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  • Limiting Skill 5?

    A gripe that I notice on the forums seems to be that too many 5s at chargen can really devalue what the skill means, so I am thinking of placing a limit on the amount of 5s allowed at chargen for an upcoming chronicle.
    While it understandably varies Solar to Solar, what do you feel is a good range?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu View Post
    A gripe that I notice on the forums seems to be that too many 5s at chargen can really devalue what the skill means, so I am thinking of placing a limit on the amount of 5s allowed at chargen for an upcoming chronicle.
    While it understandably varies Solar to Solar, what do you feel is a good range?
    A rule of thumb that works for my table is having around one skill at 5 and two skills at 4, the rest being 3 or lower.

    Main exceptions being if a Dawn wants both a short- and a long-range skill, or if someone wants to pick up a more situational/party-useful skill like Sail or Medicine.


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    • #3
      "YES, YOU CAN TAKE A 5
      It’s incredibly rare for someone in the world of Exalted
      to have an Attribute or Ability rated at five dots. A professional
      soldier enlisted in a standing army most likely
      has Melee ••, while a cunning courtier whose web of
      lies and blackmail have snared an entire court in his
      influence might only have Manipulation •••. A character
      who has five dots of raw talent in an Attribute or
      five dots of skill in an Ability is a prodigy even among
      other prodigies of his field, a living legend whose feats
      might defy belief.
      Sounds like the Exalted, doesn’t it?
      If you want your character to be one of the strongest
      men in the world, the greatest savant in generations of
      scholarship, or an unsurpassed master of the martial
      arts, you can take five dots. While we encourage you to
      let your character concept define the ratings of their
      Attributes and Abilities, rather than the other way
      around, it is totally valid to buy a trait all the way up to
      five at character creation if that’s what makes sense for
      your character
      ."


      What makes sense?

      This is one of those questions that only those that are playing with you can answer. If a guy chooses to play the Perfect Samurai and wants to spend his points to get Awareness 5, Melee 5, Ride 5, Archery 5, Integrity 5, Martial Arts 5 and Socialize 5, does that make sense?

      If he is a street urchin that scavenged his arms from the dead in a battlefield why does he have Melee 5 and War 5? If he is a Dashing Court Duelist why does he have Dexterity/Melee 5 and Charisma/Socialize 1/0?

      I think better than imposing hard limits is ti talk to each player about their character concept and how his point distribution figures into that. That is if you care about how your player spends their points, many here do not think you should and that that is meddling into something better left alone.

      I think that as an ST you can set additional parameters, I just don't think there is a general number that "makes more sense". It is really a table to table thing.
      Last edited by TGUEIROS; 03-23-2016, 12:24 PM.

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      • #4
        I mean... Exalted is a game about people chosen by one of the most powerful gods in all creation. I personally don't mind characters with lots of 5s, because I have a rule that anything the players can use, I can use.

        What that means is if I have a dawn that wants 5s in all combat skills, then the circle can potentially come up against multiple opponents with 5s in those same skills.

        TL;DR: let the players have all the 5s they want, but use the same things against them.


        Wow I wish I had something cool to say here

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        • #5
          I just asked my players nicely to seriously consider their characters and not take multiple skills at 5 unless it's really crucial to their concept, while assuring them that a)as far as I understand the system, characters with threes and fours work perfectly fine, and b)if it turned out to not be true in actual play, I'll let them rewrite their character sheets.

          So far, nobody feels disappointed.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Fata-Ku View Post
            A rule of thumb that works for my table is having around one skill at 5 and two skills at 4, the rest being 3 or lower.

            Main exceptions being if a Dawn wants both a short- and a long-range skill, or if someone wants to pick up a more situational/party-useful skill like Sail or Medicine.
            Same.

            Otherwise you get the number crunchers bopping numerous 5's down as it's "XP efficient" and the like; because it makes sense to play characters who are like Muyamoto Musashi, Ip Man, Bruce Lee, Mozart, Casanova, Hercules combined. At char gen. But so massively crippled in everything else that they're be laughable outside of the niches they're geared for.

