Jump to content
JohnBear

Source and rule book serious weakness

Recommended Posts

I think one of the things that often needs to be done before the campaign starts is to set some expectations, ground rules and norms.  To this end I did the following with Nyonia campaign world:

 

  • Character Benchmarks - I will freely admit that most of the information on this webpage I 'stole' from another Hero site but I can't remember where/whose it was.  This shows well known fantasy characters against the standard characteristics.  The placement is subjective.  The important thing is for players to see how their characters stack up against well known literary fantasy characters.
  • Rules for characteristics depending on the general type of character someone is playing - If you want to play a knight then expect to play a character who is a 'brick' and not particularly fast. Want to play a swashbuckler type then expect to be very fast but not particularly strong and you want to avoid being hit if at all possible.
  • Combat skills - This helps focus the players on a particular fighting style and keeps things from getting out of hand.

After players are comfortable with their combat skills they tend to start telling me things like:  "I want to buy +1 with all Intelligence based skills" or "Can I buy off this complication?" (which allowed me to create a whole story arc for that).  The players own a ship and so I think they should start putting points in the crew to make them more capable - so I will suggest that to the players at some point in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 

I think this is also emulative of other genre fiction. James Bond rarely picks up entirely new martial arts. Legolas didn't decide he'd be a bit more fun to play with a small VPP for elf-magic tricks. King Arthur doesn't usually decided he needs more points in Bases because Camelot is getting boring.

We can certainly say that maybe Samwise Gamgee leveled up of the course of LOTR, but...he didn't really acquire anything new. Or we can say that Picard\Worf\Kirk go though character growth and change but...did they really "level up"?

 

But then also I think it works in the reverse. The D&D expectation is that folks will improve *dramatically* over time. And part of the reason for that is because the badguys are going to scale up dramatically themselves.

 

 

See this is an issue I've long thought over and even discussed here several times. D&D presumed levels and advancement where the source material of almost all RPGs rarely includes this kind of thing.  Where it is included its almost always just "he started out a farm boy and became a Jedi in order to fight the big enemy" or "she started out a martial artist but had to learn a special technique to beat the big enemy."  Almost never, anywhere is the theme "they start out and continually over time become more and more powerful and learn forever as their enemies keep getting more powerful."  Its just not there.  Its an arc, a specific growth period for specific circumstances or because of maturity.

 

Gaming is just about the only place that's really found but it has become such a locked in constant theme that people just presume it now.  And that doesn't really simulate the genre well at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

See this is an issue I've long thought over and even discussed here several times. D&D presumed levels and advancement where the source material of almost all RPGs rarely includes this kind of thing.  Where it is included its almost always just "he started out a farm boy and became a Jedi in order to fight the big enemy" or "she started out a martial artist but had to learn a special technique to beat the big enemy."  Almost never, anywhere is the theme "they start out and continually over time become more and more powerful and learn forever as their enemies keep getting more powerful."  Its just not there.  Its an arc, a specific growth period for specific circumstances or because of maturity.

 

Gaming is just about the only place that's really found but it has become such a locked in constant theme that people just presume it now.  And that doesn't really simulate the genre well at all.

 

Totally! Just so. It doesn't map to genre fiction, it doesn't map to reality, but...there it is.

 

The only one I'm really aware of (I'm SURE there are others out there) is the Malazan Books of the Fallen. Characters in those novels do indeed vastly and sometimes rapidly increase their power over time. But it's more story driven than, "You killed some scrubs, now you're more powerful!".

 

It does very much seem like convention (certainly in D&D\EQ\PF\etc) but I think it's more the first formalization of how progression works.

 

I mean honestly the Hero model doesn't seem to conform to genre fiction or reality either. I kill some Orcs and then buy Stealth with the XP? How does swinging a sword in a dungeon increase my sneakiness? Or I sneak around as my rogue-type to get 5xp (over time) and then my Strength doubles (in terms of weight lifted) when I spend XP on it?

I think Killer Shrike and others have rules for only being able to put XP in to skill if you use them, succeed\fail with them, something like that. Certainly other games have those mechanics.

