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Monday, December 20, 2010

Throwing Skill

As a second follow-up to the question about how far a person can throw a weapon, I had some thoughts about the effects of throwing skill on range, as well as the general physical effects of skills on physical actions. Naturally, as a skill-less system, Liber Zero isn't going to address the ideas I want to put forward in this post; in fact, I'm not sure I will implement any of these thoughts in an actual system. Maybe it will be part of a weapon and armor design document, if I do one and it can be simplified.

What I'm thinking is: skill shouldn't affect speed or range, at least not the way people usually think. The usual conception of skill is that it is open-ended and can be improved endlessly... but if speed, range, or other physical quantities are affected by skill, open-ended skills would mean potentially infinite bonuses to range. An extremely-skilled thrower could throw a knife into orbit -- or out of orbit.

But there's only so much force you can muster for a throw, and thus there is a maximum speed you can achieve with a given thrown weapon. What happens with unskilled versus skilled knife-throwers is that unskilled people make more mistakes: they don't know how to throw efficiently, they release too soon, they aim too low and the knife is pulled to the ground by gravity before it reaches its maximum range. Becoming a competent knife-thrower eliminates the guess-work and error, increasing range up to the maximum; becoming an expert improve accuracy, but not range.

I was sort of thinking this when I talked about my loose skills system (Blanc) that uses broad background skills. My default assumption is that having the necessary training in any action eliminates unfamiliarity penalties, and being more trained than an opponent gives you a +1, but no more. Thus, having 10 years experience as a knife-thrower would mean that, if you were throwing a knife at someone with less than 10 years experience in a background that covered "knife-dodging", you would get a +1. If you have 30 years experience, you get the same +1, but if you faced a more experienced "knife-dodger", you'd get that +1 even when a less-skilled knife-thrower wouldn't. Similarly, maybe being an expert knife-thrower should never add more than +1" to range.

Perhaps Strength should work similarly, acting as a limit to throwing range, rather than a boost. Objects up to a certain size could be thrown to maximum range, assuming you have the training; larger objects that you can still lift will be at a penalty unless your Strength is high enough to compensate. If your Strength is far higher than necessary, you get +1" to range, but never more.

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