Skills cost

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bchoinski
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Re: Bug fixes, etc.

Postby bchoinski » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:34 am

Carry over from the "Skills Cost" thread.

I was thinking about it, and pondered the two extremes. Joe Buncher goes with 5 skills at +3 and one at +1; Fred Spreader goes with 16 skills at +1. Presumably all other starting characters lie within these extremes. Add Bob Middle with skills of +3, +2, +2, +2, +1, +1, +1, +1, +1, +1, +1.

At present, the cost to get 16 skills to +3 are:
Joe: 65 (10 new skills)
Fred: 80 (0 new skills)
Bob: 74 (5 new skills)

If you go with a cost of 2 to learn a new skill once play has begin (3 for those skills that cannot be used unskilled, since they presumably are more difficult or require more book learning), and further postulate that half of any new skills are those difficult ones, this adds 15 more points to Joe's costs (5 at 2 to learn, 5 at 3 to learn, vs 10 at 1 to learn). Bob's costs increase by 7 (3 skills at 2 to learn and 2 at 3 to learn, vs 5 at 1 to learn), so total costs to reach 16 skills at +3 are now:
Joe: 80
Fred: 80
Bob: 81

So this change balances all starting skill styles.

Presumably skills that cannot be used unskilled should require some in-game time to learn as well as requiring an instructor (PC with the sklill, or outside instructor).

ryric
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Re: Skills cost

Postby ryric » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:21 am

An easy house rule would be to simply set costs equal to the average and not have them scale: skills cost 3 XP to raise, perks cost 5 each, and attributes cost 18 or so. Boom, done. I'll be running by the book way my first campaign but the xp system is pretty easy to hack if you don't like it.

Alternatively, steal from Savage Worlds and call every 5 XP an "advance." Spend 1 advance to gain a perk, up two skills at 0-2 adds by 1 each, up one skill at 3 adds or more by 1, or spend 3 advances to up an attribute - very similar to the pregen we saw previewed.

Honestly I don't have a problem with the system as it stands, but I have good players who build to make what they see in their imagination, not based on optimal math.

Flash
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Re: Skills cost

Postby Flash » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:30 pm

Oh we already have a thread. Good otherwise I would have made one.

The Character Advancement rule is the first rule I actively dislike in a rule book that so far looks very well designed. My pet name for using this particular kind of different cost systems for character generation and advancement is "White Wolf disease". I have seen enough of the negative effects this piece of bad design causes that it will last for my whole gaming life.

So house ruled it will be.

I will rad more of the book before I actively start to thinker with stuff like attribute and perk costs.
But my emergency patch for the skill cost issue will be this:

Skill level 1-3 cost: 2XP per level
Skill level 4+ cost: XP equal to new level for one raise

That should solve elegantly solve some of my glaring issues:
1) +3/+3/+3/+3/+3/+1 is no longer the optimal starting spread
2) newbie trap is eliminated
3) Archetypes we will be fine
4) encourages more character builds and concept as you no loner actively encouraged to min/max your skills at creation.
5) dirt cheap cost of a acquiring new skills is eliminated (I find that a little bit too unrealistic for my taste)

Attributes and perks will follow after some thoughts.

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Spatula
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Re: Skills cost

Postby Spatula » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:55 pm

It's pretty easy to just add a cost to getting the 1st rank in a skill to weight players towards having a spread of starting skills. Maybe 5 XP (the cost of raising 1 add to 3 adds) for the 1st add. Personally, I'd rather have well-rounded than ultra-specialized characters, and characters that start with the skills that make sense for their concept.

utsukushi
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Re: Skills cost

Postby utsukushi » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:13 pm

I really like that. I like bchoinski's system a lot, too, although;
and further postulate that half of any new skills are those difficult ones,

That's not going to be the case. The difficult skills are: Air Vehicles, Language, Lockpicking, Medicine, and then the Magic and Psionic sets. And Reality, of course, but we know he has Reality because everybody has Reality.

