Skills: Knowledge VS Experience

So it seems a bit unrealistic to learn so much from books all within such a short time. What I’m proposing is a system where you have knowledge and experience. Books grant knowledge. Crafting grants experience. Knowledge greatly increases the rate of gaining experience for the said skill while the skill experience level is under or equal to the knowledge level. The experience can increase past the knowledge level albeit at the normal rate. Crafting is also less likely to fail if the item difficulty is equal or under the knowledge level. Experience level determines what you can craft, Knowledge determines what you recipes you know. Knowledge also has a passive +(level)% to the increase rate of experience.

Various versions of such things have been suggested or debated plenty of times before. There’s definitely an issue with the current “read some books and become a world class engineer” meta, but fixing it is somewhat complicated to do in a reasonable way.

For example, why is experience necessary for something you have a blueprint for? You just need to put things together in the right way, and theoretically, the books that got you to that skill level should have taught you the necessary skills for putting it together. Making a flashlight and taking it apart again 50 times doesn’t really support being able to put together a unified power system, so there’s certainly some merits to your proposed solution.

That said, there are a few minor issues, like the current bonuses you get from skills (would lockpicking use mechanics experience, or knowledge? A combination of both?), and how a person gets knowledge for skills that are basically only experience at the high end, like marksmanship or bashing weapons.
On top of that, you risk making things over complex, especially for explaining such systems to new players.

Most importantly, to me, is how do you eliminate the grind part? Sitting there and crafting 50 flashlights to get better at electronics isn’t very fun gamewise and isn’t over realistic either. Some sort of training system would need to be implemented, and that might work quite well with your system.

I can learn how to smith a sword without ever touching a hammer or forge in my life, and i can do it perfectly. That’s why I thought of this.
And yeah disassembling a flashlight would not keep levelling your experience level because “This task is too simple to train your electronics past X” would still be there.

Lockpicking would level experience because you are trying to actively pick it. You might gain a little knowledge but you probably don’t completely know how locks work, especially complex ones. Maybe you could disassemble a door and then disassemble a lock for knowledge.

It’s basically a system where you read and then practice what you read.

The problem is more how come building furniture teaches me how to build a sword? I think having the instructions on hand, and the current recipe memorisation thing, fairly well covers the knowledge part.

But does lockpicking get it’s effectiveness from experience or knowledge? Which affects the player’s chance of success when lockpicking, and how do you communicate that to the player when using it? For that matter, why does installing wheels on a car make you better at lockpicking, but reading a book about locks doesn’t? Frankly, lockpicking was a pretty bad example, but it was the first that came to mind.

That said, converting to something like having a special training action that is more effective with books on hand to raise skills is my personal favourite option. That way there is still actual use of skills to improve them, but there’s less messing around with building chairs so you can make a sword.

Well, the game already teaches you how to build a sword better through books like “The Complete Guide to Home Repair” even though it has nothing to do with sword making. Experience means you can get your hands dirty and do it right. Like if you cut wood you sort of get better at cutting metal or whatever.

Mechanics is a broad term. Maybe they could make a new skill called lockpicking but the way I see it right now, I guess it’s basically training your dexterity at working with mechanical systems.

Edit: I mean experience is just getting familiarized with the actions of doing the skill. Like if you read a driving manual that increased your driving skill but never drove a car doesnt make sense.

Yeah, the largest issue with trying to make it follow any sort of realism is that there are a lot of skills that are a weird amalgamation of multiple real-world skills. Like fabrication is woodwork, metalwork, and like 4 other minor things.

I think this is an area where, since the skills are already quite gamist, it’s probably best not to change it too much. Currently there’s a pretty lovely balance that means you really don’t have to grind at all if you don’t want to… I don’t think the game should change that.

What might be nice would be to make.more books cover a very narrow skill band, ie. requires fabrication 5 to read, can only gain you to level 6. These books help limit the whole “found a book that can get my fabrication to level 10, so I just need a few days underground with a water bottle, some beef jerky, and my trusty vibrator” effect, and encourage characters to scavenge more books.

I don’t know if more books is an effective mechanism. That basically just means looting more libraries and more item bloat for something that already has a lot of largely redundant items.

Personally, I think the easiest/best two possibilities are:
Leave book learning as is, but it can only bring exp to 99% so actually leveling up requires a little bit of practical experience. Works out a bit weirdly for most melee/ranged skills (shoot once and level up) but for most crafting and technical skills it should work out okay.
The training method. Books can no longer actually teach you anything directly. You can perform a training action which uses some tools and materials to give you bunch of experience in a skill, even choose how long to train for. Having books around/in your inventory would multiply the output of the training action, so having a full suite of electronics books means you can train up electronics in a quarter the time as just crafting a bunch of junk, and without plowing through a bunch of high-end materials.

The idea of replacing crafting the same item over and over with a generic “training” action is pretty cool, since it doesn’t really change how things already work. I do like that, and I really like the idea that having a book around would speed it up significantly. I’d be fine with that being the primary way to level up crafting skills, even.

I like the current model of combat and physical skills pretty well. Most of them can’t be leveled beyond 3 by books. I think keeping that mechanic works just fine… However, that said, another option would be to create a long-lasting buff after reading a combat book that grants bonus XP to that type of combat whenever you gain XP. So if you read a boxing manual, then whenever you gain unarmed XP you get a 20% XP bonus for the next three days or something. Or a % bonus equal to 2(book max level - current skill level), which would allow there to be a wider range of martial skill books instead of capping out at level 3.

See Practice makes perfect for the latest ponderings on the issue.
In particular I introduced the concept of “insights”, which have a chance to be triggered when using skills “in anger”.

