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pansarskott
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[ALPHA] Character generation

Mon 30 Nov 2020, 21:29

Some thoughts on the character generation.

I like the life path, but noticed some things I thought I'd bring up for discussion. I haven't really made up my mind about them myself.

1. Age effects are not really age effects since they come independent from aging. It's mechanism to give something negative to having a lot of terms completed. I mentioned this in another thread, but if we want to discuss char gen, I'll put it here.
My initial feeling is that the attribute drop is too big, and that comes from the coarse grading (A-D). 1 step is a lot on that scale.

2. For the same number of terms, everyone is equal. This gives a balance between PCs, but the there's no 'edge' to the special forces. They get some more starting equipment, that's all (maybe that's a bigger deal than I realize?). What can be done to give them an edge, but some drawbacks to compensate for it? 1-2 specialties / term (1 automatic, 1 on promotion)?, CUF modification?. But what negative effects could they get(except dropping stats, as mentioned in my first point)

One answer to the first point could be to optionally use the MENTAL crit table(p. 73) instead of dropping stats.

What's your thoughts?
 
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Fenhorn
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Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Mon 30 Nov 2020, 21:44

1) But since a term ages your character and that also affect your stats. On the average you will have one stat decrease, perhaps two if you have a lot of terms. Using the Life Path system also let you start with one more stat increase (3 instead of 2) compared to archetype character creation.

2) Even characters that have the same number of terms aren't equal. You don't always succeed with your skill roll test so you might not get a specialty. You might be forced to decrease a stat early so you no longer meet the stat requirement and must change career to something else.
“Thanks for noticin' me.” - Eeyore
 
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Acebuckeye13
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Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Mon 30 Nov 2020, 22:05

I really like the Lifepath system, but I do think it could use some tweaking. In particular it's mechanically impossible to have a character younger than 22 (18+1 year term+3 years of war), which seems like a pretty big oversight. It's also possible to get really lucky or really unlucky with specializations and attribute decreases that lead to characters that are flat-out better or worse than everyone else to a potentially significant degree, which seems less than ideal. The system also seems to flatly encourage the player to specialize in a handful of skills in order to get specializations, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but disincentivizes making a more rounded character.

What could potentially work is that instead of having the player roll for attribute loss or specializations, the book could make it something that happens automatically after every two terms, and give the player an extra attribute bonus to start out with—so that younger characters end up with significantly greater raw ability, but older characters are more skilled and specialized (This is generally what happens anyway, but this would take some of the luck factor out of it). Also dropping the starting age to, say, 15 or 16 and removing the age increase for the war term would also make playing a young adult more feasible, which would allow for a greater range of potential characters (Such as a war orphan, fresh draftee, or a Wolverines-type guerilla).
 
swedishtrex
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Joined: Fri 27 Nov 2020, 12:52

Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Mon 30 Nov 2020, 22:16

Some thoughts on the character generation.

I like the life path, but noticed some things I thought I'd bring up for discussion. I haven't really made up my mind about them myself.

1. Age effects are not really age effects since they come independent from aging. It's mechanism to give something negative to having a lot of terms completed. I mentioned this in another thread, but if we want to discuss char gen, I'll put it here.
My initial feeling is that the attribute drop is too big, and that comes from the coarse grading (A-D). 1 step is a lot on that scale.

2. For the same number of terms, everyone is equal. This gives a balance between PCs, but the there's no 'edge' to the special forces. They get some more starting equipment, that's all (maybe that's a bigger deal than I realize?). What can be done to give them an edge, but some drawbacks to compensate for it? 1-2 specialties / term (1 automatic, 1 on promotion)?, CUF modification?. But what negative effects could they get(except dropping stats, as mentioned in my first point)

One answer to the first point could be to optionally use the MENTAL crit table(p. 73) instead of dropping stats.

What's your thoughts?
I do not like the lifepath system, the randomness reminds me of mutant chronicles or old neotech stuff, simply put i dislike randomness in character creation. With that said specific answers:

1) I do not feel the attribute drop is that great tbh, i think it stems more from us overestimating our physical peek irl, only verry few individuals manage through rigorous training, diets and good genetics stay in the same status from their 20's untill mid 30s and this under the best of conditions, in a mid apocalyptic nuclear war with scarcity of food ? I do however like your idea of mental crit table and i think maybee the first aging effect could come from that, the next from physical stats (if the pc is determinded to keep pushing it)

2)I am pretty happy the sf is toned down, again i think enviromental effects/situation will pretty much make all men equal fast. That said again if you want to make them stand out more the CuF is a realy good way of doing it and i agree with your train of thought here, the cost should come from mental crits and possibly a doubled dose of starting rad due to more exposure in combat areas.
 
welsh
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Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Mon 30 Nov 2020, 22:25

I have found a few things in lifepath chargen that bother me.

