Help with skills and skill levels!
#1
So I need help with characters and skill levels. I'm struggling with trying with giving characters realistic skill levels with the skills I want them to have. It's been a real problem for me and I really want to get better at giving characters skills with realistic skill levels. Anyone want to help or give advice?

I'm currently struggling with a future possible upcoming character, Seraphina, whom has been in training since she was six months old and is intended to be over two years old. Are her skill levels realistic? Any tips to make them realistic?

It's been difficult for me to give them realistic skill levels for their ages and I would love some advice on skills and skill levels! Thanks!
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#2
General rule: when in doubt, dial it back. Still in doubt? Dial it back even more.

Things to consider: how much can an average person learn in just 18 months? This is the amount of time your character has to learn essentially everything she knows.

Is it feasible for a human to become as skilled as Seraphina in that amount of time? Luperci might have an advantage over a human in terms of physical ability, but raw strength isn't all there is to learning to fight. Use of a weapon and tools aren't built-in skills for anyone. For each type of weapon, it takes time for someone to know how to handle it, to move with it, to balance it, etc. Learning to use three very different types of weapons and hand-to-hand combat (which might comprise many subtypes of fighting) in just 18 months is a lot.

It'd make a lot more sense to focus on just one weapon in addition to hand-to-hand combat.

Additionally: a few of Seraphina's listed skill levels don't seem to match with the accompanying description, or the description is too vague to really give an idea of skill level. For example, she's listed as a "dabbler" in first aid, but can "fix a wound well enough to get someone to a medic."

This is extremely vague, since "fix" and "a wound" can mean almost anything. If someone has their arm ripped off, can she "fix" that "enough"? What is "enough"? Are they stablised for a few minutes? An hour? A day? That seems extreme for a "dabbler," who should probably only know enough to bandage a serious wound... which may or may not "fix" anything.

Personally, I find skill descriptor words like "dabbler" and "competent" to be generally vague and not necessarily helpful in gauging appropriate skill. Knowing the basic idea about something also isn't the same as knowing how to do the thing, and a lot of things that might seem like "basic" skills are actually very complicated. You might think that CPR is considered a "basic" first aid skill, but people go through certification training for just that one skill. Similarly, dressing a wound might seem like a "basic" skill, but to do it effectively requires understanding and knowledge of things like cleaning a wound, not trapping dirt in it or irritating it, using clean materials, etc. Germ theory is one of those "givens" that I think we as human writers raised in an educated society take for granted. An average Luperci isn't going to know that these things are important for dressing a wound.

A true "dabbler" in the 'Soulsverse would probably do a lot of things completely wrong. Rather than "dabbling" giving a character enough knowledge to do something at a baseline acceptable level, I feel like it would actually give a character license to know just enough to mess up spectacularly. A character who professes zero medical knowledge probably wouldn't attempt to dress a wound. A character who knows a little would probably try and then infect the wound or otherwise cause more harm than good due to their lack of expertise. So in a practical sense, a dabbler isn't necessarily more helpful than someone who doesn't know anything.

tl;dr

1. In general, it's simpler for a character to be very good at just one or two things.
2. Having "basic" knowledge in other stuff doesn't necessarily mean they can actually do anything useful with that knowledge.

Hope that helps, idk. x_x
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#3
Echoing everything that Kiri says.

Especially if you know you’re having problems or are uncertain about what’s realistic, focusing on one or two major skills for your character to be quite good at is best. In general, if you are having problems – going with simplicity is the safest bet, tbh.

This is part of the compromise of ‘Souls really. If you want a very complicated character (for example: a warrior with multiple unique and out-there skills), you need to put in the time, effort, and understanding. Meanwhile, a simple character (a fighter with a focus on one common skill) requires less research. There is nothing wrong with dialing back, and this carries on to other aspects of character or plot creation: the more complex, the more research.

I would also like to add – it is just as, if not more important to roleplay skill levels realistically, rather than just listing them out. :> Kiri brings up a great point about the descriptor words vs descriptions, and you can go further with this in actual threads. If your “dabbler” character happens to succeed at X thing every time, well, they aren’t a dabbler are they?

Characters should lose sometimes, whether that’s getting hurt in a fight, blundering a hunt, losing a patient, or ruining a pelt they were tanning. Especially at lower skill levels, you should show that character learning through failures. Again, this might be less helpful when it comes to character creation vs roleplay, but you could take the same ideas to figure out what your character can realistically do.

Additionally – good sources for research are also important! Remember that Hollywood and other fiction (books, movies, shows) are not good sources. A character in a TV show might do crazy parkour moves while fighting – but could a real life person? Is that practical, or just “cool-looking?” Whips especially are used in a “theatrical” way in media – see Shadowhunters, Wonder Woman, other magical or just convenient whip usage – but would be absolutely impractical in an actual fight.

Anyway, that has been my ramble. :V Most of it is hypothetical and general, but it should hopefully help moving forward?
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#4
Just adding a quick note here.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to have cool or different skills and things for characters, but a lot of the time you gotta ask yourself why you want it. If the answer is "it's cool and gimmicky", you'll have a harder time justifying getting it.

Take the whip for example. As a weapon, it's borderline pointless for a luperci to have when they are a more effective weapon on their own, even when weak a wolf can still bite. But what if they are a performer who uses it for tricks because their background is a traveling entertainer? Suddenly that whip is more reasonable even if it's not being used as you likely intended.

Try to do as kiri and raze suggested, limit the number of skills at high levels. But also think about the why and how of her skills. If she thought it was cool then cool but why would she spend so much time on something when typically survival and more practical skills are valued for these shortlived animals?
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#5
Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:General rule: when in doubt, dial it back. Still in doubt? Dial it back even more.

Things to consider: how much can an average person learn in just 18 months? This is the amount of time your character has to learn essentially everything she knows.

