Alt CharGen Packs - Draft 1 - Open Discussion

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AdamJury AdamJury's picture
Alt CharGen Packs - Draft 1 - Open Discussion

Download Alternative Character Creation: Package System - Draft 1

This thread is for general feedback, comments, and discussion on this playtest material.

Please peek at the specific Qs and answer them in the other thread, as well.

Thanks! Have fun! :D

FortMan FortMan's picture
Regarding PP, I see that 1PP

Regarding PP, I see that 1PP package usually translate to 100CP, 3PP to 300CP. However, 5PP package seems to only translate to 400CP. Did I add things incorrectly somewhere, or is this intentional? It would be nice if package PP translate proportional to CP, as it will make mixing more smoothly, IMO.

Also, I know we're not looking for typo yet, but just in case:

Alt Chargen Playtest p. 5 of 49, last paragraph wrote:
For example, to make things quick, you may simply buy two packages worth 5 PP, one from Background and one from
Faction, and another 1 PP package to wrap it up. Or you could mix it up, buy one package worth 5 PP and three packages worth 3
PP each
, for example, or three packages worth 3 PP and two packages worth 1 PP, and so on. The only restriction is that you may
not purchase more than 6 packages that are only 1 PP in value. Any combination is allowed, as long as you have one Background
package, 1 Faction package, at least 1 package worth 3 or 5 PP, and 11 PP of packages total. You may not buy the same package
more than once.

Wouldn't this one cost 14 PP total? I assume you guys meant "...and two packages worth 3 PP each." though.

Hailspork Hailspork's picture
First off, I want to say that

First off, I want to say that I like the concept here. It seems like something very useful for bringing new players in who find the full character generation a bit daunting.

Edit: Whoops, I misread something. Please ignore the content below here.

Spoiler: Highlight to view
However, It looks like the packages do not take into account the initial aptitude, and thus severely underpower players using them. For example, if you use the 1pp generic 40, 30, 30 and have a 15 in all attributes, this is only worth 55 points. The 3pp generic is worth 180 and the 5pp is only worth 235 (and FortMan is right about it being only 400 points worth in total).

It looks like when you removed adding these to the attribute, you didn't change the skill value to compensate, resulting in a global -15 skill penalty to anybody using this system.

Perhaps an appropriate buff will fix it? Maybe make the generic 1pp into 60, 40, 40; the 5pp into 2x60, 6x50; the 5pp into 2x70, 5x60, 4x50?

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Hailspork wrote:

Hailspork wrote:

However, It looks like the packages do not take into account the initial aptitude, and thus severely underpower players using them. For example, if you use the 1pp generic 40, 30, 30 and have a 15 in all attributes, this is only worth 55 points. The 3pp generic is worth 180 and the 5pp is only worth 235 (and FortMan is right about it being only 400 points worth in total).

It looks like when you removed adding these to the attribute, you didn't change the skill value to compensate, resulting in a global -15 skill penalty to anybody using this system.

Huh? I think you might of missed the part later in the document during which you add the skill values you get from packages to your aptitudes?

“Once you have settled your skills, they must be combined with your aptitudes (not yet counting any morph aptitude modifiers). Each aptitude is added to its linked skills to determine the final skill values.”

When I buy a 1PP generic package and I have all my aptitudes at 15, I end up with skill values of 55, 45 and 45.

-

Hailspork Hailspork's picture
Whoops, I misread something

Whoops, I misread something about the previous versions and what-not. Thanks for pointing that out.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
So something fun I have been

So something fun I have been doing; Pick a Background, pick a Faction, pick 3 Focuses, usually with one being Essentials. Assign 5pp to one (Not Faction), 3pp to one, and then 1pp to the other three.

Very quick character creation that seems to actually put out some interesting combinations. For added wackyness, give each option on Page 7 a value on a d100, and randomly roll to make your character. I ended up with an AGI Jovian who is a Covert Ops Medic.

