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> House Rules de Santa Cruz, Mostly as regards BPs and Karma
FrankTrollman
post Sep 11 2005, 12:45 AM
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OK, here's a list of house rules that we're going to be using. Reasoning follows "-". We've

Character Generation:
400 BPs, 200 BPs on Mental and Physical Attributes.
-This is standard.

Metatypes:
Ork, Elf, or Dwarf costs 25 BPs.
Troll costs 35 BPs.
-This scales the costs of all meahumans to reflect the actual bonuses they get, rather than in reverse incentivization to the popularity of metatypes.

Attributes cost 10 BPs up to 1 less than the normal racial maximum.
The point of normal racial maximum costs 25 points.
-This is standard.

Skill groups cost 5 points, and may be purchased up to 4.
Individual Skills cost 2 BPs per die, and one of them can be brought to 6 or two of them to 5 (all others capped at 4).
Knowledge and Language skills cost 1 BP per die.
Specializations cost 1 BP
- The math has been posted exhaustively on this subject. Skills in the basic game cost too much. At half price, it is no longer possible to mathematically prove that skills cost too much, which indicates that they might be cheap enough to be worthwhile.

Wealth and Resources:
You must purchase at least 3 months of your lifestyle during character generation in order to have that lifestyle.
-This neatly removes the monetary incentive for characters to live the highlife.

For every 1 BP you spend on resources, you get 7000 :nuyen:
-A Street Sam made under standard rules ends up less impressive than does a Magician or Adept. Also, there's a new unfunded mandate

Availability:
The maximum availability for character generation is twelve.
-This is a clarification, the book says both 12 and eight.

Contacts:
Loyalty ratings go from zero to five, with descriptions moved appropriately.
-This makes the cost of contacts which give you no special treatment more reasonable.

Qualities:
Natural Aptitude, Lucky, and Exceptional Attribute do not exist.
-These are not required based on the house rules pertaining to advancing characters.

Character Advancement:
Purchasing anything after character generation costs build points. BPs are awarded after successfully completing missions, in roughly half the amount that are suggested for Karma Awards in the basic book.
-There is only one way to make Karma Costs and BP costs balanced against each other, and that is to make them the same.

Skill groups cost 5 points up to 6, and 10 points per die up to 9
Individual Skills cost 2 BPs per die up to 6 and 4 points per die up to 9.
Knowledge and Language skills cost 1 BP per die.
Specializations cost 1 BP each.
-Allowing characters to aspire to being better than characters can start is a given.

Commutation:
You may purchase skill groups up even if you have one or more skills bought up separately inside. Increasing the skill group increases every individual skill inside them. If you would be purchasing a skill group up to six or less, and this would raise an individual skill to 7 or more, you must pay 2 extra BPs per skill. You may not raise a skill group if that would push an individual skill past 9.
-Since we are going linear, we can use the commutative property of addition. This means that characters are not punished for taking skills or skill groups in any particular order.

Attributes cost 10 points up to 1 less than the natural maximum.
Attributes may be purchased up to 3 more than the natural maximum, at a cost of 25 BPs per point.
-This is simply an extension of the reasoning for skills.

Learning a Spell costs 3 BPs.
-Obviously.
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Autarkis
post Sep 11 2005, 02:17 AM
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Looks good, but I don't think your statement....
QUOTE
The math has been posted exhaustively on this subject. Skills in the basic game cost too much. At half price, it is no longer possible to mathematically prove that skills cost too much, which indicates that they might be cheap enough to be worthwhile.

...is the gospel. 8)

But, I will state this, that you should make Attributes cost more than have Skills cost less, unless you are looking for a high powered game.
QUOTE
Situation Karma
Character survived the adventure 1
Character fulfilled most (2/3) objectives 1
Adventure was extra challenging 1
Character was particularly brave or smart 1 or 2
Good roleplaying 1 or 2
Character pushed the storyline forward 1
Character had the right skills at the right place and time 1
Player impressed group with humor or drama 1 or 2


Minimum for a competent player will be 5 with a strong player getting 8-9? That would be about 2 +1 to a skill up to 6 for competent or 4 +1 to a skill up to 6 for a strong. Seems to me, based on your previous concerns, you have swung the other way. But again, you might be looking for quicker development.

