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My issue with Aptitudes

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Aptitudes have made a reappearance in the new beta, along with a Google docs spreadsheet you can use to calculate costs in another thread in this very forum.

 

I'm not a big fan of Aptitudes. They're a nice idea. The problem with DH1 is that each character class is locked into a specific table of advances and can't take anything outside of it. With BC/OW, they quite wisely opened up character creation so that any kind of character could take any advance.  In order to maintain some character specialization and not make characters too samey, Aptitudes were introduced to affect the costs of advances. So the smart guy got a discount on smart skills and the shooty guy got a discount on shooty skills. Nice idea.

 

The problem is that, in practice, figuring out how much it costs to purchase anything takes way too long. You've got to flip to the character advance cost table, flip back to the skill or talent page to get its associated Aptitudes, its tier, then back to the table to figure out how much you need to pay to get it by cross referencing two tables half a book apart and your character sheet. Very clunky in actual practice.

 

This system would work great, however, if all of that cost calculation was done for you. The original DH2 beta had sort of a half measure - each Role had a table that was essentially the costs derived from assumed Aptitudes that you used to figure out the cost. For talents, the cost was listed along with the talent's description You still had to do some math, but everything you needed to know was right on one page.

 

But back to Aptitudes. They wouldn't be a problem if all the work was done for you. It's 2013 - why is figuring out how to advance my character such a chore?  With that in mind, I call on FFG to put out an electronic character sheet that will do these calculations for you. Maybe something that will you can use to print out a table for the cost of every advance for your character. The rules for the calculations are simple. Make it easy for us.

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I agree with cps. I think the Aptitude system, while an interesting idea and a welcome change from DH1, is clunky and makes advancement more difficult than it needs to be.

 

For me, the problem is the "three tier" system... which I think owes homage to the old three tier characteristic charts form DH1. I would almost prefer a two tier system... either you have the aptitude for an advance and it's cheap or you don't and it's more expensive. That would be a much cleaner and more intuitively manageable system to my mind. 

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I have to agree here.

Aptitudes is great idea, but somewhat poorly different to the DH 1 system. It's so **** difficult to change your character over time.

 

I played an Weapon Specialist back in OW (the "tutorial scenario in the book), and my skills at shooting were beyond any normal human will be able to. Just after character creation, i had 50 BS, and specialized in Las, SP and Bolt. I normally used a sniper rifle, being somewhat different to our little fellow ratling sniper. After some thousands of experience points, i figured out it were better for me to stay as a Weapon Specialist (in SP weapons) than evolving to the true sniper (sharpshooter). That is just dumb.. I only had to pay a few more 100's xp for 1 talent, or i could jump over to the sharpshooter, get it for less xp, but waste this: 1 free talent for joining sharpshooter, get 1 new aptitude for the loss of 2 others, and waste one free stat upgrade (when hitting the 2,5k - 5k ect xp cap).

 

Sure, i like the aptitude work more than the BC version.. 

But they cut of the talent trees, which were really easy to figure out, and far more specialized (due to telling you "this is about mental things", "this is social talents"). 

 

Sorry if i'm a bit off the topic. 

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I don't really see the problem - you're not going to buy Skills, Talents, etc. all the time, so all the flipping pages would really only occur in the "downtime" when you are spending XP and tweaking your character. Which is usually in-between games. Where we would have all the time in the world and the game would not be slowed down.

 

It's certainly not worse than the flipping pages we'd still have to do to find out how something works because the entire system is clunky in general, and I actually feel that saving countless pages with tables whose sole purpose is to save you 10 seconds of math works in our favour, simply because we have less pages to flip. :P

 

As a player, I'd just look this sort of stuff up beforehand. My character sheet lists both my Aptitudes as well as the amount of XP I have to spend, so the only page-flipping is to the section that lists the stuff I'm interested in. I compare what I want with what I have and ... voila, either I know I can take it right now, or I'll keep in mind how many more XP I need for the future.

 

That being said, I could certainly see players coming up with easy-to-use spreadsheets and helpful tables for those players who feel they'd benefit from it.

 

I could also see potential in trimming down the system in a manner as mentioned by LuciusT, or coming up with a sort of "level-dependent Characteristics cap" (can only raise a specific Characteristic once every couple thousand XP) as it seems would have benefited Scyndria (though it seems strange to hear such a complaint when the player was intentionally pushing the system), but all in all I don't see anything wrong with how Aptitudes work in principle. Some fine-tuning would be nice, but I wouldn't even say it's needed. There are other mechanics that seem far more in need of a revision, imo.

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stuff

You haven't really refuted any of my points. "It's a clunky system" and "do this annoying page flipping in your spare time" are not valid arguments.