-

exferior exferior's picture
Looks fairly robust. My one

Looks fairly robust. My one concern is gear. I know the gear packages aren't written yet, and I'm very glad that they're in the works, but I really feel gear ought to be included in the package system formally (as in less optionally, it's a matter of phrasing really). Picking gear is by far the most confusing part of default by-the-book EP chargen for me. This is mainly because of how the gear list is structured. The paragraph format and mechanical effects included alongside the fiction is flavorful and fits the overall tone of the books, but is hard to browse during character creation. Certain items, like vacsuits, or nanodetectors in a firewall campaign, are "must-haves", but nothing helps a new player figure this out or even know those items exist.

Additionally, some of the focuses don't even work without specific gear; the bot jammer and the gene splicer come to mind.

So I highly recommend including career-essential gear in the packages, with the appropriate credit deductions. And also NOT offering gear packages just "for players looking for quick gear choices", but rather offer them as the default for ALL players and suggest later that players who want more customization can spend freely instead or that leftovers can be used for individual purchases.

Castlereagh Castlereagh's picture
I'll get around to answering

I'll get around to answering the direct questions in a bit. At the moment I'd like to comment on how many people seem to find it controversial that morphs are boxed in with the packages.

On the one hand, I do agree that players should get to play the sort of morph that they want, but one thing that I noticed when I generated two characters with the new system was that in both cases I ended up purchasing a more expensive morph than I normally would have. Where I would probably have chosen a Splicer or an Exalt, I was assigned an Olympian or a Ghost. Though it may just be an unintended consequence, I actually think that's a good thing.

The choice that has bothered me the most when creating Eclipse Phase characters (per the core book) is between on the one hand playing a character who is impeccably skilled and qualified for the mission but is poorly equipped, or on the other hand, playing a character who is well equipped but is not as qualified as the former character. I try to strike a balance that is similar to what my fellow players are creating, but generally I lean further towards the cash-strapped genius. I promise myself that I'll buy a better morph later. I think it's been shown on the forums that my way of doing it can end up better optimized than the alternative.

I do think it can upset the balance of the game when one player has spent only about 60 points on the most cost-effective Morph+Gear in the game, and another player has had to pay more than 150 points on their Morph+Implants+Gear. It makes it hard to run a harmonious game when the approaches can be that divergent. I actually liked that the Transhuman rules sort of jabbed me in the rib as if to say "Come on! You should at least buy an Olympian. It's what your character would have."

The lonely fox chases after the one eyed hound.

Solar_Pilgrim Solar_Pilgrim's picture
For what it's worth, I found

For what it's worth, I found them extremely helpful. Why? Because it simplified the creation enough to help me build a character without starting to swear. Specifically, I wanted to play a survivor in a Synthmorph body that is very focused on hunting Titans and their left overs. So, after a few minutes I had everything roughed out in terms of packages I was interested in, then picked from among them and before long, I had a former MBA accountant turned Titan hunter ready to go.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Castlereagh wrote:I'll get

Castlereagh wrote:
I'll get around to answering the direct questions in a bit. At the moment I'd like to comment on how many people seem to find it controversial that morphs are boxed in with the packages.

I'm not hugely bothered by it. I would prefer it if they offered a few morphs to choose from instead of just one. Maybe even mention how much CP was allocated to the morph (and gear if they change that), and then offer us the most expensive morph first and give us a few less expensive picks (also mention how much CP was saved by picking an alternate morph or give us some extra skills to pick from).

For instance, a package could offer the Savant morph (Rimward, p. 187) as its default pick. Its a 65 CP morph that offers really good stats for COG. The package could also offer a Menton instead, which is 40 CP, so the package could offer the character 25 CP to spend or offer to increase one of the skills by 20 ranks.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Castlereagh wrote:I'll get

Castlereagh wrote:
I'll get around to answering the direct questions in a bit. At the moment I'd like to comment on how many people seem to find it controversial that morphs are boxed in with the packages.

On the one hand, I do agree that players should get to play the sort of morph that they want, but one thing that I noticed when I generated two characters with the new system was that in both cases I ended up purchasing a more expensive morph than I normally would have. Where I would probably have chosen a Splicer or an Exalt, I was assigned an Olympian or a Ghost. Though it may just be an unintended consequence, I actually think that's a good thing.

