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Professeur
Am I the only one who thinks character improvement is unbalancer in 4E? I mean, New Rating x2 for Skills, x3 for Attributes, x5 for Skill Groups ? This really doesn't work either for me or my group. Let's take a look at character improvement options for my gunslinger adept for example.

He has Charisma 3 and Influence Group 2. I want to improve his people skills, so I calculate my options. For about the same in-game results (for social purposes at least), I have to spend 12 karma to get Charisma 4, or 15 to get Influence Group at 3. I'll choose Charisma obviously, because Attributes are much better than Skills. Charisma will help for Composure test, amongst others.

Even for individual skills it's unbalanced. I have Perception 3 and Intuition 3. Should I get Perception 4 for 8 karma, or Intuition 4 for 12, which will also impact on my Initiative ? I'm obviously gonna hold out for Intuition !

My group and I have toyed with a few alternatives for character improvement. I think for my next campaign we'll use the following :
Skills at New Rating, minimum 3 karma
Skill groups 3x New rating
Attributes 4x New Rating

Anybody use similar house rules ? What are your thoughts regarding character improvement ?
Namelessjoe
hi we dont have any house rules... i belive the amounts are fine your examples cited are at pretty even #'s if your trying to get dice from a closer to maxed stat like for ex intuition of 4 its 25 karma to go up to 6 but your pecreption then would still be 8 karma to 4 then you raise the skill then to 5 its only 15 karma still less then the 25 for the stat so while with lower #'s to start with there somewhat even or cheeper for the stat boost then go for it..... i supose if as a GM you want to incurage skill increases over atributes then that fine to tweek the karma costs i thikn there fine tho
Synner667
QUOTE (Professeur @ Jan 14 2009, 03:57 PM) *
Am I the only one who thinks character improvement is unbalancer in 4E? I mean, New Rating x2 for Skills, x3 for Attributes, x5 for Skill Groups ? This really doesn't work either for me or my group. Let's take a look at character improvement options for my gunslinger adept for example.

He has Charisma 3 and Influence Group 2. I want to improve his people skills, so I calculate my options. For about the same in-game results (for social purposes at least), I have to spend 12 karma to get Charisma 4, or 15 to get Influence Group at 3. I'll choose Charisma obviously, because Attributes are much better than Skills. Charisma will help for Composure test, amongst others.

Even for individual skills it's unbalanced. I have Perception 3 and Intuition 3. Should I get Perception 4 for 8 karma, or Intuition 4 for 12, which will also impact on my Initiative ? I'm obviously gonna hold out for Intuition !

It the same problem with any system where Skills are directly based on Attributes [Shadowrun, World of Darkness, GURPS, etc].

Almost no-one raises Skills, because raising Attributes is so much more cost effective...
...After all, the mechanics don't differentiate between Attribute 1 + Skill 6 or Attribute 6 + Skill 1, even though they should have radically different effects in the game.

As a standard, I always rack the Attribute costs up...
...Shadowrun, for instance, might have :-

Improve language/knowledge = x1
Improve active skill = x2
Improve active skill group = x5
Improve attribute = x10

The above is based on how useful the skill/attribute is...
...And considering a Skill Group costs more because it contains several Skills, an Attribute should be even more expensive [since it affects multiple Skill Groups].
Dashifen
Odd. In my experience with SR4, most people raise skills or Edge but leave the normal physical/mental attributes alone. Not sure why.
Professeur
QUOTE (Synner667 @ Jan 14 2009, 11:30 AM) *
...snip
Improve language/knowledge = x1
Improve active skill = x2
Improve active skill group = x5
Improve attribute = x10
snip...


Proportionally you have come to the same number as I. Theoretically my characters would tend to improve faster though, depending on karma distribution. What kind of karma do you distribute for a standard, 2-session Run for ~400BP characters ?
ElFenrir
QUOTE (Dashifen @ Jan 14 2009, 12:38 PM) *
Odd. In my experience with SR4, most people raise skills or Edge but leave the normal physical/mental attributes alone. Not sure why.



Same here. While technically it IS more efficient to raise Attributes, and while they are technically not TOO expensive, consider this situation:

Character has flat 3's and 4's in all their attributes: say the spread is 4/4/4/3/3/4/3/3. Oki, so they have some ware boosting these up a bit, let's say as well; Body is 4(5), Agility is 4(7), Reaction is 4(6) and Strength is 3(5) thanks to a Suprathyroid, Muscle Toner 2, Muscle Aug 1 and a level of some reflex enhancement. They're pretty damn spiffy right now.