Is it feasible for a human to become as skilled as Seraphina in that amount of time? Luperci might have an advantage over a human in terms of physical ability, but raw strength isn't all there is to learning to fight. Use of a weapon and tools aren't built-in skills for anyone. For each type of weapon, it takes time for someone to know how to handle it, to move with it, to balance it, etc. Learning to use three very different types of weapons and hand-to-hand combat (which might comprise many subtypes of fighting) in just 18 months is a lot.

I don't remember which discussion I heard it in, but I do remember someone pointing out that since Luperci don't live as long as human's, they could learn things faster since some skills like being a master at something could take ten years and Luperci don't live as long? It's sometimes confusing because I see some characters that are journeyman in several skills and they're around Seraphina's age? She trained rigorously for roughly twenty or so months and the staff is a basic back up weapon that she doesn't use very often? Her fighting style with it is only slightly better than untrained/very little training I guess?

Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:Additionally: a few of Seraphina's listed skill levels don't seem to match with the accompanying description, or the description is too vague to really give an idea of skill level. For example, she's listed as a "dabbler" in first aid, but can "fix a wound well enough to get someone to a medic."

This is extremely vague, since "fix" and "a wound" can mean almost anything. If someone has their arm ripped off, can she "fix" that "enough"? What is "enough"? Are they stablised for a few minutes? An hour? A day? That seems extreme for a "dabbler," who should probably only know enough to bandage a serious wound... which may or may not "fix" anything.

Personally, I find skill descriptor words like "dabbler" and "competent" to be generally vague and not necessarily helpful in gauging appropriate skill. Knowing the basic idea about something also isn't the same as knowing how to do the thing, and a lot of things that might seem like "basic" skills are actually very complicated. You might think that CPR is considered a "basic" first aid skill, but people go through certification training for just that one skill. Similarly, dressing a wound might seem like a "basic" skill, but to do it effectively requires understanding and knowledge of things like cleaning a wound, not trapping dirt in it or irritating it, using clean materials, etc. Germ theory is one of those "givens" that I think we as human writers raised in an educated society take for granted. An average Luperci isn't going to know that these things are important for dressing a wound.
Vicira Tears Wrote:I would also like to add – it is just as, if not more important to roleplay skill levels realistically, rather than just listing them out. :> Kiri brings up a great point about the descriptor words vs descriptions, and you can go further with this in actual threads. If your “dabbler” character happens to succeed at X thing every time, well, they aren’t a dabbler are they?
I went back and took out the skill levels and tried to elaborate on some of her skills, especially the medicine part. She has only basic training which was putting pressure on the wound and that's all she could do and could only fix superficial wounds and not fatal ones?

Kalypso Savoy Wrote:Take the whip for example. As a weapon, it's borderline pointless for a luperci to have when they are a more effective weapon on their own, even when weak a wolf can still bite. But what if they are a performer who uses it for tricks because their background is a traveling entertainer? Suddenly that whip is more reasonable even if it's not being used as you likely intended.
Vicira Tears Wrote:Whips especially are used in a “theatrical” way in media – see Shadowhunters, Wonder Woman, other magical or just convenient whip usage – but would be absolutely impractical in an actual fight.

I used to think that a long time ago when it came to whips as weapons but I watched a couple of youtube videos on using whips and this video also really gave me ideas of how the whip could be used as a weapon. It was also Seraphina's style as it is rather unassuming and sophisticated. I've also looked at behind the scenes for Shadowhunters since the actress does the stunts with a leather whip and saw how she uses it in one scene but a lot of my research came from youtube videos with people who use whips in real life.

Sorry if the answer is rushed, I was in class~
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#6
I think you MAY have missed my point entirely because I said you need to evaluate the why and the how. Just because youtube can do it, does not mean you can. ^^;

Wikipedia
Admittedly not sourced, but their points are incredibly valid for this particular case.

Quote:Certain varieties of whip have earned a reputation as a weapon through popular culture, film and television. In reality only a narrow range of whip-like instruments are practical instruments in combat. Typical whips are of little use against armoured targets, as well as those with means of blocking, intercepting or outmanouvring a whip...

Quote:A single-tail whip can wrap around limbs or body or the neck. This is fairly easy to do, but is impractical in most physical combat environments where it is difficult to maintain the necessary spacing between the target and the person throwing the whip. It is not a practical means by which to significantly restrict or control movement and is unlikely to throttle a target. It is fairly simple to perform on a static target, but is impractical in most physical combat environments where maintaining distance between the wielder and the target is easily confounded.

AKA in combat, for realsies, is very difficult and IMPRACTICAL. A bladed weapon, fist, foot, or teeth will be of more use than a whip.
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#7
I'll say it outright. Seraphina is too overpowered (at least, in combat skills), particularly, for someone who's (currently) less than 3 years old. She knows way too many things for such a short lifespan. I don't have the answer for the "since Luperci don't live as long as human's, they could learn things faster" question, but, I can say that you definitely need to cut back on what Seraphina knows if you don't want a Mary Sue-type character >___<

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I'll use Teagan as my example since she and Seraphina are roughly the same age, and Teagan also has "Journeyman" listed for some of her skills like you made mention of previously.

Much like Seraphina, Teagan has been trained since she could shift in how to fight, and lives in a pack whose culture is knowing how to fight and defend oneself. Despite this though, Teagan is only proficient in one weapon; a shortsword, of which, she is listed as being a "Journeyman." Yes, she knows how to use knives, shields, and bow & arrows, but she is still considered a beginner in those categories. Her main focus has been sword fighting, thus, why she is considered a "Journeyman" in that field, and why her knife, shield, and bow & arrow skills are considered a "Dabbler," or, a beginner.

Just because you know "how to use" something, doesn't mean you're "skilled" in it. Anybody can pick up a sword and have a general idea of how to use it. You hack at things with it. Only someone who is trained and has practiced with a sword would know how to bring out the full potential of it. Teagan knows "how to use" a bow. Can she hit a stationary target? Sure, but, don't expect it to be very good. Can she hit dead center or moving targets? Definitely not.

