Alternative Character Mechanics

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nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Alternative Character Mechanics

I was playing Ego Hunter and it really rubbed the the wrong way how little a difference there is between an ego in a hulking, gorilla morph, and an ego in a diminuitive neotenic. I feel like PHS has, to a degree, dropped the ball on this mind/body duality aspect. And once I got thinking about that, and how we don't need to treat attributes like skills, that freed me up to consider breaking skills from the traditional 'get XP/spend XP'.

So here's what I've been considering;

Aptitudes are solely defined by the morph. If you're in a neo-gorilla your SOM is 30 regardless as to whether you're a panty-waist, and a neo-raven has a SOM of 15, even if you're Hulk Hogan. Morphs may have a certain amount of variation thanks to edges and flaws. Aptitudes cannot be changed after chargen except by surgery, injury, or buying edges or flaws.

Moxie is a measure of your character's experience. Everyone starts with 1. When you get 10 rez points, it goes up by 1.

Skills are increased by training and use, like in Call of Cthulhu. Every time you successfully use a skill (or train, 'successful' or not), you put a note on that skill. At the end of the adventure, roll for each marked skill. If you FAIL on the subsequent roll, roll 1d10 and add that amount to your skill. In other words, you must use a skill to get better at it. The better you are already, the harder it is to get better still.

Psi sleights are trained with time, just like skills. You spend some time studying your new sleight, then make an appropriate check. If you succeed, you learn it. If not, you have to try again.

Traits can't normally be bought after chargen, but in some circumstances, the player may spend the trait cost * 2 to either buy the new advantage, or buy off an old disadvantage. This counts against your accruing additional moxie.

I'm thinking I might try this new system out somewhere. If it works, character generation can also be rehashed to make it much quicker (since half of it is now just buying equipment).


CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Alternative Character Mechanics

While I personally quite like the system we already have, someone had a similar thought a month or so ago, and I thought it was worthwhile enough to rewrite the morphs we already have to fit a similar paradigm to that you describe. I was even nice enough to share, using the wonders if the internet;

The only true benefit I have found from doing aptitudes this way is that it makes character generation a lot easier, and it also helped my efforts to write a PACKs character gen system (Aptitudes being the primary barrier currently.) I also found that the aptitude maximum characteristic was essentially made useless, so I instead changed it to a skill maximum, which is the highest effective skill rating a character sleeved into the morph can apply to tests. I also had to change the Exceptional Aptitude trait to instead add 10 (Max 100) to the morphs skill maximum (No more Ego version)

I quite like your skill progression mechanic, although I think adding 1d10 to the skill rating might be a bit over the top. That is an extremely large change, I feel that even a 1-5 change might be a bit much. I would probably start at something closer to 1d10/5, and see how that goes.


nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Alternative Character Mechanics

Have I ever told you I love you? This is fantastic, thanks for sharing!

re: Skills, I'm drawing off the CoC mechanics, which also uses d100, and has been around for a while. However, they also tend to start with pretty low-level characters. You could instead add only one to the skill, or two with a critical (although I do feel like that's really slow! It would take thousands of missions to get from 60 to 99, which is a LOT of real life time. Remember that you must pass TWO tests to get the bonus, so if you're at 75 skill, you're got a 3/16 chance of that skill increasing on any given mission.)

valen valen's picture
Re: Alternative Character Mechanics

I am intrigued by these ideas, but I don't think I'm going to change anything for my first campaign.