Alt CharGen Packs - Draft 1 - Playtest Q Responses Only

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RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
Alt CharGen Packs - Draft 1 - Playtest Q Responses Only

Alternative Character Creation: Package System

This is a rough first draft of the new character creation rules for Transhuman.

Download Alternative Character Creation: Package System - Draft 1

A Few Development Notes

* The original version of these rules assigned skill points with each pack that you added together, rather than just an assigned skill. We felt that it was better to remove that step, and all of that math, and simply assign static skill values. The drawback is that you may get some redundant skills, but they are easy to switch. There is also less variety among the skill points, but we feel we have a good balance of a few high-level skills and no too-low skills.

* We added the Essential Skills pack in as an alternative to putting Fray and Perception in almost every Focus pack. It seems better to simply acknowledge that these skills are crucial and encourage people to take them, plus it freed us up to put a bit more variety in the Focus packs. Players can always choose not to take the Essential Skills …

* We will be adding a section of pre-assembled Gear Packs to make purchasing gear that much easier. Expect that in the next draft.

* One concern we have is that there are too many packages to choose from. We tried to cover all of the character angles, but we may have gone overboard.

* We could probably use a bit more variety with the rep bonuses and morph assignments (not enough synthmorphs), and could possibly use to add some traits in. We’ll work on that for the next draft, but feel free to make suggestions.

Questions for Alt Character Creation – Package System Playtest Draft

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Did you try them out in actual play with your group? For how many sessions? Using what kind of PCs? Did you crunch some numbers in a marathon character creation session? Or simply read through them with a critical eye?

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
Is there an endemic problem you think is underlying this rules set? Is this material too complicated for your liking? Is there a specific rules item you think is egregiously broken and needs to be fixed? Is there anything that you simply think *must* be changed?

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
Is there anything that you absolutely loved? Something that you sincerely think *must* make it into the final version? Anything that really contributes to the game in a positive way? Something that shouldn’t be changed?

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
The main intention with this system is to create a quick and simple alternative to the system in the core rules. We’d like to know if we met that goal. How long did it take you to make a character? Did it have enough variety despite being easy? Were you able to make quick NPCs with it? Was it fun? Keep in mind that the packages will be laid out in an easy-to-read manner in the book.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
So far we have restricted the morphs and other elements to material that can be found in either the core rulebook or Transhuman (more from Transhuman will be added in as the drafts get finalized). We are attempting to avoid a situation where someone ends up with a morph or other gear but doesn’t have the relevant sourcebook. However, since our books can all be found for free online, the argument can be made that this information isn’t hard to find.

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
We have left much of the rep and field skills acquired through these packages open-ended, for the player to assign as they see fit. This is, however, an extra step in the character creation process. Would you prefer that we assign these values to a particular rep network/field, keeping in mind that the player is always free to switch them? Alternatively, would you prefer that we keep them open-ended, but provided a randomized table for each rep bonus/field skill, so that someone who doesn’t want to spend time looking up the options can roll these up quickly?

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
One of the changes we discussed making to this system was to remove the morphs, rep, and gear out of the existing packs. The idea was to reduce the # of PP to be spent down to 10, have the packs focus on skills, and then simply require an extra 100 CP be devoted to morphs, rep, and gear. This has the advantage of giving us more skill variety in the existing packs, and also means no one will end up with more than one morph at the end (unless they buy more than one with that 100 CP). The drawback is that it’s another set of choices and points to be spent by the player, complicating things (though we could also suggest a morph with each Focus pack, as we do with motivations, or even add a random morph selection table). It also has the oddity that a player who purchase a case morph has 95 CP left to spend on rep and gear, which seems odd, and a player that spends all 100 CP on a reaper has nothing else (though they could always spend PP on Customization packs to get some rep and gear).

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
We have 8 aptitude templates right now, which we felt covered the basics. We could add more if there is a demand for more variety, though keep in mind they are easy enough to tweak. We also kept the aptitudes at 20 and below, as aptitudes of 25+ are usually limited by morph aptitude maximums (keeping in mind apt bonuses from packages too). Do you want to see some aptitude 25 options included as well?

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
Did the selection of skills/etc. for any of these packages seem odd to you? Would you have chosen something different? Were there any packs that you didn’t think were needed? Any that were missing?
If you really want to be a mensch, you can crunch some numbers and help us verify that we got the stats right on each package.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
Having seen this system now, would you use this package system for making PCs, would you use the system from the core book, or would you use a hybrid system as suggested?

