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Fly like an eagle

7th Sep 2015, 8:05 AM

Fly like an eagle
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kidra on 7th Sep 2015, 8:05 AM

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Happy labor day to everyone who is celebrating it.

There are a few skills that don't get used a whole lot. Fly is a skill that you just don't put points into unless you're specifically building towards awesome flight maneuvers. Craft is the same way, you don't just think "Meh, I'll put a couple skill points in, just in case." But the one skill that I've never seen used has to be Profession. Like, really, what's the point?



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Otaku on 7th Sep 2015, 9:02 AM

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Useless and/or overly specialized Skills tend to fall into three categories in my experience:

1) Game design fail
2) GM design fail
3) Player design fail

Now my experience with d20 systems is minuscule, but this seems to be an issue across the board so I decided it was worth sharing. There are some skills that really do seem like they have no reason to exist... and more importantly closer investigation reveals that they do indeed serve no useful purpose or at least aren't "good enough" when balanced against skills in general.

Then you get the skills that really should be at least "adequate" but either the GM, the player(s) or both just aren't putting them to proper use. Again not a d20 example but going with GURPS they have a skill called "Housekeeping" which is pretty much exactly as it sounds: managing a household (economics, cleaning, and simple maintenance). Besides allowing an adventurer to better manage these mundane things in life, it also is useful for cleaning up evidence. ^^'

"Sumo Wrestling" is another example from GURPS. It sounds horribly specific but the short version is that GURPS unarmed combat skills often use a real world term for a game concept. In this case, while someone that actually wanted to run a "sumo wrestler" character should take the skill, it actually is meant as a generic representation of any training in grabbing, shoving and tripping. That also means it isn't restricted to a "special" background or anything and quite a few beefy warrior-types should at least consider it so that they are both better at throwing their weight around and at dealing with others trying to do the same to them.

Getting to the point though; when the GM or players don't realize these things, it can make a skill seem "bad" that is actually quite solid, sometimes even the exact skill the GM and/or players are looking for (just under a different name).

Nuri on 7th Sep 2015, 6:25 PM

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I've used "Profession," in addition to it contributing to a character's backstory, as a way for characters to earn extra cash between adventures. I tend to run low-magic, low-cash campaigns, so letting a character ply his trade and start the next session with a skill check for some extra coin makes it worthwhile for some of the players.

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Disloyal Subject on 7th Sep 2015, 10:47 PM

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Which would be great, if Craft didn't have rules for doing exactly the same thing and/or crafting stuff for adventuring use. I've only ever seen Profession taken for fluff reasons by characters with a background working in taverns, brothels, or seaships.

Jarimor on 7th Sep 2015, 6:55 PM

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Pathfinder Unchained (a new-ish source book) has a system for consolidated skills (down to like 8! and modified rules for crafts/profession skills) and new skill tweeks. I recomend pickng it up. The concept of some skills being background skills (craft, profession, some knowledges, etc) makes some amount of sense.

side note- NO UNCHAINED MONKS. a will save of +/-0 is no balance for being made a d10 hit die and +1 bab. and making them CUSTOMIZEABLE via ki points (which is where most of the fiddly bits went). and a re-worked flurry of blows.

Cliff Snowpeak on 7th Sep 2015, 10:35 PM

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I made prodigious use of Profession (Sailor) while playing a pirate campaign. Everyone in the party put a couple ranks in it, so we could keep our ship running. I, being the charismatic skill-monkey of the group, was appointed captain, and so I made sure to keep it maxed out, especially after some spectacular failures led to us almost crashing in a reef.

DraconPyrothayan on 8th Sep 2015, 6:42 AM

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I use Profession and Craft as incentives for players to have more gold and experience.

However, I also tend to tweak them as a more specialized Knowledge skill as well (e.g. A player with points in Prof: Pastry Chef is likely to have catered events, and therefore has a synergy bonus with Know: Nobility and Know: Local).

And yes, I've got a Human Fighter in my group who has MAXED Profession and Craft to be a supremely skilled Pastry Chef.
If she can't make a campaign (as mine tend to be connected in lore), she gets to level up in Civilian rather than sitting idle.

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Zilfallion on 8th Sep 2015, 6:21 PM

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I love putting a point or two into craft or profession or both. It's mostly for fluff purposes, but I find it helps develop a character to think: what do they do if they get a day job, or what kind of hobby do they have.

My best example of this was one time when I'd made a wizard(/Mage of the Arcane Order, since GM custom world, used GM's massive wizard academy she was a student at as the order). I was a transmutation specialist, that focused a bit on buffs. I also maxed out ranks in Craft:Baked Goods and Profession: Novelist. These really made the character's situation within a party rather amusing. Through a couple events, she'd interacted with the forming party, and ended up somehow being their link to an underground resistance in the town that asked for her help in removing corrupt leader.

The party, with both a good-aligned cleric, paladin, and fighter, agreed. My wizard goes: Well, I don't really want to get into this fight, but I'll tag along for ideas for my novel. [She writes mystery novels using the secret page spell to force reader to think in order to advance the story, reveal clues, etc.] So she'd cast a haste spell or other buff while trying to remain fairly innocuous in combat, then writing notes down.

What's actually nice is that this was before a time skip in the setting itself, and afterwards, occasionally one of her books pops up with either an NPC reading it, or in a bookstore. It was definitely worth putting those points there.

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Disloyal Subject on 8th Sep 2015, 10:42 PM

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How does she mass-produce magical books? Using an individual casting of Secret Page for every copy, let alone multiple castings, seems like it would slow down production compared to mundane books. Is there a wand rigged to a printing press or something?

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Zilfallion on 9th Sep 2015, 1:39 AM

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Yes, you'd only be able to do it very slowly. They're not mass-produced, but a good number can be made over time. The spellcasting isn't really what slows it down though, since you can do a book or two a day. [You'll notice I didn't say they were wide-spread, just that occasionally you'd see one]

The real time consumption is scribing the book copies unless you're willing to pay tens of thousands of gold for printing press plates for a single book. The profit margins on that are basically nonexistent after the cost of the materials, and would likely put you a bit into debt. For a hobby, that's just a little bit much.

Now, on a different matter, I did price out a magical printer/copier at one point mostly for PF(A while after this character), but does require one 3.5 shadowmagic component unless you want to pay for ink. I can't remember the cost, but it wasn't too bad, in the 20-30k range. A basic highly limited fabrication spell is actually only 1st level [See pathfinder Fabricate Bullets]. That can be used to make paper given the materials. This can then feed into a combo setup of Mage Hand or Prestidigitation on an inkpen and for moving the paper through and Memorize Page, which would basically copy the page for you. You add in a little bit of 3.5 Shadow Magic for the Liquid Night Fundamental(Cantrip/Orison level magic) applied to your ink source, and you've got infinite ink, and something that can theoretically copy and print just about anything if you put in little more than wood(VERY CHEAP to buy). So... much better than a printing press in my book, granted, you need a little bit of GM approval for a thing or two.

Long Story Short on Printer:
Memorize Page=Scanner
Mage Hand/Prestidigitation=Printer head/paper movement
Fabricate Bullets(reworked to paper)=Paper making
Liquid Night(shadow magic)=infinite ink supply.
Insert Book+Paper Materials, very very slowly print. Make several occupations irrelevant.
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