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Cepheus General General discussion of Cepheus Engine products.

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  #21  
Old July 14th, 2017, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfchbryan View Post
That isn't how the learning process actually works. (I used to do this for a living.)

You are assuming that the character with shop training in high school got quality training AND retained it. The character that never held a wrench has no bad habits to unlearn. That matters - it matters A LOT.

I used to teach both hard and soft skills in the US Army. The best students were inevitably the ones that had no prior knowledge:

1. They had no bad habits to unlearn.
2. They knew that they had no prior knowledge, therefore they paid attention.
3. Due to their lack of prior knowledge, their brain didn't unconsciously short-circuit the learning process. (This is a major issue in education, right up there with the "Some people learn by listening, some by seeing, others by doing" nonsense.)

It's even worse in BRM (Basic Rifle Marksmanship). The worst shooters were those that shot a lot before they joined the military. What they learned growing up impeded their ability to fire their weapon, because of the muscle memory knowledge they had with the weapon they grew up with. "Kentucky windage" doesn't actually work on an assault rifle.

Oh, and that "finished early and learned more" in the military.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
The best students I've had in music were always the ones with prior education. So were the worst.

I was tied for the best shooter in my BT company; I'd been a competitive shooter in HS (and not even one of the best in my HS nor JROTC unit). Everyone else in the perfect scores on the range had been in cadet programs; several of us had competitive shooting experience. (All 5 of us had stripes in basic - PFCs all. Back when the Army paid you as, and let you wear, your stripes earned from cadet time during BT.)
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  #22  
Old July 15th, 2017, 02:07 AM
joshualevy joshualevy is offline
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My view of skill-0 vs. skill-1, -2, etc. is a little different, but I learned about training in industry, not the military. My view is more like this:

The "numbered" skills (1, 2, 3, etc.) represent some years of training, some years of professional use, and some years of interacting with others who had the skill. You need to have all of that. It was not just 2 years of training for skill-1. It was training and actual use and social interactions with others who were seriously using the skill.

Skill-0 however, represents either training or professional use, but not both. It's a fundamentally different understanding of the skill. You can move from skill-1 to skill-2 just by doing more. More learning, more experience. But going from skill-0 to skill-1 requires a broader engagement with the skill; not just book learning, but also real world use and professional interactions.
So the difference between skill-0 and skill-1 is not just how long you worked at it.

(In Cepheus Engine you can see this because the numbered skills are gained via careers while the zero skills are gained via homeworld and primary education. The skills you sort of pick up but don't use professionally are the zero skills. There is also the cascade zero skills, but that is different.)

Using Computer skill as an example. Computer-0 might be the result of primary education (sitting in a high school classroom). Computer-1 might be the result of college course work, because you have a lot more work-like projects, and you are interacting much more with others who are seriously involved with computers.

This all ties into my view that Traveller style skills are much "wider" than (for example) GURPS style skills. That is why you need both book learning and work experience, and social learning to get the numbered Traveller skills.

If skill-0 were really just the equivalent of a month's learning, then everyone would graduate high school with a dozen skills at zero. Also, someone could opt to learn 20+ skills at zero, instead of one skill at one. I just don't see that.

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Last edited by joshualevy; July 15th, 2017 at 02:19 AM..
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  #23  
Old July 15th, 2017, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
Sure, here is some sense:

Joe Average (non-proficient): roll 8+ on 2d6-3 = 8.3% success rate
Joe Average (skill-0): roll 8+ on 2d6 = 41.7% success rate
Joe Average (skill-1): roll 8+ on 2d6+1 = 58.3% success rate
Joe Average (skill-2): roll 8+ on 2d6+2 = 72.2% success rate

So Joe is driving along and his car breaks down. He has never lifted the hood to even check the oil (non-proficient), so he has only about an 8% chance to fix his car. Determined never to let this happen again, Joe decides to take a course in basic familiarity (skill-0) which depending on who we ask could take no more than a few hours of familiarization. Joe's chance to repair his car the next time it breaks down is now almost 42%, an improvement of around 34% based on his pre-enlistment training.

Joe enlists in the Imperial Marines and is taught to repair all sorts of vehicles (skill-1). Joe enlists with his best friend Bob, who knows nothing about vehicle repair (non-proficient). Bob spends two years being trained and working from non-proficient (8% success) to skill-1 (58% success) for an personal improvement of 50% in his chance to perform the task. Joe has two years to be trained and working from his current skill-0 (42% success) to skill-1 (58% success) for a personal improvement of 16% in his chance to perform the task.

Is it really NO amount of sense to suggest that it will take Joe less time to improve his skill by 16% than it will take Bob to improve the same skill by 50%?
There is such a thing as "diminishing returns".

