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Vargr
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Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Sun 17 Nov 2019, 15:50

Hi folks :D
Me and my gaming group were thinking about introducing a new homebrew rule to our game: option a) after a really important event of the campaign OR option b) after spending a certain amount of XP (something like 50-60) on skills and talents, each character gets to increase one of his/her attributes. He/she can't raise an attribute over the cap of 4 / 5 if kin or profession attribute /6 if both, as per creation rules.
Our best option was b), but in any case we wouldn't use both for obvious game balancing reasons (we like the gritty feel of the game and don't want to change it in a considerable way).
We don't think introducing the option to buy the improvement with XP for the same reason - to balance it with skill improving cost (5x new skill rank), the cost of an attribute improvement would be too steep.
Well, we'd like to know your opinions about this: does this house rule sound reasonable enough? Any suggestions?
 
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Ebrim
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Sun 17 Nov 2019, 18:09

One of the critical choices in character creation is sacrificing attribute points as you get older. An adult character is likely better at what they’ve chosen to do at life but they’ve also lost some potential. It’s a cool dynamic that a rule like this sort of reverses.

As in you’re sacrificing (in the form of xp) specific ability for more broad potential*. It’s sort of the opposite of how a life actually plays out. That said, if being able to raise an attribute is something you really want to do I’d be tempted to associate some other cost with it. Not just xp but make it a redistribution as well. Perhaps introduce some other handicap to represent the sort of single-minded determination to improve against entropy some sort of broader ability at considerable cost.

An idea might be a permanent willpower decay for that character to represent that sort of determination. They can stop the decay but then lose the extra attribute point. Another idea might be an xp penalty for that character, -1 per session or something.


*It might be useful here to think a little about Tales from the Loop which has the beautiful and elegant mechanic where young kids have more luck but fewer attribute/skill dice.  The young ones have potentially more versatility though they'll tend to be worse off at any specific task than an older kid. Think of this trade between age, attributes, skills, and talents in a similar way.
Catch me on Three Skulls Tavern: YouTube or Twitch, a Forbidden Lands AP which focuses on learning the game, playing Raven’s Purge
 
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Vargr
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Mon 18 Nov 2019, 21:38

@Ebrim, thanks for your detailed reply, it is much appreciated.
What do you mean by "a permanent WP decay?" Something like losing 1 WP/day? Or do you mean decreasing the maximum WP cap (i.e. from 10 to 8)?
To give a little more context to my question, our group is made of 3 characters (orc melee path of healing druid, goblin archer and half-elf peddler with very little combat skills -just a sling and 3 agility); in this situation, we feel like giving this kind of power-up to the characters wouldn't be such a big deal - for example, the orc (me) would still remain the only character between the 2 squishy ones, and 1 more str wouldn't change the fact that he has to be extremely careful not to engage too soon to avoid being flanked or ignored by enemies, nor it would alter action economy (he may become 5% better at slashing and parrying, but the still would have 1 slow and 1 fast action).
That being said, our point is: we know raising an attribute is no little thing, in fact it is not contemplated in the rules, but in our specific situation do you think it would be something so powerful to seriously affect game balance and "spoil" that gritty feel we chose this great game for?
 
Ayathor
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Tue 19 Nov 2019, 01:02

To give a little more context to my question, our group is made of 3 characters
I can see why you wonder to increase your attributes. It can be a bit harsh. That being said, I've once had a character that would solo anything (str related) with no apparent problem. If only three characters are in play, ask your GM to make an NPC that the GM controls and it can help a little. You can hire a soldier/mercenary for 1 silver a day, which is kinda the same. I am also opposed to attribute increase, but if you guys really want to play like that I would recommend to make it as an event. Like, the raiders have to go through something very difficult, and if they succeed they obtain that reward. They can do a pact with a demon, too. Find that demon and make it agree with you and you have a whole story arc to work with. That way it makes it more interesting and still rewards the players. 
The attribute increase may come with a drawback, as Ebrim mentioned. If you make a pact with a demon, you are then tainted as such, which mechanistically gives you a disadvantage towards certain situations. 
 
