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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

 
 
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Old June 19th, 2019, 05:26 PM
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Default Suggestions for a "points based" system of character generation.

One of the ironies of T4 also serves as its strongest criticism. It has been said T4 has a great character creation system, and a great task resolution system. But the two don't mesh well together. It has been suggested that when a character's statistics, as generated in the character creation system, is applied to the task resolution system, the character can hardly ever fail. Like so many others, I too have put some thought into how to "tweak" the system in order to present the players more of a challenge as they travel across the universe.

To begin with, I'm not the biggest fan of games that generate characteristics randomly. I enjoy games that allow players to determine their own character's strength and weaknesses. Seeing as T4 uses a character's characteristics so intimately in the task resolution system, perhaps there is a way to allow player's some freedom of choice, while, at the same time, maintain some sort of balance in the task resolution system.

Suggested Tweak #1: Player's buy their characteristics up using a point system. (Instead of characteristics being determined by rolling dice randomly.)

To begin, each character starts with a base UPP of 555555. Each character is given 80 points to buy their characteristics up. But the progression is not linear. (For math gurus, it's actually a geometric summation.) To buy a characteristic up, a character must "invest" the number of points equal to the next level they are trying to attain. For example, to buy Strength from 5 to 6, it costs 6 points. To buy Strength again from 6 to 7, it costs 7 points. And to buy Strength from 7 to 8, it costs 8 points. So, to buy Strength from level 5 to level 8 it costs 6+7+8 = 21 points of the 80 they are initially given. In this example that would leave 80-21=59 points to buy the rest of their characteristics up. This would be repeated for each characteristic.

So, for example, to obtain a UPP of 887766 from the base characteristics of 555555, a player would have to spend:

Strength: 6+7+8 = 21 points
Dexterity: 6+7+8 = 21 points
Endurance: 6+7 = 13 points
Intelligence: 6+7 = 13 points
Education: 6 = 6 points
Social Standing 6 = 6 points

For a total of: 80 points

A few of the unused points may be held to buy skills with in the next section. But only 5 points maximum. If a character has more than 5 points left over from buying characteristics, the difference is lost.

This, of course, can be abused somewhat by "Min/Maxers," players who try to take advantage of a system by maximizing the characteristics they feel they should have, by minimizing the ones they don't care about. But, I would think, the geometric progression presented here will discourage that practice a bit. After all, if someone put ALL their points in one characteristic, say Dexterity for example, the best they could hope to achieve would be 6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13 = 76 points, with 4 points left over. Which would give a character a UPP of 5D5555. This may be great for Dexterity based skill rolls, but what about Intelligence based skill rolls? In my games, at least, that would seriously limit how much that character could contribute to one of our role-playing sessions.

Interestingly, using this system, the example character outlined on page 25, Merchant Captain Alexander L. Jamison's UPP of 688C89 is unobtainable.

I will get to "Tweak #2," buying skills, in the next reply. And everyone is welcome to comment below. But the main reason I started this thread is because they say "no plan survives contact with the enemy." Similarly, no RPG system may survive contact with players. I have made these notes, in part, to present them in written form to a number of players that I would like to try to run a game with using these suggestions. I am curious what they might do with these "rules," and see what they come up with.

Last edited by ManOfGrey; June 19th, 2019 at 05:56 PM..
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