Getting Closer

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    • Getting Closer

      Tonight I was finally able to sit down (virtually anyway) with my two friends who wish to play on Furcadia and help them fill out most of their character sheets. A special Thank you to Sherbie for the interactive PDF as it makes this so much easier!

      Anyway, we are starting with the characters at the Talented Power level, so I had to help them try and spend their points wisely on things they would need or find useful for their characters. One thing that came up is that one of the players wants to start off by playing a juvenile character. Not too young, but still not quite an adult.

      As a compromise I decided to drop the 4 characteristics that seem more combat / physically oriented on her sheet by one point until she ages, though I let her spend the points to get the higher ranking at creation. I am just holding that extra rank point in reserve until she is of age. Not sure if that is too crippling, unwarranted, or foolish on my part but I did not really see too much about juvenile characters and how their characteristics and skills might be affected in the rules. Maybe I missed it?

      Anyone have experience with that or a different suggestion on how to limit a juvenile appropriately? I did not want to use a mixed Power level as this is their first gaming experience and mine as GM.

      The other player spent most of his points but seems hesitant to spend them all. I tried explaining that it would be cheaper to buy some stats now than later in the game, so we'll see if he decides to spend more after giving the skills and things another looksee.

      I do finally have an idea of what kind of characters they actually want to play and can start putting my campaign ideas together for them. I'm hoping to do a little one on one with each of them as practice and flesh out their character backgrounds before we dive into it though.

      I will try to fill everyone in on how things go once we actually get started.
    • RE: Getting Closer

      It sounds like you made some pretty good calls when it comes to the physical side of being a juvenile (you should have them take Physical Drawbacks to account for those Characteristic differences you mentioned, though), just don't forget to take into account the other ramifications of being a juvenile if taken as a Social Drawback (page 205 of the Basic Compendium, where it also recommends that you have them take physical drawbacks for being a juvenile as well)....

      As far as them spending their points, feel free to impose a limit as to how many Story Points they are allowed to save on the side once their character is done... You don't necessarily want them throwing too many of those around in-game at any one time, especially at the beginning...unless, of course, you intend to have loads of super-challenging things that they'll need them for to pull them out of the fire... Too much of that can get on players' nerves, though...

      Good luck with the rest of the process!

      Let us know how things go!

      Scottie ^^
    • it also recommends that you have them take physical drawbacks for being a juvenile as well

      Now see that is where I had some concerns and decided to simply do the compromise with the lower characteristics. The examples given in the rules for Physical Drawbacks don't really seem appropriate for a character who is simply younger but otherwise healthy and whole.

      Disfigurements, Illnesses, Mobility Impairments, Perception Impairments, Speech Disorders, and Zoic Disadvantages... other than being unable to walk at an extremely young age, I can't see any of them appearing just because a character is younger. They could, I suppose... but is it really age causing them?

      I suppose there could be limits imposed that seem quite similar to these physical drawbacks at times, for example not having the vocabulary of an adult could be like having a speech disorder. I just can't see it given the character that my player wants to play.

      That is why I came up with the compromise of lowering her Strength, Vigor, Agility, and Dexterity by one point until she is of age (Probably only a year or two away in game time.) This doesn't make her character appear any less whole or healthy, but it does still impose some limits on all of her physical capabilities until she grows.

      Is she smaller? Yes, but she is no dwarf. She is in the right height range for her age. Can she walk, run, etc? Sure, and that point she is missing will limit her without having to add in an extra penalty each time. So I guess, I just don't see how adding any extra drawbacks is called for unless she wants them if she has already been severely limited physically by lowering her 4 physical stats across the board.

      I'm not totally against adding physical drawbacks, I just need to see some form of justification for it given she wants to play a healthy but younger character.
    • I agree with your approach, Targath. Unless the player wants a character who is very young (pre-adolescent), I would simply have them limit some of their Characteristics (spend less points on them) and then possibly take a Social Drawback if she's not considered an adult in the culture she's living in. This shouldn't be a high point Drawback but it should reflect that the character might have fewer options or choices than an adult would. But a healthy teenager should not automatically take a Physical Drawback.

