Announcing the Brotherhood's New Character Sheet System Open Beta Test!


Announcing the Brotherhood's New Character Sheet System Open Beta Test!

Greetings all, and welcome to the formal opening of the Brotherhood's new Character Sheet System! First things first: This is effectively an open beta you are all encouraged to participate in. What this means is that, while we have tested the system internally, we can not predict the chaos you might all unleash on it. ;) Because of that, it is very possible that parts of the character sheet system could change in the coming weeks depending on member feedback. Nothing we change should have anything to do with Aspects, which I think are the most important part of this system as far as character development goes, so go nuts there.

While most of the system is ready for your consumption, certain parts are not at the level we're happy with, particularly guides and off-wizard documentation. So, while you guys fool around with the Character Creation Wizard that the SCL's office has so amazingly crafted, we'll be continuing to work on the background documents and support materials needed to keep this system moving in the right direction!

We've created a quick start guide of sorts called the Character Sheet Guide: Express Guide. This guide should help people completely unfamiliar with the system get started.

In addition, because there are an IMMENSE number of options, I've created a google document of some of our work. However, most of the tooltips and descriptions in this document originate from before things were added to the site, so a few are outdated. In those cases, the site always takes precedence. The document is available here

A note on martial arts styles and lightsaber forms: What we have in place now is basically a makeshift fix until the relevant guides for hand to hand and lightsaber combat are available. For now, the basic idea for lightsaber forms is that a member has access only to what we call "Form Zero" until DJK.

While we keep working at this, please enjoy the system. Please report feedback to, including any and all typos or confusing stuff!

CM's Note: This project would not have been possible without the hard work of a dedicated staff. From the very first days, when Shadow and I were working on this project, it has been a collaborative effort between many members, and no time period exemplified this more than the last two weeks. Wally has been hard at work on the project since just about the very beginning, and he has been integral to the project from very early on. He and I had the pleasure of having Alaris, Anubis, Rathus, and Atyriu all jump in without missing a beat. Since joining the project they have been hard at work on the character sheets, each contributing significantly in his or her own way as worked towards our deadline. Make no mistakes, the last push the last couple weeks couldn't have been done without them. In addition, I also wanted to give shout outs to Atra, Gryffon, Halc, and of course Shadow, all of whom have worked on this project in some way at some point in time. Finally, James has been nothing but amazing in quickly coding and implementing every feature we've asked for and bringing these sheets to reality! Thank you to everyone that has been involved in this project... and the work has just begun. ;)

Thank you guys, we put a lot of work into these and hope you have fun creating your characters!

Combat Master Telaris "Mav" Cantor

Woo go team. (I helped! :D)

My relationship with helping out:

I'll steal your work and you'll like it, Rathus! That's why you're my apprentice! Back to your cubicle, write me more Feats!

Note on Races: We worked primarily off of and focused on common races. If yours is missing, go check out the guide linked above and you can find out how to request it. For near-humans, I think you can get away with putting "Human" for now... Nobody will slight you for changing it later. ;)

Lol Mav, I actually meant the other way around! You guys did a ton of work.

We are working on a temporary fix to open up Lightsaber Forms to equite+ members that are used to having specific forms. James will work his magic and it should open stuff up for Equites.

A few caveats: 1) I can't tell you what the requirements will be in the LSG for any one form. 2) Because of #1, you having that form now may mean that you will not be able to use it once the LSG is done. 3) Remember, this is a beta etc.

Bout damned time you did a report, mavvles.

Species error issue fixed this morning by James. :)

Quick Question: Will any Character Sheets made now be deleted/reset? Just want to make sure any work/thought someone does now won't be removed later, because it's still beta

The plan is not to delete/reset anything, but because this is a beta, I suggest you just save any custom aspects you write up some place for now as well in case something unforeseen happens.

I can sort of understand the intention behind the skills pyramid, but I think it is a little daft that I need to be, say, skilled in diplomacy at a +1 level to be at a +2 level with a blaster. Those two skills are not interchangeable - why would my skill as a diplomat affect how good I am with a blaster?

YAY! CSs! Thanks to everyone who worked on these. Very exciting to see whats been done.

It doesn't. It means that you've put more practice in with a blaster than you have with diplomacy. I'm better at playing baseball than I am at coding. I have some very basic skills in coding, but I've but more time into playing baseball. The two have nothing to do with one another but if I were to design a skill tree around myself, I would have athletics higher than slicing.

I guess that what Andrelious means is that we are forced to have something on a lower level than we intend, in order to put another skill on a higher level. There need to be one skill on level +1, to have another skill on level +2. The skills may be completely unrelated to each other, but it is prevents us from choosing skills freely. I would love to have diplomacy, investigation, intimadtion and few other skills on level +4, but I can't, because I need to have at least the same number of skills on level +1 as on level +2 and so on. It's kinda limiting and annoying, when it comes to character creation, though I would be more likely to accept it, if I had to laern some skills of the same group, like learning mind trick, in order to learn how to use illusion. Otherwise, it does not really make much sense for me.

Though, new CS seems to be awesome. I need to see how does work in some activities :)

It does not prevent you from choosing skills freely, it forces you to choose which skills you want to be better at than others. The ladder is designed so that you can't be great at everything you want to know how to do decently, basically. So you have to make some sacrifices. It is purposefully limiting. Most of us would love to have +4 or +5 of every skill we would like to write about our character using regularly, but this system is designed to force people to choose a bit more. Note that +2 and +3 are not meant to be worthless at all. +3 is in fact meant to be quite good at something, something we will work on stressing more. Skills at +2 are still meant to be, in practice, very very useful.

I object to having to admit that I'm not perfect at everything. I should only have +5s. If I'm not perfect at it, I don't do it. Etc etc etc.

We'll make sure to update various skill/force power progression information to make that more clear. As I said, this is in beta. :) Not trying to close the door on more discussion of the way the skill ladder works though, so go for it, but we do want this system to have some forced amount of prioritizing for members beyond just saying "ok, I want these 5 skills the most, so let me get them to the highest skill level my rank allows!"

I'm not seeing a Stealth skill. There's PLENTY of stuff in aspects that would cover it/serve to prove the point. Is that intentional? In addition, I'm not seeing any kind of craftsman style skills (aside of mechanic and repair, I'm meaning more like, weaponsmithing, tailor, etc) Also, I'm going to guess that we're not through seeing Force powers? (IE: Clan & Order powers)


This is the beta. We will continue to expand and add to the character sheets until we feel they meet the standard. We wanted to get it out to the club as a whole so our members can find stuff we need to add, break it (Howie), and help find those little grammar/spelling mistakes.

Make sure to use the comment sheet so your ideas are not lost!

Doesn't work on cellphones. Only access to internet i have. Please upgrade

My main concern, really, is how this character sheet is going to be used for all fiction, not just the ACC, with the way it's structured. While I know the skills with @ next to it, even if not placed in the skills ladder, can still be used in the "Mediocre" category. But am I really going to be faulted for having my character understand lore and history when it's not included in my skill set? I feel like the structure of the skill ladder, honestly, is more limiting than advantageous if it's so easy to be penalized. Sure, this might work in the ACC, but in fiction, story is decided by circumstances and environments, not just skill set. If the situation calls for my character to hit or miss something, I shouldn't be penalized for it. That damages storytelling and makes it really difficult to write good, honest fiction without having to worry about, "Is my character not too much of a fucktard in this situation to do this random thing that may or may not be in my CS?"

Mirado: Clan/Order Powers are a later update. Craftsman type skills can be added if people wish - would you be interested? If so, I'm game in adding it to the list. "Stealth" as a Skill is not present; Subterfuge covers a great deal of it, and Force Cloak covers the rest in my opinion anyway! Let me know if that works for you.

Re: Stealth. Athletics can probably be utilized for stealth as well. Might be worth maybe making stealth a feat? Combines your Subterfuge with Athletics to allow you to move silently and blend into rough terrain and such?

Is there a specific reason I'm not seeing Echani as an option for my hand-to-hand style?

Hand to hand styles are pending the hand to hand guide

Ronovi: I can't speak for how graders will always use the cs tools, but if what you are doing is random and not something your character is being shown as an expert at in your fiction then I doubt you would be penalized. If the "random" thing is in fact something your character commonly does with proficiency you should invest points in it, imo.

As to missing and hitting that is intentionally vague so you can allow storytelling to decide the outcome, while keeping in mind the relative abilities of your for and yourself. I can get more specific later if needed.

Mav, how about the mere fact that she was Headmaster? I would add Lore points, but I'm all spent. :P

I think the issue with the skill pyramid is that it's not realistic. The issue here seems to be that the system doesn't want somebody to be able to max out a few stats. The issue there is that maxing out a few skills here and there is in and of itself a disadvantage. When making a character sheet, somebody should be able to trade of depth of knowledge/skills for breadth of knowledge/skills, and vice versa. If you max out certain skills at the expense of others, or at the expense of even having others, that's not you just being a better character then everyone else. In the real world, there are people that are highly trained in a few areas and others who are somewhat trained in many. The system as it stands now doesn't allow a lot of flexibility in that area. I get the desire to bring some limits to the system. That being said, wouldn't a better way be to put a max point expenditure on each skill level? That could prevent somebody from spending all their points in one pace so to speak, but to also allow people to make more personal choices on the depth vs breadth trade off skill and force power wise.

In addition, I'm totally with Ronovi when it comes to the Lore skills. Knowing facts about history and species, or worse yet the Brotherhood, shouldn't be competing with my skills and abilities with a weapon or to survive. Especially given how many Lore areas you can spend points on. I think knowing information about planets, wars, etc should be a choice made as part of a character's background, not skill points. Does knowing that Darth Malgus deposed Revan and lead a fleet against the Republic help me survive on an alien world, or heal wounds, or lift something heavy? If a new member takes the time to learn the history of the Brotherhood's orders, should they really have to dictate points on there character sheet to have their character know that as well? If a member does learn those things, they shouldn't be put at a disadvantage compared to a member that doesn't in order to actually use that knowledge.

Finally, I think the thing that I can't say enough negative about is the skill level limits. The old system was bad enough in that it gave higher ranking people more and more points to spend on physical abilities (I'm not sure why a Equite would just be physically and mentally better than a Journeyman), but at least in that system the skill or ability caps were the same at any level. Somebody that was an elder wasn't able to have a higher skill cap in piloting or blasters for example. But the new system goes a step farther. Not only do you have more points to spend at a higher rank, but you can raise your skills to a level that a lower ranking person simply can't. Maybe this makes sense for the Force skills, but for other skills it's downright terrible. As an EQ3, I can put skills up to +4, it looks like a DJK can only put points up to +3, and it appears that Elders can go up to +5. So, an elder is capable of being a fundamentally better pilot then any Equite is capable of being. And as an Equite, I can be a fundamentally more skilled pilot then any Journeyman is capable of being. I'm left wondering why that's the case? Is the elder or equite not given enough of an advantage just by having more points to work with? Now we've decided that they have the additional ability to access levels of knowledge about things like piloting, survival, or medicine that a lower ranking member is incapable of reaching? The old sheet had it's problems, but it didn't institutionalize this sort of imbalance. I think if you want to be a skilled pilot or an excellent shot with a blaster rifle, you should be able to put points into those skills to the same level as any other member. You might have to make trade offs elsewhere on the sheet, but the statistical maximums for skills and abilities (with the reasonable exclusion of Force Powers) should be the same no matter what rank you are.

^ This.

I don't have long so I will say a few things: You already can choose to be good at a bunch of stuff or better at a smaller set of things. The difference here I that you can not create a character that exclusively has only the highest skills at the tier of skills available to you. You can, however, make a very versatile character or a very specialized one.

In will respond to the rest later tonight. :-)

I'll respond/add a few comments myself on this, but I'll repeat a few of them on the Google Form that was linked above as well so the CS Team has a better listing of issues and what not.