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Simply read through them with a critical eye.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
There really, really needs to be more assistance with picking Knowledge Field skills. This is an extremely difficult, totally open-ended part of the char gen process that requires intimate knowledge of the setting and your char's profession, and even then I find it taxing to just come up with ideas for them.

Please add the pack PP ranges for each column on page 7.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
I really like how a player can look on the list on page 7 and with his character concept just pick the packs, and then go from there. It is a very sleek way to cover a step that can otherwise be difficult and time consuming, especially for new players.

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
Overall I think it is fine. I go into more detail below, but I think you've tried to simplify it too much with credits and morphs going in the packs, which just ends up with lots of stuff you need to check and change afterwards and so actually becomes more complicated.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
In general I think you shouldn't sprinkle sourcebook gear all over the packs, but a few sourcebook-specific packs would be fine, like a journalist or gatecrasher pack.

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
I think the rep system is simple enough that people can just pick them themselves.
The Field skills however are an absolute hassle. People really choke on them, and I'm very into making chars but still find myself looking at the sample chars for inspiration. Please make something for this!
I think the best way to do it would be to not assign them in them packs (there's too much variety lost that way) but give us some tables instead. Professions could have tables for Combat, Science, Social, etc., Interests could have Hedonistic, Geeky, etc. People could then pick from them or roll randomly. The packs could specify tables for Profession and Academic skills, but Interest and Art is best left to player choice according to motivations and character concept imo.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
I think you should keep rep in the packs - some packs are much more rep-oriented than others and it should be reflected. But I definetely think you should remove gear and morphs from the packs.

Right now, you have several issues:
1) you might end up with two morphs.
2) you have to add up credits from the packs.
3) the alt system ends up at 20 CPs more.
4) you don't have much choice in morphs, and many players have strong feelings about what morph they want, which shouldn't influence their skill pack picks.
5) you have to track credits from the various packs and then spend them afterwards - which in reality is an additional complication rather than a saved step.
6) Knowledge skills don't always sum to 300.
7) Getting traits isn't really in the current system, and traits give a lot of flavor to a character.
8) In general there seems to be several ways the system can "fail", and this means a lot extra stuff you need to check for and change at the end. It ends up being more complicated than leaving some "easy" choices as the final step.

By going to 10PPs, you can give people 80CPs to buy morphs, gear and traits, and solve pretty much everything above. Leftover points can be spent on more skills if they want. If they need more than 80CPs, "selling" some active skills or simply having a pack for that is easily done.

I think it actually makes the system simpler to work with while giving players more choice between morphs and traits. It also seems to me that morph and trait selection is easy - it is skills and gear that is hard for players. Skill packs and gear packs make sense, morphs and traits don't.

I would probably change the PP system a bit to reflect it. With 1/3/5 PP packs you get fairly few options at 10PP, and without gear and morphs you need a lot more skills to fill the packs. I'd go to either 1/2/4 or 1/3/4, or got to 20PP total and then have packs cost say 2/5/9 PP packs and 1PP customizations maybe?

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
No.

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
I generally dislike aptitude bonuses in the packs. It tends to be mechanically very inefficient, and inefficiency has always been a bane for sample characters and such. If you include aptitude points in packs, most people will either steer clear of the alt gen system or use it but exchange the aptitude points for skills, neither of which is what you want. Let people but a customization pack with aptitude points if they really want it.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
I'm probably not going to use it for my own chars, but I really, really like such a system for players who are new or just not the tweaking kind. I would definitely use it.
If the system for Knowledge field skills were good I could easily see myself using that though. I'm fairly hardcore at char gen, but fleshing out those is one of the hardest parts for me and I always find myself flipping through the sample chars for inspiration. A system that either gave me a solid combination or at least a good starting point for further tweaking would be VERY welcome.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
I first went over all the packages with a critical eye, and then came up with a few character concepts and tried to make them quickly with the system itself. I also handed them off to a player who knows nothing about the game, and asked them to make a character, with no assistance from me.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
I don't like the way that morphs are handled, and I don't particularly like how field skills are currently done. I will expand on both these points below.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
It is so much quicker than the default character creation rules, while still having the flexibility to make many character concepts. The system also seems adaptable enough that I would fell comfortable hacking it to my own needs.

