Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Adventuring Skills Part 2: Physical Skills

A lot of the adventuring skills mentioned here can be pursued out of fitness sake. As a Gamer the pursuit of these skills also means being informed, inspired, appreciating, and having a deeper understanding that helps in the role-playing and storytelling.

There is also a transformational aspect to these skills, it leaves its mark on the bodies and psyche of the character. Their habits change and the opportunities open to them and how they view the world changes - particularly in physical constraints.

Physical Skills 
Part 2
  1. Trekking.
  2. Running
  3. Climbing
  4. Swimming
  5. Strength
  6. Combat skills 
This is the ability to walk sustainably for hours in a day, and for days straight. What is usually misunderstood about trekking are:
  • is the amount of load one can sustainably carry, 
  • the pacing in an hour, in a day, and in weeks 
  • the equipment
  • a bit of navigation and place finding
  • a bit of outdoorsmanship when it comes to the weather, terrain, safety and care. 
  • the injuries and risk related to it
  • and how to train to be able to trek at 
    • greater sustainable speeds, 
    • sustain it in longer periods of time
    • in all manner of weather, terrain, and conditions. 

The biggest problem with Trekking is how its so misunderstood and poorly modeled in games. Typically the first thing I look at is the movement rules in a new game and check how they model travel. Going to a deeper level is if they can gamify or frame travel and trekking well. There is a lot of life philosophy and strategies to be drawing from trekking - how much baggage we carry, how fast we want to move, do we watch our surroundings, do we enjoy the trip, etc... Yet it can be nothing and an afterthought. A character may spend 90% of his time travelling and the player and the charachter get nothing out of it as we skip past it.

Leadership/Teamwork and Trekking Notes
I found that trekking (or travelling) is a good example of leadership and teamwork in a very simple scale. When a team is trekking we see the roles, weaknesses, strengths, and abilities of each member. How a group deals with the slower and weaker members, and how the more able members act.
We can "fudge" trekking and just ignore these elements or spend the 1/3 to a lot of time not getting along or trying to get along, or working out something.

The other modes of travel: running, climbing, and swimming doesnt have as much baggage as Trekking.

GURPS trekking is Hiking. Its  leadership test to increase a group's speed by 20%.
The thing is that: what is a groups speed? should it be average or the slowest pace? In many things regarding a group: we move by the slowest unit and not the average. But what is the slowest unit if we have "average" stats? Then its probably within the lower deviation of the stats, typically  10%.
I would suggest that it not be a leadership roll but a Hiking roll as a technical guidance towards a squad sized group (if you want to give penalties for larger groups to the roll feel free or you are free to only allow only a small sized group to handle technical instruction and guidance).

Running is similar to trekking in the scope of the skill and the level of misunderstanding around it. The skill itself is more for greater management of bodily and mental functions in a more intense physical task.

The differences are:
  • Lighter loads
  • there are two shorter increments of time but greater distances.
  • There are two specializations in Running that change the body's morphology:
    • Sprinting - more powerful legs an
    • Long Distance Running. - leander build 
Running is an aspect of travel and a skill when evading from or advancing to a challenge.  Its a complex skill that deals with conditioning the body and mind to deal with greater levels of stress and internal distractions over a long period of time. Simple feats like breathing and footwork become something effortful in running.

GURPS Running
I would prevent the "Move" characteristic to be bought up independently and instead work something out with the Running Attribute Modifier.

Climbing is a key skill in overcoming physical obstacles. Its not quite flight but it can get the character over some heights and depths. A key take away with climbing and adventuring is that as much as it can overcome obstacles in evasion it can put obstacles in the way of pursuit. A fitness take away is that its good practical conditioning for upper body strength - its not just to lift a weight to build muscle but to have the flexibility, strength, and skill to lift one's body up and out of harm.
  • Its a skill if every member of the group does not have, will mean someone being left behind or the whole group's fate hinges on that prerequisite.
  • its also a skill that, like swimming, could mean a fear of the medium. 
  • Its also a great way of training for strength and keeping fit. 

