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Lok Hambrock

Aptitudes unbalanced?

43 posts in this topic

Some character creation combinations seem a lot better for the "general" situations like gathering information, barter, etc.

Example:

Our group has a Highborn Outcast Assassin who was already equipped with most of the skills needed for social interaction, for spotting hidden stuff and so on, because of starting skills and the right combination of aptitudes.

So when he was gathering information from the locals the rest of the group was pretty much standing by.

Same for the infiltration when sneaking was required. The Adeptus Mechanicus opens the lock but only the Assassin sneaks in, the rest of the group (Psyker, Soldier, Mechanicus) waits outside until they felt it's safe to follow, as no one seems to be home. We were wrong and of course screwed up the first unskilled Stealth test, the shooting starts.

 

So what am I saying?

The Tech aptitude is nearly useless, as it's used only in 2 skills and 3 talents (of which only 2 seem worth the trouble imo), unless you play Adeptus Mechanicus. That means the Seeker role has one aptitude which doesn't help a lot at all unless you want to concentrate on being the Tech of the group and mainly raise Tech Use. Yay.

Similar is Strength with 2 skills and 5 talents.

Compared to Intelligence with 11 skills and 12 talents (11 if not counting the special Mechanicus talent) or Weapon Skill with 1 skill and 18 talents (17 if not counting Mechanicus special).

 

That means that our Highborn Outcast Assassin starts with many useful skills from his Outcast background and doesn't have many problems advancing them either. It's more expensive for him to get the Tech Use or Security skill, yes, but advancing social skills and fighting skills is no problem, so there's still enough XP for the "knowledge skills".

For our Feral World Imperial Guard Soldier it will be very expensive to get most besides fighting skills and playing a social or fighting-oriented Mechanicus will be expensive too, so they'll either stay very specialized or advance much more slowly than the Assassin.

 

Having most aptitudes come from the role only means that we have characters who aren't very good at what they used to be doing before they became Acolytes (because starting talents and skills aren't that much) and can most easily advance in the direction they are assigned by their role some time ago when they became Acolytes, almost no matter their former training.

 

Having more aptitudes come from Background would make more sense to me. More customization could be included here, for example let the Ex-Imperial Guardsman choose his former specialty (see Only War) - the former Seargent gets Fieldcraft + Fellowship, the former Medic gets Fieldcraft + Intelligence, the former Heavy Gunner gets Fieldcraft + Toughness.

Just as the Ex-Adeptus Arbites gets Offence or Defence, plus 1 aptitude related to their former specialty (Fellowship for the Chief, Strength for the Enforcer with the hammer, Perception for the forensic folk and so on)

 

Long story short:

Dividing up the aptitudes between Background and Role (and giving some chance to customize) would probably make for some more balanced characters and would make character creation choices more easy too, when having later progression in mind.

 

Background for this post:

I ended up creating a Feral World / Imperial Guard / Hierophant because I wanted to continue the story of my former Only War character (-> Feral World / Imperial Guard) and be able to actually help in other situations than fighting. First idea was going for Seeker (could have been a bounty hunter after the Guard) but the aptitudes would have me stuck with the little fighting skills I had from the beginning for a while. Looking at the aptitudes Hierophant gave me a good balance between fighting and social, so that's what I ended up with. Granted, I'm happy with it and I have an interesting character story.

 

Sorry for the text wall, folks ;)

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IMHO the Assassin is a bad example for stressing the flaws of the Aptitude system because it is the "skillfullest Role", so it should be natural that the Assassin is good at a lot of stuff. That's his job. 

 

The problem is that most of the other Roles (all of them except the Desperado) are very specialized and have little to no flexibility. And specialization simply doesn't pay off that well in the game than versatility. It is always more convenient to play a character who is a little bit good with everything than a character who is very good with one thing. 

 

This wasn't a problem in Only War, because the characters only have to be good at one thing (combat) and they could simply ignore everything else because the game was so focused on fighting. But Dark Heresy is a lot more diverse so specialization suddenly loses effectiveness and becomes quite inconvenient. 