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
It certainly doesn't need to be less complicated, and I don't think that it really needs to be more complicated, not when more experienced players can just use the default system. I spent a half hour making my first character with the system, but most of that was looking over my options and seeing what was in each pack. The ones after that took about half as long, especially after I accepted that any character that comes out will at least be usable.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
I am of two minds. One side agrees that only having Core and Transhuman content makes sense. It is easier for people just getting into the game, which is who I imagine the system is primarily aimed at. The other side thinks that those other books are basically available for free, and that anyone who wants them can very easily get them.

If I was the developer, I think that I would do what you are doing now, keep to Core and Transhuman for these packs, but then release a secondary, digital release that uses other books' content and drops it into packages. I think that I would be happy buying a 16 page digital product that combines the two. I would also be happy buying similar products for future supplements. More potential money for Posthuman!

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
I would like the option to, somehow, have the system suggest Field skills for me. It isn't that much of an issue for me, but my friend who had never played the game had no idea what kind of things he should be putting in there. I don't really like randomized tables, but maybe having a table somewhere with suggestions, and a d100 list beside that you can use to randomly roll would suffice. I do think something needs to be done for Field skills.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
I really do not like the way that morphs are being handled at the moment. It feels very restrictive. Again, if I was the developer I would instead give out Morph Points within packages, which can be used at the end of character creation to actually buy your morph. So the 3PP Assassin pack, which currently gives you a Fury morph, would instead give you 75 Morph Points (the CP cost of a Fury). The player can just use those points to buy a Fury, but they could also buy a morph costing 30 CP and refund the other 45 Morph Points into CP. Combined with a morph suggestion on each pack, and you basically have what you have now, but less looking up the book for how much a morph costs and fiddling with numbers when you have multiple morphs.
Gear and Rep seem fine the way they are now.

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
Not really, the 8 you have now cover most of the bases, and you can very, very easily move numbers around to fix things.

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
Not really, however I haven't gone into them and actually run the numbers and whatnot. I do intend to, but I don't really have the time to do so at the moment. Some of the backgrounds having the demolitions skills kind of veered towards 'These people are terrorists' grounds, but that might just be me.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
Personally I will still make my characters the old fashioned way, although still using an Excel sheet to work out the math. But when I GM tables, and we do character creation at the actual table, I will most definitely be using this system. It seems much, much easier for new players. Much less math involved, everything is laid out better. Good work.

-

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?

Critical Eye.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?

No opinion... yet.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?

No opinion... yet.

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?

No opinion... yet.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?

Maybe. I'm thinking that maybe you should offer 1 or 2 alternate morphs to choose from. In the event that the morphs have different costs (almost guarenteed), you could offer a different selection of skils or cp. For instance, a package could recommend a Menton, but the player could be given the option to choose to go with the Savant synthmorph (Rimward, p. 187) and trade in a few skills or something.

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?

Maybe. Depends on how specialized the package will be. If the package is clearly a robot engineer, mechanic, or repair man, then they really should have "hardware [robotics]" as their field skill instead of being just left blank. Likewise, when rep is assigned to multiple fields, you might want to mention the total rep assigned and spent.

I don't think we would suffer much if it were assigned. We are allowed to swap out anything we don't like, right? Even if we weren't, we could do so anyways and not tell you.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?

Not sure yet.

You could mention recommended gear. An inexperienced player might not know that its robot repairman might want to pick up tool kits, unitools, and even wrist mounted tools. Without them, it would be difficult for such a character to use its skills.

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?

Not really. I don't think it is needed.

Maybe if you spent a paragraph explaining what character concepts would prefer these builds and why, it might help new players pick their aptitude set quicker. Perhaps explain which aptitudes are handy, which should be secondary, and which are not very useful for a given set type. Such details might help with customization.

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?

In my first few read, I noticed a few errors.

Infolife: Research AGI - It is mentioned that the AGI was programmed to learn. If that is the case, I would think it should have the trait "Faster Learner" (Core rulebook, p. 146) to help reinforce that idea.

I was kinda expecting a background for the Jovians, but I found nothing. It would be an excuse to put in the faulty education trait.

I didn't see anything for a general purpose gate explorer characters. I did see politically focused gate explorer packs (like the preservationist or nanoecologist), but nothing for politically neutral characters who happen to gate crash and would need gate crashing skills.

The slacker. I noticed that it lacked a number stated for the first interest. I think that number should be 40 to bring the CP total for the package to 100.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?

