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Andreievitch

Decreasing starting stats - we are all not from the same mould...

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I was thinking in my next campaign (if I run one) of allowing PCs to lower a characteristic at character creation to gain additional XP.  

i.e.

A player may also gain additional experience points by decreasing characteristics. 

Benefit- The player adds 10xp times the difference between the starting characteristic and the purchased rating in experience. The bonus from each change rating is  be calculated sequentially.

Examples:  A Human dropping their starting Presence from 2 to 1 would gain a player an additional 10xp, while a Wookie dropping their starting Strength from 3 to 1 would gain 20xp.

Why?

As mentioned in the title, we are not all from the same mould, or cut from the same cloth.  In the examples above, perhaps the Human has scarring from an accident that makes social interaction with him uneasy.  Perhaps the Wookie is an elderly PC, explaining why he is no longer as strong.

Does anyone do something along these lines?

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7 minutes ago, Andreievitch said:

I was thinking in my next campaign (if I run one) of allowing PCs to lower a characteristic at character creation to gain additional XP.  

i.e.

A player may also gain additional experience points by decreasing characteristics. 

Benefit- The player adds 10xp times the difference between the starting characteristic and the purchased rating in experience. The bonus from each change rating is  be calculated sequentially.

Examples:  A Human dropping their starting Presence from 2 to 1 would gain a player an additional 10xp, while a Wookie dropping their starting Strength from 3 to 1 would gain 20xp.

Why?

As mentioned in the title, we are not all from the same mould, or cut from the same cloth.  In the examples above, perhaps the Human has scarring from an accident that makes social interaction with him uneasy.  Perhaps the Wookie is an elderly PC, explaining why he is no longer as strong.

Does anyone do something along these lines?

I would rather give a custom talent that hands out black / blue for using set charachteristic. Giving them XP can get really out of hands, and tips the balance which was set for a reason.

My example: I had a player who wanted to play a twi'lek with injured lekku. I gave her as a Scar and now it gives setback for seducing, or other acts which relies on her beauty. But it also gives boost, if she uses it to gain sympathy, or some deception of his sad and tragic past. No need to change the stats

Edited by Rimsen
Typo

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I haven't, but I don't see a huge problem with it either. Your examples make a lot of sense too. A Wookiee with the strength of a kitten would be interesting too, especially if they still tried to act intimidating and succeeded and failed variously.

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2 minutes ago, Rimsen said:

I would rather give a custom talent that hands out black / blue for using set charachteristic. Giving them XP can get really out of hands, and tips the balance which was set for a reason.

My example: I had a player who wanted to play a twi'lek with injured lekku. I gave her as a Scar and now it gives setback for seducing, or other acts which relies on her beauty. But it also gives boost, if she uses it to gain sympathy, or some deception of his sad and tragic past. No need to change the stats

I like the black / blue idea, but I don't see  an extra 10xp or 20xp as being too over balanced...

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7 minutes ago, Andreievitch said:

I like the black / blue idea, but I don't see  an extra 10xp or 20xp as being too over balanced...

The different species has different amount of XP for this reason. So they can be similar, but not the same. The characteristic system is intentionally vague and I don't see why would making it more uniform would help anything but opting for more XP dropping not used stats.

Droids are there with 200 xp to build however you want. 

Using your example, if you have a veteran wookie, just don't increase starting brawn, a 200 yo wookie is still stronger than an avarage human. 

 

Another point of view: look at obligations. It's pretty expensive to get more XP, and it seems like a way around that

Edited by Rimsen

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4 minutes ago, Rimsen said:

The different species has different amount of XP for this reason. So they can be similar, but not the same. The characteristic system is intentionally vague and I don't see why would making it more uniform would help anything but opting for more XP dropping not used stats.

Droids are there with 200 xp to build however you want. 

Using your example, if you have a veteran wookie, just don't increase starting brawn, a 200 yo wookie is still stronger than an avarage human. 

 

Another point of view: look at obligations. It's pretty expensive to get more XP, and it seems like a way around that

I don't disagree with any of your points, and I wouldn't say anyone must implement such a system. But for a good background, I don't see it as too unbalancing. Also, they're only getting 10xp for something that could've cost much more than that if it was purchased.

You could further restrict it too, by saying such a system doesn't allow you to go below the 'average' of 2. That way they're always at a net 'loss' as such. The more I think about it the more I like this, even though it doesn't really represent the disfigured social outcast style very well.

Either way, that's why GM's have the final word.

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Your calculation for dropping a 3 to a 1 is way off. There’s a definitive cost for characteristics and that drop from 3 to 1 is worth 50xp, a lot.

The idea won’t be too broken, but it also makes the difference between a lot of species much smaller or even nonexistent. Basically a character can cherrypick the wound/strain threshold they want, perhaps even with a skill or ability that benefits them, then Min/max the characteristics to suit.