 

But all that goes back to the: "Well...how do YOU want progression to work in THIS game?", stuff that Hero does so well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

See this is an issue I've long thought over and even discussed here several times. D&D presumed levels and advancement where the source material of almost all RPGs rarely includes this kind of thing.  Where it is included its almost always just "he started out a farm boy and became a Jedi in order to fight the big enemy" or "she started out a martial artist but had to learn a special technique to beat the big enemy."  Almost never, anywhere is the theme "they start out and continually over time become more and more powerful and learn forever as their enemies keep getting more powerful."  Its just not there.  Its an arc, a specific growth period for specific circumstances or because of maturity.

 

Gaming is just about the only place that's really found but it has become such a locked in constant theme that people just presume it now.  And that doesn't really simulate the genre well at all.

 

I sum this up with "Character advancement is bullshit. What you want is character GROWTH!"  Now, that speaks to my personal play preference, as I could care less about EXP and "buying new stuff" for my character when it comes to RPGs. When it comes to video games, this seems essential to the way the game is built (huge FarCry fan, loved Fallout 4, etc.) but that is because video games are "games first" and I want "Story first" in my RPGs. Most Heroic level games of mine are pretty static in terms of characters, unless their "story arc" actually lends itself to advancement... but only because advancement is a result of GROWTH, not as an end in and of itself.


Now, psychologically, a large section of the human population is mentally rewarded by "numbers getting bigger." There is something satisfying to a large contingent of humans (I have never felt this) about seeing your 'score' go up. It is at the root of runaway capitalism and runaway D&D characters, alike. Players are "rewarded" for doing game stuff (abstract doings) by getting more points (abstract notation) that enables more game stuff, etc. This type of psychological reward is built into D&D and the like without most people examining what is going on. It is called "Overjustification" and it can change an intrinsic enjoyment of an activity ("I like to play D&D") into a difference in motivation ("I like to level up!") and if that new motivation is removed, then motivation to play is removed.  (Let's not even get into variable ratio reward schedules). I remember reflecting on this first back in 1980 when a certain RPG called Champions showed up that got rid of levels and classes and this idea of systematic rewards as the point of the game... and suddenly I was allowed to focus on things that DID matter to me... better simulation of the source material... better stories being told... etc. The quantifiable notation of advancement is a very strong motivator in a large part of the human population... just not everyone.

HERO as it stands can certainly be used to create a game with "Character advancement" as the motivation, but it, more than D&D and the like, is likely going to break. I've always seen the system as something that broke that connection and allowed for very different motivations... but probably because those different motivations are more my style. (i.e. I always wanted an RPG to let me emulate the tension and drama of say, Aragorn and the Hobbits fighting the Nazgul at Weathertop... not an RPG that "Let me take my Ranger up to 20th level!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm toying with concepts like "achievements" which some games have now, they give no actual rewards other than recognition for having done something noteworthy or surprising.  Maybe turn them into Hero Points or something, so the player gets a benefit without it having to be actual power in the character.

 

Personally I prefer to give out things such as contacts, a point in a language the character is exposed to a lot, favors, etc over experience because then its about the character gaining things they would want rather than points to be more powerful so they face more powerful foes.


This is a personal beef with video games but you never really actually get more powerful: the world changes to match you so the fights are just as hard they just have bigger numbers...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Gaming is just about the only place that's really found but it has become such a locked in constant theme that people just presume it now.  And that doesn't really simulate the genre well at all.

 

 

This could be my hostility to Narrative-centric game play, but  Games are games, and books/ movies are books/ movies. They are different media.  Hero has less explosive growth of characters, than D&D 5e,   The increasing challenge level is more of a Pathfinder/ 5e thing.  It was something Gygax  baked into things that reflected their early 70's play style. other games while they do have experience, tend to be a little less aggressive in their improvement. 

I don't think one can fully simulate a Genre from another media, beyond the flavor and the plot motivators,  Anything more, to me, seems to edge into railroading, but not be GM as much as the genre becoming religion.

