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> BP, Karma Gen, or Both, what do you allow your players to use?
Bushw4cker
post Aug 14 2011, 04:07 PM
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I'm debating letting my players use Karma-Gen created characters. I'm wondering what other GMs use, and the reasons. It seems like characters are much more rounded with Karma Gen.
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ElFenrir
post Aug 14 2011, 05:19 PM
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We basically use Karmagen these days. However, unlike many here, we still use the old RC Karmagen(with a tweak)-even with the x3 Attribute costs. (Also keep something in mind-we use more Old-School Karma awards. In other words, where you can get double-digit Karma in a session using the SR4A rules, we usually only hand out about 2-5 Karma a session. So you really don't get to stock up on Attributes, anyway.) We do, however, charge for Metatype with this method(the tweak mentioned.)
The German errata charges for Metatype(in BP=Karma cost) and uses the 5x Attribute costs.

There has been several reworks of the Karma system as well by Dumpshockers.

There are other houserules as well(some GMs count Edge and Magic or Resonance in with the allowed attribute points of 1/2 Karma as it was with the Attribute Cost x3-we use this cap-however, under the New Attribute cost x 5 method this needs to be houseruled, else no one will play a Human Mage or Technomancer.)

There will be posts no doubt that say ''of course Karmagen is more rounded, you get more points''. This is true, but of course, you can tweak Karma to be lower, higher, or whatnot. You can do that with BP as well, but I personally just prefer using the same method to build and then improve on. Of course, assuming you managed to get the perfect balance of Karma and BP to make characters as close as possible in power level, I found Karma characters still tend to be more rounded, due to the nature of how it works.

(We also run games where the characters are a slight cut above the normal 400 BP. Not Prime Runners or anything, but just a cut above, so 750 Karma/Charge Metatype/count Edge and Magic/Resonance in with the limits actually works quite well with us. We do, as I said, improve more slowly though.)

I don't have anything against BP myself, but I was a big fan of BeCKS back in the day, so moving onto Karmagen was a natural step.

The only thing I can say is be careful mixing the methods. Even if you cut down the Karma allowed from the 750(which is more than a 400 BP character), they still can run into problems mixing together. This also goes with mixing Priority with BP even(Priority characters tend, IME, to be even weaker than 400 BP.)
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CanRay
post Aug 14 2011, 05:24 PM
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PACKS. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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Neraph
post Aug 14 2011, 05:24 PM
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My tables (I play in and I run) use solely BP. There are far too many problems with Karmagen, as the second poster pointed out, and the system's base rule assumes BP-gen. Don't fix it if it ain't broke (and that's not a way for me to suggest that karmagen needs fixing - though it really does).
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Glyph
post Aug 14 2011, 05:29 PM
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Karmagen is good, but it is different enough from build points that, for the sake of balance, you should use one or the other, not both.

Its biggest weakness is that it is not really suitable for the more exotic options (AIs, free spirits, and infected). Also, it tends to encourage trolls to cap their physical Attributes a bit lower, since a 9 or 10 Strength is so expensive.

But its biggest strength is that it allows traditional optimization, but is much friendlier to generalist builds. People who get lower Attributes and dice pools will be able to get much more in the way of skills, because of the exponentially increasing costs which are lower at the starting end.

Specialists tend to come out stronger and a bit more flexible than they would under build points, but generalists tend to come out much stronger than they would under build points (but they are still balanced, because lower dice pools, frankly, should be worth less).
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TheOOB
post Aug 14 2011, 05:40 PM
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I prefer Karmagen to BP, but I always allow BP as written in case people don't like my karma houserules.

Anyways, my house rules for karmagen are as follows.

* The cap of 50% of your karma on attributes applies only to physical and mental attributes, not special attributes.

* All metatypes and special racial options cost a number of karma equal to twice their BP cost

* All metatype bonuses to attributes are applied after attributes are purchased with karma(ie it costs the same for a dwarf to get 8 strength as it costs for a human to get 6, I maintain this rule during play as well.)
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ElFenrir
post Aug 14 2011, 05:54 PM
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QUOTE (TheOOB @ Aug 14 2011, 12:40 PM) *
I prefer Karmagen to BP, but I always allow BP as written in case people don't like my karma houserules.

Anyways, my house rules for karmagen are as follows.

* The cap of 50% of your karma on attributes applies only to physical and mental attributes, not special attributes.

* All metatypes and special racial options cost a number of karma equal to twice their BP cost

* All metatype bonuses to attributes are applied after attributes are purchased with karma(ie it costs the same for a dwarf to get 8 strength as it costs for a human to get 6, I maintain this rule during play as well.)