I don't know yet if I would want to use this new character design system over the default system. I need some more time to do some analysis first.

I do favor full control over the customization process of my characters, but in this game I often end up with too much CP spent. This leads to me trying to trim things away until my character is acceptable. Overall, I have incentive to try something new to avoid such problems.

Solar_Pilgrim Solar_Pilgrim's picture
Q 1. Built a character

Q 1. Built a character intending to play him soon.
Q 2. An explicit need to point out that you can take at most X packages. Also, the combinations aren't terribly optimized.
Q 3. Wreckers. I'd try to tune them a bit so they're more useful beyond ground pounding, but beyond that, I'm good.
Q 4. For me, just right. It allowed me to hammer out a character quickly.
Q 5. Yes.
Q 6. No.
Q 7. No.
Q 8. Good with them as they are.
Q 9. Nope.
Q 10. Ultimately used a hybrid.

Joe Joe's picture
Question Responses Only:

1) I looked at the first few comments on the discussion board, then read through the material from beginning to end, making notes as I went.
2) 5PP packages only provide ~400CP of 'stuff'.
3) I like that it is more character driven and less rules driven.
4) I like the system complexity as it is. Those who want simpler can use pregenerated characters, and those who want more complex can use the standard generation rules.
5) Yes: I think this is an 'advanced player' book, which would mean that the person using it is interested in the system enough to get the other books.
6) For simplicity, I would prefer them all assigned unless it doesn't fit with the rest of the package (because everything else is unassigned). This would help with people who are new and a GM who just wants the players to feel like they own the character without having to wait for players to agonize over something they don't really understand before they start playing.
7) NO! The min-maxer in me would come out and plaaaay!
8) Yes. I would like a quantity ~= to the number of 1/3/5 groups in each section.
9) I was focusing more on the math: PP vs. CP. Anyone who finds a skill to be odd is free to switch it out.
10) If all the PP to CP costs were brought into line (see my list in the discussion thread), then I would definitely use this system for all NPC's and helping others make a character. For my own characters, I like the details of the base system and usually use it to fit myself into the character. I don't think I'd use the hybrid, but instead would use the new system to rough it out and see what I got, and then rebuild it with the basic system. The only exception might be when assisting a semi-experienced player, and even then I think it would loose a lot of its character oriented generation appeal.

Really enjoying this, and looking forward to the next installment.

Castlereagh Castlereagh's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
I created two characters. For one of the characters, I had in mind the concept of a character that I had previously created using the corebook. I then compared the results.
Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
Although it's easy for a player to substitute one or two skills for new ones, it becomes a hassle if their Packs give them 5 or 6 redundant skills. One of my characters ended up receiving the Kinesics skill from 4 different packs, at which point the character creation slowed to the pace of the old method from the corebook. When I made a second character with fewer redundant skills from Packs, I was able to finish much more quickly.
Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
Is there anything that you absolutely loved? Something that you sincerely think *must* make it into the final version? Anything that really contributes to the game in a positive way? Something that shouldn’t be changed?
Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
Close to Just Right. As written, the package system guides players towards their finished character through a series of manageable steps. Is my character a Hyperelite? Is he a Spy? A good spy(1pp), or a great Spy(3pp)?
It's a fair bit more intuitive than giving players 1,000cp and asking them an open-ended “What is your character good at?” Many players stress about questions of whether their character is statted to be qualified for the job they have in mind. It really takes a load off if they can say “I spent 3pp on Bot-Jammer, of course my character is qualified for that job”

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
Could you just include corebook alternatives in parenthesis? e.g under Smugler 5pp “Takko morph (Or An Octomorph with Endocrine Control [high] and Vacuum Sealing [high]”
Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
I wouldn't want to have them randomized. The Rep was handled correctly (mostly open-ended apart from backgrounds and factions. I would prefer for more of the Field Skills to be assigned. Many players struggle to pick their Fields, so a few suggestions imbedded in the Packs would be welcome.
Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
I eagerly await gear packages. There should be a system to guide players towards a loadout that will quickly outfit their Character with everything needed for their first game. I would prefer to see morphs included in gear packages rather than in the Focus packs. I like rep the way it is, included in several backgrounds and faction packs.
I hope that (100 Point?) Gear+Morph Packs will in some sense standardize the amount of CP that goes towards a character's possessions. Perhaps a mid-ranged morph (such as an Olympian or Octomorph) should be assumed, with cheaper or more expensive morphs possible in packs that include positive or negative traits.
Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
No, the Aptitude Templates are fine as is.
Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
I wasn't pleased with any of the packs that gave +5 aptitude bonuses. A handful of packages were just bad choices for a player. Most of the 5pp packages seemed to contain undesirable (expensive and cost-inefficient) choices. For many players, the cost of an additional +5 to an aptitude is enough to raise a red flag.
Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
With a few revisions, I'd be happy to use the Pack system exclusively. It's fast and intuitive.

