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#1 MILLANDSON

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:22 PM

Given I've been on holiday leave from work for a week, and my non-playtester players have all finished university for the summer, we decided to run several half-day sessions in an Only War campaign, to test out the character advancement system to see if it works well in allowing varied characters.

Sadly, I've found that all my players believed that the current experience costs were too prohibitive for those with 1/0 Aptitudes, which meant that spending XP on them was not cost-effective, and resulted in them lagging behind the others in their squad who didn't do this in terms of skills and general ability.

Therefore, for the last few sessions, we tried out a different cost structure for experience, and found that it had just the right amount of "you are skilled in this area, and so are better placed in getting better in it" and "you are less good in this area, but you can still develop without being overly penalised".

This new structure was simple: we used the Black Crusade experience costs system, with 2 Aptitudes being equal to "True" alignment, 1 Aptitude being equal to "Allied", and 0 Aptitudes being equal to "Opposed". This resulted in the following costs:

Characteristic costs of:

2 Aptitudes 100 xp 250 xp 500 xp 750 xp
1 Aptitudes 250 xp 500 xp 750 xp 1,000 xp
0 Aptitudes 500 xp 750 xp 1,000 xp 2,500 xp

Skill costs of:

2 Aptitudes 100 xp 200 xp 400 xp 600 xp
1 Aptitudes 200 xp 350 xp 500 xp 750 xp
0 Aptitudes 250 xp 500 xp 750 xp 1000 xp

And Talent costs of:

                Tier One Tier Two Tier Three
2 Aptitudes 200 xp 300 xp 400 xp
1 Aptitudes 250 xp 500 xp 750 xp
0 Aptitudes 500 xp 750 xp 1000 xp

We found these costs to be a lot better, overall, and think that the current rules should be changed in order to fit with this.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on the current system, or comments on this change?


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#2 LuciusT

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:55 PM

MILLANDSON said:

Does anyone else have any thoughts on the current system, or comments on this change?

I love the change you suggest. I think the current system makes 1 and 0 aptitude purchases outragously expensive and basically kills the illusion of flexibility in character advancement. I've been shouted down rather loudly in other threads, however.



#3 MILLANDSON

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:06 PM

LuciusT said:

MILLANDSON said:

 

Does anyone else have any thoughts on the current system, or comments on this change?

 

 

I love the change you suggest. I think the current system makes 1 and 0 aptitude purchases outragously expensive and basically kills the illusion of flexibility in character advancement. I've been shouted down rather loudly in other threads, however.

Well, I sent the suggestion in to the devs, so we shall see what they say. If you agree with my suggestion, though, you should e-mail it in as well - the more voices they hear, the greater the chance of them acting on it.

I'm just annoyed that I didn't see a problem with the XP system, as it currently is, in the original playtests.


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#4 Luther Engelsnot

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:34 PM

I wouldn’t call it shouted down rather loudly in other threads. I merely wanted to shed some light on my thoughts why maybe the experience costs are a higher on most things in Only War than in Black Crusade in your thread. I didn’t want to shout anyone down. At least I like the fact that skills with two aptitudes a cheaper than in Black Crusad and I can only say that I have no practical experience with Only War regardings the advancement of the characters. But as it seems even in playtesting somethings can be missed or overlooked as MILLANDSON stated, so maybe it is not totally unbeliveable that I didn’t find the cost to high on the first look.
But I wanted to ask something else MILLANDSON, how do I email the devs directly? Is there something I didn’t see or just like a Rules Question for the Only War Beta? That would maybe be a better way to mention something that the forum were I sometimes thing post can be overlooked.


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#5 LuciusT

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:36 PM

MILLANDSON said:

I'm just annoyed that I didn't see a problem with the XP system, as it currently is, in the original playtests.

Well, I assume that's what this whole Beta thing is for.



#6 LuciusT

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:37 PM

Luther Engelsnot said:

But I wanted to ask something else MILLANDSON, how do I email the devs directly? Is there something I didn’t see or just like a Rules Question for the Only War Beta? That would maybe be a better way to mention something that the forum were I sometimes thing post can be overlooked.

