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Characters' starting XP allocation


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#1 Aazlain

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:41 AM

Hello

After running a few sessions, I've noticed my player's characters were takin a beating in combat situation and had to flee most engagements. They didn't made many bad decisions so I assume they're character are built less for combat than the average that is assumed by game balance.

I've compared their starting XP expenditure to the pre-generated characters from the beginner's box. The difference is quite notable:

PC1 (Human): 30 XP spent on characteristics (27% of starting XP*)
PC2 (Human): 30 XP spent on characteristics (27% of starting XP*)
PC3 (Twi'Lek): 30 XP spent on characteristics (30 % of starting XP*)
PC4 (Human): 30 XP spent on characteristics (27 % of starting XP*)

Lowhhrick (Wookie): 90 XP spent on characteristics (100 % of starting XP*)
Pash (Human): 120 XP spent on characteristics (109 % of starting XP*)
41Vex (Droid): 150 XP spent on characteristics (86 % of starting XP*)
Oskara (Twi'Lek): 90 XP spent on characteristics (90 % of starting XP*)
Sasha (Human): 120 XP spent on characteristics (109 % of starting XP*)
Mathus (Human): 110 XP spent on characteristics (100 % of starting XP*)

* Before obigation bonus

It seems my players have spent on average about 1/4 of their starting XP on characteristics while the Pre-generated characters have on avarage All their starting XP spent on characteristics. Is this the intended expenditure?

There are no guideline in the beta book on how much XP should be spent in each are of the character.

How are your own characters compared to the pre-generated ones?

Note: All my players' characters opted to start with a blaster pistol and no armor. None have purchased a second specialization.

 


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#2 Gryphynx

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

Yeah, similar problems here.  I always allow players to "rebuild" their characters after the 1st game whenever we're trial-testing a game for the first time, and 2nd time they char-gen, they spent almost all their points on Characteristics…  Exception being the guy that wanted to be an Exile with Move Powers from the beginning (spent all his points getting to Force 2 at Char Gen).  

I think that's what we will see as the game progresses, everytime a character dies, the next character is all Characteristics… Considering that the NPCs, in particular the Nemesis' show improving Characteristics as they advance, I think a character advancement system is essential for the game.  I'm thinking +1 Characteristic of Choice every 100XP, in addition to the Dedication.  Alternately, allow Characteristics with XP, but make it exponential in costs instead of incremental…?



#3 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:36 AM

Aazlain said:

Hello

After running a few sessions, I've noticed my player's characters were takin a beating in combat situation and had to flee most engagements. They didn't made many bad decisions so I assume they're character are built less for combat than the average that is assumed by game balance.

I've compared their starting XP expenditure to the pre-generated characters from the beginner's box. The difference is quite notable:

PC1 (Human): 30 XP spent on characteristics (27% of starting XP*)
PC2 (Human): 30 XP spent on characteristics (27% of starting XP*)
PC3 (Twi'Lek): 30 XP spent on characteristics (30 % of starting XP*)
PC4 (Human): 30 XP spent on characteristics (27 % of starting XP*)

Lowhhrick (Wookie): 90 XP spent on characteristics (100 % of starting XP*)
Pash (Human): 120 XP spent on characteristics (109 % of starting XP*)
41Vex (Droid): 150 XP spent on characteristics (86 % of starting XP*)
Oskara (Twi'Lek): 90 XP spent on characteristics (90 % of starting XP*)
Sasha (Human): 120 XP spent on characteristics (109 % of starting XP*)
Mathus (Human): 110 XP spent on characteristics (100 % of starting XP*)

* Before obigation bonus

It seems my players have spent on average about 1/4 of their starting XP on characteristics while the Pre-generated characters have on avarage All their starting XP spent on characteristics. Is this the intended expenditure?

There are no guideline in the beta book on how much XP should be spent in each are of the character.

How are your own characters compared to the pre-generated ones?

I'm thinking that the Beginner Box pre-gens were built with all their points dumped into Characteristics for two reasons.

First, the abbreviated talent trees don't have the Dedication talent, so there's no way to boost a Characteristic.  For a beginner game, probably not a big deal, but anyone coming in with even a small amount of prior RPG experience would probably be wondering why these starter PCs' ability scores were so low if the writer(s) had only spent a quarter to half of the usual starting XP budget on Characteristics and the rest of skills and talents.

The second is probably for ease of introducing the game mechanics to players and GMs alike.  It's a lot easier to teach the core system if you have fewer moving parts (namely talents, many of which add new rules or twist existing ones) to teach them.  With the starting PCs, their dice pools are pretty simple to figure out, and the players just have to worry about learning to recognize what the symbols mean and to determine the final result.  Personally I think a few of those points spent on Characteristics could have gone more towards Skills, but that's my own personal take on it.

