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Extra starting aspects


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I'm about to start 2 new games with one and two players. I'm seriously considering giving a bunch if extra aspects and skills at start. Looking at the bestiary most humans even the miner and peons have better aspects than pcs with some commoners having more than 0 total in body and mind while heroes get zero in both plus 2 extra aspects. I'm thinking if allowing an extra 4-6 points and some Extra skills to beef up the parties. Will this cause any real problems??


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Yes, it definitely will. The mechanics for PCs and NPCs are too different. Essentially, people are going to put good values in the things they want. Let's assume an Aspect of 3 plus a skill of 3 for their best value -- now they're at a 6. From there, they get to add a card flip, which, on average is a 7. This means their value is a 13.

When you compare that to NPCs, each NPC has a static value. They don't flip cards, so they don't have that sort of swingy-ness. Minions, your average opponent, will often not compete with an average flip of 7 from a player... meaning that if players have better starting values across the board, it'll greatly impact the NPCs ability to challenge them.

In short, PCs and NPCs have unequal mechanics, so giving them equal numbers will give you a big headache.

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I'm not sure how you can flat out say no, because they have unequal mechanics when playing using m2e skirmish rules is valid. And in those  cases only a combat optimised pc has a chance. Your average starting pc may well have wk 4 cg 4 df4 wp2 ml 2 and rg 2. Up against npcs who are optimised for combat with positive aspects galore and key skills at 3 and 4. Convicts, mercs and gunsmiths are all low to mid point me models but would wreck a pc. 

And pcs only get a max of plus 7 to aspects if they take no manifested powers after all 5 destiny steps.

Or I can look at it another way. I want to create an npc to be in my game as an adversary. I use the pc creation rules and throw in some extra pc. He gets wrecked by the gunsmith the pcs hire.

How is even an optimised pc at max level meant to take on an arcanist operative? They have 52 points of skills. 15 points of aspects. And roll auto 8s. A combat pc might have great physical stats but then has 0 average on mental. And can is likely to onlybe getting plus 5s on a 13. Of which they have 1 in twist deck.

I'm sure in a party of 4 with a social, combat, magic and rogue specialised characters increasing starting aspects is an issue. But throwing a few extra aspects at a solo or duo party will surely not break the game. Likewise, starting with extra skill points to round out the characters is needed when here are 60 odd skills and a pc may only start with about 10 if lucky.

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You asked if giving PCs 4-6 extra Aspect points and some extra skill points will cause any real problems. My answer is yes, based on my experience of the game and feedback I've gotten from other people about the competence level of PCs even as starting characters.

If you're choosing to use the alternate combat rules from The Fatemaster's Almanac to use the Malifaux Skirmish rules, yes, then there are new considerations, particularly if you're using a more combat heavy system but your players aren't particularly combat focused.

As with everything in an RPG, your mileage may vary. If you're running a more combat focused game, you may need to give your PCs extra to help them out. If you want to run a deadlier game, you may not want to do that. You happen to be running a game with fewer players, so that's a consideration. But since you, as the Fatemaster, set every single difficulty, the question is what you're going to be throwing at them and how you want them to be able to handle it -- that will give you your answer to whether or not you should give them additional points.

Regardless, it's your game and you should do whatever you're comfortable with, and it sounds like you already know what that is, so happy gaming!

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1 minute ago, Chriscdoa said:

Thank that helps.

Are there rules from stating npcs from scratch? I can't see any in books other than using a bestiary entry and adding pursuits from its. Have I missed this somewhere?


No, there's not. We build a lot from Malifaux rules or just the experience of the game. NPCs are built fairly differently than PCs most times -- they don't really have Pursuits, for example. I'd just use current NPCs as a guide where you can, grabbing Talents that feel appropriate. And keep in mind scaling difficult is as easy as modifying Rank Value.

It can be a bit tricky to get the challenge level down because of the various things that go into it (static versus flips, everyone sharing one deck for flips, etc). It all works itself out in the end, though, and hopefully the entire party doesn't get killed in figuring it out ;)

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