The choice that has bothered me the most when creating Eclipse Phase characters (per the core book) is between on the one hand playing a character who is impeccably skilled and qualified for the mission but is poorly equipped, or on the other hand, playing a character who is well equipped but is not as qualified as the former character. I try to strike a balance that is similar to what my fellow players are creating, but generally I lean further towards the cash-strapped genius. I promise myself that I'll buy a better morph later. I think it's been shown on the forums that my way of doing it can end up better optimized than the alternative.

I do think it can upset the balance of the game when one player has spent only about 60 points on the most cost-effective Morph+Gear in the game, and another player has had to pay more than 150 points on their Morph+Implants+Gear. It makes it hard to run a harmonious game when the approaches can be that divergent. I actually liked that the Transhuman rules sort of jabbed me in the rib as if to say "Come on! You should at least buy an Olympian. It's what your character would have."

This is a core balance issue. Depending on whether or not morph and gear value carries over (through not getting killed, insurance and/or trade prior to egocast), what sort of gear you get provided for missions, what cash flow you have in the campaign, and what you can get for free from autonomists and such, starting gear and morphs can be incredibly valuable or a waste of CPs.

I don't think the right way to adress that is to have a system automatically hand out expensive morphs. That just gets us back to a problem like "the sample characters suck" which was bery prevalent in for example Shadowrun.

Mr.Tea Mr.Tea's picture
"Fun" math versus "chore" math.

I like these a lot.

I'm of the opinion that as far as character creation in any rpg is concerned there is "fun" math, and "chore" math. Fun math is primarily simple, basic math. Math that pretty much anyone can do, probably mostly just addition, with some subtraction if you're deducting from a pool of points or something. Annoying math is math that borders on homework: division, square roots, averaging, etc. I think a lot of what makes the packs so much fun for me is that this is all "fun" math.

They're pretty quick, easy, and by being able to combine several of them you don't sacrifice much character complexity.

My one criticism, and it's one I have of "stock" Eclipse Phase, is that I wish that aptitudes weren't directly added into skill totals. I really enjoy putting packs together right until the end. Then I'm adding in my aptitudes, and doing division, etc :P

More annoying than that though, it really makes raising your aptitudes later a chore. Especially when raising that aptitude would raise any attached skills above 60, and you end up spending even more rez. I'd argue for a system that treats aptitudes relationship to skills a bit like the stat bonuses morphs give. Like "bonuses" to skills rather than an inherent part of it. E.G: Instead of having Kinesics 75 from SAV 15 and 60 skill points, you have a Kinesics of 60, but your SAV gives you a 15 bonus, so you're still rolling against 75. The stat isn't part of the skill but rather 'permanently associated'.

But maybe that's just my pet peeve. I don't mean to hijack the conversation too much, but I'd really like to see some sort of system for the above in Transhuman. Perhaps that qualifies more as an alternate die mechanic though. Anyway, food for thought, no?

Joe Joe's picture
Possible Typo(s)

"Choose Native Tounge"
In the main book, and latest .pdf I have, this is 70+INT, not 70+COG... ?

Adding to "Fortman":
"Combining Character Creation Systems": states each PP = 100CP.
"Packages Under the Hood": has the 5PP skills package = 400CP base while the 3PP = 300CP and the 1PP = 100CP.

