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Pizza Man

Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

And that's cool - skill monkeys can be very useful indeed, and fun to play.

Not everyone wants to be a skill monkey, but then, not everyone has to be. When I think of the FF, I think Reed (lots of skills - oh yeah, and he can stretch, too) and Ben (OK, technically a hotshot pilot, but really? Does he get any mileage out of his skills at all? He has high defences and STR). Both have a place on the team.

 

They do, but the skill monkey's usefulness can be very quickly negated by poor GMing. I like the skill/knowledge emphasis sort, but after some experiences I've had playing one, I'll never make another one until I've built up experience with the GM I'd be playing with and knew he'd let it happen. The skill monkeys tend to die real fast when your GM's idea of tactics is just "Stomp the Squishies".

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

They do' date=' but the skill monkey's usefulness can be very quickly negated by poor GMing. I like the skill/knowledge emphasis sort, but after some experiences I've had playing one, I'll never make another one until I've built up experience with the GM I'd be playing with and knew he'd let it happen. The skill monkeys tend to die real fast when your GM's idea of tactics is just "Stomp the Squishies".[/quote']

 

Too true. I've seen frustrated skill monkeys (indeed, I've been one) in games where skills were simply not used that much. The GM needs to make them relevant and equally importantly needs to restrict people's options when they don't have them: if anyone can "make that crucial climbing roll" on a DEX roll, there's little incentive to buy climbing, for example.

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

As a bit of a counterpoint, it's often hard for GMs to remember who has what skills. Instead of waiting for the GM to ask 'Does anybody have (skill)?' or calling on a skill check, you could be more aggressive in using your skills. Ask if you can make a check to attempt something, that sort of thing.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Liberty (Character in an upcoming book I'm writting)

 

Acrobatics (3)

Breakfall (3)

Combat Piloting: Military Aircraft and Helicopters (4)

High Society (3)

KS: Science Fiction (2)

KS: USAF (2)

Money: Well Off (5)

PS: Writer (2)

Tactics (3)

Teamwork (3)

 

Liberty is a second generation superheroine who's father is an Air Force General and who's mother was a golden and silver age superheroine who's still active and owns an aerospace company.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

My group loves skills. Even most bricks etc have tons of them. Its not that unusual for players to come close to or beat 100 points of skills including combat skills levels and such. Sometimes not even including them. As a result, many characters are built on a little less raw power and a little more finesse.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

In one Champions campaign that I played in. The GM had us make Heroic Level characters (150 total points + any disads we could come up with), with appropriate skills for their background and current occupation. Then he gave enough points to bring us up to Champions level (5e 350 total points inc 150pts of Disads, aka 200 base +150 Disads). This helped the more novice players and folk who skimped on skills or only had skills as an afterthought, a more rounded character. It also was kind of nice to game out our origin stories.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

I've had a lot of characters that had skills based on player's interests with the characters. One that comes to mind was named Powerhouse. He was a brick. Two of his skills I recall were Gambling (mainly used for the Thursday night poker game) and Cooking. The other characters didn't mind being fleeced as much since he was feeding them so well.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

My recent party has an interesting 'range' of skills. We have a detective, an electrical expert, a hero with 'misspent youth', and two with 'agent' skills. They've spent between 52 and 131 points in skills. Of course the lowest is really 21 points as he has 11 points of power skill and 20 points of CSLs. In his defense, the character does have amnesia and it is the player's first character.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

I encourage, but don't force, characters to be versatile. One of the ways of doing that is with a nice list of useful Background appropriate skills. Having skills in my games usually means that you will end up with a little more spotlight time during non combat moments. But it's certainly not the only way to get by.

 

Sue Storm and Jean Gray both brought plenty to their respective teams, but it wasn't in the skills department. They both developed into incredibly versatile supers that spent most of their character points on Powers.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Yeah, what's appropriate for one character might not be for another. I usually play versatile, skill (or power)-based characters, because I like being able to do lots of things, and I am prepared to trade off being the best at any one thing, for being good at many things. On the other hand, the second-to-last Champions character I played was deliberately designed to be exact opposite: the "schlub who lucks into great power" archetype. He not only had almost no skills, but in addition, his powerset was deliberately limited (to "run fast and hit things") - no fancy power tricks :) That was a deliberate character design choice to give me a PC who would, a lot of the time, have to think his way around problems more complex than "Hit it with my fists of Steel".

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Yes, it's character based. I've played superspies with lots of skills*, mindless bricks with one skill**, super techs with lots of skills***, psychic playboys with only a handfull of skills...