Another thing too, Teagan is not proficient in 5 different types of "swords". She is proficient in ONE type, and that is a shortsword, another reason why she is a "Journeyman" in that field.

She is also listed as "Journeyman" in Close Combat/Hand-to-Hand. This is her "back-up" or go-to fighting style if she is unable to fight with her sword. Notice that, besides her sword, that Teagan is not proficient in any other fighting skill. This helps balance Teagan out against other fighters, and gives other fighters a way to have "an edge" on Teagan. In other words, this makes it so that Teagan is able to be defeated, and by means other than her obvious weaknesses.

In non-fighting skills, Teagan has Falconry and Equestrian for hobbies. Only two, once more, and Teagan is far more skilled with birds than she is with horses. Both of which, she has been exposed to since pre-shifting age, and deals with on a regular basis when not practicing with her sword.

She also has Hunting/Tracking/Patrolling (all rolled into one because they really work off of each other; you use tracking to hunt/patrol, you can compare hunting to patrolling), which she does in tandem with her falcon/horse hobby. As for Reading/Writing, that one, I wouldn't really mark as a "big" issue since even we as humans can read/write decently enough to get a point across xD

In summary, I've made Teagan only proficient in 2 major combat skills, 2 major hobbies, and 1 life skill. In any, because of her age, she has some time before she can be considered a "master" at them. She has also chosen specific things to focus on versus a large or general group of things. Teagan fights with swords. Her unarmed combat style is not tied to a specific technique. Falconry is broad only because there's only so many things you can do xD With horses, Teagan's skills lie in riding, reading their body language, and general upkeep, rather than anything truly in-depth with them. For Hunting/Tracking/Patrolling, she is no super star or super scout; she knows enough to feed herself, and enough to realize there's something fishy in the area.

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These are my personal suggestions regarding Seraphina's fighting "strengths" and their realism:

Seraphina Colt - Skills: Combat: Strengths Wrote:
  • Knives: She is familiar with blades. She typically uses knives to fight. She has several throwing knives as well as a pair of daggers with eight-inch long blades. She duel-wields her long daggers and prefers the speed of the knives over scimitars. She is most deadly with knives and uses them in combat. She is quick and goes for the kill.
  • You've listed 3 different knife-types (throwing knives, dual-wielding 8-inch blades, scimitars) under your overarching group of "Knives." Pick ONE or NONE. Each of those knives/blades are vastly different in their fighting styles and techniques. If you just have to keep all three, I recommend that you cut out all other combat-related "strength" skills if you don't want a Mary Sue and to prevent Seraphina from being overpowered. Because ALL of those, PLUS the other skills she has, makes her too skilled (overpowered) for someone that's less than 3 years old.

    If she were like, 7+? Maybe, because you could say that she gained all of her current "strength" combat skills over her lifetime. At less than 3? No.

Seraphina Colt - Skills: Combat: Strengths Wrote:
  • Whip: One of her weapons is a six-feet long whip that she uses primarily as a long-ranged weapon and surprise weapon. She can disarm opponents and catch people using a wrap around technique. She can also use the handle as a baton and sometimes swings the handle at her opponents. One of her key attacks is using her wrap around technique on people's necks.
  • I would caution against using a whip as a weapon meant for offensive fighting. Sure, whips are cool, and Hollywood, games, and animes make them appear like they'd be a super unique weapon to have, however, you have to also think realistically here. In a REAL fight, how effective is that tool going to be used as an offensive/attacking weapon? Not very.

    Sure, they can wrap around something, but, your aim and your target's distance from you would have to be within a strict margin in order to pull the move off effectively. As well, IF you wrap the whip around someone, who's to say it would actually be effective in halting them? Seraphina's body is too small and light for her to have much of a real pulling or halting power to take her opponent to the ground. As well, once she wraps them, what is to stop her opponent from just dragging her to them? It's useless as anything other than, really, for show. If an opponent gets too close, it's useless. A few cracks at someone may keep them at bay, but, for how long?

    As for the specialty technique of wrapping the whip around an opponent's neck, how often would you REALLY be able to use that skill in roleplay? Such a move would put any opponent in a very precarious situation, one that most players are not likely to take unless they just want the drama or to have their character seriously injured. As well, there are a lot of factors that would need to be just right in order to allow that to happen. Thus, you should be asking yourself, "While this may be really cool/badass, how practical is it REALLY in an active and fast-moving fight?" No opponent is just going to stand there and be all, "HIT ME, PLEASE~!"

    Consider all of this if you seek to keep the whip!

Seraphina Colt - Skills: Combat: Strengths Wrote:
  • Staff: Her staff is a four and a half feet long and has a sharp point and made of hard material. With this weapon, she often lacks the normal finesse she normally has and has a more smash-mouth style since her training with these weapons aren't as extensive as her other weapons and she doesn't use her staff as often. It shows with her fighting style. It is her back-up weapon if she needs it.
  • If you want her "back-up" to be her staff, I'd advise cutting out "Knives" or "Unarmed Combat" as your other proficient skills. This way, she can be proficient in both her whip and her staff to the level you seem to want her to have without making Seraphina too overpowered because you have her being relatively skilled in 6 different fighting-related things.

    This would also mean that she would be carrying this weapon around with her too if it's her back-up weapon use, yes? Something to consider with using a whip, as the staff's clearance over her head would need to be taken into account when she's swinging her whip around.