First, I'm really glad this thing is in beta. Not that it couldn't work "as is", but it's a great way to test things out. The system technically works, but now's the time we have to figure out all the details and start balancing things out. The amount of points allowed to be allocated and how many skills one can manage to get points on may need to be looked at...not sure. I like the ladder system and it does allow you to either be a jack-of-all-trades or a master of a few. A zero here does not mean you can't do just means you have no formal training/experience in it at all. It was a concept that was muddled, or just bizarre, on the old CS. The biggest thing for anyone grading fiction, or the ACC or whatever is "context". How was something written? I was constantly asked about "Can I use this power here" or "Is it ok if I do this?" My biggest response was "If it makes sense within the context of the battle than go for it."

With any CS made for us there will always be a tug between those who want something open that they can do what they think is best for their character vs. those who want everything codified and in exacting detail. No system will please everyone, that's for sure. This system needs tweaking in a variety of places as well, but I think it's moving in the right direction. So, what are those tweaks?

  • I agree with Slag about the limit placed on Skill Levels. All levels should be completely open and the 6th level (I assume currently reserved for GMs) removed. I think Feats are a good place for "limitations" in terms of what is/isn't offered for the various ranks. Cooler/more power feats are reserved for the higher levels. That's fine. The actual skill levels should be open for all and it is up to the person themselves as to how many points they allocate to each specific skill/power. 5 as the "high" is fine. Sorry GMs, but you guys can have the cooler Feats and the most points ever. You don't need more than that, and I think it keeps thing that much more fair for everyone. So yes, open up the skill levels completely with no restrictions. You can then focus on balancing out point-levels and such

  • I think the Lore skill needs to be scaled down as well. For this system it's probably best if we don't go too specific on things. Just like you don't specify the Mechanic skill (Mechanic - Starfighters; Mechanic - Capital Ships; Mechanic - Combustible Vehicles, etc, etc...) you shouldn't specify the Lore skill or anything else. Instead the Skill levels can denote how much of "something" someone knows. At 1 someone may have some cursory knowledge of a topic and taken some schooling in it. At 5 they would have advanced knowledge on a bunch of subjects. The specifics of those topics/subjects are left to the individual characters instead. That's how the other skills generally work, so everything should fall in line with that

  • Overall, a lot of the descriptions feel a lot more RPG/pen-and-papery to me. Now, this system is of course normally used for RPGs, but the main thrust of the DB is around "softer" RPing, without all of the really strict and codified structures. Fiction and relating activities are much more open to interpretation and need a lot more freedom than your regular RPG, since you have no one directing them from point to point. Now, you do need some sort of structure to things, but the "box" needs to be large enough for people to have fun playing within it. I think the descriptions need to be done through the lens of a writer and not as much through that of someone versed in the RP world. I think after that another layer can be created to bring the CS in line with a more traditional RPG, but it would be used strictly for more formal RPing purposes, rather than the more general fiction/RO/ACC activities. You shouldn't try to mix the two directly, as they won't mesh well.

So yeah...I like the direction of the new CS. It took me awhile to really warm up to it, but I've since come around to it. It's not a hugely complicated system, but it does offer a lot of possibilities to people if they play around with it.

I agree with Slag/Halc on the skill levels, that was one of my biggest issues with the old character sheets and Halc makes a good point, the Feats is a great way to still give people something special still, like the one at DA+ that turns your force shock into lightning and the same with GM only feats.

I also agree that the number of Lore skills is quite high and most of them don't seem that relevant, I can see the point in having Alchemy as a skill as an example but some of the others, mainly all the history ones, should be left to people's character history instead.

I'm with Solus on this as I've always believed that rank has entirely too much to do with individual power, BUT... as Devil's Advocate, the thing to remember is, regardless of the RP mechanical system in place, it's still something of an abstraction. DnD says the guy with the biggest muscles is more likely to hit somebody. Palladium/Rifts says that all skill tasks are hit and miss, with no modifier to difficulty. There's no perfect RP mechanics, somebody's always going to be able to bitch about something, and a good portion of the time, their complaint is perfectly valid, based largely on their play style. Having had SEVERAL years on both sides of the GM's screen, I can pick apart most any gaming mechanics for the good and the bad, and I know very well this talent isn't unique to me.

The upside to this being very plainly a Beta test, is that we, as a whole club, can gather to say "Hey DC people, we don't like our RP system, fix please." and, ideally, together, we can iron out the problems and make it something that most certainly "Belongs" to us. Something Sai used to say was that we need to Own our work, our world, our setting. Not in the sense of copywritten but in the sense of making it totally ours.

So, yeah, still 100% behind Solus and Ronovi's complaints, but I had to advocate the devil here.


Regarding the Pen-and-Paper feel to the system, this is actually one part I like (Being a fan of tabletop gaming, and virtual tabletop gaming.) I actually think that this system has lots of potential in actually being developed into an actual Dark Brotherhood tabletop gaming platform. I do agree that general fiction should be much less strict than the ACC (As long as its in the realm of realism,) but thus far, I like the concept. One thing I do support is the removal of skill limits. While the Grandmaster is likely to crush an Equite (And will,) I don't see why an Equite's knowledge of a given topic should be more limited than the Grandmasters'.

For example, EQ1 Darkity Dark grew up on the streets of Nar Shadda, joining a Smuggler's ring and succeeded in this operation for a decade, whereas Grandmaster Dbb0t lived as nobility for most of his life. Out of Darkity Dark's prior experience in the Smuggling ring, I think he should have the opportunity to be just as (If not more) knowledgeable about the smuggling trade than Dbb0t (Despite the fact that he's Skynet, and stores all of this information in his computer brain.) Skill points themselves can be adjusted to cover the disparity between the individual power of each, and shouldn't be measured based upon the limitations placed upon the skills of each individual.

/me considers posting five more paragraphs, refers to Solus' post instead.

/me heads over to the Google Doc.

I was waiting until we had 90% of the work done, but i agree with the statements made above by Halc. Remove the skill level limit, get rid of +6.

Personally, skill caps make perfect sense to me.

To use an example mentioned previously, and one that is near and dear to my own heart, I shall discuss it in the context of piloting a starfighter. Rank should have a massive influence on this, because while APP Yacks and DJM Yacks might have the same level of technical skills, when factoring in the experience APP Yacks has earned while getting to DJM, and the growing amount of power and access to the force he has, DJM Yacks would be a vastly superior foe.

In a traditional RPG, the skill ranks would increase based off the age old "experience" you earn throughout the game, increasing your players skills and powers. In the context of the DB, this is an even more concrete example of how your skills, physical or not will grow. We're Jedi here folks. Even if we don't have a specific force power associated to it, every aspect of our lives gets stronger and better the more powerful we are in the force. You run faster, jump higher, hit harder, all because you can manipulate the universe around you a little better due to your connection with the force.

Also, for the idea that people with heavy specialization can just specialize in one field and only that field? Every discipline ever has required skills before you get there. Chemistry has a whole field of sciences you must be proficient in before you move up, music, math, art, etc. Becoming a master of something means you've fundamentally mastered every aspect of something in order to reach it.

That's my take on the skills matter anyways.

As for Lore? Yea, from a character perspective, Yacks has been around in the DB for 20+ years, has been an Admiral in an Imperial Fleet, has been arguably one of the most powerful Dark Jedi in the universe during the time, etc etc etc. He'd know some shit. Hell, he's old as dirt, even just going from a "was there when it happened" perspective, he'd know more than most for some of those lore categories.

Part of this boils down, in my opinion, to breaking the DB and the Character sheets from the one track mind of associating the CS as an ACC only tool. It's meant to be more, and if it forces you to accept for once that you're not the most godly of godlike beings, I'm completely ok with that. I LIKED that I had to pick and choose, and limit my character. I know this is like the equivalent of first world problems put into DB form, but it was ridiculously boring just being able to open the old CS and go: "oh, it's on the CS? I can do that."

Understanding and dealing with limitations is a good thing for characters in an RP sense, especially in an organization where it is all too easy for everyone to just believe that they're the ultimate soldier/magician/diplomat/leader/pilot/mechanic/slicer/loremaster/alchemist/ninetybillionotherspecializations.

I'm going to use an example that Dranik brought up when he first came back.

I enter a situation where my character needs to pretend to be a bartender to eavesdrop/learn information.

But wait, there is no skill for Bartending! Or Mixology. What ever shall we do!?

Well this depends how you built your character. If you happen to have "Subterfuge" which is defined as: "The ability to use deception to achieve a goal." So even with a +0 in Subterfuge, you could figure out the basic concept of "Hm, maybe leaving my lightsaber on my belt isn't a good way for me to blend in with the crowd." You would know to dress in the local garb to fit in- things that fall in the realm of common sense. However, if you had built out subterfuge, you could observe an existing bartender, study their habits, and use them to create their own act. Subterfuge is like being an actor..just because you don't know which drinks make what, doesn't mean you can't make one.

What goes into a good bartender? (For those too young for this, use movies or fictional ones if you have to for reference) - Bartenders have very very good memories. They can memorize a bunch of drink recipes. So if your character had an Aspect that went something like, "CHARACTER has a sharp short-term memory, and can recall information that they had studied a short time prior. After enough time passes, however, CHARACTER will have a harder time remembering the information memorized if never called upon again."

So, with that keen memory, you'd be able to watch a bartender make drinks, and pick up on the most common ones. From there it wouldn't be hard to put on somewhat of an act. What about charisma? Good bartenders tend to be charismatic, and friendly. You could have an aspect that says, "CHARACTER is good with people, and can typically talk his way through most situations with a disarming smile." Or you could your Mind Trick power and use it to make people think they ordered a simple whiskey+coke instead of a whiksey-frappachino-flaming-flipsize cupcake shot.

Don't have any of these? You probably have some intimidate, or a combat-type persona or ability. Just grab your target, push them up against a wall and point a blaster at their head. Jack Bauer style.

The idea is that it is ultimately up to you as a writer. The CS's are a guideline, and not going to be the reason you loose a fiction. If you make an Aspect that says, "I ONLY FIGHT AT LONG RANGE" and then have your character take out a squad of commando's in hand-to-hand combat with a's not going to be realistic, and yes you will probably loose points on the grading rubric for such.

I don't have "Bartending" as a skill. However, I was able to use my Character Sheet as a way of creating my own, organic interpretation of how my character would go about completing the task. For the sake of fictions, you're not limited JUST because you don't have a given power.

Having a 0 in a skill in the old system meant you couldn't use it. In this system, it's not an issue, because it was one of the big things we wanted to get away from.

Hope that helps give a few exampls to answer some (not all) the questions posed in here.

I think a lot of people are getting worked up about how this might affect them outside of the ACC. The system isn't here to LIMIT you, or anyone, it's an aid.

An aid to:

  • Better define your character
  • Allow others to understand your character (without having to sit you down for an interview)
  • Help keep god mode-ing in check, for reals.

I'd like to address one comment that really stood out to me above (and I don't mean to pick the commenter specifically):

If the situation calls for my character to hit or miss something, I shouldn't be penalized for it.

Yeah, sure, if the story you're writing calls for you to miss a shot, then write that you missed the shot. Even the best marksman (is your blaster/pistol/what-ever-it-is-named maxed?) will miss once in a while, especially in a high stress environment.

If your story calls for you to hit your target, then hit it. But make it realistic... You've got 0 skill with a blaster and need to hit a control panel that you're very close to? Of course you'll hit it... even a child can pick up a gun, point it in the direction of something and pull the trigger. Need to hit a man sized target cross a "reasonable distance"? Go for it, but at least write that you're concentrating on making the shot, maybe brace yourself against a support of some kind. But, with a skill of 0, you're certainly not going to make the shot with one hand, blindfolded, while vaulting over the bonnet of a speeder as it swoops in in front of you as you're traversing a tightrope between two towers on Coruscant.

There no invisible coin being flipped to determine anything. No dice being rolled to see if you hit or miss.

When grading fiction I wont be sitting there going "Ooh, they have tried to shoot something, better roll my 20 sided dice. Aww, the dice say no, but they wrote they hit it? Looks like you aren't getting a Novae."

