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Char gen alternatives - All fixed, all scaled costs or a third option?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Alistair View Post

    You are, but then you provoke people to reply in bad faith and all sorts of other things we don't really want in a nice discussion space. If it was just me being "rude", other people wouldn't be telling you the same thing. And you're not one to speak at that with the rude tirade that is your last post before this.
    You provoked this in the first place by saying your method of calculating resulting in 10xp per dot was better than his that resulted in 12xp.

    Sure you can make hypothetical scenarios that show 10xp works in comparison to base. However that is from a hypothetical scenario, disregarding the other scenarios that differ.

    Going 10xp per dot puts everyone on the equivalent footing of a min maxed character. Going 12xp per dot is closer to middle of the road and putting people balanced with a more "typical" character. Ofcourse definition of typical may vary.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
      It's funny how some people treat an additional die on the majority of rolls you make (if you're focused on a niche you roll for that niche a lot), as insignificant. (...) maxing stats out is maxing die pools out which essentially allows you to maximize your results in your niche.

      Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Exalted characters are among the most powerful people in Creation. Like, oh wow, I could go with a 5/5/1 build and play somebody who is incredibly charismatic and manipulative but somehow completely lacks the ability to influence people through her confidence and personal magnetism (how does that work?), or... I could just eat a 1 die penalty which is going to be irrelevant 99.9% of the time because I can expect to steamroll anything anyway, and have a character that's not literally written around some tortured justification for maximizing my BP/XP returns. Such a hard choice.


      Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
      Social stuff is even more difference. Every dot of appearance can potentially add an additional non-charm die to a roll. Cha 5 / App 5 is potentially 3 dice more than Cha 4 / App 4. Even without spending essence, you're always rolling 2 more dice. When you're looking at the difference between 8 and 10 dice? That's a 20% boost.

      Are we... even playing the same game? That 20% boost is going to be worth nothing most of the time even if your GM is throwing similarly min-maxed abominations at you at every corner, because either you're working with their Intimacies and get the equivalent of a bunch of non-Charm auto-successes on your roll, or you're going against that person's values and they will probably WP your influence away no matter how many successes you roll (assuming the issue is important enough for them to apply Resolve to begin with!).


      Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
      Is a 4/4/3 build a bad build? No. I never said it was, that was you.
      You've... literally called it "broadly mediocre". Which is especially galling in light of the fact that a 4/4/3 physical build isn't even worse than 5/5/1 unless you're also grabbing a specialization in your combat ability of choice. The extra health levels from Ox-Body purchases, better soak and the ability to resist poisons and environmental hazards thrown your way without having to max out Resistance more than make up for the 1-die difference in Dex, especially when the FoS difference can be trivialized with the purchase of a Charm that you probably wanted anyway. Unless you're a deeb - with a much smaller Ox-Body gap, a Strength booster that isn't absurdly broken (not to mention a prerequisite to an even more absurdly broken damage booster) and strong incentives to go for ability 5+spec -, there is very little reason to go 5/5/1 over 4/4/3, and honestly, with the amount of frankly amazing deeb Charms that key off of Stamina, I'd rather go 1/5/5 even then.


      Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
      Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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      • #33
        Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
        Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Exalted characters are among the most powerful people in Creation. Like, oh wow, I could go with a 5/5/1 build and play somebody who is incredibly charismatic and manipulative but somehow completely lacks the ability to influence people through her confidence and personal magnetism (how does that work?), or... I could just eat a 1 die penalty which is going to be irrelevant 99.9% of the time because I can expect to steamroll anything anyway, and have a character that's not literally written around some tortured justification for maximizing my BP/XP returns. Such a hard choice.
        Well sure, The Exalted are a cut above. I never said they weren't. An Olympic athlete is still gonna destroy me when it comes to anything athletic, but guess what? There is still such a thing as a mediocre Olympic athlete. Importantly that's only possible when comparing them against other Olympic athletes (I'm talking about comparing Exalts at char gen here).

        Fun fact: It's actually IMPOSSIBLE to have lower dice pools if you pick a category as your primary attributes and then go 4/4/3.

        But that's the thing. You keep talking about it as if the difference between STR 4 and STR 5 is a single die.

        STR 5 can get feats of strength 5. They can get up to STR 10 with solar charms and therefore STR 10 feats of strength. They do more damage on every single withering attack

        Stamina 5 has a ton more/better health levels from every Ox Body. They have higher soak. They have the ability to push that soak even higher.

