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  • Alternate Character Creation suggestions and discussion ...

    Hey everyone and thank you for reading my post and hopefully responding to it.

    I have been thinking of another method of character creation than what is used in the official books. When i did some research i found out i was not the only one that went that way but the info i found was old and the thread(s) were either dead or ended with something like: "No, that is stupid and you are stupid and no!".

    I hope that links to another post on some other forum are not against some rule (if they are i will remove them immediately):
    http://forums.whitewolfarchive.com/d...=posts&t=45533
    http://txt.blorgblorgbl.org/view/73001070

    I really like the xp based character creation because i believe that it can yield better characters for players and it puts everyone on the same playing field (posts in the links describe that much better than i could ever do it). I think that a balanced (that is where you guys come in ) xp based method could be really great. Im not saying that the traditional method is bad but think that xp method could be great.

    Do you guys have any suggestions how you would do it? Maybe some math behind it? Maybe some past experiences (good or bad)? I researched for a few days and in the end i found these 2 posts that interested me. Any answer is great and appreciated but please write why... Please dont write: "NO", or "This is stupid" or something like that. I appreciate your opinion but please write why.

    My hope here is that someone has a good idea or ideas or some first hand experience with some alternative methods (xp based preferably) and is willing to share them.

    Thank you in advance and i hope you help me find a great character creation alternative that will make me and my troupe happy (im not an experienced ST so im looking to you guys for help).

  • #2
    I prefer the Virtue-Vice system over Nature-Deamor so maybe that could help.


    Check out my DriveThruRPG books at: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse....=Carrie%20Kube

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    • #3
      The biggest problems I've had with XP based character creation are:

      1) Math. The normal creation system is nice because it goes really fast. You have a pool of dots and you fill them in. Having XP based creation drastically slows things down because it removes that simplicity. There's a few ways to address this. The most direct is using digital creation programs that track if for you. Another option is doing arrays which is a compromise where you have precalculated dot allocations built with XP and the players just pick which traits get which ratings. How many arrays you want is kind of dependent on a few things (like how many things are being covered), but you can generally get away with Generalist/Focused/Specialist and make most people happy. Finally you can also go flat XP costs which removes most of the math difficulties.

      2) Chargen-Freebie-XP disparities. These sources of points are not equal. It's hard to say when the books are doing this on purpose, and when they're just that way because, but the systems are built with heavy incentives towards picking up some things at creation and other things in play. This can mess with what starting level characters look like drastically. Not a VtM example, but a really simple one is Gifts in WtA. You get 3 for free, extras cost 7 freebies, but they only cost 3 XP (assuming you're staying in-splat for them and all). Starting with 4-5 Gifts is a huge investment in the normal rules. In XP based generation, Gifts are super cheap and not starting with ~6 of them seems silly (letting you save the in-game process of hunting down spirits to teach them to you for when you Rank up).

      This one is harder to fix. If you're doing XP by section instead of a giant pool of XP to spend anywhere, you can avoid this by just not having an XP pool for these sorts of things (or making it really small and have it overlap with something else).

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      • #4
        You could also work in reverse and give dots a flat cost independently if you are buying the first or the fifth dot.

        For example:
        1) Taking an attribute from 1 to 5 costs 5+10+15+20=50, divide it by 4 (the number of dots you can effectively buy) and you get that each point costs 12,5 exp. You can round up or down according to what feels right.
        2) Taking a skill from 0 to 5 costs 3+2+4+6+8=23, divide it by 5 and you get that each point costs 4,6 exp, Round up or down however you like.
        3) Etc...

        Pros:
        Doesn't slow down character creation.
        Creates a sense of continuity, in the sense that you can raise a single stat with a certain regularity, you don't get fast earlier dots then wait for a lifetime to get the latest, but in the end you had to accumulate the same amount of exp (more or less).

        Cons:
        You might not feel ok with the rounding down or up.
        You might not like the non-exponential learning curve.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TittoPaolo210 View Post
          You could also work in reverse and give dots a flat cost independently if you are buying the first or the fifth dot.

          For example:
          1) Taking an attribute from 1 to 5 costs 5+10+15+20=50, divide it by 4 (the number of dots you can effectively buy) and you get that each point costs 12,5 exp. You can round up or down according to what feels right.

          I believe the XP cost for attribute are CR*4 (not *5 as per your example) but i still get your point.





          English is not my native language, so i apologize for errors in grammar or spelling.