But there are some skills they don't have. They might have their Social skills divided up-they only have Etiquette and Negotation at 3 each; but they don't have Intimidation and Con at all and they want these. They might well realize that yeah, they can boost Charisma to 4 with 12 Karma, or they can buy Intimidation(Mental) at 2(+2) for 10 Karma, OR both skills with a specialization at 12 Karma, at 1(+2) each.

Again remember that when it comes to stats that are already higher, it becomes a bit costly; for the elf to raise his Agility to 7, it's 21 Karma, which is 2 full 2(+2) skills, or THREE skills at 1(+2), or with one more karma, they can get a skill at 4(+2) or one at 3(+2) and one at 1(+2).

It's rare, in my experience, that a character has every skill they ever wanted at the start of the game. In BP, it's also much more cost-effective to take the ones you really want at a good level and get the rest cheap.

Now after karmagen it's different; it could go either way, but even then I see the skills more heavily increased in-game; since characters tend to start with a solid attribute spread, and it would be quite expensive to increase these higher. I also see Edge gone-after often, or in the case of mages/adepts, initiation, extra power points, and the Magic attribute in general. IMO, they are priced just fine; remember that at an average game of 3-4 karma per week, say 12 per month, that's one attribute from 3-4 a month. That's not...really a lot, IMO. Longer for higher attributes.
Stahlseele
i'd probably switch skill group and attribute cost . .
so cost for next attribute level will be level x 5 and new skill groups level will be level x3 . . single skill new level stays at new level x2 and knowledge probably at new level x1.
'cause it's much easier to know something than to do something . . for example i know perfelctly well how to shoot guns and drive vehicles . . and if i tried any of those i would probably fail because i can't do it even though i know how to . .
HentaiZonga
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jan 14 2009, 10:52 AM) *
i'd probably switch skill group and attribute cost . .
so cost for next attribute level will be level x 5 and new skill groups level will be level x3 . . single skill new level stays at new level x2 and knowledge probably at new level x1.
'cause it's much easier to know something than to do something . . for example i know perfelctly well how to shoot guns and drive vehicles . . and if i tried any of those i would probably fail because i can't do it even though i know how to . .


No, having Skills at 2 and Skill Groups at 5 is kinda necessary - you don't want raising a Skill Group to be that cheap compared to a single Skill, or people will never raise single Skills. 1:2:5:10 is almost definitely the best bet.
BlueMax
To prevent this, I sometimes resurrect the old "You may only raise an attribute once, ever" rule. My players like it and I like it, we know it has not been RAW in forever. As a note, I have not had to do this for two years.

This was brought to my attention more so in the game I play, not the one I run. The other players put a very minimum of character build points into attributes, knowing they were easy to build later. Myself and one other player wound up carrying the group through adventures. And all of the "I'll be awesome in 50 karma" guys have since gotten bored waiting and show up less often.


Dragnar
We run with attributes being x5, just as skill groups. That still leaves them comparatively cheap, but Tripling their price seemed too excessive to us.
ElFenrir
QUOTE
To prevent this, I sometimes resurrect the old "You may only raise an attribute once, ever" rule. My players like it and I like it, we know it has not been RAW in forever. As a note, I have not had to do this for two years.


I never did like this rule when it was RAW. Now, I know it's not totally real-life...but come on. I can't even count on both of my hands how many people i knew in high school whom I saw some years later VERY much more fit than they were then. I've seen 90 pound-weaklings go to very fit doods(i'd say from 1-2 to 4's...and this was from 18ish to...24ish? or so), and in some cases, I've seen people improve greatly over the course of a short time. There's no way someone can tell me that ''Nope, your Unexeceptionally Average Joe's 2 strength can NEVER naturally go higher than a 3, nope, no matter how much you work out.'' Again, I see it happen in real life enough that this is an instance where I don't mind a bit of it in my Shadowrun. I just lose a lot of...belief, I guess you can say? when I have artifical limits tossed on me that, IMO, make no sense.

I mean, not slamming people for using it-if it works for some people that's great, but I could never understand it. Probably because I've seen stuff happen way too many times otherwise.

