|Derek Vande Brake|
Looking again through some PF Unchained Rules on Background Skills and was reminded of the Artistry and Lore skills.
Specifically, Artistry is used to make works of art - replacing Craft or Perform for these functions. Lore works like Knowledge, except it is for much more specific information. However, both of these seem like useless skills to me.
Lore might have some value - only some of the Knowledge Skills are Background skills, so you could use a background skill on Lore: Green Dragons of Varisia, whereas a rank in Knowledge: Arcana would cost an adventuring skill point. The problem I have with this is that it is either too good or too bad, depending on campaign. If you are in a campaign set in Varisia with lots of green dragons, a point of Lore: Green Dragons of Varisia is worth almost as much as a point of Knowledge: Arcana, thus essentially allowing you to use a background skill as an adventuring skill. On the other hand, if you are in a campaign set in the Mana Wastes, the question of Green Dragons of Varisia will never come up and it is a waste of background skills. It's either feast or famine, rather than a consistently-useful-but-not-as-much-as-adventuring-skill skill.
Artistry is even worse, I think. Both Craft and Perform are already background skills. So there is no reason to remove, for example, Craft: Painting and make it Artistry: Painting. They do the same thing, with the same resources. What's the advantage?
We were using them in an Adventure Path. One player gave some depth to his character by having lore - wine.
I took one Lore skill (Shoanti lore) which was pretty much totally useless. On the occassions it came up the info was actually useful and so the smart characters with knowledge local knew more than my character did anyway.
I think the key to having a Lore skill feel at all present is to make sure that the knowledge is almost guaranteed to be of no value from anything other than a RP perspective. Or, of course, to be one of the characters built around knowledge skills.
Nobody took Artistry, probably for exactly the reasons you're giving.
We use background skills, and I Artistry and Lore is frequently used when a character is an expert on something specific that's not exactly covered by an existing skill. Like my current character has max ranks in "Lore (Moral Philosophy)" which, sure, I could have covered that with Knowledge (Religion) but if I wanted my character to be able to speak authoritatively on ethics from a perspective that has wrestled with the Euthyphro dilemma and moved past it, rather than someone who can just quote from a holy book the lore skill seemed more appropriate.
The point of background skills is to enable your character to be an expert on something from their mundane life without putting them at a mechanical disadvantage versus someone who spent all their points on things that can be used in a dungeon. Sometimes those things are a knowledge, craft, or profession skill (which might be covered by background skills) but sometimes it's ambigious whether to take Craft (Pastry) or Profession (Pâtissier) or Craft (Painting) vs. Profession (Painter) so you just take the artistry skill instead. If you want to be an expert on tea, but not wolves or weather, Lore (tea) makes more sense than Knowledge (nature).
I've played a great deal of Legend of the Five Rings, where bottomless macro-skill Lores are... a problem. So I'm rather loathe to include Lore in games, and would rather file that information under a broader Knowledge skill, even if it's imperfect.
As for Artistry, I find it rather redundant with Craft, and when I do use it, I find the distinction largely irrelevant.
|Derek Vande Brake|
I haven't seen Lore used, but I have seen people use Artistry in my games. It's more for forms of art that don't comfortably fit in Craft or Perform, IMO. How does Craft (Composer) work, for instance? Or Craft (Author)? I feel that's more what it's geared toward.
See, to me craft should target the creation, not the creator. You have Craft: Weapons, not Craft: Weaponsmithing. Thus the above would simply be Craft: Musical Composition and Craft: Story.
But as for "useless stuff" - I think my argument would go something like this:
Either it is game relevant or it is not. If it is game relevant, you should have tradeoffs so players can make choices. This makes a Lore skill you barely use strictly inferior - if I put the same point into a profession I can at least make gold on it. If something is NOT game relevant, you shouldn't have to spend limited resources on it.
Thus (borrowing PossibleCabbage's tea example) if my character should be an expert on tea, but not other things that fit into Knowledge: Nature, I should either a) simply know this for free as part of my background the same way I know my parents' names or the name of the store I was a tavern server, or b) spend a background skill point in Profession: Tea Critic and get all the benefits I'd have gotten with Lore and the additional ability to make money.
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Benjamin Medrano wrote:I haven't seen Lore used, but I have seen people use Artistry in my games. It's more for forms of art that don't comfortably fit in Craft or Perform, IMO. How does Craft (Composer) work, for instance? Or Craft (Author)? I feel that's more what it's geared toward.See, to me craft should target the creation, not the creator. You have Craft: Weapons, not Craft: Weaponsmithing. Thus the above would simply be Craft: Musical Composition and Craft: Story.