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          • #6
            I've thought for some time that a xp process might be interesting, at least for some table. Yes it's much slower, and somewhat math heavier (to a point, we're talking additions here, something an 8 year sold should do ) and some table won't care about the in-creation versus in-game cost disparities.

            If you're looking for generic feedbacks and ideas, you might want to look at online creation alternative for old editions of Shadowrun (I believe it was at first for SR2, then SR3). It does the same thing, mostly for the same reason: remove creation point, estimate their value in xp, give xp for creation. I used it several times, it worked very well, and there even was some kind of Excel sheet that will do the computations for you.


            Playing on French Online virtual tabletop rpg community.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cadmiumcadamium View Post


              I believe the XP cost for attribute are CR*4 (not *5 as per your example) but i still get your point.
              I might totally be wrong. In that case it's even easier, since the total would be 40, so each dot would be exactly 10 xp.
              Last edited by TittoPaolo210; 10-06-2014, 01:17 PM.

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              • #8
                I wrote an XP-based character generation system a couple years ago and used it for a Sabbat chronicle. To do it, I generated a min-maxed (AKA "fully optimized") character using the stock rules, then calculated how XP it would take to buy all of the dots. It came out to around 460 XP, which is what I allocated to my players for their character generation.

                It turned out to create very strong starting characters. I just did that same process and found the XP value of the "worst" starting character build to be around 185. That's an amazing power gap, but I do think it accurately reflects the power differences possible via the stock character creation system.

                I think using something around 300 XP to start would yield the best results. Characters would have a medium power level closer to an average, non-optimized starting character under stock rules.


                Demon Cat

                Illuminated Dark Ages character sheets and more

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                • #9
                  Below is the write-up I gave to players for my XP character gen system. Keep in mind that this was for a Sabbat game, so PCs got zero Backgrounds and four Discipline dots. It was written slightly prior to V20, hence the page refs being for V:tM Revised. You could easily use this for Camarilla/Independent characters. Reduce the Discipline minimum from 4 to 3 dots, and add 5 dots of Backgrounds.

                  The most common ruling I've heard for giving XP costs to Backgrounds is 3 XP * [rating]. If you want to run Backgrounds as a stat to buy with XP, that's what I'd go with at character gen and during play. However, if you want to stick with Backgrounds just raising and falling narratively during play (my preference), than don't charge XP at character gen, either. Just have players select 5 dots and exercise some ST oversight.

                  This system is using an XP chart that's based upon [New Rating] * [XP cost], rather than [Current Rating] * [XP cost]. At the time I wrote this, V20 was in development and there was some discussion on the forums over which method was the actual author intent, and which was actually preferred. I chose New Rating, because it smoothed out the odd "bump" of having a first dot that costs more than the second. In the end, this is a matter of taste. The result overall higher XP costs can be mitigated by the ST being a little more generous in giving out XP.

                  Tables are given for the total XP cost of various dots to speed up some of the math required to use a system like this.


                  XP Character Creation

                  You have a pool of 300 experience points to build your character with. This what will be used to buy Attributes, Abilities, Disciplines, Virtues and Merits. Flaws will add experience points to this pool. In most cases you will be using the same point costs for character creation and mid-chronicle advancement, so there is no mathematically "right" way to build your character. Just assign skills as best fits the concept.

                  Concept

                  Choose a character concept, clan, Nature and Demeanor. Consider your character's personality, goals and motivations.

                  Clan descriptions can be found on page 83-87 of Vampire: the Masquerade, and page 52-79 of Guide to the Sabbat.

                  Nature and Demeanor archetypes are listed on page 112-115 of Vampire: the Masquerade, and page 87 of Guide to the Sabbat. You may also come up with your own with Storyteller approval.

                  Stat Minimums

                  The number of dots granted to each area in the standard character generation system (see page 103 of Vampire: the Masquerade) is the minimum number you must buy in each area under this system.

                  Attributes

                  You begin with one free dot in each Attribute. Prioritize the three categories (Physical, Social and Mental), and buy 7 dots in your primary, 5 in your secondary, and 3 in your tertiary. Attributes are described on page 115-119 of Vampire: the Masquerade.

                  Experience Cost: New Dots X 4xp

                  Level
                  2
                  Cost
                  8
                  Total Cost
                  8
                  3 12 20
                  4 16 36
                  5 20 56
                  Abilities

                  Prioritize the three categories (Talents, Skills and Knowledges), and buy 13 dots in your primary, 9 in your secondary, and 5 in your tertiary. Abilities are described on page 119-129 of Vampire: the Masquerade, and in the supplemental rules document.