Yaks brings a solid point about experience, but as a counterpoint, in a tabletop game, there are a LOT fewer characters to keep track of, which keeps the game master honest about experience point rewards. In the DJB, character growth is directly tied to promotion through the ranks from Journeyman to Elder. It makes sense of course, but...

If your Consul/Quaestor is looking the wrong direction, if the written recommendations aren't strong enough, if one of a whole host of factors occurs, simply, the player is stuck at a point. Unlike DnD, you kill enough orcs, you'll hit 20th level, it's GOING to happen. Those rules don't apply here in the same manner, and growth as a character hits a stalemate. Example, without significant time sitting on the DC, a person is likely never to make Elder/"20th level"

There's just too much in the way of a character past DJK to impose these limitations (leadership time requirements, etc) to their characters when the scale looks the way it currently does.

1a) On Lore specifically - This is an issue we can discuss and explore in terms of how to manage the Lore skill. My feeling is that it isn't perfect, but I outright reject the idea that every character in the DB should have all the knowledge found in all wikipedias, accessible at any time in their own heads. Keep in mind Lore isn't preventing you from using datapads or holocrons or anything to gain information at the time, but it's meant to reflect how much time/energy/interest you've spent studying a topic specifically. Our attempt here was to reflect that there are members out there that want someone writing them to KNOW that they would know about a certain topic. I can see why you guys feel that is limiting in some respects, but keep in mind that most Skills also grant knowledge of the topic relating to that skill, so it is conceivable that your character would know a great deal relating to the Skills they choose. I think we can work on this. How do people feel about broadening the lore categories substantially, and reducing the number?

1b) On skill choice generally (e.g. should we only have combat skills on the ladder, as Solus implied). I think it's important to force a choice on people. I do not think it is a problem that members can not be the best at anything. Circumstances can dictate that you succeed at everything in your writing, but that doesn't mean you're great at everything. I also want to stress that

2) Skill Pyramid is Not Realistic - Ok, the coding requires that the base tiers be filled before progressing up the ladder, otherwise you could spend more points than you should near the top, so it may require you to take skills you wouldn't otherwise want to. This system is specifically designed to force people to accept they aren't the absolute best at everything. But, I think it's realistic to expect that as one progresses through the Brotherhood, they would gain a variety of useful skills, some minor, some quite powerful.

3) Not realistic to cap skill tiers based on rank (well, rank tier, but yeah) - I disagree. Rank in this club is our form of "level" and is meant to represent both experience in the organization (and thus knowledge gained from time spent in it and around it) as well as progression in the Force. Because it represents experience, I think it makes sense to cap skill tiers based on rank class. Whether you have 3 points or 6 points in piloting, you're a damn good pilot. Remember that ranks are our levels, but we should still build out characters based on our background.

To refer to A'lora's example, removing skill tier caps does nothing to prevent someone that has no background in a particular skill in his or her character from taking a high rank in that skill. One would hope that GM Dbbot in this example has a decent reason for taking the skill in question. On the other hand, if both GM Dbbot and EQ1 Darkity both grew up working with smugglers, then it might make sense that GM Dbbot, who has more experience, might have continued to cultivate those relationships for longer, and thus have stronger knowledge of what is involved.

4) On scaling of skill tiers: Something that I will stress and try to work on is making it clear that 1, 2, 3, are not USELESS skill levels. In particular, skill level 3 is proficient with the skill, which means you're damn good at it and you're a danger to ANYONE with that skill (you could be dangerous at 0, 1, and 2 depending on context as well, but +3 is really meant to be a skill level where you're damn good at what you do). You might say, "Well Mav, you've got +5! You'd kick my ass every time!" Actually... No. I wouldn't. For one, when writing fiction, skills are general guidelines that show you rough capabilities. At no point does the fact I have a +5 in Bladed Weapons versues your three mean I will ALWAYS win a duel with you, because when writing, context is EVERYTHING. What it does mean, though, is that my character has spent more time training with that particular skill than you. So here's the deal - What we will do from here on out, as a CS team, is try to rework descriptions to make it more clear that an ability at Proficient/Disciple (+3) is actually really good and you hold your own with it, even against a skilled opponent. We'll also work to make it clear that +2 isn't worthless at all. In a way, I kind of see skill progression(1 through 6) more as logistic than as linear.

For people that want to know what to do about proposing a species: 1a) First of all, review it's Wookieepedia article. Identify what the race is good at, what it is bad at, and why for each. If possible, have multiple options. 1b) If your race is in SWRPG source material that you have access to, try to draw from that. Include as much information from the source material as possible when you email us about it. If you don't have access to it, mention where you think the race details can be found so we can have someone look it up :) 2) Next, head on over to the Beta Character System document which contains Species and the feats they have. Take a look at the general setup. Note that I am very reluctant to grant perks to races that boost Might, Intellect, Resolve, Endurance, or Athletics unless it is situational. Perks and flaws should both be so minor as to note be the defining reason a person chooses a Species, but a nice flavor bonus for doing so. 3) Try to throw out some suggestions of perks and flaws based on Skills and the like that we have right now. 4) Write up what the species is good at, bad at, and why, along with proposals you have for perks and flaws, what source materials you used, and anything else relevant to your request, and email it to myself, Wally, and Sarin.

as an addendum to 1a: Because of how skills work, nobody is going to tell you that because you wrote you knew a factoid in a story, you're being unrealistic, I think. This is more about what you want people to know your character knows a ton about, rather than what you are restricted from having your character know in a story.

And finally, because it's relevant to the discussion, so yes, I'll make four consecutive posts on my own news thread, thank you: Ronovi asked Sarin how strict judging of fiction would be when it came to presence or absence of the Lore skill for a character that was a former HM: "The intent is to never limit a member of our club's ability to write fiction unless they are breaking the system or ignoring the rules of the ACC.

A simple example would be PRT Joker utilizing flow walking while shooting force lightning at Muz. We don't want that.

Ronovi writing about her knowledge of lore from her experience at the Shadow Academy is both logical, normal, and expected.

I think you can expect common sense to rule the day."

Context is key.

Also, to piggy back on Mav's point about skill-differences in fiction:

A Padawan cuts Darth Maul in half. Maul was a Juyo Master, and Obi-Wan was a Soresu user who wasn't even a Jedi Knight yet. He still, through circumstance, managed to pull it off.

Just saying.

Concerning 1b, I don't think the issue here is that everyone wants to be "OMG GOOD AT EVERYTHING LOLZ!" The issue I see is that you have people who have already established characters with certain skill sets, possibly unable to show that established skill set due to the limited amount of points in the ladder. It is not at all unrealistic that have someone capable of doing a lot of things, which is why I personally prefer the point bar from the previous CSes rather than the skill ladder. Having 1/5-5/5 in multiple things, to me, is a lot more accurate than saying, "Whelp, I used all my points, so now my character can't show that he knows how to use a goddamned carpenter kit or have some remote knowledge on ships."

On principle, I think the main thing that concerns me the most is that the CSes, as they are now in beta, almost restrict the character's ability to grow and develop. If you look at my character, she started as a fighter and war general, only to become a scholar later on. If these character sheets had been out at the time, I would have never been able to display all of those qualities on the sheet and exemplify her evolution as a character because I would have run out of points. The issue here is that while the rank remains the same, the character can still learn new things and try out new stuff - but now we're being held to the CS as a benchmark for what they can or can't do, thus curtailing the possibility of being adventurous with a character. Say I want my character, as a Primarch, to start learning how to slice into a computer. Well, now I can't show that in my fiction without worrying that it'll look unrealistic, because I can't add more points to the sheet and show that she's improving as a slicer. As a result, my character becomes static, and I can't expand upon her traits and qualities as long as I'm still Primarch.

The point of the character sheet can and should be about the personality traits, quirks, and aura of a character, rather than imposing a wall as to how much the character can grow and evolve even if stuck in the same rank. Yes, it's important that a character shouldn't know or be capable of everything under the sun, but you'd be surprised to know how many things real people can do or know themselves.

Yea, it's called Aspects. You get 6 of them. The whole point of them is to do exactly what you're concerned about. Character depth, quirks, personality, and flaws. All the things that make a character unique. In all honesty, if I were to judge any event, I'd look at Aspects, and judge 80% of what I read on them. Then i'd go in and be like "Ok, yes, she has +4 in Primary Lightsaber - Juyo, this makes perfect sense, combined with her history ad a "war general turned scholar" to cleverly use her battle skills to tear through a squad of republic comandos."

You do NOT need to have skill points in carpentry. The sheet allows for flexibility, and just because someone isn't on your sheet, doesn't mean you can't do it.

IF you don't have something major, like "I can speak to whales" on your character sheet.... and you have your character have a conversation with a whale. Yes, that's wrong. And I don't see how putting a single point into linguistics to have that ability is a problem.

Ronovi: The issue is more interpretation of tiers and focusing a lot on one part of the CS when there are other areas that interact, too. Is a War General +3 or +5? What is War General, and how do you define it with these skills? How much of that past might be better reflected in aspects anyway? Would Ronovi's skills possible deteriorate over time as she focused on more scholarly pursuits? I don't know about you, but if I have a skill and I don't do it for a long time, I get a little worse at it. If I've spent my time working on a different skill, I might get a bit better at that instead.

Regarding 1a, I'm still not fond of having knowledge about history being part of the character sheets, but cutting Down the number from the 9 there are now is a good start.

As for 3, this goes back to an issue I had with the old character sheets where roughly 25% of all our force powers were restricted to a very limited number of active people, usually no more than 3. As for removing the limitations based on rank tier, if you did remove it you'd still have realism, if I use myself as an example I would have to sacrifice a lot more skills to get a single skill at 5 which would then signify that I had spent a long time improving that one skill while at the same time neglecting other skills, ranks still work as "levels" in so much that they give you more points to spend on stuff but they shouldn't limit someone who wanted to be higly specialized in one single area.
And as for making rank tiers still feel special you have feats for that now, perfect examples being the feat that turns force shock into force lightning which is available at DA+ or any of the GM level feats.

I'm not even going to try and deal with the numbers :P

Concerning Lore...cutting them down is a lot better than what there is now, but I still think there should just be one "Lore" skill and deal with the various specializations in another manner. I sent out two suggestions. Others may have better ones.

Capped Tiers: I understand the argument of "experience" in the DB being paramount. I've made that argument many times over the years. I don't believe it has much of a place on the tiers however. The CS, as it currently stands, awards you for DB experience through Disciplines (Better powers), Feats (Cooler things for high rank tiers) and Points (Used to level up skills and powers). The higher your ranking in the DB the more access you have to the "cooler" stuff, while also allowing you to expand your own personal skills and powers. That's fine and I agree with it. However, the pyramid tiers are another thing, and the very way system work balances it out automatically. If an Equite really wanted that +5 to something then they would have to sacrifice things to get it...more so than others. Same goes with any other rank wanting higher levels in something specific. Generally this are very much at the core of a person's character and it doesn't "break" anything since it does all get balanced out in other areas. Most people will probably never go that route, but I don't think it hurts anything to have that option available. I don't think it take anything away from the DB experience of anyone and does allow a little more freedom for those you want to build something a little more unique

As for the other comments revolving around the constraints of the CS...I don't think I see it that way at all. Your character, and all of their traits/quirks/unique factors can be readily defined by Aspects. This is an area that took me the longest to get my head around and I think is the one area people should be looking at and focusing on, rather than Skills and Powers. This is the area where you really define who your character is. This is the very core of your character and what separates you from everyone else. Spend most of your time here, if you're really into character development.

Lastly, getting us to "think" of a Zero in any skill as still being usable will take some time, because of how we utilized the old CS. The same goes for levels 1-5. I think thing will become clearer once all of the descriptions are complete/fine-tuned and people have time to read through everything, but right now there will be a lot of confusion as to what it means to be "good" in a skill. It may even take a simplifying of everything so that it's clear cut and/or giving some real world examples on things. I see some of that already on the descriptions. Of course this may also make some things fairly open to interpretation in terms of how a skill works, but it's all give-and-take

The big concerns, it seems, are depth vs. breadth of skills. Meaning, in simple, at what point should a character reach a legitimate peak? Having looked at it, a bit of market research might be in order. What are the most regularly active people in the DJB? By that, I mean, what rank? At whatever rank they are, there's your point where they should reach the true skill cap. Past that point, IE, Elder rank, it becomes that amount of experience which would permit them to be more legitimately awesome at more things.

