Should the Big Guns skill exist?

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by SilverStarApple/Epsilon7, May 21, 2020.

  1. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Nov 26, 2007
    None of the weapons apply to the Demolition skill... What covers heavy weapons? (Big Guns ?)
  2. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Mildly Dipped

    May 12, 2020
    Yeah I know that lock licking would make more sense to be rolled into repair, but I just felt like that would make Repair a little too overpowered.

    I think it’s worth noting that skills like Repair and Science are already very broad generalizations, so we should either break those up or roll some other skills together to compete with their usefulness. Although, repair and science aren’t really that useful in the original games now that I think of it.
  3. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Explosives would cover a character's familiarity with explosive heavy weapons like Grenade Machineguns and Rocket Launchers whilst also governing their knowledge of demolitions and explosive traps (i.e an Explosives PC would be able to build a homemade frag grenade/explosive or defuse a time-bomb).

    Guns would then take Miniguns, Light Machine Guns and Anti-Tank Rifles, gated behind Strength requirements or perhaps a dedicated Perk.

    Lockpicking is so very specifically niche it needs to be rolled into another skill IMO. Because its only true utility is opening a container or door quietly, most locked doors and containers should be able to be brute forced whether it be with a Crowbar or a suit of Power Armor, but obviously to the detriment that it'd be loud. My suggestion would be rolling Lockpick into a general "Security" skill that deals with lockpicking, breaking into non-electrical security systems and handling/detecting non-explosive booby-traps (i.e splitting Traps role in the original games and taking it from Repair in the new games). *

    I would also make Steal into a broader "Sleight" skill that determines your character's ability to perform manipulative/deceptive tricks and fast fingerwork, so pickpocketing, planting things on somebody, poisoning somebody's drink in public or cheating at a game. Similarly, someone versed in such tricks would be better equipped to spot others doing it. I'd say it's debateable whether you'd want to put concealing things on your own person from search under this skill to give it further utility, or put that under Sneak.

    So you'd have three "Stealth Boy" skills: Sneak, Sleight and Security which all deal with different kinds of stealthy characters, with that division you could have a deceptive Agent 47 type who hides in plain sight, or a Solid Snake that crawls and stalks in the shadows.

    I'm working on the final version of my Fallout PnP and my Skill List/division is such:

    Energy Weapons
    Melee Weapons
    First Aid
    Computer Science
    Lab Science

    I think in the context of a game where you only have one character (rather than a group of PCs) I think Science should stay generalized and I think Doctor/First Aid should probably be merged into Medicine
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  4. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    What the hell is this? Is it like Gambling but instead of Roulette and card games it's
  5. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Basically it represents a PC's ability to network/socialize/carouse. Finding people/services/a fence in a town, pick up rumours, make friends, get to know people et cetera. A Han Solo type character or a former merchant could roll Connect to see if they can dig up old contacts of theirs in a place they've been before. Similarly it's used for diplomacy/ambassador type work, for instance a New Canaanite missionary setting up a mormon mission with a tribe would roll Connect to determine how well they integrate themselves with the tribe or manage translation across languages.

    It's very PnP specific because obviously it wouldn't really work in a video game.
  6. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    That makes sense, I guess I really got that one wrong,
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  7. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Nov 26, 2007
    I don't think so. Demolitions is not about aiming flying bombs; it's about controlled explosions—just about the polar opposite of using a flamethrower and launched explosives.

    I don't think so. Its true utility is opening a container or door quickly, and reliably... the silent part is inherent. Anyone should be able to open a conventional/consumer grade lock if given unlimited time, and/or with no need for silence.

    *Quiet work in Fallout should come of using the Sneak skill.

    IMO the PC should not (should never) know all of these skills at an expert level; these are skills to base a career upon. There is a reason that certain skills cannot be increased except by adding points during leveling; finite number of points, and adding to one means not improving the others.

    AFAIK it already governs this. Sneak = social stealth.

    First-Aid is sports medicine and minor wound care. First-Aid can be improved without leveling skill points. Doctor cannot; Doctor is a dedicated career, and affects dialog with NPCs.
    The two skills take different amounts of time to use, and give different amounts of XP for using them. Any character can manage having a useful First-Aid skill, but those with a developed Doctor skill, are dedicated to it; they are not dilettantes, and their skill comes at a cost to other areas of expertise. (They are probably not expert at picking locks, or detecting traps; and might not be powerful verbal communicators.)

