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onebadveggie

Any home rules on character creation?

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Hey guys,

So we've been running the first bit of our first campaign and it's actually going quite well. I told everyone they could create the characters however they wanted, but once we got a couple sessions in, and everyone understood the system better, we would do a re-work of all the characters to really let the players better form them to what their ideals are.

My question to you guys, is as GM's, do you have certain rules that you follow when letting players make characters? Do you go by the book? Extra equipment, XP, credits? What do you find gives the players the most agency to form a concept?

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My plan next time round is to change the rule on xp spend on characteristics. Rather than having to spend them at character creation, have the same limit in terms of how much xp can be spent, but allow it to be spent later. So, if you want to, say, spend that last 30 xp on talents or skills or specialisation or force powers, you can spent 30 xp later on characteristics. Long term, it has exactly the same character as spending all your xp on characteristics in character generation, but with more flexibility to meet your character concept earlier.

Though I'd probably also give 20xp post character generation pre first session to help round out the character

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having run about 5 or six "session zeros" with PCs from all three lines, heres my go to.

Any and and all specs are allowed. same with species.

First, the group mechanic must be decided on. between duty (my preferred) or obligation. Morality is only used at the personal level for force sensitives.

No buying extra XP/creds with duty/obligation, but everyone starts with 2500creds. this lets them flesh out their character with a bit more than the generic heavy clothing/blaster/ vibroknife combo

Finally I don't usually just give the group their first ship, but tie it into the opening session as a goal or plot hook(I like to start my campaigns in media res). Hence why one of my groups ended up with a Hammerhead corvette at the end of their opening act.

 

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I ran a Knight level game with all force sensitives who started with a mentor.  I required that of the 150 extra XP, 50 had to be in Force Powers, and 50 had to be in Force Specialization talents to represent their master actually training them.  They still had a lot of flexibility, but it guaranteed that in a Force-centric campaign, everyone had at least some Force powers.

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18 hours ago, onebadveggie said:

My question to you guys, is as GM's, do you have certain rules that you follow when letting players make characters? Do you go by the book? Extra equipment, XP, credits? What do you find gives the players the most agency to form a concept?

I max Obligation to give the extra 10XP; allow extra specs for free (with limits...for each extra spec they need at least two 4th rank talents in the previous spec); allow humans to take a 1 in a single attribute for 20XP so long as they only take one attribute with a 4; no attributes at 5 on chargen; and I'll add anywhere from 50XP to 300XP post-chargen, depending on the campaign goals.

I do this because I found the fresh boot characters to be a bit lacking, since they can only reliably be effective against Easy and Average tasks (especially if you're liberal with setback dice, which you should be :) ), and I don't get to play enough to want to stay at such mundane levels for very long.  For that reason I also probably give about twice the recommended XP, but that really depends on how epic you want your campaign to become.

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My group runs normal character generation, using one primary mechanic between duty and obligation. 90% of the time it's obligation. In addition we allow one free secondary tree that is different focus from the primary tree. So for force users maybe one light saber tree and one other class based tree or for a non-force character maybe sharpshooter/pilot. GM has complete veto ability and the goal is not to double stack or max out a character so combinations like doctor/healer for instance would get vetoed. This combination is more for rounding out character concepts and GM's tend to be more lenient if the choices fit with a backstory. With that said we have a really great group that plays for fun and don't seem to run into half of the problems I see listed by some GM's. We are also pretty picky on players. Anyone is welcomed to come play with us, but if it's clear they are not a good fit with the group then we let them know and part ways.  

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Why do you let them get another spec? Doesnt it stretch the character too thin? Especially a generated one, who is not really significant in any way. I simply dont see why wouls that help except minmaxing career skills, and getting early wound / strain threshold

 

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After character creation is complete (along with gear purchase), I run a random integer generator once for each character, with an upper limit determined by the flavor of the campaign story (could be a few hundred, or a few thousand...just all depends on if they're living paycheck-to-paycheck or if they're a fairly well-established group or whatever), and the result is how many credits they have in their pocket right then.

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I think there can be a lot to this issue depending on your group. For some people their right to be self-determined in the game begins at character creation, not after, so if you try to fit them into a mold and you have a contradiction you have to make a choice between:

  • GM Plan/Tone over Player Agency
  • Player Agency over GM Plan/Tone
  • A Compromise

That isn't always as easy as it sounds and I very often have had to change up what I was planning to do based on what the players made. People who run pre-made adventures of their own making may have trouble with certain characters because the character may invalidate the content, and will be tempted to make the player change their character. Also, if you are looking for a certain tone for the game and a character or characters made by the players invalidates the tone you have to decide which is more important. 