An in-world example: SW Duder and DJM Brosef are both 45 years old. Both have dedicated the same amount of time to learning to shoot. Ideally, they would share the same skill limit. DJM Brosef however, probably has piloting, athletics, subterfuge, and a host of other things at that same level. This seems to be, I think, the core of what people are wanting, and still maintain greater reward at higher level.

Halc also brought a valid point. I think everyone would profit from a healthy, blatant, explanation as to what the skill levels mean. When having a 2 in a weapon skill meant not even bothering in the ACC, but having a 1 in the new system is actually supposed to be pretty handy with said skill, it helps to be a lot more forward about that.

So yeah, just woke up, so pardon the exceptionally disjointed thought process.

Yeah, I'm still 100% against the skill limits even after what's been brought up here. The idea that somebody at DJM or something being a better pilot is, I think, fundamentally missing the point. Why is a DJM a better pilot then somebody that is say a PRT? Yacks doesn't automatically have more experience at piloting Starfighters then the PRT, however. Said new person might be somebody that's been fighting in the Galactic Civil War as a pilot since the day he turned 16, and then flew starfighters against the Vong before coming to the DJB. However, the way things are written that guy cannot (By any tradeoff at all) be anywhere near the pilot that Yacks can be in skill. Yes, Yacks would be able to bring some serious Force magics to the table to augment his ability to pilot and likely fly rings around the Protector, but I was under the impression that skills were skills and Force Power was Force stuff. Yes, Yacks is probably a better pilot because he's got Precognition out the wazoo and other Force things that complement his skills as a pilot. Bringing up another possible example, Investigation. If somebody comes in as a new member and their character has been a law enforcement officer in the Coruscant Constabulary or the Corellian Security Force for 20 years involved in anti-smuggling operations, why is that person not capable of making their character a master investigator? What is it about being a higher ranked DJB'er (most of us who don't do a whole hell of a lot of investigating on a daily basis) that makes a person capable of being a better investigator skill wise then an experienced law enforcement professional is ever capable of being? Could it be that a higher ranked DJB'er has Force senses (Like Sense or Telepathy) that give them an advantage in investigatory situations? I think that might be it right there, so why then does a higher ranked person in the DJB have an ability to be better at every skill then a lower ranked person can be?

Yes, Mav brought up how DJB ranks are like levels and the higher level people can be better at stuff. I think my point still stands, and has been echoed by others: Higher ranked people already have an advantage in the number of points they have to throw around and the level of their Force Powers (You'll notice I'm not saying remove the skill level caps there, because those make sense based on DJB rank). Now we're just making them fundamentally capable of being better at any skill then a lower ranked person? Hell, the case could be made that as a person devotes more and more of their time to learning the Force that their skills would atrophy in other areas, not be fundamentally superior to other people's. In fact, Mav said something that makes that case: "Would Ronovi's skills possible deteriorate over time as she focused on more scholarly pursuits?" Yes, they might very well do so, but I'll grant it's probably hard to quantify that and people would get all sorts of butthurt if they lost points. The concept that we might lose skills in some areas as we learn stuff in others does, however, seriously call into question the idea that a DJM is capable of having any skill they want be 2 points higher then a DJK's no matter what their background is. Also, as has been pointed out previously here, the level = rank argument breaks down a bit because in an RPG there isn't an artificial restriction on rank. If you participate in the activity, you get experience which turns into levels. Any RPG system that has something akin to levels works that way (even if it's the WEG Star Wars system where you can earn dice or bonuses to add to your skills). The DJB doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter how much you personally participate and do, many people in the DJB today are capped out at EQ1. Why? The Aedile service requirement for EQ2. There are only so many slots for leadership at that level in the Brotherhood (made even worse because the Houses that are no longer clans have a third as many slots for that leadership as they used to). I know of two people, Kazmir and Celevon (hope neither of them mind me name dropping them), who have worked their butts off and very much deserve EQ2. However, neither one of them has put in the AED service requirement. Yes, either of them could have tried for the open slots that were just filled in CNS, but that would have meant leaving the Houses they've been working their tails off in throughout the Crusade, Houses they've been trying to help set right and get back to Clanhood. So, no matter the quality of work they're doing, they're not going to get above EQ1 under current circumstances through no fault of their own. I understand and accept that the higher ranked people are going to have more points to throw around, more Force powers, and more/better feats. The skill caps are too much on top of all that, and worse yet don't stand up to strict scrutiny of realism anyway.

On the Lore idea, my comment wasn't suggesting that we should only have "combat" skills and eliminate any that aren't. I fully support the inclusion of skills like medicine, survival, leadership, etc. I just don't think Lore should be a CS skill that competes with those things. In fact, I think many of the skills on the sheet would be based on "lore" style knowledge. How realistic would it be that I'm really skilled in survival but I don't know much about the various planets of the galaxy? Wouldn't I at least have to know a bit about the differing climates and whatnot to be a skilled survivalist? Medicine probably requires me to know things about at least some of the species that populate the galaxy, at least as you progress up the tiers of that skill, given that I'd be a pretty useless doctor in the SW universe if I didn't know some of the physiological differences between a Human and a Twi'lek. Heck, some of the Aspects that are included in the system could suggest knowledge about lore categories on the sheet. I know a couple of them that are something like "I <3 martial combat" might suggest a person that's studied the history of the conflicts of the galaxy. My point in comparing the lore areas to other skills on the sheet is looking at how the other skills function. Might, Endurance, Mechanic, Slicing, Leadership, Interrogation, all of these skills show how good my character is at doing something, and it's a pretty wide range of somethings that is covered by the sheet. Lore skills don't cover what my character can do and how good I do it. Most of the time it determines what things my character might be able to talk intelligently about. That sort of thing should be determined by background, and Sarin even pretty much said as much when he was responding to Ronovi's concerns on his news post: "Ronovi writing about her knowledge of lore from her experience at the Shadow Academy is both logical, normal, and expected." So, Ronovi can write about her knowledge of lore because her background supports that she'd know these things. Lore doesn't need to be a sheet, it just needs to be something that flows from a character's background and should be "judged" as such. If the Ewok character who lived his entire life in a tree house on Endor starts having long, intelligent conversations about the current state of the galactic political landscape and the historical forces that lead us to our current political climate, then that should set off red flags and be judged accordingly. Just as people involved in the sheet system have said, not everything needs to be quantified. Yes, a character that has no right knowing everything under the sun that starts talking about the contents of several obscure articles on Wookieepedia isn't realistic. The staff judging the fiction/ACC match/RO/whatever should be able to look at it and determine that it's BS and judge it so accordingly without having to have a CS stat to point at. Just as they would be able to make such judgements on non-CS "skills" that a character might try to use now. Your character grew up on the streets of Coruscant and now you want to say he's a master carpenter in your fiction all of the sudden? Yeah, that's probably not very realistic. If people want to learn more about the setting we write in, we should let them and encourage them to do so, not tell them that they're not allowed to use that knowledge if they don't have the points on their CS. That goes double for anything DB related. "You're somebody that's taken the time to read about all the Orders and other stuff we've made up to populate our setting? Awesome, keep up the good work!"

On the skill pyramid thing. I don't really have much of a problem with the concept that you can't be amazing at everything you do. I think the current method of implementing that is inflexible and overly restrictive. I think the same goal could be reached in a way that offers people more flexibility in where they want to spend their points by putting a cap on the number of points you're allowed to spend (or the number of powers you're allowed to have) at any of the levels above "average", with less and less points able to be spent at 3, 4, 5, etc. Especially since the second level is "average". An example of the flexibility issue being a problem might be as follows: Right now I have 31 points, which basically means I can have three powers at each level and have a fourth at level 1. I want my three powers at level four, but maybe I'm a bit more flexible on powers at tier three. I might only want to take two powers at tier three so I could drop one of my 3's to tier 2 and up that extra power at tier one to tier two. Right now, however, I can't. I need to have three powers at tier 3 in order to support the ones at tier 4, and I can't have five powers at tier two without five powers at tier 1. The system forces you to take some powers at higher levels then you might like in order to support even higher levels. I think its acceptable to have a system that restricts highest level skill with things in order to prevent min/maxing (even though I still think that making the trade for highest point skills in some areas at the expense of real proficiency at others is in and of itself a balancing mechanism), I just think that system needs to offer people a bit more flexibility as compared to what has been implemented.

Lastly, I want to echo what Malik and Mirado mentioned because they both hit on something that's always annoyed me about the DJB CS systems going back years. There has always been far, far too much of our CS system that is only available to a tiny minority of the membership. Who are the most regularly active people, especially by sheer number of active folks? It's going to be high level Journeymen and Equites. The vast, overwhelming majority of those people are never, EVER going to see Elder ranks. Our system, including the current one, has always shown people a bunch of stuff that they'll never be able to use or play around with. Mirado's point about us making our system reach a high level plateau where most people might be able to reach is a good one. I know a lot of what's going on with the Grind Path is about making our club as a product more attractive to a newer generation of members, ones that have grown up playing MMO's and the like. Make the process more automatic and seamless for people advancing through the low ranks in order to keep them interested and get them invested. I think the CS system could take a few lessons from that mindset. Hell, I think the feat system is the best implementation of this. Journeymen get four slots, which is as many as you earn in all the Equite and Elder ranks. Yes, the higher level ones are probably better, but from a sheer number of slots it's a bit more balanced then our old systems. But then we go back to skill level caps, force powers, etc, and we're back to the same problem. We've still got two tiers of ability with skill and force powers that most members will never be able to reach. I know that if I joined an MMO and saw that there were powers and abilities that only a very select few of the player bases could access, I'd not be long for that MMO. I just think that, from the standpoint of appealing to new members and retaining people that join, it might be a good idea to have less of the system "off limits" to most members (something this system does far better then any of the previous ones mind you). To use an analogy featuring ice cream (because I want ice cream, damn it), most of our customers should be able to access most all of the ice cream flavors and toppings offered at our sunday bar. We want them to think we have a cool sunday bar and to keep patronizing our institution, maybe get some of their friends to come, too. Yes, we can have a preferred customer program that offers those people a few different kinds of sprinkles and cherries to put on top of their sundays that other people can't get, but you don't want to wall of a significant portion of your entire sunday bar for these people only. In our case, we still want to offer incentives to be active and contribute in order to earn promotions, and a lot of the things in our CS system, warbanners, robes, etc is designed to do that. The problem is that things at the Elder level aren't realistic goals for people to reach, so we've got electric fences behind a moat filled with alligators and piranhas between the member and those incentives. Walling off our stuff in a place few are likely to get doesn't help us appeal to new members one bit. So, long story short, I totally agree with Mirado and Malik on this subject. :)

Small correction: Kaz is an EQ2, but he's still unlikely to see another promotion without further leadership service, positions that are at a premium and would probably necessitate his having to leave his House to get. So, yeah... :P

Don't be so sure :P

I don't really have time right now to write much, and I'd mostly be repeating what's already been said, so suffice it to say:

I basically agree with what Halc has said.

In particular, I too dislike Skills being rank based, for the reasons Mirado, Ronovi, etc, have said: Elders already get enough shiny thingies, and if a Jedi Hunter wants to plow all their points into being a master sniper, go for it, maybe they'll even be able to take out a Grand Master with the right shot.

Sure, you can argue "rank" is the same as "experience", but... I see experience in the DB as someone's Force training. Am I a better duellist or pilot because I have more points in it? No. I'm a better duellist because my Force powers are stronger, I have better Precognition, I can Amplify my speed more, so on, and so on.

