Re: Okympia: New Subskills

Scott Hauck (
9 Jul 92 21:32:36 GMT

In article <> (Scott "TCB" Turner) writes:
>Why not eliminate the parent skills? Or at least hide them "in the
>background" as Rich likes to say, creating hidden complexity? It's
>not clear why you should have to learn, say, "Ride Horses in Combat"
>in order to later learn "Tame Wild Beast".

If we're going to have the number of current skills we have now in subskills,
I think a system without parent skills would be overwhelming. Right now,
for a specific unit you need to decide which of about 10 skills he'll major in,
and set him to work. As he finds interesting avenues, he can explore these
side corridors.

BTW, your example above is looking at it wrong. You should say "Anyone who
can handle wild animals well enough to tame, should know how to ride pretty
well in the process of the hunt + animal empathy, so he should know the
rudiments of combat riding".

Also, the way most of the system is set up now, someone dabbling in a bunch
of skills gets a set of skills useful to the dabbler, but not the advanced
skills of an expert. So, learning a bit of combat, military leadership,
and equestrian would all be good things for the warlord-in-training.

In the type of system you propose, you'd be overwhelmed with possible study
areas from the start.

>And while you're at it, why not eliminate skill levels in the skills
>as well? Or at least knock them down to something like 3 levels
>(Novice, Veteran, Expert). It seems to me that trying to accomodate
>10 levels stretches Olympia in some undesirable ways.
>Of course, if it were up to me, I'd also eliminate omniscient
>learning. You'd be able to learn some basic skills in any city, but
>anything else you'd have to be taught by another unit, or RESEARCH it
>at *considerably* more time and expense than being taught. But this
>practically begs for NPC teachers, which may be too much to implement
>at this time.

These last two I agree with a lot - axe the current 10-step gradiation, and
instead go to a fuzzy "novice", "Veteran", "Expert". One nice thing with this
is behind the scenes, different skills can have different numbers of levels.
For example, "cutting stone" could only have 3 levels, since there isn't all
that much to learn, while "combat" would have more since there's much greater
things to learn. As the user progresses, he'd get messages such as
"you see your skill noticeably improve" meaning you moved up a level, and
your grade would change as you got closer to the highest level, telling you
how close to guruhood you are. So, for the following skills, here's what you'd
see: For each level, you get the "improve" message, and at some levels your
gradiation changes:

Grade Cutting stone Riding Horses General Magic
----- ------------- ------------- -------------
Novice 1 1 1
Beginner 2 2,3
Intermediate 2 3 4,5,6
Expert 4 7,8,9
Guru 3 6 10

I think this fits the "hidden complexity" idea well.

As to book learning - I think Olympia overrates it. I think someone's skill
should be based both on study and on experience, so that you couldn't become
the world's greatest swordsman without ever being in a fight. Also, for many
skills, you should be forced on some kind of quest/exploration for the highest
level. You can't be a master trader without seeing the Drassan Bazaar, no
Military Leader should miss guided tour of the battle fields of Pesbrand,
and a High Mage must have sipped from the springs of Mt. Norgar.

Scott Hauck