Since a flat point per die is better than an incremental cost per die, I would have moved from lowering the cost of skills to raising the cost of attributes. But, to each their own.

Glad you found a solution to your concerns. :D
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blakkie
post Sep 11 2005, 06:31 AM
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QUOTE (Autarkis @ Sep 10 2005, 08:17 PM)
Looks good, but I don't think your statement....
QUOTE
The math has been posted exhaustively on this subject. Skills in the basic game cost too much. At half price, it is no longer possible to mathematically prove that skills cost too much, which indicates that they might be cheap enough to be worthwhile.

...is the gospel. 8)

Gospel? Hell i wouldn't even rate it as high as a Sunday School song rewritten by Andrew Dice Clay and scratched into the back of a urinal. ;) His posts were exhasting, not exhastive.
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fistandantilus4....
post Sep 11 2005, 06:50 AM
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down blakkie, down boy!

You're gonna piss off the Andrew Dice Clay fans for one....
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blakkie
post Sep 11 2005, 06:56 AM
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QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0 @ Sep 11 2005, 12:50 AM)
You're gonna piss off the Andres Dice Clay fans for one....

I can handle him.
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fistandantilus4....
post Sep 11 2005, 06:57 AM
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who? Andrew Dice Clay, or his one fan?
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blakkie
post Sep 11 2005, 07:00 AM
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Andrew Dice Clay is still alive?
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fistandantilus4....
post Sep 11 2005, 07:12 AM
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probably, look at the Rolling Stones Keith Richards. After World War III, it'll be twinkies, cockroaches and him. No reason the "dice-man" can't be is cronie.

As for your rules Frank, sorry, I can't somment, because I STILL don't have my friggin' 4th edition. But you seem to have a lot of the same problems that I do with 4th edt (skill caps) so I'll look it back over later. Hopefully your ideas can fix some of the things I hate (skill caps mostly) for me.
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FrankTrollman
post Sep 11 2005, 08:12 AM
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If blakkie would stop sticking his foot in his mouth all over my thread, that would be great. I understand that he has absolutely nothing to say and refuses to engage in literate debate, but having him throw feces like an angry monkey when other people are trying to have an intelligent discussion is just draining.

QUOTE (Autarkis)
Looks good, but I don't think your statement....


Of course it's not the gospel. I'm an atheist. It is, however, a mathematical fact. All the obfuscation that people were doing in the other thread about how karma costs were so opaque that many participants couldn't understand how much it cost to get bonuses have in this version been cut away. It's all build points, so it's simple enough that everyone should be able to follow it.

For the original prices, buying a Skill Group is provably better than buying skills individually, because you spend 2.5 times as many BPs, and you get 3 or even 4 times the skill bonuses. But buying attributes is provably better than buying skill groups because it costs exactly the same and gives you substantially more. Skill groups are more bang for the buck than skills, and attributes are more bang for the buck than skill groups. That's not an arguable point. They both cost 10 points, and one adds to some rolls based on a stat, and the other adds to all rolls based on a stat.

QUOTE (Autarkis)
But, I will state this, that you should make Attributes cost more than have Skills cost less, unless you are looking for a high powered game.


Well, I'm looking to have a game where people have more skills, but this doesn't actually translate into a higher powered game. Remember, the skill caps for starting characters haven't gone anywhere. So the party sniper does not, and can not, roll any more dice with longarms than he does under the normal rules. He just also has a veteran level of lockpicking and maybe some biotech. The "power" of the characters (by which I mean "how many dice do you roll on the tasks you do best") hasn't changed at all - it can't unless and until the starting character caps increase. What's gone up is character diversity (by which I mean "how many things can your character do without being an embarassment"). And that's just plain good for the game.

