Specialized Skills and Their Costs

Here's where we'll post official clarifications and errata for all Coyote & Crow titles, including the core rulebook.
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Connor
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2021 12:34 am

Specialized Skills and Their Costs

Post by Connor »

For this topic, I want to clarify what's in the book and also add in two minor edits that weren't specifically included in the current PDF.

First, something that a few folks have misunderstood is the nature of the relationship between General Skills and Specialized Skills. A General Skill is an overarching Skill that covers all of the Specializations under it (unless noted otherwise, like with Computers). Let's take Athletics as an example. If you have an Athletics Rank of 3, then you have all Athletics Specialization Skills at Rank 3, built in. This is why it takes as long as it does to raise your Athletics Skill during play. The Skill covers all types of Athletics. Practice would represent an overall training regimen.

However, Acrobatics is a Specialized Skill under the subset of Athletics. You can't really have a lower Acrobatics Skill than you have a Athletics Skill because Athletics includes Acrobatics. The reason you might have a higher Acrobatics score is maybe your Character is a gymnast or a dancer and wants those moves to be a focus for them. The player will be able to raise their Acrobatics Rank faster alone than if they spent the same time on Athletics as a whole.

Which brings us to our first clarification point, which is "Raising Specialized Skill Ranks". In the section on Character Creation, on page 148, we cover the Character Creation Point costs for both General and Specialized Skills. As you can see there, the concept of having a higher Specialized Skill Rank than its related General Rank is built in. What isn't covered in this section or specifically in Goals and Progress Chapter, is how to raise a Specialized Skill Rank during gameplay. In general, the book dictates that it takes a number of Sessions equal to the Rank you're trying to achieve. But If you're Athletics is Rank 3 and you have no Specializations and you decide that you'd like your next new Skill to be Acrobatics, the rules might lead you to believe that you should only have to practice for one Session to get to Rank 1, right? Except you already have Acrobatics at Rank 3. What isn't called out - specifically - in the rule book is that if you are attempting to improve a Specialized Skill then you use the Rank of that Skill - either itself or the General Skill its connected to. Whichever makes sense.

In our example, the Character wouldn't gain Rank 1 in Acrobatics, they'd gain Rank 4. As stated in the Rules, this would take 2 Sessions (4 divided by 2). They would then have Athletics Rank 3 and Acrobatics Rank 4.

This can sometimes lead to awkward choices for players down the line. What if they next choose to raise their Athletics? Well, then, 4 Sessions later, they'll have Rank 4 Athletics - but their Acrobatics hasn't gone up. They've chosen to simply raise their other skills to the level of their Acrobatics. But that's how life works sometimes. We don't evolve and progress in straight lines and we sometimes double back on our own learning. The choice to specialize can be a double edged blade.

Our second point (thanks for bringing it up, smilinirish) is to call out a few exceptions to this system. Namely, a few Specialized Skills that either confer specific benefits or have General Skill prerequisites. In the core rulebook (their might be others in the future), those Skills are:
  • Specific named Ceremonies
  • Hacking
  • Programming
  • Anicha Blades
  • Martial Arts
  • Wrestling
  • Brawling
These Specialized Skills will not raise along with their partner General Skill and must be raised separately. For example, you raise your Unarmed Combat to 4 during play. It does not include Martial Arts. If a Player then wanted to take Martial Arts, they would have to start at 1 and follow the rules and timing for raising that to 1.

In summary, there are three 'types' of Skill overall:
  • "Normal" Skills: These convey a general benefit and cover all Specialized Skills as a subset. Example: Farming
  • "Gateway" Skills: These Skills meant to be taken no higher than Rank 1 as a General Skill as their point is to give access to other specific Specialized Skills. Example: Knowledge
  • "Dual purpose" Skills: These have a general benefit as well as granting access to specific specialized skills that have other benefits and could almost be considered skills in their own right. Example: Computers
smilinirish
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:38 pm

Re: Specialized Skills and Their Costs

Post by smilinirish »

I had something half typed last night and never finished it. Glad I didn’t because it would be redundant. All of this makes perfect sense.

However, please clarify how advancement works in relation to skills that require specialization to use (or to use well, like Aniicha blades).

Let’s say you start with 2 in computer and 3 in hacking and 3 in programming. In gameplay, if you raised computer to 3, seems like you would just keep the specializations at 3 as well. Next you raise computer to 4. What happens to your specialized ranks? Do you continue to roll them at 3? If you double back and raise them again do you spend 2 sessions each to raise them to 4? This seems most logical.

Obviously raising a general skill higher than a non-required specialization doesn’t matter, since you can roll the general anyway. It’s only confusing for the specialization that are required for use (hacking, programming, Aniicha blades, brawling, Martial arts, wrestling, and the three medicine specializations to heal stat damage).

Thank you for addressing this, hope you had a wonderful holiday.
Connor
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2021 12:34 am

Re: Specialized Skills and Their Costs

Post by Connor »

Thanks for pointing this out. Much appreciated! I've updated the OP to include the clarification. And you were spot on in your guess (although we're not including the Medicine Specializations in the official FAQ. Currently, those stand as normal Skill Specializations.

Migwich,
Connor
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