But if I get hit with the Horizons plague and lose all my Force powers? I should be no better than an ACO at firing a blaster, as I've just lost all my advantages. (If anything, if Skills really, really must be restricted, I'd prefer Membership Time to Rank, so that, sure, people who've been here longer would still get perks, but if you'd been a DJK for six years, you'd still have unlocked Tier 6 and be able to finally claim you've become a Master at using a Blaster, and not forever have DAs mocking your inferior skill.)

I agree with Solus and Ronovi.

Has anyone had any issues with figuring out what skills support what in the pyramid? It took me 20 minutes to get the red out of my pyramid. I have no idea what supports what. There is little to no indication in a skill description as to what that skill supports or needs to be supported by.

Kodais, there is no specific stills needed to support other skills, it just about the numbers. In order to have 4 skills at "level" 2, you need a minimum of 4 skills at level 1.

It's a pyramid, the top can't be bigger than the bottom. (That's what a lot of the above convo is about)

Also, just a suggestion for the Journeyman who's past makes him an ace pilot... I'll just leave these FATE aspects here (to be Star Wars-ized/DB-ized if they want...)

Flawless Navigation [Pilot]

The skies are an open map in the character’s mind. Unless bizarre circumstances are afoot, he can never get lost in flight. If something strange is happening – such as when flying through the Bermuda Triangle – the difficulties to his Pilot rolls are never reduced by more than 2.

Fly by Night [Pilot]

Whether in dead of night or during a storm, your character’s piloting skills remain true. The character never faces increased difficulties due to environmental factors (darkness, weather) when flying. This does not protect his plane from taking damage from the environment – but his skill remains unreduced.

Flying Ace [Pilot]

The character is a skilled combat pilot, and may use his Pilot skill to attack in a dogfight, assuming the plane is suitably armed. Normally, a pilot uses Pilot on his defense actions, and must use Guns in order to attack (similar to someone on foot using Athletics for defense and Guns for offense).

Death From Above [Pilot]

Requires Flying Ace.

The character’s combat flight experience makes him a deadly force when he gets the upper hand. While in flight, if he is able to make an attack on another flying target from an elevated position, he does two additional points of stress on a successful hit.

This stunt can’t be used two exchanges in a row; whenever making such an attack, the acrobatics take him out of his position of advantage.

Yes I know this doesn't address the core of people's arguments, put really aspects are pretty epic.

Translation for people who may unaware: in FATE, what we call feats are "stunts".

Solari, are Flawless, Fly By Night, and Flying ace basically what we could call Piloting 1st Tier, Piloting 2nd Tier, Piloting 3rd Tier?

I find myself agreeing with Halcyon, Solus, and Ronovi insofar as plenty of options already being out there for Elders. Most of our club members are not Elders- and given how hard it is to become one, may not ever be. We really should be working to engage the masses and not the top levels. If you are an Elder, you are already engaged and have worked hard for the Club. Let's see more incentives to make people want to play here and work for the Club that are realistically achievable please.

@Yacks, I just pulled them off of some FATE wiki :P I honestly don't know what they are, but they spark my imagination for writing custom pilot related aspects (if I was that way inclined)

Sprinkle a little "veteran of the republic navy" a pinch of "survived naval combat with the vong." Aspect!

Great comments everyone. I only have two quick notes to add.

  1. Character sheets are limiting by their very nature. You are confined to their rules and style. The old system was very limiting and this one will attempt to provide many more options. It won't be perfect and it certainly stops you from being everything and anything, but Mav and his crew will keep working hard to make it an improvement on the past.

  2. There are always going to be extra powers or points as you gain ranks. This is based off of the standard gaming leveling systems we are all familiar with and also off of the very simple psychological motivation of encouraging you to stay in the club longer and excel. You are also going to have a limited set of powers for the GMs as a reward for those who have earned the rank. Sorry :p

Keep the feedback coming. A lot of positive remarks have gone to Mav and Wally and a lot of new insight is coming from the forms.

Quoting the above:

There are always going to be extra powers or points as you gain ranks. This is based off of the standard gaming leveling systems we are all familiar with and also off of the very simple psychological motivation of encouraging you to stay in the club longer and excel. You are also going to have a limited set of powers for the GMs as a reward for those who have earned the rank. Sorry :p

The problem isn't the higher ranked people getting extra powers or extra points. The problem is the higher ranked people have higher skill caps for any skill. No matter how many points he has, a Journeyman can never have four points in piloting, or five, or six. The point is that a person should be able to have the same cap on his skills no matter what rank he's at. If the Journeyman wants to make himself a master pilot at the expense of other things, that should be possible. Keep the caps on Force Powers because that makes sense, but an Elder isn't a better pilot, shot, or investigator independent of the Force then somebody who's profession has been piloting, sniping, or investigation.

God help me, but I kind of agree with Solus' last point.

Where is the like button for Solus' comment?

Mav, you said, "Would Ronovi's skills possible deteriorate over time as she focused on more scholarly pursuits? I don't know about you, but if I have a skill and I don't do it for a long time, I get a little worse at it."

Erm, I am a musician and a writer, and the last I checked, I don't start sucking at being a musician if I start writing a little more. Also, just because Ronovi is pursuing scholarly stuff does not mean she suddenly drops being a general and knowing tactics. She can, God forbid, do both! Saying she can't is like saying your brain can only hold so much information before some of it leaks out. That's simply not the case. Sure, you could forget things over time if you don't entertain them once in a while, but I'm not going to suddenly forget how to play guitar if I don't do it as much as writing.

I think the structure of these character sheets' skill ladders risks discrediting the capabilities of anyone, let alone a character, to absorb, maintain, and strengthen mental, physical, and emotional prowess. Just because you start focusing on one thing does not mean other things get left by the wayside. Just because you're a scholar does not mean you start mentally deteriorating as a general. You can read and fight at the same time. You can learn history and military strategy at the same time. That's how a mind works, and that's how people work. I should not have to sacrifice my character's obvious intellect, through background and through character development, because some sheet told me I can't juggle several things at once. That's not realistic.

And yes, I do get that a couple of people have said to me that with certain skills, you don't have to imply them on the sheet. But I'm getting nothing but mixed signals about that, and that's certainly not an implication newcomers will know about when crafting their CSes. If there are going to be exceptions made and certain qualities not made necessary to put on a sheet, then we need absolute clarity on it, in writing, or else there's no way to tell if we're doing this right without getting told we're not being realistic. We need to see a specific rubric or list of expectations if this sheet is going to be used for fiction grading, for everyone to follow, because it wouldn't be fair if one judge was gung-ho about the CSes and penalized writers while others were more liberal. That's something that needs to be addressed quickly because if it's not, there's no way to tell what universal expectations are. We need clarification on what skills can be defined by background and personal decision and what can't. And if that sounds complicated, maybe it's because the structure we have right now complicates things more than it should.

While yes I do agree the skill system could use some tweaking, I'm still going to play the devil's advocate. I just want to point out one thing which is confusing me about bashing this new system... you do remember how the old system worked right?

If you had used up your points, and you wanted to start "focusing on something else", you'd have to take points away from something to do it. i.e. you'd have to get worse with swords to get better with a blaster.

Yes, I know the old system was just combat skills, but the same thing applies here.

Yes, the old system was just combat skills, which is why to me it was much more digestible. That, and it was used for the ACC only. Now we're being told that not only will our combat and miscellaneous skills be limited, but they will be limited through fiction as well, which is not nearly as technical as ACC. The point I've been trying to make this whole time is that if you impose too many limits on characters due to a fear of godmodding, then the fiction you're going to grade is going to be stale because no one's going to be willing to take risks with showing off new skills and new aspects with their characters. If this character sheet is going to enforce personality and traits and quirks, then why not let members run free with it a little more, have more free range, and then see if it all meets standards in terms of ranks, positions, and capability? Yes, a Protector shouldn't be able to shoot Force lightning, but I'm pretty damned certain that it's be realistic for a Primarch to be a master at Juyo, have adept intellect, and be capable of speaking four or more languages.

Sure, limiting combat is fine, because the higher rank you are, the more in tune you are with the Force and the better you are at combat. But rank does NOT determine background, education, mastery over another art, or passion. You really want to use a standard for characters' personalities and capabilities while judging fiction? I've got a whole wiki article full of that. ;)

Solus has, absolutely, nailed it, and in addition taken my earlier babbling and turned it into a coherent statement (that alone is worth a Dark Cross, I'm sure.) Macron and Halc also pointed it out as well. In simple, yeah, it'd be AWESOME to be an Elder. I wanna be a DJM one day. Do I think it'll happen any time in the next 3 years (arbitrarily chosen timeframe, BTW) ? Most certainly no. The odds of my making EQ4 and a DC slot opening up in any reasonable amount of time are entirely against me, or any other basic member for that matter. Regardless of this, there DOES need to be incentive to try to get it, and it seems like the thing most everyone has agreed upon is greater power in the Force, which also makes the most sense. Elder plus should be about the magical mystical powers and deep esoterica (that's a word, right?) not being a better blaster shot or TIE Pilot.

Also, to put this in a perfect Star Wars reference, Luke was a damn good pilot in New Hope, and was already a badass Ace by the time he was calling himself a Jedi Knight.

I'll get to other things in this thread, but to respond to Solus' latest point, the problem is we have only one method of tracking experience, and that is rank.

You may reject this approach, but would you prefer we go with time as member of the club? I like this option even less. The reality is I want to restrict Skill Placement based on some form of experience indicator. The reason an Elder would be better than a JM is because the Elder has more experience with that skill than the JM. This doesn't mean they are "older," but it does mean more "experienced."

Ronovi: Why would you start sucking if you moved something from 4 to 3? You wouldn't. This is again a question of tiers and how they matter. If you start writing "a little more", of course your musical talents won't be influenced. But what if you train for the next 10 years, 6 days a week, and aim to become a pro athlete, and in that time you only rarely practice your other crafts? Would it not be realistic to think that maybe your previous "4s" became "3s" while your athletics worked its way up the chain?

Again, no, that's not realistic, because you can do both. You can allot hours in the day for both. Also, again, becoming a pro athlete does NOT compromise other skills. That's not how a normal brain works. If I were to numerically value my music skills versus my writing skills, yes, perhaps if I worked on writing more, 4 would become 5, but no way in Hell would my music skills go from 4 to 3! People do not typically get worse at something as they're getting better at something else, no matter how much time they spend on one thing.

To use an example, there was a time I didn't pick up my guitar for three months. I sure wrote during that time - I wrote and I got better at writing. But when I picked up my guitar later, I wasn't worse at playing it - I was exactly the same playing it as I was three months ago. Sure, I didn't improve or get better, but I certainly didn't get worse. Basically, if you put aside a skill for the sake of another, that skill you put aside isn't going to deteriorate - it's just going to remain status quo while your other skill gets more honed. So, no, it makes no sense to have to drop a point in one skill just because you want to add or improve on another.

Also, yes, again, I realize that in the original character sheet, you had to drop down points in some skills if you wanted points in others. But I'll reiterate that it was for ACC alone and only had to do with combat skills, not personal skills or social skills or lingual skills and what not. These character sheets, from what I was told, were meant to be less imposing and more character-liberating because you could craft a character's strengths and weaknesses more liberally. Also, I point back to an earlier post of mine:

"We need to see a specific rubric or list of expectations if this sheet is going to be used for fiction grading, for everyone to follow, because it wouldn't be fair if one judge was gung-ho about the CSes and penalized writers while others were more liberal. That's something that needs to be addressed quickly because if it's not, there's no way to tell what universal expectations are. We need clarification on what skills can be defined by background and personal decision and what can't. And if that sounds complicated, maybe it's because the structure we have right now complicates things more than it should."

"...the problem is we have only one method of tracking experience, and that is rank."

Yes and no, to be honest. Even if things like membership time would be largely arbitrary, there's also things like Prestige, which presently serves no purpose, but which could be put to use for this specific reason: serving as a sum total of ALL the things a member has done, from rank, to SA achievements, to medals, to membership, to positions, etc, etc, etc.

That way, you'd not be walling off everything to everyone under DA, but instead making it a much more flexible system that could be adapted as needed (albeit the actual Prestige numbers would probably need to be looked at from scratch again).

