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tom b2

Question regarding quick advancement

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I'm new to Genesys and I like what I'm seeing so far. One concern has come up, though. You only have an attribute range of up to 5, same for skills. 20 XP per session is recommended, and it only costs 5 times the next still level (sometimes +5). 

It seems like you could be topping out your skills pretty rapidly. The only other thing I'm aware of to spend XP on would be Talents. Are the Talents sufficient to dilute skill advancement?

How does this work in actual play? I tend to run long-term campaigns, and this worries me a bit.

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I suspect it won't be as bad as you're thinking once you actually experience it.  Most of my experience is with Star Wars (which has a slightly different system for talents- they're in skill trees rather than open talents), but I generally find that advancement is not bad.  The trick is that attributes are hard to advance after character creation (usually only through the Dedication talent) which requires investing 175 xp in talents to purchase the first time.  That's about 9 sessions if they focus on just doing that- which means they're not spending xp on skills.

It helps if you encourage your players to be well rounded and not to have a specialist character in every area that handles everything in that specialty.  You can do this organically by putting them in situations where the whole group needs to succeed at something (stealth, athletics, survival) and the expert can only aid them at it, not do it for them, or by creating situations where they have to operate outside their specialty.  So get the archer into melee combat, force the hacker to climb a building, make the mechanic sneak into somewhere, and so on.  This will encourage them to spread out their xp spending to some non-specialist choices (everyone needs at least a little skill at stealth, athletics, deception, or whatever).

My Star Wars campaign held up to about 1200 xp and was still fun to play at that point, but I could see where it was getting tougher to challenge them.  I haven't taken a Genesys game that far yet but I have confidence it will work just as well.

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I like the common recommendation of 5 xp per hour of gaming (full-up gaming, mind you, not chatting, pizza breaks, etc.) and I like to add 5 bonus xp for completing major quest objectives. It doesn't get out of control; IME, people rarely buy more than 2 ranks in anything but their core skills. Talents definitely soak up a ton of XP, and are exciting enough that it can actually be hard to make yourself buy a boring ol' skill rank.

I suspect you're coming from a D&D mindset where the PCs might expect to ascend from level 1 to 20 over the course of a year or more. Genesys works okay at that scale but it isn't really designed for it -- it's kind of built around a 6-month-ish campaign arc, depending on your speed. (Or, to put it another way, somewhere between one movie and a trilogy's worth of plot.)

Genesys also tends to keep up a good clip, so you'll be blowing through plot a lot faster than you expect if you're used to D&D like I was.

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On 6/16/2019 at 1:59 AM, tom b2 said:

It seems like you could be topping out your skills pretty rapidly. The only other thing I'm aware of to spend XP on would be Talents. Are the Talents sufficient to dilute skill advancement?

Yes, that's true. But keep in mind that talents are what let you do cool things with your skills! Having 5 ranks in a skill is fun. But it's even more fun if you can reroll that skill check once per session or reduce the difficulty of the check for a few points of strain! Both are only possible with high-tier talents (Natural and Master, respectively). Or making such a rousing speech for your companions that it recovers strain (Inspiring Rhetoric).

Skills let you do things, talents let you do fun things!

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7 hours ago, FinarinPanjoro said:

My Star Wars campaign held up to about 1200 xp and was still fun to play at that point, but I could see where it was getting tougher to challenge them.  I haven't taken a Genesys game that far yet but I have confidence it will work just as well.

Good to know, thanks!

 

6 hours ago, TheLonelySandPerson said:

I like the common recommendation of 5 xp per hour of gaming (full-up gaming, mind you, not chatting, pizza breaks, etc.) and I like to add 5 bonus xp for completing major quest objectives. It doesn't get out of control; IME, people rarely buy more than 2 ranks in anything but their core skills. Talents definitely soak up a ton of XP, and are exciting enough that it can actually be hard to make yourself buy a boring ol' skill rank.

I suspect you're coming from a D&D mindset where the PCs might expect to ascend from level 1 to 20 over the course of a year or more. Genesys works okay at that scale but it isn't really designed for it -- it's kind of built around a 6-month-ish campaign arc, depending on your speed. (Or, to put it another way, somewhere between one movie and a trilogy's worth of plot.)

Genesys also tends to keep up a good clip, so you'll be blowing through plot a lot faster than you expect if you're used to D&D like I was.

Actually, the systems I prefer tend to go for skill-by-skill increases, much like Genesys. They just have more room to advance each skill. They usually don't have talents in the same fashion, so since I haven't seen complaints about PCs topping out as a problem, I was thinking it had to be because of the availability of talents.

 

6 hours ago, c__beck said:

Yes, that's true. But keep in mind that talents are what let you do cool things with your skills! Having 5 ranks in a skill is fun. But it's even more fun if you can reroll that skill check once per session or reduce the difficulty of the check for a few points of strain! Both are only possible with high-tier talents (Natural and Master, respectively). Or making such a rousing speech for your companions that it recovers strain (Inspiring Rhetoric).

Skills let you do things, talents let you do fun things!

I have no problem with Talents, I just wanted to make sure they were enough of a draw that players would want to spend XP there, which sounds like is the case.

Good to know, thanks for the responses!

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On 6/16/2019 at 1:59 AM, tom b2 said:


1. It seems like you could be topping out your skills pretty rapidly.

2. The only other thing I'm aware of to spend XP on would be Talents.

3. Are the Talents sufficient to dilute skill advancement?

4. How does this work in actual play?

5. I tend to run long-term campaigns, and this worries me a bit.

1. Assuming it is a career skill you got your first rank free in at character creation, then it would take you 3.5 sessions, rounded up to 4 sessions, (at a rate of 20xp per session) of doing nothing but upgrading that skill. A non-career skill going from no ranks to 5 ranks would take 5 sessions. If your group plays weekly it might seem to go by quick but if you play every fortnight or monthly it won't seem so bad.

2. Talents and Skills are the only things one can spend xp on in Genesys post character creation. Considering your first tier 5 talent requires 175xp, which takes 8.75 rounded up to 9 sessions. The tier 5 talent Dedication is a coveted one and is the only way post character creation to increase your Characteristics.

3. See the above post, but my answer is yes players will likely get a mix of skill ranks and talents. It's rare a player goes straight to maxing out a skill.

4. It works great. Advancement is fun and significant, and only in the case of the related Star Wars game with Force Users do characters turn into xp addicts. In Genesys and even in Star Wars with non-Force Users, I haven't come across disappointments (note that in Star Wars Force Power upgrades cost xp as well, so those players have a third avenue of upgrades with the same amount of xp as everyone else).

5. I ran Star Wars at up to 1000xp and it ran fine. Take away the Force stuff from that, break talent trees out to the pyramid and you get this system.

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Also I highly suggest using TheSapient's expanded Talent list which you can find here:

This will give your players more options and this list is very well crafted and balanced.

Also you could consider creating other systems that your players can spend XP on.  I'm currently running a Super Hero campaign and the PCs can also spend XP on powers, but you could add a system of favors (ala Shadow of the Beanstalk), Special Abilities (ala Terrinoth), a system of ranks (social, political, military, etc) which conveys advantages within your setting, or larger scale gear benefits like vehicles, buildings, that aren't available through cash (or maybe higher tech than is available through cash).

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Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. That allays my concerns. We meet weekly, but nobody's a power gamer, so I expect they'll spread their points.

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I have a game going on where i give out 5-10 XP per session. and players have alternated between Talents and Skills. So far, they have gathered 300 XP, and while some characters have focused on a specific field, they are branching out, and rounding out their characters.

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