(Note: Please recheck my math below, since my brain got tired mid way through the first section...)
"Earth Survivor, 3PP Package" adds up to 290CP instead of 300CP.
"Earth Survivor, 5PP Package" adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Fall Evacuee: Underclass: 5PP Package" Adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Hyperelite: Media Personality: 3PP Package" adds up to 290CP instead of 300CP.
"Hyperelite: Media Personality: 5PP Package" adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Isolate: Separatist: 5PP Package" adds up to 415CP instead of 400CP.
"Isolate: Survivalist: 5PP Package" adds up to 395CP instead of 400CP.
"Lost: Disturbed Child: 1PP Package" adds up to 80CP instead of 100CP.
"Lost: Disturbed Child: 3PP Package" adds up to 280CP instead of 300CP.
"Lost: Disturbed Child: 5PP Package" adds up to 380CP instead of 400CP.
"Lost: Masked Normalcy: 1PP Package" adds up to 90CP instead of 100CP.
"Lost: Masked Normalcy: 3PP Package" adds up to 290CP instead of 300CP.
"Lost: Masked Normalcy: 5PP Package" adds up to 425CP instead of 400CP.
"Re-instantiated Infomorph: 5PP Package" adds up to 350CP instead of 400CP.
"Uplift: Escapee: 5PP Package" adds up to 410CP instead of 400CP.
"Barsoomian: 3PP Package" adds up to 315CP instead of 300CP.
"Hypercorp: 3PP Package" adds up to 260CP instead of 300CP.
"Lunar: 3PP Package" adds up to 290CP instead of 300CP.
"Mercurial: 3PP Package" adds up to 305CP instead of 300CP.
"Nano-Ecologist: 3PP Package" adds up to 305CP instead of 300CP.
"Preservationist: 3PP Package" adds up to 305CP instead of 300CP.
"Socialite: 3PP Package" adds up to 305CP instead of 300CP.
"Titanian: 3PP Package" adds up to 305CP instead of 300CP.
"Ultimate: 3PP Package" adds up to 305CP instead of 300CP.
"Venusian: 3PP Package" adds up to 305CP instead of 300CP.
"Academic: 5PP Package" should have +5 COG instead of +1 COG, or it adds up to 360CP instead of 400CP.
"Activist: 5PP Package" adds up to 370CP, (or 410CP with +5 SAV) instead of 400CP.
"Combat Async: 1PP Package" adds up to 90CP instead of 100CP.
"Combat Async: 3PP Package" adds up to 290CP instead of 300CP.
"Combat Async: 5PP Package" adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Controller Async: 1PP Package" adds up to 90CP instead of 100CP.
"Controller Async: 3PP Package" adds up to 290CP instead of 300CP.
"Controller Async: 5PP Package" adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Covert Ops: 3PP Package" adds up to 295CP instead of 300CP.
"Explorer: 5PP Package" adds up to 405CP instead of 400CP.
"Gene Hacker: 5PP Package" should have +5 COG instead of +1 COG, or it adds up to 360CP instead of 400CP.
"Journo: 3PP Package" adds up to 340CP instead of 300CP.
"Journo: 5PP Package" adds up to 410CP instead of 400CP.
"Medic: 3PP Package" adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Medic: 5PP Package" should have +5 COG instead of +1 COG, or it adds up to 360CP instead of 400CP.
"Psychosurgeon: 5PP Package" should have +5 COG instead of +1 COG, or it adds up to 360CP instead of 400CP.
"Savant Async: 1PP Package" adds up to 95CP instead of 100CP.
"Savant Async: 3PP Package" adds up to 330CP instead of 300CP.
"Savant Async: 5PP Package" adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Scanner Async: 1PP Package" adds up to 90CP instead of 100CP.
"Scanner Async: 3PP Package" adds up to 330CP instead of 300CP.
"Scanner Async: 5PP Package" adds up to 390CP instead of 400CP.
"Scientist: 3PP Package" adds up to 280 instead of 300CP.
"Scientist: 5PP Package" should have +5 COG instead of +1 COG, or it adds up to 360CP instead of 400CP.
"Smart Animal Handler: 3PP Package" adds up to 260CP instead of 300CP.
"Smart Animal Handler: 5PP Package" adds up to 355CP, (or 395CP with +5 INT) instead of 400CP.
"Soldier: 3PP Package" adds up to 330CP instead of 300CP.
"Soldier: 5PP Package" adds up to 405CP instead of 400CP.
"Techie: 3PP Package" adds up to 330CP instead of 300CP.
"Wrecker: 3PP Package" adds up to 290CP instead of 300CP, assuming the Theseus morph remains 45CP.

I almost missed the "(Choose 2)" in packages like "Infolife: Machine AGI 5PP" and "Infolife: Research AGI 5PP", so you may wish to use bold text in these cases.

"Combine Everything: Skills:" When 2x skills are added to 60+, the excess is halved, then halved again when the total is combined with it's linked aptitude... Intentional?

