Friday, November 30, 2012

Apprentice, Journeyman, Foreman (Part 1)

I know several folks that have played Apprentice, Journeyman, Foreman. One has hence dual-classed and gone back to school for IT-related training.

I like ACK's proficiency system, but I don't like having to take proficiencies multiple times to get better. I'd come across Skills - The Middle Road via -C at Hack And Slash Master back in the summer when I first started to gorge myself upon the OSR blag-o-sphere - it stuck in my brain.

So, let's take ACKS down the Middle Road.

The Middle Road proposes 4 levels of mastery of a skill, and training costs to get from one to the next. We'll map these back to ACKS like so:
  1. Unskilled. You don't have the ACKS proficiency.
  2. Skilled. Takes 1 month/1000GP of training, or, you have the ACKS proficiency once.
  3. Expert. Takes 3 months/3000GP of training, or, you have the ACKS proficiency twice.
  4. Master. Takes 6 months/10,000GP of training, or, you have the ACKS proficiency thrice.
There are several profession-related proficiencies in ACKS that fall along this general line:
  • Gain a proficiency throw for a task at 18+ or 11+, plus other related abilities
  • Take it up to two more times to reduce that throw to 14+/10+ or 7+/3+, gain more abilities.
These are:
  • Animal Husbandry - heal animals in various ways
  • Art - I.D. artwork, work as an artist, gain apprentices
  • Craft - I.D. craftwork, work as a crafter, gain apprentices
  • Healing - heal people in various ways
  • Knowledge - Recall expert knowledge, write books, be  a sage
  • Performance - I.D. performance-related, gain apprentices
  • Profession - Civil profession - Expert Commentary, gain apprentices
  • Seafaring - Crewmember to Captain to Master Captain

Advancing via Training

We'll start with the presumption that the first time you pick the proficiency, that gets you to an 'Apprentice' level of knowledge, or, the Middle Road's 'Skilled' level.

 The rest, however, is experience and training.

Now, since the ACKS authors were kind enough to give us a workable economic system, we can correlate the Middle Road training costs with GP earned/Month and find out how to get from one step to the next.

Let's start with Art, Craft, Healing, Performance, and Profession, the 5 proficiencies that give us handy tables in the ACKS rulebook, and all more-or-less work the same (though Healing eschews apprentices, which is easily put back in).

You've got a Fighter who chose Craft: Weaponsmith back at 1st level - he forged his own sword and was ready for adventure. There's going to be some downtime, now that he and his party is 7th level, and the Wizard needs to do his book-learnin', etc. etc.

They're in a middle sized city, and the Fighter talks the local Journeyman (ACKS) or Expert (Middle Road) Smith into a focused apprenticeship - he plonks down 3000 GP, and in 3 months, and gains the abilities of having Craft twice.

The apprentices underneath that smith are a mite ticked, however. They each earn 15GP/month (10GP base, plus 50% bonus from being under a Journeyman/Expert). It's going to take them 16 years to have "banked" the 3000 GP necessary to be a Journeyman themselves.

If that Journeyman/Expert is under a Master himself, he'll earn 30GP/month - that's 27 years to get to Master.

That's 43 years, under tutelage, to go from an apprentice to a master - if a child starts their apprenticeship around 13, they'll be 56 when they master their craft.

Let's say our Fighter had less gumption, and stayed home in his hamlet, mastering Weaponsmithing on his own. At 10/gp month, he reaches Journeyman/Expert in 25 years, Master in 41, and will be lucky to see his (13+25+41) 79th birthday in order to master his craft.

That is why you apprentice, apprentice. It's also why you adventure.

As an aside, if we were to eliminate the proficiency altogether, going from Unskilled to Apprentice/Skilled takes either 1 month & 1000 GP, or, if we assume a beginner makes as much as a full Apprentice, adds either 5 years under tutelage or 8 years self-taught. It's unlikely any human will reach Mastery level on their own. (needing to be 87 to do so). Under training, they'll get there at 64 years of age starting at 13. Much better to assume you gain the proficiency at 1st level, which, if we say you started at 13 and then 18 is the generally accepted adventurer starting age, subsumes the 5 years under tutelage.

Apprentice8 years5 years
Journeyman25 years16 years
Master41 years27 years
TOTAL66 / 7443 / 48

Advancing Via Experience

Now, there was a post on Autarch's boards a while back about how 'regular folk' become master smiths and such, but I can't seem to find it, so I'll make stuff up. 

