the penalty themselves whenever they wanted to use a skill without having the specialization. If you're using them in a homebrew, IMO to make them more doable there's 2 things to consider; 1) don't create specializations for a skill unless it absolutely necessary to capture the theme and flavor of the setting; 2) do not create any custom skills - with specializations in place, the last thing you need is an expanded skill list.

  3. #3
    Since when the specialization is applicable is totally situational, it's hard for FG to automate. You could use the right click on the base skill to add the -2 modifier that is always applicable, then create a specialization mod that adds a +2 to offset that. It's still a manual process to add a modifier, but since the specialization being used would be less frequent than all other uses of the skill, it reduces the frequency of when a mod needs to be added. Plus, players not having to remember to add a -2 to base skill use all the time results in fewer wrong die rolls since they will probably know or be told by the GM when the specialization modifier applies. I tend not to use the skill specialization rules in favor of just awarding a +1 if the character's background justifies them being better at a particular application of the broad skill.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mac40k View Post
    You could use the right click on the base skill to add the -2 modifier that is always applicable, then create a specialization mod that adds a +2 to offset that.
    What would be very useful, is if the SWADE ruleset allowed for a skill specialization to issue a separate dice roll when it's double-clicked. That way a -2 modifier could be applied to the parent skill only, while the unique specialization roll could be made without it. I envision it possibly working similar to how Sub-attacks are supported for weapons, but a very simplified version minus the damage dice and other details. The big difference being that the specializations dice type would be based upon the dice type of the parent skill (without penalty of course), instead of some other, different dice like attack Type.
    It's still a manual process to add a modifier, but since the specialization being used would be less frequent than all other uses of the skill, it reduces the frequency of when a mod needs to be added. Plus, players not having to remember to add a -2 to base skill use all the time results in fewer wrong die rolls since they will probably know or be told by the GM when the specialization modifier applies.
    No doubt player habits differ from party to party and the genre/theme of the campaign might factor in, but I found my players are reluctant to use the skill without the specialization. Consequently, most of their rolls for specialized skill are made when the nonspecialized penalty wouldn't apply. I tried a -2 modifier on the parent skill, but that too often caused a -2 penalty to be included in error.
    I tend not to use the skill specialization rules in favor of just awarding a +1 if the character's background justifies them being better at a particular application of the broad skill.
    TBH, I don't see that as being similar to specialized skill rolls, but more as a good and effective way to grant a bonus to a player that's taken the time to create a good character background. In terms of dice mechanics it doesn't really achieve the equivalent of a nonspecialized roll penalty, which is effectively the shifting of the dice type to one type smaller. Whereas a +1 is quite a generous bonus; for years Pinnacle staff member Clint Black had a thread pinned in the Homebrew forum titled "Why a +2 bonus is a Big Deal." A +1 isn't as big a deal as +2, but it's still a generous bonus. If there's concerns that the -2 unspecialized skill penalty is too drastic, I've found it can be lessened to -1 without significantly altering game play.
    Last edited by kronovan; December 13th, 2021 at 00:15.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by kronovan View Post
    What would be very useful, is if the SWADE ruleset allowed for a skill specialization to issue a separate dice roll when it's double-clicked. That way a -2 modifier could be applied to the parent skill only, while the unique specialization roll could be made without it. I envision it possibly working similar to how Sub-attacks are supported for weapons, but a very simplified version minus the damage dice and other details. The big difference being that the specializations dice type would be based upon the dice type of the parent skill (without penalty of course), instead of some other, different dice like attack Type.

    No doubt player habits differ from party to party and the genre/theme of the campaign might factor in, but I found my players are reluctant to use the skill without the specialization. Consequently, most of their rolls for specialized skill are made when the nonspecialized penalty wouldn't apply. I tried a -2 modifier on the parent skill, but that too often caused a -2 penalty to be included in error.

    TBH, I don't see that as being similar to specialized skill rolls, but more as a good and effective way to grant a bonus to a player that's taken the time to create a good character background. In terms of dice mechanics it doesn't really achieve the equivalent of a nonspecialized roll penalty, which is effectively the shifting of the dice type to one type smaller. Whereas a +1 is quite a generous bonus; for years Pinnacle staff member Clint Black had a thread pinned in the Homebrew forum titled "Why a +2 bonus is a Big Deal." A +1 isn't as big a deal as +2, but it's still a generous bonus. If there's concerns that the -2 unspecialized skill penalty is too drastic, I've found it can be lessened to -1 without significantly altering game play.
    I don't either. I just don't care for the specialization rules. To me, SWADE skills are broad and characters are fairly competent. Skill specialization rules are an attempt to add a layer of granularity that I don't find useful for the types of games I run. And I don't like having players needing to add negative modifiers all the time. If players aren't using base skills due to the -2 penalty, are just using it when their specialization applies, and it is that important to have it in the campaign, I'd just as soon make it a distinct skill to start with.

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