Seraphina Colt - Skills: Combat: Strengths Wrote:
  • Unarmed Combat: Her fighting style includes punches, kicks, blows, and grabs that are often directed towards vulnerable areas. Her style is meant to weaken or even cripple so that she can get the upperhand. Her style does incorporate some Aikido principles as well as kickboxing and is mainly a mix of martial arts. She is not afraid to fight dirty and will use her claws.
  • If you want her to be proficient in this, cut out two of the other combat-related skills. As well, chose ONE or NONE of those 3 different unarmed combat fighting styles. Like I said with knives, those are three DIFFERENT styles, and while Aikido and whatever mix of "martial arts" you have may have similarities, kickboxing is not the same.

    Something else to consider would be HOW does Seraphina know these techniques? She cannot be proficient in all three, not when it takes people months, if not years to perfect just one. As well, trying to mix all of them up would lead to a jumbled mess of--likely--bad fighting techniques since there would be no true way to smoothly transition from one to the other.

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In the end, you need to, honestly, ask yourself: "Why do I NEED the other [fighting] skills? Is it simply because I can't let go of how cool it is to have my character proficient in them?"

When designing a character, it's hard to let go of some things that you think would be super cool for them to have or something unique or "different." But, in the end, you have to think about how realistic it is for your character to have all of these skills.
  • Things to always consider are:
    • Age
    • How they came to know of the skill/who taught them?
    • How often they're exposed to this skill?
    • How often do they practice with this skill?
    And, as a whole, consider:
    • Where do they get the time to practice ALL of these skills?
    • How do these skills relate to each other? Are they a mish-mash of random things that I thought were cool and threw together in the character blender?

If you find that you've got 10+ "proficient" skills at an age "too young," crank it down. Use those other skills on another character. You don't need to have everything happen on one character. Spread the love! You either have a character that is a Master of One or, have a Jack of All Trades but Master of None. To have a character that is a Master of All would be overpowered, a Mary Sue, and against 'Souls rules x3

I'd suggest giving Seraphina 1 "proficient/strength" skill in combat/survival/social & domestic for every year that Seraphina has been alive (to date). So, 2 combat, 2 survival, and 2 social & domestic. DO NOT group skills into one bullet (like you did with Knives and Unarmed Combat). Those 3 different knives/fighting techniques should be treated as such; 3 different things, thus 3 separate bullets. This should help make sure you don't overpower characters!

As the others have said, it's okay to dial down your character's skills. Research (REAL research, not Hollywood, games, books, animes, etc.) is ALWAYS something good to look into too!
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#8
The whip was mainly intended to be used for more stealthier missions as a weapon of surprise since Seraphina prefers some degree of distance if she doesn't feel like getting up close though I have been trying to find a different weapon she could use. The two closest weapons I found was the chain whip and the dart rope which wasn't what I was looking for. I was mainly going off of what the man in the video showed how it could be used and it felt like the way he did it would be Seraphina's style. Most of the time she prefers distance and the whip is an unassuming weapon to some if they don't know what other ways she could use it. One of the ways she would use it was to bring someone closer but by surprise in order to incapacitate them with something like a dagger or her own claws. She also used it often when attacking with a group to even disarm or wrap around the person's arm so that another teammate could attack or distract them long enough for someone else to attack. She mainly uses the whip as a distraction or surprise. The whip was a part of her character since it was one of my favorite aspects of the character she was based off of and seemed to match her personality and style. Though I have been considering getting rid of it. The whip was also on my radar since I've read about some 'Souls characters using whips on their wikis.

Asura Creo Wrote:
Seraphina Colt - Skills: Combat: Strengths Wrote:
  • Knives: She is familiar with blades. She typically uses knives to fight. She has several throwing knives as well as a pair of daggers with eight-inch long blades. She duel-wields her long daggers and prefers the speed of the knives over scimitars. She is most deadly with knives and uses them in combat. She is quick and goes for the kill.
  • You've listed 3 different knife-types (throwing knives, dual-wielding 8-inch blades, scimitars) under your overarching group of "Knives." Pick ONE or NONE. Each of those knives/blades are vastly different in their fighting styles and techniques. If you just have to keep all three, I recommend that you cut out all other combat-related "strength" skills if you don't want a Mary Sue and to prevent Seraphina from being overpowered. Because ALL of those, PLUS the other skills she has, makes her too skilled (overpowered) for someone that's less than 3 years old.
I think for the scimitars part I was trying to say that she picked differently from the normal weapons her peers picked as the scimitar they used was the normal and often default weapon for of the Amario but her primary weapon is a knife instead. She has probably tested it out when she was younger but probably has no training at all with the weapon so I'll fix that part. I am currently trying to find a specific kind of knife/dagger she can use and I'm currently between Kindjals and then Stilleto knife though it doesn't say anywhere if those knives could be thrown. (There isn't much information on Kindjals in general to be honest). I'm probably going to remove the throwing knife part unless I take out the whip.

Asura Creo Wrote:
Seraphina Colt - Skills: Combat: Strengths Wrote:
  • Staff: Her staff is a four and a half feet long and has a sharp point and made of hard material. With this weapon, she often lacks the normal finesse she normally has and has a more smash-mouth style since her training with these weapons aren't as extensive as her other weapons and she doesn't use her staff as often. It shows with her fighting style. It is her back-up weapon if she needs it.
  • If you want her "back-up" to be her staff, I'd advise cutting out "Knives" or "Unarmed Combat" as your other proficient skills. This way, she can be proficient in both her whip and her staff to the level you seem to want her to have without making Seraphina too overpowered because you have her being relatively skilled in 6 different fighting-related things.

    This would also mean that she would be carrying this weapon around with her too if it's her back-up weapon use, yes? Something to consider with using a whip, as the staff's clearance over her head would need to be taken into account when she's swinging her whip around.
If I was to get rid of the whip, I might replace it with the staff since I did like the staff and it does seem a lot better for battle. I'm not sure if Luperci can make collapsible staffs yet? Probably not but I am attracted to a whip with a sharper point for stabbing people once they're down (I think that's a spear).