Not all skills would necessarily use insights, for example firearm handling is pretty much 100% mechanical and it’s just a matter of putting in the practice time.

I think knowledge vs experience is more of a time thing, a mechanic that has worked on cars for 20 years could have some good ideas on how to fix an engine just from experience, while someone with no experience but a good manual could do the same thing just at a slower speed.

Sometimes a higher skill is just going to help with doing a action faster, but not having that skill level shouldn’t lock out the action with the appropriate book/tools on hand.

Lock picking in particular is a example of a action that seems like it is very loosely related, if at all, to it’s parent skill which is a separate issue.

Lock picking is a pretty straight forward skill. The average lock is to keep honest people honest. The average lock is actually so easy just watch a few videos can teach it. Not even kidding. I figured it out with padlocks and door locks in 12 minutes from youtube vids for crying out loud.

It is truly amazing the crap one can learn super simple from a video or book. While not perfect. The few tools and skills that need some polish could, perhaps be singled out for chain linking. You have to get a recipe or watch a video(laptop, tablet etc with the video on usb or in memory) and it gives “insight” into how.

The issue isn’t that lockpicking is difficult, it’s that the player currently learns lockpicking either from prying windows/doors open with a crowbar, uninstalling seatbelts, or from reading a book about cars.

While lockpicking on it’s own would make a sucky skill, something along the lines of “security” which combines lockpicking, safecracking, bonuses to hacking, some way to fool ID card scanners, and maybe even some fun stuff like special clothing that makes you invisible to robots would be really cool.

That thought would pair well with my ideas about ATM cards. Making those computer devices actually useful for things like cracking ATM cards(hidden denominations). Hacking door locks with varying levels of difficulty per lock. Scanning and storing of books into a digital format. Making makeshift electronics for these ideas etc. Requiring software that maybe found on a machine or USB and can be added to different devices via USB or another bridge device etc.

I could brainstorm about this for quite awhile. Feel free to make a list. =)

Cash cards probably aren’t ever going to go very far. They’re basically just a stand-in for paper money since actual paper money and coins would be a pain to code, and cards are easier, so they probably have little if any actual security on them. Most of the serious money exchanging probably happened solely online. That said, the general plan seems to be for old-world money to become worthless beyond vending machines at some point, so I doubt any real effort will ever be put into them.

Door locks would be fine, but will probably be all electronic for anything governmental or military and mechanical ones would probably cap out at a fairly low level. Electronic door locks would have to be a combination of security and computers, depending on the resources available to you.

Scanning and storing books wouldn’t need any security skills? Downloading military schematics could though.

The thing is, can you consistently pick different locks while in potentially difficult situations in a reasonable time. While yes lock picking is simple in concept, actual use with new locks is a lot more difficult.

Locks only keep honest men out, is true for most house locks but the difficulty shoots up very quickly when they aren’t cheap locks. When they are machines better, or install security pins… well that’s why locksmiths are well paid.

Lock picking by itself would be a lackluster skill, because none of those complexities are shown to the player. A skill like security is what I thought would work, i had thought larceny or burglary.

From opening locks, to popping open car doors, seeing alarm systems and bypassing them and so on. I think locks could be a interesting game play choice, you can bash your way in but it makes a lot of noise, but if skilled enough you can pass through without penalty.

Electronic locks are just regular locks controlled differently, knowing the lock design for example could make it much faster and easier to literally break through.

I think in game ATM cards wouldn’t really have the account denomination explicitly detailed anywhere on the card for security reasons. So people would have to hack the card some how, in order to gain access to use the cash in them. A reader of some kind is simple for making use of both electronics and security as skills.

While true. Scanning books may not fall directly under security and more the electronics skill. I was thinking of a techy type of person may fenaggle his/her device to also scan books.

Different scanners exist. So maybe a home PC big scanner for a base. A portable handheld scanner for ATM cards, perhaps even as an attachment to a HackPro. Such card scanners have existed in portable format as far back as the 80’s, neat! Then there exists a gun/pistol like scanner. You aim it and it uses a laser. Hell even a camera on a phone can be a scanner these days. But I digress on examples. I get a bit jazzed over tech lol

Possibly, but if there isn’t some form of user security then finding the value on the card is as simple as plugging it into a vending machine for 5 seconds, and electronic paper is a thing so having it display it’s contents wouldn’t be hard. I think it would be reasonably safe to assume that cash cards replaced paper/coin money in this timeline, in which case any kind of security would probably be overkill.

There’s a big difference between a barcode scanner and a document scanner, but yes, even a phone camera could be jury rigged into a scanner if you don’t mind some slight weirdness.

An interesting thought regarding security on cards. Then that maybe something closer to a gift card. Whereby the card wouldn’t…or rather shouldn’t be allowed to access primary bank accounts. The ATM card may show the denomination, as in, it maybe possible. But I was thinking it perhaps shouldn’t for balance purposes. Maybe a toggle option. I really like the idea also for security. I wouldn’t need to have the card detail this information and irl I wouldn’t want that. But I also understand that it would be for some, a convenience.

Yes I think you’re mistaking it for a credit/debit card when it seems to be a stored-value card. Based on the way they currently work (namely cash on a card that you can put into your account or another card), they seem to be a stored-value card I.E a monetary value is stored on the card itself and it has no connection to any other accounts beyond maybe the name of the owner. To my knowledge those generally have little or no security, and in a society where paper/coin money isn’t used anymore, you wouldn’t really want a password on your kid’s lunch money card, since, well, kids are bad at remembering things.