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  • skill benchmarks.

    just getting peoples opinions on how many ranks in a skill a character would have if they had various degrees of education in a given field highschool-phd. I don't think highschool would give more then 4 in a given topic probably. associates perhaps 5 as that is the bare minimum for the "professional" My gut is that bachlors should be probably 5-8 as it is more trained then associates but still results in entry level jobs to begin with usually. Would masters in a subject be enough to push it into expert ie 9-12 probably and since phd is the highest level of education in a topic be probably worth 13+? just checking to see if others think my scales are reasonable representations for those levels of education.
    Last edited by rlwr; 11-08-2014, 11:33 AM.

  • #2
    Re: skill benchmarks.

    Seems about right, with the caveat that normal people (that is, bystanders without superheroically broad competency) in the higher degrees of proficiency might have, depending on how "grounded" you want your games, their last few points in a skill limited to a single field within it. A given physicist might have "expertise: Physics"* 9, plus 6 limited to Quantum Physics. Stuff like that.


    *Though I should note that I would generally allow, even expect, broader Expertise skills from heroic or narratively important people. A super-cientist might instead have "Expertise: SCIENCE!" 9, plus 9 limited to Physics or something like that
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    • #3
      Re: skill benchmarks.

      cool that covers a lot of the skills like the expertise treatment and technology. any ideas for others which dont have schooling as levels such as athletics, ranged, and close combat skills. what would be good real world examples of tiers in those?

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      • #4
        Re: skill benchmarks.

        For athletics I assume the 5-8 range is most pro-athletes, or amateur/college athletes with professional-like talent or potential, 9-12 for distinguished professionals, markedly talented at the regional level and (more the 11-12s than the 9-10s) not to be ignored on a national and world/Olympic level, while 13+ are the people often winning national and world/olympic competitions. If you take things like gymnastics into consideration, also serves as Benchmarks for Acrobatics

        Fighting skills can be somewhat compared to Athletics, since things like boxing, judo, karate, tae kwon do, archery and so on also have competitions. So, a talented college Archer might be +5, an experienced but not particularly renowned professional archer +8, an elite competitor at the national/world level +12, and a winner of multiple world level competitons +13 or more. A legend like Robin Hood or Green Arrow might be +15 or more plus a bunch of advantages advantages and perhaps some powers with the training descriptor to put then further above the "normal" people. Likewise, that 4th dan black belt with 3 Olympic medals might have Unarmed + 13, while phenomenal, legendary fighters like Bruce Lee, Batman or Black Canary might be +15 or more (though I consider the official Batman's +20 to be way too high) plus advantages, et cetera

        In short, a fast and dirty rule is to base physical skills on sports and intellectual skills on schooling. I'm not finding an easy comparison for Interaction skills, though...
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        • #5
          Re: skill benchmarks.

          In short, a fast and dirty rule is to base physical skills on sports and intellectual skills on schooling. I'm not finding an easy comparison for Interaction skills, though...
          Enterainers (3-6), trial lawyers (4-8), politicians (8-12), people that try to convince me to play superhero RPGs other than M&M (20).

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          • #6
            Re: skill benchmarks.

            I was playing with going a bit crunchy on skill ranks and using training time as a general guideline. Using Gladwell's 10,000 hours to mastery as the base and the 3e skill cap of PL+10, I assume that achieving the equivalent of 10 ranks of training takes 10,000 hours. That's just over a year (about 13 months 3 weeks) of solid training, with absolutely no breaks for eating, sleeping, or any other distraction. That kind of training would only be possible for robots or the supergifted, but it could be spread out reasonably. Full time training of about 40hr/week makes about 2000hr/year, so mastery in 5 years. Really intensive training of 13-14 hours every day would get you there in about 2 years.

            On the Ranks & Measures Table, a year is about a rank 23 time period. From this I infer:

            Skill Rank = Training Time Rank - 13

            From this, you can either make a rough estimate of training hours to get the skill ranks, or the reverse. +4 ranks would be a solid week of training, rank 17 = 168 hours, which could be 4-5 hours per week for a 36-week senior's year of high school, or full-time training for about a month. Minimal training (+1) would be a solid day, rank 14 = 24 hours, which could be completed over a month, a week, or an intense weekend.

            It's a rough guideline, and if you use it at all you might want to change a few numbers, but I think it's a good start.
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            • #7
              Re: skill benchmarks.

              Originally posted by JDRook View Post
              I assume that achieving the equivalent of 10 ranks of training takes 10,000 hours.
              rank 17 = 168 hours
              Huh? I must be missing something. Why does rank 17 takes 9832 less hours than rank 10?

              And I think not many people will agree that you can go from zero to +14 by studying and training 12 hours for only 2 days. Frankly, that seems preposterous even by comic-book standards.
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              • #8
                Re: skill benchmarks.

                Originally posted by danelsan View Post
                Huh? I must be missing something. Why does rank 17 takes 9832 less hours than rank 10?