        Dex 5 characters are more precise, which translates to doing more damage, more often. They have higher Evasion and therefore higher maximum evasion. They have higher parry and therefore higher maximum parry.

        But someone who generalizes between all three? They're more likely to take hits, they're more likely to take damage from said hit, they're more crippled by damage, and they can't dish out damage as effectively.

        One die is NOTHING in exalted.

        One DOT of an attribute is never insignificant, especially when it's the 5th dot.

        Also, let me be clear. I'm not a fan of min-maxing, myself. I usually go with a partially optimized build of 5/4/2 or 5/3/3 dependent on the character. I choose my character's preferred approach and boost that up to 5 and then generalize a bit apart from that. If I do the full 5/5/1 it's because I'm playing a chararacter for whom the 1 is as important as the 5's.

        Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
        Are we... even playing the same game? That 20% boost is going to be worth nothing most of the time even if your GM is throwing similarly min-maxed abominations at you at every corner, because either you're working with their Intimacies and get the equivalent of a bunch of non-Charm auto-successes on your roll, or you're going against that person's values and they will probably WP your influence away no matter how many successes you roll (assuming the issue is important enough for them to apply Resolve to begin with!).
        Yeah, we are, and as I said upthread, it depends on your group whether min-maxing is a good idea. A full group min-maxed is fine. A full group generalized is fine. A group that has a mix of min/maxers and generalists is pretty hard to balance challenges against. The generalists aren't gonna shine against challenges to the min/maxers and the min/maxers are gonna trivially destroy stuff that is focused towards the generalists.

        As to your point on an opponent just spending WP to NOPE your approach, that's true no matter what you do. However, if you've got more spread out attributes that doesn't help you either. You're less likely to make a successful argument in the first place so your target can just save their WP for the ones you actually do get through and each attempt at persuade that fails makes that intimacy unavailable for further attempts. You'll be easier to read because your read intentions will be lower, though your resolve is independent of your social stats (which I have always considered weird but it's the system we've got)

        As an aside, I would usually consider a generalist social character as more of an oddity than one who focuses on using Charisma OR Manipulation OR appearance to get what they want. A character who is just as manipulative as they are charismatic while also having a super good appearance just sounds kinda bland.

        Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
        You've... literally called it "broadly mediocre". Which is especially galling in light of the fact that a 4/4/3 physical build isn't even worse than 5/5/1 unless you're also grabbing a specialization in your combat ability of choice. The extra health levels from Ox-Body purchases, better soak and the ability to resist poisons and environmental hazards thrown your way without having to max out Resistance more than make up for the 1-die difference in Dex, especially when the FoS difference can be trivialized with the purchase of a Charm that you probably wanted anyway. Unless you're a deeb - with a much smaller Ox-Body gap, a Strength booster that isn't absurdly broken (not to mention a prerequisite to an even more absurdly broken damage booster) and strong incentives to go for ability 5+spec -, there is very little reason to go 5/5/1 over 4/4/3, and honestly, with the amount of frankly amazing deeb Charms that key off of Stamina, I'd rather go 1/5/5 even then.
        Would you prefer I said: literally the least benefit from attributes that you can have in an exalt's primary category at char gen? Like, you can't actually go any lower with your primary category. It cannot happen. A critique of a build's effectiveness is not a critique of it's value at least not to me.

        The nice thing about flat xp costs is that this isn't a straight-up punishment for people who choose to build a character like this. There's a lot to be said for a character who is 'broadly competent' so long as you're not the only one in your circle that is. Have you ever played in a group with everybody min-maxed and you're not? You'll find out pretty damn quick what I mean by 'broadly mediocre.' One of the biggest issues my group and I have with scaling xp costs is that it actively punishes people for choosing to spread out their attribute dots. Once people spending xp they'll often push towards something like a 5/5/3 build (or 5/5/5 in some cases), but until you start hitting those 5's you're not at your peek potential. As I said, i usually go with a 5/4/2 spread or 5/3/3 spread myself.

        What I mean when I say that I don't consider a 'broadly mediocre' starting build a bad thing, is that while you're definitely not at the peak of your power, you're still a solar and that'll show. I admit I didn't communicate that effectively previously. My apologies for that.


        Check out my homebrew exalt: The Fabulists - Chosen of the Raksha here

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        • #34
          Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
          But that's the thing. You keep talking about it as if the difference between STR 4 and STR 5 is a single die.

