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Xiphias Gladius

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Yay possible competence on my part! [Dec. 8th, 2013|07:21 pm]
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I could reasonably argue that, today, I fixed a furnace and a dishwasher. "Reasonably argue" because the furnace "fix" was trivial, and, indeed, basically routine, and because we still need to see if the dishwasher STAYS fixed. Still, I think it was a pretty good day.

I don't consider myself "handy." I just consider myself "accepting of the possibility of failure." Fixing stuff, when I do it, involves a lot of putting stuff halfway together, then realizing that one of the parts you've got lying around was supposed to go in earlier, and taking it all apart again and putting it back together again, and, on the third iteration, realizing that there was this OTHER part that was designed to come out FIRST that makes the whole "removing that section" much, much easier, and so forth.

I guess, in gaming terms, you'd count it as a situation where a person with a very low skill is allowed to keep rolling the dice over and over, attempt after attempt, and, so long as they don't critically fail and break something badly enough to require a competent person to come in, they can just keep going until it works. That's more or less how I think of it. I can call the professionals in FIRST, and have them do it, or I can try it myself first, and maybe I'll get it working, but if I'm in over my head, I can call them THEN. Honestly, so long as I don't lose pieces or force things into place, I'm not TOO likely to break stuff VERY worse than it would have been had I called them first. KINDA likely, but not VERY likely.

[User Picture]From: solipsistnation
2013-12-09 12:41 am (UTC)


And ideally you improved your skill while doing it!, really, that's how learning works. All the skilled people started off not knowing how to do stuff and had their own chances to mess around with things until they got it right.
[User Picture]From: xiphias
2013-12-09 02:38 am (UTC)


Well, I now know more about how THIS SPECIFIC model of dishwasher is put together.

Come to think of it, the reason I DON'T think of the furnace as a fix is because I DIDN'T learn anything from it. I looked at it, it was EXACTLY like the state that it had been in at a previous time, I did exactly what I did then, and it started working in precisely the same way as it did before. No difference, no novelty, no learning. It WASN'T working, and then it WAS, but I didn't do anything interesting to make it that way, so I can't really think of it as fixing things.

Pulling apart the dishwasher, getting gunk out, and whacking the valves, on the other hand, WAS new and different and I didn't know what I was doing. Therefore, if it continues to work now, THAT I actually fixed.
[User Picture]From: solipsistnation
2013-12-09 06:26 pm (UTC)


I dunno, I think that repeatable results are part of learning... Next time you have to whack the dishwasher valves and it works, you know you've learned a fix there too. 8)
[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2013-12-09 01:12 am (UTC)


I want my children to be like that.
[User Picture]From: jazzfish
2013-12-09 02:34 am (UTC)


Sounds like two fixes to me! If the furnace was broken and now isn't, that's fixed.

I'd count it as more like the D&D 3rd Ed "taking 20" option: you take a ridiculously long amount of time to do something, and rather than roll dice, you're considered to have rolled a 20. If your skill isn't high enough you still can't do whatever it is, but if it's at all possible for you to do it, you will.

(Also, in Call of Cthulhu terms, you probably get a skill check and the possibility of increasing your skill by up to ten percent!)
[User Picture]From: xiphias
2013-12-09 02:42 am (UTC)


See, to me, "taking 20" would be like doing the completely methodical way of doing things. Had I looked online for the problem (which I did), and found an exact step-by-step listing of what to do (which I didn't, although I did find stuff that had GENERAL ideas), and those steps were the sorts of things that maybe not everybody could do but a person at my skill level would be able to do, and I followed it point-by-point, right through the checklist, I'd think of that as taking 20.

Partially because, the way I was doing it, at every step I took, I had the chance of rolling a critical failure and breaking stuff that would require me to call in someone else. Taking 20 has no chance of bad stuff. Mine was more of a rolling over and over again, waiting either for a success (or number of successes) or a crit, whichever comes first.
[User Picture]From: starrchilde
2013-12-09 04:38 am (UTC)


Sometime taking a 20 is the best course to follow. :}