Tagging skills

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ChrisDDickey
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:06 am

Has anybody ever played with tagging past the Novice Tier? Because it seems to me like it MUST choke all advancement. I would think the first symptom will manifest as not being able to take Optional Skills, because you need to get an ever increasing number of Core Skills up to PR rating, and in Journeyman Tier it will take months of gameplay and in higher Tiers years of gameplay (or years of downtime and large fortunes of training) to tag your new Core Skills up to high rankings. Therefore you need to have additional Core Skills (as opposed to optional skills) just so that you have some core skills halfway to your next PR goal rather than trying to start over from rank 0 with your brand new skills.

Lets take for example a character that has just arrived at PR 5 and trained to Journeyman Tier. They have 7 Core Skills at PR 5 (or higher). If they have not planned ahead, and have an extra Core Skill that is nearly at rank 5 as well, then they can't advance to PR 6 until their brand new Core Skill has been tagged 20 times. Now there are some Skills that can be tagged in nearly every scene. But lets say they pick a skill that only gets tagged around once per session. That means 20 sessions before they can advance to PR 6.

I anticipate that it would not be rare that a PR 6 character will be advancing their character with no thought whatsoever to how they want the character to advance, but merely advancing anything that they are allowed to advance. The skills that can be tagged advance often. The ones that they can't tag advance very slowly. And if they are not very careful, they might not be able to advance their PR, because too many of their skills are Optional Skills or Core Skills that are hard to tag. What is the fun of that? The tagging rules dictate how the character can advance, not the player. How is this enhancing the game?

So all I have is theory to go on. Has anybody got any actual experience with how it works at Journeyman or higher?

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Andrew1879
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Andrew1879 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:37 am

I have. I've been running Earthdawn since the three flyers, in a campaign that has spanned over 25 years of gameplay. The campaign started with First Edition, ignored Second Edition, and migrated to Classic Edition, where it still is. Classic requires using a Talent to advance it. I've got players with characters who started out at First Circle and are now hitting Warden. Yes, it does take a while, but remember that CoreStep is not a linear progression in terms of character power level. It's a parabolic curve. Progress is meant to slow, as power levels rise. Yes, it takes a lifetime to reach 15th Circle / PR15. It says in the Earthdawn books that there's generally only one adept of 15th Circle in a Discipline in any given land. This is a game of epic adventure with epic progression.

All that having been said, watch for the forthcoming errata, that will kludge around this for people who find the system as designed too slow.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:17 pm

Apropos of nothing, any idea how many tags a PC should average per session per PR?

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Andrew1879
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Andrew1879 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:10 am

Tags don't normalize the way APs do. They're entirely dependent on player action. While you could estimate an average AP award for the PR of the characters, and provide appropriate opposition to generate those APs, a GM can create opportunity for players to use character Skills but can't direct them to do so. I've had players who, knowing there was a combat coming up, used their technical Skills to prepare explosives and devices and such, and then didn't use their combat Skills at all in the fight. All that said, each scene should offer an opportunity for at least one tag per character, if not more. How many scenes do you play through in a session?

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by ChrisDDickey » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:43 am

I plan on this being the last post before I shut up about this topic.

Unless I misremember, both 1st and classic editions of Earthdawn only required a talent be used once per rank to advance it. Requiring it to be tagged the new ranks triangle number is a very different beast. I mean to get to rank 10, it is the difference between requiring it to be tagged 9 times vs 54 times. These seem to me to be incredibly different numbers.

Some skills seem incredibly easy to tag. I would expect Awareness to be tagged in more scenes than not. All of a persons favorite combat skills will probably all get tagged every fight with rare exceptions. I think a person occasionally using their less favorite, or backup combat skills just to keep their hand in to be a good thing.

I also think it would usually be a good thing if a player approached a GM and said "you know, we have been doing a lot of town adventures lately, and I would love to raise my characters Wilderness Survival a rank or two, Just so you know, after this current adventure is concluded, my character is going to be actively looking for adventure opportunities out in the wilderness where he can get Wilderness Survival tagged frequently, and if the area has venomous opponent, that will be a plus as well. I hope my character can soon find an adventure in line with his searching". This seems like a very good statement both in game and out of game. But I only think it would be a good thing if such conversations happened occasionally, not frequently. Also, the other players/characters might not share their companions enthusiasm for seeking out venomous opponents.

Where I see a problem is that it seems to me that some skills are much more difficult to tag than others. Or that you would normally do everything in your power to avoid tagging. Sure Life Check is the extreme (but important) example, but there are others: Lion Heart, Heal Animal Companion, etc. Graceful Exit often means your character ran from a fight. It's nice to have that be an option, but it is usually not the optimal outcome of the fight.

So I can see that Andrew has a whole lot of experience GMing with a requirement that skills be tagged once before they are advanced, but I am unsure how that maps to experience with a system that requires skills be tagged "the new rank times" to advance. I mean how many times did players struggle to get get specific Talents tagged even that one time? If a character picks up Lion Heart as a Warden Core skill, how long will it take to get that skill tagged 54 times in play? And no, I don't really consider allowing the player to spend 54 weeks in training instead to be an adequate alternative.

I like playing by the rules, and greatly prefer to see workable rules rather than rules that everybody knows 90% of the tables will end up discarding at least part of the time. I think it is possible to do this, but I don't think the original rules, not the current errata meet that threshold.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:35 am

In 2 hours, we ran 3 scenes.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:43 am

It’s a tricky balance because they are skills, not talents. No time requirements at all would break disbelief, too many would slow the game.

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Andrew1879
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Andrew1879 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:57 am

The errata will have to do. Changing the tagging as significantly as has been requested would require a mechanics redesign, including rebalancing the advancement mechanics. That will have to wait for Second Edition, assuming there ever is one.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:48 pm

I agree – it doesn’t suit my play style, so I’ll massage it so that it does. But the errata seems to cover the bases.

Robert Henriques
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Re: Tagging skills

Post by Robert Henriques » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:21 am

Yup. I need to pull players guide also.

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