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Jedifish

Capping stats at creation

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This will be my third SW campaign I will be running for my group. They are very experienced with the system, and have played a variety of characters. This time around I am thinking of capping stats at 3 during character creation.  My idea behind this is creating more of a challenge for the PCs during this campaign. They usually just put everything into their main stat and are powerful pretty quickly. I hope that they will flesh out their characters a little more, instead of min maxing. Ideas, thoughts, protests?

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I find that generalist characters with four 3s outperform characters with one 4 and one 3 (or just one 5) with only a few exceptions. Agility is very strong with ita skillset, but most other characteristics are less versatile.

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I don’t think you need a hard cap- what you need is to have a nice chat with your PCs about expectatations for the game and explain that you think it would be fun to have more generalist PCs and less specialist PCs. It’s only a request, they can take it or leave it, and they can intact it in the way that they choose.

Most people are pretty agreeable with something like that.

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Personally I dislike the style of having as many 3's as possible. It leaves no real weak spot on your character and just makes you somewhat competent at everything. Which to me is just boring. As a player it's boring because there is nothing your character can't be somewhat competent at, so no need to ask your team for help or look for help. As a GM it's boring because that means there's no weak spots to exploit, not really much to be gained from forcing a split and hitting someone at the weak point and doesn't really open up for opportunities to give someone a chance to shine at their specialty. In short, to me it's boring.

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5 minutes ago, Darth Revenant said:

Personally I dislike the style of having as many 3's as possible. It leaves no real weak spot on your character and just makes you somewhat competent at everything. Which to me is just boring. As a player it's boring because there is nothing your character can't be somewhat competent at, so no need to ask your team for help or look for help. As a GM it's boring because that means there's no weak spots to exploit, not really much to be gained from forcing a split and hitting someone at the weak point and doesn't really open up for opportunities to give someone a chance to shine at their specialty. In short, to me it's boring.

Now, me, I’m of the opposite mindset. I love jacks of all trades. Most of my characters end up that way organically anyway, even if they start out more specialized.

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As a GM, I always call for a wide breadth of skill use.  I browse the skill lists before every adventure and try to use every skill.  That said, a 'generalist' and a min-maxer makes no difference.  It is whatever the plays WANT to play.  Plus, a 4 in something makes skilled assistance checks more viable.  No such thing when everyone has a 3 & 1 Rank in something.  I just expect a 224222 character to make the rolls when they talk to npc's or try something. 

That said, I do intensely dislike the min-maxed party where one PC (Presence 2) is talking to an NPC and then there is an awkward 'hand-off' to another PC because that PC is "the face" of the party with the Presence skill.  It is simply not believable, story-friendly, or cinematic.  It's like player walk around with "4 presence" stamped to their foreheads.    

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22 hours ago, Darth Revenant said:

Personally I dislike the style of having as many 3's as possible. It leaves no real weak spot on your character and just makes you somewhat competent at everything.

That's not true at all.  That one die makes a big difference, especially if you have no skill ranks or other benefits, and the GM does his job of providing setbacks.  Every game I've played the players have ended up happier with a 333322 stat line.

Personally I encourage that, or a 433221 depending on species...and I've tweaked the human rules to allow the player to reduce one stat to 1 for 20XP so they can get that spread.  I do think it is more amusing to have one area the PC is really bad at.  But I also tend to cap at 4 mostly because I don't think the game scales well with 5 out of the gate.  As the GM you end up having to create ridiculous challenges for the one-trick pony and more regular challenges for the other PCs, it creates a disconnect in the story.

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I also dislike players that dump all their starting XP into stats.  Either it makes a super powerful if all dumped into one stat or if the person dumps it into all 3's then they are missing the point that it is a cooperative game.  The idea is that the characters work together because they work well together and can do things they can't just do on their own.  The desire to make the character that is good at everything is not what a cooperative roleplaying game is about.  

 

Also I think it is fairly boring story wise.  "So you are a pilot eh?  What can you do?"  

Response.  "Ehh I am fast and have a small amount of training but nothing more then that..."

or

"You guys stay here I'll take care of the information gathering, the sneaking in, the negotiating, and whatever else.  If I need someone to help in a fight I'll give a buzz."