 

In my group, we spend XP at the start of the session. Doing it in one's spare time is simply not going to happen with my group. All game stuff happens at the table. I wish this were not totally the case, but it is.

 

I'm not necessarily asking for a rework of the Aptitude system. By the rules, they actually work pretty well at doing what they set out to do. The problem is they're too clunky to use in practice because every single time you spend XP you need to do the same figuring you did last time you spent XP. I'm not asking for any tables to be included in the rulebook. There are simply too many combinations of Aptitudes for that to be viable. I'm asking for FFG to put out a tool to make their system less of a chore.

 

Scyndria, to your point on character power level, DH1 is sort of alone in being a game of low powered idiots running around. I made a character last night and was surprised at how easy it is to build a very competent (high-characteristic) character.

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You only need one simple cheat sheet to never have to cross-check the book again, containing the following charts:

-Characteristic costs,

-Skill costs,

-Talent costs,

-Characteristic Aptitudes,

-Skill Aptitudes,

-Place for listing the Aptitudes the character has.

 

You don't need the Talents' Aptitudes charts, because each Talent conveniently lists it's Aptitudes in it's description, and I'm assuming reading up on a Talent you're planning to buy is a fairly standard practice in an exception-based system.

 

Print it out, hand out one copy per player, and you have all the info you need in one tidy place. You can even print it on the back of their character sheet to save rainforests! Problem solved.

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Problem not solved. That still has the problem that every time you go to spend XP you have to do the same work you did last time you spent XP in figuring out the costs based on the associated Aptitudes. There's no reason to do the same math over and over every time you get XP.

 

Printing it on the back of the character sheet is a nice idea, but character sheets are 2 pages and I already print on both sides.

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What about putting a '+' (you have both aptitudes), '-' (only one aptitude) or 'x' (zero aptitude) next to each characteristic/skill? It is not like your aptitudes will change, so you only need to do this once. 

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I also prefered the Beta v1 system of Characteristics and Skill costs being predetermined by Role, and the Talent Trees were nice as well.

 

Aptitudes were something my group never really liked, even with the freedom involved it did include all the work listed above. Beta v1 looked like a step in the right direction for us, with the costs clearly given, but still allowing players some freedom to make their characters due to there being no real restrictions on which Talent Trees you could use.

 

Kind of disappointed in the change to the Only War system.

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You haven't really refuted any of my points. [...] In my group, we spend XP at the start of the session. Doing it in one's spare time is simply not going to happen with my group. All game stuff happens at the table. I wish this were not totally the case, but it is.

 

Alright, but then this sounds like a problem limited to your group's approach. By the way you worded your argument, it sounds as if you perceive it as a general flaw when in fact it only occurs under very specific circumstances.

To me, it would actually be a negative thing IF countless pages were being wasted with useless tables of stuff I can look up myself. It'd also create an unnecessary hassle for any fan-based supplements; one of Only War's big advantages is that a class only needs 1-2 pages, whereas with Dark Heresy it's like 3-5 .. half of them tables.

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I could also see potential in trimming down the system in a manner as mentioned by LuciusT, or coming up with a sort of "level-dependent Characteristics cap" (can only raise a specific Characteristic once every couple thousand XP) as it seems would have benefited Scyndria (though it seems strange to hear such a complaint when the player was intentionally pushing the system), but all in all I don't see anything wrong with how Aptitudes work in principle. Some fine-tuning would be nice, but I wouldn't even say it's needed. There are other mechanics that seem far more in need of a revision, imo.

Well, it wasn't my intention to "push" the system, only to make most use of what i got. It were my first time creating an OW character, i just figured that out over the time. I were at 2500 xp, then i figured out that i had no real benefit of being a sharpshooter.

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You haven't really refuted any of my points. [...] In my group, we spend XP at the start of the session. Doing it in one's spare time is simply not going to happen with my group. All game stuff happens at the table. I wish this were not totally the case, but it is.

Alright, but then this sounds like a problem limited to your group's approach. By the way you worded your argument, it sounds as if you perceive it as a general flaw when in fact it only occurs under very specific circumstances.

To me, it would actually be a negative thing IF countless pages were being wasted with useless tables of stuff I can look up myself. It'd also create an unnecessary hassle for any fan-based supplements; one of Only War's big advantages is that a class only needs 1-2 pages, whereas with Dark Heresy it's like 3-5 .. half of them tables.

 

With the (old new, beta 1.0) version, you only had 2 pages to look at, as your role as specified with 2 tables. That is way better than DH1, The old talent trees made it easier to figure out "oh hey, i need a talent to defend myself".

Just my opinion :)

Edited by Scyndria

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What about putting a '+' (you have both aptitudes), '-' (only one aptitude) or 'x' (zero aptitude) next to each characteristic/skill? It is not like your aptitudes will change, so you only need to do this once. 