"Combine Everything: Skills over 60 Table" plus its description: Should the character be refunded any points for a skill total over 100?

"Combine Everything: Morph Aptitude Bonuses": Suggested modification to text: "...may raise skill values above 80, and above 60 without further modifier."

"Combine Everything:" Suggest additional section: "Multiples of the same Trait": This would deal with illegal trait combinations, such as 2x Psi traits, or opposites.

"Customize:Traits:" Regarding the Trait Cap of 50 (for both positive and negative), please state if this is a total, or in addition to what may have already been gained from any packages taken.

"Customization Packages: Async:" adds up to 90CP instead of 100CP.
"Customization Packages: Async Adept:" adds up to 90CP instead of 100CP.
"Customization Packages: Slacker:" Missing the value of one of the interests (I assume 40 to add up to 100).
"Customization Packages: Student:" Missing the value for Research (I assume 30 to add up to 100).

Overall Feedback:
I like it! The single thing I don't like is that the 5PP packages are only worth 400CP (though I'm guessing that this was a mistake)? This assumes that all the packages are modified out to their 100/300/400CP values or I wouldn't like the imbalance of them being off by more than ~5CP for each. I actually like the double halving in the "Combine Everything: Skills", and the cutoff in the "Combine Everything: Aptitudes and Skills" sections as a threat against min-maxer's like me :-P

Looking forward to the next section and the finished book!
-Joe

Joe Joe's picture
Almost forgot:

Rules clarification: "Choose Packages": When it states: "You may not buy the same package more than once.": Could I buy (for example) the "Colonist Command Staff 1PP" package AND the "Colonist Command Staff 3PP" package AND the "Colonist Command Staff 5PP" package, or only one of those 3?

Thanks!
-Joe

Hailspork Hailspork's picture
@Joe: Don't forget that psi

@Joe: Don't forget that psi comes with 1 or 2 mental disorders, so those shouldn't discount the value. Otherwise, most of your math seems to be right.

Also, I do find it a bit odd that some of the async packages come with the Futura morph, but the Lost backgrounds (which by the normal building process require the Futura) do not.

hazemyth hazemyth's picture
morph ideas

I'm gonna agree that including morphs is kinda weird, especially since their included only in Focus. Obviously, your career would help inform your morph choice but so would Background and Faction. Your bioconservative isolate scavenger ain't going to be an octomorph.

I expect, with this system, people will end up trading in their morph(s) for CP and picking out a new one, more often than not.

Alternately, you could split the difference between this idea and the core book: Include morph suggestions in both Faction and Focus (at a minimum). Meanwhile, different packages could also contribute set amounts of CP toward a morph, reflecting the availability of better morphs in certain factions and the necessity of more expensive morphs for certain careers.

hazemyth hazemyth's picture
Field Skills

Including so many undefined field skills kind of defeats the purpose of this, making many packages more alike than distinct and leaving the player with lots of heavy lifting to do in identifying fields. It would be better if more specific choices were included -- along with suggestions, when the choice is less clear. I found the few examples of the former (like asteroid mining for belters) very useful.

TheWanderingJewels TheWanderingJewels's picture
I am liking the PACS system

I am liking the PACS system here as it's very like the Shadowrun one and will allow for a bit more variability or inspiration in the kind of background they had when they create the character. As I tend to run systems a bit more crunchy. I am all for this

A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions--if only we lived in one.

Academician Prokhor Zakharov
"Now We Are Alone"

nick012000 nick012000's picture
I don't like that the 5 CP

I don't like that the 5 CP packages are only worth 500 points; it amounts to a "you will a hundred points worse than your team-mates" penalty. Either drop them down to 4 CP or give them another hundred points.

Also, I can think of two more Customization packages that might be worth including: Killing Machine, which gives you a Reaper morph, and Human 2.0, which gives you a Remade morph and 40k Credits (presumably to be largely spent on augmantations).

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
New Draft

Hey folks, we've updated the package system draft, you can find the new one here: http://eclipsephase.com/alt-chargen-packs-draft-2-playtest-q-responses-only

You can still post comments on the old system here if you didn't get them up yet, but of course we'd rather you focused your efforts on the new version!

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios