Tuesday, July 21, 2015


This is last category for discussion, finishing up the subject begun by this post.  Training is the process of both sharing one's knowledge and helping others to improve their existing performance, whatever that may be.

With regards to the latter, the Trainer need not be superior to the Trainee.  Most Olympic trainers cannot, nor ever could, excel in the sports for which they train.  That is because 'training' as a whole is a knowledge, not a capacity for performance - it is best to remember there is a distinct difference between these two things.

The argument that it requires a 5th level fighter to train a 1st level fighter contains both elements of truth and fallacy.  It is important that the Trainer have more experience than the Trainee, so the 5th level/1st level argument holds up; however, it is NOT important that the Trainer have more ability than the Trainee.  Thus in a physical contest, it does not follow that because the Trainee can beat the shit out of the Trainer that the Trainer has nothing to teach.  Rocky Balboa would have cleaned little Mickey's clock, yet that is completely irrelevant.  Mickey knew more - and if Rocky wanted to win against fighters stronger than Rocky, he had to listen and follow Mickey's advice.

We have to be careful about assumptions like being a greater level proves greater ability as a Trainer.  It does in my sage abilities format, as the more levels a character obtains the more points they have in Training - presuming that is the skill that the character chooses to take!  Very easily a 2nd level fighter with Training could be superior to an 8th level fighter with no interest in the subject.

I only take the time to point this out to establish that the old way of doing things will be made deservedly dead.

Training breaks down into the acquisition of mechanical skills, personal adaptation, mental development and performance.  Mechanical skill is the knowledge necessary in learning how to do something - mountain climb, dogsled, sail, swim, kayak, bareback riding, survival, weapon use, cliff diving, surfing, etc.  Personal adaptation is the process of improving oneself in order to make mastery of the skill, either by increasing one's knowledge and ability to think quickly or by actively strengthening one's muscles, endurance or dexterity.  Mental development is the practice of maintaining one's clarity, one's enthusiasm or focus, so that greater acuity is possible without despair.  Finally, Performance describes going farther, faster, longer, more intensely or practically, actually mastering the skill through activity.

Player characters wishing to occupy themselves in various sports or skill sets, therefore, would be looking to take Mechanical as a field.  This would steadily increase the character so that virtually any sort of physical activity would become part of their skill set.  While this does not ensure mastery (that's the performance category), it would ensure enough competency to enable the character to safely work or act as mechanical knowledge allowed.  In a storm, for instance, the character would know what to do, even if there was some doubt of being able to do it if it were an extremely dangerous, nearly impossible task.  If the task were merely routine, however, the character would be fine.

Where it comes to enabling others to become combat-trained or leveled persons, player characters would do well to take Personal as a field.  Since the character already is a fighter, it presumes the character has already achieved this knowledge and physical acuity.  Therefore, the emphasis of the category is outwards, towards others who wish to do the same.  Without the Leadership skill, there would be some question of recruiting people able to improve themselves - but the player character with Personal as a Training field would be know what to do and how to teach, at least as much knowledge as it takes to be a fighter.

Mental development is a black hole for role-playing games, as it presumes the player character's cognitive abilities serves as a stand-in for the character.  The player character is exactly as stressed as the character and it is meant to be this way, for the whole substance of role-playing demands that the Player feel the capacity to control the character's actions absolutely.  Therefore, while mental development is a central tenet of training, I'm not sure I'm going to include this as part of the sage ability.  The door is still open, however.

Performance, likewise, is probably left up to chance and the actual process of gaining experience and levels.  I doubt very, very much that I will be making any changes to actual player performance.  I may allow some set of die rolls to deal with a greater ability to do nearly impossible tasks (as noted above), but I'm not sure if this would be positive to the functionality of the game.

This, then, is where my thinking on the subject of Training stands.  I've covered all five topics in depth now; I will probably begin with this last on the Wiki, transforming my thoughts into substantive, practical rules.  A much, much harder job.

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