1. The skills available are quite limited and don't always make sense with respect to the careers. A combat arms soldier can't get recon? But on the other hand, a liberal arts student can? Look, I know this is an artifact of that problem where non-military career paths don't map well to the skills used in the game, but ... that's silly.

2. A sergeant can't gain any leadership or persuasion skills. But senior NCOs are the people doing the frontline leadership work in the army and usually have better leadership skills (and more leadership experience) than a lieutenant. From the standpoint of group morale, you can't get any benefit from Command skill unless your group includes an officer.

3. It seems quite difficult to gain promotion. I am generating 30-year-old privates as a matter of course. Promotion in the lower ranks (private - PFC - corporal) shouldn't be that hard.

Re the skills problem, I think the issue is the skills list is quite limited and there is an effort to distinguish between career paths by limiting the skills available. But maybe the differences between military careers is best captured either through specialties or by capping the max level of certain skills in certain career paths. I would houserule that sergeant and above gets access to officer skills, also.
 
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pansarskott
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Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 07:20

1) But since a term ages your character and that also affect your stats. On the average you will have one stat decrease, perhaps two if you have a lot of terms. Using the Life Path system also let you start with one more stat increase (3 instead of 2) compared to archetype character creation.
If it was based on age (roll when you pass 30, 40 etc) I would agree that it's age-based.

Now it's primarily term-based and secondarily age-based. You could do 3 terms, age 3 years (3 terms x 1 year) and get 3 age effects. Or you could age 18 years (3 terms x 6 year) and not get the effects.

But maybe it's needed to get balance, as I wrote I'm still thinking about it.
 
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pansarskott
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Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 07:28

3. It seems quite difficult to gain promotion. I am generating 30-year-old privates as a matter of course. Promotion in the lower ranks (private - PFC - corporal) shouldn't be that hard.
An incomplete idea:
If rank was also a number, and you had to roll over it to get promotion, it would be easy to get promoted in the beginning.
One drawback is that generally (always) rolls have to be under a value to succeed. It adds inconsistency.

Agree about NCO leadership skills
 
Mr Oldtimer
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun 14 Apr 2019, 12:01

Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 09:42

3. It seems quite difficult to gain promotion. I am generating 30-year-old privates as a matter of course. Promotion in the lower ranks (private - PFC - corporal) shouldn't be that hard.
An incomplete idea:
If rank was also a number, and you had to roll over it to get promotion, it would be easy to get promoted in the beginning.
One drawback is that generally (always) rolls have to be under a value to succeed. It adds inconsistency.

Agree about NCO leadership skills
Well, I find it much too easy to get a young high ranking officer. Since you both roll for promotion AND raise your military rank by one for each term in the military. Especially if you look at the swedish ranks, which doesn’t have as many ranks as the US.
 
welsh
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Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 10:01

Since you both roll for promotion AND raise your military rank by one for each term in the military.
I'm not sure that's an accurate reading of the rules, or perhaps I misread your post (or misread the rules myself).

My reading is you roll for promotion each term and, on success, raise your rank by one and increase your CUF by one. Everything is tied to that roll.

I do think the rule is written in a way that also lets you read it so the military rank increase and CUF increase is automatic. But I read it to mean that success brings a promotion which, in a military career, is reflected in a rank increase; if you're in a civilian career, you got a promotion at work but nobody cares about your fancy title.
 
aspqrz
Posts: 47
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: [ALPHA] Character generation

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 10:24

As the Character Generation system stands I believe it is too granular (too little differentiation between levels, too few levels) and has too few skills to make for a game which will support long term campaign style play.

Yes, I know, there will eventually be a Base Building section in the GMs book, but, based on the way this is handled in MYZ and Forbidden Lands I am not confident that it will be either a) realistic or b) very detailed ... and am doubtful that it will support long term campaigning either.

As it stands it seems that the only style of play that will be supported, at least out of the box, will be one shot almost purely combat oriented adventures ('if all you have is a hammer, then you treat every problem as if it is a nail') or very short term campaigns that will also be almost entirely military combat oriented.

For all their faults (and there were many), TW:2000 V2 and V2.2 at least supported long term character growth, a diversity of military and civilian character types, and long term campaigns.

Perhaps I am wrong, but with the rules as written I am not particularly hopeful.

Phil McGregor
========
Author: Space Opera (FGU); Rigger Black Book #1 (FASA); Orbis Mundi 2, The Marketplace, Ithura & Porthaven, Fantasy Europe (PGD); Road to Armageddon & Supplements, Displaced, Audace ad Gloriam, Farm, Forge & Steam (PGD).
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