The lonely fox chases after the one eyed hound.

beej beej's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
- I've GM'd 1 game on skype and ran in 1 on skype (everyone used the playtest material) (each session about 3 hours) (3pcs per game)

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
- Interest and Knowledge skills are still tricky, I think there needs to be more examples given? I know they're supposed to be a little opened ended but it felt when we hit those we just defaulted to a few generic ones. Maybe list some more?

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
- All of it? Is that a valid answer? The ability to make PCs/NPCs/Threats is so much easier now. I can sit down and tailor threats much more quickly and creatively for sessions. For example I made a dozen Triad thugs at the 6-8PP package level. When the PCs hit the Triad base they of course slaughtered all of them. However when we talked about the session afterward they all said it felt like they were actually fighting people and not templates. Through the process of casing, planning, hacking and assault they it felt like they were squaring off against other PCs. The players said that they could tell that everything was a lot more tailored to the situation and their capabilities than pulled from npc list in the books. Some might say its laziness on my part for leaning on pregens so much but on the flip side its time consuming to make them! With this new way of doing things, not anymore!

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid. This is what it feels like it and we all liked it. Even with character excel generator and an awareness of the system and game-universe it was really time consuming. This slimming down really makes it easy for people to get into the system.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward,
Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
My gut says 'No, go buy the books.' But if you're to make everything much more accessible to new players it would be really helpful. I would say that only include corebook material in the packages however. Everything they should look up to encourage people to read and explore.

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
Give suggestions but throw in a randomized table as well. The randomization table will help new players and Threat creations while suggestions where as more experienced players know what they want.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
My gut says do not include morphs but the GM in my says to include them, but only including core material. If its a new player they will appriate the morph suggestion and if they want something different, they can work things out with their GM. I am okay with gear being handed out in packs as long is its generic stuff. Plasma rifles, QE comms and fabricators should not be handed out. Spelling out what basic kit of a hacker/scientist/journalist/soldier is good. It gives everyone a common base to work off of. From the basic pack, players then can go hunting through books for all their favorite goods.

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
I don't really see a need? Its all seems fairly straight forward and shuffling stuff about isn't that difficult.

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
From what I read and what people picked to play with, nothing seemed particularity off?

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
When I run for my ttg we will be using this package system. It makes my life as GM easier and it will make character generation for my less hardcore players a lot easier. I would use the core system if I was making a campaign character, but I wouldn't mind seeing a hybrid system. I'm not good with math so the less math the better in my book.

atamajakki atamajakki's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Read though with a critical eye, then made three characters using the proposed system.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
Morph selection shouldn't be lumped in with skills. I would make morphs their own section of things, with greater variety; right now there are too few choices, all attached to skill packages.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
I love the concept. This type of character generation with purchases of packages is my ideal, and I'm glad you guys have done it. Core character generation is rather tedious and confuses many of my new players; this is a great fix.

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
Works fine for me.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
Certainly! The books are free; there's no reason not to have the,

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
I would prefer both open.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
Rep is fine as-is, but morphs and gear should be their own section. Morphological variety is perhaps the most obvious draw for Eclipse Phase, and so limiting that makes little sense. I would also love to see a random morph table.

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
I think the current templates are fine, and the system basic enough to explain modification if needed.

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
I feel like Fray wasn't a common enough skill. Beyond that, nothing I noticed.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
I would use this system.

shark3006 shark3006's picture
Playtest

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft? I read through the rules with a critical eye. Then I tried my hand at making two NPCs that will be used in my chronicle.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules? It seems to me that, if you have a specific, non-combat character concept in mind, you could wind up having a lot of points going into the same skills, like I did. I was creating a character that was a mathematician, and I wound up having lots of points in a few academic skills and in some other mental skills (programming, research, etc). And that was really it. I don't know if the system, as is, can work for all character concepts.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules? I think this system is perfect for introducing people to the system and for one-shot games. One of the things that would stop me from running more one-shots is just how long it would take to roll up characters. Between all of the books, there are lots of pregens, but players like having their own characters more than playing pregens. The other benefit I could see is for people who are just being introduced to the system. The standard character creation can be a little overwhelming. This is an easy way to have players create characters and get to the game quickly. And then if they like it, they can try the more in-depth creation rules.

