Thursday, May 10, 2012

Proficiencies 101: Crafts

This post is the fourth in a series of posts that will take a closer look at proficiencies in the Adventurer Conqueror King system main rulebook.

In my first post in this series, I defined several proficiency categories for analysis and discussion.  As labels these categories are not a part of the Adventurer Conqueror King system.  I mentioned that I would delve into each category in a future post, and this post will delve into crafts.

A craft or profession (hereafter craft, for brevity) produces income either through producing a good or rendering a service.  There are 13 proficiencies meeting this definition: alchemy, art, craft, engineering, gambling, healing, knowledge, labor, manual of arms, navigation, performance, profession and seafaring.  Tiered proficiencies provide different benefits as additional proficiency selections are invested in that same proficiency.  Note that 10 of the 12 tiered proficiencies are crafts: alchemy, art, craft, engineering, healing, knowledge, manual of arms, performance, profession and seafaring.

Reviewing these lists, some interesting patterns or breaks in patterns emerge.  First, animal husbandry is one of the tiered proficiencies that does not produce income.  Yet, animal husbandry is nearly identical to healing.  I believe you can make a strong case that pre-industrial societies value their veterinarians as much as they value their doctors, except perhaps at the high end.  The king’s chirugeon will be more highly valued than the king’s falconer.  Therefore, perhaps animal husbandry should produce income similarly to healing.  Also, the same or similar healing herbs that provide bonuses to healing should probably provide bonuses to animal husbandry.

Four of the proficiencies producing income are very similar: art, craft, performance and profession.  Each of these enables a character to produce a specified good or service, be knowledgeable of their field, and produce income.  The labor proficiency is very similar to these except that it does not allow for higher levels of achievement.  There are no master grave-diggers.  Also, the healing proficiency is similar to these except that the service provided is “healing”, which has quantifiable effects in a role-playing game (making healing among the most beneficial proficiencies).

Most of the remaining proficiencies producing income are “specialists”: alchemy, engineering, knowledge, navigation and seafaring.  The rules for use of these proficiencies are further described in the main rulebook under Hirelings, Henchmen, Mercenaries and Specialists.  The rules mention that the Judge may create more kinds of specialists, and one that stands out to me among the remaining proficiencies producing income is a military cadre or trainer, in other words, a person with the manual of arms proficiency.

The final proficiency producing income is one of my favorite Adventurer Conqueror King system proficiencies: gambling.  I like the gambling proficiency because of the mechanics it uses, providing a simple but nifty sub-game for resolving a contest between gamblers by rolling d6s.  This simple mechanic sparked ideas for a couple of potential additions to gambling.  What if an unskilled gambler wants to gamble or challenges a skilled gambler?  How about the unskilled gambler rolls a single d4 instead of one or more d6s?  And what if we make this interesting … by allowing "exploding" of gambling rolls?  The first die rolled (if more than one die is rolled) should be a different color, e.g. red.  If the first die rolls its maximum value, that die "explodes" and may be rolled again, adding the rolls together.  Subsequent die rolls may explode as well.  This gives an unskilled gambler a small chance against a skilled gambler, or so-called beginner’s luck.

This concludes this week’s post in my Proficiencies series.  I plan to post in this series every two weeks until it finishes.

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