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Greymere

Should # of Specializations be capped?

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So thinking about this on the way home just started listening to Order 66 podcast and a thought occurred to me.  So we were talking about multiple Specializations I was wondering if anyone has considered cross core rules?  I mean we going to have 3 core rule books and lots of specializations so I am wondering how can players sample all the goodness of the three core rulebooks?  Or would it be simpler for players to retire an old EotE character to play a new F&D character or not?

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So thinking about this on the way home just started listening to Order 66 podcast and a thought occurred to me.  So we were talking about multiple Specializations I was wondering if anyone has considered cross core rules?  I mean we going to have 3 core rule books and lots of specializations so I am wondering how can players sample all the goodness of the three core rulebooks?  Or would it be simpler for players to retire an old EotE character to play a new F&D character or not?

By purchasing an out of career spec?  It's already allowed in the rules.

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So thinking about this on the way home just started listening to Order 66 podcast and a thought occurred to me.  So we were talking about multiple Specializations I was wondering if anyone has considered cross core rules?  I mean we going to have 3 core rule books and lots of specializations so I am wondering how can players sample all the goodness of the three core rulebooks?  Or would it be simpler for players to retire an old EotE character to play a new F&D character or not?

By purchasing an out of career spec?  It's already allowed in the rules.

 

 

Like 2P51 said, purchasing any spec is an option, even if it's in a different core or a supplement. It's really just individual GMs that put a stop to players buying out of their spec/out of the core they're playing; it's not a hard rule.

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Right but what if you already bought 3 specializations from EotE and maybe 1 from AoR.  That is a lot of experience to have spent and now you have maybe a new specialization book for EotE, AoR and the new F&D rule book is out.  How do you sample all that goodness is my question?  I was just curious if anyone has an idea or thoughts on addressing such a matter?  This is partially because I am GMing at my first con and was thinking about making it to more cons and GMing.  If I have repeat players want to offer them more and gain more knowledge for preparing for it.

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Right but what if you already bought 3 specializations from EotE and maybe 1 from AoR.  That is a lot of experience to have spent and now you have maybe a new specialization book for EotE, AoR and the new F&D rule book is out.  How do you sample all that goodness is my question?

Retire your character and start a new one with a different focus, with the same total XP as the rest of the group. If you've been playing long enough to accumulate 1000 XP or whatever, you should be able to build a new character with 1000 XP in short order.. 

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Thanks Kshatriya.  Seriously I was just looking for some advice on the matter.  As I said it occurred to me that if I started a campaign say today and ran it once a month for the next lets say year with the 10 -20 xp spread my players wouldn't need to worry about it.  However, if I wanted to run a high level game I was just curious is all what the solution was say if I ran it for a few years.  Again thanks for the advice.

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From a power gamer perspective early purchasing of Specializations is bad.

 

Buying a new specialization comes at increasing cost (at least 10xp more than the last one). For your XP expenditure you get... nothing. No skills, no talents, zip, zilch, nada.

 

You may now invest in new talents and skills at a reduced cost, but the purchase of the specialization gets you nothing. That means 20+ xp was just spent with no immediate benefit. You could have spent that XP on a talent you've already unlocked.

 

A smart power gamer is going to buy a specialization and mine it for all the skills and talents he wants and only then move on to the next. Given that this is what most GMs would prefer their players do, I think it's pretty elegant game design.

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Thanks Kshatriya.  Seriously I was just looking for some advice on the matter.  As I said it occurred to me that if I started a campaign say today and ran it once a month for the next lets say year with the 10 -20 xp spread my players wouldn't need to worry about it.  However, if I wanted to run a high level game I was just curious is all what the solution was say if I ran it for a few years.  Again thanks for the advice.

I wasn't trying to be snarky. At a certain point your realistic options are (1) retire the character and start over, at high XP; (2) ask your GM for a big flat chunk of XP all at once to buy in to new specs to play with them. Simply lowering the cost for adding more specs affects game balance.

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Interestingly, force user specializations offer even less.  They have no skills to add; all you get is a force rating (if it's your first such purchase). A force rating by itself is worthless. It only has value when combined with force powers, which you can only purchase after you have that first force point.

 

Force only talents don't appear to be any better than non-force talents. There are some in AoR which are demonstrably worse than the non-force versions. I won't claim that force users are getting the Talent shaft, but they aren't gaining anything either.

 

It something to consider in the calculus of character power. A force user has delayed a lot of gratification. Remember that a single force point is only useful with a handful of powers (Sense being the big one). The force user spends a lot of effort building the framework around which to be a badass.

