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Old 02-14-2018, 02:38 AM   #51
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

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Originally Posted by Boge View Post
Again, for those of you that put caps on Attributes or skills, what caps do you set them at?
Depends on the campaign. Infinite Cabal has an IQ cap dependent on your Cabal rank, although you can breach it if you are willing to annoy the master of your lodge. Magery above 3 is capped at your Cabal rank, because the Cabal knows the secret of teaching higher levels.
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At the end of your campaigns, when you're basically done with those characters, about how CP total do your players reach?
Again, completely campaign-dependent. My campaigns tend to last a long time: Infinite Cabal has been running seven years, and has a fair amount left to go. The characters started at 300 points and are now around 700.
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Old 02-14-2018, 03:07 AM   #52
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

I generally like PCs to gain points at a rapid enough rate to always have plenty to spare on various nifty things, but would prefer that such points were spent in consultation with the GM and even other players, in order to avoid assumption clashes, invalidating other PCs' concepts or roles and to keep the characters consistent with the campaign world.

So I'll give out 3-5 points per session, with bonus points for accomplishing certain goals or for making some kind of sacrifice (accepting more risk than otherwise required, refusing reward, adopting a Dependent in play, etc.) to roleplay character traits well. At the end of long adventures, I will additionally give a bundle of bonus points, something like 10-25 points. For epic high-point campaigns where the 'adventure' (or, you know, epic quest) has taken literal years of real-world time to play through, I might give 50-100 points, especially if some of those come in the form of divine blessings or something.

As long as the players are spending their points mostly on broading the capabilities of their PCs, picking up interesting background skills that seem like they should be natural complement to their buttock-kicking skills and using a significant portion of their skill points to make new hirelings, rescued strays or allies into Allies, so that they are trustworthy, the actual combat power of the characters grows much slower than their point value.

I have soft limits on Attributes, skill levels and such, at least in the longest-running fantasy campaign I've run. Attributes beyond 15 (20 for ST) require Unusual Background, at increasingly high values the further characters go from human scale.

Attribute + Advantagae bonus + 10 relative skill level is about the maximum I'll accept for any skill, but PCs are not allowed to just use all their earned points to improve skills to this level. When trying to reach the ranks of the best in the world at something, e.g. a weapon skill, each level they raise their skill be generally requires that they spend a long time training, spar or fight against new challenges with skill levels at least comparable, train under a master who is even better than they are (at least as far as relative skill level is concerned) and other such difficulties.

As the PCs generally have about a thousand things going on at any one time, they rarely have the time to do nothing but train full time for months or years. So while their warriors will often get to extremely high skill levels, so far, no one has reached DX+10 levels, simply because not enough time has passed for them in game for them to be able to get in the necessary training.

We seem to manage to finish 1-4 months of game time per year of real time, on average. The fastest rate was when we were younger, in college and gaming 20-40 hours a week. We finished a year and a half of game time in less than a year of gaming, without much in the way of time skips, either.

Now that we are older, about half of us with children, and half the players living in other countries (they use Skype), not to mention some of our number being involved in one or more other campaigns, our pace has slowed down to under a month of game time per year of real time. I think five months might have passed over the past six years...
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-14-2018 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:33 AM   #53
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

I now use the following approach:

Per session each PC gets:

-one point for participating,
-one point if the group overall showed greater than zero effectiveness,
-one point for clearly and appropriately bringing one of their quirks or disadvantages into play.


Points can usually only be spent on:

-something arising from the session narrative, e.g. a skill used in play, assimilating newly obtained items into signature gear, notable feats of attributes, turning good reaction roll results into Contacts or good deeds into Favours and Allies, etc.

Or

-a pre-declared improvement which assumed to be mostly pursued 'off-screen'.


Also at times of significant narrative conclusions I will award substantial CP values (some free points to spend, some advantages relevant to past or future events).
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:40 AM   #54
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

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Originally Posted by Boge View Post
Again, for those of you that put caps on Attributes or skills, what caps do you set them at?
DX, IQ, HT at 15; each can be further improved with a special exercises perk.
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:47 AM   #55
ericthered
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

Character growth is something that I handle differently for each campaign, because the rate of point advancement has a strong impact on how the game is played.

For some games, I don't do advancement. These are often shorter games, but in generally the characters should come "Complete", heroes that learn comparatively little from adventure to adventure. I usually have ample starting budgets for this style of play.

For games in which the players have ample opportunity to pick up skills they don't start with (Which I tend to run a lot), I generally award points based on in game time. In my current game, this is a rate of 4 points per month of game time. The player has to either already have the skill or find a way to learn it. These points generally get spent on languages, shoring up unexpected weaknesses, or new skills like magic or technology. This doesn't happen every session, and it probably doesn't happen every 4 sessions. though I have short, 2 hour sessions.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:47 PM   #56
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

I have used and experimented with many different systems for character improvement over the years. I tend to prefer realism and consistency, so I think about what the ranges of abilities are that all characters have in a game world, and how they can/do improve their abilities, what their scores look like over their lifetime, and so on, and scale PC improvement to more or less fit that.

For example, I want to be able to run the same PCs in the same gameworld for years and years (both game-time and possibly real-time) without them becoming bloated with abilities and more capable than practically any NPC due to having been handed several points per session and having survived a lot of sessions. And I don't want a game world where there is a massive power difference between characters due to huge experience gains. I also don't want to have to make a lot of 300+ point NPCs, or to keep adding piles of points to all the existing NPCs (because I care about consistency).

