Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Sword of Spirit
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Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby Sword of Spirit » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:27 pm

The way the rule works, the Perks do two things. They raise your trait, and they raise your maximum. They don't give you a "+1 Charisma", they raise your Charisma by 1 point, exactly as if you had purchased it with XP. If you want to raise it further with XP, you have to pay the cost for the next level as if you had purchased it normally.

Got it.

Why?

That method makes it less efficient to buy the Perk before you've maxed out your attribute/skill. There, for me, would just be a wincing avoidance of ever taking that Perk before maxing out the value normally, because I know I'm effectively wasting XP over it. On the other hand, if it just increased your max and gave you, effectively, a +1 to whatever your purchased stat is (not affecting your XP costs to raise it) then it wouldn't matter when in your character progression you took the Perk, the efficiency would be the same. It would also work better for situations where you lost the Perk for some reason.

So is there a reason it was designed to work the way it does?

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Atama
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby Atama » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:04 pm

As it is it lets you permanently raise a stat for the cost of a Perk, which in most cases is cheaper than spending XP on it directly. It’s also so far the only way to exceed a racial maximum. It’s incredibly powerful, maybe overly so. If you let it also boost the stat without raising the cost to increase the stat further you’d make it even more powerful. That’s just asking too much.

As it is you’re getting a huge benefit over, say, the Perks in the Living Land book which let you boost a stat but not the maximum limit. Asking for more is pushing it.
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utsukushi
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby utsukushi » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:29 pm

But on top of the min/maxing effect (which just gets worse as the campaign progresses, when people are building with more points to start with and don't as much have to face the consequences of starting an Attribute low), if it worked as a bonus, it would be harder to build on with things like Enhance or Bless, which can make it even more unbalanced. It would also make so much more sense with the Limitations aspect.

...but, um, that was my side.

I suddenly find myself really getting how Deanna feels when we ask a question that the dev team went around and around on before settling on whatever they settled on. We so had this discussion, back when we were all young and idealistic.

Rocketeer
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby Rocketeer » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:20 am

utsukushi wrote:We so had this discussion, back when we were all young and idealistic.

Here, Mastery Perk

Another ruling is that Super Attribute/Skill is "always on". However, certain limitations, such as "power is from a gadget" or "power only works at night" would would seem to negate that. Also, the use of a Pulp power is a contradiction outside the Nile Empire (and Merretika), and so a character with Super Attribute/Skill is risking disconnection every time the associated attribute or skill is used in a different cosm. And if the character disconnects, the increases to the attribute/skill are lost. So, given these cases, is it really appropriate to raise the experience cost of the attribute/skill?

On the other hand, having Super Attribute/Skill be a bonus raises other issues. For example, the official ruling is that, unless explicitly stated otherwise, attribute bonuses do not add to Toughness or Shock. So, if Super Strength were a bonus, would it add to Toughness? Also, would a Super Attribute bonus stack with other bonuses to that attribute?

In the end, If one of my players wanted to have Super Attribute/Skill be a bonus instead of a direct addition to the attribute/skill, I would allow that as a House Rule.

ZorValachan
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby ZorValachan » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:57 am

My alternate rule is it is a bonus. And stacking follows normal stacking rules. Not usable when disconnected. Easy enough house rule. And "official" in the "unofficial" Paraverse cosmverse. Just be up front with your group about it.
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Greymarch2000
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby Greymarch2000 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:15 pm

I see this as more of an archetype starting perk than anything else so don't really see a huuuuge downside to the way it works currently

utsukushi
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby utsukushi » Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:17 pm

I.. I.. nooooo! *gets sucked into swirling vortex*

I see this as more of an archetype starting perk than anything else so don't really see a huuuuge downside to the way it works currently

That's more or less exactly the problem with it. Having Super-something is the basis for a lot of hero concepts, so it should be like the first thing you add... but it doesn't work well that way.

That's not totally true, actually. It works fine that way. It falls apart later.

There are basically three potential routes with the way it officially works (and which, alas, was indeed clarified in the FAQ, though as I've now been reminded, I actually suggested at least just leaving it vague.) Let's say you want a character who gets her powers from the Ring of Zephyr, which grants +2 Dexterity and +4 Dodge (with Limitations, Gadget and, I don't know, it doesn't work against enemies wearing orange? That's not important for the example.)

Starting PC: Str 8, Dex 10, Min 7, Spi 8, Cha 7, Dodge 3, takes both the Perks right away to get Dex 12, Dodge 7, for an effective Dodge of 19.
Goal PC: Str 8, Dex 15, Min 7, Spi 8, Cha 7, Dodge 9, taking full advantage of its raised minimums for an effective Dodge of 24. You can get there for 26+28+30, +8 +9 = 101 XP.

OR, you start with Str 8, Dex 10, Min 7, Spi 8, Cha 7, Dodge 3, and take, whatever, some other Perks. Throw a dart, they're not really relevant.
Goal PC remains: Str 8, Dex 15, Min 7, Spi 8, Cha 7, Dodge 9. But now you raise Str 22+24+26, then buy Super Dex +2 for 5; and raise Dodge 4+5, then buy Super Skill +4 for 7 = 93, reaching your goal two adventures earlier by sacrificing the core piece of your character for way too long.

