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Jack-of-All-Trades and Expertise

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  • Jack-of-All-Trades and Expertise


    I have a question as to Jack of All Trades and its affect on Expertise.

    The rules says:
    The GM may allow some Expertise checks to be made untrained, especially for “unskilled” areas, measuring broad general knowledge and life experience, but even then an untrained Expertise check cannot be routine, and the character can only handle easy or basic tasks or questions (DC 10-15).

    My GM interprets that to mean that even with Jack of All Trades, the character can only have a DC 10-15.

    I maintain that it means that the untrained GM-allowed check is an untrained aspect of Expertise and the Trained aspects can be reached by Jack of All Trades.

    Any ruling would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Jack-of-All-Trades and Expertise

    Dont really see the difficulty here - it says you can only handle basic stuff with it - stuff that required DC10-15.

    The column on page 13 helps:

    (0) Notice something in plain sight

    (5) Climb a knotted rope (Athletics)

    (10) Hear an approaching security
    guard (Perception)

    (15) Disarm an explosive

    (20) Swim against a strong current

    (25) Climb a wet, slippery rock-face

    (30) Overcome a sophisticated
    security system (Technology)

    Super-heroic (35)
    Convinces the guards, even
    though you’re not wearing an
    ID badge and aren’t on their
    list, they should let you into the
    building (Deception)

    Nigh-impossible (40)
    Track a trained commando
    through the jungle on a
    moonless night after 12 days of
    rainfall (Perception)

    --> This means to me that you could ATTEMPT to do all the stuff up to DC15, but not something at DC20, since no matter how good your improvisation talent is, you wont be able to program a complex A.I. to run a space station. It simply requires knowledge or training without which you are not able to even have a change at it. Disarming a normal bomb (here DC15 explosives) may be possible by cutting the right wire, but building a nuclear bomb? That would require actual knowledge.
    Last edited by Kasseopea; 12-11-2014, 08:49 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Jack-of-All-Trades and Expertise

      The whole point of Jack of All Trades is that you can do any skill check as if trained. I could possibly see your GM ruling out more epic levels, say DC 25 and up, but you'd really only be hitting those with a combination of high ability scores and high rolls anyhow.
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      • #4
        Re: Jack-of-All-Trades and Expertise

        Originally posted by FuzzyBoots View Post
        The whole point of Jack of All Trades is that you can do any skill check as if trained. I could possibly see your GM ruling out more epic levels, say DC 25 and up, but you'd really only be hitting those with a combination of high ability scores and high rolls anyhow.
        Not saying that you are wrong, but Advantages seem to be non-superhuman. A non-superhuman - even if he is McGuyver - can not create the Philosopher's Stone (Expertise/Knowledge Alchemy), run at 40 km/h (Athletics) or fly a boing747 without any advice or help whatsoever (vehicles). Though i guess its at the GM's discretion since at the end of the day he is the one calling the shots.
        Last edited by Kasseopea; 12-11-2014, 09:20 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Jack-of-All-Trades and Expertise

          Jack of all trades says that you can "use any skill untrained, even aspects of skills that normally cannot be used untrained" (M&M3e, pg. 86, emphasis mine), so I'd interpret it to include the trained aspects of expertise as well.

          That said, we can't really make a ruling for your game. What to allow and disallow in your game is a matter between you and your GM. If your GM disallows Jack of all Trades and you disagree, bring it up with them and explain why you feel otherwise.

          If they disagree, try to find out why they are concerned, address their concerns, offer compromises and give examples of what you plan to do with the power. Some GMs do not like Jack of all Trades/Eiditic Memory since it technically allows characters access to expertise that they should not have given their background (such as expertise: magic on a character who's never encountered magic before). Others, the ones who are big on niche protection, are afraid that you will overshadow other characters by making expertise checks in areas they are strong at and overshadowing them. Offer to only make expertise checks in fields your character could reasonably have encountered, not make a check (or only aid their check) for an expertise which another character has bought and promise to avoid behaviors that they are concerned about.

          If they still disagree, drop the matter for a time and play under their ruling, and see if you really feel disadvantaged. If you feel you are not getting your points worth, point out how little use you have got out of the advantage. You are gently ask them to change their ruling for a trial period and see how it goes.

          If they still disagree, you can respend the points, find a different way to represent your concept, or play a different concept (in the most extreme case). Sometimes game masters have very strong feelings on particular traits and powers, and if no compromise can be reached, it's important to respect that and instead play something that both you and your GM can be happy with.


          • #6
            Re: Jack-of-All-Trades and Expertise

            Jack of all trades just allows you to use your existing ability score as a skill rank value by making all skills untrained for the character. So if you have a 3 int you can have investigation +3 even though you didn't buy any investigation skill. Unless you have some unusually high ability scores it's going to be unlikely that you have to worry about routine checks much past dc 15, anyway.

            The section the gm's quoting has nothing to do with jack of all trades. It's really about saying that a gm can allow players to use some exp skills as untrained at a basic level even without the jack of all trades advantage. It's really more about skill synergy. It' just makes sense that some players might have some basic understanding of an expertise skill simply due to their origin or other skills taken even though they didn't buy it. That section is just telling the gm that it's ok to let the player make some basic skill rolls if the logical need arises.
            "Reverting to name calling suggests you are defensive and therefore find my opinion valid," Spock, Into Darkness.