Perk Advancement Cost

Fuzzy
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Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Fuzzy » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:18 pm

I'm opening - or re-opening - a thread here on the progression of perk advancement costs.

So, I don't think it's a challenge at first, but I think it becomes more of a challenge as PC advance. Here's why:

Perks are more interesting than skills and attributes, and they really define and differentiate a character. The challenge is that by the 10th perk (which is a lot, but not if you want to buy a bunch of spells or even combat maneuvers), it's costing 23 XP to get a perk. A lot of times, that perk is going to buy you a small bonus to defense, or remove a -2 modifier on firing a second arrow... The challenge is that 23 XP is 4.6 acts. Generally speaking, that runs about 5-6 nights since usually an act spans a bit more than one night (as in, some acts are long and spill over but you rarely do more than 1 act a gaming session). And, eventually, it's one perk every 10 gaming sessions...

The challenge this creates is that players like to see their characters advance... not necessarily get ridiculously powerful (i.e. superhero scale power, like the speed of D&D advancement), but at least change a little every few acts.

So I'm wondering if the quadratic perk advancement cost really is a good idea at advanced status, or whether it should sort of flatten out after a while. For example, up to 15, and then instead of 17, 19, 21, etc., it goes 16, 17, 18, etc.

Anyone else been thinking about this?

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Atama
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Atama » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:36 pm

I think 10 Perks is a ton. I divide my purchases between Perks and Skills. Since Skills don’t get too expensive as you advance you never feel totally “stuck” as a player. It feels fine to me.

Also, I think we take many sessions to get through each Act, so your group might be a tad fast. Or mine is crazy slow.
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ZorValachan
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby ZorValachan » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:55 am

I more agree with Atama here. My acts take about 4 sessions to complete. And really after a certain amount of Perks, the players usually have characters gain/improve skills that aren't their big 1 or 2 defining skills and contemplate raising stats. Which is what i think should be happening and can be done in less time.
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fougerec
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby fougerec » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:45 am

I went from 5xp per Act to 5xp per session and the characters advance at a decent pace without feeling over powered.

Istrian
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Istrian » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:56 am

I'm giving 2 xp per session but that's just because I don't want the characters to reach Beta clearance before the second half of Year 1.

GeniusCodeMonkey
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:50 am

I was giving 5xp per act in Fires of Ra, but the last 2 acts I've upped it to 10xp, as I want them to be around beta for the big finale.
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pkitty
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby pkitty » Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:26 am

I go 5 XP per full session, or 3 XP if we have to cut a session short (3 hours or less). My rationale is that Torg already offers decent support for Beta characters and modest support for Gamma through Omega, with no doubt more to come. So I'm comfortable with our games getting reasonably high powered; it just means I can throw more stuff at them. :)
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Gargoyle
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Gargoyle » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:15 am

I was doing one Act per session, and 5XP per act, (RAW). Playing monthly that got them to Beta in a year. It felt too fast to me, since we didn't play often and they were always advancing. OTOH, sometimes I dislike that it is always in 5XP chunks when perks quickly cost more than that. I don't feel perks are too expensive though.

What I'm thinking about doing in my next campaign is keeping the same long term rate of advancement, but awarding XP at the end of every three acts (or more if an adventure is bigger). So 15XP at the end of a three Act adventure for instance. That way they don't have to plan out perks as much, they can be a little more organic in their spending, and we get right into playing at the beginning of most sessions instead of figuring out what to buy with XP. It also nerfs them a little, and I feel like that would be good, as "lower level" SK's are still powerful, especially as the players gain skill.
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Fuzzy
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Fuzzy » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:39 am

Interesting array of answers.

What seems to happen in our campaign is that SK's buy a couple perks they really want (cost 5 and 7), then take their key skills from 3 to 5 (fire combat, or psi, etc.), then get a couple more perks (9, 11, maybe 13 XP), then wince at spending more on perks (an entire adventure to get one perk at 15 XP!) and spend their XP on secondary skills to take them up to 2 or 3 (which seems fine to me). This is well into Beta. At this point, the SKs don't seem excessively powerful... it's more that they have a couple specialties and are otherwise a bit better rounded (they've shored up a few weaknesses, like maybe they have 2 or 3 adds in most of the interactions and in willpower). The way advancement works, getting 2 extra points at a skill like attack translates to a 40% increased chance of getting an extra bonus die of damage on a hit (i.e. you need to beat it by 5, so 2 out of 5). And that assumes fighting the same level of enemy (which usually gets a bit tougher). The power scale between novice SKs and mid-Beta is somewhat modest compared to (for example) the power difference between a Level 1 D&D character and a Level 7 D&D character, which is what you might expect for a D&D character after a year of playing every other week.

Now, I actually don't like D&D progression to be honest, but I don't see much risk of the storm knights getting so powerful so quickly that the game becomes hard to run or play.

Then, at the end of Beta, stuff just really slows down. The choices are: take secondary skills up to 4 or 5 adds, buy an attribute (really expensive), or buy a perk (really expensive, and gets even more expensive). I guess that's why I asked. I actually don't mind pushing characters toward secondary skills (more well rounded characters), but I'm guessing by the end of Beta (200XP) the game really starts pushing people to raise stats because perks are just crazy expensive and skills are capped at 5 (without Mastery or Super Skill, which you can only take once).

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Greymarch2000
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Greymarch2000 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:52 am

I dunno, I've been running the standard 5 XP per Act and the main characters in my group got extremely powerful, reaching Gamma level and basically becoming way more powerful than any published material. By that point they each had 7-10 Perks, and we played on average say once every two weeks (but more or less since the game came out), and averaged probably 2 sessions per Act (some took one, some took 3 or more!).

This discussion reminds me of 3rd Edition D&D where after a while characters started to become simply laundry lists of feats, and it seems to me that the increasing cost of Perks is specifically designed so character don't end up with a huge amount of them, increasing XP rates would then be counterproductive.

My group has since temporarily retired those characters and started another group (though started as Beta) and they're mid-Beta have gone through just Cats of Khatorum and almost finished Fires of Ra (so 7 Acts total so far) and also seem to average ~7 Perks each (though one has only 3 - but he did invest in a faith and intimidate of 20...). All in all I feel the Perks are in a good spot. I just think that some people are used to games where you get to level up or increase something every single session and feel bad when they don't. I don't know what fix to apply there, but I truly feel if the rate of XP is increased then you're going to get ridiculously powerful characters very quickly.


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