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Red-ROM
to what extent do you roll knowledge skills? how much can not having them hinder a person? does anyone invest real BP in them?
toturi
QUOTE (Red-ROM @ Aug 23 2009, 01:48 PM) *
to what extent do you roll knowledge skills? how much can not having them hinder a person? does anyone invest real BP in them?

I probably ask my players to roll them a lot more than most other GMs. While not having Knowledge skills may hinder a PC somewhat, especially if the player uses player knowledge rather than character knowledge, it does not cripple a character, a character without Knowledge skills is still functionally viable. But no, I have not seen any of my players buy knowledge skills with BPs, possibly because, very often, the BPs for the other stuff are already quite tight.
Khyron
In our current game, our face has knowledge skills in Rifts, and a shifter cat we had briefly had skills in "where to find shiny things."

We've actually used them; the PC's were waiting in a delivery box (long story) and the face started them playing a game of rifts in VR. Attracted the attention of a passing hacker who joined in.

Prospero
I've used them all the time in games I've played in and GM'd. Area knowledge type skills get rolled a lot, as well as knowledges like Lone Star tactics or to give characters some idea of how long it'll take LS to show up and what they'll probably do when they arrive in a given situation. Also, underworld knowledges about groups like the mob and the yaks get used a lot depending on the adventure or depending on a players contacts. Finally, the dice pool limit imposed by languages makes language skills pretty important in many situtations.

As a player, I've invested a few BPs in knowledge skills, mainly languages, but occasionally other stuff.
Ravor
Unless you have a damn good reason that your character doesn't know a goddamn thing your character would get vetoed at my table.

However, assuming that your table doesn't care whether or not the PC could have actually survived in a realistic world than knowsofts and a datajack can cover most of your needs as long as you have the creds and bandwidth.
Fezig
As far as my experiences have shown, knowledge skills are one of those things that are as useful as the GM makes them. For that exact reason, I enjoy rewarding characters who invest in them. Knowledge skills for corps, gangs, organized crime outfits, and other generic shadow knowledge can help in tracking down marks, reasoning out responses and response times, gaining and socializing with contacts, and circumstantial bonuses. If you have knowledge about Ares Security, you might spot someone who'd pretending to be with them who does something wrong. If you have knowledge chemistry, it may aid you in what to look for when you think an explosive chemical has been planted somewhere.

I try to throw them a bone in exchange for making a more rounded and believable character. I also reward a token amount of free points that correspond to well fleshed out area of the character back story. Its rare for characters in my games to spend Karma on knowledge skills after the game gets going, but they may spend a small hand full on them during creation.
blindfox
here, here
TheOOB
As a player, you need to bring them up, and as a GM, you need to let players use them when they are brought up. I have seen even very obscure knowledge skills come into play because the player brought them up. I had my cover in a run once hinge on my bartending skill roll, which got me close enough to work my mojo on our mark (that is magical, not social).

If your team is dealing with the ancients, and a party member has elven wines, let em roll it to get a bonus on their ettiquite check. They paid for it, let em have it.
Ol' Scratch
As a player, I'm a huge fan of Knowledge Skills (and Skill Specializations). I especially like "flavor" skills like Carousing (Bar Hopping) or Music Composition (The Blues). I also like coming up with new ways using Knowledge Skills. I'll often gimp myself in other areas just so I can fit a few more in.

As a GM, I love seeing the same thing on my players' character sheets and often grant a bonus number of points exclusively for the more flavorable ones. Usually Intuition x 5 points worth, or something similar depending on the specific game. Course I do the same thing with contacts (except replacing Charisma with Intuition). But I'm weird like that, seeing those are my favorite parts of character creation in Shadowrun.
Darklordofbunnies
Our group came to a consensus on knowledge skills and decided to use them as expendable bonuses to related skill checks. The pool "refills" every day. For example, if the hacker has knowledge: Matrix security design 4, then he would have 4 dice to add to any matrix security tests(bypassing firewalls, avoiding tripping certain security measure like data bombs) but once he burned his 4 he didn't have any more until the next day. They also benefit extended tests allowing re-rolling failures, using up your pool.
Phylos Fett
I liked one of the (optional?) rules in SR2 or SR3 where you got a Knowledge Skill after you reached a certain rank in the corresponding Active Skill. So much so that I worked it the other way - you needed to get the Knowledge Skill up to a certain level to progress the Active Skill, otherwise you had to pay additional Karma to raise the skill.