Actually, I could see it working out well if you charge the 2xBP in Karma BUT don't have the ginormous Attribute costs for some metas.

That is one thing I really notice with Karmagen; there are a vast array of ways you can tweak the system to get what works. Charge for X but not for Y, charge double for A but don't charge at all for B, tweak C to work differently, and so on.

QUOTE
My tables (I play in and I run) use solely BP. There are far too many problems with Karmagen, as the second poster pointed out, and the system's base rule assumes BP-gen. Don't fix it if it ain't broke (and that's not a way for me to suggest that karmagen needs fixing - though it really does).


I might have to disagree respectfully a little with the ''if it ain't broke'', though it is quite YMMV. Any system that actually pushes for certain metatypes due to Cost vs. Reward(I.e., Orks and Dwarves are pure awesome compared to other races due to their cost vs. bonuses), and that basically rewards high specialists over generalists I consider having problems. (Unless you also award BP instead of Karma; in which case it evens out a bit, but the Race issue still is a problem, unless again, race costs are houseruled, and at that point it's getting houseruled anyway.)

I dunno, honestly I found that all of the chargen systems have their flaws, it's less a ''if it's not broke'' and more of a ''so which kind of flaws do you prefer?'' (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) Of course, what gets knocked out of shape at table A might not at table B, and so on, which makes me thankful for multiple chargen systems.
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pbangarth
post Aug 14 2011, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Aug 14 2011, 12:29 PM) *
Karmagen is good, but it is different enough from build points that, for the sake of balance, you should use one or the other, not both.

Its biggest weakness is that it is not really suitable for the more exotic options (AIs, free spirits, and infected). Also, it tends to encourage trolls to cap their physical Attributes a bit lower, since a 9 or 10 Strength is so expensive.

Interesting. I'd like to know your reasons for this opinion. I play a Free Spirit in our home game, and all of us preferred the karma build version of her to the BP version. To me she seems much more playable.
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Glyph
post Aug 14 2011, 07:49 PM
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Ancient History, the guy who worked on karmagen, flat out stated that it wasn't good for free spirits and AIs. The biggest reason is that both of those options use a huge "metatype" cost to balance them out, and it is not nearly as big of a hit to the total points when you use karmagen (although it is even worse if you use the original, non-German errata karmagen, where racial cost is free). Spending 250 BP and having 150 BP left is a lot more crippling than spending 250 karma and having 500 karma remaining. Obviously, the latter option will be more popular with most players. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) I do disagree with the approach of "We'll let you play this powerful option, but to compensate for that, we'll make you start out pitifully weak." That does seem to have been the original intention, though.

Actually, my biggest problem with free spirits is the nigh-incomprehensible, twisted wording on how Force works in conjunction with other Attributes. So with either BP or karmagen, I would probably go and re-work/house rule a lot of it, anyways.
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TheOOB
post Aug 14 2011, 09:24 PM
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I worked my karma gen rules to ensure that metatypes still have a high cost(in fact they take a higher percentage of your resources than in BP), but balancing it by allowing people to be good at what their meta allows. It should be just as easy for a troll to max out their body as a human.
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Lanlaorn
post Aug 14 2011, 09:25 PM
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Karmagen is decidedly superior in encouraging well rounded attributes and skills. You'll end up being able to do a little more typically, sure, but IMO it's BP gen is insane for making the 4th point in a skill or attribute cost the same as the 2nd, etc. All that does is harshly punish players for not min-maxing. And while I'd rather my Mage or Technomancer doesn't have a 1 in strength and agility, these characters are so point intensive in other areas that BP gen harshly punishes you for wasting your resources on attributes you'll never use. Karmagen at least makes it reasonable to set those to two and *gasp* put specializations in all your skills.
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Medicineman
post Aug 14 2011, 09:30 PM
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Both Groups I'm playing/running in and also at Cons we always accept both BP and Karmagen Chars (it doesn't matter weather its official support rounds or private ones)

with two Dances
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Traul
post Aug 14 2011, 10:00 PM
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QUOTE (Lanlaorn @ Aug 14 2011, 10:25 PM) *
and *gasp* put specializations in all your skills.