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I am actually on the other end of this topic.  I give my players a plus one in 3 stats of their choice after spending their points.  No stat can be above 5 even with a racial bonus.  Force users can use one of the 3 bonus stats to begin the game with a force rating 2.  

As a GM I actually find the stats on the lower end.  I prefer challenging my players with enemies or story obstacles.

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I'm lucky to have players that don't abuse min-maxing. They dump all their starting XPs in their stats but they prefer to have 3s and no 1s rather than single 4 with a 1. And later they prefer to raise their career skills with xp and spread their capacities with other specs rather than racing to grab dedication. Then they often have skils with 4 or 5 before they raise a stat at 4 or 5. Being only 3 PCs most of the time explain why they prefer a well rounded character than an hyper specialised one.

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On 2/2/2019 at 10:25 AM, Jedifish said:

This will be my third SW campaign I will be running for my group. They are very experienced with the system, and have played a variety of characters. This time around I am thinking of capping stats at 3 during character creation.  My idea behind this is creating more of a challenge for the PCs during this campaign. They usually just put everything into their main stat and are powerful pretty quickly. I hope that they will flesh out their characters a little more, instead of min maxing. Ideas, thoughts, protests?

As expected, you got a lot of opinions here. Personally, I lean towards saying go for it if you think it's right for your game.

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On 2/3/2019 at 10:21 AM, Jawa4thewin said:

I also dislike players that dump all their starting XP into stats.

Why should I permanently nerf a stat to get a skill/talent I can get 1-2 sessions from now via Earned XP?

The solution to this is give people Earned XP at character creation (aka Knight Level Play).    Now you have skillful/talented characters from the get go!

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6 hours ago, Jonas Shaaf said:

Why should I permanently nerf a stat to get a skill/talent I can get 1-2 sessions from now via Earned XP?

The solution to this is give people Earned XP at character creation (aka Knight Level Play).    Now you have skillful/talented characters from the get go!

Read the rest of the post.

Either it makes a super powerful if all dumped into one stat or if the person dumps it into all 3's then they are missing the point that it is a cooperative game.  The idea is that the characters work together because they work well together and can do things they can't just do on their own.  The desire to make the character that is good at everything is not what a cooperative roleplaying game is about. 

 

It isn't permanent, you can pick up a dedication or cyberware here and there.  Just giving people more XP at character generation isn't a solution it is just exacerbating the problem IMO.  Keep in mind that the character that didn't pump all xp into stats will be further along talent trees and skills then the min/maxed character.  Again just my opinion it just seems boring and either powergameish or drives away from the idea of a cooperative game.

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15 minutes ago, Jawa4thewin said:

Read the rest of the post.

Either it makes a super powerful if all dumped into one stat or if the person dumps it into all 3's then they are missing the point that it is a cooperative game.  The idea is that the characters work together because they work well together and can do things they can't just do on their own.  The desire to make the character that is good at everything is not what a cooperative roleplaying game is about. 

 

It isn't permanent, you can pick up a dedication or cyberware here and there.  Just giving people more XP at character generation isn't a solution it is just exacerbating the problem IMO.  Keep in mind that the character that didn't pump all xp into stats will be further along talent trees and skills then the min/maxed character.  Again just my opinion it just seems boring and either powergameish or drives away from the idea of a cooperative game.

I think your take on the situation ignores the real ways characters distinguish themselves: skills and talents. The game's designed such that you can have two characters with identical stat blocks but different careers and specs and let them still each find their niches. My Smuggler: Pilot is going to play differently from your Explorer: Driver. *Shrug* I agree with Jonas and others. Nerfing starting stats isn't necessary and will potentially make players feel cheated.

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4 hours ago, Jawa4thewin said:

Either it makes a super powerful if all dumped into one stat or if the person dumps it into all 3's then they are missing the point that it is a cooperative game.  The idea is that the characters work together because they work well together and can do things they can't just do on their own.  The desire to make the character that is good at everything is not what a cooperative roleplaying game is about.