 

For Hero is was more filling in the cracks.  I was looking over a write up of my second Champions Character last night, where he went for  a 241 point armored suit, to a 513 point armored suit over a few years of weekly play. The Character is generally the same, but he's has  gaps filed in, a d few more skills and his power is no longer a single slot, but a 90 point multi-power with 6 slots. He just got more capable from 1981, to 1984.  So there was definitely some power creep, but it was organic to the character and situations. If the Hero's get EP, the Villains do too, so the Challenge may increase, but you get to see the same faces you want to punch later on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a GM I've got nothing against PCs getting more powerful.

 

(Well, that's not true. I need to come up with effective opposition for them as their power level increases. And that's work. I resent work. In HERO this work load ain't too bad. Champions at least has a good range of high level opposition in the source books. In games like Pathfinder... well see my whinge in my posts above.)

 

But I'd like to see them become more broadly competent too. I wholly encourage papering over cracks in the original concept. And broadening the concept.

 

Not sure how the above intersects with genre, but...

 

I don't think genre should be king (or any other type of monarch really.) But I do think it should be treated as a guideline by the players. I see genre as one of the campaign guidelines and as such it helps set the contract for the game as much as OCV and DC limits. If I'm running a low fantasy game I don't want a player coming to me with their idea for the magical equivalent of a mech-warrior. Likewise if I'm running a whacky mech-warriors in space game I don't want to deal with someone's teen angst therapy vampire. Well, maybe I do, it depends on how whacky I'm feeling and how far into the game we are and what expectations have been created for me and the other players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, drunkonduty said:

I don't think genre should be king (or any other type of monarch really.) But I do think it should be treated as a guideline by the players. I see genre as one of the campaign guidelines and as such it helps set the contract for the game as much as OCV and DC limits. If I'm running a low fantasy game I don't want a player coming to me with their idea for the magical equivalent of a mech-warrior. Likewise if I'm running a whacky mech-warriors in space game I don't want to deal with someone's teen angst therapy vampire. Well, maybe I do, it depends on how whacky I'm feeling and how far into the game we are and what expectations have been created for me and the other players.

 

I agree. Genre should be a broad guideline for the base assumtions of the campaign set up.  The Solar System Game, for instance, will have no warp drive and no aliens. It's just Humans and their machines zipping through the solar system. Other games will have different assumptions to start with. I am just very suspicious of "tight" adherence to plot tropes. and limiting the Options of the characters (already approved and in play), due to "Oh, people would NEVER do that in a so-and-so, story." actions should be constrained by the environment and situation inherent in the campaign. That's all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

 

I agree. Genre should be a broad guideline for the base assumtions of the campaign set up.  The Solar System Game, for instance, will have no warp drive and no aliens. It's just Humans and their machines zipping through the solar system. Other games will have different assumptions to start with. I am just very suspicious of "tight" adherence to plot tropes. and limiting the Options of the characters (already approved and in play), due to "Oh, people would NEVER do that in a so-and-so, story." actions should be constrained by the environment and situation inherent in the campaign. That's all.

 

Ah! I see. Totally with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I'm toying with concepts like "achievements" which some games have now, they give no actual rewards other than recognition for having done something noteworthy or surprising.  Maybe turn them into Hero Points or something, so the player gets a benefit without it having to be actual power in the character.

 

Personally I prefer to give out things such as contacts, a point in a language the character is exposed to a lot, favors, etc over experience because then its about the character gaining things they would want rather than points to be more powerful so they face more powerful foes.


This is a personal beef with video games but you never really actually get more powerful: the world changes to match you so the fights are just as hard they just have bigger numbers...

 

I found, in decades of Supers play with HERO, that EXP worked fine. I had a 3 pts per standard adventure. 5 pts for showdown adventures and 10 points for Double Sized Issues! (Like when we'd game all weekend back when I was young enough to do that.) Supers gaining incremental power growth so that they start out at "New Mutant" or "New Warriors" level and then go up to "Teen Titans" and "X-Men" level... then eventually Avengers level... then Authority levels (we never got to, or wanted to go to absurdist JLA levels) of power worked well for us. It happened over the  years, and characters that started out at 250 were well over 600 plus, even as EXP plateaued in general. As characters became fully fleshed out and broadly powerful, adjustments to the characters became driven by story and plot more than simply power improvements.

