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Tom Cruise

Can someone please explain the appeal of aptitudes to me

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(there will be powergamers and minimaxers in every system...)

 

You do know this isn't actually true, right?

 

 

It is in my experience. Now if you take into account that whilst not every group will have powergamers it's not unreasonable to say that every system will have powergamers (regardless of the effectiveness of such a strategy).

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Of course it is always possible to built characters that benefit more from a system than others.

 

The systems task is to make this gap as small as possible though.

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(there will be powergamers and minimaxers in every system...)

 

You do know this isn't actually true, right?

As long as it's possible to create an effectiveness gap between characters in the system, someone will attempt it, consciously or subconsciously. I've seen it happen in FATE, both successfully and unsuccessfully. Playing FATE with a competent powergamer is pretty seamless, but playing it with a bad one quickly becomes a chore.

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I think Aptitudes are a reasonable compromise between narrowly defined (sometimes too much so) 'character classes' and wide-open 'classless' systems which, in my experience, tend to result in either nonsensical jumbles ("I'm a Pilot/Demolitions Expert, whose hobbies are Animal Training and Surgery! Signiture weapon: flame thrower!") or game-breaking MinMaxed nightmares.

 

And Aptitudes tend to make some real-world sense to me: if you are from a rural area, for example, it's probably going to be easier for you to learn how to ride a horse and survive in the wilderness than someone from an urban environment. Not that the person from the city is prohibited from learning those skills; it just requires more effort. And if you are working as a sniper in the military, you probably aren't also getting training in how to hack computers- if you also want those skills, it will require extra effort.

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(there will be powergamers and minimaxers in every system...)

 

You do know this isn't actually true, right?

 

 

I apologize for blanket statement, maybe it should be formulated "in every system I have played or gamemastered so far".  But the freshest experience is from gun-totting Irish lawyer friend of mine played in historical Victorian Era World of Darkness, which left me a bit bitter, horrified and cynical :D

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wide-open 'classless' systems which, in my experience, tend to result in either nonsensical jumbles ("I'm a Pilot/Demolitions Expert, whose hobbies are Animal Training and Surgery! Signiture weapon: flame thrower!"

I think if you have this problem, you may want to seek out a different group.

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What was said about practically creating the career fit for your character (there will be powergamers and minimaxers in every system...)

 

I'm unclear what your message here is.

 

 

It's expected that a powergamer will always find the closest semblance of a One True Build

 

Can there be a one true build? Roleplaying games involve encountering such a variety of different circumstances that even in high-op games, different players will want to be good at different things. You can make Punchpriest, the Techpriest who Punches Hard Enough To Kill Carnifaxes (Canifaxi? Carnifaxus?), and I can make Orkface, the Ork Who Can Survive Being Hit By Planets, and Steve can make FaceFace, the Noble Who Can Convince Any Enemy To Switch Sides In Twelve Seconds Or Less and they're all absurdly overpowered but not identical or even measurable on the same metric. (Well, I suppose you could run the builds through hundreds of hypothetical scenarios and then grade them based on how many they could resolve, and how effectively they could resolve those, but even knowing that Orkface is the tactically optimal build wouldn't stop party members from wanting to play FaceFace, just because they like diplomacy)

 

 

 Still, a system with inherent limitations at least pays lip service to the idea of not allowing munchkins free rein. Which may or may not be important to you or anyone in particular. Just showing the mechanism.

 

 

I strongly doubt that preventing over-optimization of builds was FFG's intent with the Aptitude system, seeing as how the best builds in any system involve taking lots of related things that have good synergy, and the Aptitude system suggests doing exactly that. If anything, it's more likely to be broken than a flat rate, because it says to the player "No, don't have your assassin pick up Pilot! There's a tax on that! Just focus on Improved Knife, there's a discount on that."

 

For those who want to get rid of aptitudes, it's exceedingly easy - just ignore the ones everyone should gain at character creation and assume everything anyone could possibly want to buy is priced as if he had one corresponding aptitude. It's generally way easier to houserule the aptitude system into a flat-cost system than it is to go the other way around and impose class-specific limitations on a system inherently built for freeform advancement.

 

 

This is a fair point, but I'm still not convinced that class-based systems really add anything.

