Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Griautis

Character Creation and Experience gap

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I just started playing TTB and I looked slightly into the character creation theory and what kind of XP values you get out of character creation. It basically comes down to: flipping skills with more threes is better XP wise than not. Especially because you get a free trigger which is paid for afterwards. While one might argue that having a diverse skill set (as does the book itself) is better, the same argument can be made for having triggers being more exciting (since Triggers -> me doing new exciting stuff, compared to having a few points in different skills, which just leads me to an AV of a point or two higher on things I could have done already).
Anyways, here's some numbers, first of all, here's a table of a single skill flip, how much XP that gives you and what's the chance of that flip. 

skillFlipXpValue.PNG.e54dd15a73a0c0089bb2643bf8cc28da.PNG

As we can see, a single flip is meant to give you an average of around 13-14 xp, with a few weaker characters, and better characters trailing away. Seems like a very intentional XP Curve for the skills. 

Generally, a character flips two cards for skills, however. Here's a table with both flips taken into account:

 

skillFlipXpValueTwoFlips.thumb.PNG.05c6d5547399c6b9179fe36d2f09d57b.PNG

 

This one doesn't seem as intentional anymore, as we have a high chance to land at 26-27 xp, and then ~31, with the values dropped around more randomly.

However, taking into account that generally, a character gains 1 XP/session, it means that someone going on the lower end of things (25/26 xp) compared to someone lucking out and getting (35/36) is at a gap of 10 gaming sessions to catch up. While the chance for two players for this to happen fairly low, the chance of having a situation like this in a group of 5 or so players increases quite substantially. 

Sure, ignoring the xp gap can be rather easy (because it's just an increase of a couple of skills, and being more focused), however the characters on the upper scale also have quite a few more Triggers on their skills, making their characters generally, more exciting to play, because they can do things others cannot. 

And if it happens to you, you're gonna be playing 4 sessions, just to get that one skill to 3 and get it a trigger, while someone who already has those triggers in, can easily catch up on having a diverse pack of skills. 

As an illustrative example: John get's a single skill at 3 and a trigger. Greg get's three skills at 1. For Gregg to catch up to John, he needs 6 XP (2 to get a skil lto second level, 3 to get to third, and one more XP to get a trigger). Meanwhile John only needs two XP to catch up to Greg (get two more skills at one). This means that by the time Gregg catches up to John on his skill of 3, John will have gained 4 XP over Greg, which he can spend to further diversify his skill portfolio. 

Anyways, has anyone thought about this? Do you think this is an issue? Should the characters or XP rules be somehow changed? 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that's nice work and very thorough, good stuff:) I think TTB is hard to quantify in terms of XP and 'levels' as such, but you do raise interesting points. I've had two new players join halfway through the campaign, and whilst one had reasonably high flips straight up, the other had a wider spread. Neither has struggled to keep up with the rest despite the gap, but I will say that the lower but spread skilled player was able to increase his stats much faster than those who started high- they had to really save to improve where as the low skills were improving every game (or every other) the natural slow down as skills improve does offset the issue to a degree. 

 

I give 1xp per session, plus one extra for good team work, and potentially another 1 for really good character play. This tends to reward players who work harder at roleplaying, rather than relying on flips and skills, so players who are a little behind can catch up with some imaginative play. Perhaps you could introduce a scaling XP system based on your work so far? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Ampers&nd said:

that's nice work and very thorough, good stuff:) I think TTB is hard to quantify in terms of XP and 'levels' as such, but you do raise interesting points. I've had two new players join halfway through the campaign, and whilst one had reasonably high flips straight up, the other had a wider spread. Neither has struggled to keep up with the rest despite the gap, but I will say that the lower but spread skilled player was able to increase his stats much faster than those who started high- they had to really save to improve where as the low skills were improving every game (or every other) the natural slow down as skills improve does offset the issue to a degree. 

 

I give 1xp per session, plus one extra for good team work, and potentially another 1 for really good character play. This tends to reward players who work harder at roleplaying, rather than relying on flips and skills, so players who are a little behind can catch up with some imaginative play. Perhaps you could introduce a scaling XP system based on your work so far? 

While a system like that would allow to "catch up" it would also allow others to "gain a higher gap". And while your suggestions are good (and I'm certainly thinking how to alter the XP gain scheme) that's not really a fix in this situation. 

A problem here comes from the fact that in char creation, you just get static skills, while in game you have increasing costs. A similar issue was in Chronicles of Darkness (nWoD), and they fixed it in their second edition by making all the xp costs flat (it costs X to increase a skill, no matter how many points there are). however, I also don't think that would be a good solution here, because of how AVs work, it feels like it should be harder to reach the upper ends of skill. 