You run the risk in this sort of thing of making all characters the same - by potentially letting people buy enough skills that everyone has all of their skill ratings virtually identical. But at 2 BPs per skill point, that just isn't going to happen for 400 BP characters (it starts becoming a major problem if you are making 600 BP characters, however).

QUOTE (Autarkis)
Minimum for a competent player will be 5 with a strong player getting 8-9?


That's not my reading at all. Under the standard Karma system, a competent player should get about 3 Karma for a decent run, and 5-7 Karma for a difficult one. In any case, I'm suggesting cutting the official Karma Awards by half when going to the all-BP system. So even under your interpretation we are looking at getting 2 to 5 BP per run. That is going to take a long time to get the 100 BPs required to buy an Agility of 5 to an Agility of 9.

QUOTE (Autarkis)
Since a flat point per die is better than an incremental cost per die, I would have moved from lowering the cost of skills to raising the cost of attributes.


How would you have implemented that? I'm curious, because attributes already cost so much that a starting character has maximums of only 4 more attribute points than a generic civilian spread over the entire 8 stat array. It's important that that price be more than the price of skills, but I really don't see how there is any room for the cost of attributes to rise. If an attribute point has its cost increase by even 3 BPs, the PCs are going to be playing sub-normals at best. And a 3 BP shift of the cost of an attribute isn't enough to make a skill group particularly enticing.

What did you have in mind?

-Frank
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Crusher Bob
post Sep 11 2005, 08:17 AM
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I think the costs should be curved not linear. The argument is roughly as follows:

As many rolls in SR are now opposed, it is your ability to beat whoever you are rolling against that is important. At skill 6 (assuming an opposition die pool of 6) you succeed half the time, as your skill goes up, your certainty of success also goes up.

Having say:

pistols 2, automatics 2, longarms 2 is porbably not worth as much as, say, automatics 6.

I'm working plenty of overtime right now, so can someone else plot the curves of resisted die pools?
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blakkie
post Sep 11 2005, 08:27 AM
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I just thought of a great marketing slogan for your house rules!

"Frankie Trollman: Cutting out important, relavent facts to make the math easier and clearer since 2005."

Here's to hoping you sell a million copies. 8)
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FrankTrollman
post Sep 11 2005, 08:30 AM
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QUOTE (CB)
Having say:

pistols 2, automatics 2, longarms 2 is porbably not worth as much as, say, automatics 6.


Quite possibly true. Of course, it also doesn't cost as much, so I'm not super worried about that comparison. Pistols, Automatics, and Longarms at 2 costs 10 BPs, Automatics at 6 costs 12.

Even so, Automatics 5 is probably better in most instances than the entire Firearms Group at 2, if only because you get to choose your own weapons most of the time. But for skills that you are going to be using whether you like it or not - such as Gymnastics, Running, and Climbing - I don't think that's really true. Is having a Climbing of 5 particularly better than having the Athletics group at 2? Not as far as I can tell.

You're right that weapon skills aren't entirely balanced in a point system. But they aren't going to be balanced in any point system, because the actual problem with them is that nine times out of ten you only have the weapons you bought for yourself, so any points you spend on additional weapon skills are wasted. If you have Longarms 6, you're likely going to be using longarms all the time. If having Automatics of 3 on top of that costs you even a single BP, you're probably getting screwed.

But I'm not willing to tear my hair out and throw the baby with the bathwater over that fact. Non-weapon skills really are pretty linear in their effect. And any system that successfully addressed the fact that the more Automatics dice you have the less you care about Longarms dice (and vice versa), would probably in equal parts break down on the fact that the more gymnastics dice you have the more you care about your running dice.

Spcialization pays off in attack skills. It always will, regardless of what system you implement for advancement. Diversification pays off in utility skills. It always will, regardless of what system you use for advancement.