I actually did exactly this when I made a character last night. It helps with characteristics and skills, but it doesn't help at all with talents.

 

 

Alright, but then this sounds like a problem limited to your group's approach. By the way you worded your argument, it sounds as if you perceive it as a general flaw when in fact it only occurs under very specific circumstances.

To me, it would actually be a negative thing IF countless pages were being wasted with useless tables of stuff I can look up myself. It'd also create an unnecessary hassle for any fan-based supplements; one of Only War's big advantages is that a class only needs 1-2 pages, whereas with Dark Heresy it's like 3-5 .. half of them tables.

 

No. Let me be very clear. The problem as I see it is that every time you spend XP you have to redo the work to figure out advance costs that you did last time you spent XP. It's tedious. This rework occurs regardless of whether you spend XP between sessions or at the table. It's baked into the system, independent of any circumstances.

I'm not asking for countless derived tables to take up page space. Stop bringing that up.

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With the (old new, beta 1.0) version, you only had 2 pages to look at, as your role as specified with 2 tables. That is way better than DH1, The old talent trees made it easier to figure out "oh hey, i need a talent to defend myself".

 

Alright, I'll take your word for it - I'm still operating largely on what I'm hearing on these forums. ;)

Still, I think no tables is superior to few tables ... matter of preferences, I guess!

 

I'm not asking for countless derived tables to take up page space. Stop bringing that up.

 

What exactly are you asking for, then? Because those additional tables is what I understood was your suggestion in the very first post - in addition or alternatively to wanting FFG to put out some sort of electronic character sheet.

 

Not that I wouldn't like to see the latter in general, mind you (why is it still that next to no P&P company bothers with online character generation tools when they are this popular?), but additional tables seem more likely, and personally I just don't think they are necessary, but indeed rather a hassle. I can see where you're coming from, but at least judging from Only War this is just not a problem that has ever occurred to me.

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Something I can plug in my Aptitudes and print out a table containing the cost of every advance available. If that could be integrated with an interactive character sheet, even better. Tablets are a thing now, RPG companies. Get on it.

 

Putting that in the rulebook is simply not viable due to the immense amount of variation in starting Aptitudes. There's no need for additional tables in the rulebook.

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Problem not solved. That still has the problem that every time you go to spend XP you have to do the same work you did last time you spent XP in figuring out the costs based on the associated Aptitudes. There's no reason to do the same math over and over every time you get XP.

There's no math involved? The only math you have to do is subtract the cost you find in the chart from the number of exp you have to spend, and you have to do this in every iteration of 40k, aptitudes or not.

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I didn't say math; I said work. I need to look at the aptitudes for an advance, figure out how many of those I have on my character sheet, flip to the table that has the costs in it and look it up. For every single advance I want to take. If I don't have the XP required and save for later, I have to do the exact same process again next week.

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I agree with cps. I think the Aptitude system, while an interesting idea and a welcome change from DH1, is clunky and makes advancement more difficult than it needs to be.

 

For me, the problem is the "three tier" system... which I think owes homage to the old three tier characteristic charts form DH1. I would almost prefer a two tier system... either you have the aptitude for an advance and it's cheap or you don't and it's more expensive. That would be a much cleaner and more intuitively manageable system to my mind. 

The problem is that with only two aptitudes per Talent (or Skill), Tiers are necessary unless you want all Talents to be practically equal in usability and "power". I do not see how you will separate the power-level without a tier system.

That being said, I can't emphasize with the stance of the OP at all. If advancements was an issue during play, I would, because it does require some flipping back and forth, taking up valuable play time. But advancements are meant to be resolved during downtime.

Even for someone that take days to flesh out a character and hours to do the sheets, I do understand that some people enjoy generating a character or it's advancement(s) in minutes - but I just don't see this as a strong enough rationale for changing the system.

However, restricting advancements based on Role in addition to the Aptitudes system seems... overly prohibitive. I lack experience and knowledge of how DH2 Beta 2.0 functions at present, but it sounds to me like it would be very constricting.

Much of the issue with the OP is all the flipping in the book, something that has been a problem since forever, with multiple sections, throughout all the books. Reprinting tables in relevant sections may increase the number of pages somewhat, and I understand that space comes at a premium, but it may be well worth it just to not having to flip around the entire book for advancements or acquisitions.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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CPS is also asking for a helpful character sheet AND a PDF making good use of the format, two things which are pretty foreign to the entire 40k rpg line.

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I agree with cps. I think the Aptitude system, while an interesting idea and a welcome change from DH1, is clunky and makes advancement more difficult than it needs to be.