Ahh, but here's where the issue is. Some people are adamant that Craft creates a widget of some variety. I don't care what widget it is, just something. Artistry is supposed to show how to create something more ephemeral. Also, while I may think the prices are a bit out of whack, Artistry only costs 1/4 the finished value of the creation, while Craft costs 1/3. I feel that's far more appropriate to the subject matter than what Craft charges.
It's a background skill. It allows different options, and better, inspires new ideas for my players. That's important to me.
|Derek Vande Brake|
Also, while I may think the prices are a bit out of whack, Artistry only costs 1/4 the finished value of the creation, while Craft costs 1/3. I feel that's far more appropriate to the subject matter than what Craft charges.
One note on that - alterations to the Craft skill in PFU make that also cost 1/4th.
Benjamin Medrano wrote:Also, while I may think the prices are a bit out of whack, Artistry only costs 1/4 the finished value of the creation, while Craft costs 1/3. I feel that's far more appropriate to the subject matter than what Craft charges.One note on that - alterations to the Craft skill in PFU make that also cost 1/4th.
*double-checks* You are correct. I was going off the base rules. Regardless, as-listed, all Craft skills create items, not things like songs, fine choreography, or similar things. Artistry expanded the possible uses without relying purely on GM adjucation.
Well, with the detail that my group has used background skills for everything since Unchained released...
I've seen Artistry used not-infrequently, comparable to Perform, Profession, and Craft.
Lore as well, usually to represent knowing about specific interests without spending skill ranks on adventuring skills.
I currently have a Chosen One Paladin with max ranks in Lore: Iomedae, because I'm just as happy to leave Knowledge: Religion nerfed since she has absolutely no interest in learning about other religions or undead or complexities of divine magic or anything like that.
|Derek Vande Brake|
I'm not saying you are wrong; I understand the distinction you are making. I do question whether it should be a meaningful distinction regarding the craft skill. For example, one of the Core Rulebook specializations is Craft: Calligraphy. Unless I am misunderstanding calligraphy, it doesn't create a widget - it is a very stylized writing. Artistry even calls out that there is a blurry line with Craft: Paintings and Craft: Sculpture. Arguably, the difference between a chunk of baked clay or raw marble and a sculpture is purely ephemeral.
Ultimately it comes down to: we will use an extra skill because I'm limiting this other skill.
Now, arguably some of that is needed - at some level we could group several skills. (Indeed there is a PFU section on that, too!) At the extreme end, we could have a single skill, Doing or Knowing, that covers everything. That would be silly, thus we limit skills and divide them up.
But doing this too much would also be silly - we wouldn't want skills for, say... Climbing Stairs, Climbing Rope, Climbing Walls, etc. They are different but similar enough that we can just have a Climb skill.
So in the end I suppose Artistry is a matter of taste - is it different enough from Craft to justify a separate skill? In games I GM, the answer is no. ;-)
Lore is a good skill when a knowledge skill isn't exactly what you're looking for. My group and I are starting Mummy's Mask soon. One of the players is taking Lore for the old Osirian Gods since her character follows Osiris. The DC on knowledge religion checks for such an obscure deity would be higher, but with the Lore skill, our DM will let her makes checks at a lower DC. We play using the background skills rule, so she's just going to use one of the two skill points she gets for background skills to keep her Lore at max ranks.
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Technically I use Artistry and Lore in my games, but they are mostly for NPCs as my players rarely put anything into them (but to be fair, my players don't use Craft, Profession or Perform in the first place either). I'm on board with what Benjamin posted, using Artistry for creating those works that aren't tangibles (like composing music, poetry, or being a playwright).
For Lore, to me it helps fine tune ideas when I think the Knowledge skills are too broad for me. If want a character to know about black dragons (my lore options tend to be a bit broader than the examples the book gives), but there's no reason for him to know about magic in general then Lore (black dragons) fits better than Knowledge (arcana). When there's an xenophobic elven character that is only concerned about the history of his people and doesn't' care about the broader history of other races, Lore (Elven history) works better for me than making something where I give an arbitrary penalty to his Knowledge (History) regarding other races--that sort of thing. Then as a house rule I lower the DC of Lore checks compared to their Knowledge equivalent--if you're more specialized in your study (and if you've spent the points to be more specialized) then I feel you should come across information much easier than when you're casting a broad net.
As with others I've found the best thing to do with regards to the Lore skill is to lower the knowledge DCs if that character's Lore skill is relevant and increase the DC if it's only partially relevant. That way the player feels rewarded for specialising while still getting some use out of the skill even if their direct specialism doesn't come up.