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I´ve been absent for a long time. When searching the forum I could not find any discussions of this subject. That is, how to rule the augumented skill caps, what kinds of bonuses do they limit? A mail I sent to Rob about it months ago was never answered, but that´s not really surprising or even wrong. However I would expect the issue to be resolved in some way by now. Has there been an official explanation? If not, what´s the best solution suggested so far?

Btw, nice to see you again smile.gif
Gothic Rose
Nice to see you, Mintcar.

No, nothings resolved, to my knowledge.
It has been solved in the German Errata, which sometime in the future will be published in english smile.gif
What is the problem with the augmented skill cap? Can you elaborate?


The problem with the skill caps is that they are never explained in a good way. On page 63 it says "The maximum modified rating allowed is 1.5 times the natural rating". This certainly seems to imply that the max is very restrictive, only 1 total bonus rating allowed until you get your natural skill to 3, for example. I´m not sure that is strictly followed in the examples in the book but I could be wrong.

Anyway. The problem is that it is specificly stated in as good as every desciption of a power, implant or spell that modifies skills; that it does NOT modify the skill itself but the test only. For example the improved ability power, on page 187. "Improved Ability does not actually improve a skill's rating, it only provides additional dice for tests involving the skill." Now to me, that piece of word twisting seems positively intended to create a loop hole through the skill cap rule.

I haven´t yet found a case were the skill cap rule can clearly be applied without a doubt. Should smart links be limited by it? What about laser sights?

I need someone to explain this to me like I was a 5 year old.

What´s the german sulution? Could some german dumpshocker, well versed in the english language, translate it?
Well, from what I understand of it...and someone could disagree, Improved Ability doesn't improve the ACTUAL skill, yes, but it does affect the SKILL directly.

Reflex Recorder: Pistols, gives you X dice to use with the Pistols skill.
Improved Ability: Archery gives you X dice to use with the Archery skill.

Smartlinks give you +2 dice to use for Firearms TESTS. Yes, i think therein lies the 'loophole' if you wanna call it that.

Kinesics, for example, give you +1 die per level for making or resisting all social TESTS. It doesn't affect the skill ratings at all. You simply roll your 3 Cha, 2 Negotiation as normal, then tack on X dice for the test or whatever.

It IS hazy tho and it does seem a bit strange. Another example:

Enhanced Perception gives you bonus dice when you use your Perception skill.

Visual Enhancement 3 gives you +3 dice to use in Visual Perception Tests.

I can SORT of see what they are getting at.

When Reflex Recorders and Adept Powers come into play, they were a bit afraid of people just putting jack into their skills and buying them up. For instance, a person getting Pistols 2 and Infiltration 2 then recordering/adepting them up to a 6...that adept getting Infiltration 6 would only be paying ONE point for that, leaving 5 magic points and saving 16 BP in the process. However, putting that 1.5x cap on it prevents it.

The 'Test' modifiers aren't as extensive for the most part. First off, if you deactivate your smartlink due to hackers, no +2 dice for you. Thermal Smoke will hinder the laser sight nicely. You don't have to 'deactivate' your Improved Pistols or your Reflex Recorder. Your Audio/Visual/Olfactory enhancers can give some pretty nice Perception test bonuses at higher levels...but there might be other times you can't use them...but you can ALWAYS use Enhanced Perception.

We've run into this gray area a bit with my adept. He has Intimidation:5 and Improved Ability: Intimidation 2(giving 7 base dice, 9 with specialization, of course specializations don't count also, it notes in the book. Just gives extra dice with your chosen specialization.) However, he has Kinesics 2 which gives the +2 to all social him essentialy a base 11 to roll with Intimidation.

(For the record, I didn't know this until reading into the rules. After buying his powers, i realized I was rolling two LESS dice that I should have with the intimidation. I also was confused on the skills vs. tests thing.)

Another thing to remember is with the Enhanced Perception also adds to assensing...TESTS. Yes, this part confuses me too...adds to the Perception skill but Assensing tests. Arg.

My German skill is only a 1, thus i will not be able to translate the eratta, and using UCASFish will only make the errata sound something about a shoe in a blender. Could someone maybe post it? biggrin.gif
QUOTE (Elve)
It has been solved in the German Errata, which sometime in the future will be published in english smile.gif

Indeed, Improved Ability is apparently supposed to be limited to 1/2 the unaugmented skill, and applies towards the cap. Reflex Recorders do the same thing.

I didn't notice any word on Synthacardium, so I guess it still provides bonus dice.

Your guess is as good as mine when that errata will be translated into Englisch and posted.