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right? I think the system is just simple enough. My main time sink with this was having to scroll up and down through the doc to find the packs I wanted, which will be fixed when the book is released. Despite what I said earlier, there was a lot of variety in the packs. If I spent a little more time with it, which I plan to, I'm sure I could come up with more combos. I think I'm going to use this system every time I need to make an NPC that isn't just a moving gun. I don't think I'd want to use this for characters that I would be playing for more than a game or two, though.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)? Like others, I was also of two minds about this. But after thinking about it, I would say not to include the other morphs and whatnot. The point of these rules, in my mind, is to make things more simple and streamlined. Including all of the morph, gear and implants from other books would only bog down the process. That being said, I wouldn't eliminate it entirely. It might be good to let players know that those materials exist and that they can always incorporate them into their character creation.

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized? Because there are relatively few Rep options, I feel that these should be left up to the player. I also feel like the Field skills should be left up to the player. But to help streamline the process, I feel like a list of suggested Field skills would be really useful. That way, players wouldn't be limited in what they could choose, but they'd have a reference to help point them in the right direction. I wish I had a list like that even with the full character creation.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out? I like the idea of separating the morphs from the packs. When creating the mathematician character I mentioned earlier, the morph that I got with my pack was an Exalt. But what I really wanted for her was a Menton. Maybe the players could still have the 11 PP to spend (or maybe a little more) and then spend that PP on morphs. For instance, a bunch of really base morphs would be 1 PP (maybe a Case would be free because it's so simple, as would being infolife). After that, as morphs get more complex, players would have to spend more PP on them. I'm not sure what that would do to the balance of the system, though. You would probably have to increase the amount of PP players have so they could buy morphs. And if you do that, someone could spend 1 PP on a Splicer and then wind up with 15 PP left to purchase packs, which would give them a very over-powered character. Maybe the 100 CC idea is best.

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates? I think the aptitude level is just fine as it is. As you said, there are aptitude bonuses available in packages. But I think a few more Aptitude Templates would be good.

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you? I think most of the packs are very good what they're trying to accomplish. I haven't gone through all of them with a fine-toothed comb, but there was nothing I noticed that seemed to be glaringly unbalanced.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference? For me, I think this will be my default system for making complex NPCs. I would use it for making PCs for myself if I was only using the character for a game or two. But if I was to be playing in a full-fledged campaign, I think I'd want the flexibility and customization of the standard character creation rules. But this could be great in helping people who still want to use the system from the core book come up with ideas and a direction for their character.

So on our heels a fresh perfection treads/ A power more strong in beauty, born of us/ And fated to excel us, as we pass/ In glory that old Darkness: nor are we/ Thereby more conquer'd, than by us the rule/ Of shapeless Chaos.

anth anth's picture
I'm skipping questions where

I'm skipping questions where I don't think my answer would add anything.
Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Read with a critical eye.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
I think it'd work well if most packages were just from Core and Transhuman but there were some specific to the other books. A Gatecrashing package should be easy, the others perhaps not so much.

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
Rep doesn't need anything as there aren't too many choices though a suggestion that the party should contain a mix of rep between them might be helpful for new players. Some help with field skills would be useful, suggestions would be enough but a random tables would be useful for GMs and could be accompanied by advice that players choose from that list or make up their own.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
I'd like to see the morphs removed from the existing packages and some 1PP packages created for morphs and other gear. There wouldn't be one for a Reaper but I think it is OK for this method to produce a build which will work in most situations and still useful as a starting point for players who want something specific and are willing to tweak things. Some of those packages with expensive morphs would be just gear perhaps with some credits or rep, while at the other end of the scale there would probably be some gear packages that include a point or two of moxie, or "50 points for the skill(s) of your choice". Advice that the gear should complement the other packages might stop the occasional new player from making a mistake.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
This followed by tweaking is looking very good.

Cyber-Dave Cyber-Dave's picture
RobBoyle wrote:Q. 1 – How did

RobBoyle wrote:

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Did you try them out in actual play with your group? For how many sessions? Using what kind of PCs? Did you crunch some numbers in a marathon character creation session? Or simply read through them with a critical eye?