 

I guess that's what you get for copy-pasting rules  :)

Elior, Lok Hambrock, Cymbel and 2 others like this

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I agree, it's a matter of specialisation vs. versatility.

 

But does that leave us with 3 Jacks of several Trades which I'd say are Assassin, Desperado and Hierophant and 5 Specialists being Chirurgeon (whose aptitudes I still don't get. Why Strength and no Finesse or Agilty?), Mystic, Sage, Seeker and Warrior?

 

Our group agreed that we'd advance our characters to be more versatile first, so we could all join in when it comes to sneaking or collecting information which is costly for our specialists and pretty much a natural advance for the Outcast Assassin.

 

I think instead of giving players 900XP to buy advances at creation, instead give the players a choice of skills they can train, like 3 free trained skills from the list Awareness, Charm, Deceive, Inquiry, Interrogation, Intimidate, Scrutiny, Stealth. That way everyone would start out with at least a degree of professionalism when it comes to investigations and players who already have such skills would be able to expand their skill list even more.

An inquisitor would much more likely be recruiting someone to be Acolyte when this person has some actually helpful skills, I'd think. Just an ability to shoot stuff or do paperwork hardly seems qualifying.

 

Oh and I agree, in Only War there was no such problem as most specialisations were still part of the main focus of fighting.

 

Edit:

Just something I thought of: You can make your characters more versatile when going several paths in which aptitudes overlap - then you get to choose a characteristic aptitude instead. That's how our Mechanicus got his Ballistic Skill aptitude, for example.

It's a start for customization at least.

Edited by Lok Hambrock

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I read through this topic:

http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/95856-can-someone-please-explain-the-appeal-of-aptitudes-to-me/

 

Looks like a lot was debated there already, sorry for sort of warming the topic up.

 

Having read all the pros and cons presented in said thread I start to think it's not a problem of the aptitudes. Don't get me wrong, I like the aptitude system, just not as it's implemented with the rest.

My suggestion would be:

1. ) Divide aptitudes up between Background and Role and add some minor customization options.

2. ) Lower the difference in XP cost for advancements with and without aptitudes. That way players advancing along the line of their concept will still be rewarded but getting a skill or talent outside of that line isn't such a punishment XP-wise.

 

For example:

Simple characteristic advances could be 100/200/350 (instead of 100/250/500), tier 1 talents could be 200/300/450 and so on.

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Some aptitudes are definitely more useful than others. The Leadership aptitude in particular is pretty terrible and could do with some tweaking -- for example, allow either Leadership or Psyker to be used as the second aptitude for willpower advances. There's more than one thread dedicated to that already, so I won't elaborate any further on that matter.

I think the system would benefit from increased choices in Background and Home World aptitude selection. IMO, giving each world type and background a choice of two aptitudes is a good idea. Some backgrounds already do this: AAT gives either Defense or Psyker, while Arbites characters get Offense or Defence. I have yet to see anyone complain about the choice offered by these two Backgrounds, and I think this can be extended to other backgrounds pretty easily -- IG characters could get a choice between Fieldcraft and Leadership for example, while Outcasts could choose between Social and Fieldcraft (some criminals do much more sneaking than talking). Home Worlds would be even easier to tweak -- just give each world the choice between the aptitudes of their two + stats. Feral Worlders get the choice of Strength or Toughness, etc. This would make Aptitude choices much more flexible and give players more control their character's development path.

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Weasels, that's a great quick solution to the issue. Also, is it just me, or is it hard to get the "social" aptitude? Outcast is the only background, and Seeker/Hierophant are the only roles. Yet I feel like it is almost more useful than the stat of Fellowship...

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Well, I guess Outcasts stick together and have a lot of explaining to do?

I'm more amazed why they all know how to use chain weapons.