As for upping Attribute costs, I suppose if you're a group who hands out 5-7 karma per week, it might be a good idea-in that case, you're just sort of compensating for the raise-but for a 2-4 karma group, IMO, it might be uneccessary inflation. x4 or maybe x5, though, isn't too bad.
HentaiZonga
QUOTE (Dragnar @ Jan 14 2009, 11:31 AM) *
We run with attributes being x5, just as skill groups. That still leaves them comparatively cheap, but Tripling their price seemed too excessive to us.


Well, to be honest, think about how long it takes someone to go from a 90-lb weakling to an olympic bodybuilder, without drugs.

It should take a few months to a few years to raise an Attribute.
ElFenrir
Well, just the thing I was saying....i think a 2-4 shouldn't take TERRIBLY long. A 2-6? Yeah, that could take awhile.

Perhaps exponential costs? up to 4, normal cost, 5-6 x 5 or x6 might show that.
Whipstitch
I just always concentrated on getting high attributes, a few skill groups at 4 and my two skills at rating 5 at chargen and then just concentrate on picking up specializations for everything once in play, which usually takes a while. I use skillwires to handle some of the stuff I cannot default. Eventually the goal is to have enough skills and specializations that I can rip out the skillwires or just use them for particularly exotic skills like parachuting. I guess I've never really felt limited by my advances. I know that a lot of people take issue with being able to effectively "soft cap" their best abilities at chargen, but I've always been too busy picking up other useful skills or new metamagics/spells to care.
BlueMax
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Jan 14 2009, 10:39 AM) *
I mean, not slamming people for using it-if it works for some people that's great, but I could never understand it. Probably because I've seen stuff happen way too many times otherwise.


I have always explained it as more of "potential". Personally, I am in much better shape then I have ever been.
/me hugs his bike, "Lilith"
Yet, I do not have Strength 3, nor do I have Body 4. I just have a skill "Endurance Riding" that may finally have hit 2. When I do my first Century ride (100 miles, with big hills), I will be proud to list that as a 4.

Now, even though I am in better shape any Domestic Pro could outride me in his sleep. Not only do they put more time into training, they have something I do not; talent. The difference with the Domestique is that she has the talent to get to Strength 5 and Body 5. If she were international caliber, we could even say 6. However, my maximums are near 3 and possibly 5, its just the hand I was dealt.

Now, I have never thought of Shadowrunners as someone who could even start their profession too far from the peak of their physical and mental potential. Skills can be picked up as long as you keep your mind young.
Dragnar
QUOTE (HentaiZonga @ Jan 14 2009, 07:40 PM) *
Well, to be honest, think about how long it takes someone to go from a 90-lb weakling to an olympic bodybuilder, without drugs.

It should take a few months to a few years to raise an Attribute.


Yeah, but going from someone barely able to move without hurting himself to an olympic athlete take a lot more work than the about 40 Karma maxing a skill from scratch takes as well. All the improvements are undercosted compared to "real life", so that doesn't just apply to attributes.
ElFenrir
I could see the idea of everyone having different potentials, but I also like to think that everyone HAS different potentials. Again, every table is different, but I like the idea of the 1-6 there, and then the player basically has their pick of potential; if they never put a drop of Karma in their Agility of 2, they must have that in mind for their character. Now, there is a point that most players who want their character to be good at something will likely pump the attribute right off the bat; but hell, situations change in the game; Mr. Agility 2 might decide he likes sports and getting fit, and thus starts to develop his physical stats more in-game.

But it's true that you can do it a lot faster than SR than IRL, but then again, with average games lasting as long as they do, I can see why that is.
Professeur
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Jan 14 2009, 01:39 PM) *
...snip
I suppose if you're a group who hands out 5-7 karma per week
snip...


What does this mean, exactly ? Do you mean 5-7 karma per in-game week, or weekly gaming session, or what exactly ?
Lance
To keep skills important we use the "tweaking the rules" rule that hits are limited to skill rating x 2. This helps somewhat. At least until you reach 3 or 4 in your skill.
ElFenrir
5-7 karma per weekly session. So, if you play on Saturday nights, at the end of the night, you'd hand out 5-7 Karma. This might be considered an above-average amount, and thus a tweak might be a good idea, unless you specifically want fast advancement of ALL kinds.
Stahlseele
QUOTE (BlueMax @ Jan 14 2009, 08:09 PM) *
I have always explained it as more of "potential". Personally, I am in much better shape then I have ever been.
/me hugs his bike, "Lilith"
Yet, I do not have Strength 3, nor do I have Body 4. I just have a skill "Endurance Riding" that may finally have hit 2. When I do my first Century ride (100 miles, with big hills), I will be proud to list that as a 4.