I had the same question… then I found the answer: onlywarbeta@fantasyflightgames.com



#7 Kerrahn

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:44 PM

I like the sounds of that, my group was complaining alot about Aptitudes and the experience costs for a lot of things, which really turns them away from Only War even though most agree combat is better in it.

And rather than start a new thread, my group and I thought as well as your changes the possible ability to change any doubled-up Aptitude into any Aptitude instead of just Characteristics ones might help a lot (my Commissar in one game could have benefitted a lot from taking Offense instead of Fellowship or Ballistics Skill)



#8 MILLANDSON

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:52 PM

Kerrahn said:

And rather than start a new thread, my group and I thought as well as your changes the possible ability to change any doubled-up Aptitude into any Aptitude instead of just Characteristics ones might help a lot (my Commissar in one game could have benefitted a lot from taking Offense instead of Fellowship or Ballistics Skill)

That'd be a pretty cool change - to be honest, I think I've been doing that the entire time, since the "doubled up Aptitude" thing is only mentioned briefly


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#9 Varn

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 03:07 PM

To be honest, the only thing I've heard from everyone I've talked to is that the XP costs/Aptitude system is jacked up all to hell and needs major fixing. No matter what subject I start on somehow it always ends up on the fact that things cost way to much XP and it's so hard for character to be any sort of flexible.



#10 MorioMortis

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 04:05 PM

Did the same thing (replacing the costs with the BC ones and allowing free change to double aptitudes) and also gave the players 2 free "fluff skills" at char gen (mostly stuff like trade, deceive, intimidate, common lore, etc).

It really helped open up the system and allowed a lot more versatility for the players without raising the power level too much.


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#11 HTMC

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 04:43 PM

I'll preface this by saying I haven't messed around with character creation all that much, but to just add in an opinion: I feel like the issue might not be with the system, but with the player's approach. In addition to the 40kRPGs, I play a decent amount of D&D4E, where it's usual that even if you're not "trained" in a skill, you're usually at least reasonably competent at it. 

When I hear the phrase "players trying to be more versatile/flexible," it makes me think of the D&D mentality. However, OW is supposed to be a lot more focused in terms of classes. All of the PCs are "Specialists," not "Generalists" -- it's even in the name. As someone pointed out, advances when you have 2 Aptitudes is ridiculously cheap (1,000 XP for +20 to a characteristic is crazy, compared to even to BC's 1600 even when True aligned). Thus, assuming you pick a Speciality that matches the way you want to play, getting advances that match that Speciality's strengths is very cheap-- especially if you consider how many Specialties there are: a ridiculous 13, compared to BC's 4-and-4, or DW's 6. 

Overall, OW is supposed to be the kind of "Band of Brothers" idea, it's multiple people with specialized skills coming together so that they cover each other's weaknesses, rather than 5 people who are jacks-of-all-trades going on a fun quest. I'm guessing the issues some people having fall into two categories: either they're approaching with the wrong mentality (treating this as a game of Generalists rather than Specialists), or they don't have the Aptitudes they need to progress in the right way.

There may very well be an issue with Aptitudes, and how many and which some classes get (especially in combination with Regiment). However, I don't think the XP costs are the issue: if someone spends all of their military life honing their skill with a Long-las, they're not going to have the time to develop good medical skills, or learn how to drive a Sentinel well, and I think the Aptitude-XP system reflects that well. So I think Aptitudes need to be looked at and reviewed before messing with the XP costs themselves.

If you and your players want to play a game composed of PCs who are more general in their skill set, I think the changes people have proposed make sense, but in terms of the written rules, I like the idea of PCs being encouraged to specialize: there are plenty of other systems out there that let you be good at everything (even DW to an extent). 



#12 Varn

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 05:15 PM

HTMC said:

I'll preface this by saying I haven't messed around with character creation all that much, but to just add in an opinion: I feel like the issue might not be with the system, but with the player's approach. In addition to the 40kRPGs, I play a decent amount of D&D4E, where it's usual that even if you're not "trained" in a skill, you're usually at least reasonably competent at it. 