*Vally Uprising

Gurps Climbing is pretty much as is. If a character takes up the skill its like a personal gym allowing him to use his own bodyweight for strength training (i realize this does not matter to a lot of characters but does in real life lolz).

GURPS climbing. I'm currently still learning more about free climbing since its the most applicable to the game but I'm going by Valley Uprising stats of speed climbing of El-Capitan of 2.3 hours of its 2km elevation. more crunchiness to follow (working back the TDM of El Capitan, what would be the skill of the fastest climbers and how it works out to 2.3 hours factoring they did a well known route).

Swimming is much like climbing as it moves the character through a medium that few may pursue and allows him to survive in that condition. Like running, swimming makes the simple action of breathing effortful and a range of conditioning happens to the body when it pursues greater levels of swimming performance.

Strength is a particular skill that is misunderstood, filled with superstition, and underappreciated. Its one of the skills that has a certain stigma of being associated with a certain group and negatively, while having as much depth and science as the other physical skills. Feats of strength can be as sophisticated as a Martial form despite the simpler form and motions - because like martial techniques subtle improvements matter, and getting good at it is a lot of subtle improvements.

In RPGs this is lumped into atheltics, in GURPS its lifting and doesnt seem to really matter so much or come into play so much (which I want to correct). When I injured my back I didnt realize how much the form mattered in so many aspects of how I move until I got a pain signal when I moved the wrong way.

I went overboard and went to make a "strength" advantage that mimicked the cost of maintaining strength: dietary restriction high protein calorie that tends to multiply the cost of eating by x2 to x3 (thus making cooking a necessary skill - see mealprep) and exercise of 2-4 hours a day for those who have ST13+. Strength is one of those lifestyles that take up a bunch of time, money, and mindset of a character.

Like all the Physical skills - its a lot of Pain, tearing, sacrifice, for so little gains and a real test of grit and perseverance.

Strength got me thinking of Physical therapy became much appreciated and I dont know yet how to model in GURPS.

Carrying Forms
These are forms that one may be familiar with when one tries to go into Practical Strength Feats (and want to avoid injury). In any game system having a way to resolve these would add a lot of visceral detail to the scene and appreciation of the skill.
  • Load Bearing Gear
  • Fireman's Carry
  • Farmer's Carry
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
GURPS skill Lifting. Giving lifting the same bonus to certain standard feats of strength, like the carrying forms, would be the simplest. A character with Lifting +2 and 10 strength can perform a firemans carry or deadlift at ST12.

Combat Skills
Combat skills are the most over emphasized in the hobby and tends to lack the emphasis the other physical feats. Combat skills are like sports and are sports in themselves. One take away is that all these skills depend on each other and compliment each other. As an airsofter and from reading up on SCA Fitness is strangely not a priority when learning Combat Skills - there is no other conditioning done to improve on combat ability. Most systems do not Cap combat skills to a certain limit if the Character does not round off their physical abilities with complimentary pursuits. Most systems do not give Diminishing Returns to the pursuit of martial ability - despite the masters (the 5 rings, the art of war, Arma, and european fighting texts) kinda point it out.

Related Notes:
GURPS combat skill.
I like the strong "bow" perk as a default ability with gaining a attribute modifier to a skill. I didn't need to go out of my way to learn to hit harder when I learned to use a weapon or fight a particular way - it was part of the skill. It would be "out of the way" if I could hit much harder than that.

So recommending: Attribute Modifier up to 2 for combat skills to strength for damage and the perk allows up to 4. Unless you find gurps damage too high already. But in my games i don't mind the lethality.

Social Skills in Adventuring
Part 3
  1. Social Awareness 
  2. Negotiation/Bargaining 
  3. Conversation/Communication
  4. Courtesy 
  5. Threats 
  6. Deception
  7. Argument

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