 

I think Aptitudes are a reasonable compromise between narrowly defined (sometimes too much so) 'character classes' and wide-open 'classless' systems which, in my experience, tend to result in either nonsensical jumbles ("I'm a Pilot/Demolitions Expert, whose hobbies are Animal Training and Surgery! Signiture weapon: flame thrower!") or game-breaking MinMaxed nightmares.

That sounds more like a problem with the player/GM, as mentioned. Also, how is that jumble nonsensical? Clearly, they were a veterinarian with a yen for tactical explosives before they joined the air force! Lots of people do it! And it's the 40k universe, so clearly their plane just has heavy flamers instead of heavy bolters! :P

 

And Aptitudes tend to make some real-world sense to me: if you are from a rural area, for example, it's probably going to be easier for you to learn how to ride a horse and survive in the wilderness than someone from an urban environment. Not that the person from the city is prohibited from learning those skills; it just requires more effort. And if you are working as a sniper in the military, you probably aren't also getting training in how to hack computers- if you also want those skills, it will require extra effort.

 

That's convenience, rather than aptitude though. It's easier for me, as a rural person, to learn to ride horses because if I ever want to ride a horse I can walk out the door and shout "Hey, you! You with the horses! Could you teach me?" It's not that being born in the open sky gives me a secret spiritual bond with horses so that I can master the art of riding in half the time.

Edited by susanbrindle

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This is a fair point, but I'm still not convinced that class-based systems really add anything.

I'll just have to repeat myself I guess:

I agree that I prefer fully free systems. Many complain that this leads to cookie-cutter characters though.

However I find the aptitude system to be fairly simple and to be honest, if we must have classes/careers/roles/whatever, then aptitudes are a much better way of doing them than that godawful Career system of the Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and Deathwatch.

Now, since FFG seems to be stuck with this horrible idea that we must have classes/careers/roles/whatever, aptitudes get my vote for being the lesser evil.

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I often give my players the opportunity to purchase a skill at discounted price based on in-game experiences. For example, if the Mystic checks out several books on codes and ciphers from the library and spends some time studying them, I'll let him buy Scholastic Lore (Cryptography) at half price. The Warrior might be able to pick up the rudiments of Tech-Use at a discount after he saves an Explorator Magos from certain death and spends time learning some basic prayers to the Omnissiah. I use this technique to let players craft their character advances beyond what their Aptitudes normally encourage. While it works especially well with Lore skills, it can really work with just about anything, though I don't let people buy combat skills/talents for balance reasons.

I would like it if some similar guidelines were included in the final DH2 rulebook. I like to reward my players for spending actual game time improving their skills, and I think an official system for doing this will help creative players bring their character to life without lagging too far behind the min-maxed characters in terms of XP. Perhaps a significant time investment towards learning a skill would allow players to buy skills as if they had one extra associated Aptitude?

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And here I thought we were all here to provide feedback on a new game.

 

Then you are mistaken, we are here to provide feedback on a new edition of an existing game.

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And here I thought we were all here to provide feedback on a new game.

 

Then you are mistaken, we are here to provide feedback on a new edition of an existing game.

 

 

We are here to improve Only War ;)

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And here I thought we were all here to provide feedback on a new game.

 

Then you are mistaken, we are here to provide feedback on a new edition of an existing game.

 

 

We are here to improve Only War ;)

 

 

Well, since each game in the 40K RPG line has been an improvement on the previous game, for once I would say you're not wrong in that statement.

Edited by LuciusT
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Well, just for flavor if nothing else, I'll go ahead and post since I see merit in those horrible class/career systems.   ;)

 

My group noticed a few 'disconnects' in the new char-gen system, for example the Tech-Priest having the Social Aptitude due to his Role, that otherwise seemed a good fit.  Obviously, some groups might have reacted with, "Wow, how creative", whereas mine reacted with, "Huh?  That's kind of off."  It's possible for a Tech-Priest to be a charismatic preacher or a nimble dancer...I guess.  But my group prefers them sturdy, mechanical & cogitating.

 

I know, I know...Adepts could be silent blade/blood-worshipping killing machines....but my group prefers those to be assassins.  I know boring!  <yawn>  Geez, what are you going to do with us?   :P

 

Imperial Guard could be great at languages and terrible at fighting....but, really?  I think the class/career system has its merits.

 

I like a system with 'paths', if that term is more palatable, but allows some differentiation - I think that's what the Aptitudes system attempts to do.  Not saying it's perfect, but I think it's reasonable (as long as you don't mind some of your Tech-Priests being oddly sociable).