            I think a pyramid structure makes sense - 1 or 2 "5's", 2 or 3 "4's" ideally related too or tied in to the "5's" in backstory and the rest at 2/3. I wouldn't stop a player having a 5 - though I'd make sure they realize that it's almost superhuman levels of adeptness without even Exalting (Elite mortal soldiers have Melee 2 or something IIRC?).

            I don't mind, during play, a character working towards and being driven to the high number and expertise. It organic and feels natural and good for the game. Otherwise it just feels like stacking the odds, making a character unbelievably wonky and leaves very little room for growth in-game. The amazing swordsman who's all about hitting things will want to play a game all about hitting things .... during which there isn't much time for a character to work on studying a language or something. Unless you DT/montage it at which point you're playing a beat-em-up with some flavour stuff in the background.

            I adore skilled characters. Especially when I get a player who's highest skills are maybe a couple of 4's with a great backstory, merits (Backgrounds) that all tie in together to the skills and stats and they aren't just trying to ensure they always land attacks and/or can always dodge because in their mind their character must never fail at their chosen niche.

            Reminds me of a game I played in once online; starting characters someone played and APP 4 character. They were the Circles "Face" and social powerhouse. New player arrived, wanted to be APP 5. Then someone dropped out and another new player brought in their character .... at APP 6. So it went on and after several months there were a host of APP 8 and 9 characters romping around turning the game that had been an awesome Yu-Shan clean up game into "Herpaderp Cybersex the Gods, fnar-fnar..."

            Seen it with martial artists too. And artifacts. Trying to escalate things to be better than others all the time. I like how this iteration of the game has set out it's stall and called out the numbers more explicitly. As in 2 dots is a skilled military trained warrior. 3 dots is cream of the crop, proper notable protege hot-shot types. 4 dots in something is regional fame levels of skill and 5 dots? You'd have people from all over Creation seeking out your wisdom to either use it or learn from it!

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            • #7
              We're playing a game where you can be a demigod striding the earth and people still want to slap my hand like I'm a bad kid reaching in the cookie jar because I take 5s at char gen.


              Come and rock me Amadeus.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jay View Post

                (Elite mortal soldiers have Melee 2 or something IIRC?).
                Reverse-engineering their stats, the Elite Soldier statblock has either Dex 5 Melee 4, Dex 4 Melee 5, or Dex 4 Melee 4 with a specialty in slashing swords. But they're the cream of the crop. Another name for that statline is Champion, and for good reason.

                I'd have to say that devaluing high-rank stats and skills is a noticable problem; my current GM has a subplot going on with mortal students seeking out my Brawl-focused Exalt, because even though he has yet to out himself as an Exalt or even flare until very recently, enough stories went around about how insanely good with his fists he was (On top of being very easy to recognize, what with being Appearance 4 and having the Giant merit. How many eight foot pretty-boy juggernaughts have you ever seen?) that he's pushing away hopeful trainees every time he stays in one place too long. And I love that! I love that legends are spreading in a way that ICly, my character dislikes! I'm all for people coming to the table with absurdly skilled and focused characters; if they have a damn good explanation for it, and if the story recognizes their skills even before charm usage! The Eclipse with Sail 5 and no charms should still have the captain of a vessel the circle hired be begging him to stay after seeing him nimbly flit through the rigging, shifting sails and recognizing the changing weather days before storms actually hit. The Night with Larceny 5 and a single charm should still inspire legends of an uncatchable thief after a few afternoons spent in disguise cutting purses and snatching rings off fingers without their owners noticing the absence.

                As long as everyone at the table understands how skilled skill 5 is, instead of treating it like a prerequisite for basic competence, I don't care if they show to the table with three or four skills at 5. Or show up with two or three attributes at 5. As long as we actually play that up and make them feel like they're one of the paragons in that field, with all the baggage that entails, and weave into the plot some nods as to how they reached that level. A Dawn with melee 5 should have the swordsmaster of his youth recognize him just from the legends, and show up to cross blades as a final test. A Twilight with Lore 5 should be receiving missives from his university telling him, in no uncertain terms, that they'd appreciate if perhaps he came back and gave a few lectures, and in return, why, they wouldn't have to let his private records become public rumor. Etc, etc.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hippokrene View Post
                  We're playing a game where you can be a demigod striding the earth and people still want to slap my hand like I'm a bad kid reaching in the cookie jar because I take 5s at char gen.
                  Nothing wrong with having a couple fives on your sheet if you ask me. The problem is when 5 becomes the baseline for players, which defeats the purpose of having graded stats in the first place.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hippokrene View Post
                    We're playing a game where you can be a demigod striding the earth and people still want to slap my hand like I'm a bad kid reaching in the cookie jar because I take 5s at char gen.
                    Setting up guidelines for players is BadWrongFun. Noted.


