Skill Books


#1

Skill books

Might character generated skill books fit nicely into Marosia’s envisioned setting?

It could work something like…

Creation Prerequisites:

-Character must be Master level of the skill they wish to create a book for.

-Character can create a maximum of ??? Skillbooks in a lifetime.

-materials must be gathered/acquired for the book.

-A preset book description will be mechanically enforced (applied automatically at project creation) (EX: simply Alchemy Skillbook: Within this book is knowledge related to alchemy. Something that conveys what the book mechanically will do regardless of character customization.

-An optional character created description may be added. EX: Unique title, some amount of text space within to include actual text/pictures related to the topic. This character generated portion would be submitted to GM for approval to check for topic relatedness, ethics approval, or whatever else seems necessary.

-Some actual time and perhaps tools are required for actual project advancement, in addition to raw materials.

Functionality:

-The completed book will have a set number of uses, clearly visible to other characters so that they have a mechanic that allows them to both RP condition of a book they are considering to purchase and so that they have some measure to know what exactly they are purchasing. For easy coding, perhaps all skill books start with 10? uses, and there is no other quality/rot calculation required.

-A character with book object in inventory may initiate a Read project. (or on location, depending on how much you want books to rely on characters providing for their security)

-Each Read project of the book takes one from remaining uses.

-Each Read project takes some amount of time. (could be set amount for easier coding, or calculated based on reader’s related skill. But there is a time cost as an actual project.

-Starting a read project may be cancelled at any point before completion, which will result in 0 skill gain yet also won’t reduce the number of uses. (EX: someone new simply curious about how a book works may not have really meant to use it, and that can be undone without penalizing someone for accidentally clicking a wrong button).

-When a Read project completes, the reading character gets ??? increase to the relevant skill.

-The same character may only use a specific skill book x? number of times (maybe even only 1 time?).

-When a skill book is used for the last allowed time, some event is printed like: [Skillname] book is too worn to read.

-The book object fully disappears after last allowed use. (Or, the object could be replaced with An Unreadably Alchemy Skillbook, if it is desired that they still exist simply as relics or as trash or RP devices)

-A Read project may be started anywhere, unless there will be some situations/states where objects/projects in general are disallowed.

-books may be picked up, dropped, given, stored, etc. like any regular object.

-a skill book may be copied, using appropriate materials and a timed effort, yet the copy will not give any skill increase and will have some mechanic that identifies it as a copy. Copying exists solely so that player created work can be preserved for novelty/librarires/historians/preservationists/collectors/family moments, etc., since the original author will definitely die at some point and using the books would otherwise mean works must be fully lost.

Game Balancing:
-The skill required to create a skill book, the time and materials, plus the number of allowed creations per character and the allowed number of uses, should be balanced to ensure books are something a society must decide how well to value in comparison to learning by going out and getting their hands dirty with practice.

RP/societal benefits:

-Allows investment in the young, or investment in society members who are desired to take a leading role in certain manufacturing.

-Allows for (presumably pay-per-read) town libraries. Or, at least creates opportunity for locales to philosophize about whether knowledge is a right/should be “free.”

-Allows wealthy families another type of luxury good.

-Allows more opportunity for RP related to elitism.

-Allows opportunity for characters to choose additional self development paths.

-Creates an additional valuable commodity for merchants.

-Creates an additional opportunity to gain fame/build legacy.


#2

I like this idea, and I do think there is a place for it in the game - however, it’s a nice-to-have feature that probably wouldn’t be available until after beta. It would come at a later update. Right now I’m just trying to get the game’s original vision coded.

That being said this would be a great addition. I already had planned for magic users to have a similar feature as an ability rather than a book. Masters in magic will be able to take on a certain number of apprentices in their lifetime, and can teach their apprentices what they know. Masters in magic can teach someone magic even if the apprentice was not born with the ability, and they will get boosts in learning magic when participating in a project to learn it with the master magician. They have their own limitations for balancing of course, but I see similarities in the ideas here. Since magic will be rare, and I want to keep it that way, apprentices will be limited - but it gives a way for characters not born with magic to achieve it, and also gives ample opportunities for RP between master and apprentice. Additionally, it might even spawn ideas like magic schools or secret societies in order to keep their culture alive.

Legacy is a very important part of this game, and anything which encourages it is welcome. For masters in skills, I think making this in a book form is great because it is mobile and can be kept for posterity over time even when the creators have long passed. It may have to be tweaked a little bit.

For instance, I’d want the person who makes these books to think very carefully about which skill is the most important that they leave behind. I wouldn’t want there to be several skill books out in the world that will instantly level up multiple characters who read it, and then all of those characters make several master skill books, and so on and so on. I want to avoid an overpowered spread of mastering skills. These need to be very valuable and very personal, something that is treasured which is passed down. Making them pretty difficult to create is good for keeping their numbers down, but I’d still want even rich societies to have to carefully consider the recipient of these books - so, for that, it might be more ideal for the skill master to only be able to create one skill book in their lifetime. This would encourage careful choice of which skill they will leave behind, and it also gives incentive for groups of people to form. The more people in a town, the more and different types of skill masters, which means a more varied pool of books that can be passed down making knowledge truly power. It also encourages skill variance in individuals - you will want people to be adept on working on different things so that not everyone is a master in a single area. The only way they’d benefit from that is if they wanted all their heirs (in the entire town) to be high in that skill exclusively as well, or if the town wanted to be able export to be the the skill books. Otherwise it’s way more beneficial to have experts in different areas so that everyone has a role, a vocation, and a way to contribute that they are truly an expert on.

Even with that, however, I’d still want the recipient of these skill books to be carefully chosen and I don’t want one book to level up multiple people. Skill books should be closely guarded and highly sought from masters who haven’t made them before. For that reason, I’d also prefer to limit the number of uses of a skill book to being only one. Meaning, only one character would be able to master one skill from a particular book. It will definitely create rivalry among children, encouraging the choosing of an heir, and forcing siblings to either look to other masters for their skill books either by buying them or apprenticeship, or for them to go out on their own to master their skills the hard way.

Because of these limitations, I would make it easier for these books to be made. They will still require skill and materials, but they will be lesser than what you probably initially envisioned. All of this is to make certain that skill books are always valued. The skill is already hard enough to build to such a high level, I think they shouldn’t have to be too stunted by book materials in order to make it. If book uses were able to be multiplied (more than one character can max their level from it), it would create a flooding of master skills which could kill a lot of interesting aspects of the game. Skills would no longer matter, but the intent of having them there is to set the stage for specialists, experts, apprenticeships, businesses, and economy. We would want this addition to add to those interesting aspects, and to create new situations in which RP can be born. I would want to reward masters for their efforts with legacy, and reward the legacy holder not only with mastering a skill, but also being ‘chosen’ by those they looked up to. Then, reward becomes more than just mechanical, it becomes esteem from your peers, and it should make you feel special in your given society. Those who weren’t chosen always have the freedom to build themselves and contribute, but all that effort to make the book and to be chosen to receive it becomes a real moment of pride and status no matter whether you (or your people) are rich or not.

That’s how I’m envisioning it for now. Thanks very much for the suggestion, this is exactly the sort of thing that has a place in this game.