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In a follow up to my last question, I'm trying to now decipher some inner working of skills in general.

First and foremost, I saw the skill system in Dresden Files RPG, which has a skill stack rather than a pyramid. Question one is whether or not using the stack over than the pyramid in LoA would break the game.

Second: I'm wondering if characters in Dresden Files RPG can increase their skills beyond Superb via advancement? Also, is there a similar upper limit in LoA?

Finally: In case there isn't a defined upper limit for either, then how can you have a Legendary (+8) in LoA?

Thank you for your time and answers.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I don't have dresden files, but...

Stack vs Pyramid:

Pinnacle of performance (as good as you can get)

  Good (15)      Great (20)     Superb (35)
Pyramids                        5            
                 4              4 4          
  3              3 3            3 3 3        
  2 2 2          2 2 2          2 2 2 2      
  1 1 1 1 1 1    1 1 1 1        1 1 1 1 1    
  10 skills      10 skills      15 skills  

Stacks                          5 5      
                 4 4            4 4 
  3 3            3 3            3 3   
  2 2 2          2 2            2 2 2    
  1 1 1          1 1            1 1 1 1 1
  8 skills       8 skills       14 skills

It won't break it, but it does result in more narrowly focused skill sets. However, in all cases, a stacked mode feels more arbitrary, since one could, with those points, buy higher levels than the level limit. With pyramid mode, the rule of the pyramid sets the upper limit simply by point totals; with stack, it doesn't. If ignoring the implicit level cap, some odd things can happen:

Good:   5 4 3 2 1 = 15 points, 5 skills
Great:  5 4 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 = 20 points, 9 skills
Superb: 7 6 5 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 = 35 points, 11 skills

So it is both not as easy to remember the level limits, and if ignored, the level limits can break it pretty quick.

However, there is a big flaw in stack systems: experience.

If I have a stack of 3 2 1, and want a 4, I have to make the following series of raises:

A          B          C          D          E     
-          -          -          -          -     
3          3          3          3          3     
2          2          2          2(2)       2 2   
1          1(1)       1 1(1)     1 1        1 1(1) 

F          G          H          I
-          -          -         (4)
3          3          3(3)       3  
2 2        2 2(2)     2 2        2 2  
1 1 1(1)   1 1 1      1 1 1      1 1 1

after advancement, however, a pyramid looks more like:

A           B           C           D           E        
-           -           -           -           -        
3           3           3           3           3        
2           2           2           2           2(2)     
1           1(1)        1 1(1)      1 1 1(1)    1 1 1 -  

F           G           H           I           J             
-           -           -           -           -             
3           3           3           3           3             
2 2         2 2         2 2 2       2 2 2       2 2 2         
1 1 1(1)    1 1 1 1(1)  1 1 1 1     1 1 1 1     1 1 1 1(1)    

K              L              M              N              O
—              -              -              -              -
3              3              3(3)           3 3            3 3      
2 2 2          2 2 2(2)       2 2 2 -        2 2 2          2 2 2(2)  
1 1 1 1 1(1)   1 1 1 1 1 -    1 1 1 1 1      1 1 1 1 1(1)   1 1 1 1 1 -      

P              Q              R              S              T
-              -              -              -             (4) 
3 3            3 3            3 3            3 3(3)         3 3    
2 2 2 2        2 2 2 2        2 2 2 2(2)     2 2 2 2 -      2 2 2 2
1 1 1 1 1(1)   1 1 1 1 1 1(1) 1 1 1 1 1 1 -  1 1 1 1 1 1    1 1 1 1 1 1

So after advancement, a stack looks like a pyramid, and a pyramid widens out.

If you use the pyramid in character generation, and stack for experience, you won't be breaking anything.

Note also: A character who advanced from good to great is VERY different than one who started great.

Getting A Legendary

The needed pyramid in LoA is thus:

Initial build                Experienced way up to it
8               =   8        8                           =   8
7 7             =  14        7 7                         =  14
6 6 6           =  18        6 6 6 6                     =  24
5 5 5 5         =  20        5 5 5 5 5 5                 =  30
4 4 4 4 4       =  20        4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4             =  32
3 3 3 3 3 3     =  18        3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3         =  30
2 2 2 2 2 2 2   =  14        2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2     =  24
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 =   8        1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 =  14
36 skills total = 120                   57 skills, total = 176

I find no other limits in the rules (but I'm still reading through LoA), tho' in either case, it's going to be a LOT of sessions later...

However: if you have a stunt that allows a free tag, a 6 within the scope of the stunt is a base 8.

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Unsurprisingly, you're helpful once more. Thanks for the info charts and spread. Since then I had been advised on using the Tick System with the Pyramid on chargen. The effective changes are the disregard to the Pyramid post chargen and a somewhat quicker and more organic skill development. Thanks for your answer, though. –  Nadav Ben Dov Dec 2 '10 at 7:36
    
It's helping me get a better grasp on the system, too, to work it out. Personally, I think I'll stick to Pyramid in CGen, and column in play (which results in preserving the pyramid pretty much). Then again, I remember a WWIVnet post on the differences between the various FUDGE skill stack modes (which FATE, and thus LoA, inherit) back in the mid 1990's... –  aramis Dec 2 '10 at 9:42

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