I also made quite a big deal on how useful other Knowledge Skills, so much so that my PCs used to spend more time picking out what Knowledge Skills to have then they did picking out their Active Skills.
Kerenshara
Did your character graduate from a reputable highschool?

Mathematics 1
Chemistry 1
Biology 1
History 1
Literature 1
(Language) 2

College? Raise those all by 1, because most universities require a minimum exposure freshman year. (Per the RAW/BBB, Knowledge 2 = 1st year college student) Your major will be a Knowledge 3 skill added behind that.

If your character grew up on the streets, you're ok, but if your background includes good schooling, take the skills.
Alexand
Very true, with one small note.

Unless you were a Science major, that list should be Biology OR Chemistry. Most universities only require you to take one of them to fufill your 'core requirements' in sciences.

Otherwise a excellent point.

Also any shadowrunner team without at least one 'Parazoology' expert is asking for their face to get eatten off by a Cerberus hound (or one of it's paracritter ilk)
X-Kalibur
I'm not so sure about that, from a purely HS level I would have come out with

Physics 1
Chemistry 1
Biology 1
Anatomy and Physiology 1
German 2
Mathmatics (Calculus) 1 (3)
Music 3
History 1
Literature 2

And that's public school level. These days all those would be higher... save for German.
Alexand
Where did you go to school?

That's a bit above what I'd expect from an average American HS student. Physics 1, Music 3, and the Calculus spec definitely (not beyond elective learning, but core? nah) Music 1 I could see tho, depending on the school (many sadly have cut their music programs to shreds).

Remember, you too may be a shadowrunner! (as in an example of a above average person)

And as I said before, the current US University system only requires you to learn Biology OR Chemisty, not both unless you happen to be a Science major. (And I would know, having just dealt with that recently in fact.)
TBRMInsanity
For some reason I just thought of MW:RPG and the lifepath system for finding out your knowledge skills. Has anyone done something similar to this in SR yet?
DuctShuiTengu
One that I've tried as a way to make them more useful is using the system for teamwork tests, allowing appropriate knowledge skills to be used to assist other actions (either knowledge skills possessed by the person performing the action or - assuming they're in a position to receive advice and help from others, from someone else).

My advice if you're going this route, is to toss the possibility out there for your players and then wait for them to come up with ideas for how their knowledge skills can help with what they're doing (subject to GM veto as normal).
McCummhail
On another section of the boards there is an ongoing discussion on how to do a lifepath system for skills.
In the old SR supplements there was a rendition of it (though not for SR4).
X-Kalibur
QUOTE (Alexand @ Aug 25 2009, 04:07 PM) *
Where did you go to school?

That's a bit above what I'd expect from an average American HS student. Physics 1, Music 3, and the Calculus spec definitely (not beyond elective learning, but core? nah) Music 1 I could see tho, depending on the school (many sadly have cut their music programs to shreds).

Remember, you too may be a shadowrunner! (as in an example of a above average person)

And as I said before, the current US University system only requires you to learn Biology OR Chemisty, not both unless you happen to be a Science major. (And I would know, having just dealt with that recently in fact.)


I admit that the calculus and physics aren't something most students take. But I wasn't in any honors programs. Without saying too much I went to a public HS in Long Beach, CA. I took Bio and Chem and all that left was marine bio, physics, and A&P for the last 2 years. For the math it was just a straight shot through the courses. Geo, Int. Alg, Trig/Pre-calc, Calc. Music was entirely elective and some of that learning was "self inflicted" as I call it, but I was taught a good deal of music theory, sight reading, etc. in addition to peformance. I then went and continued on none of those paths in college. I'd hate to actually have to think of my knowledge skill base. I spent at least 4 years taking various classes of interest in addition to more music.
Mx
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Aug 25 2009, 11:44 PM) *
I spent at least 4 years taking various classes of interest in addition to more music.

