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Old 12-22-2016, 05:41 AM   #1
Anders
 
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Default [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

The "point bucket" system, as used here, refers to the practice of dividing character points at creation into "buckets". So a character built on 200 points might be allowed to place 30 points in skills, 50 points in advantages and 120 points in basic attributes and secondary characteristics. A person may be allowed to trade points between the "buckets" at a penalty - e.g. getting 10 points less to spend on basic attributes and secondary characteristics in exchange for 5 more points to spend on skills.

How many of you have used the "point bucket system"? What were your experiences with it? I'm thinking about using it in the future and I would like to know your thoughts.
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Old 12-22-2016, 06:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

I've used point buckets in several campaigns. I found it very useful for two kinds of situations in particular. The first is new players: point buckets make it easier for the players to make the array of choices manageable. It's a lot quicker to decide how to allocate 100 points in attributes and 50 points in skills rather than 150 points among everything.

The second scenario where point buckets shine is with powers/supernatural abilities. Point-equal characters aren't balanced, so rather than fiddling with balance issues I can give the characters points for their "base" character and then give them a second bucket they can tap for magic, psionics, cinematic advantages, etc. That way, all the characters have a comparable foundation - their base attributes and skill levels will be in the same ballpark.
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
How many of you have used the "point bucket system"? What were your experiences with it? I'm thinking about using it in the future and I would like to know your thoughts.
This is a good question.

Aren't templates effectively a strict form of "point buckets"? I.e. I see point buckets as a location on the continuum between "build your character on 'n' points" and "here is your pregenerated character".

My thoughts are that point buckets are a means to enforce ability limits. E.g. if you what IQ or DX above 15 to be rare, only allow 100 points for basic attributes. Or as philosophyguy said, you could use point buckets to limit "super" abilities in a supers campaign.

My advice would be to first decide what outcome you want, and then decide if templates or point buckets or what-have-you is the best way to achieve that.

Last edited by Captain Joy; 12-22-2016 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

I've done a very "soft bucket" system. 250 point game, at least 100 points on mundane traits, at least 50 points on non-mundane traits (which ranged from magic to cinematic swashbuckling). It worked out well.
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Old 12-22-2016, 09:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

I used it in a game where TL8 characters are abducted and trained as TL10 soldiers. The system worked fairly well. I had a main bucket, a TL8 bucket, and a TL10 bucket.
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Old 12-22-2016, 10:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

I've been in supers games with the two buckets, one for mundane character traits, one for "super" traits. I haven't been in a game using other bucket systems, but when noodling around making characters for fun I sometimes artificially restrict myself to a "rule of thirds" (one third on attributes, one third on advantages/perks, one third on skills, points from disads are more flexibly assigned) just to make me think differently.

I played a lot of World of Darkness games, and that system is heavily bucketed, to the point where you're doing a first pass of assigning buckets to types of traits, and then a second pass of assigning points out of buckets to traits (E.G. having three buckets for attributes, one with 7 points, one with 5 points, one with 3 points, and having to pick which goes in Physical, which goes in Social, and which goes in Mental, then further distributing your 7 points to your physical traits, your 5 points to social, or whatever).
That version was, I found, a bit excessively controlling. I've had more than a few characters that really felt like they should be more "average" between the sub-sub categories :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Joy View Post
Aren't templates effectively a strict form of "point buckets"? I.e. I see point buckets as a location on the continuum between build your character on "n" points and here is your pregenerated character.
I'd add a footnote for interested GMs is that there are actually points "beyond" "build a character on N points": "Build a character", with no point goal, immediately springs to mind.

There's at least two axes of restriction on character creation - point control, which is what we've been talking about (no point control at all <-> N points, Y disads <-> buckets or lenses <-> templates <-> pregen) and GM oversight (ranging from "zero GM oversight and approval" through to "GM builds your character").

Generally the more GM oversight, the less point control is needed; the less GM oversight, the more point control may be desirable (but that depends highly on your players). "A jury of your peers" (ie working with the other players) can substitute for the GM, as in many things.
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Old 12-22-2016, 10:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

I have run a few games with limitations similar to the point buckets system and it worked fairly well, but lately I have started to like a mandatory template with some free points system more.
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

I have run several campaigns using a bucket approach.
Supers is the most common where you want a difference between Super and Normal and need to enforce the normal a bit.
Also used in Time Travel or World hopping (see Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court) and military campaigns,
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

I ran a 3e Steampunk campaign using a simple form of buckets. Characters had one bucket that they could spend on anything, and another that had to be used for abilities that normal people couldn't have. This ended up including lycanthropy, several psis, and "invention" unusual backgrounds.

The Weird War II campaign I'm playing used a very similar bucket system.

The 1960s psionics campaign was a bit different. You built a 100 point character without psionics, and they then got a 50 point psionics package added, so there was no ability to move stuff between the buckets.

For all of these campaigns, experience points could be spent on anything you liked within the campaign style.

I'm not a fan of using lots of separate buckets. The two (overlapping) groups I play GURPS with both have a mixture of people who are thoroughly skilled at designing characters and people who prefer the GM to do the details on the basis of the player's concept, usually via e-mail or in out-of-session meetings.

So trying to help a bunch of people who are generating characters together isn't really a challenge I face, and if I did, I'd prefer to use full templates. Having a lot of buckets seems as if it would restrict the capable character designer, while being harder than templates for people who aren't at home with the system.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Character Creation] How many have used point buckets?

It used to be somewhat common in 3E to limit the number of points that could be put in attributes. (The recosting of attributes in 4E seems to have made this less popular.)

Mandatory templates are pretty common in some genres.
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