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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: points based character creation  (Read 2125 times)
Martians
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Posts: 9


« on: July 23, 2008, 10:27:56 AM »

Hi all, im just looking to compile a list of the best points based character creation systems people have used...
post here with any that you have found to be innovative or interesting thanks guys!
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dindenver
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2008, 10:58:16 AM »

Hi!
  There is only two I have played that I enjoyed:
1) Heroes Unlimited - The points were fairly well balanced and they didn't seem to interfere with fun play
2) DC Heroes/Blood of Heroes - The number of powers and comboes was drastically reduced, but there was still enough flexibility in the system to make great heroes.

  Conversely, there are some that I did not like:
1) Gurps - Too many options. Someone else mentioned this in another thread and I agree, For instance, the number of skills is overwhelming and its too hard to see the "gotta have" skills on a list that big. Now, I realize a generic game has to have more skills to account for more genres, but somehow this feels like more than that
2) Champions/Fuzion - Making a character is too hard and the extra flexibility doesn't add anything to play.

  Well, I realize this is splitting hairs, but I hope it helps you with your design.
  What is that design, and why the brief question?
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
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Martians
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2008, 11:35:09 AM »

thanks dindenver,
im just trying to compile a list of interesting point based character creation methods as i am currently developing the character creation system for my own project and would like to see what people are interested in/what works...personally i am very experienced with the Shadowrun character gen system and i enjoy it but ive also worked with the points based systems of Godlike, Mutants and Masterminds, Gurps, Rifts, lots of others...just looking to find out what people think makes a successful and interesting points based character creation systems
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dindenver
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 11:41:12 AM »

np,
  Well, typically, we like to ask more practical questions and less poll/opinion questions.
  What is the chargen like in your system? What's on your mind that you are asking about other ways to approach it?
  I think the advice you will get if you do not want to discuss your own mechanics is to come up with a session of point-based chargen and post an AP about it so we all have a frame of reference for the conversation...

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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
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Selene Tan
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 08:54:54 PM »

Hi Martians,

I think the more important question for you is "What do YOU want your character creation system to accomplish?" What types of characters do you want players to be able to create? What are the most important things to know about characters in your game? What is your game about? Some point-buy character creation rules will work better than others at producing the kinds of characters you want in your game, hence the questions. If you give a little more detail, it'll be easier to point you to character creation systems that will be useful for you.
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migo
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Posts: 54


« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2008, 01:42:20 PM »

I have used GURPS 3e - it was fun to do the number crunching and min-maxing, ultimately however it breaks. With sufficient work you can make a character with the same point total that is plain better at everything. There's also a problem with some of the disadvantages - a number of disadvantages are role playing choices, so you get free points to play your character however you want. Certain disadvantages really aren't disadvantages at all - chosing a recurring enemy is an advantage in reality, you're getting something you'd do anyway, plus the adventures will regularly focus on you. Ultimately it fails at having proper character balance. If you're playing a setting where CP totals don't have to match, then it's OK.

GURPS 4e fixes some of the min maxing issues, sort of. DX and IQ were the important stats in 3e, they still are in 4e, but cost twice as much, so it's a bit more difficult to min-max skills, but the problem is still there that DX and IQ are more important than HT and ST.

I've looked through HERO 5th edition - it has the same "fix" as GURPS 4e for otherwise the same problem - Dex costs more than other stats. There's still a fair amount of min-maxing and number crunching available, particularly with rounding and probabilities that would allow someone with good math skills to make a much better character at the same point total, although not necessarily as extreme as in GURPS 3e. Also, disadvantages aren't really disadvantages, they're just RP choices or enemies. Choice of disadvantages could lead to some serious character imbalance both in terms of power and in terms of RP screen time.

I haven't done quite the same number crunching with JAGS, JAGS-2 and JAGS Lite - I like the split between mundane and super powers, I can't remember if it has character imbalance problems but they quite likely are present. They're all free so it's worth checking out, if you're going to make a system it should at least be as good as a freely available system.

EABAlite (and EABA too, I would assume) has a brilliant table system, I can see more potential flexibility with the few pages in the lite version than full versions of other systems. Again, I haven't done the number crunching to see if it breaks, but being point based it undoubtedly does.

BESM 2e has a quite brilliant skill system where the cost relates to how often the skills come up in the campaign, not their objective difficulty to learn. This accomodates more player types as you can have someone with a character concept make a character that doesn't do terribly well in the campaign, but they'll have their odd chance to shine and still have enough CPs left over in order to still be useful for the general events in the campaign. Some of the disadvantages are still questionable, but the genre based skill cost fixes a lot of balance issues.

Epiphany is loosely a point buy system, it has the typical problems of RP choice disadvantages which are essentially free points for anyone who knows how to use them properly, although it's a much looser system so it'll be a bit harder to have serious character imbalance (until you go into spell casting...)

PDQ is loosely a points based system, available for free. It has sufficient flexibility that you're not going to run into some of the same imbalance problems that will crop up with the more detailed systems.

I believe Burning Wheel has a point buy system, although I haven't played it. It charges 1 point for each disadvantage as it recognises them as roleplaying opportunities. This is a very important thing to pay attention to (IMO). The biggest breaks come when you have a very complex point buy and calculation system that tries to scale in a "realistic" fashion and with poorly chosen advantages and disadvantages.

I'm not intimately familiar with Reign's system, it's a hybrid "point" buy/random generation system that allows you to go from completely random to completely chosen. It strikes me as well balanced and is quite quick. I'm not so much a fan of point buy systems anymore, although I used to love the number crunching. It's probably my favourite simply on account of the fact that I can generate a well fleshed out character in 15 minutes without putting too much effort in, and someone else could spend a lot more time (although I wouldn't imagine it would take over 45 mintues for anyone familiar with the system), but wouldn't have a serious advantage over the person who threw their character together.

Donjon I think loosely counts as point buy - the part I loved about it is that I could quickly come up with a character concept, given how it was set up and make the character in short order. Also, again due to being loose compared to crunchier point buy systems it didn't seem to have as serious game breaking problems.

Rifts I can barely get my head around. I was reading Rifts UE and was very excited by the setting, then I got to the chargen section, spent a few minutes trying to wrap my head around it and decided to go watch Smallville.

Overall my experience is that the more granular and "realistic" the point buy system, the more it's open to "abuse" (ie, the really fun part of point buy systems) that could lead to some unhappy players (newbies, math-challenged, etc). Since generally the point of a point buy system is character balance, it's only achievable if half the abilites and options presented are used (because no matter how you try to price them, some are just better than others for the amount you pay, particularly in combination) and everyone is a twink (pretty much anyone with lots of time and little money).
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