City and Guild puts the craft level for standard items at 6. Assuming a 'normal' workshop with no bonuses, that's Ability + Characteristic of 6. So someone with +0 Characteristic would need an Ability of 6, or 5 with +1, or 4 with +2, etcetera. Now someone with an Ability of 4 or 5 isn't what I'd consider 'semi-skilled' - they're well trained, either late in apprenticeship or early into the journeyman phase, and those people are quite common.
Now maybe the author thought this counted as semi-skilled, but it's a description I'd take issue with if I had spent 7 years of apprenticeship learning a trade and could make goods fit for sale on the open market. A crafter has to actually be pretty skilled or highly talented (Puissant Craft or high Characteristic) to make 'standard' goods.
But read more through C&G. Repeatedly their examples have a primary characteristic of +3. That shows up in sample characters as well is in examples. Since the average really isn't 0 unless most people have Inferior Characteristics x2, that's not unexpected. So Ability + Characteristic = 6 with their typical assumption of +3 means an Ability of 3. An Ability of 3 isn't close to the end of apprenticeship.
Why is this inconsistent? It says an Ability of 6 or more. Then you get specialty and Characteristic on top of this. Let's say you get +3 between these. If you have a decent workshop, you can reach 12 with the minimum 6. Otherwise you need a bit more, and that's why it's ≥ rather than =.
No, it doesn't. You're confounding necessary conditions and sufficient conditions. 6 is being stated as necessary. You're extremely unlikely (why it's "should," not "must") to be able to do it without a 6, though it may be possible.
Of course. How many times should we write out workshop rules? That will eat up a lot of space out of multiple books.
In C&G it is pretty much assumed that you will work in a field where you have a +3 Characteristic. So you don't even need a great workshop, just any regular workshop, to reach a 6 with an Ability of 4.
You do not have to spell them out, but [Cov] makes a condition on ability without cross-referencing. If you translate this into a craft level rule using [C&G] it is a house rule and nothing else. Now, of course, this is because [C&G] was published later, but that does make it not inconsistent, it just excuses it. You still need to house rule to determine what it means in craft level.
That would stretch plausibility. Many people do not have any characteristic at +3, and many would be restricted by heritage to be trained and to work in an area irrelevant to their best characteristic. Such an assumption is applying player character logic to the average population.
And this stresses the inconsistency. Workshops were invented after [Cov], so we can understand why they are not factored in, but characteristics did exist and they were deliberately excluded, both in the condition for superior products and in the BP cost of specialists.
I'm not saying it doesn't. I'm just pointing out that that is what C&G pretty much assumes when you read through it.
Yes and no. Consider a blacksmith's son. Presumably the father is fairly strong, so the son probably leans toward being stronger. And then the son is doing strength-related things since childhood since he's being trained as a blacksmith and so he will probably become fairly strong himself.
The problem with looking at plausibility here is the idea of fixed Characteristics. Sure, the game has them increase during childhood, but still toward a fixed value. In the real world it is understood extremely well that you can change your strength, even after maturing. In the real world it's generally accepted that intelligence is not fixed. Etc. To match it better with the real world, I would expect us to point points into Characteristics that in the real world are likely to have been improved by training. So we should expect better primary Characteristics for this reason. Not necessarily +3, but certainly better than average.
True, but ±1 compared to the parents would be common, that's a few -1s. And some of these sons not being their father's son is probably fairly common too.
I certainly agree that the average craftsman of a particular craft has positive primary characteristics, and extreme negative characteristics would be virtually unheard of, simply because of natural and cultural selection. Still I would expect a fair number of people with -1 and 0.
If we are going for a rant against the characteristics model, it concerns me more that the characteristics make more of a difference than ability. Starting characters normally range 0-5 in ability, and -3 to +3 in characteristic. Thus the characteristic can make a six point difference in your efficacy in your trade, the ability only 5 points. For this reason, I like [Cov] making the criteria on ability alone.
The examples given shouldn't be considered the average craftsman, because that's where the boring crap happens. By the end of apprenticeship someone should have at least a Craft 5 and be able to scrounge the extra +1 to make Standard goods (Ability, workshop, virtue) and thus earn a living. That's your average craftsman making average goods, and they're not 'semi-skilled', they're average professionals.
Just because it's easy to optimize a one-dimensional grog to push up to Superior grade goods doesn't mean the average person is like that. A successful craftsman in Mythic Europe also needs to be smart and tough just to survive and prosper, might be better at socializing than his actual profession, and so forth. The upshot of this is that skilled but unexceptional professionals produce standard goods.
Maybe a talented semi-skilled worker can do the same - that's great, but he's a statistical outlier.
I think the Covenants rules assume that your Craft 6 specialist really is an optimized, superior craftsman that can meet the 12 threshold to produce superior goods to get those laboratory bonuses or book quality bonuses. Most covenants would be providing good workshop scores and assistants to make up any shortfall their skill might have. These are exceptional craftsmen.