^ I kind of like this.

Goat rocks it with profound wisdom. Getting more prestige through medals and the like is doable to ANY member, and does wonders to bring down the "Ivory Tower" or 1% kind of vibe we currently have.

All hypotheticals here.....

I think the Star Wars examples have been great. I have a little twist on the thought. In a wide open system without point caps: A member takes their first six points and maxes out the Force Lightning. That member can now use Force Storms and wipe out a group of Elders (no big deal, Luke took down two as a barely trained Knight). The thought here is why can't I max out one skill and ignore every other.

I suppose this begs the question of how force powers are learned. Some may say they are learned in a linear fashion where you simply practice lightning daily until you are a storm master. Another take is that the usage of some force skills requires you to learn others. Example, I can't do force storm until I'm well rounded at force push/force pull/rage and Force Lightning (I am after all creating a storm through my anger generating a disruption of the physical environment). We didn't make things that complex on the sheets, but I'd wager I could make a long winded argument that this idea is just as valid as those above calling for no limit on the skills.

Also, I'm not dismissing any ideas and I'm not even saying i buy the above. I'm just putting it out that there are conflicting ideas about learning and the limitation of characters abilities to be a master of something so early in their DJB career.

Strange as it sounds, I actually wouldn't necessarily care if, say, a DJK really, really, really wanted to make themselves into a one-trick-pony and DID do something like that, throwing it all into Force Storm... because, aside from that, their character would suck balls.

To use a D&D analogy, if you throw ALL your points into WIS, sure, you might cast stronger spells... but say hello to not having the strength to actually carry a spell book with you :P

I'm not as fussed with Powers being limited or not-limited...however there should be no tier-limits on Skills. You can learn various skills prior to joining the DB in a fictional sense and may be fairly proficient in something, to the detriment of other things of course. As for Force Powers...I really think your training in that only begins in the DB itself, so I can see caps for that. You can perhaps argue the other way as well if you really want to.

Oh, and remove the +6 tier :P

I'd need to see the prestige formula before I suggest skill caps be based on it... if it's based on position and changes at all after a member loses that position (which I think is how we had it once upon a time) I would be hesitant to have any skill cap based on it.

Yeah no sorry guys, can't do that - it drops, and I don't want people to have to redo skills because they went from being a Quaestor to, er, not being one.

Just to reply to Sarin here, the member would just have a good force shock, they'd still be required to be DA+ to pick the lightning feat or GM to pick the force storm feat.

An addendum, from what I gather most people aren't against level caps on force powers only on skills, as for myself I'd prefer to remove caps in general though since the way feats work gives us an excellent way to still reward the people who have worked hard to become an elder or a GM, you could even give more feat slots to GMs if you're worried about them no longer feeling special if they don't have an entire tier for themselves.

I love the sheet. Made me think long and hard about the core of what I wanted to do with my character, and then write some custom aspects to match it. Love the custom aspects by the way, adding something for people to truly come up with unique aspects (Andrel and I both have elite pilot aspects, but we put them in different places, with totally different descriptions and effects. Well good). Feats are also really good. A lot of fluff here to play with to give a fictional depth to characters. The skill ladder allows for me to show that I've driven for a couple of things (piloting, terror, precog).

My only pointer would be that the number of Lore skills need cutting down.

Wasn't going to say anything until I tried it, but, yeah, this isn't working for me. The skill caps are really busting my balls and are making it very difficult to build what I've always felt was an unconventional character to begin with. Of course, those who know my history are aware for my distaste for conventional characters so this shouldn't come as a surprise. I really want to hear the justification for why my ability with the Force (which what rank, I thought, really represented mechanically) should dictate how good a shot I am. Arden, as written, was a damn good shot before he ever got a lick of force training. So why would that change? I really am at a loss here.

Well.....not arguing the system, but answering Arden's point.

Because the force makes you better. Luke was a good pilot before the force, he becomes the galaxies greatest pilot with the force. Luke could jump real high on the tatooine basketball team without the force, he jumps two story high buildings with the force.

What is hard to understand about the force offering supernatural gifts and enhancing existing skills beyond perforce levels?

As far as applying the force to marksmanship.....breath control, vision (I can sense the guy behind the wall), reflexes, and on and on.

I agree with everything you just said Sarin, but the question I think needs to be addressed is.. do we treat skills as entirely separate, mechanical and technical skills, with no association to our force abilities, or if we should treat them as linked.

Personally, I see both sides of the argument. I tend to treat them as intrinsically linked personally, but I can understand the request that they be treated separately.

I think that we can work it into the skill descriptions that, as someone improves, the Force helps to passively augment skills at tiers 3 through 6?

Or just keep them separate, with the powers themselves augmenting skills when used. I think Sarin had the right idea in his example on marksmanship. Someone can be a great marksman without the Force (let's say a +4), but utilizing some Force powers, coupled with his natural skill, will take him beyond what any "normal" person can do. I think skills should be seen as non-Force related...there will be times that you lose your access to the Force, but your skills should not be affected by that. It's also easier to keep straight, I think, rather than trying to tie it all in and getting things muddled in the process

I think, at the end of the day, we're neglecting the fact that fairly powerful Jedi Masters have been, on more than one occasion, been taken down by people with blasters, or, shock of shock, Droids with blasters. Saying that a pinnacle skill level involves assistance with the Force is a mistake. It would lead to the idea that, those without talent in the Force are altogether less viable, or even weak in comparison. There's plenty of canon characters who've proven that wrong all over the place. Just to toss one out... Wedge Antilles ringing any bells?

Halc: Good idea to keep it separate, and good reasons for it. I'm up to also extending +3 to Novitiates if the fear is taht we are preventing people with a history of being a professional soldier or something from taking skills that reflect that. But, by PRT, members can reflect that in their sheets.

Mirado: What about our system suggests to you this isn't possible at the moment? Context defines everything. It's undeniable that a General Obiwan versus a single Clone Trooper isn't exactly going to be a fair fight, sure, but that clone trooper could get lucky, or Obiwan could be injured, or anything. I mean, it wasn't a fair fight for a Padawan to take on a Darth, but he managed to cut him in two because of the circumstances.

Wedge was a good pilot, but how he compared to DV and Luke is kind of hard to measure, and it's even harder to separate skills. Either way, Wedge improved with experience. At the start of the Rebellion he wasn't nearly as good as he was by the end of it. I agree now with Halc that tying it in with the Force may be a bad idea, though the Force does help you hone skills undeniably.

Current things I like the idea of: 1) Renaming Skill Tier 2 to "Trained." 2) Making Lore a single skill like Linguistics, letting members specify their lore, and making it clear that if you have a high skill in something else you have knowledge related to it as well.

I'm not saying anything about fair fighting. I'm just saying that conceptually tying a DB's member's ability at a given mundane task to their power in the Force is a bad idea. Largely, I'm largely just using different words to say what Halc is saying.

Re: The Wedge example. Baron Fel & Wedge both regarded Luke, and later Jaina Solo as far superior pilots. Wedge knew he could probably hold his own against Jaina due to his being tricksy, but that was when he was like a 40 year veteran starfighter pilot, and she was a rookie.

For the purposes of the CS, I think it is much more functional and easier to create a Chinese Wall between Force/Skills. I just personally don't think it's even remotely accurate for the "reality" of Star Wars.

I agree skills and powers should be kept seperate, and a DJM could still be a better pilot than a DJK even if they both had piloting at 5 since the DJM could use his force powers to augment his piloting with stuff like sense to hit the target the right place (Trench run?) or precognition to sense incoming attacks or even telekinesis (think jedi shadow bombs).

"Ronovi: Why would you start sucking if you moved something from 4 to 3? You wouldn't. This is again a question of tiers and how they matter. If you start writing "a little more", of course your musical talents won't be influenced. But what if you train for the next 10 years, 6 days a week, and aim to become a pro athlete, and in that time you only rarely practice your other crafts? Would it not be realistic to think that maybe your previous "4s" became "3s" while your athletics worked its way up the chain?"

I didn't draw for years, besides maybe a few sketches of fairies and unicorns for my daughter. I instead focused on how to manage and organise a family, learned lots of new programming stuff at work since I switched to a different team.

Did my drawing abilities diminish? My gold novae, my own eyes and friends say differently.

I think the skills and Force need to be separate, as there are Force powers that specifically modify and increase skills (such as Amplification). At the point where those powers exist, the mechanic for the Force making you better at your skills is demonstrated to be something separate and not inherent to your skill levels. As for the issue with skill caps, the idea that a Force user is fundamentally superior using their skills is false, and demonstrated often in canon. When a Force trained Corran Horn comes up against his squad mates in combat, specifically Tycho Celchu, he ended up lucky to come out of it in once piece, as can be seen in this excerpt from I, Jedi.

As for the idea that an Elder is more experienced than an Equite, who is in turn more experienced than a Journeyman, the character sheet system already has a mechanism for that: The Elder has more skill points than an Equite, who in turn has more skill points than a Journeyman. As has been said time and time again, A Journeyman putting the maximum level of points into a skill is something that is already balanced out in the system by giving that Journeyman fewer points to work with elsewhere. Putting five points into a skill when you're a PRT hampers your character in that you've got two less points to use elsewhere (which, given the way the system works, may even equate to having to drop a skill all together).

The one thing the old system did right is that the cap on skills and abilities of a non-Force nature was the same for everyone, no matter who they were. The new system says that people that make up the lions share of the Brotherhood (Equites and Journeymen) fundamentally cannot reach the same level of skill in piloting, investigation, survival, medicine, endurance, resolve, might, athletics, linguistics, lore, or a whole host of other things that an Elder can. Never mind if the Elder is 19 and the Equite is 38. The elders having higher skill caps in Force abilities makes absolute sense, with skills it makes none.

We've been told time and time again that the CS system isn't supposed to interfere with writing a character in a realistic manner. Skill caps absolutely does that, by saying that people that aren't Elders cannot master skills. There's no reason to place a cap on non-Force skills supported by canon or realism. The only reason that seems to be out there is that people of higher rank just need to be better than anyone below them at anything they chose to be. Honestly, I don't have some burning desire I think the skills and Force need to be separate, as there are Force powers that specifically modify and increase skills (such as Amplification). At the point where those powers exist, the mechanic for the Force making you better at your skills is demonstrated to be something separate and not inherent to your skill levels. As for the issue with skill caps, the idea that a Force user is fundamentally superior using their skills is false, and demonstrated often in canon. When a Force trained Corran Horn comes up against his squad mates in combat, specifically Tycho Celchu, he ended up lucky to come out of it in once piece, as can be seen in this excerpt from I, Jedi.

As for the idea that an Elder is more experienced than an Equite, who is in turn more experienced than a Journeyman, the character sheet system already has a mechanism for that: The Elder has more skill points than an Equite, who in turn has more skill points than a Journeyman. As has been said time and time again, A Journeyman putting the maximum level of points into a skill is something that is already balanced out in the system by giving that Journeyman fewer points to work with elsewhere. Putting five points into a skill when you're a PRT hampers your character in that you've got two less points to use elsewhere (which, given the way the system works, may even equate to having to drop a skill all together).

The one thing the old system did right is that the cap on skills and abilities of a non-Force nature was the same for everyone, no matter who they were. The new system says that people that make up the lions share of the Brotherhood (Equites and Journeymen) fundamentally cannot reach the same level of skill in piloting, investigation, survival, medicine, endurance, resolve, might, athletics, linguistics, lore, or a whole host of other things that an Elder can. Never mind if the Elder is 19 and the Equite is 38. The elders having higher skill caps in Force abilities makes absolute sense, with skills it makes none.

We've been told time and time again that the CS system isn't supposed to interfere with writing a character in a realistic manner. Skill caps absolutely does that, by saying that people that aren't Elders cannot master skills. There's no reason to place a cap on non-Force skills supported by canon or realism. The only reason that seems to be out there is that people of higher rank just need to be better than anyone below them at anything they chose to be. Honestly, I don't have some burning desire raise a bunch of my skills to 5. I'm pretty much comfortable where my stuff is at the moment. I just think it's not realistic and also not conducive to engaging newer people into our system when we tell they're just inherently incapable of having playing field resemble anything that's even remotely level.