And yeah, "two adventures" was the most dramatic way I could find to say a difference of 8 XP, which isn't a huge deal, but imagine you did either of those, and then somebody else dies and comes up with their brilliant new concept, The Weasel, who also has Super Dex and Super Dodge. Say you went the second way, so the group is at 95 XP, of which you have spent all but 2 of yours to finally reach your goal after 19 sessions.

The Weasel starts his build with with: Str 8, Dex 13, Min 6, Spi 8, Cha 5, Dodge 3. He takes Super Dexterity +2 for free because his Dex is already maxed, and then whatever else, so there's his Dex 15. He then picks up his Mind of 7 for 14, bumps his Charisma for 26, add +4 and +5 to Dodge, and take Super Dodge for 5 XP. Goal levels reached for 54 XP, leaving him 41 points for, like, other cool things. Imagine he's a total jerk and also copies your other two Perks that you didn't even care about - he actually still had room for one of those for free, so that'll cost him all of 7, still leaving him 34 points ahead of poor Zephyra. And take note that he never has to deal with the consequences of starting with the lower starting Mind and Charisma, since he buys them both up before play anyway.

...Or, more to the point, without inventing fictional jerks in a world that has plenty of real ones, if your Orrorshan dies and you just feel like trying something a little more optimistic in a campaign that's already had, like, 12 or more adventures... being tied in to the XP system like that lets Super Skill and Super Attribute give any Pulp Hero that kind of XP boost over anybody being built in any other Cosm, frankly even if it's not particularly important to your concept.

BUT, um, yeah, we did this, it's all sorted and settled and has been called and, um, I'm totally not... going.. into.. it.. again. :oops:

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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby Rocketeer » Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:27 am

utsukushi wrote:That's more or less exactly the problem with it. Having Super-something is the basis for a lot of hero concepts, so it should be like the first thing you add... but it doesn't work well that way.

That's not totally true, actually. It works fine that way. It falls apart later.
...


Actually, I think the problems utsukushi sited are due to the fact that Torg Eternity uses two different types of cost scales for attributes and skills. A linear cost scale is used for initial attribute and skill assignments during character creation, and then a rising cost scale (i.e. 2x new value) is used when spending XP to raise those same attributes and skills.

If a linear scale were used in both situations, then players couldn’t game the character creation system when building experienced characters. For example, if increasing an attribute always cost 20 XP, regardless of the final value of the attribute, then the cost to increase an attribute from 5 to 6 would be the same as increasing an attribute from 12 to 13. So, there would be no XP cost benefit to starting a character build with attributes at the extremes of 5 and 13. Also, the Super Attribute Perk wouldn’t effect the cost of later increases to that attribute.

I don’t want to hijack this topic with a discussion of the XP cost System, so I will start a new topic in the Tangents and Miscellany area.

johntfs
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby johntfs » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:05 am

Rocketeer wrote:
utsukushi wrote:That's more or less exactly the problem with it. Having Super-something is the basis for a lot of hero concepts, so it should be like the first thing you add... but it doesn't work well that way.

That's not totally true, actually. It works fine that way. It falls apart later.
...


Actually, I think the problems utsukushi sited are due to the fact that Torg Eternity uses two different types of cost scales for attributes and skills. A linear cost scale is used for initial attribute and skill assignments during character creation, and then a rising cost scale (i.e. 2x new value) is used when spending XP to raise those same attributes and skills.

If a linear scale were used in both situations, then players couldn’t game the character creation system when building experienced characters. For example, if increasing an attribute always cost 20 XP, regardless of the final value of the attribute, then the cost to increase an attribute from 5 to 6 would be the same as increasing an attribute from 12 to 13. So, there would be no XP cost benefit to starting a character build with attributes at the extremes of 5 and 13. Also, the Super Attribute Perk wouldn’t effect the cost of later increases to that attribute.

I don’t want to hijack this topic with a discussion of the XP cost System, so I will start a new topic in the Tangents and Miscellany area.


That's true, but I've found that the best stopper for min-maxing is a balanced game that uses all the attributes of all the characters at some point. So yeah, the dude with the 13 Dex and 5 Charisma is going to face a Charisma test if only as a defense against a villain's Taunt. As for building new characters in play, one of my "House Rules" is that you can't raise your lowest Attributes until you get XP after the character enters play. So, you want to start with a 5 in something and then spend to raise it? Cool. But you have to live with it in play for a little while. If you can.

utsukushi
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Re: Rules rationale behind cost of Super Attributes/Skills

Postby utsukushi » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:57 am

That's true at the start of the campaign, but like I showed, that check goes away completely when you're building with 60+ XP, because if you want a high Attribute, it's so much cheaper to essentially buy it at the low end by using your starting build points for the high Attribute and then buying up one of your less important ones with your XP. And when Super Attribute can add another +2 to your high end for zero or five points, it really brings that out. Honestly, I think Rocketeer is right - I'd agree that the change in purchase plans, as it were, is really where that issue comes from; Super Attribute and Super Skill just magnify it. But it's also true that treating them both as a bonus and taking them out of the XP system entirely would have at least solved the problem as it relates to those, and would also have kept it better balanced with regard to other ways of boosting Attributes and Skills, all of which count as bonuses.

I think the reason I still react so strongly on this question is just because the choice really floored me. It seemed to come out of nowhere. There are lots of places in Eternity where I've thought, "OK, that's not what I would have done, but I totally see it," and most of the time I've actually come to like the official ruling better than my first instinct. But there are the couple of places that I just can't wrap my head around, and this was one.


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