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Why should people who want to go outside of the boring, done to death character tropes of 40k be penalised? Creativity should be rewarded, not restricted.

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Well, just for flavor if nothing else, I'll go ahead and post since I see merit in those horrible class/career systems.   ;)

 

My group noticed a few 'disconnects' in the new char-gen system, for example the Tech-Priest having the Social Aptitude due to his Role, that otherwise seemed a good fit.  Obviously, some groups might have reacted with, "Wow, how creative", whereas mine reacted with, "Huh?  That's kind of off."  It's possible for a Tech-Priest to be a charismatic preacher or a nimble dancer...I guess.  But my group prefers them sturdy, mechanical & cogitating.

 

I know, I know...Adepts could be silent blade/blood-worshipping killing machines....but my group prefers those to be assassins.  I know boring!  <yawn>  Geez, what are you going to do with us?   :P

 

Imperial Guard could be great at languages and terrible at fighting....but, really?  I think the class/career system has its merits.

 

I like a system with 'paths', if that term is more palatable, but allows some differentiation - I think that's what the Aptitudes system attempts to do.  Not saying it's perfect, but I think it's reasonable (as long as you don't mind some of your Tech-Priests being oddly sociable).

I don't see a more sociable (or human) tech priest as a problem. It may be uncommon, but it is supported by the lore.

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Well, just for flavor if nothing else, I'll go ahead and post since I see merit in those horrible class/career systems.   ;)

 

My group noticed a few 'disconnects' in the new char-gen system, for example the Tech-Priest having the Social Aptitude due to his Role, that otherwise seemed a good fit.  Obviously, some groups might have reacted with, "Wow, how creative", whereas mine reacted with, "Huh?  That's kind of off."  It's possible for a Tech-Priest to be a charismatic preacher or a nimble dancer...I guess.  But my group prefers them sturdy, mechanical & cogitating.

 

I know, I know...Adepts could be silent blade/blood-worshipping killing machines....but my group prefers those to be assassins.  I know boring!  <yawn>  Geez, what are you going to do with us?   :P

 

Imperial Guard could be great at languages and terrible at fighting....but, really?  I think the class/career system has its merits.

 

I like a system with 'paths', if that term is more palatable, but allows some differentiation - I think that's what the Aptitudes system attempts to do.  Not saying it's perfect, but I think it's reasonable (as long as you don't mind some of your Tech-Priests being oddly sociable).

 

Nothing whatsoever in the career-less system prevents you from making standard-type characters. However, the class/career system does prevent me from making non-standard characters. That is why I don't like class/career systems.

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Nothing whatsoever in the career-less system prevents you from making standard-type characters. However, the class/career system does prevent me from making non-standard characters. That is why I don't like class/career systems.

 

It depends on what you mean by "prevent", but if you go so far as saying "nothing whatsoever" then it's actually not true.

 

Is it possible for a player to ignore any given Aptitudes he has that doesn't fit his character?  Of course, but given that Aptitudes determine that PC's costs for characteristics, skills and talents - there's a sharp cost for ignoring any Aptitudes the system gives him.  This issue came up when the Mechanicus player, who wasn't attracted to the far less common Mechanicus salesman-type and who found that social skills were significantly cheaper for him than other skills that fit his PC much better.  This is despite the fact that his chosen Role of Seeker (the idea being a relentless puzzle-solver) seemed otherwise to be one of the better for Mechanicus.

 

This isn't actually a "complaint".  I support chargen systems that allow for some out-of-the-box thinking.  I prefer that chargen permits the Adept to acquire the Quick Draw talent, for example (but it doesn't make sense to me that it would cost him the same as his own self-chosen profession of knowledge).  But the notion that Beta2's more open chargen system holds no negative ramifications "whatsoever" for players who wish to play the hated archetype isn't true.  It's a tradeoff & it's fine - but more open systems have their ramifications.

Edited by seanpp

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The issue with buying things outside of your aptitudes is it means you're spending more for less. Which means that, over time, the power level of each PC can end up wildly different, leading to PCs who've spent intelligently completely outshining those who tried to break outside of their aptitudes. This is frankly just horrible game design, it shouldn't be possible for such a wide power gulf to exist between equal XP characters.

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While I'll admit I've not thought this through, would there be any merit in characters being able to gain more aptitudes as they increase in rank?