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Ebrim
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Tue 19 Nov 2019, 02:53

I’m not so worried about “balance” in terms of combat in that your GM can always just make tougher enemies to compensate.

Reservations for my own game for such a rule would be more thematic.

For WP decay, maybe 1 lost per session or something. I just think that if I we’re going to allow such a thing in my game I’d want it to be expensive and reversible.

Oh, and all characters in Forbidden Lands are squishy. I’d expect all characters to get into the fight when a fight happens.
Catch me on Three Skulls Tavern: YouTube or Twitch, a Forbidden Lands AP which focuses on learning the game, playing Raven’s Purge
 
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lupex
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Tue 19 Nov 2019, 11:00

As this effectively makes you better at all skills under that attribute this is a big deal as increasing all four skills by 1 rank would cost between 20 and 60 XP. And increasing an attribute based on spending XP for skills or talents seems to be an extra unearned bonus.

If you could increase attributes this would change the power balance of the game and also take the focus off of buying general skills or specialised talents, and would force the GM to make tougher NPCs (which is the type of power creep that goes against the ethos of the game).

But saying that I wouldn't be averse as a GM to giving out this sort of boost once a specific campaign milestone is reached, sort of like the end of a season or campaign such as 'Raven's Purge', if the players would continue using those characters next season/campaign. But I would do it very rarely, and it would be at GMs discretion.

As the Orc what attribute would you be looking to increase?
 
Mr Oldtimer
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Tue 19 Nov 2019, 14:25

As this effectively makes you better at all skills under that attribute this is a big deal as increasing all four skills by 1 rank would cost between 20 and 60 XP. And increasing an attribute based on spending XP for skills or talents seems to be...
When this discussion happened last time I mentioned I had thoughts about setting the cost multiplyer to 20 for raising attributes, because that’s what the corresponding raise of skills would have been. So, to raise an attribute from 2 to 3 would be 3 * 20 = 60 XP. This would give that you pay merely for the increase in skill level and with the bonus of also be able to take one more point of damage in that attribute before being broken.
 
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lupex
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Tue 19 Nov 2019, 14:51

I guess for me the main question is, what are the unintended consequences of messing with a fundamental part of the game?
 
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Vargr
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Wed 20 Nov 2019, 02:05

Our GM doesn't like the idea of an npc as a 4th member of the group (we already discussed it before starting our game so it never was an option. Honestly, I'm fine with it for rp reasons); of course, sometimes a certain npc might temporarily join forces with us to accomplish a common goal.
I see the option of giving the attribute raise as a "milestone" is more acceptable for you, and it makes sense to me as well.
As the orc's player, I'd probably raise Str. We just played 4 game sessions and my poor orc got beated quite a bit, so I think it would be the most obvious choice, as he becomes stronger and more resistant to pain. It also makes sense with his pride & dark secret. The other choice could be Emp (he's got 2 at the time being), to symbolise the growth of his bond with the other raiders that showed him not all people are trash (he went through lots of s**t ).
As for an hypothetical XP cost, we already decided it is not something we are interested in (it would be crazy steep and it would be a pain calculating an appropriate XP multiplier).
 
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lupex
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Re: Homebrew rule: raising attributes

Wed 20 Nov 2019, 02:45

I would think that you are quite a way from reaching a significant milestone if you have only played for four sessions, I would say you need to play for another 10 before even thinking about something like this.

For an Orc I would actually be wary of allowing an increase in strength due to the Orc’s Kin talent being directly related to regaining strength when broken, you will have less reason to generate willpower if you are less likely to become broken.

Also, the Orc was built with a lower strength for a reason, as his focus was on other attributes. Does it not seem like having it both ways by then increasing his Strength attribute as well?

Maybe as an alternative to raising an attribute a milestone could allow you to move a point from one attribute to another to show the character growing in a different way?

Out of interest what age is the Orc?

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