Funnily, when i started HS i only took the mandatory one cource of music and then i ended-up taking more every year. grinbig.gif
Kerenshara
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Aug 25 2009, 03:00 PM) *
I'm not so sure about that, from a purely HS level I would have come out with

Physics 1
Chemistry 1
Biology 1
Anatomy and Physiology 1
German 2
Mathmatics (Calculus) 1 (3)
Music 3
History 1
Literature 2

And that's public school level. These days all those would be higher... save for German.

Wow, so you graduated High School with the equivalent of a 4-year degree in music? That's pretty butch. Keep in mind that 4th Ed specializations don't modify the skill level at all, just provide a modifier to the dice pool, so with that in mind, the Math is ok (Except you can't specialize with fewer than 2 actual ranks, so we're back to serious Advanced Placement classes). Physics isn't mandatory, which is why I excluded it. I had it, but I had to go to summer school (paid by me) to take the course... with a retired NASA rocketry engineer who worked with JPL, and it was the best course I had in school. German 2 I buy, because languages need to be at higher levels to be passable, and 3 years of HS level courses should leave you functionally fluent (not actually fluent). Literature 2 means you probably had a BUNCH of Advanced Placement courses, but again, that's not going to be standard. And as general as 4th Ed is about the knowledge skills, the Anatomy and Physiology would be under Biology.

Basically the only thing that I REALLY disagree with is that music rating. I'm not going to bother listing what I think I might have had, because I spent two summers in summer school to get ahead and consequently wound up with 7 AP courses myself, so I know higher numbers can easily be justified. I basically suggested even a slacker should have certain minimums if they actually graduated with a meaningful diploma.
X-Kalibur
Maybe more appropriate would be Music 2 with a spec in Jazz/Swing. I never took any summer classes (except for one English class since I ditched it all year, I don't bother going to classes where I'm told to stop answering). As for the language, it was actually 4 years and the last year was an AP course, the only AP course I took. However, I never considered myself even remotely fluent in the language. You make a point about the math spec, I suppose Math 2 would make more sense. Lit 2 was less the AP aspect and more the diversity of the classes and materials, plus a love for reading. Hell, I took Film Analysis over British Lit my senior year (I'd already read Beowulf by that point). I suppose I could add in Knowledge: Movies 1 as well wink.gif

I'm just a slacker that loves learning, but hates school.
Kerenshara
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Aug 25 2009, 04:28 PM) *
Maybe more appropriate would be Music 2 with a spec in Jazz/Swing. I never took any summer classes (except for one English class since I ditched it all year, I don't bother going to classes where I'm told to stop answering). As for the language, it was actually 4 years and the last year was an AP course, the only AP course I took. However, I never considered myself even remotely fluent in the language. You make a point about the math spec, I suppose Math 2 would make more sense. Lit 2 was less the AP aspect and more the diversity of the classes and materials, plus a love for reading. Hell, I took Film Analysis over British Lit my senior year (I'd already read Beowulf by that point). I suppose I could add in Knowledge: Movies 1 as well wink.gif

I'm just a slacker that loves learning, but hates school.

Exactly. But remember that effectively your "interest" and "hobby" skill points were sunk into your "basic" education. See what I mean?
vladski
I do something similar in SR4 to what was by the book in SR3.  For extended tests, I have the players roll their Knowledge skill in the appropriate area and then for every two successes they receive an additional die to roll on their active skill test.

At times, when I think it's relevent, say during a perception roll or sometimes if hte character suggests a good reason for it, I will allow them to do the same thing for a non-extended test Active roll.  It is, however, stressed that at no time do they get to do any of these rolls automatically.  I reserve the right, without saying why, to disallow any knowledge skill helping rolls.

I find the above helps make Knowledge skills more valuable and more thought out.  On the other hand, you have to be careful because hte players will start tending to preferentially pick Knowledge skills they think will help their Active skill rolls.  For this reason, I insist that (at character creation) each player pick and pay for a completely fluff/self indulgent/humorous/ or personally meaningful Knowledge skill at least at level 2.  While it can be perfectly useful, it's got to be something that shows me their character in other ways than their active skills. A character flesher-outer if you will. I have found that all my players do this happily because it helps them find a hook into playing their newly created PC.

Because I actually use Knowledge skills in my game and they can mean some real dice to things the players want to do, they have occasionally purchased KNowledge skills after character creation.  Not on par with Active skills, but they are purchased.  



Vlad

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