 

Now, in Heroic level games, they tend to remain pretty static, as the characters are built as competent level for the campaign, and unless there is significant plot reason for them to become "other" than they were created, unlikely to change drastically. 

In the supers games, the heroes that struggled against a set of armored agents early in their career, might run into the same kind of agents later, and totally trounce them, because I had a certain power level set for the game world, and agents are agents are agents. If they fought some villains on equal footing at 300 points, maybe those villains got more powerful over time... maybe not. Maybe next time they faced them, they wiped the floor with them, because it wasn't with the Story for that particular villain to get more powerful. Sometimes those villains became even MORE powerful. That was plot driven. I loved how players, though, never felt they were powerful enough. I remember at one point, well into the campaign, a long term player saying, "Man, that was tough tonight... I always feel like we are eking things out by the skin of our teeth." And I'm like, "Are you kidding me? I threw two dozen 350 villains at you guys, and you essential brushed them aside and/or ignored them as you cut a swatch through the horde and went after the 1000 point mega-villain. Your characters ended WW3 in six days, over the course of two adventures. What are you talking about tough?" 

The player was like, "Those guys were 350 points... man... they were scary." I'm just shaking my head...

In my heroic games, when characters change, it tends to be based on the player saying, "I feel that x, y, z has happenened, and Agent Sureshot has developed x contact, or y skill because of that..."  I'll probably agree and the player adjusts their character. Growth happens because the story allowed for it.


I hate the "world levels up to match the PCs" concept completely. If you've played a character for 20 years and he has gone from fledgling to demi-god... he better damn well feel like a demi-god. He just now has to deal with OTHER demi-gods at times. But the players always make it harder than it has to be.  sigh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

For Hero is was more filling in the cracks.  I was looking over a write up of my second Champions Character last night, where he went for  a 241 point armored suit, to a 513 point armored suit over a few years of weekly play. The Character is generally the same, but he's has  gaps filed in, a d few more skills and his power is no longer a single slot, but a 90 point multi-power with 6 slots. He just got more capable from 1981, to 1984.  So there was definitely some power creep, but it was organic to the character and situations. If the Hero's get EP, the Villains do too, so the Challenge may increase, but you get to see the same faces you want to punch later on.

 

This is pretty much what I've steered them towards. Especially using active point caps to give them a reason to broaden out the characters rather than become uber-archtypes of specific powers. So the air mage now has more "airy" powers & spells, the bodyguard/fighter has "found" religion and is now on the march towards becoming a paladin (with deity specific powers). Damage and armor caps I have also found useful in taming the arms race 12-15 DC damage, armor set a little below that and additional limits on hardend/penetrating/armor piercing have also worked in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found Combat Effectiveness caps effective in this regard as well.  I have a whole, painful spreadsheet for the characters.  You can't have the highest OCV and highest DCV and highest damage and highest speed and strongest crowd controls and highest movement and highest defenses and then have absolutely zero skills, talents, quirks, etc.

 

On my Wednesday night game the party's Anti-Paladin of Tiamat is maxed out.  He keeps asking to buy more combat upgrades while sitting on zero non-combat skills.  It's like the guy reached 30 years of age and learned nothing but how to smash things with his massive morning star and breathe fire for his goddess.

 

Last night after he claimed a sacred relic of another god (Baphomet) and used it repeatedly he lost his powers and was absolutely flummoxed as to what the problem might be.  I asked him to make a Religion check while praying.  He didn't have it.  He got nowhere.

By the end of the session - concerned he would not get his powers back for the foreseeable future he picks up Religion.  I can't just throw skill check challenges at the party as he'll just impatiently await the next chance to smash something.  I have to throw them at HIM so he feels the direct pain of not being able to do things.