Read through with a critical eye.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
Is there an endemic problem you think is underlying this rules set? Is this material too complicated for your liking? Is there a specific rules item you think is egregiously broken and needs to be fixed? Is there anything that you simply think *must* be changed?

The 5 point packages are only worth 400 CP. They should be worth 500 CP, or else they should cost only 4 points. Also, I REALLY don't like that morphs are part of the packages. I think morphs should be part of the equipment packages instead.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
Is there anything that you absolutely loved? Something that you sincerely think *must* make it into the final version? Anything that really contributes to the game in a positive way? Something that shouldn’t be changed?

The entire concept. I love Eclipse Phase. I think it is one of the smartest best written RPGs out there. The one thing that turns me off is character creation. I would never dream of running (I usually GM RPGS) a game where I let characters do anything other than pick a prebuilt PC. Even then, as the pre-builds are not built via equal values placed into skills/equipment, I am a little uncomfortable with some of them. With this rule system I finally want to allow players to build their own characters.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
The main intention with this system is to create a quick and simple alternative to the system in the core rules. We’d like to know if we met that goal. How long did it take you to make a character? Did it have enough variety despite being easy? Were you able to make quick NPCs with it? Was it fun? Keep in mind that the packages will be laid out in an easy-to-read manner in the book.

It seems just right to me.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
So far we have restricted the morphs and other elements to material that can be found in either the core rulebook or Transhuman (more from Transhuman will be added in as the drafts get finalized). We are attempting to avoid a situation where someone ends up with a morph or other gear but doesn’t have the relevant sourcebook. However, since our books can all be found for free online, the argument can be made that this information isn’t hard to find.

I would like to see gear from all of the sourcebooks. Maybe you could offer the option to replace gear they don't have the rules for with an alternate option, but I would like to have the option to use sourcebook gear.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
We have left much of the rep and field skills acquired through these packages open-ended, for the player to assign as they see fit. This is, however, an extra step in the character creation process. Would you prefer that we assign these values to a particular rep network/field, keeping in mind that the player is always free to switch them? Alternatively, would you prefer that we keep them open-ended, but provided a randomized table for each rep bonus/field skill, so that someone who doesn’t want to spend time looking up the options can roll these up quickly?

I would like to see them either assigned or randomized, so long as players have the option to reassign them as they see fit. That way, players who know the system/setting can assign them as they see fit, and players that don't can use pre-picked values (which the GM will use to selectively distribute required information to the player).

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
One of the changes we discussed making to this system was to remove the morphs, rep, and gear out of the existing packs. The idea was to reduce the # of PP to be spent down to 10, have the packs focus on skills, and then simply require an extra 100 CP be devoted to morphs, rep, and gear. This has the advantage of giving us more skill variety in the existing packs, and also means no one will end up with more than one morph at the end (unless they buy more than one with that 100 CP). The drawback is that it’s another set of choices and points to be spent by the player, complicating things (though we could also suggest a morph with each Focus pack, as we do with motivations, or even add a random morph selection table). It also has the oddity that a player who purchase a case morph has 95 CP left to spend on rep and gear, which seems odd, and a player that spends all 100 CP on a reaper has nothing else (though they could always spend PP on Customization packs to get some rep and gear).

Yes, I would REALLY like you to do that. I think the packages should offer nothing but skills/stat boosts.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
We have 8 aptitude templates right now, which we felt covered the basics. We could add more if there is a demand for more variety, though keep in mind they are easy enough to tweak. We also kept the aptitudes at 20 and below, as aptitudes of 25+ are usually limited by morph aptitude maximums (keeping in mind apt bonuses from packages too). Do you want to see some aptitude 25 options included as well?

Due to how easy they are to tweak, those 8 seem like more than enough to me.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
Did the selection of skills/etc. for any of these packages seem odd to you? Would you have chosen something different? Were there any packs that you didn’t think were needed? Any that were missing?
If you really want to be a mensch, you can crunch some numbers and help us verify that we got the stats right on each package.

I don't have an opinion on this right now.

RobBoyle wrote:
Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
Having seen this system now, would you use this package system for making PCs, would you use the system from the core book, or would you use a hybrid system as suggested?

