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TheMOELANDER

Universal Specialization Trees as Starting tree, what is your opinion?

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So now we have dozens of new Universal Specs, I just want to ask in the round what the general opinion of this is:

Let the player choose his starting career as usual, apply the given skills, force rating etc. but here's the catch: Let him choose a Universal Spec as starting Specialization.

I personally could totally see this work in the case of say a Soldier/Hired Gun - Retired Clone Trooper, or a Smuggler - Pirate, or even an Ace - Ship Captain. Even a Colonist - Recruit would be fun in my opinion: Fresh from the colony, now in the Rebellion.

Where it falls flat on it's belly is with the three force rating UniSpecs. They don't give more skills, so you're better off taking these the regular way.

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I let my players take a 2nd spec for free; but if I didn't, I'd allow them to start with a universal one if they wanted to.  Heck, I might even let them start with a cross-spec if they wanted to spend the extra points for it. 

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Mechanically it's simpler to stick with the rules, and as Vorzakk said, just give a universal spec for free.  Then you can invent whatever backstory you want and the order of acquisition of spec trees doesn't matter.

 

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@TheMOELANDER Personally, I would have them make their characters up following the standard rules, then give them a certain amount of Earned XP (my preference is 50 XP) to advance their characters immediately.

However, if you want to let someone start with a Universal spec in place of a Career spec (or in addition to it at no cost), that's fine as long as you're consistent with all your players.

As for starting with a Universal Force spec, you could simply grant 1 rank in 2 additional Career skills (i.e.: 6 instead of 4). Shouldn't be unbalanced.

Cheers!

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On 5/1/2018 at 4:27 AM, TheMOELANDER said:

So now we have dozens of new Universal Specs...

...we do?

At any rate, I can see where you're coming from but I prefer to build characters more incrementally and characterize the Universal Specialization(s) as revealing new (or long-buried) facets of a PCs personality and skill set. As for the Force-users, all of the F&D Specs and Careers give fewer skills so them's the breaks. That's just how it is in return for Force-sensitivity.

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On 5/3/2018 at 3:41 AM, SFC Snuffy said:

...we do?

At any rate, I can see where you're coming from but I prefer to build characters more incrementally and characterize the Universal Specialization(s) as revealing new (or long-buried) facets of a PCs personality and skill set. As for the Force-users, all of the F&D Specs and Careers give fewer skills so them's the breaks. That's just how it is in return for Force-sensitivity.

Yeah, we don't. I was exaggerating. Thing is I can see that happening though. I doubt they will release "second" talent tree books for each career. But a few more universal specs? Yeah I can see that.

Specific for certain eras maybe. Like "Knight of Ren" (Oh wait, they don't exist anymore do they? Thanks BJ!) or if we use an example from Legends "Mandalorian Neocrusader" or maybe "Revanchist Sith".

I also think most of you guys are right, it might be better handled if I give my players 20 XP extra just to buy one free additional spec (carer or universal) right from the start. That way if you want to play a character like the NPC CT-1867 "Ox" I created for my campaign, you would start with Soldier-Heavy Retired Clone Trooper.

Makes a very hefty combat character, I'd actually like to play that...

Edited by TheMOELANDER

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I don't see any issue with picking a career and then a universal spec.  So someone could be an Ace: Imperial Academy Cadet, Soldier: Retired Clone Trooper, Colonist: Pirate, etc.  If they picked a force universal spec, I'd probably let them move their two free skill ranks into their career skills.

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16 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

I disagree with using them as starting specs. Universal Specs are designed to add extra flavor to a character beyond what the standard specs for each career provide. They're not designed to replace career specs entirely.  

That's cool.  I disagree with your assessment that they're meant for "extra flavor" though.  Every spec is extra flavor after your starting one to me.  I think a number of the career specializations should have been universal specializations, but that's kind of besides the point.  Every spec is nothing more than a stepping stone on a character's journey.  Many of the universals tend to resonate more with a character's history though and that is something that is better taken at the beginning.  So, coming full circle, I don't see any issue with it.

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6 hours ago, Ahrimon said:

I don't see any issue with picking a career and then a universal spec.  So someone could be an Ace: Imperial Academy Cadet, Soldier: Retired Clone Trooper, Colonist: Pirate, etc.  If they picked a force universal spec, I'd probably let them move their two free skill ranks into their career skills.

I would totally allow this.

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The Retired Clone Trooper is the one that really stands out as being very hard to retroactively add to a character. Would seem very weird to not allow that one at character creation as a starting specialization as it defines both the characters capabilities, looks and history so much. 

I love it though, so I would totally allow it, but it almost works in reverse order from Careers > Specialization. Like, I used to be a Clone Trooper - now i'm trying to be a Colonist.

Imperial Cadet and Padawan is kind of the same thing but less specific in terms of looks and background.

Still works. 

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For the campaign I just started, I allowed everyone to start with a universal spec in addition to the career spec for free. In addition, they picked 2 of the bonus career skills in the universal to get a free rank in. This amounts to each character starting with 30 extra XP, but I’m controlling how it’s spent.  The verdict: the players (who are mature and experienced) were happy, and the characters are not overpowered for the campaign.  I don’t anticipate any long term problems either.

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Personally, I don't see it as being too problematic of a house rule to implement, since while it allows the player to choose what may be a "cooler" starting spec than their career would normally permit, it does carry some drawbacks.

Firstly, the player's going to have to eventually by an in-career spec if they want to access Signature Abilities, since Universal Specs by their definition don't qualify (and is something I wouldn't change).

Secondly, with regards to Force-sensitive specs (Force Exile, Force Emergent, Padawan Survivor), the player is losing 4 career skills (and two starting skill ranks) in order to get Force Rating 1, which puts them a bit worse off than a character starting with a F&D career (Force Rating 1, 3 skill ranks from career, 2 skill ranks from initial career spec, 10 career skills total).

The only Universal Spec that's potentially troublesome is the Retired Clone Trooper, as that offers up six career skills, all of which are A+ for a combat-focused PC and can combo spectacularly well with combat-centric specs like Hired Gun and Soldier.  I'd say the character is still limited to only getting two bonus skill ranks from the spec, and that you also stick to the "must be Human Male" requirement as well.

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Yeah I think I'll go next time with 20XP extra to either buy a second in-career spec or a universal spec at character creation. I did hand out 30 XP last time to buy any Spec they wanted, which gave them 10 XP if they went universal or career. By limiting it to that I have everyone on an equal footing XP wise, and they still have the variety in skills and potential talents.

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On 5/11/2018 at 2:09 AM, GM_loke said:

The Retired Clone Trooper is the one that really stands out as being very hard to retroactively add to a character. Would seem very weird to not allow that one at character creation as a starting specialization as it defines both the characters capabilities, looks and history so much. 

I love it though, so I would totally allow it, but it almost works in reverse order from Careers > Specialization. Like, I used to be a Clone Trooper - now i'm trying to be a Colonist.

That's only if you take the title "Retired Clone Trooper" very literally. I think it works equally well for someone who had military training, even at an elite level, but left the service. Elite guards, ceremonial troops, soldiers from disbanded armies or militias, etc. could all qualify. For example, a soldier from a Separatist world (that didn't use battle droids) could have been part of a force decimated in battle against the Republic. Determined to move on with his/her life once the war ended, the soldier became a (insert Career here). Now adventuring, long-unused skills and Talents are being dusted off and employed once again.

To be honest, from that viewpoint, it does make the most sense when employed with Careers that don't have a militaristic combat focus.

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On 5/11/2018 at 11:09 AM, GM_loke said:

The Retired Clone Trooper is the one that really stands out as being very hard to retroactively add to a character. Would seem very weird to not allow that one at character creation as a starting specialization as it defines both the characters capabilities, looks and history so much. 

I agree it ought to be possible to acquire it at character generation. The way it's implemented is very odd.

Clone Trooper acquired after character generation could reflect someone who was taught by a clone. Padawan Survivor might reflect someone who was taught by a jedi knight or master, using a dog-eared copy of the padawan syllabus.

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1 hour ago, David Bofinger said:

I agree it ought to be possible to acquire it at character generation. The way it's implemented is very odd.

Clone Trooper acquired after character generation could reflect someone who was taught by a clone. Padawan Survivor might reflect someone who was taught by a jedi knight or master, using a dog-eared copy of the padawan syllabus.

You could spend 20 of your species starting xp  to get  it but that's 20 so you can't spend on attributes, i.e. it prevents you from spending xp in the most efficient way possible (3,3,3,3,2,2 attribute spread), but if a human gets one 3 attribute and one 4 (increase 2->3->4) that would be 100 xp and with the 10 from obligation/duty/morality there would be 20 xp available to buy a universal or in career spec at char gen.  I'd guess that was a design consideration when they picked values for species starting xp.  Now I don't think that this is a very satisfying answer and I would totally allow a PC to start with a universal spec in place of an in career spec.

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On 5/19/2018 at 5:53 PM, EliasWindrider said:

You could spend 20 of your species starting xp  to get  it but that's 20 so you can't spend on attributes, i.e. it prevents you from spending xp in the most efficient way possible (3,3,3,3,2,2 attribute spread), but if a human gets one 3 attribute and one 4 (increase 2->3->4) that would be 100 xp and with the 10 from obligation/duty/morality there would be 20 xp available to buy a universal or in career spec at char gen.  I'd guess that was a design consideration when they picked values for species starting xp.  Now I don't think that this is a very satisfying answer and I would totally allow a PC to start with a universal spec in place of an in career spec.

Hmmyeah. I'll still stick to giving my players 20 extra XP for either another career spec, or an universal spec. But what I might do is allowing them to take their two free picks from either of their two trees.

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7 minutes ago, TheMOELANDER said:

Hmmyeah. I'll still stick to giving my players 20 extra XP for either another career spec, or an universal spec. But what I might do is allowing them to take their two free picks from either of their two trees.

It wasn't clear to me what you meant by the bolded text.

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1 minute ago, EliasWindrider said:

It wasn't clear to me what you meant by the bolded text.

You know the two free skill picks they get at character creation, on their spec trees. 4 from the career, 2 from the spec.

Edited by TheMOELANDER

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15 hours ago, TheMOELANDER said:

You know the two free skill picks they get at character creation, on their spec trees. 4 from the career, 2 from the spec.

In my current campaign, I gave them a free universal and 2 picks from the bonus skills of each tree. Four sessions in and nothing appears broken.

I did find an unintended consequence. If I count the universal spec, the cost of getting a 2nd career spec is now 10 points higher since it’s a 3rd spec. This has disappointed at least one player. Since I pretty much made them take a free spec, should I have it count against them? Are the players being ungrateful? Idk. Still debating whether to say the spec doesn’t count. I mean, in the end, what’s 10 points? It’s not like I am stingy with XP.

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