Character Generation announcement and number of skills

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Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Burke » Fri May 23, 2014 6:05 pm

I'm running out the door, so I'll keep this brief. I think I understand why the mechanic of dividing skill points equally among skills was chosen (which is that it certainly has to be simpler), but the interpretation stated in Octavius's post, which is that characters who pick 6-8 skills are inexperienced dabblers, doesn't make sense to me. Instead, it makes far *more* sense that older characters in particular develop vocational skills and at the same time develop supporting secondary skills. The "focused - rounded - inexperienced" breakdown only really works for younger characters if you're creating a character and not just a collection of data points that you then try to build up through gaming.

I really think that having the ability to set primary and secondary skills in chargen is very important. Is that something that is not happening right now, or is it not part of the overall chargen design?

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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Octavius » Fri May 23, 2014 6:21 pm

O-RPP starting character building has never properly accounted for experienced, aged, characters. Skill boosts from RPP do this better, but that's not an option right now as we're starting without RPP.

The dividing-the-pool method allows more differentiation than we had in old-SOI. This system is the one we are inheriting from ARPI and thus is the one we're using for now.

There needs to be a trade-off for the beginning character. We're considering two of them. First, allowing an accounting for age, where the chosen age reduces attributes and raises the skills. An older man is wiser in his trade, but not as physically-able as his younger days. The other is differentiation in the skill amounts -- Rather than labeling primary/secondary skills, we're considering a background-building engine where you make a series of choices that helps guide and vary a character's background while making each choice have consequence for the distribution of their life's learning in the form of the skill pool.

Both things are currently notional, and somewhere down the coding list. For now, you have what was announced. :) Alpha will open, the game will grow and be successful, then we'll see what comes next. :D

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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Burke » Fri May 23, 2014 8:54 pm

Best of luck with it, then. While I'd really like to play a Tolkien-based game again, I know from my own experience that I don't enjoy playing on games that use systems like this one.

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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Nimrod » Fri May 23, 2014 9:05 pm

I'm confused why the notion of the pool of points for skills is a deal-breaker for you here, Burke. We're just getting off the ground and we have to start somewhere. Skill increases will happen just like always, through use and practice in-game.

What is it about the current model that you don't like?

The starting point for skills is always low for new characters. That's part of the game. Building your skills so you can be a better baker/woodsman/fighter.

I kind of like the idea of being able to rank your skills and allow players to divide the pool points in a manner that's more suited to their tastes. Unfortunately we've not discussed this idea among staff members and we're just going with the basic divide the pool points up equally among the chosen skills.
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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by pompadourslim » Fri May 23, 2014 9:39 pm

I have to admit that I share some of the feelings Burke has expressed here.

It seems very difficult to roll a character over 30 who has a wide variety of life experiences but is still competent at his/her chosen profession. Any additional hobby-type skills or side interests get an equal share of points with the skills one has focused on one's whole life, resulting in the strong possibility of being less skilled than younger characters who have done little outside their vocation (even if bg-wise you've spent more or less the same amount of time training). At least, if we're talking 0 RPP PCs. Perhaps the awkwardness will only last as long as it takes to build up the skills that should have been focused on, but that's a pretty nebulous guarantee.

But waiting for RPPs to make up for it just creates a situation in which anyone who wants to play a character over 25 is obligated to earn RPPs first, or play an awkward failure who has had longer to learn and yet is worse at everything, or a play an ambitious, single-minded individual with no interests outside his/her job (who will still be no better than the 20 year old next to him).

There are obviously limitations to what can be quantified and how those quantities can be manipulated, but I personally find it pretty difficult to fit my character concepts into that framework.

It might seem to encourage players, as Burke said, to conceptualize their PCs as collections of data rather than as people with experiences and interests. That said, I'm definitely going to give the thing a whirl before I form a final opinion.

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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Letters » Sat May 24, 2014 1:57 am

Before, your six skills could open between anywhere from 20 to 50, depending on attributes and whatever - potentially quite arbitrary - formula was used for that particular skill. The only difference here is that they will open at 21, 26, 31, 36 or 41, I think, according to the number chosen. There has to be some sort of system.
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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Throttle » Sat May 24, 2014 3:13 am

It doesn't take that long to raise even beginner skills to a level where you can pass for someone with experience. Once one has RPP, there'll be roles that allow PCs to start out with one or two high skills and then the problem is solved, you just can't let every new character choose to be a deadly warrior or established crafter or the whole structure of the game would be turned on its head.

It's a necessary evil for characters to start out a bit shitty at their skills. If it was made so that 35 year-olds came out fully peaked at their professions and with all the experience warranted by their age, there would be nothing special about high skills (and very few young characters around...) which would heavily undermine the RPG aspect of the game. This is more important than RPI forums tend to admit.

It's a little faux pas for some reason to acknowledge that raising skills and developing a powerful character is something that a lot of people play this kind of game for - sometimes exclusively, it seems - but it's an undeniable fact and one that the game needs to accomodate or risk having half the players drop out.

I think there's far more fretting over starting skill levels than there have ever been problems caused by starting skill levels. People almost never pick more than six skills, and those who do take an inordinate number of crafts (or combat skills, for that matter) usually end up never using half of them because they have no reason or opportunity to do so. Even if one did, the game doesn't collapse just because someone is both a blacksmith and has a fruit orchard.
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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Mithrandur » Sat May 24, 2014 4:27 am

BRB, changing my char's app so he's 50 years old. Gib all master crafts plox.

On a more serious note, how is the current system of dividing all points evenly between skills picks any different than it ever was with SoI? Character age on commencement has never (as far as I know) had an impact on what your skills started out as. Commencing as a 90 year old Dunadan for example, without taking a skill-boosting role did absolutely nothing for boosting his tradeskills compared to a character I had started at 20 years old in game.

Is the new method any more realistic? Actually yes. Before you had to pick a minimum of 6 number of skills to commence, and the results were almost always completely random, said results sometimes even being contrary to what the character's background might otherwise say.

With the new system? You get to pick not only how many skills you would want to a greater degree which in turn determines how skill a tradesman you are. Not only that but you're basically guaranteed that an offhand 'hobby' isn't going to turn out twice as good starting out as your bread-and-butter tradeskill.

Would it make sense for a 20 something who has dedicated the last 5 years to training a skill to be more skilled than someone who's been dabbling at the trade for 15 years though? Why not? I cook myself breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day almost 365 days a year (sometimes I cheat and eat out) and have basically since I was a teenager. Does that mean I should be more skilled than someone younger than me that went to culinary school? If age were the only qualifier of skill you may as well say anyone who wants to be a decent crafter has to start at (predetermined 'best' age).

As Throttle said, it's a necessary evil for everyone (including you, Yes, you there) to start out with crappy skills dependent on how many skill choices you pick at chargen. Just because one snowflake is older than another doesn't mean they should get more ability unless they're willing to sacrifice something else for it. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Brian » Sat May 24, 2014 8:55 am

I wouldn't have any problem with being able to rank skills the same way that there is an attribute ranking system here. Could it even function relatively the same way? If I understand it with the attribute system there is a limited number of points and they are divided according to your rankings. Why not do the same with skill points if it isn't a difficult coding process?

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Re: Character Generation announcement and number of skills

Post by Icarus » Sat May 24, 2014 9:06 am

We are doing an Alpha for a reason ;) let us get our vision off the ground, then there can be plenty of tweaking!
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