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finarvyn

Attributes and skills and knacks (oh, my!)

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I know that there isn't a single answer to this kind of question, but I'm trying to build my first character and I'm getting a little overwhelmed by the choices for attributes and skills and knacks. Attributes seem critical, since all dice pools appear to be built off of those. However, having great stats without any skill ability seems to be a problem, so you need to put points into skills. Also, there are some neat knacks which seem to be very valuable as well. Everything seems important and I don't know what to do.

I'd like to create a Harry Dresden type wizard in a modern-day world.

* I started with the INT-based template, and the Wizard career path.

* Seems like I need to boost my INT for spellcasting, but adjusting from a 3 to a 4 costs me 40 of my 100 build points. Boosting further to a 5 costs a total of 90. Very expensive.

* I think that spellcasting will eat up my stress points, so I was thinking about a knack to bring those back. (I forget the name at the moment, book not here by my computer.) Or I could try to boost my WILL from 2 to 3 for 30 build points, which is expensive but would help in all WILL skills.

* I'll need to put some ranks into Arcana. Or do I need knowledge? Or both?

Can anyone put this stuff into perspective? Is it more important to be well-rounded? To focus on one thing and make it really solid?

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Raising your characteristics with raw XP is only doable at character creation, so don't pass on the opportunity. Raising your characteristics means you will at least be functional in all skills under it, while skills are capped at 2 at chargen.

I personally find that a 4 in my primary characteristic and 3s in another two characteristics that pertain to my concept is a pretty good build, but that does mean accepting a 1 somewhere. As is, Genesys supports this kind of progression more; if you are able to buy 6 ranks of Dedication, you'll have 5/4/4/3/3/2. You may have a handful of XP left over at the start, enough to grab a few extra skill ranks or a talent or two.

Being specialized vs being rounded generally boils down to how many players are in the group: the more players there are, the more you can specialize in your chosen field, while the fewer there are means each player has to cover two or three areas of expertise.

I don't know if I should be impressed or irritated that you somehow used so much terminology that the book never uses anywhere.

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Which archetype are you starting with? I’d recommend the Intellectual as your starting point so you start with a 3 in your prime requisite of Intellect.  Upgrade that to 4 for 40 XP, then add a point of Willpower for 30.  You’ll have 30 XP left over, which should be enough for to get Arcana and Knowledge to 2 each.  

I reckon that might be good for a start.  Or just leave your Intellect at 3 and train up Arcana and Knowledge every chance you get.  That way you’ll have 40 extra XP to play with to increase other skills and nab a talent or two.

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41 minutes ago, Swordbreaker said:

I don't know if I should be impressed or irritated that you somehow used so much terminology that the book never uses anywhere.

Irritated, probably.  I've been playing RPGs since the 1970's and they all use different terminology. I should have written my post with the book handy so that I could get the vocab correct.  :-(

In my defense, I've only had the rulebook for a couple of days....

Edited by finarvyn

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Definitely dump the majority of your XP into characteristics (not skills or talents). They are much more difficult to raise once play starts. I'd start with the Intellectual, get Intellect up to 4, and then see about raising another characteristic or two. If you have any left over, go for a couple of 5-point talents. Once play starts, you'll be getting XP regularly, and you can use that to very easily raise skills and buy Talents. In other words, there's no need to fret if your character can't do everything you want him or her to do in Session 1. But if you don't pump up your charactistics as much as possible, you'll be shortchanging yourself in the later game for a very brief boost to a few areas in the early game.

Edited by SavageBob

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2 hours ago, finarvyn said:

Thanks, SavageBob. I'll start with the Intellect at 4 for 40 of my 100 starting XP. Would it be worth an additional 50 to bump it up to a 5?

Yeah, I agree with saethone. Starting with a 5 makes you much more hyper-focused and limits you in many other situations. I'd only do that if you'll be playing with a very large group of players, or if you're just doing a one-shot. My preferred strategy is always 4 in one stat, 3 in two others if possible. If I get there and still have 20 points left, I'd rather raise my dump state from 1 to 2 than spend those 20 points on Talents and Skills at character creation. (The exception here is if you want to have a 1 in a stat for role-play reasons.)