    Also... First Aid cannot correct blindness or crippled extremities... PCs without a reliable Doctor skill must seek (and pay for) professional treatment. These skills should never be merged, and Bethesda damaged the game by doing it.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
  8. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I wouldn't put a Flamethrower under Explosives for reference. Flamers seem to be a sore-thumb in basically any organization of combat skills though it seems, and obviously their usage is too niche for a seperate skill. As for controlled explosives versus bombs - rubber-banding knowledge and expertise with explosives and explosive weaponry is obviously a broad generalization but that is, in effect, what Skills are always going to be to a neccessary extent unless you go down the path of simulationism to the point where your character sheet looks like a tax form. Much like a lot of things in tabletop (and by extension video game RPGs) they're abstractions. Point being, "Explosives" is as much of a strange generalization of useability as Traps, Science or Big Guns is, but Explosives is more thematically coherent/consistent than Big Guns is when it comes to building a character "archetype" for combat.

    We'll have to agree to disagree on brute force to open a locked wooden door versus stopping to pick a lock in terms of speed. To my mind lockpicking has its utility in preventing damage and stealth, but in other scenarios a heavy boot, a crowbar, a shotgun blast or a Power-Armored shove is going to be far faster IMO.

    I agree with that. In my prior campaign I had players roll Sneak with certain actions that might give the game away when they were trying to remain quiet - such as opening a bedroom window to climb through. Lockpick was basically only used in situations where they had to remain quiet and were pressed for time, which made the player who invested in the skill feel like they had wasted their Skill points because it was so massively niche/situational compared to basically all the other skills that were in play and got much more regular usage.

    By your own logic, is this not too broad of a generalization? A street conman who excels at social stealth picking pockets and doing parlor games is not going to be as at home crawling through muddied trenches to infiltrate an armed base.

    I can agree with that, which is why I'm very adamant that Speech be broken up and on the fence with regards to Science and First Aid/Medicine.

    I completely agree which is why I kept them seperate myself - a tribal survivalist warrior should know how to treat basic wounds, but they are going to be unable to diagnose a disease or complex medical issue. However I'd ask this - is a Doctor not going to be versed in First Aid by default? It seems pretty odd that you could end up with an expert Doctor who has no idea how to bandage someone or pop a dislocated shoulder.

    I'm personally unfamiliar with GURPS so I don't know how simulationist games like that handle it (and I would argue that by your own logic, even the fields you listed are too broad), but in Fallout with Fallout's skill system and levelling - a character who pumps points into Botany or X-Ray Technician are going to have a very useless and unsatisfactory experience. I think a division between Lab Science and Computer Science is the right level of balance between being sensibly seperate fields of experience whilst also not disappearing down the rabbit hole of niche simulationism when it comes to Fallout (where generally the protagonists are going to be wandering adventurers, versus the infinitely odd potential of GURPS). To a degree contextual factors matter too - is an expert chem-cook PC from a desert gang going to have a firm grasp over a physics equation? Not really, but a PC who is a student of the Followers of the Apocalypse is likely to. In a singleplayer/video game context I would refer to the "everyman" argument you yourself made earlier in the thread.
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  9. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Mildly Dipped

    May 12, 2020
    Gizmojunk, I don’t really understand why you’re so anal about stuff like Doctor and First Aid being separate skills but you don’t seem to have an issue with skills like Science or Repair, which to me both seem like broader categories than the Medicine skill.
    Edit: Okay never mind, apparently I didn’t read your entire post. Sorry
  10. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Napalm is essentially an explosive, though. The handling and care of that stuff would seem to have a lot more in common with the handling of grenades and rockets than it would with anything to do with an energy weapon. It doesn't make any sense to me to include grenade rifles or rocket launchers under "explosives" while excluding flame throwers. Maybe a potential solution is to gate the actual use of the weapon should be gated behind Explosives and STR but the actual damage calculation is one-half Energy Weapons and one half Explosives.
  11. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I can see the logic in that. Flamers certainly feel like the odd one out to me in basically any category that isn't one of their own, whether it's Big Gun, Energy Weapon or Explosive.