          STR 5 can get feats of strength 5. They can get up to STR 10 with solar charms and therefore STR 10 feats of strength. They do more damage on every single withering attack

          No - I keep talking about it as if the difference between Str 4 and Str 5 was less than a single die. Because it is. It's trivial for the Str 4 character to pick up ISE and just blow 3m in a scene where they need to do a Str 5 feat of strength. ISE is a prerequisite to one of the most potent ability-agnostic damage enhancers in the game. There is no character who wants to be strong but also doesn't want ISE.

          Str 10 feats are pretty irrelevant too. Like, yeah, by E5, you'll be able to boost your Str up to 10 with ISE alone, but for the overwhelming majority of your career as an Exalt, your main tool for dealing with Str 10 FoS will be Nine Aeons Thew, which just sets your Str to "arbitrarily high" for the purposes of meeting FoS mins. A better example would be the 15 sessions you'll spend being unable to attempt Str 7 feats with ISE alone at E2, but even then, you have an admittedly shitty recourse in the purchase of one Charm. (Assuming you're not an Athletics supernal in the first place.)

          The 1 die damage boost mostly doesn't do anything - it works out to +1i for every two attacks you make, and - if you're lucky - maybe a handful of extra crashes you'll get over the course of your career where it'll be largely impossible to say whether it was the effect of that one die difference (and which very probably won't even happen in fights where the 1 turn difference in getting the crash actually matters). And that is if you even get the bonus damage - a dedicated soakbeast can quite trivially reduce you to overwhelming no matter how high your Strength is.

          So the difference is a flat one die, 2 dice with a full excellency, having to blow 3 extra motes in a scene where you want to do a Str 5 feat, not being able to save a WP on Str 10 feats at E5 by spending 15m (irrelevant for most games), and a 15 session stretch where you can't access Str 7 feats without the aid of a crappy speedbump charm (assuming you don't go for Athletics supernal). Compared to the +1 die on all Dex-related pools for your entire career a 4/4/3 build has over a 5/3/3 one, I'd say 4/4/3 comes out ahead, and I'd say the very obvious crippling weaknesses of 5/5/1 also make the comparison more of a wash. Literally the only spread 4/4/3 loses unequivocally to is the 5/4/2 one if 5/4/2 rushes Sta 3, but practically nobody builds 5/4/2, so who cares.


          Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
          STR 5 can get feats of strength 5. They can get up to STR 10 with solar charms and therefore STR 10 feats of strength. They do more damage on every single withering attack

          Stamina 5 has a ton more/better health levels from every Ox Body. They have higher soak. They have the ability to push that soak even higher.

          Dex 5 characters are more precise, which translates to doing more damage, more often. They have higher Evasion and therefore higher maximum evasion. They have higher parry and therefore higher maximum parry.

          But someone who generalizes between all three? They're more likely to take hits, they're more likely to take damage from said hit, they're more crippled by damage, and they can't dish out damage as effectively.

          At the same time, they're also less likely to take hits than the guy who dumped Dex (not that anybody does that), they're less likely to take damage from those hits than the guy who dumped Sta, they're also less crippled by damage than the guy who dumped Sta (wow it's almost like there's a giant honking pattern here saying "dumping Sta is a bad idea", I wonder what that says about the effectiveness of 5/5/1 builds...), and they deal more damage than the guy who dumped Str. I've no idea why you're so insistent on pretending that the dots you're not spending on maximizing certain attributes just disappear into the ether instead of going towards reinforcing other attributes.


          Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
          As to your point on an opponent just spending WP to NOPE your approach, that's true no matter what you do. However, if you've got more spread out attributes that doesn't help you either. You're less likely to make a successful argument in the first place so your target can just save their WP for the ones you actually do get through and each attempt at persuade that fails makes that intimacy unavailable for further attempts. You'll be easier to read because your read intentions will be lower, though your resolve is independent of your social stats (which I have always considered weird but it's the system we've got)

          Re:being less likely to make successful arguments, I don't think that one stands up to scrutiny. If your opponent has maxed Resolve, then your App 5 does nothing (without tossing a ton of committed motes into App boosters, with a questionable ROI). If your opponent hasn't maxed Resolve, you're overwhelmingly likely to succeed on a social influence attempt even with the 1-die comparative disadvantage, especially if you can hook into some supporting intimacies. Literally the only time your +1 die will come up is when you're going up against a Resolve enhanced by strong opposed Intimacies without having any supporting Intimacies to work with. And that's not the kind of situation a halfway competent social character often finds herself in.

