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Greymere

Should # of Specializations be capped?

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I understand that you are paying an ever increasing amount of experience to unlock additional Specializations but for balance purposes should a cap be used.

 

At 3 you already seem at the high end of the power scale with things you can do, get that up to 5-6 and you start seeing multiple 5's and 6's for characteristics and Soak and Strain levels doubling

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Nope.  It gets way expensive to take additional specs, particularly outside career.  That's more than effective control imo. The splatbooks take a career to six specs, if someone just got those it would be 200 xp to just purchase the remaining 5 specs in career.  That's plenty of control and I agree you limit the lifespan of the game.

Edited by 2P51

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I understand that you are paying an ever increasing amount of experience to unlock additional Specializations but for balance purposes should a cap be used.

 

At 3 you already seem at the high end of the power scale with things you can do, get that up to 5-6 and you start seeing multiple 5's and 6's for characteristics and Soak and Strain levels doubling

They tried the "maximum of 3 specs per character" during the Beta, and it didn't really work out too well, since it did effectively put a hard cap on character advancement.  After all, there comes a point when it doesn't make sense to keep dumping XP into skills that aren't relevant to your character's primary concept.

 

As others have noted, the escalating cost will generally keep most PCs from buying up too many specializations and simply trying to beeline to each spec's Dedication talent.

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If a GM is concerned about the rate of advancement for his players, perhaps the solution is to scale back the amount of experience points characters are receiving at the end of each session, rather than placing a hard cap on how far a character can advance.

 

It is increasingly expensive to purchase additional specializations. The amount of time it would take to unlock more than three specializations (assuming the player is actually purchasing talents from the specializations) can easily be controlled by how liberally the GM hands out experience points.

 

I'm not suggesting that you starve the players and make it impossible for them to advance their characters, but if I were concerned about the number of specializations unlocked during the course of a campaign, I'd go after the rate of growth via XP (something well within the GM's control, according to RAW) before I started limiting the amount of possible growth.

 

Edit: Typos.

Edited by Yoshiyahu

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Also, limiting Specializations only puts a damper on certain character concepts--one character may run out of things they really want to spend XP on, since pouring ranks into skills they don't care for won't be something they look forward to, while another character who is very dedicated to a wide range of skills won't notice the Spec cap so much, and a character who has focused on using the Force will notice it even less, thanks to how much XP they can pour into Force powers. You'd have some characters capping out much earlier than others.

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At 3 as they used in the original Beta it was too restrictive.

 

The issue is adversaries do not scale well at 7+ specializations, especially when certain careers may be nigh unkillable monsters thru use of multiple applications of Durable and Enduring, while other party members laugh off even the most complex of Piloting/Technical or Social related rolls.

 

If you introduce adversaries capable of challenging your unkillable Hired Guns, they absolutely thrash the remainder of the party at those power scales, unless all of them invested in the same specialization paths.  The same for social or other skill based encounters, you become increasingly forced to tailor encounters to individual party members instead of a party.

 

As additional careers books continue to offer 3 specializations and we start seeing specializations from the other two game lines you will see increased ability to diverge in ranked talents

Edited by Greymere

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7+ specialisations?  How long has your game been running?

 

Even assuming that you meant the cheapest option of picking up all 6 of a specs for a career and a universal spec on top, that would be 270 xp alone!  Let alone the costs of getting decent skills and picking up all the talents to have that uber 7 spec character.

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At 3 as they used in the original Beta it was too restrictive.

 

The issue is adversaries do not scale well at 7+ specializations, especially when certain careers may be nigh unkillable monsters thru use of multiple applications of Durable and Enduring, while other party members laugh off even the most complex of Piloting/Technical or Social related rolls.

 

If you introduce adversaries capable of challenging your unkillable Hired Guns, they absolutely thrash the remainder of the party at those power scales, unless all of them invested in the same specialization paths.  The same for social or other skill based encounters, you become increasingly forced to tailor encounters to individual party members instead of a party.

 

As additional careers books continue to offer 3 specializations and we start seeing specializations from the other two game lines you will see increased ability to diverge in ranked talents

You aren't pointing out anything that hasn't been an issue for RPGs all along.  There comes a point where a group is simply going to outpace the scale of what a GM could throw at them.  We used to just retire a set of characters and pick up with new ones.  My old DM was a big Tolkien fan and loved the genealogy stuff so we had multiple generations in a family line as characters.