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Thanks. What you are saying makes sense, and I don't have the experience to say otherwise. I thought there would be a certain advantage to having a 5 intellect, but the trade-off of using up 90% of my initial XP seemed like a harsh one. But, since I can only add to my attributes at the start I thought I should at least ask. :)

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Sorry to be a pain, but I wanted to share my decisions so far to get some feedback.

1. I picked the Intellectual character archetype. Then the Wizard career.

2. I boosted my INT from 3 to 4 (cost of 40 XP)  and my AG from 1 to 2 (cost of 20 XP) so that I wouldn't have any attribute weaknesses.

3. I picked my 4 career skills for +1 rank (cost of free) -- I picked alchemy, vigilance, arcana, knowledge (so, no to skullduggery, coercion, and leadership)

4. I assume that I want to boost skills Alchemy (1 to 2, cost 10) and knowledge (1 to 2, cost 10) because those would be critical for my wizard. (Total cost so far is 80)

Does this sound good so far? I still have 20 points for some knacks or more skills, but I thought I'd beg for some friendly feedback before I went much farther in character creation. :)

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3 minutes ago, finarvyn said:

Sorry to be a pain, but I wanted to share my decisions so far to get some feedback.

1. I picked the Intellectual character archetype. Then the Wizard career.

2. I boosted my INT from 3 to 4 (cost of 40 XP)  and my AG from 1 to 2 (cost of 20 XP) so that I wouldn't have any attribute weaknesses.

3. I picked my 4 career skills for +1 rank (cost of free) -- I picked alchemy, vigilance, arcana, knowledge (so, no to skullduggery, coercion, and leadership)

4. I assume that I want to boost skills Alchemy (1 to 2, cost 10) and knowledge (1 to 2, cost 10) because those would be critical for my wizard. (Total cost so far is 80)

Does this sound good so far? I still have 20 points for some knacks or more skills, but I thought I'd beg for some friendly feedback before I went much farther in character creation. :)

Did you raise any other characteristics besides Intellect and Agility?

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Well, so far I had only raised INT and AG, but actually I was just reading about strain and spellcasting. I was thinking that maybe I need to boost my Willpower from 2 to 3 (cost 30) and maybe remove the knowledge skill boost to balance things out. That would put me at exactly 100 XP spent.

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19 minutes ago, finarvyn said:

Well, so far I had only raised INT and AG, but actually I was just reading about strain and spellcasting. I was thinking that maybe I need to boost my Willpower from 2 to 3 (cost 30) and maybe remove the knowledge skill boost to balance things out. That would put me at exactly 100 XP spent.

I'd go for Willpower as well.

40 for Intellect to 4, 30 for Willpower to 3, and 20 for your Agility to 2. That's 90 XP, with 10 left over.

There are a small handful of things you can do with that 10 XP. I'd probably raise Arcana or Knowledge from 1 to 2. Both of those directly contribute to your magic casting abilities. Or grab a rank of Grit and Toughened to raise your thresholds. If your GM distributes XP according to the book's recommendations (p. 125), you're looking at about 15-25 per session, so you can raise your Alchemy a little after session 1.

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19 minutes ago, finarvyn said:

Well, so far I had only raised INT and AG, but actually I was just reading about strain and spellcasting. I was thinking that maybe I need to boost my Willpower from 2 to 3 (cost 30) and maybe remove the knowledge skill boost to balance things out. That would put me at exactly 100 XP spent.

I'd do that. Spending 20 XP on skills will help you in the short term, but you'll make that much XP in one, maybe two sessions, and you'll probably be happier if you spend that 30 XP on Willpower.

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Thanks, guys! I appreciate the advice  and would rather get it "right" before I play rather than try to go back and rebuild later (if my GM even would let me do that). Seems like I'll have a solid character without real weaknesses. :)

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