          As for being easier to read... easier to read compared to what? Man 4+Socialize 5 gets you a base Guile of 5, you can trivially layer an indefinite +3 boost on top of that from Essence 2 on with a 2 Charm dip, and if shit hits the fan, you can still boost it by another +1 for 1m. You'll have a flat post-stunt Guile of 9 and you can go up to 10 with a minimal investment. Celestial Exalts will have to empty their personal pools to have a reasonable chance at peeking behind the curtains, and anybody else can just forget about reading you full stop. Like, yeah, if you went for Man 5+Soc 5+a dreadfully boring specialty in Guile (bleh), you could have a post-stunt Guile of 10 and be able to boost it to 12, but maybe having 1 extra die in an area you're not winning forever by default at a minimal investment would be more useful?
          Last edited by aluminiumtrioxid; 05-16-2019, 05:16 AM.


          Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
          Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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          • #35
            I'll be honest, I'm not seeing what these giant posts about the value of 1 dice have to do with a suggested new character gen system.


            My characters:
            Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
            Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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            • #36
              I used to be really bothered about chargen in 2e. Then, I was initially very let down that 3e keeps the BP/XP. Then... I wasn't really that bothered anymore, because 3e had still removed my main annoyances with 2e chargen - namely, Virtues and the incentives for min-maxing them. All the rest isn't that much of a problem for me, because how much exp it takes for different characters to raise their stats in a single category to 5/5/5 is only a problem if two or more players are interested in maxing out a stat category rather than making more nuanced and diverse characters, and it's not something my players or I care a lot about.

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              • #37
                Yeah, if people aren't trying to get maxed stats in loads of categories because they're spending xp on charms, it doesn't matter.


                My characters:
                Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  I'll be honest, I'm not seeing what these giant posts about the value of 1 dice have to do with a suggested new character gen system.
                  For those of us that would prefer a flat XP based system, there is a discussion to be had over how to calculate what the flat XP rating should be for currently scaled traits. It can get pretty math heavy and into the weeds on design stuff. But even as someone that thinks that, I'm with you on where this particular iteration has been headed. I wish it would orient to something more collaborative/constructive instead of trying to turn "10 XP vs 12 XP for Attributes" into hills to die on.

                  Originally posted by Morangias View Post
                  IThen... I wasn't really that bothered anymore, because 3e had still removed my main annoyances with 2e chargen - namely, Virtues and the incentives for min-maxing them.
                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  Yeah, if people aren't trying to get maxed stats in loads of categories because they're spending xp on charms, it doesn't matter.
                  There's still plenty of system incentives to min-max over more well rounded builds even if less extreme.

                  And one of the issues is have the whole "splat XP" so people aren't just buying Charms. You have a pile of XP you can't use on your native Charms, so the main thing to do with it is to start maxing out your other stuff. I mean, it's a good thing to encourage people to do more than buy Charms/Charm prerequisites, but it means the XP/BP divide still rears its head.

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                  • #39
                    I kind of agree, but it depends on your players. I'd say with maybe a third to a half of my players it was an issue in the past (but not now, as I said before), but with the others it's never been a problem.
                    So I can understand why Morangias feels that it's not an issue for his players.


                    My characters:
                    Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                    Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Something I tried back in the 2E days that ended up working extremely well for us is simply create characters according to the standard rules then, when it's convenient, I quickly work out how much each character would cost to make from scratch using pure XP, and hand each character a bonus XP equal to the difference between that character's XP worth and the highest in the group - a refund based on how XP-efficient your build is (or isn't, rather). From that point on we can resume using XP like normal.

                      The advantages of this are
                      • Virtually no change from standard rules (aside from an extra step added once, and only 1 person needs to bother with that)
                      • Unlike pure fixed or pure scaling approaches, there are no emergent push toward characters being more specialised or more diversified than normal.
                      • If players are expecting the optimisation refund then I've found that character creation goes much faster in practice. No need to stress about which of starting dots, bonus points or XP is more efficient for anything on the character sheet.
                      • Player's don't need to do anything special or learn any custom rules for character generation - just make a character as you normally would and expect some bonus XP to arrive later. This is because a single person (the ST or a volunteer) can easily perform the extra step (calculating the XP worth for each character) for the whole group single-handedly without having to involve anyone else.
                      • This extra step can even be deferred until later so that you can all start playing as soon as you've put your characters together. What I normally do is have everyone arrive with a completed character sheet for the first session and collect all the sheets at the end of the session. Working out how much XP a build costs turns out to be a lot faster than building a character from XP in the first place, since there are no decisions to be made, and I can do it in my own time. At the start of the second session I hand everyone their sheets back and award them each an XP bonus for their individual optimisation refund.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        For those of us that would prefer a flat XP based system, there is a discussion to be had over how to calculate what the flat XP rating should be for currently scaled traits. It can get pretty math heavy and into the weeds on design stuff. But even as someone that thinks that, I'm with you on where this particular iteration has been headed. I wish it would orient to something more collaborative/constructive instead of trying to turn "10 XP vs 12 XP for Attributes" into hills to die on.

