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In an upcoming session, one of the PCs will be babysitting a pre-teen video gamer. I expect that we'll be modeling a PvP scenario and want to roll some dice; whether as a conflict or a contest I don't know, but I don't think it'll influence the answer to my question.

What skills would a DFRPG PC roll when playing a video game?

  • Clearly Scholarship is important (computer use, knowledge of the game), but what other skills are valid and to what extent would they factor in?
  • Would you only roll Scholarship and just have another skill modify the roll, or would you be able to roll a different skill modified by Scholarship?
  • How much might playing in different genres influence what skills are applicable and how they're used? This session will probably feature a Skylanders-like game, but what if it were a Street Fighter, Counterstrike, or Pokemon match instead?

(I know it's ultimately up the group to decide; I'm asking this question because my whole group is new the game and could use some examples and context to start out. To help get us thinking when we sit down to decide how to make this work, I'd like to have some ideas from the community.)

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2 Answers 2

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I would think it depends on the kind of game (a jump and run requires different skills than a first-person shooter). But as a default I would use Alertness and modify it by scholarship – if scholarship is greater, you get +1, if lower, you get -1.

Why Alertness as the primary skill instead of Scholarship? Because they don't call them twitch games for no reason. While it is true that learning the game is relevant (learning maps, learning strategies), in the end, taking two people of similar knowledge levels of the game, the one with the better reflexes will be better. And because in DFRPG Alertness affects initiative, making it suited to contests of reflexes.

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I think this is a good approach. If such themes are going to recur in your game often and be important, it might be worth adding some specific skills - given the relatively sensible length of the existing skill list in FATE/DFRPG it's relatively easy to slot more in without making it unwieldy. –  Gaxx Mar 26 '13 at 9:31
Hm. Would you mind expanding on why you'd use Alertness as the primary instead of Scholarship? And maybe a little bit about the other skills you'd use in a couple of common genres? –  BESW Mar 26 '13 at 10:03
@BESW - because they don't call them twitch games for no reason. While it is true that learning does come into effect (learning maps, learning strategies), in the end, taking two people of similar knowledge levels of the game, the one with the better reflexes will be better. And since in vanilla DFRPG alertness affects initiative, I endorse this answer. –  wraith808 Mar 26 '13 at 12:51
Yeah, wraith808 explained it very well. Most video games have some kind of time restraint (even Tetris), which requires you to think fast. If you, on the other hand, take a look at Civilisation (Sid Meyers game), there alertness wouldn't be very fitting. –  Blechpirat Mar 27 '13 at 11:01
This is very close to how we modeled it last night --though we used @BenHardy's idea of choosing the modifying skill based on playstyle instead of just Scholarship-- and it worked well. –  BESW Mar 31 '13 at 13:23

There are a couple ways to do it. If it was planned to be used often and you wanted a little complexity to the system, run it like a modified encounter. This would allow more use of fate points and the manuvering as per some RTS or Turn-Based strategies in a player vs player type environment. Throwing aspects like "Army out of position" or "Pokemon is poisoned" etc. Then go for the 1-shot "Game Stress" Take out. Even allowing consequences of "On his last pokemon" or "Paralyzed" or something.

If you don't want that to last too long, just go for an opposed roll with the relative modifiers. For a Video Game Scholarship would be the main skill. How well you know the game and its rules, as well as how good you are at handling the controls of the game itself (computer use etc). This base number would then be modified by a whole slew of things. each one adding a +1 to the person who is higher or subtracting 1 from the person who is lower, depending on what range you wanted to keep the final numbers.

Alertness for First Person Shooter,Real Time Strategy, Puzzle,even some turn based games. Seeing what your opponent is doing.

Athletics for Real time strategy games, Fighters(Street Fighter), First person shooters. This would simulate the differences in reaction times etc.

Discipline for your ability to concentrate (or whatever else might be applicable) This would be for almost all types of gaming.

Rapport/Empathy could be used to lay down some trash-talk/make the opponent slip up that way. and could provide various modifiers if the game allowed talking between players.

The TL:DR is Have scholarship be the main skill, but in a video-game world it is modified by so many other factors that even someone who hasn't played in a long long time could still have that "Beginner's luck" or be a "Natural" at the game, just on his own outside skills.

It is worth noting that everything above would be modified a final time by the fudge-dice roll allowing that max of +4/-4 so that there is always a chance that friends beat each other etc etc.

A third option, if the game is of particular importance, is to have a specific skill for whatever game it is. Skill: Video Games (Dinotopia) or what have you. But that affects skill points of the game itself. Maybe have a stunt or something that specifically allows a +2 to scholarship rolls for video game attempts. <--- most if not all kids nowadays would have this. As opposed to adults. along those lines.

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I have a hard time seeing Athletics as a relevant skill - unless you play Wii. –  Blechpirat Mar 27 '13 at 11:03

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