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MarcoSnow
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Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Sat 11 Mar 2017, 21:28

Reading through the Ark section of the Mutant: Year Zero core book (97) and the Opposed Rolls section in the Mutant: Genlab Alpha core book (45), I've often wondered why certain Skills were used for situations outside of their skill descriptions (e.g. Sneak vs. Scout; Manipulate/Dominate vs. Sense Emotions in opposed rolls). Other instances of this can be found in Mutant: Year Zero's ARK layer—specifically, the ARK projects. For example, the Endure Skill, typically used when “traveling in rough weather or . . . when suffer[ing] severely cold conditions,” comes up during construction of numerous projects where its application requires some intuitive leaps based on context.*

Why would one need to Endure in this sense when building a temple or a tavern?* Is it the effort involved in its construction or is it a measure of the People’s dogged persistence to seeing the project through? If the former is the case, couldn’t it be just as easily determined with a Force roll due to the brute strength involved in construction? Then again, the Endure roll may have to do with something more abstract. In the case of the temple, this may refer to the People’s desire to cling to faith in the face of incredible hardship. An Endure roll related to the tavern could reflect the People’s use of alcohol to endure by drowning their sorrows at the tavern every evening (or, to flip that on its head, to endure in spite of the temptation of losing oneself in their cups).

There seems to be a certain ambiguity when it comes to how the GM and their players read these skills (perhaps intentionally). Where does the distinction lie between the development or construction element, and the performance of the tasks one does therein (the day-to-day management or function of a particular establishment)? On paper, once these projects are finished, the People continue to maintain these projects without needing any player input (aside from dealing with the occasional sabotage). And yet, by describing the process as “working on a project” it gives the impression that projects have a finite length and are summarily abandoned as soon as work stops (since players no longer make skill rolls relating to these projects).

How do you interpret these atypical Skill applications in the ARK development layer from the GM side of things? How should players approach describing their participation in a particular ARK project in light of this ambiguity?

Any information on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

Footnote

*A few make quite a bit of sense, however. The Croplands project is a good example of this. It’s hard to question the fact that farming is grueling work, requiring long hours of physical endurance beneath the beating sun.
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Note: The topic of this thread was prompted by a discussion with Fenhorn about implementing the Tracker mutation with Mutant: Genlab Alpha's opposed Sneak rolls (Link).
Last edited by MarcoSnow on Tue 14 Mar 2017, 13:44, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Tomas
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Sun 12 Mar 2017, 16:22

Hi!

A very quick reply: In general, Endure is used for enduring harsh conditions or hard labor over longer periods of time, while Force is used for individual feats of strength.
Fria Ligan
 
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MarcoSnow
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Sun 12 Mar 2017, 20:45

Thanks for clearing up that use of the Endurance skill, Tomas.

Would someone mind explaining the distinction between the development of an ARK project and the day-to-day performance of said task upon its completion (if any) from a GM/RP perspective? Are they essentially the same?
 
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MarcoSnow
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Sun 19 Mar 2017, 15:54

I apologize if my follow-up questions were confusing, allow me to clarify using an example. To establish a tavern (or, to put it in game terms, develop the Tavern project), one must use the Endure or Sense Emotions skill. Applying Tomas' definition, Enduring would probably mean performing hard labor over time (building the tavern). Sense Emotions may refer to the People trying to get a good read on those they employ to run the tavern (i.e. ensuring they aren't involved with the ARK's criminal element, or that they can be trusted with access to the alcohol supply).

What I'm wondering is this: to what extent would these skills directly translate to the skills required in the ongoing operation of said project (in this case, keeping the tavern up and running)? To what extent do they differ? I understand that Skill rolls are unnecessary once a project is complete, I'm just trying to come to grips with the transition from work-in-progress tavern to local watering hole from a GM/PC RP perspective.

On a bit of a side note, would it be possible for a PC to work an odd-job at the tavern (or other establishment) during their time back at the ARK for some spare bullets/grub/water? What type of Skill roll would this require, if any? Would the Endure skill still apply to things like enduring harsh conditions at the tavern (dealing with rowdy patrons or the criminal element)? Would the Sense Emotions skill translate to a bartender's ability to read a bar patron's mood and commiserate with them?
 
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Tomas
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Sun 19 Mar 2017, 21:14

Hi!

Good questions. In general, there are no hard rules for the daily operations of most projects once they're up and running (taverns etc), but there is certainly room for house rules there should you want to focus your campaign in this direction. :)
Fria Ligan
 
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MarcoSnow
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Mon 20 Mar 2017, 22:06

I suspected as much. Should the need arise I'll try to throw something together using house rules. Thanks, Tomas.
 
Jizmack
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Tue 04 Apr 2017, 22:20

Adding my opinion for what's worth...

The players take on a very different role when dealing with Projects in the Ark. They do not represent individual characters, but instead represent a group, a faction, or a major Boss.
However, the skill descriptions are specific for an individual character.
When a skill is used in the context of a Project, it should be applied to a more abstract representation of sub-set of the population. I assume, to avoid added complexity in the rules, the creators repurposed the individual character skills, as opposed to coming up with entirely different Ark specific skills.
Keeping with the Endure example, its description when used to develop the Tavern Project could represent the overall effort of a group to organize effectively and stay on schedule.
Just as the players take on two different roles in the games (an individual and a part of the Ark), so should their skills.
 
DruidGamer
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Thu 06 Apr 2017, 09:45

I may be misreading your response but it sounds like you're confusing the two aspects of Ark projects:  1) the PCs take on the role of Big Bosses/Faction leaders when proposing a new project but 2) are being themselves & using their own skills when actually working on (or working against) a specific project.
 
Jizmack
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Fri 07 Apr 2017, 19:29

Yes, I'm "confusing the two aspects of Ark projects"... but, on purpose. I personally do not interpret the second aspect as individual characters making skill rolls. I see those skill rolls as being a continuation of the first aspect. The player character is just involved with the project, but that skill roll represents collective efforts of all involved. Just my interpretation.
 
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MarcoSnow
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Re: Making Sense of Unusual Skill Usage in the ARK Development Layer

Wed 19 Apr 2017, 05:06

Your reply cleared things up immensely, Jizmack. Thanks for posting!
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