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The issue with buying things outside of your aptitudes is it means you're spending more for less. Which means that, over time, the power level of each PC can end up wildly different, leading to PCs who've spent intelligently completely outshining those who tried to break outside of their aptitudes. This is frankly just horrible game design, it shouldn't be possible for such a wide power gulf to exist between equal XP characters.

Whereas I've had excellent experiences with playing in wildly unbalanced groups. Cookiecutter identical characters have generally been far more boring, and these generally come about in 2 ways:

 

1) Strongly Definded Character Classes. Not as popular as they used to be, but I remember days when the difference between Fighters were mainly what weapon they specialised in. There were about 3 optimal choices IIRC depending on priorities.

2) Best Choices. If your campaign features an excess of some specific type of story element, choices to cater to that story element will be better than other choices. Alternatively, some choices are just cheaper than others for the benefit they provide. I've sat at games where the Cleric should've had about twice as many XPs as the Guardsmen to be "balanced", because of the focus on ranged combat. This really is an issue with the group, but can be encouraged by using completely flat prices. Have you ever played Shadowrun? 3rd edition or earlier? If so, have you ever seen anyone use a light pistol when a heavy pistol wa available?

 

Sadly, the 2 models can be combined. It might just be me, but IME the first 2 ranks of Old DH provided strict classes containing best choices, meaning that variety within the first 2 ranks (of a given career) was largly non-existant. I do hope your experiences differ.

 

While I generally prefer fully flat prices, I do see aptitudes as an excellent compromise.

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While I'll admit I've not thought this through, would there be any merit in characters being able to gain more aptitudes as they increase in rank?

Not sure.

I think it will only lead to people planning out their purchases, delaying certain purchases until they are cheaper.

I've seen that happen in OW certainly, where advanced specialisations allow you some freedom to swap aptitudes.

 

Also, I thought we were eliminating the whole idea of Ranks. Did I miss something?

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While I'll admit I've not thought this through, would there be any merit in characters being able to gain more aptitudes as they increase in rank?

I think this idea has occurred to all of us, but if you consider it, it's a terrible one.

It would mean that people would hold off advances that are appropriate for them and their characters until they get "that next Aptitude", and largely invalidate what the Aptitude system is trying to do.

The way that they hand out Aptitudes in DH2 through general Elite Advancement Packages is incredibly flawed. I wouldn't mind packages having trade-offs (in fact, that's how I intend to do it myself for my "Specialist Packages"), but just handing out extra Aptitudes is incredibly dodgy, and will rapidly lead to Aptitude-bloat and "strategic waiting".

While this is inherently harmful to the player's own experience (more likely than not), we've been shown time and time again that human psychology is a bit more complicated than that. A lot of people (me included; I am no übermensch in this regard) is liable to hold off doing the fun thing in order to do the optimal thing in a lot of cases (even if that case is just about realizing a very specific non-optimized character concept), even at detriment.

I can think of countless examples in gaming, especially modern computer and console gaming, where this is true.

Additional Aptitudes should only ever be handed out through GM fiat; never, ever otherwise, and never without trade-off within the basic system.

That should be a Design Characteristic that FFG should write up somewhere.

Edit:

While I'll admit I've not thought this through, would there be any merit in characters being able to gain more aptitudes as they increase in rank?

Not sure.

I think it will only lead to people planning out their purchases, delaying certain purchases until they are cheaper.

I've seen that happen in OW certainly, where advanced specialisations allow you some freedom to swap aptitudes.

Also, I thought we were eliminating the whole idea of Ranks. Did I miss something?

Dammit Tenebrae, you snagged it while I was writing.

And yeah, there's no "Ranks". But you could have XP-brackets like in Only War (after Hammer of the Emperor), where you get bonuses or features depending on how much experience you've spent so far.

Personally, I think that's terrible design, I'm just saying that you *could*.

The only reason I'd want to track Spent Experience is to determine how many Specialist Packages a character can have, or what they qualify for. For example, to pick the "Arbites Judge" Specialist Package, you need 20 000xp spent, and you can only pick a Specialist Package for every 2 500xp spent.

Stuff like that.

But no, no formal Ranks. It was and is a bad idea in my mind; as is handing out flat increases that only serve to bloat Characteristics, Skills, Talents or Aptitudes. Aptitudes are also extremely sensitive in this way, because there are so few of them (comparatively speaking).

Edited by Fgdsfg

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