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Modiphius > Robert E. Howards CONAN roleplaying game
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Can Focus exceed expertise

posted Dec 17, 2017 07:58:48 by nimmoj
As the title says, I'm wondering if skill focus can exceed expertise, or must it always be equal or less? I can't find anything in the rules that says one way or the other. The thing is, if focus can exceed expertise, then a player can end up with a focus of 5 and an expertise of 0. That just doesn't seem right.
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7 replies
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rrcautela007 said Dec 17, 2017 08:25:54
Hiyas

In what way would your posited scenario "doesnt seem right"? Help me understand.


RC
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Dislikes_Elves said Dec 17, 2017 10:00:33
I see nothing in the rules that forbids it as well and seeing that the two of them are increased seperately, I think that yes, that could be the case. But how realistic is that? During character creation both are always the same so it has to be a skill that chose to gain afterwards. Maybe if you have a high attribute score you could focus more on, well, "Focus" but if you have zero ranks in expertise you are also untrained in the skill and thus have a higher risk of complications and some talens will be barred. Hmm, upon re-reading p. 96 "unskilled skill tests", I'm not so sure anymore that, if I had Expertise 0 but Focus 1+, it'd count as an untrained skill test.

Still, yes: per the rules, as I read them, you can have Expertise 0 and Focus 5. It might be weird to have no broad understanding of a skill but "depth of learning" associated with it but the rules allow weird things. It's the player who choses to play those weird things. A houserule that you have to have a minimum Expertise of 1 in order to increase Focus might be an easy fix.
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nimmoj said Dec 17, 2017 15:03:06
rrcautela007:
The best example of "not right" in my mind is the melee skill. If I have a focus of 5, but an expertise of 0, I'm not better at hitting someone, but I can critically hit well. Seems backward is all.

Dislikes Elves:
I didn't think the rules addressed it, but I've been wrong before. And I hadn't even thought about untrained vs trained. Per pg 96, it would count as a trained skill, but many talents will still be barred as they specifically call out expertise. Thanks for the reply.
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rrcautela007 said Dec 17, 2017 16:14:22
Focus could be interpreted as raw aptitude.
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SteveHanson said Dec 18, 2017 01:08:49
Focus should generally be less than expertise. No character generated through normal means will have this issue only when looking to spend XP (and Gm can veto any of that)
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abrahamlin27 said Dec 19, 2017 01:03:27
I had the same conundrum, but I assumed that after character creation, you could invest in Focus, but not expertise, if you chose to. I couldn't find a rule anywhere stating you can only buy Focus if you had 1 Expertise or more in a skill.

For example, I assume that if I already had a high Brawn (like 14), I could risk taking Athletics at 0 Ex/1 Fo because I'm looking for the experience discount on talents that Focus gives me. Since I'm confident that my high attribute will carry me most of the way, and the rule book counts untrained as having 0 Expertise AND 0 Focus (so Complications are still only on a 20 (Pg 96)), getting that discount on buying talents is more important that an extra 5% bump in skill.

Description-wise my high Brawn means I just have raw talent, and my Focus in Athletics means that every now and then I'm gifted, even if I have no skill in it.

Do I think it's silly to have 0 Expertise and 5 Focus in a skill? Most definitely.
Do I think the average player will naturally assume you can't buy Focus higher than Expertise? Yeah, I do.
Would I veto a player from raising Focus before Expertise? Probably not. Aside from the talent discount, I think increasing your chance to "not fail" is a little more important that increasing your chance to "do really well".

EDIT: double parentheses on the page number because brackets were removing the number
[Last edited Dec 19, 2017 01:05:52]
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coyote6 said Mar 20, 2018 00:11:31
I’m pretty sure that in either other 2d20 games or early versions of Conan, Focus could not exceed Expertise. But I couldn’t find it in the current rules, either, and I was starting to think it was some kind of Mandela Effect. (The rule is there in Infinity, FWIW.)

Do note that buying just Focus for talent discounts is a bit of a trap; I believe every root talent requires Expertise 1 in the relevant skill, and some talents require more Expertise (e.g., Mason).
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