0135 - Transferable skills - 2020.05.04



I do a lot of homebrew RPGs (...like... a lot), and one trick I love to use is to let my players create a mundane backstory, and then have that backstory somehow translate into adventuring proficiency. Oh, your character works at a petting zoo? Great, you get an extra d6 when making any roll related to animals. Your character writes murder mysteries? Great, you get a plus ten to knowledge checks about weapons, poisons, history, and the law. Your character plays a lot of MMOs? Great, you're used to multitasking, you don't take this penalty to doing two things at once. That sort of thing. Caleb is now trying to run that trick backwards - they're very good at picking out dots on a screen and blowing them out of the sky with maximum efficiency, and now they have to find a way to repurpose those instincts and strengths into something beneficial to society.

I don't actually have the Forward cast drawn out in any sort of game stats. If I did, I think I'd have to do away with the well-intentioned fiction, present in most games, that everyone's numbers are equal, they just get distributed differently and only increase as you gain experience. Of course, in the real world, we don't all start with the same numbers to put in our stats, and, if I were to enumerate my characters as something like D&D adventurers, Lee certainly would not have the same kind of stats as Caleb, or even Orb.

I like fair games. I would advise anyone, when playing or designing a game, to make it fair to the players. The world, however, isn't fair, and thus I rarely write my protagonists in fair scenarios.


0135 - 2167/07/06/15:41 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, front door.
CP: Well, maybe it's better not to be good at anything than to be... good at... bad things.
Zoa: I suppose it depends on how transferable those skills are. If you were deboning a trout, would you rather use a dull boning knife or a sharp machete?
LC: Am I the dull knife in this scenario?
Zoa: Uh... I wasn't planning on being that direct - and I am certainly not comparing any actual human being to any other actual human being - but yes.
CP: If it's just one trout, I'd... probably use the knife, it's less mess. If I have to do a d-dozen, I'll take the machete, it's... it's probably faster.
Zoa: Well, there we go, then. Be bad at good things if you're doing them once, be good at bad things if you're batch processing.
LC: I... I don't think that metaphor quite holds, Zoa.
CP: I think it's more like whether you'd rather your weapon be accurate or precise.
Zoa: Are accuracy and precision not synonyms?
CP: Precision is how reliably tight your grouping of shots is, accuracy is how close those shots are to the target. Either way... there's... collateral damage.
LC: Either way, it's probably very bad for the trout.