    I do wonder why they put it under Energy Weapons in New Vegas rather than Explosives. I guess because it's theroetically recoilless and uses energy fuel for ammo - despite the energy weapons in Vegas having recoil for gameplay purposes. I do recall when I ran my old campaign which had Big Guns that my players immediately questioned Flamers inclusion there and argued that it belonged in Energy Weapons - so I don't know.
  12. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    The fundamental reasoning is sound enough - fundamentally, a Flamer is doing the same kind of damage as laser or plasma, because the only reason that laser or plasma are dangerous is because they're extremely hot, in fact fire itself is literally a kind of plasma. But at the end of the day, a Flamer just feels far too conventional to class under energy weapons - we've had them since WW1 for pete's sake, and napalm is effectively an explosive whereas the use of energy weapons is going to be guided by understanding pf physics, cleaning complicaterd prisms and chambers etc.

    Like I said, it seems like it makes the most sense to gate it behind Explosives, it feels like the rocket launcher or fat man in that its a conventional weapon that doesn't use bullets, and it uses an explosive. But you could argue that when calculating damage versus DR it could be considered as energy damage, or half energy half explosives.
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  13. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I can agree with this. Flamers being under Energy Weapons always specifically irked me because I always felt like Energy Weapons was very definitively the area of space-age weaponry. Although it's a wonky fit under Explosives I think putting it under there is about as good as you get with it.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
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  14. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Mildly Dipped

    May 12, 2020
    I always hated how energy weapons governed the flamer, mostly because I feel that a character focused on energy weapons would never use flamethrowers over a laser pistol for example.

    But what really drives me crazy is the gauss rifle being under energy weapons, but I suppose that’s Bethesda’s fault anyway.
  15. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I sort of understand it with the 3/NV version of the Gauss Rifle - it's clearly some kind of energy weapon rather than a railgun/mag-rifle. Or at least, it appears that way to me.
  16. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Mildly Dipped

    May 12, 2020
    Yeah I understand why, I just hate that it is that way. I think it’s supposed to be like a Mass Effect gun, where a piece of a block is shaved off for ammunition. The micro fusion cells just power the gun. Which, now that I think of it, is pretty much how laser and plasma weapons work as well. The gun itself creates the laser/plasma literally out of thin air, the energy cells are just there to power this process. At least that’s my understanding. Bethesda didn’t seem to realize this though, which is why they created the plasma cartridge for fallout 4.
  17. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Nov 26, 2007
    Science is the broadest, certainly. Repair was usually applied mostly to machinery; common machinery at that.

    The way Fallout presented the skills, the PC always seemed like a pinch-hitting non-professional—except for Doctor.

    Mechanically... the two medical skills allow a total of six healing attempts per day, but only three chances to treat crippling injuries. The player had to (or should always) triage their injured party members, using the skill best suited skill for the injury... and even then, failed attempts could mean needing to wait until the next day to affect a cure. This could easily mean being forced to fight (again) with damaged vision or messed up limbs, even with First-Aid attempts remaining.

    Bethesda replaced all of this with "Medical"; a stimpak modifier; a skill that magically affects an automatic tool that anyone can use without training.... and not only that, they made it heal concussions. Somehow it gets injected into the skull [ bonk.gif ] and knits the brain? Stimpacks only ever healed base hitpoints; no other benefits; crippling injuries remained. Bethesda made them magically heal broken bones, rent tendons, and head injuries.... IE. conditions the PC would have to seek out a doctor to treat.

    Aiming; my intent was that demolition of structures would not train a person to use heavy weapons; would not keep a person from breaking their jaw firing a L.A.W. and would not train them in safety measures for using a flame thrower. Neither would training in any of these weapons teach a person to plant explosive charges.

    Put another way (and an oversimplification): A gladiator trained only in ax fighting would not make great lumberjack, and the lumberjack is not used to having the tree fight back. These are skills that on the surface seem related, yet aren't really related at all; just that they both use axes. Merging them in a game would mean that every melee fighter PC would be an expert tree harvester; a master of saws, log running, and tree climbing.