I, Jedi is the story of a hesitant man taking his first steps down the Jedi Path.

Corran Horn of the NJO would wipe Tycho Celchu off of the floor.

The rest of your points look good :p

Corran also actively states he's holding back because he's trying not to kill his squadmate and friend :P

Did my drawing abilities diminish? My gold novae, my own eyes and friends say differently. -Xia

You don't have to be good at drawing to win a Gold Novae, and your own eyes are subjective as well. For the sake of argument: I bet you would have been able to create the same Gold-Novae entry if you had been spending time practicing or at least working at it at least once or twice a week. The skill is still there, you are talented, that doesn't change. Think about speed, efficiency. You were probably a bit rusty, and if anything, maybe not as FAST as you were. The problem is, this is also subjective, and there is no math or measurement that will prove either of us write or wrong.

There are some things you don't forget. For example: I live in a city and don't drive. When I get in a car, I know how to steer, take turns, do a k-turn, back into a spot and parallel spot. However, I know people who drive every single day of their life, to and from work. They do the same things I may do slower (like parallel parking) just better than I do.

It can go back and forth with no real answer as to "do skills deteriorate if you don't use them." I don't think there is a way for anyone to win on that one.

As for Skills/Force Powers... I think everyone agrees they should be separate. If you want to use the Force to augment your skills, go for it. If you'd rather focus on being able to force shock people, cast illusions, and telekenis, go for it. The choices are there, and the choices are yours.

I still stand by my previous comments that we need a consensus regarding how conservatively fiction entries will be judged based on character sheets and how much freedom we have to do certain things for our characters and their personalities. Again, I am getting very mixed and conflicting replies from people who worked on this sheet when I ask, "Can I do such and such without being penalized?" I've had Marick tell me one thing and Mav tell me another. I have some people saying some skills don't have to be official on the sheet and some people who say the opposite. We need a consistent, written rubric of how these sheets will be used.

And honestly, I hate having to say that, because the point of these sheets, again, were to LIBERATE members so they didn't feel restricted by their character sheets. With these new sheets, I feel more restricted than ever to be adventurous with my character - which I'm sure is the exact opposite of the intent of these sheets.

Something needs to change, or something needs to be clarified. It needs to happen now, before these sheets become official.

Also, Marick - I never became slower or less efficient strumming chords when I didn't play guitar for a handful of months. So there is a real answer to the deteriorating skills question, and that answer is a resounding NO. :P

(And no, this is not just me feeling bitter because I had to change my wiki article saying Ronnie was no longer a Juyo master, only practices two lightsaber forms, and hasn't practiced nearly as many martial art forms. Though to be fair, being a master of Juyo and getting away with it because of the old CS was spectacular. Goes back to Slagar's point, really.)

I must be the oddity here. Four years ago I stopped exercising on a regular basis, last week I hopped on a treadmill and ran two miles. It took me 25 minutes (noob!), I used to run that in less then 14 minutes. I was also sore for 2 days, I used to be able to run 4 miles each day and not be sore.

Earlier this week I had a discussion about checks and balances between the three branches of government. I can't remember them all anymore, even though I know I learned them in 7th grade.

It's not like I can say that those "skills" got worse because I was focusing on learning "Lore: Drug Manufacturing" after I stopped working out. My "Athletics" skill just wasn't as important to me anymore. Obviously my "Lore: 7th Grade Social Studies" probably never was crazy high to begin with.

Sure, I could improve those skills again because I know what exercises to do to improve my run time, and what stretches to do to prevent straining my muscles. I know where to look to find that old Social Studies info. If my Athletics was a +3 before, it's a +1 now. If my Social Studies was ever a +1, now it's a 0.

Just wanted to throw out some real life examples, at my own expense, of skill loss. I'm sure others have experienced similar things as well.

I think the ranks need to be renamed, at the very least, Skill Tree Rank 2 should NOT be "Average". Skill level 2 is, at least in my understanding, above average. If I am understanding the sheets correctly, I would suggest taking the average title out and shifting all titles down a rank so we are left with the following.

Level 0 - Mediocre. General ability to perform menial tasks and/or having a good rounded field of experience outside of the DB. Level 1 - Learned. Intermediate ability. Not going to set the world alight with skill, but are decent enough to hold your own. Level 2 - Proficient. You are entirely comfortable in your ability. You will still have some trouble performing in stressful situations. Level 3 - Adept. Your actions are second-nature. You can begin using your ability before making a conscious effort to do so. Level 4 - Master. Your skills are among the top of all the known galaxy. You are a true master, perhaps even sought after by students looking to learn from you. Level 5 - Sovereign. This is the absolute limit of your abilities regardless of time and experience doing so. Only force powers can enhance your abilities now.

I think the above gives a good sense of what we are trying to achieve with our skills. Levels 5 is the physical limit to your abilities and you can never get any better, save for the influence of the force, which in a fictional sense, would have to be written in and stated as having been used.

I would also support the skill tree being totally unlocked. Anyone could have a level 5 skill, just at lower levels you will be sacrificing the everything else to be that specialized.

Also, one thing to remember is that there is no perfect system. I could fictionally create a character that is a 50 year old jack-of-all-trades and was once a champion Iron-Man. He would have skill points out the wazoo because he has been everywhere and done everything and has trained in many different things, but the CS does not cater for that. We must play the cards we have been dealt. I would, however, be in support of possibly giving everyone a base-level skill point boost then reducing the amount of points you gain per DB rank, to better reflect the possibility of a career and life before joining the Brotherhood.

Ronnie, I answered your question concerning fiction already. The graders will be encouraged to apply common sense in addition to the grading rubric. The rubric has a Star Wars realism bracket. This bracket will take your char sheet into consideration, but will really focus on the outliers or abusers. Prt Joker using Force Storm without the ability is an issue we would target in our grading. We are looking for major abusers of realism, not the subtle shift between a level 3 and 4 within the Pilot skill.

In the old system we would refer to the char sheets when an entry looked wonky. If the author avoided god mode behavior or insane statements of ability, we usually could grade their entry without even referring to the char sheet. I don't anticipate that changing now. Maybe the next voice will require a strict adherence to the sheets, but I doubt it.

"As far as something needs to happen now!" Something is happening now. The sheets are in beta, a feedback form is available, and everyone's comments are being considered. Some changes are happening now and some changes will not happen at all. Mav/Wally/Raken/Muz/I are going to make a call on several topics, but we are going to take into consideration more opinions than just those who repeat their arguments in dramatically long fashions.

Lets not get too worked up about a system that is encouraging feedback and taking that feedback into consideration. The last sheets didn't even try to do that, despite a lot of negative feedback. I published the old sheets as GM and said "here yo go, no changes are planned." A system with feedback seems to be a pretty awesome step forward in terms of customer service. Of course, not all members are going to be pleased with the end results. Please direct hate to Muz and Raken when that happens. They get paid the big bucks to handle people's displeasure. :p

Yeah, I couldn't imagine fiction, RO's, etc being dissected for CS adherence to the same level ACC matches used to be simply because of the time it would take to actually do it in that great detail. I've been left sitting around waiting for an ACC judge to finish grading a match on a couple of occasions (Like, waiting for them to finish somebody else's match so he and I can do other things), and the amount of time involved would turn fiction grading into an even more time consuming hell for the graders.

All in all, it's a system that's a far superior product to what we've ever had before (It's a CS system that finally has stuff about personality!), there are just some areas that need a tweak, and it sounds like at least some tweaks are in the pipeline. =D

^ Agreed with Slags. And remember, I'm not dramatic - I'm just shamefully verbose. :P

I would recommend the skills be named, Qualified, Trained, Proficient, Adept, Master. I support the removal of the sixth tier, and unlocking tiers. If the point of the system is choice, let's allow people to specialize to the point of making the sacrifice to be master of a skill. Skill and Force ladders should be separate. Everyone likes to point to ranks and earning privileges for dedication, that's what feats and aspects should be about. Those customization features allow the elders to take ordinary, Force Shock, and turn it into Force Lightning. The same with Wave vs Storm. These feats give that specialized something only available to the Dedicated and Exalted few.

Sixth tier is not being removed, guys. That's just not happening.

Age is not experience, and different forms of experience often have different returns. The same argument on age and anything else can be applied to Force Powers, as well. Why would a 19 year old DA have better Force Lightning than a 38 year old Equite, if age is what is important? If Rank is not Experience, then what is it? Is it purely "Force Aptitude"? This is where Aspects are very important for Skills and the like and they indicate a preference for their usage that helps alleviate concerns you guys have.

As to Baron Fel and Wedge, how do we know they wouldn't be a force-less equivalent of a DJM or so in our organization? Many units have NPCs that are exceptionally skilled and have served in them for years and years.

TR: Every Rank Class has unique feats that improve Force Powers and turn them into "something different." Highlighting a couple Elder examples doesn't mean Elders have some kind of unusual Perk in this regard.

Mav's Latest Update: 1. Renaming Skill Tiers, at least Tier 2 to "Trained." Consideration of other renames still going on. 2. Addition of new species. I'll try to get to a bunch today, and a few more tomorrow. Thank you to people sending them in :) 3. Lore will be re-coded, current skills removed and set to Inactive. This may cause people's character sheets to need to be redone, so I suggest saving your Aspects and/or removing your Skills in Lore for now. Note that I will make a news post before I inactivate any current skills. The new "Lore" will be as "Linguistics" is now. 4. I understand the arguments relating to why you guys want tiers unlocked, and I'll explore them. At this point, we literally are just talking in circles and I don't think we're accomplishing much on that particular agenda. I'm not trying to tell you guys to shut up by any means, feel free to continue, but I do think I understand your arguments. I think we just see this differently, and that's okay. 5. Skill Tier Sovereign will not be getting removed. 6. After the initial dust settles, I will look into expanding some Discipline selections.

Note: If you DO NOT have an active Lore Skill, you will NOT be impacted by any Lore changes. I will announce any such changes to Lore on the main page in advance of it happening so you guys know to remove your Lore Skills if needed.

Also, it doesn't make any sense at all to derive base skill points from rank if rank isn't experience, so I think we'd need a different measure, and I don't know that we have one that would be sufficient. The same rationale for why a member should have +5 in a skill at the start of his DB career can be used for why he should have +5 in a bunch of different skills.

Mav, I think the argument in that regard, about the +5 being unlocked f or anyone is just that people should be allowed to make the sacrifice to get a skill their if they wish.

As to your remark about how we drive xp, I understand and have no issue with it being rank related. It makes sense that way, I think the only real argument in that regard is being able to min/max the way that someone wants to. Personally, I don't think I'll be using it, even if you unlock it. But I'd like the option.

Also, to your point about aspects, someone had made an argument earlier about an App having Force Storm at +5, and being a one trick pony. I was trying to point out that giving people the ability to min/max doesn't take away from the differentiation that occurs for those who have earned the feats that take those skills and alter them.

As for the next discussion about having multiple skills at +5, there has to be a limit to what we offer and that's the point of ranking up. Let's offer people the option, within the structure that exists.

I looked back and saw that some people were talking about Stige and other measures, hence your comment about finding another method to measure it, and I didn't see one that made sense.

When you said Sovereign isn't getting removed, did you mean the name or that you won't be closing tier 6?

We won't be closing Tier 6, correct, TR. I recently sent a collection of feedback to the Voice, DGM, and GM. Our discussion is ongoing, but several of our decisions were the 5 points I mentioned above. :)

There really is no solution to make everyone happy with what we consider as "Experience".

  • Prestige - Absolutely not. This is a fluctuating number- and as Mav said, you should not loose points on your character sheet because you stepped down from a position due to Real Life complications. That would punish most of the existing and former leaders in this club.

  • The # of ACC matches / # of Seals/Ribbons / # of gaming events/CFs - All other options, but you can find at least one or two problems with each of those. Someone gets screwed, something is unfair.