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The fact that Outcast is the only Background with the Social aptitude really bothers me, but that aptitude wouldn't make sense for most other Backgrounds. Other possible Backgrounds that could get Social are Administratum (you're accustomed to sweet-talking bureaucrats and secretaries to get things done) and maybe Ministorum (though they already get Leadership, which just seems like a super-weak version of Social). Besides that, there really aren't a lot of Backgrounds where it makes sense.

 

Honestly, I'm ok with this. As long as there's more than one Background that gives access to Social, I'm fine with the fact that not every character can be great at socializing.

 

My proposed list of Aptitudes by Home World and Background is as follows:

  • Home Worlds
    • Choice between the Aptitudes for both of the world's + stats
    • Noble-born gets Fellowship or... something else. There's no aptitude for Influence, so either they don't get another choice or we pick another random stat-based Aptitude to fill in the blank space.
  • Backgrounds
    • Administratum: Knowledge or Social
    • Arbites: Offense or Defense
    • Astra Telepathica: Defense or Psyker
    • Mechanicus: Tech or Knowledge
    • Ministorum: Leadership or... (Social? Offense? Knowledge? Not sure about this one)
    • Imperial Guard: Fieldcraft or Leadership
    • Outcast: Social or Fieldcraft

Thoughts?

Edited by Covered in Weasels
Lok Hambrock likes this

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I like it overall, for Nobles Leadership could be an option, Social is another, not too much a fan of social for adept, I mean, I can sorta see it...

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I'd give High-Born the options Fellowship and Willpower (they learned to get their will, to resist influencing talk etc.).

Can't really give them Leadership, I think, as it's a secondary (non -characteristic) aptitude. They'd get one more secondary then.

 

I'd even go so far to let the background have more weight overall and add another (characteristic) aptitude and give roles one less.

 

And since I'm thinking about it (again), I'll just say it: Isn't Leadership kinda social? I always wondered why they seperated Leadership from Social aptitude, as I think it's really just a part of it.

 

(If that's been discussed somewhere already, sorry. I'm new here ;))

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I'd give High-Born the options Fellowship and Willpower (they learned to get their will, to resist influencing talk etc.).

Can't really give them Leadership, I think, as it's a secondary (non -characteristic) aptitude. They'd get one more secondary then.

 

I'd even go so far to let the background have more weight overall and add another (characteristic) aptitude and give roles one less.

 

And since I'm thinking about it (again), I'll just say it: Isn't Leadership kinda social? I always wondered why they seperated Leadership from Social aptitude, as I think it's really just a part of it.

 

(If that's been discussed somewhere already, sorry. I'm new here ;))

 

All the Home Worlds give Characteristic-based aptitudes and all the Backgrounds give secondary aptitudes, so you are correct in saying that Noble-Born characters shouldn't get Leadership. 

 

There are a couple threads on Leadership in the forums: 

http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/95311-leadership/

http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/95166-increasing-the-usefullness-of-leadership/

for example. There may be others, feel free to poke around the forums and see if it was discussed anywhere else.

Edited by Covered in Weasels
Lok Hambrock likes this

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I dunno but i would scrap the whole Aptitude system and replace it with a system that shows the cost of each characterstic/skill seperately. Like you have cheap characteristics/skills, moderate characteristics/skills and expensive charateristics/skills listed in each Home World choice and your Background/Role can improve these things by making them one level cheaper. 

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I dunno but i would scrap the whole Aptitude system and replace it with a system that shows the cost of each characterstic/skill seperately. Like you have cheap characteristics/skills, moderate characteristics/skills and expensive charateristics/skills listed in each Home World choice and your Background/Role can improve these things by making them one level cheaper. 

 

That's basically what the Aptitude system does. It just saves space by not reprinting the skill tables for each class.

Tenebrae and Ghaundan like this

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I dunno but i would scrap the whole Aptitude system and replace it with a system that shows the cost of each characterstic/skill seperately. Like you have cheap characteristics/skills, moderate characteristics/skills and expensive charateristics/skills listed in each Home World choice and your Background/Role can improve these things by making them one level cheaper. 