When I hear the phrase "players trying to be more versatile/flexible," it makes me think of the D&D mentality. However, OW is supposed to be a lot more focused in terms of classes. All of the PCs are "Specialists," not "Generalists" -- it's even in the name. As someone pointed out, advances when you have 2 Aptitudes is ridiculously cheap (1,000 XP for +20 to a characteristic is crazy, compared to even to BC's 1600 even when True aligned). Thus, assuming you pick a Speciality that matches the way you want to play, getting advances that match that Speciality's strengths is very cheap-- especially if you consider how many Specialties there are: a ridiculous 13, compared to BC's 4-and-4, or DW's 6. 

Overall, OW is supposed to be the kind of "Band of Brothers" idea, it's multiple people with specialized skills coming together so that they cover each other's weaknesses, rather than 5 people who are jacks-of-all-trades going on a fun quest. I'm guessing the issues some people having fall into two categories: either they're approaching with the wrong mentality (treating this as a game of Generalists rather than Specialists), or they don't have the Aptitudes they need to progress in the right way.

There may very well be an issue with Aptitudes, and how many and which some classes get (especially in combination with Regiment). However, I don't think the XP costs are the issue: if someone spends all of their military life honing their skill with a Long-las, they're not going to have the time to develop good medical skills, or learn how to drive a Sentinel well, and I think the Aptitude-XP system reflects that well. So I think Aptitudes need to be looked at and reviewed before messing with the XP costs themselves.

If you and your players want to play a game composed of PCs who are more general in their skill set, I think the changes people have proposed make sense, but in terms of the written rules, I like the idea of PCs being encouraged to specialize: there are plenty of other systems out there that let you be good at everything (even DW to an extent). 

If only we lived in a perfect world where each party had one of every class and everyone focused on their jobs and worked together as a perfect team.

The simple fact of the matter is you NEED class overlap in a party with so many specialists becasue more likely than not, your party is only gong to be 3-4 people and gaps will need to be filled. What if no one wants to play as a Medic or a Sergeant? What if all your players just want to be Weapon Specialists and each focus on a different type of weapon? What if everyone wants to play as Ogryns? As is, players can't fool around very much becasue it's hard to fill gaps in the party when trying to pick up non-Aptitude skills.

And honestly, sometimes I like to try and break the mold a little with my characters and have FUN with them. It's very hard to make the character you want when doing so is so costly and can really hurt you in the long run. This is a game, not real life, I'm here to have fun. What if I want to make a Sergeant who likes to use heavy weapons, or a Medic with a chainsword who really likes to get a close look at his enemies anatomy? One thing I hear a lot of people complaining about is making a sniper who isn't a Ratling.

Yes, each class has it's own thing that it's good at, but it shouldn't be so costly to branch out a little.



#13 Eradico Pravus

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 05:27 PM

Varn said:

If only we lived in a perfect world where each party had one of every class and everyone focused on their jobs and worked together as a perfect team.

The simple fact of the matter is you NEED class overlap in a party with so many specialists becasue more likely than not, your party is only gong to be 3-4 people and gaps will need to be filled. What if no one wants to play as a Medic or a Sergeant? What if all your players just want to be Weapon Specialists and each focus on a different type of weapon? What if everyone wants to play as Ogryns? As is, players can't fool around very much becasue it's hard to fill gaps in the party when trying to pick up non-Aptitude skills.

And honestly, sometimes I like to try and break the mold a little with my characters and have FUN with them. It's very hard to make the character you want when doing so is so costly and can really hurt you in the long run. This is a game, not real life, I'm here to have fun. What if I want to make a Sergeant who likes to use heavy weapons, or a Medic with a chainsword who really likes to get a close look at his enemies anatomy? One thing I hear a lot of people complaining about is making a sniper who isn't a Ratling.

Yes, each class has it's own thing that it's good at, but it shouldn't be so costly to branch out a little.

I agree with the general sentiment of this post. I prefer players develop more as generalists anyways instead of min/maxing just a few of their primary skills. Flexibility/player choice improves role-playing, imo.

 



#14 Librarian

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:10 PM

 the high costs also really hurt when your trying to play a regiment where all the PC's are supposed to be competent at some skills. My group is currently playing a tanith 1st game, so we are stealth recon which sorta implies we will all be good at things like stealth and awareness, eventually the GM just gave us all the feildcraft apptitude and that was after useing far more regiment creation points than normal.