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Buying a new specialization comes at increasing cost (at least 10xp more than the last one). For your XP expenditure you get... nothing. No skills, no talents, zip, zilch, nada.

 

I wouldn't say that.  I mean, technically it's true, but it seems an arbitrary cutoff point to decide whether it's useful or not.  If you bought a new tree in the same career, and had 30XP to spend, you spend 20 on the tree, and 10 more on the first ranks of new skills...you just saved 10XP.  In short order it will pay for itself.

 

So you see, Luke, whether or not a talent tree is useful to you depends greatly on a certain point of view...  :)

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I wouldn't say that.  I mean, technically it's true, but it seems an arbitrary cutoff point to decide whether it's useful or not.  If you bought a new tree in the same career, and had 30XP to spend, you spend 20 on the tree, and 10 more on the first ranks of new skills...you just saved 10XP.  In short order it will pay for itself.

 

So you see, Luke, whether or not a talent tree is useful to you depends greatly on a certain point of view...   :)

 

But it is true. By itself a new spec is so much wasted XP. It's only utility lies in what it makes possible.

 

I mean we've all met people who buy things and never use them, or never use them up to their potential. Like the dude who buys a sports car and never takes it out of the garage.

 

In a way allowing players to buy all the specs they want is kind of a trap. Cue the Admiral.

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I think the Exile tree has some decent stuff.  Access to Perception and Discipline as career skills.  Boost dice for Perception and Vigilance.  Permanent Defense buffs to Range and Melee, Quickdraw, Strain healing help from your lone FR.  The throwdown universal skill upgrade Intense Focus.  

Edited by 2P51

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Interestingly, force user specializations offer even less.  They have no skills to add; all you get is a force rating (if it's your first such purchase). A force rating by itself is worthless. It only has value when combined with force powers, which you can only purchase after you have that first force point.

 

Force only talents don't appear to be any better than non-force talents.

I don't agree with this, even if I personally feel FSEx is a stronger and more interesting tree than FSEm. Sure FR 1 is pretty much nothing, and it's a long-term investment but it pays off. 

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The investment may very well pay off.  It may very well not. It's an investment.

 

Ever play a game where you finally get all your character's ducks in a row and then the game ends? Or you've built a character to be the mega awesome and then some supplement comes out that totally overshadows all you've been doing? Or a new game arrives and all your pals are so done with Star Wars because SteamSmurfs™ are where it's at?

 

The investment in a force spec definitely has the potential to pay off. If it didn't no rational player would want to play one. The distinction I am trying to get folks to perceive is that potential is not fact. Look at sports drafts. Ever heard of a draft bust? Just because a character has potential doesn't mean he will realize that potential.

 

If you can't challenge your players anymore as a GM, the cause isn't how many specializations they have. The number of specializations is a symptom not a cause.

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The first out of career specialization typically pays for itself in savings for skills, the second less so but so long as the talents are desirable its a good investment of experience, after this you typically aren't taking specializations for skills, but for talents and ranked talents, dedication is nice at 4+ specializations but its the 2-3 additional ranks of durable, enduring or lethal blows per specialization you are choosing that make stacking specs so nasty on scaling encounters.

 

The Force Rating Specializations are pretty underpowered in comparison to these especially since you typically have to spend enough exp to  Dedication levels to capitalize on the specilaization and buy into the powers.

Edited by Greymere

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Aservan,

 

Another minor point you may be neglecting to factor in, is the opportunity cost value of opening up access to another Dedication talent. With them being the only way to raise Ability Scores, and there being only 1 available per spec, if you do not purchase additional specs you can never raise your stats beyond the first bump. You must take additional specs to raise your scores. There is no other method.

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Dedication is irrelevant to the argument that a spec is an investment.

 

Obviously, more powerful characters have more specializations. While it is true that the most powerful characters have many specializations, it is not conversely true that more specializations makes you more powerful. A player can build a character that has four specializations while the other players only have two. It is not a given that the guy with four is the most powerful.

 

In our party one of the most powerful characters just purchased his third spec. Another player has been on four for several weeks. The guy with four is only coming into his own as the player had to delay the purchase of skills and talents in order to buy his other specializations.

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Dedication is irrelevant to the argument that a spec is an investment.

 

Er...you can't get Dedication without the spec.  You seem to be arguing in a vacuum:  nothing you say is untrue, but it's complete devoid of the context of what a player wants to do with a character.

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IMNSHO, you are vastly over-analyzing things, and trying entirely too hard to sound "intellectual", about a game where there are innumerable viable paths to take. That you are trying at all to quantify "power" in any empirical sense is almost laughable in and of itself. Then there's the fact that you believe you can weigh some paths as more valuable than others which is haughty.