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Another no. Capping the number of specializations immediately puts the game into ticking clock mode, where players start oppressing over every single advancement in order to produce to most efficient min maxed build so that they aren't wasting what advancements they do have. For example, if the cap was 3, a single misstep in order to get a talent or skill could completely destroy the character, so players are going to min max their specialization choices along with how and when they pick up talents because you have effectively capped how many advancements as a whole a player is allowed. As Yoshiyahu alluded to, the butterfly effect caused by changing one rule has sudden and escalating effects elsewhere that you don't anticipate, while you are far better off dealing with the problem as a progression matter than as a "level cap."

The other thought is that this question sounds like fear response. This game seems to generate many of them. I simply would not worry about how powerful a character with 12 specializations is until you have a character with 10 and it becomes evident that you need to cross that road. Like all of the fear responses regarding how powerful Force users might be if held up to the right light and built just the right way with the right powers and a high enough Force rating, the reality is that most games aren't going to last long enough for such a perfect storm to even be present, let alone likely (in this case, few games are going to last long enough for a character to pick up more than a few specializations). Instead of worrying about how powerful something could be and jumping to correct it, I would always advocate working within the rules first to address the problem directly (again, Yoshiyahu's suggestion of solving this instead by reducing rewards instead of punishing the players).

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I've run 28 (weekly) sessions, and I hand out 20 - 25 XP per session. One player has three specs, the next has two, and the last has only one (but he missed about 10 sessions). They're capable characters, but don't really feel powerful.

 

I wouldn't cap specs. It takes a long while for characters to become powerful (barring min/maxers). By the time they become unmanageable due to power, I bet you'll have played long enough that retiring them feels appropriate because they'll really be renown figures in the galaxy. Everyone wins.

 

I came up with a trick a while back that helps discourage min/maxing. I let my players carry XP and spend it to advance in the middle of scenes. If they're stressed out because they have a low skill and don't want to fail a roll, they just say they're making a great effort and presto, they get the talent or skill rank or whatever. It not only adds a fun mechanic for the players and saves scenes, but because it's usually used in times of doubt or great need, it sneakily gets them to spread their XP into weaker areas, making the character a little more well-rounded and less extreme. It's not something I'd do for a different, sim type of game. But Star Wars is space opera, so whatever!

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I've run 28 (weekly) sessions, and I hand out 20 - 25 XP per session. One player has three specs, the next has two, and the last has only one (but he missed about 10 sessions). They're capable characters, but don't really feel powerful.

 

I wouldn't cap specs. It takes a long while for characters to become powerful (barring min/maxers). By the time they become unmanageable due to power, I bet you'll have played long enough that retiring them feels appropriate because they'll really be renown figures in the galaxy. Everyone wins.

 

I came up with a trick a while back that helps discourage min/maxing. I let my players carry XP and spend it to advance in the middle of scenes. If they're stressed out because they have a low skill and don't want to fail a roll, they just say they're making a great effort and presto, they get the talent or skill rank or whatever. It not only adds a fun mechanic for the players and saves scenes, but because it's usually used in times of doubt or great need, it sneakily gets them to spread their XP into weaker areas, making the character a little more well-rounded and less extreme. It's not something I'd do for a different, sim type of game. But Star Wars is space opera, so whatever!

 

This... isn't a bad idea. I will meditate on what you have told me.

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I came up with a trick a while back that helps discourage min/maxing. I let my players carry XP and spend it to advance in the middle of scenes. If they're stressed out because they have a low skill and don't want to fail a roll, they just say they're making a great effort and presto, they get the talent or skill rank or whatever. It not only adds a fun mechanic for the players and saves scenes, but because it's usually used in times of doubt or great need, it sneakily gets them to spread their XP into weaker areas, making the character a little more well-rounded and less extreme. It's not something I'd do for a different, sim type of game. But Star Wars is space opera, so whatever!

 

I'm just going to jot that down in my little black book of house rules.

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Should there be a cap on the number of specializations?

 

Yeah. 19. On the 20th spec, your character explodes, because he transcends specialization.

Your character is now Neo from the Matrix. He gains another specialization and he's like ''I know Jiu Jitsu''. Yup, time to stop it there. Just saying, for anyone who hasn't stopped well before 20 specializations, that you've reached the Neo Limit.

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I think this regulates itself. I once calculated what it would cost to just learn all the 19 specializations in the core rule, and I think I landed on 2,040 XP. That's enough of a cap in itself.