    • Well,...though the examples of Physical Drawback we included in the book do largely cover "health-related" issues, all Drawbacks we list are there merely as examples (for instance, we didn't list every type of mental disorder that could exist either), and I feel that you totally COULD create additional Physical Drawbacks that could represent being a juvenile in your campaign...if that's something that seems important, without making them feel like some freaky health disability.

      Heck, had we thought about it more carefully at the time, we might have included specific Physical Drawback examples for being both juvenile or elderly... But, as it is, we've left that as something for the individual GM or player to decide, since the specific nature of those Drawbacks are often very individual in the real world anyway... For instance, some little kids, at certain ages, can be very fast runners (outpacing the larger, less agile adults fairly easily), while those that are even younger might be fairly fast, but the length of their little legs impedes their speed compared to their older siblings or elders, etc.

      But the main thing to remember is that, in the end, regardless of how you handle it, the balance of the game is maintained as long as the point-based system's rules continue to apply, and there are no special bonuses given or penalties imposed that are not balanced out by the system so that you end up spending (and immediately benefitting from) the same number of points one way or the other...

      Essentially, for the sake of game-play balance (meaning, even though you may not be good for a variety of reasons in some areas, you get to make up for it by spending those points on other things), we usually recommend using Drawbacks for the kinds of things you are talking about... What this does, for example, is ensure that a player playing among other players in a "Talented" Level campaign (meaning they are creating their characters with 150 points) should feel they are getting the immediate benefit of having spent all those points. Even though they happen to be weaker in some areas (for reasons like being a juvenile), they should feel like their character makes up for it in other areas, and being able to spend ALL their points and immediately use the attributes they WERE able to spend those points on, just like their fellow players, will maintain a balanced feel to game-play...

      So, in the case of a juvenile, if you decided to make Physical Drawbacks to represent it, you'd decide what Characteristics' Attributes were affected, and apply that logic to the basic construct of how Drawbacks work... Drawbacks work not by changing the Characteristic Rankings themselves, but by reducing the number of dice you get to roll when attempting certain attribute rolls (Skills and Abilities) linked to those Characteristics to which you decide the Drawback applies... This, in effect, allows you to achieve exactly what you did, without imposing a decrease in the way the player benefitted from having spent all their points during character creation... This also means that, later, as the character ages and (we're assuming) gets more Story Points to spend, they can "buy off" the juvenile Drawback at a later time, and simply remove the penalty modifiers associated with the affected attributes (while maintaining their base Characteristics).

      As an example of what that might look like on the character sheet, based on what you said earlier (limiting certain benefits of the Strength, Vigor, Agility, and Dexterity she purchased):


      3pt. Physical - often (50%) Juvenile (affects 50% of attributes related to Str. Vig. Agl. Dex.) -1 dice penalty

      What does this mean? Well,...when choosing (or creating) a Drawback, one of the first things you decide, for the sake of how many Points you get from it to spend somewhere else during character creation, is its "Drawback Severity"... In this case, if you only wanted to impose a -1 on certain rolls related to those four Characteristics due to the character's age (or whatever), you'd be choosing a Mild severity, which is worth 3 Points. Next, you choose its Drawback Occurrence... In the case above, I'm assuming that you wouldn't necessarily want her juvenile nature to affect ALL attributes related to those Characteristics, so I assigned an occurrence of Often (50%), which means that, essentially, having this Drawback affects the character about half of the time when they try to do stuff in-game, and more specifically as related to Physical Drawbacks, roughly half of all Skills and Abilities linked to those Characteristics...

      What this gives you, as the GM, is the freedom to make an informed, case-by-case decision about how the characters' attempts at doing things would be logically affected by youth's limitations... It would be your call about exactly when the -1 dice penalty would apply, as long as the call seemed fair and balanced, based on the understanding that this weakness applies to about half of all skills and abilities related to those characteristics, for as long as the character remains a juvenile (and until that character decides to eventually "buy off" the Drawback)...