Asura Creo Wrote:
Seraphina Colt - Skills: Combat: Strengths Wrote:
  • Unarmed Combat: Her fighting style includes punches, kicks, blows, and grabs that are often directed towards vulnerable areas. Her style is meant to weaken or even cripple so that she can get the upperhand. Her style does incorporate some Aikido principles as well as kickboxing and is mainly a mix of martial arts. She is not afraid to fight dirty and will use her claws.
  • If you want her to be proficient in this, cut out two of the other combat-related skills. As well, chose ONE or NONE of those 3 different unarmed combat fighting styles. Like I said with knives, those are three DIFFERENT styles, and while Aikido and whatever mix of "martial arts" you have may have similarities, kickboxing is not the same.
I've taken Aikido before and do feel that some other martial arts that deal with offense can be used along with the techniques since Aikido is mainly about defense though you can mix some attacks from other martial arts in there. Since a lot of Aikido is just waiting for the attacker to attack you and you use the person's strength or energy against them while using joint locks or wrist holds or throws. And I have seen multiple times where someone could punch or kick at the person when they're doing techniques. I feel that some of the throwing or evasion techniques Seraphina will use are fairly basic as a lot of techniques have similar or the same holds but in response to different attacks. But I do realize kickboxing wasn't a good example.

Since a majority of her life was devoted to making her a warrior, she is mostly proficient in some degree with combat-related skills and the other skills are either basic (first-aid and sewing), hobbies (drawing), and natural (manipulation, stealth, agility). I might move up Seraphina's size to 5'5 since she is half coyote and should be in the average range at least?
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#9
Song breaks it down real well. Conflating and lumping different skills in with each other (such as multiple types of a similar weapon) isn't a good solution to narrowing down skills and breaking down why you want a character to be a certain way or have a certain skill is good for distilling an idea down to what's really necessary.

Raze also pulled out and simplified an important point I was trying to make, which is that listing skills is significantly different from actually roleplaying them -- that listing them as a "dabbler" is one thing, but if they're constantly suceeding at a thing they "dabble" in then they aren't actually a dabbler.

What's most important in the end is for a character to not slip into godmoding territory, which occurs most often when the player feels justified in the character's purported strength or expertise looks for every way and reason to explain that their character can do a thing no matter how unreasonable it actually is.

I think one of the easiest ways to counter this is to just accept that even a character who is the best expert at something isn't immune to failing. Even a character who has one skill they're good at, who has spent their entire life perfecting their skill at the one thing, can fail at that thing. And that makes for a good story. And that's what we're all here to do, I imagine.

Writing something interesting is the end goal, not merely having a cool character that can do cool things. A godmoder is a character who is unreasonably skilled and never fails, even when the odds are against them. Counter godmoding tendacies by embracing that a character's failure makes for the best kind of story.

Back to specific character skills here though. Namely, the whip.

I'm not convinced a whip qualifies as a "stealthy" weapon by any stretch. Whips are hard and difficult to hide. They might be unassuming in that not everyone will assume it's a weapon, but a knife is definitely easier to hide, easier to transport, easier to travel with and pack away. A knife is steathlier than a whip.

As far as distance, a whip still requires considerable proximity. It's still a melee weapon, rather than a ranged weapon. If you're close enough to use a whip, you're close enough to throw knives. A staff, lance, or spear can also be used in a similar range as a whip without getting "up close and personal" as if you were stabbing someone with a knife.

Using a whip in a group fight is an even worse idea. The chances of the whip hitting a friendly or otherwise getting obstructed by something other than the target would be extremely high. The amount of empty space needed around the user to effectively manuver a whip, especially a long one, is just too great.

I think sticking with knives would be easiest, since it's a weapon that covers most of the uses you apparently want out of the whip. Again: figure out why you want a thing. There are probably simpler ways to achieve what you want.

No, Luperci probably can't make collapsible staves.

Quote:Since a majority of her life was devoted to making her a warrior

That's still only 18 months. I might've mentioned offhanded a few times that Luperci might pick up things faster than humans once they get going on them, but they're set back in other ways (as mentioned: things that we as human writers take for granted, like germ theory).

I mostly think it balances out in the end, but even if you say that Luperci learn things twice as quickly, 36 months (3 years) of learning honestly isn't that long either. If you took Aikido for three years, how confident would you feel in participating in, say, the Olympics for it. (idk if Aikido is an Olympic sport, but whatever the equivilant of that might be, you know?) And that's still just one skill.

Quote:she is mostly proficient in some degree with combat-related skills
The point we're trying to make is that "combat-related skills" is super, super broad and that being proficient in one thing doesn't necessarily mean proficiency in a similar, related thing. I have been drawing my whole life and consider myself proficient in watercolor (but by no means an expert) but I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to gouache and gouache is literally just an opaque version of watercolor.

Seraphina being skilled with one type of knife doesn't necessarily mean she's as skilled with a similar knife. I'm probably better with gouache than a person who's never painted before, but tbh I barely even consider myself a "dabbler" at gouache and I'm not nearly as good with it as watercolor.
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#10
I'm going to take out the whip and make her staff her back-up weapon to her knives. I've removed everything about the whip from her wiki. Sorry for the trouble with that~ I'm not sure how she'll hide the staff or carry it around but I'll figure that part out.

Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:Raze also pulled out and simplified an important point I was trying to make, which is that listing skills is significantly different from actually roleplaying them -- that listing them as a "dabbler" is one thing, but if they're constantly suceeding at a thing they "dabble" in then they aren't actually a dabbler.

What's most important in the end is for a character to not slip into godmoding territory, which occurs most often when the player feels justified in the character's purported strength or expertise looks for every way and reason to explain that their character can do a thing no matter how unreasonable it actually is.

I think one of the easiest ways to counter this is to just accept that even a character who is the best expert at something isn't immune to failing. Even a character who has one skill they're good at, who has spent their entire life perfecting their skill at the one thing, can fail at that thing. And that makes for a good story. And that's what we're all here to do, I imagine.