The specialization bug in BP can easily be fixed by setting the BP cost of specializations to 1 instead of 2.
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Bushw4cker
post Aug 14 2011, 10:47 PM
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Why haven't they fixed the character creation rules? I made a few characters with Karma Gen and my conclusions are that you are way too limited with BP Builds, but Karma Gen (If not making Magic User or Technomancer) allows for crazy amount of skills (Especially if you only put 2 points into a skill). Karma Gen seems to discourage characters from taking high level Knowledge skills to.
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Tanegar
post Aug 14 2011, 10:55 PM
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QUOTE (Bushw4cker @ Aug 14 2011, 06:47 PM) *
Karma Gen (If not making Magic User or Technomancer) allows for crazy amount of skills

Why is that a bad thing?
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Glyph
post Aug 14 2011, 11:07 PM
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QUOTE (Bushw4cker @ Aug 14 2011, 02:47 PM) *
Why haven't they fixed the character creation rules? I made a few characters with Karma Gen and my conclusions are that you are way too limited with BP Builds, but Karma Gen (If not making Magic User or Technomancer) allows for crazy amount of skills (Especially if you only put 2 points into a skill). Karma Gen seems to discourage characters from taking high level Knowledge skills to.

That's what I meant when I said karmagen was friendlier to generalist builds. In build points, not only does your Jack of all trades fall short of more specialist builds, but he pays for that versatility. You get three skills of two, while the specialist gets a skill of 6, and it costs the same. Likewise, if you get three Attributes of 3, it costs you the same as the specialist getting two Attributes at 2, and one at 5. You might get a slightly wider spread of skills, but that's it, while the specialist will be far, far ahead of you in dice pools.

In karmagen, getting three skills costs 24 karma, while that skill of 6 costs 44 karma. Likewise, three Attributes at 3 cost 75 karma, while two Attributes at 2 and one at 5 cost 90 karma. If you make a weak character, then at least it should be a weak character with a truly wider array of skills, and more contacts or whatever.

The beauty of it is that you can still optimize a character normally. You will find yourself putting more thought into it, though, and only doing things like soft-maxing when it really fits your character concept. I mean, for the 70 points you spend on a single Attribute of 5, you could buy two Attributes, one at 4 and one at 3.

There are lots of complaints, fixes, and house rules over metatype costs, even with the German errata, despite how BP is far from balanced itself. But the thing karmagen gets right is that it realizes high dice pools are worth more. Fortunately, it rewards lower-powered builds, rather than overly punishing higher-powered builds.

I agree about the knowledge skills, though. In fact, karmagen discourages taking them at all (I do, myself, but it is definitely something done at the expense of character optimization). Knowledge skills, unfortunately, are mainly flavor in many campaigns, so if you have to choose between a two knowledge skills at rating: 2 or one active skill at rating: 2, the latter will tend to get the nod.
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pbangarth
post Aug 14 2011, 11:11 PM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Aug 14 2011, 02:49 PM) *
Ancient History, the guy who worked on karmagen, flat out stated that it wasn't good for free spirits and AIs. The biggest reason is that both of those options use a huge "metatype" cost to balance them out, and it is not nearly as big of a hit to the total points when you use karmagen (although it is even worse if you use the original, non-German errata karmagen, where racial cost is free). Spending 250 BP and having 150 BP left is a lot more crippling than spending 250 karma and having 500 karma remaining. Obviously, the latter option will be more popular with most players. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) I do disagree with the approach of "We'll let you play this powerful option, but to compensate for that, we'll make you start out pitifully weak." That does seem to have been the original intention, though.

Actually, my biggest problem with free spirits is the nigh-incomprehensible, twisted wording on how Force works in conjunction with other Attributes. So with either BP or karmagen, I would probably go and re-work/house rule a lot of it, anyways.

OK, but as we are comparing the two forms of chargen, deciding which one to choose, for Free Spirits karmagen seems to be better. Good enough may be a matter of discussion, still, but if karmagen is not good, BPgen is worse.

I've played the Free Spirit for months now, and I don't feel shafted by the system. We use the metatype cost= BP cost version. And we build the regular Attributes up from 2, separately from Force. She contributes in a major way, and is quite unique. I'm having a lot of fun.

I respect Ancient History's opinion. In this case I disagree.
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pbangarth
post Aug 14 2011, 11:13 PM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Aug 14 2011, 06:07 PM) *
I agree about the knowledge skills, though. In fact, karmagen discourages taking them at all (I do, myself, but it is definitely something done at the expense of character optimization). Knowledge skills, unfortunately, are mainly flavor in many campaigns, so if you have to choose between a two knowledge skills at rating: 2 or one active skill at rating: 2, the latter will tend to get the nod.

Yes, I wish Knowledge Skills weren't hit so hard in karmagen.
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Bushw4cker
post Aug 14 2011, 11:23 PM
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How does the German Errata work in regards to Metatype? If you have an Ork, you have to pay 20 Karma, how does that factor in with attributes? Do you get maximum 415 Karma to spend on attributes? The Excel Karma Gen I downloaded adds the karma cost of being an ork to maximum attribute cost.