Your better just giving them knight level to start.

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I do this but I only allow a given character to drop one stat by one point and there needs to be a decent justification for it.  Also the XP refund is equal to whatever it would cost to raise it on the opposite direction; so 30XP to drop a 3 to a 2.  So far only one of my players has opted to do this; his being a bounty hunter despite being inordinately skinny and wimpy (Brawn 1) was a major point of his character concept. 

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1 hour ago, Vorzakk said:

I do this but I only allow a given character to drop one stat by one point and there needs to be a decent justification for it.  Also the XP refund is equal to whatever it would cost to raise it on the opposite direction; so 30XP to drop a 3 to a 2.  So far only one of my players has opted to do this; his being a bounty hunter despite being inordinately skinny and wimpy (Brawn 1) was a major point of his character concept. 

I understand that, but in this case why not pick a Brawn 1 species?

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I can see this for character concept.  Wants to play X Species but with an unusual handicap.  I can also see this as a way to exploit the system if not careful. I like Vorzakk's option of limiting it

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As others have indicated, being able to effectively garner a load of extra XP (especially if dropping from a 3 to a 2) can have an unexpected effect, especially if the player is getting 20 to 30 additional XP to spend on things like skills or talents, which can go a very long ways.

I've built a number of concepts using species where their concept isn't overly hampered by having a 1 in a given characteristic, and not having to "waste" XP pushing that 1 up to a 2 gives quite an influx of XP to spend on getting a second rank in a key skill or starting out with a decent selection of talents while still having at least 3's in their primary characteristics, or perhaps making it even more affordable to push a 3 to a 4.  Being able to specifically say "well, my Human has a 1 in this characteristic that doesn't really impact me all that much" is way too generous of an option and is frankly quite like to be abused, intentionally or not.

I think Andreievitch's suggestion of having a "flaw" that instead provides one (or more) setback dice when it's appropriate works better, with perhaps a much smaller XP reward (such as 5XP for a single setback die, or 10XP for two setback dice) for taking said flaw.  Of course, that brings in the possibility of abuse that always crops up when introducing flaws that provide some kind of tangible 'reward' when building a character.

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If anything, I would say that you aren’t giving enough Xp for dropping the stats. 10xp per point dropped is not much for something that can only be changed with dedication once you are done.

but I would be more inclined to say you can adjust one stat down and adjust another up instead of gaining Xp.

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6 hours ago, Rimsen said:

I understand that, but in this case why not pick a Brawn 1 species?

Because he wanted to play a human.  

Nothing wrong with picking a species for its stat block, but not everyone approaches characters that way (certainly nobody at my particular table). 

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3 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

Because he wanted to play a human.  

Nothing wrong with picking a species for its stat block, but not everyone approaches characters that way (certainly nobody at my particular table). 

Same with my group.  We have one guy who likes to min/max  but we mainly keep him check.  Most of my players get character concept before ever  looking at what's good and what's not

 

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My thoughts on some points that have come up:

- Why only 10xp rather than the comparable cost? Because there should be a reward for taking a disadvantage that is related to a good backstory, however, that reward shouldn't simply be a mechanic that is open to abuse for the purposes of min/max.

- Why not pick a species that suits? Because while that is a way to play and character craft, and indeed the Star Wars style of 'stereotype from media = pre-determination for entire species' is not something I take issue with, I totally support anyone wishing to play any species for just about any reason.

- Why not a setback to the ability use instead of ability drop? Because what does a player get out of this? Sure, some players may be happy with a stick and no carrot, but I as a GM wouldn't be comfortable with that.

- But dedication can overcome the reduction? Sure, once they invest all the way to dedication, by which point increasing in ability makes sense anyway, and 10xp doesn't get you far down that path.

- But it won't hurt the character's build to take the reduction anyway? This mechanic should be story driven, not 'sure, I'll take a hit in Presence to get 10xp,' in that case I wouldn't let the player alter their story just to get this anyway. That player is going to be min/max anyway, and won't care as much about story, so can likely just take an appropriate species to start. Some players will fall in the middle in which case it's GM's choice (as it all is anyway with a table rule). And lastly on this, sure, maybe it won't hurt your build, until your GM starts making you take the occasional roll on something you didn't plan for (Shock! Horror!)

Edited by Roderz
GRAMMAR!

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48 minutes ago, Roderz said:

My thoughts on some points that have come up:

- Why only 10xp rather than the comparable cost? Because there should be a reward for taking a disadvantage that is related to a good backstory, however, that reward shouldn't simply be a mechanic that is open to abuse for the purposes of min/max.

- Why not pick a species that suits? Because while that is a way to play and character craft, and indeed the Star Wars style of 'stereotype from media = pre-determination for entire species' is not something I take issue with, I totally support anyone wishing to play any species for just about any reason.