 

Oh, and that rule about letting players increase skills on the spot? Not a bad idea at all. I'll have to meditate on that myself.

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I am not convinced a PC with 7+ specializations will be a problem many groups encounter. That seems to be very much an outlier issue.

 

As has been said, if it happens, start a new campaign.

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With this, you'll also run into the issue of your characters inevitably becoming way more powerful than the ones from the films, because if an official stat block ever comes out for Luke or Vader, I can guarantee it won't have seven specializations worth of talents. If your game is going to head into those kind of xp numbers.

I think a decent solution would be to have a "Legend" specialization that pcs automatically enter when they hit a certain amount of xp (500? 1000?). That locks them from taking any other specialties and it has a bunch of cool but very expensive talents costing like 50-100 xp. The player can develop up his existing specializations or the legend one, but that would be it.

Another option would be that after you get more than X Number of specializations, XP costs for the new ones' skills and talents. This would also serve to slow down player progression.

Honestly, though, this seems like a pretty fringe case. Are you starting a game where you're giving players massive amounts of XP? If that's the case, then maybe tone down those numbers or look into house ruling restrictions. If you have a game that has lasted a long time or are giving players 50xp per session for some reason, you're looking at a need to make things get epic quickly, and also pull no punches on character death.

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While only in Edge my vote is no there shouldn't be a limit but one must think about the fact that soon we will be at 38 specializations when they add in AoR.  And we have wonderful speculation going on for FaD that probably be in beta by Gencon I would think.  However, I think the additional specializations will just add more flavor and provide an evolution of the campaign itself.  Who is to say that gang of 6 stormtroopers are just that anymore.  What if they are 6 scout/sharpshooters in stormtrooper armor?  Just cause it look like a stormtrooper and marches like a stormtrooper doesn't necessarily mean they shoot like stormtroopers.  

 

I am a nigh unkillable hired gun?  Have you met mister flamethrower attached to that assassin specialized droid over there.  Flame on buddy flame on....   Or you could just have one tricked out disruptor pistol just really ruin his day.  Okay so you take this much damage and a crit.  Well I have armor don't I?  Oh true true but we are now using the wrong tense.  You had armor.....

 

Btw that is not conversations that have occurred in a EotE game but a Saga one.  Though I have a feeling it could translate either way.  

 

Also if you run into that problem really you can always introduce races such as Zeltron, Falleen, or just a force user to manipulate your nigh unkillables and even your savvy socialites would probably have issues with them as well.  Just because a race is not available to players does not mean you can't introduce it on your own and just make their race traits scary as all get out.  

 

Ooo thanks for an idea btw a Hutt in battle armor from suns of fortune book.  Yeesh he probably would be night unkillable even at rival level.

Edited by bull30548

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The issue is adversaries do not scale well at 7+ specializations, especially when certain careers may be nigh unkillable monsters thru use of multiple applications of Durable and Enduring, while other party members laugh off even the most complex of Piloting/Technical or Social related rolls.

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of Role Playing. I've yet to see a game that didn't eventually become unbalanced as the players got crazy skill levels. Face it - every game out there has some kind of range where it becomes clear you should just retire the characters.

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I think a decent solution would be to have a "Legend" specialization that pcs automatically enter when they hit a certain amount of xp (500? 1000?). That locks them from taking any other specialties and it has a bunch of cool but very expensive talents costing like 50-100 xp. The player can develop up his existing specializations or the legend one, but that would be it.

Another option would be that after you get more than X Number of specializations, XP costs for the new ones' skills and talents. This would also serve to slow down player progression.

 

The problem with the first solution is that at the ultimate min-max level, all you're doing is encouraging players to sink all their XP into other specialization trees until they invoke the lockout, and then focus on actually buying skills and talents.

 

The second solution you have is already what's in the game.  Buying more specializations is progressively more expensive, and generally by the time people get them, the XP costs on their skills is going to have increased naturally due to either higher skill levels or having to pay the out-of-specialization penalty.  Talents early in a tree are still fairly cheap, but none are gamebreaking.

 

Personally from what I've seen, FFG has done an amazing job balancing the progression of the game already.  Most of the "problems" I see people asking for advice on have to do with XP, credit, and equipment availability at the individual gaming table, with the implication that there's perhaps a lack of meta discussion and planning on the gaming group's part for what sort of game/power levels they want.

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