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Jack of trade skill

I'm curious as to how other people handle this skill...CT directs that it gives skill level 0 in every other skill [as I recall -- I don't have the books in front of me] This seems to make JOT 2 or more a bit redundant or do you allow JOT 2 to confer skill 1 in everything else?

MT indicates that it gave a re-try on failed tasks --one retry for each level of skill...

How do you allow it to be applied and with what results.
JOT is pretty powerful, seeing that it confers skill 0 in everything. To me, allowing JOT-2 to give "Everything"-1, etc. would make it insanely powerful. So, I've always considered the "wasted" multiple levels of JOT that can occur as a balance for its benefits. Thus, JOT-(anything) still = "Everything"-0.
Yes, JOT skill can be abused in many ways. I'm trying to resolve the consequences when someone winds up with JOT-3 ...which can happen...

perhaps allow it to be every other skill 0 and then allow a retry per level of JOT skill?
Yeah, I never liked the skill, I just gave the player a bonus to his/her die roll of +1 for each skill level to a max of 3. I treated the original roll as unskilled, skill 0 (even chance in CT) and then added the JOT skill level to the roll. Still pretty powerful though.

I only allowed the JOT skill to affect those tasks where the character already had a related skill of some sort.

JoT, yeah, one of my fave CT skills, so very Scout

ex-Marine "I'm not trying it, you try it."

ex-Navy "No way, I'm not trying it."

ex-Marine "Mikey was a Scout, he'll try it!"

ex-Navy "Yeah Mikey will try anything!"

Marine and Navy in chorus "HEY MIKEY!"
Anywho it depends a lot on the rule set but I never found it too abused or abusive. I did always think it should be balanced somehow though, to better represent the generalist approach over the specialist approach. Something like a -1 per level of JoT to every specified skill the character has, but never below 1. Allow a +1 per 2 full levels of JoT for effective skill level on all skills.


J. A. Scout has mustered out with Pilot 5, Rifle 3, VaccSuit 2, and JoT 1

J. A.'s adjusted skills are Pilot 4, Rifle 2, VaccSuit 1 and every other skill 0 for being a Jack of all Trades.

During the course of adventuring J. A. picks up another level of JoT and now has effective Pilot 3 (+1 for JoT 2), Rifle 1 (+1 for JoT 2), VaccSuit 1 (+1 for JoT 2) and every other skill 0 (+1 for JoT 2) for being a Jack of all Trades.

Naturally this is a CT model so it may need a little tweaking for other rule sets, but how's that grab y'all?
I decided to use it to represent that person that just seems to know a little bit about everything in a particular skill field. I wrote it up so that the player had to choose a specific type of skills to apply JOT to such, as weapons, or transportation, or commerce, ect. Intended to represent that person who for some reason just knows enough to get a heliocopter off the ground and drive a semi.

Just my thoughts

It could be a problematic skill, but it is meant to model Hannibul Smith and McGyver all rolled into one - with a dash of Steve McQueen from the Great Escape thrown in. It is meant to model (I think) the person who can, when put in a tough situation, come up with surprising solutions often using available materials in an ad hoc or jury-rigged fashion. It isn't meant to represent the guy who can do a job as good as a specialist (JOT-4 does not make you both a brain surgeon and a competition grav racer....).

So, what could JOT levels mean and how could one intelligently (and in a balanced fashion) apply the skills?

1. A JOT level (even 0) covers 'an area' - be that automobiles, small arms, medical science, etc.
2. Each additional JOT level adds another 'area'.
3. In an area in which you have JOT coverage, if you don't have another skill which applies, JOT can give you an effective level of 0.
4. JOT also means you are generally very resourceful, and for each level, you should be allowed another attempt on a task that is not the kind where failing it once renders subsequent failures moot (you went boom or the window of opportunity passed). This does not apply at skill level 0.

So, in our example, with Scout Bob with JOT-2, Bob defines his areas as 'starship systems', 'atmospheric science' and 'xenomedicine'. So, if he hits a situation where he needs to make a skill roll associated with XT medicine, something related to atmosphere, or something generally related to starship systems where another skill doesn't particularly apply, he can take a shot at it with skill level 0. He can try a couple of times.

This makes JOT useful, a sign of resourcefulness, but also something not to replace normal skills. It also addresses the issue of multiple JOT levels .

In this case, Hannibul Smith and McGyver both have at least JOT-5.
How do you allow it to be applied and with what results.
easy. joat allows a roll to succeed at any task. base success at joat 1 for a zero level task is 8+. joat 2 adds one to the die roll, joat 3 adds two, etc. a more difficult task, say one that requires a skill level of one, subtracts one from the die roll. skill level two, subtracts two. etc.

......real skill level required for success

the base value can be adjusted to whatever makes sense in a given campaign, penalties and bonuses can be added at any time, and a roll can be required for any number of individual tasks.