If I want PCs (and/or adventurers or whatever) to have a faster rate of improvement and higher abilities than most people in the game world, then I think about what that represents in the game world (i.e. not just "players like to improve their characters"), and have that be an explicit thing (e.g. the characters are blessed, or gifted, or this is a world where adventure just makes people get really capable quickly for some reason, so for what NPCs is that also true?).

I like the pre-4e skill tables where physical skill costs increase up to 8 points per level. I also like 1/2 points in skills, or lower levels of skill. And I like curved attribute cost tables and increased costs to increase attributes after character creation. I usually have limits on what experience can be used to increase what.

Usually I have a pretty modest scale of point totals throughout the world. For this purpose, I don't count social and circumstantial (dis/)advantages and mainly consider attributes and skills and learning-&-gift-type advantages (literacy, aptitude, acute senses, combat reflexes, etc), because those seem like intrinsic ability and learning, while wealth/status/reputation/allies/gadgets/injuries/diseases/psychoses/etc seem more circumstantial and not the same thing as I'm interested in when considering people's gifts and development. Most typical NPCs get 20-40 points or so. 80 points is a quite competent person. Over 100 points is remarkable, 200 really exceptional, and I usually have very few NPCs over 300 points - those are the world champions and great wizards and so on. Physical skills 9-10 is ok, 11-12 is pretty good, 13-14 is good, 15-16 is very good, 17-18 is rare, 19-20 are up there in the best, and above 20 is really exceptional. If too many points are being handed out that can be spent freely on skills, these levels won't be the case for long.

One of the reasons I really like that sort of scale is that I think the low-tech combat system (which is the main thing I love about GURPS and is the focus of play in most games I run) works well with those meanings for those levels, compared to how it plays if lots of people have skill 15+ and skill 20+ is not all that unusual.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:04 PM   #57
Dalin
 
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
It'd be perfectly possible to play an interesting game with no character progression whatsoever.
Games can evolve to this point too. In my decade-long 3e Fantasy/Arabian Nights campaign, once the players grew to around 350-400 points, they stopped eagerly spending their earned points. It was an organic process that happened differently for each player, but I think they largely felt that their characters were appropriately competent for the storyline. The excitement of the game derived primarily from plot developments and complications rather than from better skills and new powers. For me, as a GM, this was a fun place to be because it stabilized the options I needed to keep track of in terms of balancing challenges.

Throughout this campaign, characters earned 2-3 points per session. Points were spent in consultation with me and had to have some basis in the story (using a skill, training with an advanced practitioner, studying in a library, etc.).
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:11 PM   #58
Jareth Valar
 
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

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Originally Posted by Boge View Post
Again, for those of you that put caps on Attributes or skills, what caps do you set them at?

At the end of your campaigns, when you're basically done with those characters, about how CP total do your players reach?
Our group uses the "Know Your Own Strength" article from Pyramid 3-83 and as such ST follows the same rules as the other 3.

So, Attributes cap at 15, but Unusual Background [10] (and appropriately explained, described and approved) may allow 1 to 16.
Skills cap at Attribute + Advantage + 10

Also, my entire group comes from a long "laws of diminishing return" style play (i.e Shadowrun) where the skills get harder to raise the higher they get. To this, we are experimenting with a house rule:

Skills are normal cost to raise up to Att level. Thereafter you add 1 to the cost per level thereafter. (Att+1 costs 1 extra, Att+2 costs 2 extra, Att+3 costs 3 extra, etc). Talents give a discount to the extra charge equal to the level (to represent "that kids' a natural" aspect).
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:57 AM   #59
weby
 
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

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Originally Posted by Boge View Post
Again, for those of you that put caps on Attributes or skills, what caps do you set them at?
The cap varies by campaign. In my current superheroic fantasy campaign there is a soft cap of 15. There are various costly and/or difficult ways to increase them.

The basic ways are:
An increasing cost rules exception: 1 point for one attribute level over 15, 5 for a total of two attribute levels, 25 for a total of 3 attribute levels.
Magic items: +1 are fairly cheap, +2 expensive +3 not possible to buy for the PCs
Race: Many races have attribute bonuses and penalties and those modify the cap.


Quote:
At the end of your campaigns, when you're basically done with those characters, about how CP total do your players reach?
Depends a lot on the campaign.

My current campaign is so far at 2961 to 3377 points after 293 sessions, each typically 8-9 hours. They will likely hit about 4500-5000 points by the end as they are approx 2/3 through the campaign and started at 100 points.

The previous campaign was only 72 sessions, with ending points at 456 to 652 with starting at 125 points.
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:38 AM   #60
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Default Re: Do you have any special rules/restrictions to regulate character advancement paci

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
For example, I want to be able to run the same PCs in the same gameworld for years and years (both game-time and possibly real-time) without them becoming bloated with abilities and more capable than practically any NPC due to having been handed several points per session and having survived a lot of sessions.
On a related note, has anyone had the opportunity and desire to use skill or attribute degeneration rules? "You haven't used your Research skill for a year, so it's dropped by a level," or "Congratulations on turning 80. Pity about the -1 DX..." It seems like the kind of realism thing that's good for long-running human-scale campaigns, but also seriously requires player buy-in.
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