At that point, why not stick with what we've used for the clubs entire existence (yes, shocking Wally is admitting for once that Newer might not be better) and use our "Ranks" as experience? The system has taken a huge stride in lowering the highest-power (GMs) and boosting the lower (JRNY) powers while keeping the middle (EQs) somewhat balanced. But regardless, there is no solution that will make everyone happy.

There is a lot of potential, but looking at what we have now, I think Rank is the best way to do it, and that we've done a pretty good job of making it so that a GRD could fight an Equite 1 and not die in 3-seconds.

I don't think anyone has argued that we shouldn't use ranks as experience (if so I must have missed it in the 117 comments... :P) as far as I can tell everyone is fine with higher rank = more points to spend, the only issue is the tiers being locked off to specific ranks.

Observation about the problems with Prestige: won't the exact same problems also exist when Possessions are finally implemented? (Well, presuming Possessions are still going to be tied to Prestige points, as was the original idea waaaaay back in the day when Mav first wrote the Project: Rebirth proposal in 2003?)

If so, it would go back to what I said about how, given Prestige currently serves no purpose beyond bragging rights, it would simply require looking at the way the numbers tally again -- which wouldn't be any different to what's happening here with people discussing the Skill points for the Character Sheets, etc, given Prestige is currently little more than a beta either really (the numbers were revised when the new site went live, so it's not like anyone's going to blow a gasket if it needed some more adjustments and they saw their current numbers change again).

"You don't have to be good at drawing to win a Gold Novae, and your own eyes are subjective as well. For the sake of argument: I bet you would have been able to create the same Gold-Novae entry if you had been spending time practicing or at least working at it at least once or twice a week. The skill is still there, you are talented, that doesn't change. Think about speed, efficiency. You were probably a bit rusty, and if anything, maybe not as FAST as you were. The problem is, this is also subjective, and there is no math or measurement that will prove either of us write or wrong."

I wasn't rusty. Instead I was capable of doing things I used to struggle with years ago. And considering the speed... I know how much time I spent on pictures. Back then it were like 3 hours. Now it's 1-2 hours. That is not subjective.

Vexatus: One would assume your possessions remain even if your purchasing power decreases. I have no idea if that is the case anymore. Possessions were things you purchased, and the list of things you could purchase back then was based on your prestige. Once you had something, it remained yours.

CSes are very often edited and managed, and tiers would be invalidated based on current code if you lost prestige if we used that instead of rank. I'm not sure if that is a good idea.

Muz has said that tenure of term would pay salary, and that individual medals would have single payouts, so the actual stige isn't representative of what that payout would be.

TR: Sorry, Vexatus and I were referring to the original project on prestige and credits I wrote up. I have no idea how Muz plans to do it. Back then, prestige allowed you access to things. Credits were used to purchase them. Prestige was based around all your medals, and also your most recent position or somesuch. I don't know the current plan so please do not think this is me talking about what the DB's possession system will be or what not.

What I do know is that I was told by Muz that prestige does decrease when you leave a position. Therefore, it is not an optimal tracker of true experience.

Mav: I think the issue of "rank = experience" has to do with the fact that you have put skills down that aren't necessarily affected by the rank you have in the Brotherhood. Knowing lore, piloting a ship, practicing a martial art, or slicing a computer really doesn't correlate with Brotherhood rank. You could have an Acolyte with excellent prior knowledge in slicing - as far as I'm concerned, how well you do in the Brotherhood doesn't necessarily affect that.

My suggestion is to see certain miscellaneous skills - more referring to do with background and hobbies, such as book knowledge and astrogation - be left off the skill ladder, and be more incorporated into an aspects category than a skills category. Yes, it makes total sense that the more you progress in rank, the better you can handle a lightsaber and the better you can use the Force. But you sure as Hell don't need to be an adept Force user or a higher Brotherhood rank to hack into a console, be a manipulative politician, or work hard as an interrogative cop. If that were the case, we'd have no talented or special NPCs (who are normally non-Force sensitives), and we'd be delivering the false impression that the only way you can be a good not-required-to-use-the-Force-or-lightsaber-activity-doer is by being a higher Dark Jedi rank.

I for one am not saying that rank shouldn't be the bar by which we measure things in the Brotherhood. The only issue I have is that higher ranked people get more points to spend AND they have higher caps on those skills. Honestly, one or the other should be fine. The one that seems to be the one that makes sense, and the one that's been used in every CS system in writing groups I've ever seen, is that higher ranked people get more points to spend.

I think that a lot of the issue with Rank = Level, and how we rank up and whatnot, has to do with looking at the CS system as a tool of a Role Playing Game, or in other words a system where the stats on your sheet determine your chances at success and failure at the activity. The problem is that it isn't a tool for an RPG. The CS is a tool for writing. Honestly, it doesn't matter if lower ranked people could have any skill (Force included) as high as they want, save that it offends our sense of what is right and proper. Having more CS points doesn't mean you'll win at fiction, RO's, or ACC matches. The person who writes best should win. I've always said this when it comes to the ACC: If you write your character taking the beating better than the other guy writes his character giving it, you should win. So, the skills, force powers, and feats you get as you rank up don't help you do better in any of the activities we have around here. Those points allow you to advance the story of the character you're writing is all. As such, the CS should be a tool for story telling, and it should prioritize letting you write the character you want to write within reason. The sheet should serve as a writer's bible for anyone in writing said character (not just the person who created the character). At it's heart, that's all it is. Honestly, having a sheet that's min/maxed to limit any potential flaws or weaknesses in your character is a bad thing in a writing environment. The simple reason for this is a character that can overcome challenges easily faces no real conflict, and a lack of good conflict and/or peril starts to make for boring stories. (See Star Trek: Voyager and their interactions with the Borg for proof of this)

Removing the skill caps (again, not Force stuff) from characters just means that people have the flexibility to write reasonable characters the way they want to. Is it reasonable that a highly trained veteran pilot would have a piloting skill at +5? Yes. Does he have to be an Elder for it to be reasonable? No. Will the Elder that also has a +5 in piloting probably eat him alive because said Elder can add additional Force skills to the mix? You bet your ass. Because skills don't exist in a vacuum. Somebody with a good level in Sense and the Elementary feat is probably a lot better investigator than somebody with just the Investigation skill alone. I just see that removing the skill caps means people can create reasonable characters without our system slapping them in the face with the fact that in no way can they be experts or masters of any skill. It doesn't make those people as powerful as an Elder when using those skills because the Force abilities aren't there to complement. And, at the end of the day, having more points on your CS doesn't give you one iota of competitive advantage over somebody that just plain writes better then you, so why is it a big deal to allow people to master a limited number of skills even if they're low ranked? It's not like they'd be masters of everything, we already have several means of ensuring they can't (pyramid, point allotments, etc.).

For the most part, I think the character sheet does let you write the character you want to write, within reason. So do many others. But the thing is, we all have different definitions of what "within reason" is in the first place, which is why we have character sheets at all. Unfortunately that basically means that not everyone will be happy no matter what we decide to do. People already have a lot of flexibility to write characters they want to. Many members are realizing this with Aspect and Feat selection. To that end, Feats aren't done being added - but I'm always willing to have skills that people think can benefit from a Feat, so if you think your favorite skill needs some love, let me know.

I think a lot of the problem is still in defining tiers, and this is my fault. Someone at +5 is Wedge, Fell, Luke, etc by the time they are wizened veterans, well past the movies. Someone at +5 is among the best living at a skill. Someone at +4 is a complete expert and capable of amazing feats. Someone at +3 is a total professional and has a great deal of experience with the skill and knows when and how to use it in any situation it's applicable. A well-trained veteran pilot is going to be +3, maybe +4 depending on his or her actual skill. When I think of what a member being +3 would be, I'd think it would be someone that has a history or background as being trained in that area and has experience using that skill in actual situations repeatedly - a veteran pilot. +2, as we'll be renaming it, would be someone that has trained extensively with the skill but may not have the same level of "real world" experience, and thus still needs a bit more work. That'd be a pilot that hasn't flown many sorties, if any. Someone at +1 is basically someone that is still in or has just passed flight school.

These are all evolving definitions, and we'll work on that. These categories are meant to be very broad, and encompass wide degrees of skill. That's why context is so important. Someone at +1 could definitely kill someone at +5 in a lot of situations. It's all about the writing and the context, about writing believable fiction.

I think you're missing the concept when it comes to one very special word: Mastery. Members, Journeymen and Equites alike, want mastery over something, even if it's just one thing. When you only allow mastery in the Elder/GM levels, you make it nearly unattainable, and people won't feel like their characters are capable of perfecting a particular field - which can be possible at any rank, depending on what the field is.

Heck, even just opening up the +5 tier or renaming a tier "Master" can solve a lot of problems. If in the skills set (which, bear in mind, has nothing to do with Force powers, so we can't really argue that it's godmodding), someone selects +5 for a skill, we already know that affects the ladder. Similar to maxing out a skill bar in the previous CS by five points, selecting a skill to master will affect how you're capable of doing other things. The point here isn't about allowing Journeymen and Equites to do whatever they want - it's to allow them the opportunity to master something, even at the cost of another skill. For example, I find it perfectly reasonable that a Jedi Hunter would be a master at astrogation (+5), which would ultimately set him back on other skills such as perception or intimidation because of his focus on the master skill.

Basically, the ladder works - the issue is the cap on +5, making mastery exclusive only to Elders. There is one inarguable fact in the Star Wars universe: Anyone, at any rank, can master a skill. We (and by we, I mean me and a few other people I've talked to) just want that trait to be accessible to all ranks, even if having that trait makes you have to sort out your points, and your ladder, a little more carefully.

Mav: So the main hangup with Prestige would be it dropping, say, from 1000 back to 900 (or whatever) if someone left their position? Hmm...

While this is spinning a bit off topic (sorry!), this discussion has actually just made me realise why having it drop like that might not be the best idea for reasons beyond just the CS. Say, for instance, you need 1000 points to be able to buy corvettes. Say you're currently on 980, and really, really want that corvette. Say you're well past it, really should retire and move on, but you're refusing to budge just yet, because you. want. that. capital. ship. So you'll sit in your position, until you've bought that toy you really want.

That's... actually probably not really a good attitude for Prestige to encourage :/

Anyways, off topic I know, but it highlights how I expect Prestige will undoubtedly reveal its own issues when its finally put to use for something, so its final form might still one day have... some role, even if rank remains the primary CS tool.

My god you guys write a lot....I've run out of time to read through everything, so apologies if this has already been said. I like the fact there are lores in the skill tree. Possibly a few too many atm, but means that people who write their characters as fantastic combatants can't also know all there is to know about everything. If you choose to write your character as someone who spends a lot of time in the library and has many high level knowledges you're unlikely to also be amazing at combat. Without having the lore section in the skill set, everyone would be putting all their points into combat type skills (or yes, interrogation, diplomacy, etc), and everyone would end up with decent levels of lore. It would reduce character variety, or in my opinion it would anyway.

The thing that got me most - not being able to use my browser's 'back' button - the screen on my netbook isn't big enough to see the 'back' button at the bottom of the page easily, so I kept using the browser button, and losing everything I'd already typed....may have sworn at you the third time I did it Mav - nothing personal ;)

I think it has been often mentioned what feels "clumsy" about Lore skills: We do have the Shadow Academy that already reflects what your character has learned. So adding up Lore skills collides with this. Shall we tell our Journeymen and Equites: "Sorry, you did tons of SA courses, got a Maven, but all you did is invalid for your character development." Lore skills are interesting, I have always enjoyed them, but they are furthermore a punishment in a system where you depend on a lot of more important skills and where you don't always run around in a group. Roleplay is mostly about groups. You have often a warrior (something like a tank), someone who is probably able to heal, some wizard and maybe an assassin or rogue'ish character. They take different sets of skills to complement each other.
But this isn't working in the ACC or in writing fiction where you are often sent off to missions - alone. Or you constantly add NPCs to aid with things you can't do.

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