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On 4/26/2018 at 2:59 PM, onebadveggie said:

Hey guys,

So we've been running the first bit of our first campaign and it's actually going quite well. I told everyone they could create the characters however they wanted, but once we got a couple sessions in, and everyone understood the system better, we would do a re-work of all the characters to really let the players better form them to what their ideals are.

My question to you guys, is as GM's, do you have certain rules that you follow when letting players make characters? Do you go by the book? Extra equipment, XP, credits? What do you find gives the players the most agency to form a concept?

I tell them up front the kind of campaign it's going to be, so they don't make something that is a 5th wheel.

I give them a weapon, armored clothing, and tool of the trade right off.

I'm usually pretty generous with an xp reward after session 1, so they can make some decisions about branching out, or double down on what they picked for a spec.  

 

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I guess I should be a bit more on topic :) Our group decides between a selection of house rules each game:

  • Narrative Initiative vs Rolled
  • Story Based XP instead of the RAW auto-advancement
  • Storing Advantage and Triumph round to round
  • Morality that goes from -100 to +100
  • More Dangerous Blasters

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We have one house rule for character creation, one that we've carried over from the WEG engine: The Fun Skill!

Once you build your character, figure out one hobby or thing they do that's not a combat or interaction skill, something that 95% of the time wont be all that useful, but something to add color to the character (and occasionally comes up). You can put two ranks in one or one rank in two Fun Skills, however you like (and they become career skills, should one be so inclined to raise them someday down the road).

My psychotic IRA terrorist stormtrooper clone? He knit like you wouldn't believe. My SW:KotOR era princess? She had a singing/performance skill. My engineer had two ranks of brewmaster and turned the engine room of the ship into a brewery (along with being, you know, an sublight engine). That one came up more often than the other Color Skills, as she was pretty free at passing out bottles of her hooch to friends and enemies.

My current punk rock gunslinger thief? Frungy!

Edited by Desslok

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49 minutes ago, Desslok said:

We have one house rule for character creation, one that we've carried over from the WEG engine: The Fun Skill!

Once you build your character, figure out one hobby or thing they do that's not a combat or interaction skill, something that 95% of the time wont be all that useful, but something to add color to the character (and occasionally comes up). You can put two ranks in one or one rank in two Fun Skills, however you like (and they become career skills, should one be so inclined to raise them someday down the road).

Stealing. Thank you.

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55 minutes ago, kaosoe said:

Stealing. Thank you.

Didn't we have this conversation once before? I'm certain I brought up The Fun Skill before and you thought it was a great idea then too. Or am I just hallucinating?

Eh, it's Friday night. I'm about half an hour away from some jack and cokes and not remembering my own name let alone a conversation we had months ago. :)

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33 minutes ago, Desslok said:

Didn't we have this conversation once before? I'm certain I brought up The Fun Skill before and you thought it was a great idea then too. Or am I just hallucinating?

Eh, it's Friday night. I'm about half an hour away from some jack and cokes and not remembering my own name let alone a conversation we had months ago. :)

Its May the 4th. There should be shooting some stormtroopers somewhere in there

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38 minutes ago, Desslok said:

Didn't we have this conversation once before? I'm certain I brought up The Fun Skill before and you thought it was a great idea then too. Or am I just hallucinating?

Eh, it's Friday night. I'm about half an hour away from some jack and cokes and not remembering my own name let alone a conversation we had months ago. :)

Might have. But I might also be in a similar boat so we are both excused.

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Adventurers are not knights in shining armor, they don't venture into dangerous dungeons because it's fun or noble, and they certainly aren't in this life seeking fame and fortune. Han Solo and the many other protagonists of Star Wars are just trying to survive. They don't have fat inheritances waiting or paltry government hobs waiting from the back home. They ply the most dangerous routes and explore forbidden alien ruins because that's the only way they can scratch a living out in this cold, unforgiving universe.

An RPG named Torchbearer took advantage of this by smoothly integrating this reality into their game mechanics. What really stuck out was how they designed "Towns" in the game. The Town that a character grew up in lends distinct mechanical effects based on descriptions that, on the surface, are interesting, intuitive, and evocative.

The following is a list of seven generic home locations for player characters. Each of these describes a location that each player character hails from, though these are just a starting point and each player should expand their own lineage to deepen the character. Where a character grows up has a lasting impact on his or her life, and as such, each character gains 1 rank in a skill of their choice as well as 1 rank in a talent of their choice from each specific home location. Although it may seem unbalanced, each of these locations serves the greater narrative in describing a brutal, bleak galaxy oppressed by a totalitarian Galactic Empire. There are no safe zones, the Rebellion exists as scattered, terrified cells across the outer rim and everyone besides the uppermost echelons are miserables. These don't break the game but increase the value of where you come from and really hits home how important those formative years were on your character.

