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Preview of “optional methods of characteristic generation”?


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In the absence of an official preview I’m interested in feedback in this option (like the D&D “array”):

1 each of 9,10,11,12,13,14,15

After assigning all stats, add 3 to one of SIZ or INT, 2 to the other

Assign Rune bonii (bonuses) as normal

Edited by Hyperlexic
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My brother played a Lhankor Mhy priest with a 17 STR. I think that's kind of neat. I understand where you're coming from, though: random rolls mean you'll end up playing something you don't want to. We used to roll up something like 5 sets of stats and pick the best one. Sometimes we'd re-roll the lowest stat.

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I personally have a rabid hatred of point-buy characteristics or D&D arrays. My personal house rule is if the player "knows" the character, let them just tell me the characteristics that fit that character ("I wanna play a really strong, tough warrior that isn't too smart - can I have STR 17, CON 16, INT 12?" "Sure!" or "I want to play a character raised by a temple to deal with the gods. Can I have INT 16, POW 17, CHA 17 - but I'll roll for the other stats?" "SURE!") Or create a gigantic dice pool (getting rid of all 1s) and letting the player allocate those the way they want. 

In short, my house rule is let the players play what they want.

I know Jason and I have alternative methods in the GM Sourcebook (they were originally in the Core Rules but got cut), but for me, point-buy and array methods kill the magic. Unless you are making dwarfs. Then it should be mandatory! :D

Jeff 

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30 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Or create a gigantic dice pool (getting rid of all 1s) and letting the player allocate those the way they want. 

I am not fond of arrays at all and I personally love point buy characteristics when it is part of a point buy system. The method described above is exactly how we used it in RQ3 back in the days.

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I think the easiest method is to submit all generated characters to Chaosium for approval before beginning play. :)

Seriously though, no one wants to force a player to play a character he's unhappy with. If random generation produced a pup then let him roll again. When I was running RQ3 I allowed players to roll 1 more die than normal for each stat and then discard one die of their choice. You could still get low results, but it would be very unlikely on more than 1 stat.

 

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1 minute ago, Russ Massey said:

I think the easiest method is to submit all generated characters to Chaosium for approval before beginning play. :)

Seriously though, no one wants to force a player to play a character he's unhappy with. If random generation produced a pup then let him roll again. When I was running RQ3 I allowed players to roll 1 more die than normal for each stat and then discard one die of their choice. You could still get low results, but it would be very unlikely on more than 1 stat.

 

Or just submit all generated characters to the GM for approval! I like a randomised element - even when I have a good idea what I want to play as a character, there are some characteristics that I don't initially care about and so I roll the dice to randomly generate something. So with that magician - I know I want the character to have a good INT, CHA, and POW. I roll the dice - 15 for SIZ (re-rolled a "1"), 16 for SIZ, 14 for DEX, and 12 for CON. Great - now I am ready to go. I ask my GM if that is fine, she says sure, and away we go.

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A PC is normally (5*3) + (2*2) dice = 19 dice. So roll 19 dice and allocate 3 per attribute (or 2 dice (+6) for INT and SIZ). I guess you  could even allocate more than 3 or 2 dice to an attribute if the GM was happy and you don't go over the attribute max.

Or assume dice will roll 3.5 on average (or 4) = 66/67 (if you use 3.5 average) or 76 (if you use 4)

Also note that with attribute total 92 or less you get an extra 3 points to spend. Pretty much everyone is going to get that, as (92 - 12 (INT/POW))/19 = 4.21, so you'd need to roll 4+ on every single die not to be eligible, and then you get +2/+1 to further attributes depending on elemental runes and then possibly homeland modifications too.

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Personally, my view is to use whatever method you are comfortable with.

It might not be in the rules? So what?

Character Generation is the start of the journey, the first steps, so is, in many ways, the least important part. Some people say it's the most important, the bedrock or foundation, but I disagree. For characteristics, yes, it has a permanent effect, for everything else, things change. Your PC at Session 0 is not going to be the same as at Session 100.

So, if you want to use the Points Buy from Mythras or Legend, then use them, it won't affect your RQG Character particularly.

The difference between Character generation from RQG and other D100 Character Generations isn't how you determine Characteristics, it's the Gloranthan layers that are applied afterwards.

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I struggle a bit with pure stat point buy systems, especially when there are as many 'beneficial' thresholds as there are in RQ. 

I also hate seeing characters that don't shape up to at least something like what the player envisages playing.

I like the idea that there's some randomness to RQ characteristics.

For cultures where there is access to "Bless Pregnancy" there's a mechanism built into the world to help achieve this. I don't think it's too big a stretch to allow a character's grandparent to be (or be good friends with/prepared to owe a favour to) an Initiate or Priestess of Ernalda with a CHA-full of Rune Points, which she would likely be prepared to make available for her daughter/-in-law to make sure the grandchildren are healthy and strong/talented. So I'm going with "Allocate 15 points across the 7 stats and roll the appropriate amount of dice, for each stat (specifically), adding the allocated points." Ponts above species maximum, I'll allow to reroll a 1 on a die on another characteristic, but they could as easily be wasted You could vary the number of Rune Points available for casting, and it's kinda 'representative' rather than a strict application of the spell, so there aren't really any limits but 19 x 3.5 +12 = 82, +15 =97, so on average they'll have more than the 92 point minimum; you could cap at 'rolled' maxima, though Bless Pregnancy permits starting characteristics up to racial max.

