I would like to discuss our house rules. The first and foremost rule we agreed upon was that there should be no difference between character generation and "leveling up". That means we are allowed to improve our characteristics with XP later on.
These are the reasons why:
- It skewed character generation. There should be no difference between XP spent either during or after character generation. Most of us would have built our characters very differently otherwise. We'd have invested 100+ XP into characteristics, leaving almost nothing for skills, talents and additional specializations. This would have resulted in characters that felt bland and unfinished, but not doing so would have resulted in severely underpowered characters 100 XP down the road. This is a choice between two evils. One of the tenets of game design is that players should not be stimulated to do things they don't like.
- It simply did not feel right. People can train and work out to improve themselves.
- Improving your character is an important part of roleplaying games. Everybody likes to "level up".
- This is the only way to gradually turn the starting character, which is a bit of a loser in terms of characteristics, into something even remotely resembling <insert favorite canon character> over the course of the game. This is especially true now that you can't un-learn specializations any more, which makes climbing up several talent trees to collect the Dedication talents much more difficult because additional specializations costs roughly a million XP now. (I'm still glad that the silly un-learning rule is gone, though.)
There are some side-effects to this rule:
- Increasing skills has become less important. It is more efficient to increase the underlying characteristic.
- The Dedication Talent is no longer the all-important carrot-on-a-stick at the end of a talent tree. It is now simply a good deal, and no longer the primary motivation for climbing up the tree. I personally think this is a good thing, since I feel that talents should be selected on their own merits and not just as a stepping stone towards Dedication.
The inevitable question was raised whether the XP cost for improving characteristics should be increased. We decided to wait and see. I personally think skills are too expensive compared to characteristics, but that remains the case regardless of this house rule.