How rare should be Right Skill, Right Time?

How rare should be reward for Fate Artha category “Right Skill, Right Time?”

How specific conditions should be met for qualify situation (skill test) for that Artha category? How often/rare “Right Skill, Right Time” should be rewarded during campaign? (Once in 4-6 sessions? Once in 20 sessions? Once in a half-year of real-time campaign?). Did success/failure is crucial on situation (example: thanks to skill that granted “open-ended mode”, somebody won important duel)? Did specific rules for certain skill apply on ruling about “Right Skill, Right Time” requirement?

I’ve only had it come up a couple of times since 2007. We never give it for a skill you get from an LP.

It sounds quite different than recommended interpretation via “Right Skill, Right Time” - “consider it a reward for clever character burning”. Getting strange, non-usual (i’m not mentioning Sorcery, for example) specific skill from just Lifepath should count too.

Very rare, its kind of wibbly but basically its for that time where you have always had the Piano skill and thought well that’s never going to get used but there is a scene where you need to charm the Countess with a piano song.

Basically its never really come up in any game I’ve played.

In groups I’ve played in, it tends to be awarded fairly frequently during the beginning, but trails off as the game goes on.

How I’ve seen it done is that it is awarded once per skill, at the end of the session where the skill was rolled for the first time. There is also the additional requirement of it being a skill of the “Wait, you really took Weaving?” variety. In BHWS, it tended to go to the more outdoorsy skills, since it was a more political/fighty styled game, I think Salvatrix actually got it for Estate Management when we actually needed to pull Griffon’s Keep together into a somewhat functioning hold.

It’s been a while, so I can’t recall if we ever awarded it to a failure or not.

A few years ago, one of my players was playing a princess (no, not you, Kyle, this was a different guy playing a different princess in a completely different campaign) who was meeting her new mother-in-law to be for the first time. As evil GM, I was planning to play this NPC as very hostile, and have her cause a bunch of problems for the party. Only, when the PCs finally get to the castle, player is all “Can I make an Etiquette roll? I wanna make a good impression.” I’m like, “Sure thing. I forgot you even have Etiquette. Let me just look up the Ob for a ducal court…” Player proceeds to nail a pretty difficult roll (I should mention, the PC was at minus two to everything from a traumatic wound; belief: “I will start a fight and hit someone with my krutch”), completely disarming that line of opposition in a way I hadn’t even considered was a possibility because I literally forgot that the character had the skill, that’s how rarely it had been used up to that point (the character was essentially a battle princess, with a reputation as “Iska Sharpknife” for her belligerent attitude, but she was nevertheless a princess and had received all of the training in court formalities that come with that). “I guess… your fiance’s mom likes you… you make a good impression…”

In a different campaign, the PCs had managed to get access to the accounting records for a trading company that was actually a front for a cabal of sorcerers. The players want to find evidence in the records that proves that something shady was going on. I call for an accounting test. “I got this”, one of the players says. “I picked up accounting back when I used to be a quartermaster in the army.” And so he had. That was the backstory he had made up for the character several months previously when the campaign had started, and he had the lifepath and skill to back it up. Player aces the roll, and the party now has evidence that they can present before a royal magistrate.

One of Burning Wheel’s defining features is its lifepath system, and the staggering array of skills that it gives the players access to. Some skills, however, are obviously going to get used much more than others in most campaigns. The Right Skill Right Time reward provides a small incentive for players to actually take the lifepaths and skills that fit their characters backstories, rather than just make a b-line for the handful of skills that they are most likely to use.

It’s uncommon in our games, but it does still keep happening even in our longest campaigns. I think I once got the award for good use of Ditch-Digging.

I actually think Taelor’s first example highlights something important. The same GM, two separate characters that are both princesses. But I can tell you that Salvatrix would NEVER get Right Skill, Right Time for etiquette. It’s not because Taelor made a mistake with the previous princess that he corrected by the time I played with him. It is because Etiquette is one of Silvie’s Bread & Butter skills. I may not have directly rolled it that much, but I don’t think I made a social roll where I didn’t try to FoRK it in somehow (Adjusting dice for advancement excluded). Not only that, the other characters (Warren in particular) have been regularly disadvantaged by not having it. It was a key skill during that game, while it obviously wasn’t in Taelor’s other game if he forgot the other princess had it. Likewise, it probably would have been worth an award if someone in the Orc game I ran started with it (and found a chance to use it).

Similarly, if your game involves becoming the best weavers in the land, then weaving (and other cloth-working/manufacturing related skills) probably isn’t gonna get you that award, when it would in a more Sword & Sorcery type game.

I once gave Right Skill Right Time for Sewing… in a game about violently overthrowing the government.

Thank you for responses.

Actually my current BW playgroup considered their own - close-to-RAW-as-possible - conclusion about Right Skill, Right Time. It will be: “If the game stucks, but somebody creatively uses certain skill to push a story forward (according to intent & task, of course), then a player should earn RS,RT reward”.

The main consistent advice from your posts sounds like “earn a reward from a clever and suprising usage from a skill that is considered as unusual for (current) campaign theme”. Interesting point.