 

Thankfully the rest of the table "gets it".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2019 at 4:43 PM, drunkonduty said:

 

I don't think genre should be king (or any other type of monarch really.) But I do think it should be treated as a guideline by the players. I see genre as one of the campaign guidelines and as such it helps set the contract for the game as much as OCV and DC limits. If I'm running a low fantasy game I don't want a player coming to me with their idea for the magical equivalent of a mech-warrior. Likewise if I'm running a whacky mech-warriors in space game I don't want to deal with someone's teen angst therapy vampire. Well, maybe I do, it depends on how whacky I'm feeling and how far into the game we are and what expectations have been created for me and the other players.

 

On 3/6/2019 at 5:58 PM, Scott Ruggels said:

 

I agree. Genre should be a broad guideline for the base assumtions of the campaign set up.  The Solar System Game, for instance, will have no warp drive and no aliens. It's just Humans and their machines zipping through the solar system. Other games will have different assumptions to start with. I am just very suspicious of "tight" adherence to plot tropes. and limiting the Options of the characters (already approved and in play), due to "Oh, people would NEVER do that in a so-and-so, story." actions should be constrained by the environment and situation inherent in the campaign. That's all.

 

Genre, or as I think of it, setting conventions, on one hand should not be a straight jacket.  But in the other hand if a players agrees to play in a game they should play in the game they agreed to. 

 

Too many players agree to one thing and then try to shoehorn in something completely different.  Of course then the shitbird cry and moan...."I'm being railroaded.....whaaaaaaaa" 😳.

 

These days my reaction to someone claiming they have been railroaded is to immediately lose all respect and makes me check to see if I still have my wallet 😜

Edited by Spence
ack!...setting Conventions, not conversations.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It hit me during work that a good example of experience in Danrasy is Conan the Barbarian. Yes his stories are not chronological but if you look at his stories at different points in time, he was no way a stagnant character. He was a pirate at one point in his career and a Captain to boot! He didn’t pick that up in the hills of Cimmeria. Iirc the Elephant in the Tower story depicts a young and inexperienced Conan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

It hit me during work that a good example of experience in Danrasy is Conan the Barbarian. Yes his stories are not chronological but if you look at his stories at different points in time, he was no way a stagnant character. He was a pirate at one point in his career and a Captain to boot! He didn’t pick that up in the hills of Cimmeria. Iirc the Elephant in the Tower story depicts a young and inexperienced Conan.

Yep, the Conan books jumped around all over the place age wise.  IIRC of Howards Conan only one ( or is it two) of his books were actually full length novels.  Most of them were short stories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He does get better, but its a lot less steady and extreme than games show.  He goes from being pretty good to being really good, and wiser.  Not worthless to godlike.  Fafhrd and Gray Mouser have a similar arc: they get better, but its more a natural progression of "Got older and got some training" rather than a gamer exponential curve.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

He does get better, but its a lot less steady and extreme than games show.  He goes from being pretty good to being really good, and wiser.  Not worthless to godlike.  Fafhrd and Gray Mouser have a similar arc: they get better, but its more a natural progression of "Got older and got some training" rather than a gamer exponential curve.  

Oh I get your point about becoming God-like. It seems that that people on this thread (as with a bunch of other threads) go to extremes. This extreme is either go Godlike with experience or thy character sheet shall not deviate from its inception. Another point someone up stream said it doesn’t make sense to swing your sword then use those XP for Stealth. That’s true to an extent. Depending on guidelines when character was created, it could be “hey I got a few points so let me buy Stealth that I always wanted but couldn’t afford yet.” I believe the reasonable thing (and most would agree) is to see what is spent and why to see if it is a good idea to spend that XP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For my part, I look at Experience Points primarily as a meta-game reward for players using the system well, and/or role-playing well. I don't require those XP to be spent exclusively in a manner consistent with how the PC earned them, as long as there's a reasonable explanation for how that PC could develop in the desired way. For example, swinging a sword won't teach you Stealth; but if you pal around with a thievish type, you could always ask him/her to give you some training.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it is "use the XP in a way that makes sense for your character". 

