Re: New study idea

Carl Edman (
Tue, 18 Aug 92 10:02:08 PDT

Scott Hauck writes:
> Since I've yet to feel a really good flame lately, and
> since I'm sure BtA will just LOVE this idea, here goes a new
> idea on STUDYING skills. Note that this idea is much more
> applicable to a COMPANION system than a large- faction
> system.

Heck, I'll surprise you ! I really _do_ like parts of this. As a
matter of fact I've proposed something similar before on this very
list. (You know, high level advancement isn't all that much of a
concern to me any more :-) ).

> First off, my problems with the current system are:
> 1.) It encourages people sitting on their butts in a tower
> studying

While I guess that in some cases that is not desireable, for some
skills (like eg. general magic) that is perfectly realistic. To
become a great mage, you've to spend many years listening to lectures
by better mages, reading books about magic and training spell
casting. None of these require that you travel.

> 2.) it allows people to advance to high levels with
> no accomplishments

That might be a problem. But I see no even remotely realistic
solution to this.

> 3.) Guilds aren't that useful

Not any more. Before they were quite useful.

> What I'd like to see is for all training except for actual
> level advancement to occur during the player's normal
> work. So, concurrently with a player's normal
> activities, he'd be accumulating experience in
> whatever skill he has chosen to learn.

I think that change is fairly silly (well, you _asked_ to be flamed,
didn't you ? :-) ). You mean that I can spend all day building boats
and just spend an hour or two in the evening reading about my subject
and _still_ learn at the same rate ? You mean that even if I spent
all day reading books, attending lectures and making experiments
because I don't need the money, I would not be able to learn at a
faster pace ? No, I think that all students and ex-students on this
list will be able to tell you that learning quickly is a full time

> At the point where a
> player needs to advance a level, or to begin in a skill
> which he has no experience, he must seek out a teacher of a
> higher level than himself, and spend something like
> 3*level days studying with that teacher.

That doesn't sound like terribly much. It also doesn't affect what
you consider to be problem #1. If I have to search out a teacher
every time I want to advance a level, I'll just move right to the
town where the best teacher is and continue building my boats there.

> For most levels
> of a skill, the teachers in most towns should suffice.

You mean some fictious teacher ? Or do you mean actual units or NPCs

> For
> higher levels, where only few people have such high
> skills, the player would have to seek out better
> teachers. When the player finally reaches a very high
> level, there would no longer be teachers, and some kind of
> quest would need to be performed. For example, a Mage
> would have to seek out the Necronomicon, and USE it, in
> order to gain the next level.

This is rather unrealistic but you guessed that. I also don't quite
see how the details would work. Why can't the wealthy mage just send
out a henchman to find and bring the necronicon to him ? That way
he'd safe a lot of time. Once he has the Necronomicon can no mage
advance to the his level ? Or are there dozens of copies of it around
? Why, then he can just buy an used copy from one of the other

No, a quest for the Necronomicon would be just fine. But instead of
requiring it from everybody to advance a level, instead but a new
spell (see how it all fits together ? :-) ) into it which one can
only learn from it. And while the copy could still be passed around
(or the mage could just teach the spell for that matter), if you are
the only one with a new spell, you'll be very reluctant to give it to
anyone. BtA - as a matter of fact - would burn the book or rather
GIVE it to 0.

Anyway, quests should be fun, dangerous, exciting, profitable aso for
everyone. But putting them into the level advancement scheme is a
terrible hack.

> BTW, I'd suggest that a
> teacher would have to be 5 levels above their students, so
> that levels 7-10 would automatically require quests to
> fulfill them.

Again this is not very realistic. A good teacher given enough time
can teach a student everything he knows. Why should BtA be unable to
teach a 5th level mage to become a 6th level mage ? BtA certainly has
all the knowledge required for either of these levels.

Just in case that there should be some person on this list so
unenlightened that he didn't immediately memorize every single word
of my earlier posts :-), I'll reiterate how I would propose to change
the study system:

Cut down drastically on effectiveness of untaught learning. Learning
without a teacher should take 3 or 4 times as many days as it does
now. This would represent actual research. Learning from teachers
(even level 0 teachers) should proceed at the same rates as it does

This changed system is much more realistic. After all the current
learning times are much much too short if one assumes that the
students actually invent the craft or science which they are
STUDYing. On the other hand they are not required to have a teacher
or books so it can hardly be traditional learning. What is it ?

This change would also suddenly propel teaching from the fringe to
becoming an integral part of the game. It would also open up whole
new vistas of cooperation between players.

While is making that change, one might as well also remove the level
10 level barrier. As there is _nobody_ above level 10 as of yet, all
advancement to level 11 would have to be by research which would take
over a year even using wizardly methods, so there is no danger of a
levels explosion. On the other hand, the first level 11 in any skill
would become greatly desired by all the level 10s who will be after
his research results (i.e. want to be thaught by him to reach level
11 themselves in only a few months).

Carl Edman, BtA

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