    I mentioned it because many people have suggested it.
    I didn't mean that, I meant that with no time limit, anyone should be able to open a consumer lock by blind luck, just by randomly wiggling the tumblers with a scrap of metal.
    Where the expert can do it consistently (and quick) upon demand. They can open a door before the guard marches a circuit around the building, but the novice has no such confidence or competence to manage it so fast.

    In Fallout... at least, who (what PC?) normally cares? The world is ruined, and few inclined to steal would concern themselves with their theft getting noticed after the fact. Getting caught doing it would be their likeliest concern.

    Fault of the player IMO; not for spending the points, but for taking the opinion that a specialized skill is a waste. Because any situation in the game that requires such knowledge would be beyond any other PC, and ideally not something they could achieve or access in that play through.

    *Having low skills throughout the game because of one really expert skill, is —part of the role—, if you make that character, and so they would react to the world in the (perhaps inferior) way that they are able, but they are the ones who can get Skynet (for instance), or they are the ones who effortlessly hack a nuclear power plant. In Wasteland a PC could happen to know Clone Tech or Cyborg Tech.

    Clone Tech allows the PC to know how to create a clone with the right equipment. Cyborg Tech can lead to a VR map hidden inside Fenster's head.

    One can argue that the Traps skill in Fallout is under used... but then how often would there plausibly BE any traps to find? But the PC that is skilled in Traps is the one who can disarm them. In Fallout 2 for instance, there are trapped safes, safes that explode, and bring the guards running; (instant combat without a stealth boy. I don't recall if the player has a chance to use Sneak in time to avoid the fight).

    I would argue that a niche skill might even have ZERO use cases, but that a PC who was skilled in it would be appropriately under-skilled in everything else, and that that is part of the role; they should react within their limits. Imagine an PHD'd English teacher leaving the vault; their only option with it is to correct the raider's grammar (and anger them). ;)
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
  18. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    Isn't the gatling laser considered as an energy weapon ?
  19. cordelionreaver

    cordelionreaver Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 29, 2015
    I think Big Guns should its own skill. They are going to handle alot differently then regular guns, and should mid to end game weaponry.

    For separating other skills like repair and medicine. It depends on simulationist you want to get. In GURPS you would have pick a specialization for certain skills.
    For medical skills. You would to choose from
    1. Diagnose (identify what wrong)
    2. First Aid (Patch a person up in the field)
    3. Physician (Aid the sick and injured)
    4. Surgery
    In Fallout this would fall under the Medicine skill. Which is fine for a single player game. You could make this level of specialization work in a game, but it would hard to make a player not feel like they wasted skill points.
  20. Slaughter Manslaught

    Slaughter Manslaught Vault Senior Citizen

    Dec 11, 2006
    Re: On Big Guns

    I like the idea of the Guns skill and gating Big Guns behind Strength. An Explosives skill mixing use of explosives as weapons and the old use of Traps is interesting, a combat skill with an active non-combat use. That would make it very unique. Seems like worthy trade-offs.

    I think that if Big Guns are gated behind strength, then there needs to be more consequences about that. If we're talking the context of the Isometrics, I think the first change you need is to make Strength actually be a good stat - Strength sucks in the Classic Fallouts, look at the Melee Damage calculations, for example - in FO1, some 1 ST wimp can punch or stab as well as a 6 ST above average strength man. In FO2 the only difference is that unarmed strikes are now a thing and they are gated behind stats.

    You will have around 9-10 Strength during endgame anyway, because Implants + Power Armor. And you can't go beyond 10, except in Fallout Tactics. Any investment of strength above 6 is wasted. Hell, in FO2, depending on your character, you can easily coast on 4-5 ST. There was even a perk helping in that regard, if you really needed it - but honestly you can just pump your skill higher.

    In the classics, Strength didn't matter much for Big Guns, anyway. You get a -20 skill penalty for each lacking strength point. Oh no! Anyway... Now if it was a -40 or -60 penalty, or even being unable to use weapons if you can't match the stat, now that would be far more serious.

    If would made the possibility of having stats over 10 (which you really should), then you could have Big Guns which require over 10 in strength.

    There is one problem with making Explosives affect grenades, through... what do you do with non-explosive throwing weapons?