Writing something interesting is the end goal, not merely having a cool character that can do cool things. A godmoder is a character who is unreasonably skilled and never fails, even when the odds are against them. Counter godmoding tendacies by embracing that a character's failure makes for the best kind of story.

I will try to have her fail at times, especially when it comes to more attackers or skilled ones, especially when she's handling things alone without back-up. One of her major flaws is being too overconfident and taking on more than she can chew which causes her brother to have to bail her out as well as her other teammates having to. I will also keep in mind her size which is a real flaw though can be a blessing in Aikido sometimes but in fights she's like a glass cannon, I guess. But one of her major flaws is being impulsive and she probably does have scars from fights that she covers with her runes? I’ll also keep it in mind when it comes to her dabbler-level skills when it comes to her using them and will have her have failures when it comes to those skills. And I agree, it’s more interesting if the character fails at times because it makes for a better story. I’m actually interested in her failing in fights as well though I’m worried about me messing up when it comes to wound healing and scarring.

Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:The point we're trying to make is that "combat-related skills" is super, super broad and that being proficient in one thing doesn't necessarily mean proficiency in a similar, related thing. I have been drawing my whole life and consider myself proficient in watercolor (but by no means an expert) but I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to gouache and gouache is literally just an opaque version of watercolor.

Seraphina being skilled with one type of knife doesn't necessarily mean she's as skilled with a similar knife. I'm probably better with gouache than a person who's never painted before, but tbh I barely even consider myself a "dabbler" at gouache and I'm not nearly as good with it as watercolor.

Sorry I keep missing the point about that~ I plan on her only using one kind of knife proficiently though I’m trying to decide between two knives for her to use. I’ll make sure she’ll be skilled with only one type of knife and will keep that in mind if she was to try to use another kind of knife. The scimitar part was edited out entirely. I’m not sure if she can throw her current knives since there is nothing on Kindjal or Stilleto knives being thrown.

Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:That's still only 18 months. I might've mentioned offhanded a few times that Luperci might pick up things faster than humans once they get going on them, but they're set back in other ways (as mentioned: things that we as human writers take for granted, like germ theory).
I mostly think it balances out in the end, but even if you say that Luperci learn things twice as quickly, 36 months (3 years) of learning honestly isn't that long either. If you took Aikido for three years, how confident would you feel in participating in, say, the Olympics for it. (idk if Aikido is an Olympic sport, but whatever the equivilant of that might be, you know?) And that's still just one skill.
Thank you for clearing that up! I was kinda confused about that for a bit but now I understand. I’ll try to keep that in mind when it comes to skill building that they still have set ways

I took Aikido for around three years (probably factoring the breaks I took and probably less than that considering the classes were twice a week and sometimes they were canceled). I think but it took me some time to figure out the moves and techniques though there were other factors involved. Aikido calls for at least sixty practice days to get all the way to 5th kyu or the level I was at and that was only learning around fifteen techniques (though I think I just learned the 7 testing techniques and five more basic ones). And from what I remember, I think it takes at least twenty or so years to get to a black belt level since all the black belts in my classes were in their fifties at least. (sorry for the tangent I went off on).

(Sorry, this was a bit rushed, I was in class again)
  Reply
#11
@ Knives,
  • Whichever knife you chose, I would probably guess that if you chose a Stiletto that has a curved guard, it will not be good for throwing, as it is not very aerodynamic x3

    Also, be sure to differentiate if this knife you plan to use is to be a, literal, throwing knife, or, merely, a knife that Seraphina occasionally throws, but is mainly used as what is intended for x3 I know you mentioned specific names for what types you're looking into, however, since throwing knives are actually a type of knife style, you might want to rephrase it as "knife throwing" (so it's more clear that it's an action vs. a noun).

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@ Staff,
  • A staff can also hold up better for defending oneself if the enemy gets too close too! Kiri already covered the collapsible part. (Also, yikes, better be prepared if you search "whip with spikes" xD BDSM to follow) I think that was a typo on your part, but, yes, a spear is basically a staff with a bladed end xD

    As for how she could carry it around, she would likely just use it kind of as an impromptu walking stick kind of thing if she was not moving at a fast clip? Otherwise, I'm sure you could say that she figured out a way to jerry-rig it to her back somehow? xD Not the most efficient/effective way, perhaps, but, a way nonetheless to make her hands free. Something to consider with this too though, she'd have to mind the clearance of the weapon when passing underneath something!

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@ Unarmed combat,
  • Yeah, most times, when people think "kickboxing" they think of the sport, nothing like Muay Thai (which is more martial-art like) xD Still, I would recommend not calling the fighting style outright when dealing with Luperci. Simply leave it as the descriptors for the fighting style and leave it at that x3 Luperci likely wouldn't know (correct me, 'SA, if I'm wrong) the actual names, techniques, and disciplines that are human-developed martial arts. However, they may very well come up with fighting styles that are similar to the human ones? If you must name or call out a specific martial art, I'd recommend wording it as "SIMILAR to Aikido" versus "this IS Aikido."

    Kiri made another good point too to make sure that Seraphina's skill level is on par with her experience at her age. Teagan can still be bested in her close-combat skill, and she started learning and training from when she could shift. If you decide to keep this skill, be sure to make sure, as Kiri advised, to keep Seraphina's skill level realistic! She'll lose sometimes! She'll have something/one get the better of her! She'll make mistakes! These are part of what make a character grow! As well, keep fighting/spar threads enjoyable for everyone!

