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Author Topic: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship  (Read 4021 times)

Xonara

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Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« on: January 03, 2009, 09:33:03 am »

Well, after reading the "books and scrolls" thread I decided to post this. Currently any dwarf can become legendary in any skill without any setbacks, every dwarf automatically knows how to perform the job they're assigned, though they might not be skilled in it. In real life, trade secrets like cheesemaking or smithing can die out in a town. I think dwarves with a skill level of "Not <profession" should be completely unable to do any jobs concerning the profession, and "Dabbling <profession>" dwarves should be grossly incompetent in any jobs concerning the profession, to point of being almost useless. Dabbling dwarves could often fail at whatever job they're doing, but still gain experience, though mayble less than they would gain from a successful job. For example, a farmer could fail when planting a seed and produce a stunted plant, and a weaponsmith could fail and produce a lopsided sword. Both would be literally unusable, the plant would be ripped out of the ground to make room for new crops and the sword would be classified as refuse. Essentially, dabbling dwarves know enough about the job to do it, but lack the experience to apply the knowledge.

(I'll refer to dwarves with a skill level of "Not <profession>" as "untrained" and dwarves with a skill level of "<profession>" as "trained" from this point on.)

As you can see untrained and dabbling dwarves are undesirable. However, dwarves could aquire knowledge concerning a certain trade from two sources: books, and other dwarves. With books, an untrained dwarf could be ordered to study a book concerning a profession and gradually gain experience from it until they become "dabbling." Poorly written books wouldn't be able to assist a dwarf past that point, but well written books could be used as a "field guide." A dabbling dwarf could carry a well written book with them while they work to refer to, decreasing failure rates and ultimately training them much faster than they would have been with a poorly written book.

An even better source of knowledge is other dwarves. You could assign untrained or dabbling dwarves a mentor and they would follow their mentor around while he/she works. The mentor would advise the apprentice and the apprentice would assist his/her mentor. The advantage of tutoring a dwarf as opposed to having him/her study is that as the mentor works, the apprentice gains full experience along with the mentor. This costs no additional resources and the apprentice doesn't affect the outcome of the mentor's job. Note that only trained dwarves can be mentors.

However a dwarf is trained, by book or mentor, the dwarf most work independently to gain more experience once they're trained, the book or mentor is no longer useful at that point. A dwarf trained in a skill could write a book concerning the skill, but not if they're dabbling in the skill. This could be done using the "Writer" skill. If you didn't guess it already, untrained and dabbling dwarves are restricted in the writing skill the same way they are in others, so they might have to read some books on writing or be apprenticed to a more experienced writer if they want to write a legible book. Books would be a valuable commodity as they could save your dwarves if the secret of a trade is completely lost to your fortress. Books in DF would be time consuming to write, and therefore expensive. Though simply buying books from a dwarven caravan would be the easiest, it would be expensive and once your writer(s) becomes skilled enough the books could become a good export. [I can't imagine human or elvish traders carrying any dwarven books with them, so you would have to get them from a dwarven caravan. Also, I haven't really thought about how the books would be made. See the "books and scrolls" thread.]

Dwarves don't have to be mentored to pick up knowledge from other dwarves though. Just casually talking with a trained dwarf would be enough to receive a very slow trickle of experience. While it wouldn't be much, it could be just enough to save you if your farmer decides to croak, one of the farmer's friends might have picked up some pointers on farming.

So how would this all affect the game? Well for one, it'd be important to make sure your dwarves have some level of experience in what you want them to do before you embark, and it could be worth it to bring some books with you. Immigrants would be more welcome than before as they'd bring previously inaccessible knowledge. As I said before, books would be nice to fall back on when your farmer dies and your populace is eating rats.
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Xonara

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Re: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2009, 09:42:28 am »

Well, it sounded good at first, but I'm having second thoughts about this now. I'm not entirely sure I'd want myself restricted like that. Anyways, I'm glad to hear what everyone else has to say.
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Savok

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Re: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2009, 11:33:57 am »

Some level of that. I think we can assume that no experience or knowledge, but perhaps a little ingenuity, is required to erect a wooden palisade, or, for dwarves, build a stone wall. Might not be very sturdy - but then we'd have to have sturdiness levels for constructions. Anybody with common knowledge can chop down a tree, kill a deer, harvest plump helmets, or take a fortress inventory. Common knowledge lets a dwarf do a lot. However, there are some things common knowledge won't do for you: Without some knowledge of the craft, you cannot cut gems, build sturdy bridges, chisel mechanisms, or make cheese. However, with a good deal of ingenuity, inventiveness, and time, a dwarf could singlehandedly revive the art of sword-smithing from naught and teach it to his apprentices.
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So sayeth the Wiki Loremaster!