I like this approach because it has at least some grounding in the game world, and it combines randomness with player choice. Obviously the grandma wanted a grandchild that came out like the player hoped... How fortunate :)

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@soltakss - thanks to the reference to Mythras - I have RQ6 and I’ll look at it. 

I’ll think about the “giant dice pool” idea discussed by several people as well.

I don’t think it’s particularly fruitful to debate methods - it’s personal preference - but just to explain my thoughts... My issue with the random method is inspired in part by making my first two characters. Both ended up with decidedly average characteristics, lots of 11’s. Also character balance is definitely a thing - not because the players are competing but because it’s almost impossible to change most of the stats over a campaign. 

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7 hours ago, Jeff said:

I personally have a rabid hatred of point-buy characteristics or D&D arrays...

That's not a good reason to exclude it from the rules - not all players or GMs are you!

7 hours ago, Jeff said:

In short, my house rule is let the players play what they want.

Which may be ok for some groups, but when I tried to institute that system when I was a student, two of the players came to me with straight 18s and then acted all aggrieved that I wasn't happy with that. I suspect that I have a player in my current gaming circle who would still try that one.

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13 minutes ago, Hyperlexic said:

My issue with the random method is inspired in part by making my first two characters. Both ended up with decidedly average characteristics, lots of 11’s.

Years ago one of my players created one of these type of characters.  So bland that the character was named Grucius Grey.  IIRC the character ended up as an Irrippi Ontor scribe who trekked off to Giantland and later helped establish Amber Fort on the shores of the Elf Sea.  But despite the mediocre rolls/stats, the player just went with it since he wasn't really sure what he wanted to create.  But the PC got increasingly fleshed out over time - and the Character Background Generator certainly helps with that.

I certainly wouldn't force mediocrity on a player's character, but it can still be an interesting change of pace for those who want to run with it.

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Every system has pluses and minuses, it's up to what the gm will tolerate.

Point buy systems encourage min/max behavior, where every character has the best stats in their desired role, but are considered fair since the players make their own choices and start with the same point allocation.  The detriment is that everyone is cookie-cutter optimised for their role, losing that little extra bit of "making do" that can sometimes make the most interesting character play.

Pure random systems mean some people benefit from luck, some don't.  The losers likely feel their characters are gimped thereby.  They are "fair" in the sense that nobody is preferenced by the randomness of the system itself.  The detriment of course is that some characters may be so differently-abled than their player's goal character, the player may never feel interested or invested. (I daresay that the tenor of modern mmorpg and rpg mechanics makes this even more painful for players with expectations built on a history of only those games...)

GM-wish-granting systems can be great in that everyone ostensibly gets to be what they want, but some animals are more equal than others: it tends to disregard the realities of human nature and envy when there is the slightest perception of arbitrariness & favoritism (even if it's not real, to say nothing of it is).  "Anyone surprised that the gm's girlfriend has better stats than everyone else?...."  I was at a con once where we were going to play a one-off and the DM said, in absolute seriousness: "+2 to a stat for someone who gets me a slice of pizza before we get going".  Ah, Dave, I miss neither you nor Arduin.  Personally, I strenuously avoid any hint of a situation where I might be perceived to be ruling on characters personally...nope x100.  That's what dice are for.  I'm the gm, I just adjudicate the world as objectively as possible.

Edited by styopa
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I’ve no particular dislike of points buy and have used it occasionally. I select which skills to spend which points on and choose spells and such, so why not? Stats are just another aspect of the character. In fact the stats themselves don’t really matter, it’s the derived values that actually make a difference anyway - Hit Points, Damage Bonus, Magic Points, Strike Ranks, etc. The underlying stats are incidental.

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One cure for the cookie-cutter'ing of exactly-to-the-pointbreak build systems might be to decree that only ONE stat (or none?) may be bought to the exact pointbreak... Must overbuy, or buy "almost" there for the rest, and then look for in-game stat-raises for those "almosts".  Granted, that may STILL yield a build-optimum that many aim for, but without that insta-reward it might be a lesser problem... 

An idea I have had (but not tried) is to do a rolled-as-per-rulebook, then rank each player's rolled stat-set from best (most points) to worst; best roll gets ONE (or so) point to put anywhere; 2nd-best gets enough points (to put anywhere) to bring them up to one less (or so) than the best; 3rd-best gets enough points to get to one less (or so) than 2nd-best, and so on...  Best roll stays best, & everyone gets a bit to customize with, but the "less lucky" rolls get a bit more customization; and for those unhappy souls focused on "balance," the party is roughly at parity.