Our standard score 5 craftsman gives an advancement total of 8 for training, and working two seasons a year, this is 16xp per year. I would expect apprenticeship to last 3-4 years, which has been the norm in later years. That is only 48-65xp or score 4(ish) by the end of apprenticeship. And this did not even allow for secondary skills like bargain.
But [C&G] agrees with you, suggesting 5 for a journeyman.
I remember in 3ed we assumed score 5 to be a master, and 6 to be virtually unheard of. The system has not really changed much to suggest that this ought no longer to be true.
You seem to be forgetting the whole point of BP grogs. You don't need to pay BP for characters you write out the stats for. You pay BP to avoid it. There are many assumed traits beyond the one Ability you pay for. Covenants gives you what's relevant for calculating the BP.
That is not what the book says. You do not have to pay BP for characters which are created as grogs, but grogs are create to play. If you do not intend to actually RP the specialist, it should not IMNHO matter if you write out the stats. And, no, I was not forgetting it.
That's exactly what you are saying, but the relevant stat is not that ability, but the total ability+characteristic. If characteristic was supposed to matter, the rules should address it, both for the BP cost, and the application. When they don't they are either inconsistent or unnecessarily hard to read. Flawed it is either way.
Characters created as grogs or companions need not be paid for with Build Points.
There are only three categories, so if you're not creating them in one of those, you're creating them as magi. But we know that is not the case. So it is what I said. But you're actually making up a rule. There is no rule that a character created as a grog but never played isn't a grog.
I'm pointing out that they could have written the formula using (relevant Characteristic - 3 + Ability) rather than Ability in the formula. Both of them come out the same way with an assumed +3, but just using Ability is easier if there is an assumed +3. And what does the default specialist in the core book have??? A +3 relevant Characteristic!!! Remarkably consistent across the core book, Covenants, and City & Guild. Not the easiest to follow across all the books, but far more consistent than most people seem to be realizing.
We are clearly both making up rules. This is what one has to do when one interprets texts which are fragmented with inconsistent wording. Your interpretation may be the best one, but you actually have to recollate and rewrite the rules to demonstrate that it is.
Grogs, companions, and magi are player characters. NPCs are never bound by the same rule so that's the fourth category. It does not make the slightest bit of sense that you get free NPC specialists if you take the effort to bookkeep them, but it does make sense that you get for free the characters which are going to be actively played. Maybe I make up a rule, the negation of the rule be an invention too. I choose the invention which makes the most sense.
There is a whole book calling them "Grogs" unless they qualify as a Companion or Magus.
Or maybe it does? Notice the second quoted sentence here, from p.42 of Covenants:
The rules allow covenants to purchase specialists with Build Points, but these are blanks-with-Abilities, lacking even character sheets. They cost Build Points because they allow the players to sketch the covenant without effort.
Some more points of consistency:
Grogs says if you pay for a specialist, they are assumed to have a workshop with journeymen and apprentices. By C&G those assistants (limited by Leadership) add half the sum of their Craft to the Workshop Total. And, as they're servants rather than specialists, you don't pay for this bonus to Craft with BP.
Grogs lists off 8 suggested sets of Characteristics, 5 of which have +3s and 3 of which have +2s. No highest score below a +2 is suggested. That is consistent with the core book and C&G giving them +3.
So, if you've got +2 or +3, probably +3, from a Characteristics and +3ish from assistants (could be more or less, but that's probably reasonable), then you're looking at needing a score of 6 in your Ability to manage a Workshop Total of 12 for Superior goods. And that 6 is the suggested minimum for Superior Tools/Equipment.
That the specialists assume a +3 primary characteristic.
But you are right. I am obviously not supposed to play ArM before I have read all the rulebooks and pieced all the fragments together to a consistent ruleset, and am able to memorise it all. You have evidently done that. Good for you.
Oh, please. I haven't said that +3 is a rule. Read again what I wrote about the +3:
I referenced the examples properly.
I said, "let's say" to do a calculation to see how the numbers work out.
"Pretty much assumed" is not the same as it's a rule. I've intentionally left some vagueness in there because it's not a rule, but because the examples repeatedly have +3.
"Not necessarily +3" isn't saying there is a rule of +3. In fact, it specifically leaves room for it to be other than +3.
First, I've proposed a possibility of an assumed +3 by the writers, but no rule, and showing that with an assumed +3 the formulas match; that's it. Then I've pointed out consistent examples, which all have +3, not a rule.
I've referenced a chart with suggested values, not rules.
You're the one going there, not me. I'm not saying anything of the kind. I'm asking you to stop saying I'm making up rules when I'm not and when you're throwing a bunch of false of assumptions at the rules and claiming that's what the rules say. There is no need to read all the rules, nor even most of them, to avoid using false assumptions paired with the rules you are reading. I don't have it all memorized, not even close; and some of the things I quoted I had never read before. I had to look almost all of this up during this conversation. I just focused on reading and reasoning carefully to make sure what I've said is what the books actually say.