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Old 06-21-2021, 06:13 AM   #1
Emerikol
 
Join Date: May 2021
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Default Transient Advantages

So I've been pondering some of the advantages...Namely

1. Patron/Allies
2. Wealth
3. Reputation
4. Status
5. Rank


So when in game events transpire such that one of the above changes, do you just "charge" the players for those advantages and they pay them off before buying other stuff? In most of my games traditionally the players are wealthy by the world's standards pretty quick. Not super wealthy but wealthy. They often develop allies in the course of their adventures.

I realize status is perhaps the hardest to change depending on how rigid the social structure is in a world. But even in a very strict world, if the PCs toppled a kingdom and set themselves up as the new rulers, their status would have to go up.

As for Rank, I'm assuming the promotion just doesn't come through unless the PC pays and that is fairly easy to roleplay. No matter what you do sometimes you can't get a promotion. Maybe the Bishop's nephew gets to be high priest for the town and you are out of luck. On the flip side, I do think at least some roleplay might be required if the rank isn't bought right out of the gate. Again this probably doesn't come up as much mainly because the real question is why aren't the PCs going up and not why they are going up too fast.


So when a PC's state changes in game, do you just add the points to buy those advantages to their "bill" and that bill has to be paid before they can improve anything else?

What happens if they buy up a really high state and then suddenly the lose it for some in game reason? Do you give them back the points and can they immediately spend them elsewhere?

I'm new to the game so forgive me if this has been hashed out already or is explained somewhere fully in the books. Just give me a reference. I have read the basic set through and while I feel these things get mentioned it's not as concrete clear to me as it could be.

My first inclination is to allow all in game effects to take effect immediately but to "bill" the PCs and make them buy those advantages as soon as possible. When something is lost, I give them back the points but they can't spend these new points at a rate any faster than what they are getting from the session. So they can spend 10 if the session gave them 5. If they have 20 in the bank they may have to go 4 sessions to spend all the points. I realize though my first inclination is not always right so I wanted to get feedback on what you all do.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:29 AM   #2
Turhan's Bey Company
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

Generally speaking, I treat character points as one of two things:
  1. For initial character generation and
  2. Bonuses to be used for later character development.
Characters don't get points back if they lose advantages or gain disads during the course of play, and they don't have to pay for them if they gain them organically. If they've earned the points, characters may also spend them to buy advantages or buy off disads without having to undergo arduous adventures to do so. The character point total can fluctuate in ways which go beyond the GM awarding points to spend, but after initial character generation I never pay much attention to CP totals anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

(Oh, and having money is not the same thing as having the Wealth advantage, and I believe you'll find that the rules are explicit about this. There's a job income component which no stack of cash changes. No matter how much a character has in the bank, they do not have increased Wealth.)
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

Personally I like the mutable points optional rule. Character points are a character creation tool, and have no real value once play starts aside from calculating how long training takes. If you lose a limb or earn a favor, that just happens.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:51 AM   #4
Emerikol
 
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

So I checked out the rules again and did find a sidebar where they said advantages/disadvantages gained during play did not have to be paid for but they did count for your character point total. So that clarifies that. I just missed it.

My guess then is that if you push your rank up in an organization and then get kicked out of that organization, you don't get your points back but your point total would change to reflect you no longer have that advantage.
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Old 06-21-2021, 07:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
So I've been pondering some of the advantages...Namely

1. Patron/Allies
Not every in-game acquaintance or friend needs to become a character trait. In my games the PCs eventually develop a large social network whose members never become Patrons or Allies. They continue to interact based on role play and reaction rolls.

If a player wants to make such a person into an ally or Patron they have to spend the points and have at least some basic in-play justification for the relationship progressing to that level. Sometimes, however, I give Allies, Patrons, Contacts and Favors as rewards instead of straight bonus points.


Quote:
2. Wealth
The rules provide guidance on when a character may/should/must pay points for the Wealth advantage. I generally follow these guidelines but sometimes award a level of the advantage instead of bonus points, generally only at the end of a story in which completion provides and in-game justification.


Quote:
3. Reputation
I let characters buy this relatively easily provided sufficient in-play justification. I will also let it develop 'off-screen' if they declare they are working on it (but note, I don't use the regular time-use/training system and have a more flexible house rule instead).