- Why not a setback to the ability use instead of ability drop? Because what does a player get out of this? Sure, some players may be happy with a stick and no carrot, but I as a GM wouldn't be comfortable with that.

- But dedication can overcome the reduction? Sure, once they invest all the way to dedication, by which point increasing in ability makes sense anyway, and 10xp doesn't get you far down that path.

- But it won't hurt the character's build to take the reduction anyway? This mechanic should be story driven, not 'sure, I'll take a hit in Presence to get 10xp,' in that case I wouldn't let the player alter their story just to get this anyway. That player is going to be min/max anyway, and won't care as much about story, so can likely just take an appropriate species to start. Some players will fall in the middle in which case it's GM's choice (as it all is anyway with a table rule). And lastly on this, sure, maybe it won't hurt your build, until your GM starts making you take the occasional roll on something you didn't plan for (Shock! Horror!)

All of this!   Well said @Roderz, and pretty much a summary of my thoughts.

The only other thing I would add is that my thoughts are all role playing driven, not meta-gaming.   Hence why only 10xp per point dropped, and allowing players to choose a species and make them a little different to the norm.

I don't think that the base starting stats should be the absolute minimum. It would reflect real life, and many fantasy character tropes, in a much better way.  ESPECIALLY Humans! Not all humans would have minimum stats at 2!

Edited by Andreievitch

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2 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

I’m glad to hear it’s been thoroughly thought through.

We're still a little short of it being discussed ad nauseam though, so... Have-at-you!

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3 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

I’m glad to hear it’s been thoroughly thought through.

Ok.  I will address your concerns then.

15 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

Your calculation for dropping a 3 to a 1 is way off. There’s a definitive cost for characteristics and that drop from 3 to 1 is worth 50xp, a lot.

The idea won’t be too broken, but it also makes the difference between a lot of species much smaller or even nonexistent. Basically a character can cherrypick the wound/strain threshold they want, perhaps even with a skill or ability that benefits them, then Min/max the characteristics to suit.

Your better just giving them knight level to start.

My idea was to award less XP than is costs when increasing a stat to dissuade everyone from doing it.

I don't get your cherrypick comment?  We are talking about decreasing stats, and would only lower wound/strain?  Hardly min/max.

You are not better off starting at knight level as it won't achieve what I am after at all?  The idea is to allow a player to drop a stat to fit in with a story line at creation.  

Such as a lower:

  • Strength - due to being the runt of the litter/family/bloodline
  • Agility - born lame, missing limb, just plain clumsy
  • Intellect - not the sharpest tool in the shed
  • Cunning - the wheel is still spinning but the womprat is well dead
  • Willpower - weak willed and gives in easily
  • Presence - scarred, deformed, ugly, unkind, standoffish

Keep in mind, this is when comparing the PC to others of the same race.   I can't see how starting at Knight level addressing any of the above.

 

 

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Thanks for the response, and I’m serious that  it’s great you have a solid understanding of how your group will use it. I guess my points are more targeted at others reading this thread, thinking it sounds like a good idea but not considering the consequences. 

Your explanation of limiting the spell returned makes sense too. On the topic of min/max there are quite a few species who are really xp limited, Humans for instance at the moment can have a maximum of 120xp, but with this rule they could have 130, which allows them to do this: 4/3/3/2/2/1 making them the (?) best species in the game. 

Then theres Dressellian who could keep the primitive, drop Intellect (easiest to justify) to 1, and be 4/3/1/3/3/1, a stat block never before seen and one most min/max players would absolutely exploit. Overcoming those two ones is a lot easier than getting the 3rd dice on all the skills of the other characteristic; Cool 2, Mechanics or Medicine 2, Charm or Leadership or Negotiation 2. Sure you suck at knowledge skills, but someone in the party won’t.

Again, you won’t have this problem, but someone reading this with a less than cooperative player may. I’m not looking at this from the “I want a character flaw” perspective, which as you pointed out is the right approach, I’m looking at it from the perspective of “how can I get more xp”. If the player is finding justification for this in order to get more xp then really the game will benefi from just letting everyone have some xp after creation to get a few more talents without disrupting the Characteristic balance .

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I think the key thing with this mechanic is that it is not something I would advertise/explain/offer to any players ahead of time. It is something I'd take a look at, IF one of my players came to me with the concept of playing, say, a Dug that walks on his legs/arms/hands/feet, or Dr Evazan the butcher of Jedha or something.

So yeah, it's something you could look at, but I don't think even OP suggested this in the first place without accepting the risk that widespread use of this could be open to manipulation and abuse. Having a species with a starting 3 in any ability is open to abuse frankly.

If you're a player, good luck suggesting this to your GM. If you're a GM, be a GM.

In summary, thanks for the original suggestion @Andreievitch 

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