Your experience with stat increases is interesting. Do your players tend to try and improve in their core areas all the time? That would explain why someone on lower end is still gaining new dots faster (since the higher end people, are saving up to go even further). Why didn't those with good core skills branch out? Since to me it feels that once you get to 3 dots in a skill, you're not awarded that much by going up to 4 (and going to 5 for a second trigger is a whooping 10 XP in total). Am I underestimating the advantage of 4-5 dot skills here? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm more than a year into my current ongoing TtB campaign, with players who have Fated characters ranging from recently-created ones to others that have been in play essentially from the beginning.  In my experience, the potential differences in total Skill Ranks among "just-generated" beginning Fated don't really make very much difference, especially as the campaign progresses. Overall capabilities tend to balance out in various ways in the long run, as each player makes choices about how they want their Fated to progress.  Everybody tends to be able to make positive contributions in their own ways, whether they're tightly specialize in just one or two Pursuits and just a few high-Rank Skills, or have taken a path of more general progression in several different Pursuits and more Skills but at lower Ranks.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Griautis. I am personally a fan of characters starting on fairly equal footing and think it's weird to have some characters be so far behind others because of blind luck. I don't have an easy fix for it though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The easiest fix, as far as I can see is to have the triggers just be free. 
A ) Will make the third/5th dot purchase just more exciting. 
B ) The max gap of a single card flip goes down from 9 XP to 5 XP.
However, it also scews the table somewhat. Here's a single flip XP spread, if Triggers were free post char creation (just like they are on char creation). Alternatively, same could be achieved by making Char creation NOT give free triggers. With such a rule, I'd also allow a Modify point to go to "give all your skills at 3 a trigger" (since that Modify point is roughly 3 XP, someone wanting to start out with triggers can go for that, while someone else can grab a skill at two or an aspect).

Anyways, here's the table for XP spread if triggers were dropped from the equation:
notrigger.PNG.a47165d575860bd8d9114b4dcaf7f557.PNG 

It no longer looks like something done with deliberate intent, however it doesn't change the main bulk of characters (who stay at roughly 12-14 XP). But it does reduce the value of the topmost flips, thus keeping the max gap from a flip at 5 xp, which almost halves the possible gap. 


If somebody wanted to fiddle even further with this, they could return the nice curve effect on this, by messing with some individual card flip values too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like what you pointed out.  if you want things completely balanced I think your some of the better solutions while keeping with malifaux themes would be

A- pick 2sets of skill allotment point totals for each suit 1 high 1 low and either make it so if the cards up right it's high and if inverted its low, like with s tarot reading  (so a right way crow is 3/2/1/1  while inverted crows equal  3/1/1/1). Or make even is high, odd is low. This way would allow for different lvls of skills. But keep them close enough, and not require any major changes , just narrowing the curve.

 

B- you could also do something like give everyone a chance to draw a small hand of cards to use as a way to cheat there fate.  It wouldn't stop the curve outright but it would let people have a chance to optimize there start how they want, so one who has high stats mite cheat to tske lower stats but get better destiny steps while the person with lower stats can cheat to raise them in exchange for less control over their own destiny.

 

C-you could do something like A, but instead have 3 sets of points to buy skills with (instead of getting 3/2/1/1 the player gets 7 points to buy skills with 1 for 1) than set point amount based on the cards severetey, (weak/moderete/severe)  so say 6/7/10.  But nothing higher than 3. It would give those with less points a chance to focus more at start and fill in lower skills faster in game while those with more points can start more diverse but it'll cost more to advance.  This should let people hit mid power around the same time. This allows you to keep the starting exp equivalent relatively close while allowing the spread the difference ways to spend points to balance progression with little effort on your part.

Ca- Gould even keep the rule that red joker means severe+weak to represent someone who is just a cut above.

 

D- keep player creation the same but have 3 scales of power.  <26/<32/>32 . And than award 3 exp to weak characters, 2 to average, and 3 for powerful characters.

Da- or base it on the difference in equivalent points, so the highest equivalent point character gets 1, than if the difference is  <5/<10/>10 from the top the player gets  1/2/3 extra  experience points  intill there cuaght IP. The idea being the stronger character isint learning as much from the challenges as someone who isn't as experienced.  Weaker characters with less or lower skills are more likely to figure out better ways to apply themselves and more likely to encounter things they dont know about. (A person taking a class for the first time will/can learn more in the class than the person taking it for the 3rd time).

 

However I do think that the difference in points is important to the setting and is more realistic. Not everyone is created equal,  some people have more talent or tried harder than others and some are just born with less or more. Not everyone in m as malifaux ends up a master or even enforcer.  Some people are peons or minions or henchmen. Now if someone works at it the night be able to get there even if it doesn't come naturally and just because you start at the top doesn't mean you'll stay there . This is represented great with character creation and I think it might be important to ignore the statistical variance to really highlight those differences between peoples innate abilities and rising to meat a challenge as an underdog is a incredibly fun experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×