This is what the errata says...
p.41 Karma Character Generation Table
The Karma Cost for Metatype (shapeshifter type, etc.) should be “As BP*.”
The Karma Cost for improving an attribute by 1 should be “New rating x 5.”

p.42 Step 1: Choose Your Metatype or Other Character Race Option
The first paragraph should read:
“First you must choose metatype or other alternative character concept (i.e. shapeshifter, AI, sasquatch, etc.); there Karma cost for metatype or race is equal to the BP cost for that metatype or option (i.e. if a race costs 10 BP, in Karmagen it costs 10 Karma); the BP cost should be noted as it is important for Step 3. The Metatype Attribute Table (see p. 70 and p.73, SR4) or the relevant table in the section describing the new character races in this book provide your character’s starting and maximum attribute ratings.”

Please give an example. Thanks )
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Glyph
post Aug 14 2011, 11:50 PM
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The karma cost to play a metatype is new; the addition of double the cost, in karma, to what you are allowed to spend on Attributes, is unchanged.

Example: an ork will cost 20 karma for metatype, and you will be able to spend 375 plus (20 x 2), or 415 karma points, on Attributes. Body starts at 4, Strength starts at 3, and other Attributes start out as 1, before you spend any points on them.
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Bigity
post Aug 15 2011, 12:30 AM
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I still like the priority system, but I spent most of my SR time using that system, and using it for Mechwarrior RPG added more time using it.
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Neraph
post Aug 15 2011, 04:22 AM
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QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Aug 14 2011, 11:54 AM) *
I might have to disagree respectfully a little with the ''if it ain't broke'', though it is quite YMMV. Any system that actually pushes for certain metatypes due to Cost vs. Reward(I.e., Orks and Dwarves are pure awesome compared to other races due to their cost vs. bonuses), and that basically rewards high specialists over generalists I consider having problems. (Unless you also award BP instead of Karma; in which case it evens out a bit, but the Race issue still is a problem, unless again, race costs are houseruled, and at that point it's getting houseruled anyway.)

Actually, the vast majority of my players end up being humans. Being able to Edge a lot and having Edge to burn if necessary seems to be important at my tables... And we normally have Edge refresh after each 'run, during down-time. It's fun when they spend it and then get double-crossed or they get attacked at their safehouses before their Edge refreshes.
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Xenefungus
post Aug 15 2011, 08:15 AM
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KarmaGen is the only system period.


With:

* attributes x 5
* race x 2
* free connections linked to CHA
* free knowledge skills linked to INT+LOG


I'm really serious here. BP and priority are crap. Totally.
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Brainpiercing7.6...
post Aug 15 2011, 09:53 AM
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In my group, we use the following:

Karmagen 750 pts
Races BPx1 (if I were to restart the group I would actually change that to BPx2)
Attributes x3, special attributes don't count for the limit
Attribute mods get added AFTER buying base value (as DKs sheet does it)
No free knowledge skills (but I would change that in a new group)
Limits to natural softcaps are lifted! That means you can buy any number of sixes in attributes at chargen, and any number of 5s or 6s in skills. Skillgroups stay at 4 during chargen, but we have recently decided to allow specialisations on the individual skills without expanding the group. This is easily balanced by the increased karma cost of high attributes (although admittedly with x3 it is still still generally cheaper to advance the attribute rather than the skill group).

This produces fairly powerful generalists, but weaker specialists, but that may also be a consequence of our group's style. We have noone who can throw over 20 dice in anything without edge (but everyone has at least 6 edge).

The mage can't multicast, because he couldn't do the usual PFocus 4 at chargen.

This also makes orcs the best race by far, but... well, we still have two humans (one with surge) and an elf (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) . In the next group with race cost x2, this might also change.

The nice thing about karmagen overall is that is is consistent: You use the same rules throughout the game, and that, IMHO, is the most important thing. BPgen encourages min-maxing far too strongly, and produces characters who have extreme strengths paired with glaring weaknesses.

I build opposition using the same rules, but with around 250 karma for mooks to around 350-400 karma for intermediate bad guys, or 800 for the really big meanies. This is actually very viable, and it means I don't have to worry too much about world consistency, because the system produces an intrinsic perspective.
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Xenefungus
post Aug 15 2011, 10:27 AM
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QUOTE (Brainpiercing7.62mm @ Aug 15 2011, 04:53 AM) *
This also makes orcs the best race by far. In the next group with race cost x2, this might also change.


Let me tell you: It won't. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)


Apart from that, ACK.
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