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Having smoothed curves for the various derived characteristics would also make 'minimaxing' stats less problematic. If every point is worth something, more, anywhere is good. I'm junking the tables for skill category modifiers in favour of "Stat-10" for primary and "(Stat-10)/2" for secondary (and the negatives of same for negative 1ary and 2ary). That gives smaller modifiers, and I'm considering letting Elemental Rune scores add in there too (@1/10th for 1ary and 1/20th for secondary).

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5 hours ago, womble said:

Having smoothed curves for the various derived characteristics would also make 'minimaxing' stats less problematic. If every point is worth something, more, anywhere is good. I'm junking the tables for skill category modifiers in favour of "Stat-10" for primary and "(Stat-10)/2" for secondary (and the negatives of same for negative 1ary and 2ary). That gives smaller modifiers, and I'm considering letting Elemental Rune scores add in there too (@1/10th for 1ary and 1/20th for secondary).

That's RQ3's method, basically.

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4 hours ago, womble said:

Aye. I can't see how the reversion to RQ2's mechanics in this regard isn't a step backward.

You mean the break-point category modifiers? It's simpler, requires fewer recalculations, and maintains compatibility with classic material. Personally I prefer RQ3 category modifiers despite these reasons, but they are legitimate ones.

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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

You mean the break-point category modifiers? It's simpler, requires fewer recalculations, and maintains compatibility with classic material. Personally I prefer RQ3 category modifiers despite these reasons, but they are legitimate ones.

They can be "legitimate issues" but the resolution can still be objectively in error.

I wouldn't say it's simpler; it requires referencing a chart (quelle 1978, anyone?) when the RQ3 is just an algorithm as long as you remember the stats involved (which IMO is simpler - or easier to note on a charsheet in microtext - than remembering the whole table).

Completely IMO far too much was sacrificed on the altar of retrocompatibility. (shrug)

FWIW, here's a comparison of the category modifiers that result from brackets of stats, from "all 12s" to "all 25s":

                RQG           RQ3          
STR CON SIZ INT POW DEX APP/CHA   AGI MANI STEALTH HP L/A/H-RQG   AGI MANI STEALTH HP L/A/H-RQG (or 0.33)
12 12 12 12 12 12 12   0 0 0 12 4   1 5 -2 12 4 4
14 14 14 14 14 14 14   5 10 5 15 5   2 10 -4 14 5 4
16 16 16 16 16 16 16   5 10 5 17 6   3 15 -6 16 6 5
18 18 18 18 18 18 18   15 30 5 21 7   4 20 -8 18 6 6
20 20 20 20 20 20 20   15 30 5 23 7   5 25 -10 20 7 6
25 25 25 25 25 25 25   35 70 5 32 11   8 38 -15 25 9 8

L/A/H is Leg/Arm/Head hp (they're all the same in both rules).   

(note the two hp values for RQ3, as the hp table in the players book was inconsistent with the rules for creatures which stated humanoids had 0.33 body hp in those locs; rounding was natural) 

 

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On 10/13/2018 at 6:54 PM, Hyperlexic said:

In the absence of an official preview I’m interested in feedback in this option (like the D&D “array”):

1 each of 9,10,11,12,13,14,15

After assigning all stats, add 3 to one of SIZ or INT, 2 to the other

Assign Rune bonii (bonuses) as normal

Debates on RQ3 vs RQ:G and the relative merits of random vs assigned characteristics aside, I’d welcome any comments on assigned characteristic methods. 

It occurs to me that my method ends up higher than the rolled method (average 12 ignoring SIZ/INT effect vs average 10.5 randomly), and also doesn’t fully reflect the diversity of rolls you’re going to get randomly, so here’s a revision:

1) Assign these 7 stats: 6, 8, 10, 11,12, 13, 15

2) Add 3 to one of SIZ or INT, add 2 to the other (max 18 after these)

3) Add 3 points anywhere as per normal rules for being 92 or below

4) Add Rune and Homeland effects as per normal rules

(I didn’t get a chance to look at the RQ6 rules over the weekend)

(Also - I’m picking this array based on the probabilities shown here: http://www.thedarkfortress.co.uk/tech_reports/3_dice_rolls.htm#.W8TGYBZlDDs)

Edited by Hyperlexic
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Each should do whatever they're comfortable with.  You'd hate my way.  I make the characters roll occupations randomly for every grandparent.  Parents can only be an occupation of one of their parents who still lives when they reach 15.  The PCs occupation is set when they become 15 and is either one of the surviving parents occupation or, if neither survived, one of the surviving grandparents occupations. 

But then, I'm from the Stormbringer school of roll the dice and see if you're a Melnibonean sorcerer or a beggar from Nadsokar.

I've seen game systems where you assign points to get your stats.  I don't spend money on those games.

Edited by Pentallion
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3 hours ago, Pentallion said:

You'd hate my way.  I make the characters roll occupations randomly for every grandparent.  Parents can only be an occupation of one of their parents who still lives when they reach 15.  The PCs occupation is set when they become 15 and is either one of the surviving parents occupation or, if neither survived, one of the surviving grandparents occupations. 

Aye. That would, indeed, suck. :)

I don't have the time these days to be playing characters I've no interest in... 

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