It doesn´t take Joe Average a long time to realize that it´s a bad idea to stick a lit match into the gas tank to see if there´s still fuel in there. Or to learn not to try and shake someone with cervical spine injuries awake. Or not to deposit his important files in the paper bin thingy on the desktop.

How long do you think it should take to learn the basics - checking and refilling oil and coolant, checking and replacing the battery, checking tire pressure and changing tires? That´s the sort of thing that makes up Mechanic-0, and for the vast majority of situations, it makes it a lot easier to deal with what might arise. Unless your car is very old, you skimp on regular maintenance (by someone with Mechanic-1 or better) or have an accident, Mechanic-0 will see you through most of what happens with your car.

Likewise with Computer. Computer-0 is all a computer user who isn´t in IT is going to need most of the time.
Or with Medic. Medic-0 makes one HELL of a difference in keeping accident victims stable until the ambulance arrives.
It´s like that with most skills. It doesn´t really take that much learning to make that first big difference.
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  #24  
Old July 16th, 2017, 07:35 AM
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Skill-0 means basic training and literacy in the subject which is sufficient to perform some tasks but insufficient for gaining employment in the field. Skill-1 is employable and in CE can earn you very good pay in some cases.

My mother knows how to check her e-mail, do basic Google searches, take pictures with her phone camera, type at a reasonable speed, and use KODI (and similar streaming services). However, she would be clueless in any further technical task, even installing updates on her Linux Lite machine or installing apps on her phone from Google Play. That would be Unskilled in CE terms.

My fiancee knows how to operate a computer (Windows and Linux Lite), an Android phone, or an Android streamer, including updating, installing new apps from a downloaded executable (Windows) or an app store (Linux Lite and Android), and even installing and configuring KODI extensions. She knows that the solution to 50% of basic computer problems is a restart and can also solve several other basic issues, both ones related to loose connectors and some software issues. She knows the basics of MSOFFICE use but not any more advanced tricks. That would be Skill-0 in CE terms.

I have good knowledge of messing around with Windows and various Ubuntu distros and installing them, assembling a computer from parts I buy, advanced MSOFFICE functions, advanced Google search functions, and how to solve a wide range of software related issues (even a few hardware ones). I will have to look for info on Google to solve many of them, but I know what to search for and understand complex instructions. I can write simple but very readable and well-organized scripts in Python. I type at 50 or so words per minute. I use many of these skills as part of my job which combines translation, editing, content editing, and information services. That would be Skill-1 in CE terms.
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  #25  
Old July 16th, 2017, 08:15 AM
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Coffee is kicking in and I wonder if this really is an issue.

Consider that in CT Cr 1 is equal to USD 1 in 1979 terms. In CE the computer costs are Cr 50 for a TL 7 10Kg laptop. At TL 8 the cost goes up to Cr 100 but the weight drops to 5Kg. Obviously Apples aren't being talked about here. Still, let's go with Cr 1 == USD 1 (1979), or come up with your own math.

To learn a skill takes time, resources, and environment. I've already mentioned Josh Kaufman's 20 hour rule and have proven it in my own learning experiences. Feel free to read "The First 20 hours" if you want more information. Here's my draft of doing stuff for in game.

Time: Does the character need someone else? If so, what's their hourly rate?
Resources: Useful to have a wrench and some rags if you want to change a spark plug. A manual might help as well.
Environment: Useful to have a car to work on if you want to change spark plugs, rotate tires, etc.

Learn to scuba dive: Figure Cr 50 for class, Cr 50 for basic personal gear, and Cr 100 for the trip. For USD (1979) those are pretty high prices; more like USD (2017). In total a few days vacation and Cr 200 for Scuba-0.

Learn to drive a car: Cr 10 for fuel. Cr 20 for buying your buddy supper and beer after a day of showing you how to drive. Cr 30 for Vehicle (Ground Car)-0.

Learn to fly a grav vehicle: Using the first google hit for a Cessna 172 and all the stuff requires, about 100 hours and Cr 1700.

Basic First Aid and Life support: A weekend and a half and Cr 50 for Medic-0.


Unless the skill desired is costly in terms of resources and environment, like the grav vehicle example, most cash mustering out rolls will cover a few Skill-0 classes. While the dice rolls may not balance out in CharGen, is it really an issue?

Addendum: One of the big factors is whether or not the character is teachable. I play characters that are and they learn a lot. Someone who is not teachable might want to invest in learning to flip blagy burgers and skipping the Traveller life-style.
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Old July 16th, 2017, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golan2072 View Post
Skill-0 means basic training and literacy in the subject which is sufficient to perform some tasks but insufficient for gaining employment in the field. Skill-1 is employable and in CE can earn you very good pay in some cases.