Now, even though I am in better shape any Domestic Pro could outride me in his sleep. Not only do they put more time into training, they have something I do not; talent. The difference with the Domestique is that she has the talent to get to Strength 5 and Body 5. If she were international caliber, we could even say 6. However, my maximums are near 3 and possibly 5, its just the hand I was dealt.

Now, I have never thought of Shadowrunners as someone who could even start their profession too far from the peak of their physical and mental potential. Skills can be picked up as long as you keep your mind young.

i've done the 100 miles as a child allready . . i am fucking never ever getting on a bike for that long ever again x.x . . .
and whoever thinks northern parts of germany are flat? NO! it's basically rolling hills all the time . . so air way would ammount to about 111 kilometers, but on the ground you're really traveling 160 kilometers -.-
Apathy
[Deleted]
BlueMax
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jan 14 2009, 12:38 PM) *
i've done the 100 miles as a child allready . . i am fucking never ever getting on a bike for that long ever again x.x . . .
and whoever thinks northern parts of germany are flat? NO! it's basically rolling hills all the time . . so air way would ammount to about 111 kilometers, but on the ground you're really traveling 160 kilometers -.-

And yet, I look forward to all the pain, suffering, dehydration and possibly hallucinations.
Wizard
QUOTE (HentaiZonga @ Jan 15 2009, 05:40 AM) *
Well, to be honest, think about how long it takes someone to go from a 90-lb weakling to an olympic bodybuilder, without drugs.

It should take a few months to a few years to raise an Attribute.


This is the direction I was thinking of going, keep the points cost but make it take time. We already have a precedent in the rules for skills.

From the errata:
p. 264 Improving Skills and Skill Groups [4]
Add the following paragraph:
“To learn or improve a skill or skill group, the character
must succeed in an Extended Intuition + skill Test, with a
threshold equal to the new skill rating x 2 and an interval of 1
week (1 month for skill groups). A teacher can add bonus dice
to this test (see Using Instruction, p. 123).?

I believe something similiar for attributes would be appropriate on the lines of:

"To improve an attribute, the character must succeed in an Extended (3) Test, with a threshold equal to the new attribute rating x 3 and an interval of 1 month."

I wan't sure what to use for the dice pool but by having a fixed dice pool of 3 seems to feel right.

For example going from 2 to 3, would require 9 hits, works out to about 9 months on average.
Going from 5 to 6, would require 18 hits, about 18 months.
JoelHalpern
QUOTE (Wizard @ Jan 14 2009, 06:10 PM) *
"To improve an attribute, the character must succeed in an Extended (3) Test, with a threshold equal to the new attribute rating x 3 and an interval of 1 month."

I wan't sure what to use for the dice pool but by having a fixed dice pool of 3 seems to feel right.

For example going from 2 to 3, would require 9 hits, works out to about 9 months on average.
Going from 5 to 6, would require 18 hits, about 18 months.


Having it take time makes sense. I can imagine lots of pools (will power, the stat being raised, ...)
I will point out that declaring a fixed pool of 3 dice, and many rolls (9 for a simple case) is a recipe for critical glitches. The chances of a critical glitch on 3 dice is 10/216. So out of 9 rolls..... about 1 time in 3, trying to get a stat to 3, you will critically glitch. You have only a 50% chance of avoiding a critical glitch raising a stat to 5.
(So the house rule really needs to say what happens on critical glitches, and the less common regular glitches.)

Joel
Wizard
QUOTE (JoelHalpern @ Jan 15 2009, 10:46 AM) *
Having it take time makes sense. I can imagine lots of pools (will power, the stat being raised, ...)
I will point out that declaring a fixed pool of 3 dice, and many rolls (9 for a simple case) is a recipe for critical glitches. The chances of a critical glitch on 3 dice is 10/216. So out of 9 rolls..... about 1 time in 3, trying to get a stat to 3, you will critically glitch. You have only a 50% chance of avoiding a critical glitch raising a stat to 5.
(So the house rule really needs to say what happens on critical glitches, and the less common regular glitches.)

Joel


I was thinking of just ignoring glitches. But I suppose maybe on a glitch you add 1 to the threshold, while on a critical glitch add d6 to the threshold.
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