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I wasn't saying that there was anything wrong with including the other skills, just that, perhaps, think about them, and make sure you're not giving Seraphina too many skills (to prevent making her too talented in too many things) x3 Giver her some things that she doesn't know! That way, it'll give you something fun to roleplay or have her develop if/when you bring her on-board! :3

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Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:
Avinalora Pheonix Wrote:she is mostly proficient in some degree with combat-related skills
The point we're trying to make is that "combat-related skills" is super, super broad and that being proficient in one thing doesn't necessarily mean proficiency in a similar, related thing.
  • ^^^ What Kiri said, in a nutshell! Again, using Teagan due to their similarities, Teagan is good "with combat-related skills" too, however, she is only proficient in a couple of things (swords, unarmed combat). Yes, she knows how to use these other combat-related things, but, are her skills good enough to be, truly, noteworthy? No.

    These are all stuff to think about when loading a character up with their skill tree! If you want to prevent overloading (and thus, overpowering) your character, find the main things that you want them to have, and, of that, what that you want them to have MOST. Use the suggestion I made previously regarding age and the amount of "proficient" skills to give the character. She's still young, and likely not one to just stop learning combat-related stuff if that's her passion. Turn some of those "proficient" skills into something she has yet to perfect or get into. This will help with character development (gives you, the player, something to actively work towards and gives you thread ideas to do!), as well, help keep Seraphina on a more realistic learning track!
  Reply
#12
Asura Creo Wrote:Whichever knife you chose, I would probably guess that if you chose a Stiletto that has a curved guard, it will not be good for throwing, as it is not very aerodynamic x3

Also, be sure to differentiate if this knife you plan to use is to be a, literal, throwing knife, or, merely, a knife that Seraphina occasionally throws, but is mainly used as what is intended for x3 I know you mentioned specific names for what types you're looking into, however, since throwing knives are actually a type of knife style, you might want to rephrase it as "knife throwing" (so it's more clear that it's an action vs. a noun).
I'll probably go with something like a Kindjal or a Stiletto without a curved guard? Also, I'm not sure if Seraphina can use both throwing knives and her regular knives or if that would be too overpowered, though I would most likely go with a Kunai or have her occasionally throwing her knife.

Quote:A staff can also hold up better for defending oneself if the enemy gets too close too! Kiri already covered the collapsible part. (Also, yikes, better be prepared if you search "whip with spikes" xD BDSM to follow) I think that was a typo on your part, but, yes, a spear is basically a staff with a bladed end xD

As for how she could carry it around, she would likely just use it kind of as an impromptu walking stick kind of thing if she was not moving at a fast clip? Otherwise, I'm sure you could say that she figured out a way to jerry-rig it to her back somehow? xD Not the most efficient/effective way, perhaps, but, a way nonetheless to make her hands free. Something to consider with this too though, she'd have to mind the clearance of the weapon when passing underneath something!
Okay, that was probably a huge typo, sorry! Her staff would be similar or exactly like the one the character she is based off of, Isabelle Lightwood uses in this scene and she would use it similarly to how Izzy uses it in that scene. Or how Laurel Lance uses her staff in these scenes since Laurel was rather new to staff fighting so her blows lacked the finesse. Most likely, she'll probably use it as a walking stick or rig it to her back. And I'm not sure if it's actually a spear since she probably doesn't throw it? And the staff I'm basing her weapon off of doesn't have the weighted end it would need to be thrown.

Asura Creo Wrote:Yeah, most times, when people think "kickboxing" they think of the sport, nothing like Muay Thai (which is more martial-art like) xD Still, I would recommend not calling the fighting style outright when dealing with Luperci. Simply leave it as the descriptors for the fighting style and leave it at that x3 Luperci likely wouldn't know (correct me, 'SA, if I'm wrong) the actual names, techniques, and disciplines that are human-developed martial arts. However, they may very well come up with fighting styles that are similar to the human ones? If you must name or call out a specific martial art, I'd recommend wording it as "SIMILAR to Aikido" versus "this IS Aikido."
Yeah, Seraphina's style won't be full Aikido and will only incorporate certain throws and holds as well as some similar techniques. She won't know the name of the martial art that she's using and I will only describe the move but not actually use the name.

Asura Creo Wrote:Kiri made another good point too to make sure that Seraphina's skill level is on par with her experience at her age. Teagan can still be bested in her close-combat skill, and she started learning and training from when she could shift. If you decide to keep this skill, be sure to make sure, as Kiri advised, to keep Seraphina's skill level realistic! She'll lose sometimes! She'll have something/one get the better of her! She'll make mistakes! These are part of what make a character grow! As well, keep fighting/spar threads enjoyable for everyone!

I wasn't saying that there was anything wrong with including the other skills, just that, perhaps, think about them, and make sure you're not giving Seraphina too many skills (to prevent making her too talented in too many things) x3 Giver her some things that she doesn't know! That way, it'll give you something fun to roleplay or have her develop if/when you bring her on-board! :3
Okay! I do think that Seraphina would be weakest without a weapon and will reflect that in any fights or spars she gets into. I'm still debating whether or not I should really take out the hunting part since I'd imagine she would have little to no ability to hunt since she probably hasn't had any experience since she hasn't had to hunt for herself most likely, which wouldn't have needed to hunt. I'm also looking forward to her being like a fish out of water in 'Souls since she isn't used to being outside of The City of Bones and not knowing all of the customs of the 'Souls people, lol. Also, she is weaker in more domestic skills and basically most things outside of skills she needed for missions and since she's not running missions anymore, she does need to develop more skills that aren't fighting. So she could learn more about drawing and tailoring or learn new skills like hunting.