                  Experience Costs:
                  1st Dot 3xp
                  Additional: New Dots X 2xp

                  Level
                  1
                  Cost
                  3
                  Total Cost
                  3
                  2 4 7
                  3 6 13
                  4 8 21
                  5 10 31
                  Disciplines

                  Buy 4 dots of disciplines. At least 3 of them must be in-clan (unless you are a Pander). Disciplines are detailed in Chapter Four of Vampire: the Masquerade, starting on page 144. For Fortitude and Celerity consult the supplemental rules document.

                  Experience Costs:
                  Disciplines - In Clan
                  1st Dot 10xp
                  Additional: New Dots x 5

                  Level
                  1
                  Cost
                  10
                  Total Cost
                  10
                  2 10 20
                  3 15 35
                  4 20 55
                  5 25 80
                  Disciplines - Out of Clan
                  1st Dot 10xp
                  Additional: New Dots x 7

                  Level
                  1
                  Cost
                  10
                  Total Cost
                  10
                  2 14 24
                  3 21 45
                  4 28 73
                  5 35 108
                  Virtues

                  Note on your character sheet whether your Humanity/Path uses Self-Control or Instinct, and Conscience or Conviction, by crossing off the unused Virtues.

                  Begin with one free dot in Conscience/Conviction, Self-Control/Instinct and Courage. Buy exactly 5 additional dots of Virtues. Virtues are described on page 133-134 of Vampire: the Masquerade.

                  Experience Cost: New Dots X 2xp

                  Level
                  2
                  Cost
                  4
                  Total Cost
                  4
                  3 6 10
                  4 8 18
                  5 10 28
                  Path and Willpower Ratings

                  Set your initial Willpower equal to your Courage. Set your initial Humanity/Path equal to the sum of Conscience/Conviction plus Self-Control/Instinct.

                  Path followers (non-Humanity) may not begin play with a Path rating over 5. If your Virtues would result in a higher rating than 5, simply record a 5.

                  If you are following a Path of Enlightenment, rather than Humanity, you must increase your Willpower to at least 5 if it is not there to begin with. Individuals with lesser wills simply do not have the spiritual vigor needed to break down their very souls and rebuild them from the ground up, as adopting a Path requires.

                  Willpower is the only trait with a different cost character creation than during play. This is because those who are selected for the Embrace and survive more than a few nights are often (but not necessarily) individuals who have above-average mental fortitude. However, it is no easier for them to increase their permanent Willpower than it is for anyone else.

                  Path Experience Cost: New Dots X 2xp

                  Willpower Experience Cost: New Dots X 1xp, or half that if taken at character creation
                  Willpower Dot
                  2
                  Cost at Character Creation
                  1
                  3 2
                  4 2
                  5 3
                  6 3
                  7 4
                  8 4
                  9 5
                  10 5
                  Free Points

                  Your remaining experience points may now be spent freely on any traits you wish. Note that increasing your Virtues at this stage does not cause a corresponding increase in Willpower or Path. Those traits must be increased separately.

                  Your character begins with a single native language proficiency for free. You may purchase additional languages at 3xp each. You may also, subject to Storyteller approval, take one esoteric language for free if it is appropriate to your background but unlikely to be used during play. These are typically long-dead languages (excluding Latin) or language spoken only by a small and isolated population.

                  Merits and Flaws may also be taken at this stage. They are listed on page 295-302 of Vampire: the Masquerade, page 95 of Guide to the Sabbat, and in select other Vampire books. Merits cost 4 experience per "point" listed in the description, and Flaws will likewise give you 4xp per point.

                  For example, Repelled by Crosses is listed as a 3pt Flaw. Taking this Flaw for your character will add 12xp to your pool that may be spent as you wish. The 1pt Merit Early Riser would cost 4xp to take. Merits and Flaws are an optional system and are subject to individual Storyteller approval.
                  Last edited by Demon Cat; 10-06-2014, 03:34 PM.


                  Demon Cat

                  Illuminated Dark Ages character sheets and more

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                  • #10
                    Here's a standalone PDF of the character generation rules above. I edited down the starting XP from the original 460 (too high!), but this is otherwise exactly what my players received.
                    http://flamingporcupine.net/rpg/char...ion_sabbat.pdf

                    If there's interest I might create an updated version that references V20 and is more sect agnostic.


                    Demon Cat

                    Illuminated Dark Ages character sheets and more

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