 

I generally only question it if they are breaking a "setting rule" such as "psionics do not exist" and they want to buy a psi power or if the completely deviate from character concept such as a computer nerd wants to buy brain surgery (unless they have a solid reason to explain it, of course).

 

All in all if they stay in the caps and are building a good concept, I'm good with it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, massey said:

I'm also fine with people buying abilities with the excuse of "he's always been able to do it, it just hasn't come up yet".

 

I agree. Point shaving is a thing, and most characters I design should have a lot of things that can't fit into the point total. That means they need to be bought with experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/5/2019 at 1:12 AM, JohnBear said:

I've been running a fantasy hero game for the past few years (may run a mechwarrior variant next)  and I''ve noticed what I consider to be a serious lack in the hero books. And this applies to every genre.

 

Specifically character advancement.

By pure chance (looking for Growth via a textserach on the PDF) I noticed the books do deal with that actually. 6E2 272 "Controlling Character Power And Growth" I normally do not make such big quotes from the books, but I think in this case it may be the best option:

"It’s difficult to try to make sure that each PC is balanced — powerful enough for the player to have fun and emulate the source material (comics, novels, and movies) which inspires him, yet not so powerful that he makes the game less fun for the other players. This problem starts as soon as players begin designing characters. Providing guidelines for character creation, as discussed above, and making sure the players follow them strictly, is usually a good step toward having a balanced campaign. An experienced GM will have an instinctive “feel” for what is balanced and what is unbalancingly powerful; a novice GM has to develop this capacity through experience.
It’s more difficult to maintain character balance over time, as the characters gain Experience Points and begin to grow in power. If you run your game on any kind of a regular basis, it won’t be long before the players are chafing at the bit to increase their characters’ power (which usually means the number of dice of damage they roll and how much defense they have). They’ll start pestering you to increase the limits you placed on the campaign, to allow them to buy powers you disallowed during the character creation process, and to buy powers and abilities that don’t really fit their character. Resist the temptation to give in to the players’ demands. True, you want them to have fun — but how long will the game remain fun if it turns into an “arms race,” with each PC scrambling to earn the Experience Points to buy +2d6 for his Blast because Captain Courage just did the same thing?
The emphasis of such a game often moves quickly away from roleplaying and storytelling into materialistic attempts to earn copious Experience Points. (Of course, if you like this, let it happen — there’s not a thing in the world wrong with it, and you should do what you want in your own game.)

But sooner or later you’ll have to allow some growth. If you never increase the campaign limits on CVs, DCs, SPD, defenses, and the like, after a year or two of campaigning all the characters will meet the limits in all categories and know every Skill in the book.
The best way to control character growth it to let it proceed slowly while you monitor it carefully. When you feel the time is right, start increasing the campaign limits — but with little nudges, not wholescale raises. Make sure all players get your approval for new abilities or Skills. Think very carefully about the impact the purchase will have on the campaign. An extra point of SPD doesn’t sound like much, for example — but as any experienced HERO System gamer will tell you, one little itty-bitty point of SPD can make all the difference in the world in many games.
You, and your players, need to be ready to make retroactive changes in characters if necessary. Sometimes an ability doesn’t seem unbalancing or overly effective at first blush, but the rigors of play reveal that it’s not something you want in your game. If so, tell the player (in a nonconfrontational way) that the ability simply isn’t working out and that he’ll have to change it. Stress the need to keep the game as a whole fun for everyone — good, mature gamers will accept this explanation (or at least accede to your request gracefully). For the sake of fairness, make sure the players know in advance that you reserve the right to do this."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Quote

I don't require those XP to be spent exclusively in a manner consistent with how the PC earned them, as long as there's a reasonable explanation for how that PC could develop in the desired way. 

 

Well, unlike (say) Skyrim, Hero doesn't give xps based on specific in-game action, but as a sort of after-action report: they were involved, they excelled here, it was this difficult to accomplish, etc.  So there's no direct line between "he hit a lot of goblins" and "he got experience points" in this system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing to keep in mind -- if your game is all about combat, that's what players will spend their points on.  If you include other things in the game, players will feel like they're getting the most bang for their buck by diversifying.