This is nonsense. The character that dumps starting XP into four (not all) 3's is neither missing the point that it's a cooperative game nor are they good at everything. What they are doing is giving themselves a solid base in several areas and that's not a bad idea nor is it incompatible with cooperative gaming. To be truly good at something in this game requires Skills and Talents to complement Characteristics. Only one of those three is difficult to improve later, so it makes sense to make starting buys there.

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I was writing my response, what's so 'uncooperative about making sure everyone has a solid initiative dice pool? Can recover Strain decently? Be able to perceive things? Or any of the myriad of checks where everyone rolls.

There's always the one tool who makes the 5 Agility Joe gun turret character out of the gate, and then expects others who roll better initiatives to give up their results constantly to him.  That seems pretty selfish and entitled to me, not cooperative.

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2 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

This is nonsense. The character that dumps starting XP into four (not all) 3's is neither missing the point that it's a cooperative game nor are they good at everything. What they are doing is giving themselves a solid base in several areas and that's not a bad idea nor is it incompatible with cooperative gaming. To be truly good at something in this game requires Skills and Talents to complement Characteristics. Only one of those three is difficult to improve later, so it makes sense to make starting buys there.

Nonsense???

Why so mad bro?  I just gave my opinion on the subject.  View it how you wish and I will view it how I wish. 

In this system skill ranks are not very important at all.  Mathematically having a yellow die instead of a green is very little difference and this shows in game play as few players will put xp into skills beyond those that link to talents that give bonuses based on skill ranks (ie deadly accuracy). 

The power gamers dump all initial XP into stats, then all XP into talent trees focused on getting down to dedication with a smattering of XP to get a few combat skills up to 2 or 3 ranks max.  If this statement makes you mad you are probably a power gamer and that is OK.  There are room for all type of games and gamers.  I just prefer some characters with a little character to start, not 4 football captains that are strong, fast, smart, and charismatic....

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6 minutes ago, Jawa4thewin said:

Nonsense???

Why so mad bro?  I just gave my opinion on the subject.  View it how you wish and I will view it how I wish. 

In this system skill ranks are not very important at all.  Mathematically having a yellow die instead of a green is very little difference and this shows in game play as few players will put xp into skills beyond those that link to talents that give bonuses based on skill ranks (ie deadly accuracy). 

The power gamers dump all initial XP into stats, then all XP into talent trees focused on getting down to dedication with a smattering of XP to get a few combat skills up to 2 or 3 ranks max.  If this statement makes you mad you are probably a power gamer and that is OK.  There are room for all type of games and gamers.  I just prefer some characters with a little character to start, not 4 football captains that are strong, fast, smart, and charismatic....

More nonsense. You think I'm mad? Nope; I'm just calling out nonsense for what it is.

In particular, the game designers come right out and suggest that dumping most or all starting XP into Charcteristics is their favored method. Their preferences are probably somewhat more important to most players than yours or mine.

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1 minute ago, HappyDaze said:

More nonsense. You think I'm mad? Nope; I'm just calling out nonsense for what it is.

In particular, the game designers come right out and suggest that dumping most or all starting XP into Charcteristics is their favored method. Their preferences are probably somewhat more important to most players than yours or mine.

Calm down man....

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1 hour ago, Jawa4thewin said:

In this system skill ranks are not very important at all.  Mathematically having a yellow die instead of a green is very little difference and this shows in game play as few players will put xp into skills beyond those that link to talents that give bonuses based on skill ranks (ie deadly accuracy). 

The power gamers dump all initial XP into stats, then all XP into talent trees focused on getting down to dedication with a smattering of XP to get a few combat skills up to 2 or 3 ranks max.  If this statement makes you mad you are probably a power gamer and that is OK.  There are room for all type of games and gamers.  I just prefer some characters with a little character to start, not 4 football captains that are strong, fast, smart, and charismatic....

I haven't seen this pattern in my games. My players like skills because those yellows lead to Triumphs. Triumphs are the only way to get to dramatically affect the game narrative. I'm not calling you out here, so please don't read this into what I'm about to say: It's up to the GM to make Triumphs interesting enough to lure players into taking more skill ranks rather than divebombing for Dedication.

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