-Frank
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fistandantilus4....
post Sep 11 2005, 08:31 AM
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"don't try to confuse me with all your *facts*"
-Plan B :D
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Crusher Bob
post Sep 11 2005, 08:43 AM
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Well, 'specialization' seems to pay off in many skill groups in they give you an exploitable edge.

compare a guy who has the following skills:

(assume all stats are 3)

Close combat group 3
Firearms Group 3
Hacking Group 3
Electronics group 3
Influence group 3
Stealth group 3

However, this character runs into the problem of possibly running into the situation he can't out talk, can't out fight, can't outsneak, and can out hack. A character who spent the same points in a specialization can be sure of beating the situation in their specialization. As the characters are almost always 'offensive' rather than 'defensive' it's them bringing their specializations against the 'general' situation, thus having an advantage vs the 'average' is relatively much more important than having 'average' in everything.



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mintcar
post Sep 11 2005, 09:03 AM
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I´m not fond of these houserules at all. To me, the costs are just right. People spend what they need in attributes and have less to spend in skills, making 3 a very good value for instance in my campain (300 BP, 200 for attributes). 3 is supposed to be professional level, so it makes sense that my street punks doesn´t have that in more than a couple of skills (specializations reach 4, maybe). This will be the natural area to improve later on, as it should be. And the skill caps aren´t a problem because they´re miles away (especially since there´s a million other things these guys need to improve.)
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Serbitar
post Sep 11 2005, 10:30 AM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
All the obfuscation that people were doing in the other thread about how karma costs were so opaque that many participants couldn't understand how much it cost to get bonuses have in this version been cut away.

Ahm, I did not know that some people had problems to add numbers from one to seven and multiply it with a two, three or five . . . But if thats a problem, the modern society has a big, big problem, too. Maybe we should go back to stone age then.
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Cynic project
post Sep 11 2005, 03:33 PM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
I just thought of a great marketing slogan for your house rules!

"Frankie Trollman: Cutting out important, relavent facts to make the math easier and clearer since 2005."

Here's to hoping you sell a million copies. 8)

I'll bite here.

One how are skill groups equal to or better than Attributes? If they are not why should players spend equal or greater points for them?

Two if the karma system is so fair and good, why is better to start with attributes at 5 and four at 1 than say some reasonable middle ground?
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Autarkis
post Sep 11 2005, 03:44 PM
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QUOTE
How would you have implemented that? I'm curious, because attributes already cost so much that a starting character has maximums of only 4 more attribute points than a generic civilian spread over the entire 8 stat array. It's important that that price be more than the price of skills, but I really don't see how there is any room for the cost of attributes to rise. If an attribute point has its cost increase by even 3 BPs, the PCs are going to be playing sub-normals at best. And a 3 BP shift of the cost of an attribute isn't enough to make a skill group particularly enticing.

What did you have in mind?

-Frank


Well since I missed your cutting the BP in half and also miscalculated Karma rewards, I have to say based on your concerns, the updates look like they address them. I would say keep the advancement the way you outlined it. The player will have to make the decision of on how many runs he will have to be without a +1 dice (depending on whether he goes skills, skill groups, or attributes) or maybe implement in game training times? Since these aren't in the base book (and something I think are a good component of any game that includes attributes and skills as complimentary.)

Keeping with your idea of advancement, instead of time X skill, just a flat training time.

So (and I would probably adjust depending on the speed you want players to advance.) So based on 10, 5 and 2, that would be the base for training days. If you had training time in days = BP, that might work out. Then again, it may work out naturally with how many BP you give out (again just the player having to make the decision on how long they can wait for that +1 die.) Time is always the big equalizer.

(Note: An example of time having a big impact is when people win the lottery for $X,XXX,XXX! And they can either take it over small payments over the years or a one time lump sum. Both are not equal, and normally the lump sum is less than payments over the years.)
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FrankTrollman
post Sep 11 2005, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE (mintcar)
I´m not fond of these houserules at all.


