Perk Advancement Cost

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Kuildeous
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Kuildeous » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:22 pm

Part of it, I feel, is the need to temper expectations. When you have linear rewards and geometric or exponential advancement (not really true but certainly nonlinear), then you’re going to have the situation where the PCs can advance often at first and then stagnate. Happens in video games a bunch too. When you’re an Alpha-level Storm Knight, then you are certain to find a place for 5 XP. When you’re Gamma-level, then you find it harder to find a place for 5 XP. Sure, you could pick up Profession (Chef), but if it’s not part of your character concept, then you’re going to end up saving those XP until you can afford to bump your Fire Combat to 7 or raise your Mind to 8 or pick up your sixth perk.

So yeah, if you get used to advancing something after every 1 or 2 acts, then you will reach a point where you find that you’re no longer advancing that quickly. You’re waiting for 5 or 6 acts so you can raise your Spirit to 13 or get your 14th perk. For some players—especially in the era of the modern video game—this may feel stagnant.

Quite a few games try to avoid that by having a linear advancement. In D&D and the many video games based on it, you need more XP to gain a level, but you also gain more XP for completing harder challenges. This theoretically keeps D&D from feeling stagnant. If it takes you 4 sessions to go from level 1 to 2, then ideally it’ll take you 4 sessions to go from level 12 to 13. This was the goal od D&D3, and they’ve been cleaving to that concept since.

Is there anything to fix within Torg? I don’t think so. I think it’s working as intended. Ramping up to Beta does feel rushed, but I think that’s mostly because most missions are written with Alpha in mind. They’re still cranking out Year 1 stuff, so the missions are designed for that. It’s physically impossible by RAW to run all the Delphi Missions for a group that stays Alpha (unless they don’t spend their XP, I guess). But Torg has linear rewards and nonlinear advancement. You’re going to see rapid growth in the early stages, and then it’ll just get slower and slower as the players need more and more XP in order to advance anything.

Of course, there are other ways to make characters feel like they accomplished something. Allies, new gear, and big story rewards should still make players feel like they’re advancing even if they numerically are not.
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Sword of Spirit
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Sword of Spirit » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:21 pm

Here's a question, does anyone actually raise attributes? I mean, those are crazy expensive. 'Why, you'd have to take your 10th Perk to equal the cost of going from just one 10 to an 11!'

It sounds like most players are unwilling to spend more than 15 xp on a Perk (if that much). 15 xp is what it costs to buy a complete skill (0 to 5). Perhaps that's a good place to cap the cost of a Perk? So you can buy your first 5 additional Perks for a discount, then they settle into their max cost and you have an easy comparison point that it's either buy a Perk or buy a full skill from 0.

Although that would make people even less interested in buying up attributes. Which I don't think is a good thing.

That highlights one conceptual issue I have, in that often NPCs (I'm not talking about monsters or DD enhanced High Lords, just people) that are more than mooks seem to have higher attributes than the PCs are going to have. It is true that Beta level threat doesn't mean that they are equivalent to a Beta level PC. Most of those would probably be at least Delta (and probably Omega) if they were built as PCs--most of that from those attributes. That also means that plenty of Alpha threats are more like Gamma (or even Delta) level PCs. That's fine in and of itself. It's just that a Delta or Omega level PC probably isn't going to have attributes that high, because it would cost most of their XP. (Same concept with the other NPCs.) It seems like it's just more effective to max out several skills, dabble in all the rest, and get 10-12 Perks or something.

So conceptually, I feel like PCs are just walking around with lower attributes than the villains they are facing, and that seems weird. This is absolutely not an effectiveness problem. PC Storm Knights rock, especially if your players have a talent for card play (mine do). I don't want to give them any boost to power. But at the same time, I kind of wish they looked more like the NPCs in the book, by raising their attributes, and I just imagine I'm not going to see much of that (so far we've only played one-shots). Am I wrong? Are PCs steadily raising their attributes, and it's just been assumed in this thread and not discussed much? Or do they just buy what they plan to have in attributes, maybe raise a 5 or 6 if they started with one of those, and focus completely on skills and Perks afterwards?

Fuzzy wrote:..and skills are capped at 5 (without Mastery or Super Skill, which you can only take once).

Strangely, I somehow thought Mastery had an exception that allowed it to be applied to more than one skill...but I see you are right.

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Greymarch2000
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Greymarch2000 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:03 pm

NPCs aren't PCs though. They aren't built like PC, they aren't made for the same reason PCs are. There's a reason the stat blocks are given with skill totals and not showing their "adds". Since I've been entering NPCs/monsters into Roll20 with the current sheet I have to enter their adds in and many of them have less that 16 total adds, and many have like a +8 to find or something just to give a challenge in comparison to their super low Mind score.

Basically comparing PCs to NPCs is futile since NPCs are really just a group of bundled DN's put together.

fougerec
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby fougerec » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:25 pm

Sword of Spirit wrote:Here's a question, does anyone actually raise attributes? I mean, those are crazy expensive. 'Why, you'd have to take your 10th Perk to equal the cost of going from just one 10 to an 11!'


