Either you want a PCs background story to matter or you don't. If one doesn't want a PCs story to matter that's fine - to each his own...differences are something that makes the RPG world interesting. But to say that a PCs background story MUST be irrelevant to that PCs advancement or else that system is "horrible" is crazy.
I just don't see how anyone could find the idea of bad advances to be palatable in the slightest. Options presented to a player should all be worthwhile, there shouldn't be any 'traps' to fall into when creating or advancing a character, that's not fun, especially considering the choices you make are generally permanent.
I want a PCs background, that is to say, his/her story, to matter. A player that chooses a Guardsman has chosen a very particular beginning to his PC's story. That's going to shape that PC going forward & is a big part of telling that PCs story. "Limitations" are not universally "bad" and neither are PC flaws. Flaws are one of the biggest factors that makes a PC interesting. A Guardsman tends to be good at some things and not so good at others - that's fun. Watching a Guardsman awkwardly try to research something on a dataslate in a critical situation is fun. The group enjoys watching a loner Assassin awkwardly try to rally NPCs - because that's fun. Many of those flaws come from the restraints that a system puts on a PCs advancement because of the background story that the player himself chose.
The reason that characteristics, skills & talents not central to a PC's background story are more expensive is because that player is trying to (legally) circumvent his PC's background story's typical flaws. When the party finds itself depending on an Adept to hold off the hordes their reaction is likely to be, "Oh great" and that's fun. That's because an Adept's typical "flaw" is their central focus isn't combat. If that player wants to circumvent his Adept's "flaw" & make him a bit tankish...it's going to be expensive. If a Guardsman wants to circumvent his background story's "flaw" and be an expert with dataslates it's going to expensive.
These aren't the result of a horrible system, these are the result of a system that makes PC's background stories matter.
I agree with the premise - that backgrounds should matter - but not the conclusion. The problem with the way it works in DH2 is that it makes it very hard to be a very wide range of very plausible characters. Like Tom Cruise says here above, Backgrounds should reflect where you've been, not where you're going.
Essentially, the way Aptitudes are doled out in DH2 - not an inherent problem with Aptitudes themselves - means that to be an effective character, you have
to be one combination of a very limited set of backgrounds or roles and so on, no matter what actual role you want to fill or what kind of character you portray.
This is why I prefer Archetypes (no matter what we choose to call them; I prefer Archetype since it's more open than a definite role/in-world position) as in Black Crusade or Only War; it makes it easier to be a scoundrel from a Forge World, or from a Fortress World without being pigeon-holed into being a knuckledragger.
I am always of the opinion that rules should be moulded to be representative of the fluff, in a manner that is internally consistent with the universe portrayed. With this basic assumption in the back of my head, which may be debatable to many of you, I cannot defend a system that effectively punishes very reasonable fluff-consistent characters.
Take the Highborn Homeworld, for example. It gives you the Fellowship Aptitude. Why on Earth would every single Highborn have an Aptitude for Fellowship? What if you want to play a Malfian Noble? What if I want to depict a sleezebag seneschal? Or the Voidborn Homeworld. Are Voidborn all intellectually gifted?
And for Backgrounds, everyone from the Imperial Guard gets Fieldcraft. That's a big one. And it makes little sense. For all we know, the guardsman I want to make had exactly zero fieldtime. If I'm Highborn Homeworld and Imperial Guard Background, I would even have difficulty explaining how the hell I ended up with the necessary fieldtime to display an aptitude for Fieldcraft.
Aptitudes are not things you pick up or things you train. They are the things you are Apt at, that you do well, and they should determine - just like in real life - where you end up, and how your lot in life is ultimately interpreted. With that, I am saying that it's much more reasonable to have Aptitudes doled out more or less only as a part of your Career/Archetype/Specialization/Whatever, and not be overly confused with the backgrounds of the character as much as it is an intrinsic part of who you are; your aptitudes are why you ended up in the role you are now, either because you capitalized on your skills or because someone else noticed that you were good at it.
There are not many Aptitudes in the game, and while I'm not inherently opposed to giving out extra Aptitudes during creation, they should not be so closely tied to your actual backgrounds or origin as they are.
I say what I have always said. Basic rule for Aptitudes: You get a number of Aptitudes as part of your Archetype and then you get to pick one Characteristics Aptitude and one Professional Aptitude and you are allowed to switch each out for any other Aptitude of the same kind if you so desire.
This allows you to make atypical characters fulfilling specific archetypes or roles, while also maintaining limitations to any single character and prevent complete specialization and/or min/maxing.
Yeah, I much prefer the idea of backgrounds giving you your starting skills, talents and etc along with some flavourful, exclusive benefits. But that's where they should end. Backgrounds should represent where you've been, not where you're going.
And I feel like a broken record for constantly restating this, but I can't get behind any system that represents a significant possibility for the effectiveness of characters to be massively different at the same XP level. That's not fun. I like my games to be fun. You can go on about how much it makes sense or is realistic forever, but ultimately I want fun systems in my role playing games.
The first part I complete agree with - but the second part, I just don't see the issue. The chance of that happening is very small, and is only an issue if a character chooses to consistently and constantly take Skills and Talents outside of their Aptitude range.
At that point, one has to ask themselves why they chose that kind of character to begin with.
And I might sound just as broken of a record as you, but; this is an issue with DH2 - not with the Aptitude system itself. DH2 has a quite small range of "Roles", where to make the most of the Aptitude system you also have to take the "correct" Homeworld and Background choice. This is terrible design on the character creation side of things - especially when they then throw even more Aptitudes at you as part of in-book suggested Elite Advancements (terrible, terrible, terrible idea).
But it's not the Aptitudes that cause that, but simply character creation seemingly not taking into account just how much of a deciding factor what Aptitudes you get actually are as to what character you can depict without being taxed into submission.
Edited by Fgdsfg, 05 January 2014 - 05:50 AM.