Pilsu

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Re: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2009, 12:41:25 pm »

I can see advanced jobs like smithing and jeweling requiring training from a visiting Master to get started (or using the skills of an immigrant who obviously already got a little basic training. I think they come in a little undertrained really). Guess this would be related to guild business. Anything short of a Master should not be able to teach pupils and even then only to a point before the student has to start churning out his own goods to learn. Books should only unlock intermediate trade skills like knitting and be discarded once say, Proficient level is reached. Barely trained immigrants should come with books really, what kind of a fool kicks poorly skilled dwarves out the door so early without giving them what they need on the road? Senior forts could get properly trained people. Hell, let us request the kind of immigrants we want. Sometimes you want that armorer now, sometimes you'd prefer to wait until his tutelage is properly over

Anyone can plant stuff, it takes a grand total of one minute to learn how to plant for example onions. Pros only do it faster. As for cooking and brewing and the like, anyone can do such basic stuff but not very well as evidenced by the quality modifiers. Any vital and simple labors should not require instructions but instruction books would improve the effective skill for newbies by a couple levels for a time. Alternatively, unlock something like fancy ingredients. No good way to handle it that I can come up with, up to Toady

If we interacted with the parent civ more and were able to request artisans to come train our own people, then it'd be a worthy addition. As is, your fort doesn't really feel like a part of something bigger, people just pour in randomly and never leave. Maybe eventually it'll be our hovel that gets requests for Legendary armorers' tutelage and allows us to send them out along with the caravan. You'd see them return a few years later along the caravan with extra guards from their keep. If we had seceded from the civ to form our own, it might get iffy. Depends on diplomatic relations I suppose, if they're still bitter don't expect much interaction between your guilds. You could also purchase apprenticeship from the humans for a hefty fee


Note, any boundaries I set are based on the assumption that Proficient is the point where you become a journeyman in the guild system of old. Apprentices weren't kicked out the door after they barely learned to hammer a hoe. Proficient is the cut-off point for shoddy goods being produced. You could argue that Skilled fits as well but they still make crappy stuff and it'd make apprenticeship really short


Controversially, I don't think dwarves should be able to learn anything from advanced and intermediate trades without the proper aid. You just don't learn to knit by intuition. Sure you could keep making bad armor but you'd scarcely improve without aid in the beginning. That armor took a thousand years to design, don't expect to reinvent the wheel in a lifetime. Any Proficient embark dwarves wouldn't need tutelage. Getting less than Proficient at the advanced labors would enable production but come at a steep cost, like it should
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 10:17:49 am by Pilsu »
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Whiskey Bob

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Re: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2009, 01:51:59 pm »

I like it.  One thing that has always bothered me was how a dwarf who has never touched a forge in his life can walk up and produce a perfectly usable sword or suit of plate.

Another possibility (standalone or matched with this) is *negative* quality modifiers, which would be mostly pushed off the table by the time a dwarf is proficient in a trade.

Harsh, but it would certainly make gameplay more interesting.
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Tormy

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Re: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2009, 04:37:51 pm »

An even better source of knowledge is other dwarves. You could assign untrained or dabbling dwarves a mentor and they would follow their mentor around while he/she works. The mentor would advise the apprentice and the apprentice would assist his/her mentor. The advantage of tutoring a dwarf as opposed to having him/her study is that as the mentor works, the apprentice gains full experience along with the mentor. This costs no additional resources and the apprentice doesn't affect the outcome of the mentor's job. Note that only trained dwarves can be mentors.

Something like this will get implemented in the next version, at least for the military dwarves.

10/10/2008
"..and I'll probably put in commander-guided sparring for low-skill dwarves (with a few associated skills for that, and perhaps some well-defined stages for that).."
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sweitx

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Re: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 08:23:28 pm »

I like it.  One thing that has always bothered me was how a dwarf who has never touched a forge in his life can walk up and produce a perfectly usable sword or suit of plate.

Another possibility (standalone or matched with this) is *negative* quality modifiers, which would be mostly pushed off the table by the time a dwarf is proficient in a trade.

Harsh, but it would certainly make gameplay more interesting.
Actually, even if you NEVER made actual sword and plate armor, you can still make one after enough trial and error.  Albeit it will be a REALLY crappy armor (probably break on first impact).  And after enough practice and feedback, most people can learn over time how to make a great sword.
Even the master craftsman becomes masters by practicing a lot.
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One of the toads decided to go for a swim in the moat - presumably because he could path through the moat to my dwarves. He is not charging in, just loitering in the moat.

The toad is having a nice relaxing swim.
The goblin mounted on his back, however, is drowning.

Shoku

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Re: Dwarven knowledge/experience, and apprenticeship
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2009, 09:34:36 pm »

For the kinds of skills that can die off you can still get to a low level of ability by trial and error and probably wasting a lot of resources. Training could lift that barrier allowing them to go the rest of the way up to legendary-
or without training they could be limited to a subset of the profession, like only simple metals or no giant weapon components.

Or training could be just another modifier- working just like levels but being separate from them since no amount of practice is going to unlock the techniques that took centuries for everyone else to figure out.
...though this could make possessions useful since they had someone else guiding their hands n such n_n
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Please get involved with my making worlds thread.