                    Bearer of the legacy of Trauma Bear
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Grindavikur View Post
                      Reverse-engineering their stats, the Elite Soldier statblock has either Dex 5 Melee 4, Dex 4 Melee 5, or Dex 4 Melee 4 with a specialty in slashing swords. But they're the cream of the crop. Another name for that statline is Champion, and for good reason.
                      I think the "quick" stats are explicitly not intended to be reverse-engineered and extrapolated therefrom, and I'm also not sure if you're accommodating the dice pool bonuses from gear in there.

                      Originally posted by Jay View Post
                      But so massively crippled in everything else that they're be laughable outside of the niches they're geared for.
                      You make it sound like this isn't realistic or doesn't happen in real life.

                      Originally posted by Fata-Ku View Post
                      Setting up guidelines for players is BadWrongFun. Noted.
                      No, the question is whether it's an actual issue.

                      In Shadowrun 4th edition, you could start with one skill at 6 (the max) or two at 5. You could have one Attribute at its natural "hard" cap and any number at the "soft" cap of (natural max -1) that you could afford to buy. In 5e, the skills go to 12, so there's no limit to how many can start at 6, because it's not the gameplay cap.

                      The point is, SR comes from this basis that you're an expert criminal, but you're still just some guy who won't be able to beat The System in its entirety forever. You're a veteran runner, but not a Prime Runner - you're more than just street scum, but you're also not one of the top pros in the field yet. And even when you make it big, you're living run to run. You'll either make the huge score one day (and need to secretly retire somewhere with really good extradition protection) or die on the job. So some restrictions make sense given those general themes.

                      My point is mainly that Exalted doesn't approach the status of PCs from the same perspective, so I'm not sure that caps on the number of 5s you can take, beyond the general "5 is the max," make a lot of sense, unless you have specific themes you want to play with in a particular game.
                      Last edited by Zelbinnean; 03-23-2016, 01:21 PM.


                      "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

                      "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hippokrene View Post
                        We're playing a game where you can be a demigod striding the earth and people still want to slap my hand like I'm a bad kid reaching in the cookie jar because I take 5s at char gen.

                        I have no problems with fives at character creation. But it really fucks with my suspension of disbelief when someone hands me a sheet of fives and ones. Your character doesn't have any ability at 2, 3, 4?

                        Though I see this more with Charisma and Manipulation Attributes than Abilities. Exalted needs a better way to define Social Attributes, but that is another thread.
                        Last edited by wonderandawe; 03-23-2016, 02:08 PM.


                        I write things.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                          Though I see this more with Charisma and Manipulation Attributes than Abilities. Exalted needs a better way to define Social Attributes, but that is another thread.
                          yay storyteller system!!!!!!!!!


                          "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

                          "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo

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                          • #14
                            Definitely not.

                            In my opinion the worst consequence of this would be to sharply limit Charm selection and progression. You can get a handful of Charms with 3 dots, one or two more with 4, but ultimately, if you want to invest in Charms of an ability, you need to get 5. I like to play characters who generalize and dip into multiple abilities, so this restriction would be a game-breaker for me.


                            Writer for Exalted.

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                            • #15
                              I'm generally in favour of taking as many 5s as you can afford. Doing so won't leave you incompetent at other things, since a dice pool of 3 is enough to perform challenging tasks most of the time. And I prefer it if none of my players get screwed by the bean-counting math of the game.

                              On the topic of elite soldier stats...the really strange thing is that they've got 10 dice to Join Battle and 9 dice to Senses. Perception 4, Wits 5, Awareness 5? Perception 5, Wits 4, Awareness 4, a Join Battle specialty, and the Fast Reflexes Merit? All the options are at least a bit strange.


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