If money is experience, the apprentice is earning XP working his craft - either 10 or 15 GP per month. Let's assume 'normal men' advance in saves as Fighters, at the Thief XP level, and since we're mean, Craft isn't on the class proficiency list.

If that's the case, a normal man with average Int will get a General proficiency slot to choose craft at 1st, 5th, and 9th level (congruous with name level, which pleases my sense of order).

It'll take 10,000 XP to get to 5th, and 170,000 more to get to 9th.

Our normal man hits 5th, and therefore Journeyman/Expert, after 83 years if self-trained, or 55 years under an tutor, and another 708 or 472 years until Master.

It's good to be a demihuman, I suppose.

If our normal man has smart enough to have another proficiency slot to spend at character creation, he's be a prodigy starting out at a Journeyman/Expert level - he'll get to Master in 41 years, self-taught, or 27 years under tutelage.

Apprentice8 years5 years--
Journeyman25 years16 years83 years55 years
Master41 years27 years708 years472 years
TOTAL66 / 7443 / 48791527
Google, it is 2012, I should not have to type HTML tables...

So, there's that. The italicized numbers are the theoretical bit where we eliminate the proficiency entirely, and go purely by training. It would be important to note that most adventuring would start after that period anyway, so it's really a formality.

Unranked Apprenticeship

The above timeframes seem long. What I'd probably do is bump up each level, like:

Journeyman8 years5 years--
Master25 years16 years83 years55 years
Grand Master41 years27 years708 years472 years
TOTAL66 / 7443 / 48791527

Which makes more sense. Here, your apprenticeship is more truly that,  you're not earning anything for 5 years, and your first income is as  your own journeyman. We're renaming the ACKS proficiency levels - you don't get the proficiency until  you're a Journeyman. (which in the case of taking it at 1st level, means you've left for adventure after your apprenticeship was done.)

It's purely cosmetic, which is the best kind of change.

Focused Apprenticeships

Now, back to our original thing with The Middle Road, where one saves time with money to advance their skill level. With either of the systems above, the 3 month/6 month timeframe seems a bit too short for an involved profession.

I'd rather base the time for the focused apprenticeship off of the actual labor time. That does seem penalizing, since previously our Fighter who hadn't seen the inside of a smithy since he was 0th level could pick up Craft x2 at 5th. It does make more sense in the ACKS view of occasional extended downtime due to wounds, or, our Fighter at 12th level deciding to finish his mastery of weaponsmithing inbetween domain functions.

So - for Identification only, let's do 10% of the time. To include Craftsmanship, 33% of the time, and, as a bone, we'll allow an adventurer  to take a 'sabbatical' of no more than 3 months, once every 9 months of training.  If misfortune happens, and the character can't get back to his trainer before that time, I'd suggest some sort of INT check once a week to see how much has been forgotten - say, 1 month of training per week.

We'll increase the cost of learning the craft by the same amounts compared to I.D only, under the assumption that the instructor profits off of the apprentice's work, as shown on the Profit column. (That's profit to the instructor.)

IdentificationI.D. And Craftsmanship
6 months
1000 GP
1 year, 8 months
1333 GP
300 GP
1 year, 4 months
3000 GP
5 years, 4 months
4000 GP
1920 GP
Grand Master
2 years, 3 months
10000 GP
9 years
13333 GP
6480 GP
4 years, 1 month
14000 GP
16 years
18666 GP
8700 GP

Interestingly enough, a self-taught Journeyman can't save the cash to go out and quick-train himself to Master (we're assuming the money made is all profit, living expenses only exasperate the situation) - by the time he earns the gold, he's already hit Master. In fact, by the time he's saved enough for a Grand Master focused apprenticeship, he's only a couple years away from Grand Mastery himself.

So, strangely, these prices for focused apprenticeships seem to work out.

And it's a hell of a deal for the tutor - taking some cocky new lord from Zero to Grand Master nets him 27,366 gold in 16 years - normally that's 26 years of work for him, 2 Journeymen, and 3 Apprentices (as per the ACKS table). You've essentially retired 10 years early. Or retired period - presumably one would have worked until death or disability.

What it does make possible is the young, self-taught journeyman weaponsmith (took Craft at Fighter level 1), new sword in hand, striking out earn enough treasure to visit BigCity and train with the masters. Eyeballing it, somewhere between level 3 and 4, if our Fighter is careful and spendthrift, he can retire and go off to fulfill his dreams - or a bit after level 5 if he's shooting high.

And that is why all the smiths and innkeeps are grizzled level 5 fighters with a +1 Sword on the wall.

In future parts I'll detail the remainder of the tabled professions, and start looking at what can be done with the rest.

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