Gothic Rose
QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
QUOTE (Elve @ Dec 8 2005, 05:18 AM)
It has been solved in the German Errata, which sometime in the future will be published in english smile.gif

Indeed, Improved Ability is apparently supposed to be limited to 1/2 the unaugmented skill, and applies towards the cap. Reflex Recorders do the same thing.

I didn't notice any word on Synthacardium, so I guess it still provides bonus dice.

Your guess is as good as mine when that errata will be translated into Englisch and posted.


IRL; that would put the SR world in 2140 biggrin.gif

My translation of two sections of interest follows:

(pg 63)
Adept powers, implants, or Magic can, if explicitly indicated in its description, raise the actual value of a skill. This skill value applies as modified, while other improvements are merely bonus dice for a test (and does not modify the base skill value). Take notice that the modified skill value is increased at the cost of the base skill.

(pg 109)
The unmodified skill value that a character allocates during creation or acquires later in the game is called the base skill value. Some magical spells, adept powers, and implants (if listed in their description) can raise the skill value, through which a modified skill value is created. A modified skill value cannot go over the base skill value X 1.5 (through which a 9 is the highest possible value, 10 with the Aptitude quality). Specializations, as well as some spells, adept powers, and implants can supply bonus dice for a skill, though they do not alter the base skill rating. One writes these additional dice in general in parentheses after the rating, for example Sorcery 4 (+2).
Great, thanks for the quick translation to the nongermanwise over here.

Having been quite unaware before this topic, I am filled with questions now.

For example: don't reflex recorders give you only one extra die? how come then...?

For instance, a person getting Pistols 2 and Infiltration 2 then recordering/adepting them up to a 6.

Whatever; you can't buy powers, mods, etc. that improve your base skill over 1.5. (i.e. adept power "improved skill" and "reflex recorder")

Some powers and mods you can get because they just give you two dice for tests (for instance: kinesics, smartlinks, etc.)

What happens to the extra dice you get via a weapon focus? (my guess is that you can keep them)

Anyway: I am seriously considering doing something very nasty to the current skill cap, I feel everyone is nerfed a bit too much.

I do not have to worry much right now, because I didn't allow my group to get skills at six in character creation to make some room for improvement, they are still quite some Karma away from hitting the cap.
But it would be nice to think in advance, now wouldn't it?

Comments? Ideas?



Edited to get the Quotes straight, I'm dumb or what?
QUOTE (MaxHunter)
For example: don't reflex recorders give you only one extra die? how come then...?

They sure do. Or rather, they did, until the errata sorted that out:

QUOTE (Errata)
Seite 339, Reflexrekorder
Der zweite Satz wird ersetzt durch:
Der Reflexrekorder erhöht die Stufe einer bestimmten Fertigkeit oder Fertigkeitsgruppe um 1 (nur Kampffertigkeiten und körperliche Fertigkeiten).

See? Everything solved.

Paraphrase: The reflex recorder adds 1 to the rating (Combat and Physical skills only).

QUOTE (Errata)
S. 188, Verbesserte Fertigkeit
Ersetze die Kraftbeschreibung durch: „Diese Kraft erhöht den Wert einer bestimmten Aktionsfertigkeit um 1 pro Stufe. Der maximale modifizierte Fertigkeitswert beträgt das 1,5fache des Grundfertigkeitswertes. Die Kraft muß für eine bestimmte Fertigkeit
erworben werden, nicht für eine Fertigkeitsgruppe. Der erhöhte Fertigkeitswert zählt auch beim Einsatz einer Spezialisierung.“

Paraphrase: Improved Ability also totally adds to the rating, and therefore obeys the 150% cap.


I didn't notice anything else in there that added to skill ratings rather than dice pools, so I think those are the only things in the game that count against the cap (so far).

Crusher Bob
What about kinestics (sp?), the monster social adept power? Does the German version fix that too?
This one and improved perception still grant bonus dice
Space Ghost
Does this dice cap count before or after dice penalties? Would having more dice than you can use help offset penalties?
While I like the *1.5 augmented skill cap, the actual cap on skills irritates me.
They are placing a hard limit on something that really has no limit. It may require a lot of work and dedication, but I see no reason to NOT let some one get a skill of 8 if they're willing to work for it.
Is this a different discussion? Probably. I'll see if I can find a thread and leave you guys alone.
Shinobi Killfist
I didn't really have a problem with the phys adept ability going to x2. There paying .5 magic for a specific skill to go up. Not .1 essence, or .2 for a skill group.

then again I think the whole skill cap thing sucks anyways. If your an elf you can get up to 12 dice in every agility skill in the game, but only 10 from actual skill if your the greatest person in the universe at that skill.