 

*Shadow Hawk

**'You call Goliath mindless?" $M@$H!

***Steel Panther

****El Mago

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Of course it depends a great deal on the charecter. But in it's simplist form. 2 ks 4 points. 1 ps 2 points 3-5 general skills 9-15 points. a couple of combat skills 4- 10 points basic general skills charecter 19-31 points. leaving around 200 points for stats and powers circa 5th ed. But remember when all else fails familiarity. 3 skills for the price of one. Even if the roll is the worst possible.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

While I don't have a set number in my head when creating characters or reviewing them as a GM what I believe is that the points need to fit the concept. That said I somehow ended up spending 22 points for skills (5th rd Rev) on a 9 year old girl with a monster bonded to her.

 

1 I can be a good girl: Acting 8-

3 Breakfall 12-

5 Please Don't Hurt Me: +1 with DCV

3 Shadowing 13-

5 Stealth 13-

4 Survival (Urban) 14-

1 Thaumaturgy: Power 8-

 

The skills reflected the time she lived on the street after her parents "went away" and before she was abducted for research. Now some people might argue that her skills are too high for a widdle girl but it's a world of super heroes so I say :P. Joking aside the point I'd like to express here is stay true to a concept and don't think of skills as limiting the character, they go a long way in adding some kind of depth.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

I tend towards the lower end.

 

The main reason is that I tend to try to build characters that are too powerful and/or complex for their point totals. Skills tend to be squeezed out in favour of powers. I tend to figure that it's easier to buy skills with experience than new powers.

 

I also have a nasty habit of building characters on lower than usual point totals, so everything is tightly budgeted. I do this even when the final character will be on normal point totals, since I find it easier to scale up a character's combat abilities than to scale them down. Skills tend not to be increased when I do this.

 

Even my "skill heavy" characters tend to spend their "extra" points on characteristics, equipment, bases, vehicles, "superskill" powers and the like.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Which points to an entirely different issue. Every thing seems to be worked around the "combat abilities".

 

Because that is generally the major point of conflict within the literary and cinematic works that Hero is, by default, attempting to emulate.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Which points to an entirely different issue. Every thing seems to be worked around the "combat abilities".

 

Not particularly, actually. I just like building characters with lots of "neat stuff", which sucks up points.

 

I like them to have a reasonably full set of abilities to begin with, and then buy all the stuff they would gain "from experience" with experience points.

 

Maintaining parity in their combat abilities is an unfortunate chore, which, unfortunately, takes away points which I would rather spend on character growth.

 

I don't really want to dilute what is left by having to save up for, say, a Neat Car or Life Support, when the character should have had it when they began. (Improving a Neat Car incrementally is part of character growth, however.)

 

EDIT: In fact, the tendency of characters to "level up" their combat abilities is the source of the problem. I dislike having to do that.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Well, let me take a look at some of my characters...

 

Quetzlcoatl: 107 pts of skills. Including 8 pts in Languages. Not counting Martial Arts.

 

Brick House: 18 pts in skills, not counting Combat Skill Levels and 24 pts(!) in a Brick Tricks Power Skill

 

The Goth: 42 pts, again not counting Combat Skill Levels

 

I seem to have lost quite a few characters...

 

Lucius Alexander

 

I bet the palindromedary ate them!

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

While I don't have a set number in my head when creating characters or reviewing them as a GM what I believe is that the points need to fit the concept. That said I somehow ended up spending 22 points for skills (5th rd Rev) on a 9 year old girl with a monster bonded to her.

 

 

 

The skills reflected the time she lived on the street after her parents "went away" and before she was abducted for research. Now some people might argue that her skills are too high for a widdle girl but it's a world of super heroes so I say :P. Joking aside the point I'd like to express here is stay true to a concept and don't think of skills as limiting the character, they go a long way in adding some kind of depth.

 

While the rolls are a little high, the breadth of the skills list is not. In fact I would have thrown in Streetwise and maybe a couple of Contacts (Social Worker, other street types). I've seen some pretty slick "juveniles" over the years.

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Re: Skills. How much is too much? What did you start with?

 

Of course it depends a great deal on the charecter. But in it's simplist form. 2 ks 4 points. 1 ps 2 points 3-5 general skills 9-15 points. a couple of combat skills 4- 10 points basic general skills charecter 19-31 points. leaving around 200 points for stats and powers circa 5th ed.

 

Are those added on to the Everyman skills which, IIRC, already provide two KS/PS choices?

 

But remember when all else fails familiarity. 3 skills for the price of one. Even if the roll is the worst possible.

 

Familiarity with KS or PS is supposed to permit the character to work in that field. In game, we probably don't apply the "mundane tasks require no skill roll" rule often enough. A Familiarity must be sufficient for automatic success in many situations if someone with Familiarity is sufficiently competent to work in the area. Liberal use of "extra time" also benefits Familiarities considerably. Of course, using the skill under high stress conditions may not permit extra time, and takes them out of the mundane, but a Familiarity should work far more than 25% of the time when applied appropriately.

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