                And I think not many people will agree that you can go from zero to +14 by studying and training 12 hours for only 2 days.
                Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear about which ranks are which, and I was writing tired. Those are the Time ranks from the chart, so the skill ranks would be equal to the Time Rank minus 13. It's very similar to figuring out Travel Time or Throwing Distance on the R&M chart. To reiterate:

                Mastery is 10,000 hours = Time Rank 23. Subtract 13 to get Skill Rank +10.

                Professional Entry Level is Skill Rank 5. Add 13 for Time Rank 18 = 2 weeks or 336 hours. This could be a full-time 12-week training program, or a year of weekend workshops, or a 1-month intensive. On the super side, a PC with Quickness 10 could learn it in half an hour.

                Minimal Proficiency is Skill Rank +1, which comes out to Time Rank 14, or 24 hours of training.

                This all assumes there are learning resources easily available and doesn't speak to the quality of them, which would be GM territory.
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                • #9
                  Re: skill benchmarks.

                  That's not a bad system really, one I'll have to incorporate into my thinking. For what it's worth, I got what you were trying to say in your first post there, even if it was a bit fuzzy.

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                  • #10
                    Re: skill benchmarks.

                    JDRook is the 'Mad Scientist' of M&M. Looking over his concept makes me wish I'd thought of it. Almost.

                    Formal education is no banner of Skill. I've met plenty of people with 'degrees', that struggle with can openers and the basics of Philosophical thought.

                    Bruce Wayne is educated, but it's his personal determination that bleeds into his high-level of skill.

                    Is insanity a level of education? Can I become a better crime-fighter by ignoring reality? It's an easy argument, I'm sure.

                    Trying to fit supers RPGs into reality is fun, but - feckless, at the end.

                    It's just fiction. But this thread is interesting, regardless.
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                    • #11
                      Re: skill benchmarks.

                      It's really just a guideline. If nothing else, it should give some real-world benchmark to how difficult a skill rank should be.

                      Strength and Speed are the only easily and directly measurable traits. STR 7 and Spd 8 are in the "super" range, but they are just numbers on a page, while "can lift 6 tons" or "approaching the speed of sound" are things players can understand conceptually, even if they have no real-world experience with it, and can therefore appreciate them better.

                      Damage is a somewhat abstract concept, in that you can't really measure the extent of damage in the real world with a single number,* but you can make comparisons to real-world items translated in-game. Damage 0-3 would be human punches of varying strength, with arguably strong and skilled punchers like professional boxers getting up as high as 4-6. Guns would be in the 3-5 range, with rocket launchers and tank cannons at the rank 10 "sweet spot" for Damage in a PL10 superhero setting.

                      This gives skills a sense of how much time or dedication would be necessary to get to a particular rank, and how impressive (or aggravating) it would be for someone to have that rank of skill without all the training. A "real-world" PL1 world-class expert in any particular field (say theoretical physics) would have years of study and probably a few ranks in the appropriate Ability (INT in this case) under his belt and would top out at +11, while the Gadgeteer Archetype from the Handbook could potentially attain and surpass that in a couple of hours of dedicated study.

                      Improving existing skills would take less time, half the time it would learning from scratch, but only for each step. If you already have rank 2 Acrobatics and want to improve to rank 3 it would only take 48 hours of continuous training, equivalent to what you needed to get to 2. Essentially you are doubling your overall training for every step.

                      You could use a similar mechanic for training up Advantages or Abilities, although you may want to increase the steps to reflect cost relative to the half-point Skills. Using that idea, any particular Advantage would take 48 solid hours to train to 1 rank, provided the GM allows it to be trainable, and training Abilities from 0 to 1 would take 168 hours.

                      That kind of thing might be more useful for ongoing campaigns and long-term character development.


                      *except arguably for cost of repair or replacement, but that's rarely a concern in superhero settings.
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                      • #12
                        Re: skill benchmarks.

                        I believe the M&M 2E rulebook had some guidelines for skill benchmarks.

                        This is what I can remember from the 2E sidebar for skill benchmarks
                        at the moment. I don't know why they got rid of the sidebar in 3E
                        as it was really useful to gauge how much ranks I should put in a
                        particular skill.

                        0-4 were for amateurs (say rudimentary first aid treatment skill).
                        5-8 were for professionals (A skill that people work for a living such as lawyers).
                        9-12 were for experts. (Scientists specializing in a particular field of science).
                        Anything above 12 were masters of their field (People like Lex Luthor and
                        Tony Stark who are the best).

                        Granted these are just guidelines as your intelligence attribute may influence
                        the final skill rank.

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                        • #13
                          Re: skill benchmarks.

                          Originally posted by HustlerOne View Post
                          I don't know why they got rid of the sidebar in 3E
                          They didn't: DCA p. 54

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                          • #14
                            Re: skill benchmarks.

                            Ya I was just feeling crunchy I know this system doesn't like cruntch that much

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                            • #15
                              Re: skill benchmarks.

                              Originally posted by Batgirl III View Post
                              They didn't: DCA p. 54
                              I was referring to the skill benchmarks sidebar on pg 38 of the
                              2E Mutants and masterminds rulebook. Newer players may not
                              know that 8 ranks for a skill are for a professional. With 12
                              being for experts and etc.

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