Asura Creo Wrote:These are all stuff to think about when loading a character up with their skill tree! If you want to prevent overloading (and thus, overpowering) your character, find the main things that you want them to have, and, of that, what that you want them to have MOST. Use the suggestion I made previously regarding age and the amount of "proficient" skills to give the character. She's still young, and likely not one to just stop learning combat-related stuff if that's her passion. Turn some of those "proficient" skills into something she has yet to perfect or get into. This will help with character development (gives you, the player, something to actively work towards and gives you thread ideas to do!), as well, help keep Seraphina on a more realistic learning track!
I've tried to lower the skills to ones she would need (fighting, stealth, manipulation, agility, and first aid) and gave her two extra skills which would be hobbies or what she also needed that wasn't essential in the case of drawing and tailoring. She does have a the ability to ride a horse though Scylla was trained by someone else and is easily ridden, so I'm not sure if you could consider it a skill though it is a skill she could expand on, too. She also could use more training and I might possibly lower her skill level in knife fighting as she would mainly fall back upon her staff if she needed to fight someone and not kill someone if that makes sense? And she won't be perfect at any of her combat skills but thinks she is, I think.
  Reply
#13
Quote:I'll probably go with something like a Kindjal or a Stiletto without a curved guard? Also, I'm not sure if Seraphina can use both throwing knives and her regular knives or if that would be too overpowered, though I would most likely go with a Kunai or have her occasionally throwing her knife.

This makes it really confusing to figure out what you're wanting to do lol.

Also consider: you really don't need to list every single thing a character can possibly do. Doing so can very easily make a character seem "overpowered," because that implies "if it's worth mentioning at all, they must be good at it to some degree."

This is probably case for most "related" skills in which a character has no direct training or specific proficiency.

For example, as an artist, it can be easily assumed that I am probably better at using charcoal than the average non-artist. But is that worth mentioning? I hate charcoal. I never use it. I never want to use it. There's no point in me listing "dabbler" of or even "competent" at charcoal on any list of skills ever, even if skill-wise, I could probably qualify as that.

A knife-wielding person is probably going to be better at using all knives than the average non-knife wielder or non-fighter, even the ones they've never touched before. Could they use [insert random knife type]? Sure. Are they "proficient" in every knife other than their primary? Probably not. So don't list it.

You can probably throw a stilletto knife to decent effect. There's really no need to go digging for other very specific types of throwing knives to add to the list. :v

Note about established martial arts' techniques: while Luperci could reasonably figure out what a knife is used for and develop techniques on their own, it would be a lot harder for specifics of human-developed martial arts to pass onto Luperci, since they would have very, very little to learn from. There are no videos for them to learn from, and books, in addition to being rare and fragile, would never be as effective for teaching practical techniques. It's like learning to dance from a book. Those flat visuals can only do so much.

Martial arts techniques developed over thousands of years -- Luperci aren't likely to magically re-develop them over 30 years. While many basics are probably easily discovered, I'd stray away from explicitly referencing very specific things.
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#14
Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:Also consider: you really don't need to list every single thing a character can possibly do. Doing so can very easily make a character seem "overpowered," because that implies "if it's worth mentioning at all, they must be good at it to some degree."

This is probably case for most "related" skills in which a character has no direct training or specific proficiency.
Oh, that makes sense! Might clean up some other characters' skill sections to reflect that! I went ahead and removed the hunting part from Seraphina's wiki as well.

Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:For example, as an artist, it can be easily assumed that I am probably better at using charcoal than the average non-artist. But is that worth mentioning? I hate charcoal. I never use it. I never want to use it. There's no point in me listing "dabbler" of or even "competent" at charcoal on any list of skills ever, even if skill-wise, I could probably qualify as that.

A knife-wielding person is probably going to be better at using all knives than the average non-knife wielder or non-fighter, even the ones they've never touched before. Could they use [insert random knife type]? Sure. Are they "proficient" in every knife other than their primary? Probably not. So don't list it.
I think I understand now! Would it be something like this?

So, for example, I've been using GIMP for roughly four or five years and I would consider myself proficient in it and the similar program Mediabang. I can use other art programs such as Sai, Photoshop, Kirta, Fireware Alpaca, and Iblis Paint because they have similar settings and tools though it's more difficult because even though they seem the same-though I could probably use it better than the average person or say, a classmate-I would still struggle because it's not what I'm used to and probably couldn't do something as well as I could on my normal programs?

It would be the same for someone who is used to a certain kind of knife such as a kindjal, they could possibly handle something like a xiphios (a similar kind of knife) but not as proficiently as they could with their normal knife. They could use it but not to its full potential?

Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:You can probably throw a stilletto knife to decent effect. There's really no need to go digging for other very specific types of throwing knives to add to the list. :v
I might go with something like a Kindjal mixed with a Stiletto, though Seraphina would refer to it as her "stilettos" because I find that kind of funny for some weird reason. Or would that be too misleading if people think it's actually a stiletto knife?

Kyrios Lykoi Wrote:Martial arts techniques developed over thousands of years -- Luperci aren't likely to magically re-develop them over 30 years. While many basics are probably easily discovered, I'd stray away from explicitly referencing very specific things.
I'll be sure to do that! Also, I am a bit rusty since I haven't done Aikido since the September of last year so I might be able to just describe the moves used but it won't be pure Aikido, just incorporating certain aspects such as the holds, grips, and throws.
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#15
Quote:So, for example, I've been using GIMP for roughly four or five years and I would consider myself proficient in it and the similar program Mediabang. I can use other art programs such as Sai, Photoshop, Kirta, Fireware Alpaca, and Iblis Paint because they have similar settings and tools though it's more difficult because even though they seem the same-though I could probably use it better than the average person or say, a classmate-I would still struggle because it's not what I'm used to and probably couldn't do something as well as I could on my normal programs?

It would be the same for someone who is used to a certain kind of knife such as a kindjal, they could possibly handle something like a xiphios (a similar kind of knife) but not as proficiently as they could with their normal knife. They could use it but not to its full potential?

Pretty much!

Someone who's adept at using a kindjal might list that in their profile, but there's really no reason to mention the other knife. It can generally be inferred that a knife-user can use knives other than their favourite and not mentioning it specifically prevents the misinterpretation that the character is equally good at multiple, different knives.
it was me. i broke it.
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