Sunday, March 10, 2013

Point Building and Attributes


Since I’ve pretty much decided that I have to use a point build system for traits in order to keep them from scaling in obvious ways, it looks like I need to do the same thing for attribute dice. Let’s try this:

D4 = free
D6 = 1 Character Point
D8 = +2 Character Points (3 total)
D10 = +3 Character Points (6 total)
D12 = +4 Character Points (10 total)

This means that a D10 dice rating in an attribute has the same relative value as a +4 in a trait. I’m not sure if these are equivalent, since the die seems (at least upon first view) inherently more valuable, since you’d use it more often; however, the +4 is a guaranteed 4 points, while the D10 gives you an average of 5, but is only a +1 upgrade over the previous die (on average).

Let’s try this… let's see what happens if an ant gets 6 character points per level. 2 MUST go in attribute dice, 2 MUST go in traits, and the other 2 may be distributed as desired. I’ll build three level 8 commandoes:

Dicey Jr. (Level 8; 48 Character Points divided 32 in dice, 16 in traits)
BODY D10; MIND D10; PROWESS D12; SPIRIT D12
Aim +3; Medic +2; Melee +3; Moxy +2; Munitions +2; Stealth +2

Attacks at D12+2 (3-14 with average result of 8)
Damage up to D10+2 (3-12 with average result of 7)

Sir Balance A lot (Level 8; 48 Character Points divided 24 in dice, 24 in traits)
BODY D8; MIND D6; PROWESS D12; SPIRIT D12
Aim +4; Medic +2; Melee +3; Moxy +3; Munitions +3; Stealth +3

Attacks at D12+4 (5-16 with average result of 10)
Damage up to D8+3 (4-11 with average result of 7)

Traitster (Level 8; 48 Character Points divided 16 in dice, 32 in traits)
BODY D8; MIND D6; PROWESS D10; SPIRIT D10
Aim +5; Medic +2; Melee +3; Moxy +4; Munitions +3; Security +1; Stealth +4

Attacks at D10+5 (6-15 with average result of 10)
Damage up to D8+3 (4-11 with average result of 7)

These all end being comparable builds in terms of their average attacks and damage (Dicey being a half-step behind with attacks - but remember that all of his save rolls and his overall hits will be better). It seems as though the middle ground is the best option, with both extremes being a little heavy-handed. It you put ALL of your possible points into dice, you will end up with 40 points in dice at level 10, giving you the ability to purchase all four attributes at D12. You have dedicated your entire career to this… On the other hand, if you invest your minimum, you still end up with 20 points in dice at level 10, meaning that you will have at least one D10, and you'll have at least a few D8s to back it up.

I could see people min/maxing this like crazy, trying to max out their attacks and damage. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that this will happen. The difference between low and mid-level characters will not be their attack and damage options, but the number of ways they have diversified. At some point, you will feel compelled to drop a point in MIND or SPIRIT as an infantry (rather than putting it all in to get your PROWESS from D10 to D12) because you are sick of getting surprised or failing Mind saves all the time... and while you're at it, you may as well finally put a point in Moxy, and you could really use a +1 to Medic because it seems like you are trying to bandage wounds all the time... the system eventually prompts you to diversify because getting that +1 at the top end is so much less cost effective than getting a few useful +1s and +2s in secondary attributes/traits.