 

on a seperate note they hide the fact that all guardsman can speak low gothic and know imperial code in the skills section special use sidebar making no mention of it in character creation we spent the first whole session making fun of the fact that we where all unable to speak and the fact that my character the sergeant lacks common lore imperial guard, and common lore war and at 500 xp each its unlikely I will ever be able to identify a allied officer based on his rank pins. Which is ok its not like commisars randomly kill people for mistakes like that…not that I know what a commisar is. :-)



#15 Alex Cube

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:08 PM

Varn said:

If only we lived in a perfect world where each party had one of every class and everyone focused on their jobs and worked together as a perfect team.

 

 

That is what we have comrades for, I suppose -- for filling the gaps



#16 Morangias

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:16 PM

I'm getting more and more convinced that shortening the gap between two Aptitudes and one Aptitude when it comes to advancement costs is necessary, especially since I've yet to find a set of Aptitudes which perfectly covers all things a given Specialist might need for his job, let alone the ways he might want to expand into a more generalist build.


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#17 DJSunhammer

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:40 PM

Alex Cube said:

 

Varn said:

If only we lived in a perfect world where each party had one of every class and everyone focused on their jobs and worked together as a perfect team.

 

 

That is what we have comrades for, I suppose -- for filling the gaps

 

 

If you mean comrades literally, as in the new rules for them, then no. Comrades exist to make the player better at what the player does. Mostly by making them better at killing stuff. They won't be filling in any gaps. That would be the minion system from BC, and to a lesser extent DW.



#18 Snidesworth

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:49 PM

I've been thinking the same thing. Even taking an initial +5 boost in a characteristic you've not got both aptitudes for is hideously expensive. The only reason I can see for the costs to be the way they are is to advocate hyper specialisation since the double aptitude advances are so cheap in comparison, which will surely make characters from the same speciality quite homogenous.



#19 LuciusT

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:41 AM

HTMC said:

I'll preface this by saying I haven't messed around with character creation all that much, …

Overall, OW is supposed to be the kind of "Band of Brothers" idea, it's multiple people with specialized skills coming together so that they cover each other's weaknesses, rather than 5 people who are jacks-of-all-trades going on a fun quest. I'm guessing the issues some people having fall into two categories: either they're approaching with the wrong mentality (treating this as a game of Generalists rather than Specialists), or they don't have the Aptitudes they need to progress in the right way.

Except that, if you actually mess around with character creation, you will see that it dosen't work like that. Characters don't have the aptitudes to cover what they need for their own specialities, much less cover each other "gaps." The specialities overlap a lot, because they're all combat focused, and that leaves gaps that no one can cover… especially since with an average of 4 players, no group can take all the specialities. Also, there are some "basic" advances that everyone "needs" but can't take because the aptitude system prices them out of reach… Common Lore (Imperial Guard) and Nerves of Steel (which every Guardsman NPC profile has) spring instantly to mind.

Finally, and this is my opinion, I object to my players being forced to play the character the game designers want to play. I want my players to be able to play their own character. If someone wants to play a Weapon Specialist who is an ex-smuggler and black marketeer (based on one of the Gaunt's Ghosts characters… Major Rawne's lackey, I forget his name), I want my player to be able to do that and not be penalized for a creative and interesting character concept. This is a role playing game. Let's encourage a little roleplaying.



#20 Surak

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:19 AM

I've got to say I agree with most of the comments here regarding the cost of upgrades and the allocation of aptitudes.

To try and re-balance the Aptitude system a little (as I quite like the concept) I have made a version of my Aptitude calculator sheet to test the effects of lower experience. We are currently testing it within my gaming group and so far it seems to have the charcters at almost the same level of effectiveness as a DH character of the same experience.

I will post the link here as I would like some feed back, but also I because it is very easy to tweak the numbers on the calculations sheet to test different costs for upgrades.

https://docs.google....VDFrOGljSGhrRU0

Regards

Surak


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My DH beta 2 aptitude calc is here https://drive.google...dit?usp=sharing

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