Friday, 30 January 2015

Point Buy vs Dice Rolls

What do you prefer?

I've never been a fan of point buying. having to choose something high, something low, I always end up min-maxing for the missing link in the group. No Cleric? I'll min-max my CHA & WIS high, Need a Fighter? Super STR & CON man to the rescue!
I far prefer to let the dice speak to me, if I roll up decent stats for a Warrior, I'll be a warrior. If my stats suck for a Warrior, even if the group Needs a warrior, I'll still choose something that matches my stats, and we'll have to figure out how to play, sans warrior.

Does anyone else feel like re-rolling, is like aborting that life? that person you were going to become, is thrust back into the void? never to see the light of day?

My System:

The Problem with most systems is, the limited stat block. when you only have 5 or 6 stats, the chances of
rolling the right stats at the right time can be small. Mathmatically, you'd be less likely to roll at least 1 value above 14,  let alone 2. So you want to provide the player with some fall back, some way to ensure you'll get whats needed to play something good

Since each of my eight lifestyles only really needs 2 values to be above average, and I have 16 Characteristics altogether, the chances of rolling above average almost negates the chance of getting a dud character.

Then we added the fail-safe.. The Spare Roll. 


At first the spare was just that. Spare. You used it to swap with your lower scores, to make sure that you had some chance of getting the career you wanted. But what happens if your spare was lower that the rest? Its usually going to be a low score.. so now it looked like a nice little point bonus for skills or for background points.

Swap Two, Minus One.

Even after swapping the spare, many players came to the game from other systems which allowed them to swap any and all stats.. blocking players from doing something results in unhappy players.. but providing any and all requests.. at a price.. results in players asking themselves.. is it worth it?

So, you choose, Do I keep the stats I have, or do I pay 1 point from one of the swaps, AND 1 point from the spare to make that swap.. is a 16 Strength swapped with 10 intelligence worth the 15 intelligence, 10 strength and minus one from Spare.. or 16 INT, 9 STR instead?

Why do spare points matter? because the nice little bonus for skills & backgrounds is what makes character creation more fun.. 

Now the spare becomes something you don't just throw away. Some players actually swap a good stat from the Char list, that doesn't match their lifestyle, to the spare slot to ensure more swaps, and more background points because more background points means more background choices, which could mean a starting level 2 skill vs just a few level 1 skills.

Rules Description:

In Character Creation, Each of the 5 Aspects of your characters background, (Race, Childhood, Apprenticeship, Journeyman and AdventurePath) cost Background Points, these are respectively averaged at 0, 4, 8, 12 and 16. Through the process, you usually earn 20-30 background points, so its typical to need 10 background points from the spare roll to make good choices.

When you retired a character (or they die) you (the player) earn Karma Points, which often get spent to buy background points for your next character. Since rare races can cost up to 50 background points, and each of the other 4 aspects can cost 10x the average for the rarer choices, the most extreme character might cost as much as 500 Background points!

GMs can easily create any of these aspects to match their own world, or raise and lower the 'costs' associated to match their world.. High fantasy might halve the magi background point costs, while low fantasy might double it. If Elves are impossibly rare, a GM might allow you to choose an elf, but at 10x the racial cost, while an all elf campaign, might negate the race cost completely. 
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