 

For me, the problem is the "three tier" system... which I think owes homage to the old three tier characteristic charts form DH1. I would almost prefer a two tier system... either you have the aptitude for an advance and it's cheap or you don't and it's more expensive. That would be a much cleaner and more intuitively manageable system to my mind.

The problem is that with only two aptitudes per Talent (or Skill), Tiers are necessary unless you want all Talents to be practically equal in usability and "power". I do not see how you will separate the power-level without a tier system.

 

This I mostly agree with. Tiers are one way to stagger Talents by cost and usefulness. The original beta tried to do the same thing with Talent trees, but those had their own problems.

 

That being said, I can't emphasize with the stance of the OP at all. If advancements was an issue during play, I would, because it does require some flipping back and forth, taking up valuable play time. But advancements are meant to be resolved during downtime.

Where does it say advancements are meant to be done at downtime? Are you telling me we're playing wrong?

 

Even for someone that take days to flesh out a character and hours to do the sheets, I do understand that some people enjoy generating a character or it's advancement(s) in minutes - but I just don't see this as a strong enough rationale for changing the system.

I'm not advocating changing the system.

 

However, restricting advancements based on Role in addition to the Aptitudes system seems... overly prohibitive. I lack experience and knowledge of how DH2 Beta 2.0 functions at present, but it sounds to me like it would be very constricting.

I'm not advocating restricting advancements by Role. In fact, in the OP I express the exact opposite sentiment.

 

Much of the issue with the OP is all the flipping in the book, something that has been a problem since forever, with multiple sections, throughout all the books.

Yes, but this needn't be the case for future games.

 

Reprinting tables in relevant sections may increase the number of pages somewhat, and I understand that space comes at a premium, but it may be well worth it just to not having to flip around the entire book for advancements or acquisitions.

I'm not asking for the tables to be reprinted anywhere. That would be dumb. (and knowing FFG the tables would have minor differences anyway)

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Cps, you are too immersed in us being in a contrarian relationship; my post wasn't specifically directed at you, nor revolving around you. I was merely musing. I never said you were advocating anything, nor intended to oppose something you said.

As for Advancements being done in downtime.. I'm not sure that's actually said anywhere, true, I just assumed it was practice. It would just be very odd to me if someone in the middle of a battle scene said "Hold up! I'm going to assign the 250xp I earned at the end of last session now...".

Or something to that effect.

Every group I've ever been in have done advancements in preparation for or after playing, no matter the game. I'm not trying to say that there's a right way and a wrong way, and I guess I just made assumptions based on what makes sense to me. What's the rationale for doing it in the middle of playtime?

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I'm familiar with why it's being done before playtime. A few years ago I used to frequent a FLGS to play games. We'd gather to play pathfinder, 40k rpgs like Dark Heresy, whatever was the fit for the time. During these time, it was almost always the case everyone would leave the updating to the next session, before we'd play. We'd even leave our supplies in the store since we were on good terms with the owner. 

 

all in all, I can understand the sentiment. Nothing sucks worse than wanting to start a game (When you are really eager and in a good group) and have to wait to the slow poke to finish updating his sheet. XD

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Cps, you are too immersed in us being in a contrarian relationship; my post wasn't specifically directed at you, nor revolving around you. I was merely musing. I never said you were advocating anything, nor intended to oppose something you said.

As for Advancements being done in downtime.. I'm not sure that's actually said anywhere, true, I just assumed it was practice. It would just be very odd to me if someone in the middle of a battle scene said "Hold up! I'm going to assign the 250xp I earned at the end of last session now...".

Or something to that effect.

Every group I've ever been in have done advancements in preparation for or after playing, no matter the game. I'm not trying to say that there's a right way and a wrong way, and I guess I just made assumptions based on what makes sense to me. What's the rationale for doing it in the middle of playtime?

Okay, sorry.

 

We don't spend XP when it's convenient for the character to have the skill. We spend XP at the start of every session, mostly because I'm the only one with a physical copy of the books and my players all have some kind of allergic reaction to PDFs. When we're all sitting at the table is the only time they'll spend doing XP stuff.

 

I'm actually a little worried they won't be up for trying out the beta just because it's a PDF. Lazy jerks.

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While I understand that a built-in representation or "fix" would be preferable to you, for what it's worth, it is entirely possible to do an Excel Spreadsheet (much like people did for Only War), that will automatically calculate the cost(s) for all Advances for you, and then you could print that for each character, so you have it right in front of you (or your players).

As much as I can see how your situation is annoying, I like the modular system, and I can't really think of a solution to it without compromising it, or adding a significant number of pages.

I fully agree with the request in your initial post. It would be tremendously useful if FFG made their own (online?) tool for doing this, allowing you to print nicely formatted, ready-made sheets for each individual character, based on that individual character's available Aptitudes.

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