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TkNyarlathotep

Houserule question: Too broken/easily abused?

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I had an idea for a house-rule, inspired by certain bennies and benefits in other RPG systems, but I wanted to know if it sounds too unstable, broken, or easy to abuse?

 

Basically: Earn a skill at Rank 1 if gaining a Triumph on a skill check they don't have any ranks in. They'd have to spend a Light Side Token /and/ get a Triumph in order to do so, so they'd be losing a bit in the moment to potentially gain a benefit in the long term.

 

I'm also contemplating ways for the players to gain Talents in a similar way, but that might be a bridge too far.

 

Comments, feedback, etc.?

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I think that is very over powered. Any player would be willing to flip a destiny point to gain a skill rank.not only does that mean they gain a skill rank they can start utilizing right away it means they also bypass having to spend EXP on the skill anyway. While that might only be 5 for career skills that they didn't invest in initially it could be 10 for non career skills. I definitely wouldn't allow talents to be learned like this. Though this is all my preference and how I would play it. If you want your characters to be extremely versitale and fast growing. It's not a wrong way to do things but it is powerful

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Personally, that's too much, but it's your campaign. If you think your players need that to advance the story or to be competitive then do it. I would perhaps give them a couple of XP toward purchase of that skill only. Narratively awarding a level one skill from time to time will make your players think you're tops. As for talents, I just wouldn't. Players will fill their talent trees according to their character concept and the needs of the story and that's proper.  

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Depends on the specifics. Is the Triumph being spent solely on the rank? So for instance, if I'm firing a gun, and get a Triumph, am I passing up using it to trigger a Critical, or am I getting both the rank and the Critical (after another Destiny Point flip)? If the former, then it's slightly more balanced, not much, but still not overly so.

 

And can the player only get this effect when doing the check alone? Because essentially, with no skill ranks, your main chance of getting a Triumph is through upgrading with a Destiny Point to get a single Yellow. But if you're taking stabs at a skill check with the help from a character that actually has skill ranks, then the odds increase much more, and you're going to get a lot more people attempting simpler checks together in an effort to get free skill ranks.

 

In terms of how broken it is, assisted checks and Gambler's Double or Nothing (granted, it is a ton of XP to get the base talent and to Supreme, but the point still stands) pretty much turn it into nothing with free ranks for everyone.

 

I understand you're probably trying to get players/characters out of their comfort zones to try and take stabs at checks they might normally not do and turn them all into more rounded characters, but ultimately it's 5-10xp of free stuff. Players will put the effort in to grab some free ranks in a handful of skills when an easier check comes up, but unless they have no choice, they'll have whoever is best tackle the harder stuff every time. So it really just makes everyone marginally better at other things for those few scenarios when the main person is occupied.

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Instead of making it a roll of the dice, just keep track of how often they use skills they don't have ranks in. Then after say 5-10 times you give them a rank for free. I wouldn't do it with every skill.

 

Making rewards that only benefit individual characters based on random rolls is usually a bad idea. It is easy for bad blood to form, espcially in your scenario where the player gets a good roll, then takes a destiny away from the group to improve their character. You're punishing everyone else right now to benefit one person later.

 

 

Along those same lines, I cannot see awarding a talent like that. Maybe after a major arc or event giving people in the group a a rank in a talent that is fitting with the adventure they just had (like mayeb they did so much wheeling and dealing one earns a rank of no body's fool, and another took so much stain saving the day you give them a rank of grit, etc.)

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Yeah, I'd say that's bordering on being too good.

 

Granted, the PC is having to flip a Destiny Point (or benefit from somebody else's Triumph giving them an upgrade on their check), but it could very easily enable the player to gain a free rank in a non-career skill, saving them 10 XP and effectively allowing them to buy that skill up to 3 ranks at nearly the same XP cost it'd take for someone that had it as a career skill to buy it up from zero ranks.

 

As Lathrop noted, if that free rank is gained as the sole effect of the Triumph, then it's not quite so bad of an idea, since the PC is using a fairly valuable Triumph, but it is still a very useful long-term benefit.

 

Reading the initial post, it does sound like it's restricted to a skill the PC doesn't already have ranks in, which does cut down on the cheese factor a bit.

 

Personally it's not something I'd every consider allowing at my table (especially since I'm usually pretty generous with XP awards already), but if the GM is using low XP awards, the occasional free skill rank might offset that a bit.

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More than being too good (because, if I'm a good GM, I can control the threat level on my campaign so my PCs will never be too good) I think it can be unfair. As told above, it will turn some players into Destiny Point eaters. And, being based on pure luck, there will always be the guy who managed to improve 2 or 3 skills and the guy who never improved anyone. This leads to frustration, frustration leads to anger, and anger... well, you know.

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I think it could work if the skill remains non-career.  Would incentivize the player to invest in a skill they might otherwise ignore.  It might also be good not to inform the players you have this system in place so they don't try and game it.  Just give the rank as an end of the session reward.

 

Or, maybe simpler, offer the player the option to buy the first rank of the skill in question at a reduced cost.  Maybe the first rank counts as career even if it isn't.

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