And for trolls or orcs and the couple body based skills its even more preposterous. 15 dice from my attribute but if I'm the most highly trained person in existence and I've got magical or tech enhancements only 10 dice from skill.
As far as caps going, I am in favor of all caps being "+3" instead of x1.5. It puts things on a much more even keel all around, removes rounding, removes some of the "sweet spots", and is easier to work with.

That's a house rule, not an actual rule of course.

I always thought that he whole 'x1.5' thing was a little screwed up. It disproportionately benefits Trolls, Orks, Adepts, and the the heavilly chromed. I mean, the extra dice rolled due to having a higher stat SHOULD be bonus enough.
Granted, it's better than the SR3 sytem that wouldn't allow a dedicated person to compensate for their low stat with superb skill but the fact that, regardless of your stats or how long you live or how much Karma you spend, your skill will only be 7... IF you have Aptitude. Dragons are the only ones that will ever roll more than 10 dice (7 * 1.5) for their skill!
Even the Elf's long lifespan limits his/her ultimate learning ability to the point where I think that they should either have their Logic capped at 2 or pay quintuple Karma for skills to simulate their inability to learn from experience in any sort of timely manner. Of course, that is unfair, but it seems to be the only realistic way to keep the Immortals from having all skills in the 20+ range.

In the end, I don't know if there is any good way to put caps on skills that is fair, realistic, and balanced. And that applies both to the base skill and the Augmented cap.
The +3 idea seems that it could be pretty good with skills. Lets folks with a 1 or 2 bump it up a bit more if they want to spend the dough or Magic, but doesn't go insane. Also keeps the top cap at around 9-10.
Same with attributes. Will let you have that uber-charismatic troll if you want(up to a 7), but won't let the same troll's Body get as out of hand. a 13 is still high, but a 15 is insane.

Dunno how it would work in practice, but it looks good on paper.

As i said, I understand WHY they put the skill cap on(without it, of course, we'd have the 12 agility elves popping off 22 dice before mods for many attacks), but yeah, it does get strange when the likes of some of those old timers don't have more than a 7 for something they have studied for 60 years or something. But ahh well...the skill system has worked well so far it seems.

Remember tho, in SR1-3 you wanted that high ass skill for stuff you couldn't use a pool for. You only ever got those B/R dice in the skill unless you had ware for a task pool. Nowadays you have the huge bonus of attribute dice, and the fact you don't need to hit a TN of 20 to build something.
Space Ghost
i don't think an elf's age comes into play really. Wouldn't the oldest elf be like 60? That's not old enough to gain paranormal skill. If it were, dragons would be more likely to have skills of like 15.

Or were you talking about immortal elves?
I take a long-term view of things. There are Humans that, with proper medical care, live long enough to justify certain mental skills that are probably above the cap; I assume that Fastjack at the age of 74 has probably got a skill of 8-9. Also, given that SR4 is a game, it is safe to assume that some people may do more learning/living (earn more Karma) and also get up in that range regardless of age.
For play-balance reasons, I can see the cap of 6. Besides, most PCs are rather young so it's a moot point... kinda. I can also see raising the cost on higher skill levels as you eventually reach the point where further learning is difficult/impossible as you already know everything. Great Dragons easilly fall into this category.
But for NPCs, including but not limited to Immortal Elves, I don't see it. I don't buy that NPCs are totally GM fiat. The Immortals were once 400 BP Elves too... long ago.
Well FastJack, at least, is listed as an example for "legendary skill level" with a 7.
As I said before regarding the topic of legendary individuals: there´s still qualities the GM could go wild with. Fastjack, if stated in my game, would have the "being Fastjack" quality, that somehow guarentees superiority. The rules are made for working well within the realm of the PC's, if you need another realm on a higher level it´s not hard to accomplish.

Thanks for the translations of the german errata. It certainly makes things a bit more clear.

Page 187 "Improved Ability does not actually improve a skill’s rating, it only provides additional dice for tests involving the skill." So dice from this source would not be subject to the 1.5 x base skill cap.
Shinobi Killfist
yeah but aparently the german errata changes that, and since I don't speak or read german I wont argue the point. In a few semesters maybe, now nope.
In trying to make sense of this until an official FAQ or errata fixes it, I told one of my players this: if a skill/power/spell adds its rating to a skill for any roll you could make with the skill (is 'innate' somehow), it counts against the 1.5 cap. If the modifier is applied on a situational basis, then it doesn't.

Examples of capped bonuses:
  • Improved Ability
  • Increase Attribute
  • Muscle Replacement
Examples of stackable bonuses:
  • Pheremones (only applies if target can smell)
  • Bone Lacing (only improves Body on DR tests)
  • Kinesics (only works if face-to-face)
  • Smartlinks
I think any 'ware that specifically says "may be combined with bonuses from other sources" (Mnemonic Enhancer, Synthcardium) shouldn't count against the cap.
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