      Likewise, you could make the Drawback slightly different just by juggling the value of the Drawback in Points, and/or adjusting the Severity and Occurrence to match:

      6pt. Physical - very frequently (75%) Juvenile (affects 75% of attributes related to Str. Vig. Agl. Dex.) -1 dice penalty


      6pt. Physical - often (50%) Juvenile (affects 50% of attributes related to Str. Vig. Agl. Dex.) -2 dice penalty


      6pt. Physical - rarely (25%) Juvenile (affects 25% of attributes related to Str. Vig. Agl. Dex.) -3 dice penalty


      3pt. Physical - rarely (25%) Juvenile (affects 25% of attributes related to Str. Vig. Agl. Dex.) -2 dice penalty

      ....or even...

      9pt. Physical - always (100%) Juvenile (affects ALL attributes related to Str. Vig. Agl. Dex.) -1 dice penalty

      This last version creates the EXACT same circumstances concerning the effect on the player's rolls you seemed to want (one less ranking for ALL rolls related to those four Characteristics), but enables the player to still spend their points where they wish, and have more points to spend on other things... Essentially, the players remain balanced because they may be especially weak in some ways, but are stronger in others...

      Hopefully this helps!

      Scottie ^^
    • Additionally, dealing with this issue by using the Drawback as I described also takes care of the player's concern that spending fewer points on Characteristics now makes it more expensive to buy them up later... The points will have been spent for the rankings in Characteristics where the player wishes, but the advantage of that Ranking is lost to the extent you want it to be (due to the negative modifiers imposed by the Drawback) until the character chooses to "buy off" the Drawback later on... (when they reach physical maturity)

      Scottie ^^
    • Thank you both. Scottie's above posts about how to make simply being weaker because of being younger (or elderly) as a drawback does make sense now and I see how it can be used to limit the character physically how we wanted to do. We didn't want her to be totally crippled, but perform most physical feats a step below a comparable adult.

      I had thought of something along those lines after making my other post but was not quite sure how to effectively write it. Scottie's options seem like the best way to do just that and I will present them to the player so we can make the change on her character sheet.

      You guys are awesome in helping GMs and players out, so thank you. :]

      As an aside, I would like to mention an editing mistake in the book that I stumbled upon while helping one of my players. If this has already been mentioned or addressed, I apologize. Just thought I might mention it in case you wish to fix it in future printings.

      Distance Running Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level of Discriminatory Taste.

      Oops. ;)

      Thanks again and I really do appreciate the feedback as I prepare our group for play.
    • Ahggghghghgh!!! Wow that hurts! I'd make a "derp" face if only I knew how with the keyboard....

      It just goes to show you that too much cut-and-paste when creating a product can be a bad, bad thing...

      Good eye Targath! No one else, not even my own players, have ever noticed that before.... And that little glitch got past BOTH Aaron and I as well...


      Scottie ^^
    • Don't feel bad about it. I've found similar mistakes in other published books before that had to have made it past several editors and proofreaders in order to be in the book. (One of the top selling book series ever has a few that I noticed.) I've been told that I should have become a professional proofreader a few times because I have a knack for noticing the little things that do sometimes get missed.

      I just figured that if you are able to fix it in the future, you might like to is all.

      Thanks again for the advice on modifying drawbacks. I'll be using your above example for both younger and elderly characters.
    • Good deal! I'm so glad that the input was helpful!

      Yeah,...the use of Drawbacks can be a really "open-ended" process... You can do almost anything with them when creating new stuff,...but it's a sort of experimental process to think your way through to an idea that offers a fair solution to what you want... And it's easy to "go too far" with them if you're not careful...

      The main thing about them that always needs to be considered when players want to use them to get more points during character creation, is that anything like that they choose must always be kept in mind, by them and by the GM, during game play, to ensure that they don't get forgotten in the midst of the action... It's so important to make sure Drawbacks are constantly woven into the storyline of the campaign in a way that makes the game challenging but fun...

      If they're done right, Drawbacks can really help form the seeds of some great role-playing moments, and can even help drive the main storyline along in ways that pleasantly surprise me, and lend some excellent depth to the players' characters that often end up turning into great game-session memories and stories for later on...

      Scottie ^^