I was reading this thread, which touched on the limited methods available to increase attributes, this has been on my mind because the inability of characters to purchase attribute improvements with xp after creation was a major source of contention with my players at character creation.
As it stands, attributes may be increased from the species base by:
- Spending 10 x the next rank in XP [Creation only]
- Purchasing a "Dedication" Talent, present in the final tier of every spec tree
My players felt this system "forced them to use their points at creation for attributes". I really don't feel the xp-at-creation-only a is major issue because of how skill training works (Most players are going to have skills > Attribute for any skill that are important to very quickly) and the actual numerical advantages of upgrading ability dice (not very effective, evidence shown in a thread here). I believe it would be broken to allow character to purchase attribute ranks after creation at this cost. I'm quite certain its more cost effective to increase the attribute (add additional green to every skill that uses that attrib) that it is to train out-of-spec/career skills (which provides a proficiency die). Not trying to make an argument for this cost-benefit , that's worth another thread!
But beyond that concern, I also don't like the idea that players in late game will start using their third available spec and saved XP to buy into specs, take the dedication bonus, and then drop it. Wash, rinse repeat. I worry this may become an issue because there are no other methods for attribute improvement and I fear players would feel "forced" into this system to avoid hitting a "glass ceiling" on their attributes. And these concerns may occur to the players earlier in the system than we may think.
Each dedication talent takes a minimum of 75 XP to earn, and usually not more than 100 XP (slicer requires 150, Fringer 115, Trader 125, scholar 135, & marauder 135. Feel free to check my math), after the purchase of the specialization. And of course you're getting all the benefits of the talents along the way. I'm pretty sure I checked, and every spec has dedication, but I won't swear in court. So its going to take around 85-120 xp for character to buy a spec, buy dedication, and drop it.
I got an idea (and some alternatives) of how deal with the issue and keep it somewhat balanced:
What if a second attribute bump could be earned for completing a specialization's talent tree?
Call it a "specialization bonus" (yeah, i did get the idea partially from WFRPG's job system "Dedication bonus", too). Each career would have two related attributes that could be improved, (e.g. Bounty hunters would get cunning and agility), and when a character completed a talent tree, they could choose one of them to improve by one rank. If they completed another tree in that same career, they could increase the other attribute.
Alternative 1: Each spec has one attribute associated with it, instead of 2/career. Example: Assassin -> Agi, Gadgeteer -> Brawn, Survivalist -> Cunning
Alternative 2: Completing the talent tree merely unlocks the ability to purchase further ranks in the relevant attribute at [X] xp per rank or [X*New rank] xp per rank
Alternative 3: Earning the "specialization bonus" also requires X ranks in specializations skills, and/or one spec skill of Rank Y or higher.
Alternative 4: Earning the "specialization bonus" requires X xp to be spent on talents within the specialization's tree, instead of completing the tree.
Alternative 5: Earning the "specialization bonus" requires 3 talents from every tier of the specialization's tree, instead of completing the tree.
Another use for this would be to allow the Force Exile spec to gain an additional force die as their specialization bonus, but this should probably not be applied with alternative 2. We could finally put that f&cking argument to rest.
Under this system, players may still choose to "float" their third tree to get dedication talents from other trees , or finish out the trees that are important to their character and earn the spec bonus. Both ways still have advantages:
- "Float" method: possibly cheaper (depends on career, talents already purchased, alternative 2 cost, etc), allows improvement of any attribute
- "Spec bonus" method: possibly cheaper (see above), easier to understand, fits character concept
By intent, this mechanism shouldn't implicitly or explicity restrict a character's choices; The players shouldn't feel forced to complete trees to get, what the perceive, as required bonuses, nor should the spec bonus be so much worse or better than the "float" system that one or the other becomes useless.
Interested to hear feed back.