 

Mathematically, the player who takes a second in-class spec is only 20 XP behind another who doesn't. That is equivalent to only a single 4th-rank talent behind. One talent. Yet it provides access to a second stat bump which can provide additional ability dice to lots of checks (let alone adding other things certain stats provide when raised). You can dismiss that all you want trying to wrangle a defensible position out of your opinion, but it doesn't invalidate anything. Not just because you say so.

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Not having been part of the original Beta, I might be late to the party with this idea - but something occures to me, capping the number of specializations: you cant do a full Jedi. So, you have your initial specialization (that's #1), the edge force user (that's #2) and the user from AoR (that's #3). When Force and Destiny comes out, where we get the really juicy Jedi abilities, if you're capped out at 3 specializations, you cant get the really good stuff!

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Aservan, I'm trying to follow your argument, but your posts are not particularly cohessive.

Are you making the claim that buying into a second (or more) specialization doesn't make sense mathematically because you don't get anything for the 20XP to buy into it?

That doesn't make sense because you have to then quantify the value of being able to get cheaper skills, more talents, and another rank of Dedication. There is not an objective value on all of that. Yeah, you can hit a min/max point on buying in-spec skills vs. paying the tax for out of spec skills, but it depends on how many new skills you are getting, how many ranks you've already got, how many you may eventually want to buy, and what the value of the skill is relative to the party.

Same goes for buying new talents

And then what's Dedication worth? Depends on how many rolls you make with the characteristic...

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I'm trying to point out (apparently poorly) why one should not even consider capping the number of specializations.

 

My point is that specs are not the enemy. A GM who caps the number of specializations almost certainly won't accomplish what he wants. A player who buys a bunch of specializations early isn't making his character more powerful; he's making it less powerful. At least in the near term.

 

The reason is that specializations alone do nothing for a character. Specializations are only worth something because they unlock things. Yes, some of those things are more chances to take Dedication, Force Points, etc. All of that is the potential for power, not actual power.

 

I come at things from a tactical or business direction. Investing money in your factory is only worth it if you can sell the increased output of your upgraded system. Simply having your factory make more isn't enough to make more money.

 

If you're familiar with investing the opportunity cost of the XP is pretty large especially when you are talking about a fourth (40-50 XP) or fifth specialization (50-60 XP). For 50 XP you could have two top level Talents.

 

Caping the number of specs will make Force users more powerful because they have extra stuff on which to spend XP. Something most of those considering caps seem to hate.

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It really depends on what you are looking to accomplish as far as specs go and the idea of most effective points invested.  For instance if someone were interested in creating a character focused on Brawling, taking BH Gadgeteer and then grabbing Marauder opens up a great deal more options that just sticking with BH.  Some trees have some fairly useful talents right in the top row, like Marauder.  Take tech, slicer has Codebreaker in the top row, a real handy talent.  If you look at a lot of the trees, and particularly how convoluted some of them are laid out, there is a certain logic to hopping specs to build certain characters more quickly and efficiently. Also if it is done with a theme in mind and not just a mechanic maxing exercise nothing wrong with that.

Edited by 2P51

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I'm trying to point out (apparently poorly) why one should not even consider capping the number of specializations.

 

Well, on that we agree.

 

The reason is that specializations alone do nothing for a character. Specializations are only worth something because they unlock things.

 

This is both contradictory and arbitrary.  My son made an Explorer/Scout.  Part of the character development was he had to leave part of his former life behind and become more edgy.  So with his first XP he bought the BH/Assassin spec.  This unlocked four new career skills he did not otherwise have, and he proceeded purchase 1 or 2 in each.  The spec paid for itself in the first 6 skill ranks.  So it certainly "did something" for his character.  Never mind he then had quick access to double ranks of Stalker and Quick Strike, something he managed to get great mileage out of in the game sessions.

 

Caping the number of specs will make Force users more powerful because they have extra stuff on which to spend XP. Something most of those considering caps seem to hate.

 

Again, arbitrary.  You're picking a random point in time and saying "here's where the cost/benefit analysis breaks down".  But you can't even quantify the key facet of your assertion:  Power.  What is it?  How do you measure it?  Does character development satisfaction by the player account for anything?

 

By your logic, nobody should ever purchase another spec until they've completely filled out the first one, and purchased all the career skill ranks they can.  But this has nothing to do with character flavour, or game session pleasure, nor is it even a valid cost benefit analysis (see Explorer example above).  And...if a Force user maxes out all their specs and powers before purchasing new specs, doesn't the minute they cross the fictional capping point invalidate your point?

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