This. By far, this. Honestly, I wouldn't let my players use the core EP character creation rules. Without these rules, I would force them to play prebuilt characters. I don't like doing that to players. As a result, the core EP character creation rules are my biggest hurdle to enjoying EP. These rules feel far more accessible to me. I LOVE them. I would buy the Transhuman book for print access to these rules alone.

universal_kalle universal_kalle's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
I read through them with a critical eye and then started creating a character for a new campaign my GM was setting up. After a short while I went back to the original creation system in the core book when I felt I lost the ability to customize the way I wanted to. A week later I sat down with it again and looked over it a second time and made a character from scratch to try it out.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
To me, who enjoy lots of customization, they felt a bit restraining. You're pretty much forced to take certain packs just to get the morph you want, and even then most morphs are represented.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
I really really like the Customization Packs at the end. They're a fast way to not only get the core skills the character concept requires but also to flesh her out with other skills and abilities. And I found the Focus Packs to be pretty handy.

Q. 4 – Is this system too simple? Not simple enough? Just right?
I'd say the system is *too* simple. It's great for beginners (I would've loved it when I made my first character!) but a bit restricting for more experienced players. I didn't really time the creation of my character but I'd estimate it to about an hour with a little tinkering left (filling in what all mods, gear, traits, etc does on the paper for quick access) to be done. But again I feel it's a bit restraining and doesn't have that much variety.

Q. 5 – Should we include morphs, traits, gear, etc from the sourcebooks (Sunward, Rimward, Gatecrashing, Panopticon)?
Yes you should. But put it aside and clearly state that the player needs another book for the details. Without this I feel the whole point of the system kinda falls apart if you still have to flick through 4+ other books to find what you need and use a hybrid system of both PP and CP.

Q. 6 – Would you prefer all of the Rep and Field skills to be assigned? Randomized?
Keep them open-ended but provide suggestions. This is one of the hardest parts of character creation for me. Eclipse Phase is such a huge and detailed universe that it's hard to know what fields to take without looking at sample characters and the suggestions in the Skills section of the core book. Ideally I'd like to see a decently big list of field suggestions (not necessarily right next to this system but maybe in it's own chapter or sub-chapter) with some short descriptions as to what they involve.

Q. 7 – Would you rather have the gear, rep, and morphs separated out?
Yes. This is a simplification of how I would like to see the system work:

  1. Pick a aptitude template.
  2. Pick faction and background from the core book and apply the advantages and disadvantages as usual.
  3. Spend X amount of PP on Focus and Customization packs. Each PP could be worth 50 CP (or 100 if you want to reduce the amount of packs the player needs to purchase). Packs would cost 1-3 PP and include skills, moxies, credits, aptitudes, rep, etc. No traits with the exception of Psi packs. Pretty much how the current Customization packs look right now but more of them and more varied. The Faction and Background packs would be represented here as well but in a simpler form.
  4. Spend 100 CP according to the core book system. With these you get your morph(s).
  5. With your credits purchase Gear and Mods packs (these are basic packs that includes the basic stuff to fill a certain role) and then buy whatever else you want/need that wasn't included.

I'd also like to include Archetype examples. A problem I had when I first started was to know what skills I needed to fill a certain role in the party. It can still be difficult at times. With archetype examples you provide ideas for the player, not complete characters. For example the "Face" archetype could look something like this:
You are the face of your operation, the one to deal with social situations the brutes with their guns can't due to their "limited" cognitive functions. Recommend skills are Persuasion, Deception, Protocol, Networking, Kinesics, Research, Interests. You'll also need plenty of Rep and suggested morphs are X, Y and Z.

Q. 8 – Would you prefer more Aptitude Templates?
They're sufficient and if you want to tweak it's really easy.

Q. 9 – Did any packs seem off to you?
Well the 5 PP packs are bugged. They should be worth 500 CP but those I calculated all sat at 400 CP.
The biggest problem i see here is that with such a complex and varied system as Eclipse Phase you'd need to make lots of lots of lots of packs to cover it all. That's why I think that only using the Focus/Customization packs the way I suggested above would be better. There would still be a fair amount of tinkering but not as much as the core book system. That along with archetype examples could really cut down on the character creation time.

Q. 10 – What’s your character creation preference?
I'll continue using the core book system for the flexibility it provides. Maybe look at the Focus packs as inspiration for what I need to fill a role. I think the package system would really shine with a digital character creator that added it all up for the player. Creating the basics of the character would only take a couple of minutes and then you flesh her out manually.

"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but ugly is there for everyone to see." - Kevin Gilbert (1966-1996)

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