I have also imposed negative Reputations when characters do things that would realistically earn that result, but it's very rare that that would apply to 'everyone' in a setting or even a 'large group'.


Quote:
4. Status
Very setting dependent and typically difficult to do. Getting knighted for some great service is probably the most common way. I would make it fairly easy for low status PCs to become 'respectable' SS0, but I don't see a lot of players starting out with negative SS.


Quote:
5. Rank
Rank is not a very common trait taken or sought to improve in my games. In one case where the PCs were in a military unit they all started at the same Rank and I gave them all Rank advancements automatically when the story suggested they would have earned it. None of them tried to advance rank by allocation of earned points.

Last edited by Donny Brook; 06-21-2021 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

I generally find that you have to strike a balance between letting characters earn things in play, and stopping Munchkins-behavior.

F.ex. you're not going to have happy players if f.ex.:

1) One player pays 200 points to be an escaped robot with a human brain-case.

2) Another pays 200 points to play a human with wealth+military rank+legal immunity. ...and then when the game starts he simply buys all the cool cybernetics and power armor in Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech, effectively raising his values to the thousands before even accounting for the effective value of all the gadgets (like power armor) he buys. (Rank, etc., is there to justify the character being able to buy all this restricted stuff).
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedMattis View Post
I generally find that you have to strike a balance between letting characters earn things in play, and stopping Munchkins-behavior.
Ask first whether Emerikol thinks his players are prone to munchkinism. This may not be an issue.

Quote:
2) Another pays 200 points to play a human with wealth+military rank+legal immunity. ...and then when the game starts he simply buys all the cool cybernetics and power armor in Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech, effectively raising his values to the thousands before even accounting for the effective value of all the gadgets (like power armor) he buys.
There's a whole section of the rule book, pp. 2946, that deals with cybernetics and other body transformations and their interactions with bonus character points. It notes that simply being able to buy cybernetics with money means you can convert money into character points, and this may not be fair. I believe this is the only place in the rule book gives the option of letting players go into point debt: when players have the cash, but not the bonus character points, to buy a body modification.

The rules only give options, not directives, when it comes to body modifications that can be bought. I personally feel that, generally, they should cost bonus points, and you can't lay out the cash for them until you have the points to pay for them. I don't like dealing with point debts. Realism be damned in this case.
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:26 AM   #8
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedMattis View Post
I generally find that you have to strike a balance between letting characters earn things in play, and stopping Munchkins-behavior.

F.ex. you're not going to have happy players if f.ex.:

1) One player pays 200 points to be an escaped robot with a human brain-case.

2) Another pays 200 points to play a human with wealth+military rank+legal immunity. ...and then when the game starts he simply buys all the cool cybernetics and power armor in Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech, effectively raising his values to the thousands before even accounting for the effective value of all the gadgets (like power armor) he buys. (Rank, etc., is there to justify the character being able to buy all this restricted stuff).
One of the core rules about cybernetics is that if they costs points to purchase, you can't just bypass that by piling on Wealth/Rank/Status. Or at the very least, cybernetics purchased with money alone will not provide any benefits the natural body of the owner doesn't already have.
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Old 06-21-2021, 10:04 AM   #9
TGLS
 
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Look, if you want a billionaire and someone with all kinds of experimental augmentations in the same party, you're best not playing with mutable point totals. I think mutable point totals work best when characters can't trivially buy everything the other players have as part of their character. Whether this means you make sure that no character is rich enough to buy tons of cybernetics or no character can't just cast possession on a really strong peasant depends on the setting.
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Old 06-21-2021, 10:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: Transient Advantages

I was of course bringing up an extreme case. If you just view the points as a starting line and everything else is up for grabs for free (cybernetics etc.) then it is probably best to forbid high levels of wealth.

Anyway, by RAW the guy could still run around with Power Armor and stuff like that thanks to his rank, or whatever social advantage you use to cover the legal right to be walking around in that thing. That thing might just count as "armor", but practically it is a huge bundle of DR, scanning sense, radio, etc. as a gadget that you got significantly cheaper than if you built it as a gadget limited set of advantages.

Also players can 'accidentally' break the system by creating a mega-rich guy and later deciding to buy every fancy gadget (cybernetic or not) at the fancy high-end shop.

Anyway, that's what I meant with striking a balance, and what that balance is depends on the campaign's theme.
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