WHERE IS YOUR HOME?

(Pick one Skill and One Talent from your respective home location. Only one home location may be selected per player character)

Overpopulated Homeworld
The regional or galactic population center where the teeming billions of inhabitants are oppressed by a select few in power.
Skills: Knowledge (core worlds), Negotiation, Streetwise
Talents: Indistinguishable, Sound Investments

Bustling Starport
A den of graft and petty crimes where friendships last only as long as the layover between cryosleep.
Skills: Cool, Deception, Knowledge (underworld)
Talents: Bought Info, Black Market Contacts

Distant Colony
A nigh-forgotten world in the darkest regions of civilized space, forever indebted to their three-generations-old founding homeworld.
Skills: Brawl, Mechanics, Survival
Talents: Forager, Utinni!

Subjugated World
A once-rebellious planet now forced in line by oppressive military occupation.
Skills: Leadership, Knowledge (warfare), Resilience
Talents: Basic Combat Training, Blooded

Isolated Outpost
A research station, mining operation, or penal colony cut off from humanity by incomprehensible distances.
Skills: Discipline, Knowledge (education), Knowledge (xenology)
Talents: Grit, Researcher

Between The Stars
A life living on starships and constantly moving, forever in flux and struggling to find meaning and never having a true home.
Skills: Astrogation, Knowledge (outer rim), Piloting (space)
Talents: Galaxy Mapper, Well Travelled

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Just now, Khazadune said:

Adventurers are not knights in shining armor, they don't venture into dangerous dungeons because it's fun or noble, and they certainly aren't in this life seeking fame and fortune. Han Solo and the many other protagonists of Star Wars are just trying to survive. They don't have fat inheritances waiting or paltry government hobs waiting from the back home. They ply the most dangerous routes and explore forbidden alien ruins because that's the only way they can scratch a living out in this cold, unforgiving universe.

An RPG named Torchbearer took advantage of this by smoothly integrating this reality into their game mechanics. What really stuck out was how they designed "Towns" in the game. The Town that a character grew up in lends distinct mechanical effects based on descriptions that, on the surface, are interesting, intuitive, and evocative.

The following is a list of seven generic home locations for player characters. Each of these describes a location that each player character hails from, though these are just a starting point and each player should expand their own lineage to deepen the character. Where a character grows up has a lasting impact on his or her life, and as such, each character gains 1 rank in a skill of their choice as well as 1 rank in a talent of their choice from each specific home location. Although it may seem unbalanced, each of these locations serves the greater narrative in describing a brutal, bleak galaxy oppressed by a totalitarian Galactic Empire. There are no safe zones, the Rebellion exists as scattered, terrified cells across the outer rim and everyone besides the uppermost echelons are miserables. These don't break the game but increase the value of where you come from and really hits home how important those formative years were on your character.

WHERE IS YOUR HOME?

(Pick one Skill and One Talent from your respective home location. Only one home location may be selected per player character)

Overpopulated Homeworld
The regional or galactic population center where the teeming billions of inhabitants are oppressed by a select few in power.
Skills: Knowledge (core worlds), Negotiation, Streetwise
Talents: Indistinguishable, Sound Investments

Bustling Starport
A den of graft and petty crimes where friendships last only as long as the layover between cryosleep.
Skills: Cool, Deception, Knowledge (underworld)
Talents: Bought Info, Black Market Contacts

Distant Colony
A nigh-forgotten world in the darkest regions of civilized space, forever indebted to their three-generations-old founding homeworld.
Skills: Brawl, Mechanics, Survival
Talents: Forager, Utinni!

Subjugated World
A once-rebellious planet now forced in line by oppressive military occupation.
Skills: Leadership, Knowledge (warfare), Resilience
Talents: Basic Combat Training, Blooded

Isolated Outpost
A research station, mining operation, or penal colony cut off from humanity by incomprehensible distances.
Skills: Discipline, Knowledge (education), Knowledge (xenology)
Talents: Grit, Researcher

Between The Stars
A life living on starships and constantly moving, forever in flux and struggling to find meaning and never having a true home.
Skills: Astrogation, Knowledge (outer rim), Piloting (space)
Talents: Galaxy Mapper, Well Travelled

This is a direct repost from our GM’s character creation document. It’s one of the coolest and least game breaking ways to flesh out a backstory or concept. I have even pitched adding in a marooned concept etc. 

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