My PCs have and the timing depended on the PC. We have 41 sessions done so that's 205xp (I do per session rather than per Act). Some saved up early on to buy attributes, some went perk heavy, some went skills. One character just recently bought his 4th perk, another one has about a dozen. What I have noticed is that no PC is fundamentally better than any other. At the thing they specialized in? Sure, that's to be expected. However at 200+ xp there's no character who is good at everything.

utsukushi
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby utsukushi » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:02 pm

I always think I'm going to improve Attributes when I make a character, and then I get stuck. Raising their lower stats doesn't really make sense because they're never going to be good at that and they probably don't have any skills based on it anyway. Raising their higher stats doesn't make sense because it's so expensive! I do always figure that once my Perks are costing in the 20s, Attributes will start looking more attractive, but we're not quite there yet.

But I suspect in the long run that helps create what Fougerec is finding. If it was easy to raise Attributes, pretty soon everyone would have straight 13s and they'd all be more or less the same. Eternity has a really weird mix of heavily rewarding yet punishing specialization at the same time. I don't think it's perfect, but it works, and its imperfections are actually, by and large, a good thing - it makes it less "solvable", in the game theory sense.

I still find that little hiccup from flat creation to cumulative advancement jarring, but after that it seems to sort of work out. And I believe Deanna has said they're aware things get weird at higher levels and have plans, so I think the real problem here is that they're limited by the constraints of this blasted time/space continuum. :(

Sword of Spirit
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Sword of Spirit » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:40 am

Greymarch2000 wrote:NPCs aren't PCs though. They aren't built like PC, they aren't made for the same reason PCs are. There's a reason the stat blocks are given with skill totals and not showing their "adds". Since I've been entering NPCs/monsters into Roll20 with the current sheet I have to enter their adds in and many of them have less that 16 total adds, and many have like a +8 to find or something just to give a challenge in comparison to their super low Mind score.

Basically comparing PCs to NPCs is futile since NPCs are really just a group of bundled DN's put together.

I understand that. I'm not talking about all the numbers adding up. I'm talking about the oddness that the typical villains and NPC allies that the PCs are likely to run into will have bigger muscles, quicker reflexes, cleverer minds, etc. It doesn't really make sense in the fiction. Now, you could advance your PC the same way, by focusing on attributes...but that doesn't seem like a very good route to go. I almost wonder if the solution is to raise the cost of skills to make attributes a bit more attractive.

utsukushi wrote:I still find that little hiccup from flat creation to cumulative advancement jarring, but after that it seems to sort of work out.


I like the idea of just allowing my players to rebuild their character as if they were newly made whenever they want to. That way those who care can keep them as efficient as a newly made character.

GeniusCodeMonkey
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:13 am

My players are already thinking of min/max'ing. If it costs more point to to raise all their skills by a point than increase their attribute ... the problem there is that only works for dex and mind as they have so many skills.

Also my players have already worked out that 1 xp to get an add in each skill is worth it just for the re-roll.
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Kuildeous
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:25 pm

My group has increased attributes. Numerically, there comes a point where it pays off, especially for Dexterity. If you have these adds:
+ 4 Ranged Combat
+ 2 Up-close Combat
+ 5 Dodge

then it would cost 14 XP to increase them all. If your Dexterity is 6, then it's worth it to bump that up for the same cost. And if you're super-dedicated to that attribute so that you have:
+7 Ranged Combat
+4 Up-close Combat
+4 Dodge
+4 Maneuver
+4 Land Vehicles
+4 Stealth

then you're looking at 33 XP to increase each of those skills. Raising Dexterity is clearly cheaper. That's an extreme example, of course.

Not to mention the additional benefits you get with increased Toughness or more Shock. Or maybe you want to qualify for a perk that you didn't think you'd want when you first made your character.

As for NPC power vs PC, I'm not worried about NPCs having higher numbers. This is a heroes' game, and that means overcoming bad odds. John McClane was clearly outmatched by Karl in Die Hard, but he pulled off a stunning victory. Indiana Jones was way outmatched by the Nazi mechanic, but he pulled that off as well. Add in the fact that cards can close the gap, and I'm not at all worried about throwing higher numbers at the PCs. I don't even build them with XP. I just look at what they need to be. Cyberknight should have a 12 Strength? Okay, he has 12 Strength. If I view an NPC as needing 60 points instead of 40, then so be it. But honestly I don't view an NPC as needing that much unless they're lieutenant material.

Likewise, I do the same thing with mooks. A gang member probably only has 8, 8, 7, 6, 6 since they're just a speedbump for the Storm Knights.
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ZorValachan
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby ZorValachan » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:53 pm

I'll just input that i LOLed when I read attribute cost was too expensive... "In my day attributes cost 3x not this new fangled 2x"
But seriously, my group was awestruck when they learned attributes were only double cost instead of triple.
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Kuildeous
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Re: Perk Advancement Cost

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:55 pm

ZorValachan wrote:I'll just input that i LOLed when I read attribute cost was too expensive... "In my day attributes cost 3x not this new fangled 2x"
But seriously, my group was awestruck when they learned attributes were only double cost instead of triple.

Yeah, that change from oTorg floored me as well, but there are also considerably fewer skills in TorgE, plus a skill cap of 5 adds.
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