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Old 10-17-2014, 08:42 AM   #1
Antheus
 
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Default How do you build Allies in your games?

For some time I have assumed that Allies are built by the player (because advantage "Ally" is bought by the player). Since it is a complex and easily abusable advantage, it merits a liberal application of rule zero; it also good to collaborate with GM during creation of the character sheet for the Ally (that goes for creation of PC too). In the end (be it first or 13th draft) both player and GM know in-game stats for the Ally, player says "I would like to pay points to get that Ally" and GM says "OK". After that GM controls the Ally (unless it is convenient to allow PC control the Ally, for example in straightforward combat) as any other NPC. Abusive builds are dealt with by GM's veto and advice, exactly as any other advantage.

But reading these forums, I found out that many sources, including official FAQ say that GM should build Allies, sometimes requiring player's input "In plain language" or "without in-game terms". In my opinion it causes some problems, because a) in this case physical capabilities are easier to describe than mental ones, and mundane capabilities are easier than exotica; b) it creates a difference between Allies with a template and Allies without one: templates for occupations in fantasy may define 90% of character sheet, and in Transhuman Space you can have even greater knowledge of in-game stats of AI.
So I would like to ask for examples: how do you usually build Allies in your gaming group? Both GMs' and players' input is welcome.

As a tangent: in what circumstances you as a GM/your GM reveal in-game stats of NPCs? How long does it take to know the level of melee weapon skill possessed by someone: 5 minutes of watching them train? One hour of doing demonstrations, sparring, and talking?

Last edited by Antheus; 10-17-2014 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: How do you build Allies in your games?

It isn't just a house rule that GMs build Allies. From Associated NPCs (p. B31):
"Associated NPCs" have [...] character sheets, just like PCs. In each case, the GM will interview you regarding the attitude, character story, and general abilities of the NPC, and then use this information to create a character sheet. Character sheets for Associated NPCs – like those of all NPCs – are for the GM's eyes only [...] the GM plays their roles and control their actions [...] buy advantageous Associated NPCs as Allies [...]"
That's quite unambiguous. What "general abilities" means is "good at science" or "magical fire powers," not "good at Biology, Chemistry, and Physics" or "has a magical Burning Attack." The whole point is that the player is getting a bit of a grab bag. Templates can make this far less chancy, but even templates offer choices and room for customization. The more locked-down the template makes all the other parts, the more the flexible aspects are at the GM's discretion.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: How do you build Allies in your games?

There are times when I leave the build of the Allies up to the player; usually those are times when I can't be arsed to do it myself because I'm already juggling a lot of other stuff for the game and I trust the player not to abuse the power I'm delegating.

There are other times when I don't even build a character sheet for the Ally and just decide, "Okay, Rei and Yuri both have Gunner (Beams)-14, Piloting (High-Performance Spaceship)-12, and the quirks 'Excessive Firepower' and 'It's Not Our Fault!'," and leave the rest for anything else that needs to be added.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: How do you build Allies in your games?

"I want to take my old army buddy as an Ally. Rick Cappelli. He was a machine gunner and he was with me at the Bulge. Now he is my partner in our private eye business."

"I am taking the summonable fire elemental from the template. I want to use the fire bird stats."

"I am one of those guys who inherited an ancient combat robot. Which kind do I have? I like the Assault model... "
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:53 PM   #5
Antheus
 
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Default Re: How do you build Allies in your games?

I understand that GM's creation of the charsheet is not a house rule, even if I used it other way in the past. I've mentioned the official FAQ in the first post.

Still it seems really weird to me that availability of templates changes "I know only general things about my Ally's charsheet" to "I precisely know about 80% of my Ally's charsheet".

Also: "designed and controlled by the player" is +100% enhancement on top of +50% for Minion. If you trust someone to create reasonable and balanced Ally that is not a Minion in any sense of the word, how would you price it? +50% for "designed, but not controlled by the player"? Or +0% because it does not really matter who created a good NPC?

Last edited by Antheus; 10-17-2014 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: How do you build Allies in your games?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antheus View Post
lso: "designed and controlled by the player" is +100% enhancement on top of +50% for Minion. If you trust someone to create reasonable and balanced Ally which is not a Minion in any sense of the word, how would you price it? +50% for "designed, but not controlled by the player"? Or +0% because it does not really matter who created a good NPC?
I usually go +0% for "designed by but not controlled by the player". Once the ally is built, unless it's controlled by the player, it's under the GM's control and can grow in ways the player doesn't expect.
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