As for building PCs, either for games I'm playing in or as part of the Heroes on Demand segment over at the GSA website, I tend to go at least 50% on Characteristics, and the remainder split between Skills and Talents.  Then again, I don't believe in "one-trick pony" characters and prefer my PCs to have at least a couple of options both in and out of combat.  After all, the major characters of the Star Wars movies are shown to be fairly adept in a broad range of fields outside of their "comfort zone."  And I find Talents are great way to really help differentiate characters, even if they have the same Career.


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#4 aramis

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 03:24 PM

Most of my players spent their entire starting XP total on Attributes as well - mostly because the dedication talent is at least 75 XP down the road, and is a one-time good deal; the next is another 90XP away. Barring required side-steps.

In other words, they have no expectation of ever raising the attributes with Dedication, so they picked attributes they could live with, especially since XP spent in play are no more/less effective than those spent in Character Generation.



#5 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:48 PM

I'm glad this subject was brought up, as I intended on beginning my EotE online campaign soon, and this might've caused problems.

Is the general agreement, then, that players should use their base XP to start bumping up characteristics? If this is the case, is it worth letting them do that and then begin the game as normal, or should a few extra XP be provided on top of the base numbers to allow for additional growth (talents, specialisations, etc.)?


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#6 Gryphynx

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:27 AM

The thing is, on the first games, because Skills only improve the dice (they're capped at 2 at Char Gen, and all your attributes will be 2+), players are not rolling more than 2 dice in any situation, if they don't boost Characteristics.

Even putting everything into Characteristics, results in pretty weak characters at Char Gen.  You'll likely be good at something (assuming you took a primary attribute to 4, leaving you enough to take something else to 3), or you're just barely more competent with a set of three 3's.  I find that Career dictates which attribute gets a 4, and Agility tends to be the favorite.

I've been trying out different build House Rules, currently trying the 150 point idea that was posted on the Facebook page, and it seems to be a huge improvement in characters for doing it (not so much in power levels, but in balancing Char Gen).  Even then though, not yet seen a starting character spend much XP on Talents at all (Maybe a couple of level 5's to finish spending their starting XP evenly), getting skills up seems to be the 2nd biggest priority.  Also noticed that some of my players choose Class based on what skills they offer, no interest in the trees.  (Like the Exile Force User that went with Merc Soldier for the 2x Discipline).

 



#7 ShiKage

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:14 AM

I do think this expenditure is by design for the most part. As someone noted, the talent trees lack any method for increasing characteristics. Even in my quick skimming of Character Generation in the Beta rules it has a line to the effect of 'This is the only time your character will get to increase characteristics. ' as part of the information on starting XP investment. So you do kind of want to maximize these at this time because it's nearly the only chance to do so. Then your skills can go up as you play and further improve your dice pools through advancement.

 



#8 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:16 AM

Shakespearian_Soldier said:

I'm glad this subject was brought up, as I intended on beginning my EotE online campaign soon, and this might've caused problems.

Is the general agreement, then, that players should use their base XP to start bumping up characteristics? If this is the case, is it worth letting them do that and then begin the game as normal, or should a few extra XP be provided on top of the base numbers to allow for additional growth (talents, specialisations, etc.)?

It seems the general consensus around here is that at least 75% of a character's starting XP is going to be spent increasing Characteristics, and the rest a couple skill ranks and some basic talents.

Back when the Beta period was open and active, there was some talk in the Character Creation threat about cutting the starting XP allotment in half and then providing players with a small pool (anywhere from 2 to 4 points) with which to bump up Characteristics, so that at least some XP would be spent on Skills and Talents insetad of dumping almost all of it into Characteristics.  Don't think anyone really fleshed that notion out, but it might be worth giving a try.


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#9 Jegergryte

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:54 AM

My players spend no more than 50% on average on characteristics. I guess its a hold over from earlier games where skills mattered "more", but I've had no big bad experiences with this really. I am nervous about throwing big troops and lots of enemies at them though - and they usually try to avoid combat if they can, sometimes its almost irritating. Heh.


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#10 awayputurwpn

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:11 AM

Lol, I know. Sometime's it's like, "Dudes, just stand and fight. It's 2 troopers. If I want you to run away, I'll throw 20 at you."

Of course, then there's the players that think they can—mostly weaponless—take on 12 gundarks all by themselves. Sigh.



#11 Droma

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:14 PM

Aazlain said:

 

Note: All my players' characters opted to start with a blaster pistol and no armor. None have purchased a second specialization.

 



Pretty sure that's why your characters are getting clobbered and doesn't really have as much to do with the way they spent xp.

Compare your pc's to this starting character I built last night.

