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GlassJaw
In general, is it better to have a skill with a few ranks or to default to an attribute with a high rating? For example, if you have a Reaction of 6, should you use your Car Rating 2 or default to Reaction?

I'm sure there are no hard and fast rules for defaulting but are there any guidelines to go by?
Moon-Hawk
Yeah.
This is from the Shadowrun Archive, under miscellaneous.
Big number = good.
Moon-Hawk
So for example, from that table, if you've got a skill of 4 and a TN of 4, you can expect 2 successes. If you're going to default (TN cool.gif then you'd better be using an attribute of at least 15 (2.083 expected successes)

In your example, your reaction of 6 against a target number of standard+4 vs 2 dice at no penalty, it depends on the base target number. Base TN2 - skill, TN3 - skill, TN4 - skill, TN5 - doesn't matter, TN6 - default, etc.
Kagetenshi
20 dice defaulting against TN 4 (TN 8) are only slightly more than one expected success higher than 3 dice against TN 4. Unless you've got a VCR-style bonus, it's rarely worth it to default for skills higher than 2.

Guideline: calculate expected successes (it's easy to do, no need for the table) for both methods.

~J
Bane
Well, some quick (and possibly incorrect, as they are not my strong point) statistics can help answer this question.

Taking your example, if a character has a Reaction of 6, Car 2, average successes with the +4 defaulting modifier taken into account are:
TN 2: Reaction - 1 success; Car - 1.6 successes
TN 3: Reaction - 1 success; Car - 1.3 successes
TN 4: Reaction - 0.83 successes; Car - 1 success

Above that it becomes pointless to calculate, as it becomes impossible to default.

As for general guidelines? IMO, it's best to just avoid this situation in the first place. Obviously if you want the skill of 2 for purposes of saying, "See? My character has actually been trained in driving!" then by all means, take the skill at 2. However, if you think you might actually need to roll it at some point, my advice would be to go ahead and raise it to something respectable. Even raising it up to 3 from 2 would increase your number of successes in a Crash test (in a Eurocar) by 35%.
Kagetenshi
Nope, you can default all the way up to TN 7. Itís the pre-default-modifier TN that canít be eight or higher.

~J
GrinderTheTroll
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Nope, you can default all the way up to TN 7. Itís the pre-default-modifier TN that canít be eight or higher.

~J

Yeah, we had someone defaulting to Pistols for using a Sniping Rifle, he was making "Called Shots" until we re-read defaulting and put a temporary end to this.

Also keep in mind, you don't get to use Combat Pool when defaulting to an Attribute.
Bane
QUOTE
If a skill requires a test with a modified Target Number of 8 or higher before the defaulting modifier is applied...


Wow, they even italicized the important word for me, and I still missed it! sarcastic.gif
Oh well... learning something new every day, I guess.
blakkie
To sum up that chart:

For skill of 1, well besides you are nuts to roll only one die because of Rule of All 1's, you only need 5 default dice to be as good as or better at all TNs. Even 3 default dice is better for those TNs over 4.

For skill of 2 defaulting with 7 is similar (although default has much better chance of multiple successes, something not shown in that chart), with slight edge to skill 2 below TN 4 and edge to default 7 above that. Defaulting to 8 is always better than skill 2.

For skill of 3 you need to have dragon-like attributes, or a Troll performing a Body based skill, for defaulting to make sense unless your TN is extremely low (see Qualifiers below).

Qualifiers:
- If your TN is below the minimum 2 TN then defaulting quickly takes over. So for extremely easy tasks raw ability is much better than refined skill.

- If you have access to Pool dice then you need to count those with your skill as you can't use a Pool while defaulting. That is unless your GM makes a rather liberal interpretation that you can default AND use Pool dice up to what your skill (that you are not using) level is.

- If you -NEED- to have a large number of successes on the test, something that only 1 below the number of skill dice or more, then defaulting can be important. Sort of an all or nothing senario. Of course you are likely is a very bad situation already. But hey, welcome to the shadows chummer.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (blakkie @ Sep 30 2004, 03:36 PM)
(although default has much better chance of multiple successes, something not shown in that chart)

Untrue. That's a chart of expected number of successes, which is what multiple successes is all about. Unless your maximum possible successes is beneath the needed, that chart (or the calculations involved in reaching it) will be your guide.

TN 4, one die: 1/2 chance of success. TN 8, five dice: expect a success just shy of 70% of the time. TN 8, three dice: expect a success five times in twelve tries.

The only real disadvantage is the risk of a botch, and even that drops below significance most of the time once you get a skill of 2 or a single pool die.

~J
Jason Farlander
Well lets say that Joe has a reaction of 8 and no car skill. Bob has a car skill at rating 3. While, at a base TN of 4, Bob might be more likely to get 2 successes than Joe, Joe does end up having a far greater chance of getting, say 4 successes than Bob - since Bob can't get that many, ever.

[Edited such that the statements are actually true]
blakkie
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Sep 30 2004, 08:44 PM)
QUOTE (blakkie @ Sep 30 2004, 03:36 PM)
(although default has much better chance of multiple successes, something not shown in that chart)

Untrue. That's a chart of expected number of successes, which is what multiple successes is all about. Unless your maximum possible successes is beneath the needed, that chart (or the calculations involved in reaching it) will be your guide.

TN 4, one die: 1/2 chance of success. TN 8, five dice: expect a success just shy of 70% of the time. TN 8, three dice: expect a success five times in twelve tries.

The only real disadvantage is the risk of a botch, and even that drops below significance most of the time once you get a skill of 2 or a single pool die.

~J

You are mistakenly assuming higher average means higher chance to get a large number of successes. This is not always true.

This little guy will help me show an example: http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~bcd/SR/dicerollcalc.html

EDIT:: Corrected a few numbers. Must learn to read chart properly. nyahnyah.gif

Lets say you have 6 default and 2 skill dice. The target number is 6, modified to 11. On that chart that gives you the same average for both, 0.333. However if you plug those into that calculator i linked you'll find that you have a 2.78% chance of 2 success using 2 dice, but a 3.99% chance with 6 default dice. Like i said, it happens when you are in deep doggie turds. The 'correct' choice only gives you a 1 in 25 shot, thought that's still better than the 1 in 36 of the other. If you've exhasted your search for option #3, then best to default rather than to use the skill.
blakkie
BTW that also means that (perhaps, don't have an example to prove it) sometimes, if you only need 1 success, it is better to go with the skill even if it has the lower average.
Kagetenshi
I'll have to do some more in-depth looking on that, but after I wake up a bit. It seems wrong to me, but it wouldn't be my first mistake.

Note that I did add the exception of when the skill cannot produce the necessary number of successes, though.

~J
Edward
Don’t forget the rule of 1. Defaulting may be les likely to succeed but your less likely to royally frag it up.

Edward
Kagetenshi
Covered that, too.

~J
PiXeL01
I made a house rule about this ... When defaulting only the first success counts, the rest is wasted. Lack of training/experience = slow/bad result.
Kagetenshi
Which means that defaulting to melee is even more utterly useless than it was, and defaulting to ranged is useless on all but full autofire shots or shots against surprised/heavily wounded targets.

~J
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