Scanners, Skills and Scaffolds – the June Newsletter Expansion

Jun 19, 2016 | | Say something

Scanning Now

The Scan Items skill has caused some controversy in the past! Several playtesters, at least two collaborators and one editor (of some esteem) have asked us why on Earth it exists! Especially as we state “It might not be immediately apparent exactly how the ability to efficiently scan items with barcodes can help in the eternal struggle between yin and Yang…”

Despite this miasma of doubt, we chose to keep it there (along with the equally important, Cook Chili and the possibly paramount Brew Tea).

So, there it is, on page 113, along with the call out to players or GMs to contact us and let us know just how the skill could be used. Well, someone did.

John Easley, one of the Honourable members of the Circle of Nine Dragons based in Texas (there are two folk in Texas with the Honour RPG at their disposal) dropped two great ideas at our virtual door, here they are in his own words:

“You called out for ideas on the scan items skill and speaking as a manager of a used book store I have to scan things all the time. Two things came to mind instantly.

1) a bonus for using the laser sighted pistol. Sometimes those bar-codes just don’t want to scan and you have to adjust distance and angle to get it just right.

2) a bonus for hacking number pads whether it be on a safe or door lock. The reason behind this is when the bar-code doesn’t scan you have to type in the item code using 10 key (that’s the number pad on the right of the keyboard) and can do so without even looking at the keypad.”

Great stuff from John, we especially like number 1!

But more than simply offering clever ideas on the game, John has tuned into the Honour philosophy straight away. When we created Honour we wanted it to be framework, a scaffold for your game. We can only design so far, we can only design from our own point of view. We need you to take our skeleton and make it into things that we might never dream of in a million years!

That takes us onto the second part of this blog:

The Unwritten Parts
Honour has, like many RPGs, character templates, lists of skills, sorceries and technologies, all listed in its pages. Nothing unusual there. But that is just the beginning, we see those as the starting points from which you, your group and your GM can build more character templates, more skills, more sorceries and more technologies!

This month we look at how a player can create a new skill.  It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…(og, and 4)

  1. Think of a skill.  Often this can happen mid-game as a character finds that a certain ability would be useful.  Sometimes a GM might even allow a player to introduce the new skill right there and then!  In any case the first thing to do is identify the new skill you want to create.
  2. Describe the skill.  Just as each skill in the Core Rules is described, so should any new skills be (and it is probably a good idea to store that somewhere safely – such as our upcoming Skills repository).  the description should include a clear definition of what the skill is for and perhaps an example.
  3. Decide which Aspect the skill is under.  Decide if this is a predominantly Physical, Mental or Emotional skill, don’t worry too much about this, go with your gut.  After you’ve picked that you need to choose either Strength, Grace or Resilience as the most important element of the Aspect.
  4. Finally, ask yourself, is this a General skill, in other words is it a skill which is available in several different walks of life, such as Cook Chili(EStr), or is it a more specialised skill, like Assess Tax(MGra).

And there you have it, a new skill.  Of course the GM always has the final say on any new skill being introduced and we encourage GMs to try to say “Yes!” as often as possible.  Now, let’s have a look at an example creation of a new skill:

Matt has decided that he really wants his character, Tommy Chu, a budding thief, to be able to blend into a crowd really well.  Matt has searched through the existing skills and he doesn’t think that their is a suitable skill, the Sneak(PGra) is close, but implies stealth and the Conceal Items(PGra) skill doesn’t really feel correct either; it seems to apply to static items and people.  What Matt really wants for Tommy is that cool ability to commit a theft and then walk away and seemingly disappear into the crowded street, possibly shedding or gaining items of clothing as he goes.

So Matt decides to create the new skill “Blend In”.  He follows the four steps.

  1. Matt decides to call his new skill “Blend In”.
  2. He describes is thus:  Blend In gives a character that cool ability to commit an act and then walk away, seemingly disappearing into the crowd, whether that be in a busy street, a sports stadium, a packed shopping mall or a hectic street market.
  3. He ponders over the correct aspect, is it a Physical skill or Mental skill?  Eventually he settle on Physical, thinking that the way you move, your gait, body language and even pace would all be important elements of a good “blend”.  He also picks Grace as the element of the Physical aspect as the most significant.
  4. Finally Matt decides that “Blend In” is not a general skill, but one that one would have to learn with purpose.

Matt presents this to his GM

Blend In

Physical Grace

Blend In gives a character that cool ability to commit an act and then walk away, seemingly disappearing into the crowd, whether that be in a busy street, a sports stadium, a packed shopping mall or a hectic street market.

His GM says, “Yes!” and even lets Matt add the skill to Tommy’s list at level 2!

It is that easy.  Now it’s your turn.  We look forward to your skills!

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