 

That's basically what the Aptitude system does. It just saves space by not reprinting the skill tables for each class.

 

No, not exactly because certain Aptitudes affect more than one charactersitic/skill. 

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That's why I printed out all the Talent tables and made the so-called ARSE, my Awesome Reference Sheet Experience which is basically just an overview of advance costs and the aptitudes needed for all skills and characteristics.

 

If you like you can grab it here ARSE---DH2.pdf (file-upload.net). Hope that helps.

 

Weasels, thanks for linking the old threads! I read through some and it's basically still the same discussion as in the Leadership thread: Some aptitudes just aren't as useful as others.

 

I get the feeling that mainly those aptitudes are less useful which aren't also connected directly with a characteristic when it comes to characteristic advances. That would be Tech and Leadership. Tech could easily be merged with Knowledge and Leadership with Social. The problem from the start is, they're very specialized fields.
 

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I like Tech as is though, just less of an impact with some skills, because while useful, it should be limited because techies get a whole lot of other things normal folks can't.

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For Adeptus Mechanicus, I agree. Fits nicely and they do get some very special talents from it.

But Seekers also get Tech and they have very limited use for it (see starting post). Unless you play an Adeptus Mechanicus Seeker and get to choose a free characteristic aptitude, Seekers aren't well off with this one. One could argue, though, that they also get Intelligence which is pretty good, so it's balanced in combination.

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For Adeptus Mechanicus, I agree. Fits nicely and they do get some very special talents from it.

But Seekers also get Tech and they have very limited use for it (see starting post). Unless you play an Adeptus Mechanicus Seeker and get to choose a free characteristic aptitude, Seekers aren't well off with this one. One could argue, though, that they also get Intelligence which is pretty good, so it's balanced in combination.

..except that Int and Tech usually go together, so they get very good at something that's not terribly central to their core concept. Social seems more like a Seeker to me though.

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Honestly, I don't see how Tech is not useful for Seekers. IIRC they can't get special Mechanicus toys like ferric lure implants that benefit from many Tech talents, but several good talents (Armor-monger comes to mind) and a few important skills like Tech-use and Security are based on the Tech aptitude. While it's not as useful for them as it is for a full-fledged Tech-Priest, I like that someone besides the Mechanicus can use technology effectively.

I like the presence of the Tech and Leadership aptitudes -- they represent more specialized skillsets than Knowledge or Social.

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several good talents (Armor-monger comes to mind) and a few important skills like Tech-use and Security are based on the Tech aptitude.

Yes, 2 skills: Tech-use and Security, and 3 talents: Technical Knock, Weapon Tech (which, from the description, seems to be only for Tech Priests, too) and Armour Monger. That's all.

If they'd add some more talents I'd be fine with it but as it stands it's pretty weak to all but Tech Priests.

 

And Leadership? 1 skill (Command) + 2 talents (Contact Network & Halo of Command). Even worse.

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Yeah, seekers aren't that good with that tech aptitude, it makes the most sense as a way to limit players buying mechanicus talents (without overdoing it in cost), same as the Psyker one does (unless it works like the psyker trait from BC in locking stuff out?). Security should also not rely on tech, or maybe Agility/Tech to represent the skills of dexterity/speed you use to avoid security and the tech end of disabling it, which I think it was in DH1, rather than a glorified e-lockpicking skill.

 

I honestly wish the social aptitude was easier to get, it beats out fellowship by a BIG amount.

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Yes, 2 skills: Tech-use and Security, and 3 talents: Technical Knock, Weapon Tech (which, from the description, seems to be only for Tech Priests, too) and Armour Monger. That's all.

Security is obvious.

Tech-Use... more debatable, especially given how messy Tech-Use is defined these days (is it even still Tech-Use anymore? Looks more like build/repair tech these days)

 

Technical Knock, Weapons Tech and Armour Monger are all are all combat Talents, more relevant for guardsmen than for investigators... I don't really see it. :-/

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