If he's playing a Psionic or Spellcaster, then he already has those, too; if he's not, he doesn't care about them. (And let's be honest - now that spellcasters are never going to have more than four, maybe five spells, tops - not only are most of the spells in the book never going to get used, but certainly no one looking at `optimal builds' is going to consider that route.)

Language is only there for if the GM wants to make languages a "Thing" (and it looks like requires specializations, like Profession... eg., it's not Linguistics, but rather, French, Arabic, English, etc, all requiring separate skills.)

Air Vehicles and Lockpicking are also, really, skills that, if you want them, they're part of your core concept. If they're not part of your core concept, you probably never need them.

I DO think the first add in a new Skill should cost 2 points. That seems like a simple enough fix and goes a long way to re-balance advancement in one step.


...And as I've said elsewhere, TH, "House Rule It" only works when you're the GM.

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bchoinski
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Re: Skills cost

Postby bchoinski » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:42 pm

utsukushi wrote:I really like that. I like bchoinski's system a lot, too, although;
and further postulate that half of any new skills are those difficult ones,

That's not going to be the case. The difficult skills are: Air Vehicles, Language, Lockpicking, Medicine, and then the Magic and Psionic sets. And Reality, of course, but we know he has Reality because everybody has Reality.


Well, that was just a quick check to throw something in there for averages. In terms of the swath of skills, it should have been assuming that 1/5th would be the increased cost, which would have shaved 3 points off my final number, but the overall gist was the same.

In 2300AD, for primary skills, cost of next level equaled current level, with a minimum of 1 (so going from 0->1 cost 1); my proposal is effectively the same: cost = next level; for new skills minimum cost is 2.

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TorgHacker
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Re: Skills cost

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:55 pm

utsukushi wrote:

...And as I've said elsewhere, TH, "House Rule It" only works when you're the GM.


This was something that was decided a long time ago, and for the record I'm in general agreement with you folks. But it isn't changing, so the only answer I can say is to house-rule it.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

utsukushi
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Re: Skills cost

Postby utsukushi » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:11 pm

Fair enough. It's been a while since I've said this, so it's probably worth putting out again (I feel like I've been clashing with you a lot lately, and I don't mean to) - I know you, in particular, are in a pretty awkward `in the middle' position, and I'm glad you're there. You've been super responsive and even when your answer has to fall back to, "We've said what we have to say - Ulisses out," well, you've always said what there was to say first, and that's awesome.


...If you mostly agree with us, though, can't you take it back and say, "Hey, guys, everyone says I was right. Maybe we should squeeze this back in?"

If you changed it from:
Skills: Raising a skill costs a number of XP equal to the new level. Raising energy weapons from 3 to 4 adds, for example, costs 4 XP.
...to:
Skills: The first add in a new Skill costs 2 XP. Each add after that costs XP equal to the new level. To raise find from 3 to 4 adds would cost 4 XP.

...That's slightly longer, and the Skill block doesn't have any wiggle room... but if you just take out the "see" in "(see page 69)." under Attributes, then the Skills has another text-line to work with, and the book is very spotty about using (see page...) versus just (page...) already.

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InertiaKitty
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Re: Skills cost

Postby InertiaKitty » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:17 pm

I think (if I run) that I'm'a have a group of Cyberpapacy defectors SKs running a device at DCHQ that's akin to the training Neo got in the first Matrix movie, only without needing plugs. That way, I can hand-wave training times between missions.
"Whaddaya mean 'Twinkies are even a contradiction in Core Earth'?!?!?"

dehayhurst
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Re: Skills cost

Postby dehayhurst » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:09 pm

Hey guys, Dean summoned me to say hi and 'splain some of the background decisions behind skills. What it really came down to was any 'solution' that evened out costs added limitations and overhead that we didn't really want most people to have to deal with. So yes, there's optimal build paths if you're trying to min/max numbers rather than flesh out a character, but in play we didn't really find those builds disruptive. At the very beginning there's a balancing shortfall to loading skills (lots of untrained tests). That goes away fast (or instantly if you're skipping ahead), but after awhile the extra gains become less and less impactful too. So overall we decided it added more negatives than positives to change things around. YMMV of course, but that's why the default rules as written landed where they did.


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