 

 

For instance, let's take Aragorn from LOTR (movies, since I haven't read the books in about 30 years).  He starts off and he's a combat character, and he has a handful of wilderness survival skills as well.  Then when he's off doing some ranger stuff, the hobbits' players all blow their Int rolls.  They start a fire and are cooking food, until Frodo's player comes back from the bathroom.  When he finds out what they're doing, he says that he wouldn't let them do that, but the GM is all "no, you were asleep, you wake up and they're cooking bacon".  Then the Nazgul attack.  Aragorn comes in to save the day, driving off the ring wraiths, but Frodo gets dropped to negative Body in the process.  The GM starts rethinking how many combat levels he let Aragorn buy.  The Nazgul were supposed to be really tough opponents, and he just solo'd them.  Maybe Aragorn needs some other stuff to spend points on.

 

So Aragorn carries Frodo and they try to head for Rivendell, with Frodo's player bitching and moaning the whole time that it's not fair that he got stabbed when it was these other guys' fault.  Aragorn asks if he happens to know any sort of ranger healing techniques, maybe with his wilderness skills he knows of a healing plant or something.  The GM asks if he has either Paramedics or KS: Herbalism.  Aragorn says no.  The GM lets him make a roll anyway, but tells him that his next XP points have to go into that skill.  Aragon is like "I got this", then he rolls a 17 and totally fails to help Frodo.  Frodo's player starts complaining again, the GM sighs, and then he introduces Aragorn's elf girlfriend.  "After you buy Paramedic, you'll need to buy Contact: Elf Girlfriend" the GM says.  She's cool and has neat powers, so Aragon says okay.

 

As the story progresses, the GM drops the hint that maybe he's got some royal lineage or something.  Wouldn't it be cool to be a king?  That's something to spend points on later.  Oh and here's a magic sword that belongs to the king.  It's broken right now, so you will have to have it reforged before you can use it.  Be sure to save your points for that.  Aragorn thinks that sounds cool, and he's on board with it.  The GM decides that to be king of Gondor, Aragorn is going to have to buy a lot of stuff.  He can't just spend 10 points for Perk: Head of State.  He will have to buy that, but he'll need other stuff too.  Along the way, he's going to have to buy Contact: Elrond.  He's also going to have to buy up his Tracking roll when he goes and chases after those orcs who kidnap the hobbits.  He will encounter Eomer and Theoden, and he'll have to buy KS: Rohan (with the excuse "yeah, I've always known this stuff"), as well as Persuasion and High Society.  Of course his Presence will have to go up as well.  Then he'll have to lead an army at Helm's Deep, and so he has to buy Tactics.

 

The whole time, Aragorn keeps talking about how he wants to increase his damage, and get some more combat skill levels.  He didn't like having to run from that Balrog, and when he almost lost to that one badass orc that killed Boromir he got pissed off.  But the GM always puts him in a position where there are new skills and abilities that he needs as the game goes on.  Aragorn complains because the hobbits have started spending points on combat abilities, and he's not super head and shoulders above them anymore.  "Hey, you're working on being a king, remember?" the GM says.  Aragorn reluctantly accepts that he needs to spend points on other things.  But then Legolas will do something awesome and Aragorn gets mad again.  The GM finally says that Aragorn gets to command a ghost army for a while, and then he's happy.

 

Ultimately, he's spending 10 points on Head of State, then he's got to spend 15 on Wealth (all the riches of Gondor), several D6 of Reputation, he's got to buy up his Ego to use the Palantir, he has to pick up a bunch of skills, and then he's got the magic sword (and the GM doesn't really mention that it only has Affects Desolid and a couple D6 of Rep, without doing much more damage than a normal sword).  Being king ends up costing Aragorn at least 70-80 points, once all is said and done, but combat-wise he's not really any more effective than he was when he started.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...