My mother knows how to check her e-mail, do basic Google searches, take pictures with her phone camera, type at a reasonable speed, and use KODI (and similar streaming services). However, she would be clueless in any further technical task, even installing updates on her Linux Lite machine or installing apps on her phone from Google Play. That would be Unskilled in CE terms.

My fiancee knows how to operate a computer (Windows and Linux Lite), an Android phone, or an Android streamer, including updating, installing new apps from a downloaded executable (Windows) or an app store (Linux Lite and Android), and even installing and configuring KODI extensions. She knows that the solution to 50% of basic computer problems is a restart and can also solve several other basic issues, both ones related to loose connectors and some software issues. She knows the basics of MSOFFICE use but not any more advanced tricks. That would be Skill-0 in CE terms.

I have good knowledge of messing around with Windows and various Ubuntu distros and installing them, assembling a computer from parts I buy, advanced MSOFFICE functions, advanced Google search functions, and how to solve a wide range of software related issues (even a few hardware ones). I will have to look for info on Google to solve many of them, but I know what to search for and understand complex instructions. I can write simple but very readable and well-organized scripts in Python. I type at 50 or so words per minute. I use many of these skills as part of my job which combines translation, editing, content editing, and information services. That would be Skill-1 in CE terms.
The bolded part would suggest that the leap in success chance that atpollard noted between "unskilled" and "Skill-0" is quite realistic.

My guess would be your fiancee spent anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks total learning all the things she knows, while you probably took a few years for your level of skill - which would be more or less in line with my assumptions above.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
The bolded part would suggest that the leap in success chance that atpollard noted between "unskilled" and "Skill-0" is quite realistic.

My guess would be your fiancee spent anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks total learning all the things she knows, while you probably took a few years for your level of skill - which would be more or less in line with my assumptions above.
This is one reason I like the Classic Traveller skill system. Skill levels are not an incremental increase in your roll bonus, but rather denote actual very different levels of skill and are quite "realistic". This is the difference between unskilled (untrained), having basic literacy in the area (Skill-0), having a baseline employable skill (Skill-1), being a lower-level certified professional (Skill-2), having a full-blown Profession (Skill-3) or being an expert (Skill-4+).

In medicine: Medicine-0 is first-aid/CPR training; Medicine-1 is a paramedic; Medicine-2 is a registered nurse (a certified professional) or a medical intern; Medicine-3 is a proper doctor (a Profession); experts have Medicine-4 or higher.

This also explains the CT training rules - which I intend to port into CE. At this scale of skills, the gradual accumulation of experience alone can rarely bring you from one level to another. You need both experience and study. You can teach yourself in some cases, but this requires dedication.

How many nurses (Medicine-2 and let's say DEX 8) gain the medical knowledge and proficiency of a surgeon (Medicine-3 and DEX 8) simply by working as a nurse for a decade or two? This requires deliberate training, as well as practice. It also takes time, and not everyone succeeds in this.

How many trained combat soldiers (Gun Combat-1) become designated sharpshooters (Gun Combat-2) or snipers (Gun Combat-3) after a tour of duty or even several tours of duty, simply by being soldiers and using their gun a lot? Again, this needs deliberate training (or at least self-training) and practice. Not everyone will be able to do so.

How many people belong to two Professions (say, Skill-3 in both Medicine and Engineering) at the same time? Some do, but this is uncommon.

Many people will never be 'proper' high-level Professionals. Many sci-fi heroes are not "Professionals". Ellen Ripley, from Alien(s), would be (in CT) UPP 67C997 Merchant 4th Officer, 3 terms, age 30, Vacc Suit-2, Pilot-1, Navigation-1, Admin-1. In CE, she will also have several Skill-0's. Only 5 skill points, highest skill at 2. Enough for boundless sci-fi heroism and adventure!

This is not D&D. You don't go "zero to hero" in Traveller or CE. You are a skilled adult, sometimes a professional. But there is a sharp limit on what you can learn and on how far further experience and training can get you.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 04:49 PM
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We should also mention the other model for learning skills in CT, the LBB4-7 Instruction skill.

But that is VERY self-regulating, in that the instructor must have skill in Instruction AND the skill being imparted.

Most instructors are only going to be capable of teaching to Skill-1, a few to Skill-2. It will be very very rare to get a sensei that can get you to Skill-3/4.

The timeframes work too, given the probability of success it will take two classes to make sure you 'get it', with 12 weeks of doing nothing else or 1 year of 'learn while you work'. Very reasonable, and not likely to generate super characters.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 05:04 PM
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Most learning is self-learning. An instructor can accelerate sometimes and at higher levels you find other feedback loops. Requiring an Instructor for everything seems to not meet logic.

Really it seems to be a question of game balance and there really isn't any such beast.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 05:22 PM
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The CT three books allow you to teach yourself two skills at once over 8 years, no instructor needed, BUT you need to succeed in a Dedication roll...
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