                        I'd go with 10 XP for attributes under the logic that making attribute purchases more expensive than any other investment creates bad gamefeel ("hmm, I could get +1 die to a couple rolls or I could unlock an awesome new power for my magic sword and still have 2 xp left over, I wonder which one of these options should I go with...") and 3 XP for favored/4 nonfavored abilities because I want to tempt players into picking a couple dots in nonfavored abilities when they come up in play, which is much harder to do when it means delaying their planned progression by 2 sessions instead of just 1.

                        In theory, this will result in marginally more powerful characters, but it also incentivizes frivolously spending on non-favored abilities, so it prooooobably evens out in the end.


                        Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                        Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Barefoot Monkey View Post
                          Something I tried back in the 2E days that ended up working extremely well for us is simply create characters according to the standard rules then, when it's convenient, I quickly work out how much each character would cost to make from scratch using pure XP, and hand each character a bonus XP equal to the difference between that character's XP worth and the highest in the group - a refund based on how XP-efficient your build is (or isn't, rather). From that point on we can resume using XP like normal.
                          That's simply genius, I'm definitely gonna try it out in a future game.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Barefoot Monkey View Post
                            Something I tried back in the 2E days that ended up working extremely well for us is simply create characters according to the standard rules then, when it's convenient, I quickly work out how much each character would cost to make from scratch using pure XP, and hand each character a bonus XP equal to the difference between that character's XP worth and the highest in the group - a refund based on how XP-efficient your build is (or isn't, rather). From that point on we can resume using XP like normal.

                            The advantages of this are
                            • Virtually no change from standard rules (aside from an extra step added once, and only 1 person needs to bother with that)
                            • Unlike pure fixed or pure scaling approaches, there are no emergent push toward characters being more specialised or more diversified than normal.
                            • If players are expecting the optimisation refund then I've found that character creation goes much faster in practice. No need to stress about which of starting dots, bonus points or XP is more efficient for anything on the character sheet.
                            • Player's don't need to do anything special or learn any custom rules for character generation - just make a character as you normally would and expect some bonus XP to arrive later. This is because a single person (the ST or a volunteer) can easily perform the extra step (calculating the XP worth for each character) for the whole group single-handedly without having to involve anyone else.
                            • This extra step can even be deferred until later so that you can all start playing as soon as you've put your characters together. What I normally do is have everyone arrive with a completed character sheet for the first session and collect all the sheets at the end of the session. Working out how much XP a build costs turns out to be a lot faster than building a character from XP in the first place, since there are no decisions to be made, and I can do it in my own time. At the start of the second session I hand everyone their sheets back and award them each an XP bonus for their individual optimisation refund.
                            This is a great way to equalize starting builds for scaling xp!

                            I think I still prefer flat xp costs, though. One of the main advantages of flat xp is that is doesn't trend automatically towards samey characters. With scaled xp, most people go with cheap, fast options to spend xp on. If you're trying to save up for something, it kinda sucks to not be able to make use of downtime to spend your xp, and there's a definite satisfaction to buying up your traits even if they aren't the ones you really want to build up.

                            With flat xp costs, everybody spends the same amount on traits, not matter where they're at. You're free to buy into your specialty or refocus your specialty, but it doesn't penalize anyone moving out of their niche either. IE, you can choose to spread out your starting points for a bunch of different things without sacrificing your ability to hit the heights of specialty in one field (or more) AND the person who wants to min-max can broaden their horizons without it being cheaper to buy up the first few dots in a bunch of different things.

                            Everybody can focus their xp or spread it around with no issues.


                            Check out my homebrew exalt: The Fabulists - Chosen of the Raksha here

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                              There's still plenty of system incentives to min-max over more well rounded builds even if less extreme.
                              There definitely are incentives, but different incentives have different strength against different people, and for my group, the remaining incentives aren't particularly strong. If they are disruptive enough for you and your table that you feel changing the chargen system improves your experience, more power to you, and I will never say you're wrong to do so. Personally, though, I don't bother.
                              Last edited by Morangias; 05-17-2019, 02:35 AM.

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