OK, you don't have to use them. They are house rules from Santa Cruz, not a golden tablet that you aren't allowed to look at. But even if you want people to be gutter level, you should still chrge people less for skills than for attributes, because they still aren't as good. You're welcome to play games based on 300 or even 250 BP characters, I'm certainly not going to stop you (or join you), but in that context you should still drop the price of skills. People should always get what they pay for, even (perhaps especially) if you are giving them less to spend.

QUOTE
Ahm, I did not know that some people had problems to add numbers from one to seven and multiply it with a two, three or five . . .


Neither did I. But on the other thread I was repeatedly questioned based on people not doing the math. Under the book rules, a die of skill is less than a die of attribute, and getting dice from skills is substantially more expensive in Karma and no cheaper in BPs. And when I stated this as fact (because I can do the relatively simple algebra in my head, and assumed that other players of Shadowrun can as well), I got the following responses:

QUOTE
How much does it cost to raise Agility from 3 to 4? 4 to 5?

By the by...still lazy...someone calculate for me

QUOTE
so groups in the long run isnt cost effective. but when your rolling up a new char, what then?

QUOTE
Yes, Trollman is peddling the pot of complexity solution.


Right. So obviously people either can't or won't do that math. Well I have done that math. Skills cost too much. End of discussion.

-Frank
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Draconis
post Sep 11 2005, 07:04 PM
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Frank I can only assume this is some kind of training excercise in patience to gird you for dealing with angry patients and HMO's. Still it does make for amusing reading.
Well keep it up, Prometheus would be proud. :P
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Derek
post Sep 22 2006, 12:01 AM
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Anything change with these, based on anything I missed in a quick perusal of SM (since in my quick perusal, I didn't see anything that much changed karma costs, except for maybe group and ordeal discounts for initiation)

Dave
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FrankTrollman
post Sep 22 2006, 01:50 AM
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QUOTE (Derek)
Anything change with these, based on anything I missed in a quick perusal of SM (since in my quick perusal, I didn't see anything that much changed karma costs, except for maybe group and ordeal discounts for initiation)

Dave

Wow, this is indeed a blast from the past.

Here are the things that I've done in the year since I came up with these:

Contacts: (More Complex)

What we do these days is have "contact points". A single BP gets you 3 CP. A Contact costs its Connections times its Loyalty. That means that essentially a 6/6 Contact costs 12 BP, which is the same as the "standard" rules, but other more reasonable contacts cost much less (a 2/3 Contact costs 6 CP which is only 2 Build Points). That's more complicated than the base rules, but it has the desired effect of getting people to invest in piles of low-end contacts to the degree that I want them to.

Higher Stats:

After much playing, I lowered the price of attributes in the 6-9 range to 20 BPs from 25. At 25, it was pretty stiff, especially because the first extra Magic raise only costs 23 (and comeswith an Initiate grade, which is worth noting). People who had raised their stats at the higher price got a rebate.

Allies:

I wasn't happy with the price given in Street Magic fr Allies. It's too expensive for entry level and too cheap for world destroying power. This one I went with my original draft:

The first Force Point is free (with the metamagic).
Each additional Force Point costs (Current Force) x 5.

With that cost, the Ally is a flat good deal at Force 1-4, which is where I want most Allies. And it costs a good chunk of change to get it into the 5-6 range (where Allies are really scary), and it's probably impractical to afford a Force of 7-9 where Allies become crazy game definingly powerful.

-Frank
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Ranneko
post Sep 22 2006, 02:27 AM
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QUOTE (Autarkis)
(Note: An example of time having a big impact is when people win the lottery for $X,XXX,XXX! And they can either take it over small payments over the years or a one time lump sum. Both are not equal, and normally the lump sum is less than payments over the years.)

The only one of those I recall seeing gave you the same amount as you would have received as a lump sum.

Also, you have to remember the effects of interest over the period, something they typically don't mention.
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ShadowDragon
post Sep 22 2006, 03:25 AM
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How much play testing have you done with these rules? Have you made any changes from your original ideas?
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Jaid
post Sep 22 2006, 03:32 AM
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isn't that what his last post just mentioned?
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