Human, Bounty Hunter, Gadgeteer, +10 obligation

Brawn 4 Agility 3 Int 2 Cunning 2 Wil 2 Pressence 2
Wounds 16 Strain 12 Defense 1 ranged Soak 6 Encumbrance 10

Skills with ranks:
Pilot (space) 1
Streetwise 1
Brawl 1
Ranged (Heavy) 1
Ranged (light) 1
Mechanics 1
Coerce 1
Astrogation 1
Underworld 1

Talents:
Toughened, Jurry Rigged

Items:
Padded Armor (jurry rigged for ranged defense)
Heavy Blaster Rifle
Blaster Pistol
Utility Belt
10 stim packs
Binders
Comlink
Scanner Goggles
Macrobinoculars
Extra Reloads
Datapad

I soak a ton of damage, force enemies to roll 2 setback dice to hit me from ranged if I get in cover first thing, have a lot of wounds, and with a heavy blaster rifle there isn't a lot I can't kill. If your pc's are getting their buts kicked in combat they aren't built very well.

Hell even a character with Brawn 2 and just some heavy clothing wound take 3+ hits to go down assuming the enemies didn't get an insane amount of extra successes all the time.

 



#12 Aazlain

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

Droma said:

If your pc's are getting their buts kicked in combat they aren't built very well.

Seems you came to the conclusion that a "well built" character must spend 100% of it's XP in the 2 main combat characteristics, buy only combat talents, and max out complications to buy heavy weapons and armor?

I don't really mind, but I would find it odd if the game was balanced to offer an average challenge based on such characters.

 

 


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#13 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

Aazlain said:

I don't really mind, but I would find it odd if the game was balanced to offer an average challenge based on such characters.

Frankly, it's not.

Droma's character is built to utterly dominate combat encounters at the lower-end of the spectrum and not really do much else.

I'm playing in a weekly group, and I'm the only PC that's geared primarily towards combat (Hired Gun/Bodyguard/Merc).  So far, none of the PCs have been "deadweight" simply due to how they were built, as most of them have a Brawn and Agility of 2, and I think only one of them has any ranks in a Ranged combat skill (or even any combat skill at this point in time).  While I was able to pretty much solo an encounter (stopping a bunch of bandits from hijacking a train while the rest of the party was mixing it up with a couple of Sector Rangers), neither were they getting punked in fights either (unless the dice really went against them, as happened to our Twi'lek Doctor a couple sessions ago).  But when it comes to fighting, Auron's been one tough cookiee, and his build is less than "optimum:" since I didn't spend a just under half of his starting XP budget on Characteristics, but rather on the extra Specialization, skill ranks, and talents.

I've run both the Beginner Box adventure and a conversion of the old Rendezvous at Ord Mantell adventure, with the second one being run using less than "optimal" character builds (only the Wookiee Marauder and Human Bounty Hunter were really spec'd for combat, and the former really only for melee).  The only two combat encounters that proved overly troublesome was a Journeyman Hunter that caught them by surprise and had solid cover (he finally got taken down by the party's Bounty Hunter rolling a Triumph and having enough Advantage to trigger a critical hit two additional times thanks to a plethora of boost dice) and the Big Boss fight at the end, which was meant to be a tough fight that could end in one or more PCs getting KO'd.

And not all of the Beginner Box PCs are combat machines, and yet the players werent' getting obliterated in combat.

If the PCs in your game are constantly getting creamed, maybe it's less a problem with how they built their characters and more an issue at what sort of bad guys are you putting them up against.  As barefoottourguide noted in a very old thread, stormtroopers in this game can be a serious threat when working in a group of three or more, quite possibly being capable of taking down or seriously injuring a PC in a single round, as opposed to being the laughable cannon fodder that they've generally been in each prior version of a Star Wars RPG.

Also, are your players fighting smart or are they treating combats like they're playing D&D?  EotE PCs are by default a great deal more fragile than PCs were in the d20 games, so if they're used to that mindset (particularly Saga Edition with 1st level PCs being pretty kick-ass), then combat in EotE is probably proving to be a rude awakening.
 


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#14 Droma

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

I put that character up as an example of what could be built if you were trying to max combat  as a starting character. If combat is really what your pc's are worried about it isn't that hard to make a character that can deal with it.

Like I also pointed out though even a brawn 2 pc with some heavy clothing is going to on average survive 3-4 hits from a blaster pistol, more if they use a stimpack mid fight. Yes the system is potentially very deadly if you completly ignore being good at combat. But if your pc's are doing that then as a GM you need to realize that and provide appropriate challenges for the group.

TLDR if your pc's are dying a lot then either they built very week characters or you're doing something wrong as a GM. The system is fine.

EDIT: For reference the toughest non-nemesis npc's in the book are the stormtrooper sergeant, journeyman hunter, and barabel enforcer. All of which are flat worse than the starting character I posted above.
 






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