Laborer skill and tools

On p249 of the rules PDF (build date 2008-11-28), the Laborer skill says “Laborers need tools from a smith”. I can read this two ways:

•*Smiths can provide tools as supplies to Laborers, and thus grant +1D to checks.

•*Tools provided by Smiths are required Laborer tests, they don’t grant +1D.

If the latter interpretation is the one intended, what happens if someone needs to make a Laborer test in the absence of Smith-provided tools? Hand-crafted tools only (i.e mattock made out of a twig)? No real tools at all (i.e. that pebble over there I just brought over)?

It would seem to me easier to assume that “scratchy materials at hand” like the twig or pebble is the “default case” represented by the skill level (which maybe includes notions of jury-rigging to make up for lack of proper tools in its level), and that having the right tool adds a “supplies” die. But it might not be the right interpretation.

Can anyone clarify?

I think it’s intended that, without appropriate tools, Laborer cannot be tested. One can’t dig a ditch without a shovel, for example. According to “Gear against Obstacles” on page 93, however, it’s within the game master’s jurisdiction to decide whether or not the necessary shovel also allows the mouse to add a die to his test for having appropriate gear.

It should be noted that someone could spend a check in the Players’ Turn to obtain a shovel that specifically would give +1D to suitable Laborer checks.

A ditch can be dug without a shovel; antler and bone picks are readily used in premetalic cultures. Good stout sticks can also be used…

All of the factors for laborer are things that can be done without metal tools, but are much easier with them.

But also note that the laborer description refers to gathering things… and while gathering is aided by tools, it’s not essential to have them.

I interpret it to mean that you need smith made tools to get the +1D for tools; other types are not effective enough.

Adding complication to this: the rules for “Supplies” rather clearly state that the supplies are chiefly intended to be raw materials provided to a crafts- or trades-mouse in order to ‘do their job’ (that is, in order to make a skill check to do crafting or trading type work).

In this context, I agree it’s not really appropriate for the Laborer tools to count as “supplies”, no more than having a sword can be considered a “supply” for a Fighter.

I guess what would be good here is to have some direction on how to levy “penalties” for non-optimum conditions… in that light, I suspect I’d just add it to the general list of unfavourable factors (like darkness, weather, and so on) and boost the Ob by 1. But that’s just a house-rule, and I’m mindful that the best way to play Luke’s games is to seek to do everything you can /not/ to house rule and play them “as written”, at the very least until one’s well versed.

Doesn’t the book state somewhere that you’re assumed to have the basics necessary to use your skill, anything extra grants additional effect, right?

I enjoy how you answer with a question, luke… like you don’t know what’s in the book. :wink:

I really have no idea what’s in any of the books any more. If I’m not citing a page number, I really don’t know.

Yes, it does, I’m pretty sure. Thank goodness: that’s the most sensible way to deal with it. Thanks, Luke.

Page 93 says that a character may use a piece of gear that appropriate to a particular obstacle. The GM may grant a +1D advantage.

Page 241 says that a crafts- or tradesmouse is assumed to have the bare minimum supplies and tools needed to ply his craft. If ANOTHER mouse can supply a the mouse making the test with tools or raw materials, they get an additional +1D

I believe that if a mouse has a spinning wheel (+1D for gear) and another mouse brings them clay (+1D for supplies) they would get a combined +2D to their Potter roll. Now if that initial mouse did not have a spinning wheel, but another mouse brought them that tool they could still get a +1D for supplies.

If a mouse does not have a certain tool or gear, you have to really think if it’s possible to do the skill without the item. It would be impossible for a carpenter to use their skill without wood, but a fighter can use fighter without a sword. This is probably why there isn’t a swordsman skill. When in doubt, just use the factors AND WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FICTION to determine how difficult or even if it’s possible to use a skill. I’m not going to let a mouse use deceiver if they are telling the truth…