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Author Topic: "Saving" Points: Why not?  (Read 687 times)

RPGPundit

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"Saving" Points: Why not?
« on: September 14, 2006, 12:47:19 AM »
Someone brought up an interesting thought in another thread, the idea that a possible solution to keep players from shutting down their options is to allow them to "save" their skill points from character creation, not spend them all right away.

It seems that relatively few games take this tactic, and tend to demand that when you make a 100 point character, or have a character with 8+INT skill points, you have to use all 100 points or the full 8+INT before you start to play the character.

Why is that? I mean, it seems a pretty clever option to me, the idea you can "bank" points.  Is it mostly a metagame thing, that it doesn't feel "realistic" or something that someone could suddenly develop a talent in a skill they didn't use to have?

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"Saving" Points: Why not?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2006, 12:52:17 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Why is that? I mean, it seems a pretty clever option to me, the idea you can "bank" points.  Is it mostly a metagame thing, that it doesn't feel "realistic" or something that someone could suddenly develop a talent in a skill they didn't use to have?
I think that's a lot of it,  though myself I'd be willing to let players re-allocate skill points after a level, sometimes you build a pc and forget something important, I could see allowing a player to bank a few points away to do the same thing, though I'm not sure how long/how many I'd allow them to collect.  It's an interesting idea to say the least, going to need to think on it.
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"Saving" Points: Why not?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2006, 12:55:18 AM »
Sounds fair enough. I mean, in systems like DnD it's already unrealistic that things just go pop one day and you have new skill points... to have them spent at the character's leisure hardly seems any less so.

Hell, you could even say that players have to train to assign skill points at all... though that might be a bit much.

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"Saving" Points: Why not?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2006, 01:07:12 AM »
I could easily see allowing this under the "Wow I didn't know you could do this" rule.

It seems to happen in TV series all the time, when a character is skilled at something from out of nowhere.  Maybe his dad was a baker/doctor/priest of the Dark Lord Cz'ztuth/prostitute/whatever; the skill was there all along, but it "hadn't come up" in the campaign until when the Player decides to allocate the skill points.

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"Saving" Points: Why not?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2006, 02:01:51 AM »
In Fudge, it's part of the standard rules that characters are supposed to have one or more "Uncommitted Traits" remaining after character creation. Like maybe the GM will specify one Good skill and one Fair skill or something, and the players can then declare them as they're needed during play ("Of course Malcolm knows how to fly a helicopter!"). Presto: Malcolm is a Fair helicopter pilot from that point on!

That the kind of thing you mean?

I can't recall any other system that specifically calls for this, but it would be easy to add to most games, I would think.
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2006, 02:33:26 AM »
I like that.

Character creation through play.  Pretty cool.
 

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"Saving" Points: Why not?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2006, 03:31:38 AM »
Lot's of point based XP games, you can keep the points and then assign them when needed, as opposed to everything when you level up (WoD, Hero System, etc). I supposed you could easily house rule to keep some points back at character creation.

Metagame wise I don't have a problem with it, as you say it's just reflected by skills that hadn't come up before, but they had known all along. Also why is it any more difficult to explain than the new skills someone might pick up on leveling up?
 

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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2006, 05:51:05 AM »
I think it's a good idea, I don't even think it's particularly unrealistic.  I'm a fairly good skiier, I doubt most people who know me know that though.  I have done a fair bit of diving, again that's not obvious on meeting me.

Unless it came up nobody would know I could do those things, in many games I'd get told I was being out of character since generally I am an unfit schlub with no interest in sports or outdoor activities.

People are surprising, players don't always know what they will want the character to be until they've played them a bit.  This helps with that.

Although in practice over the first few sessions of a game I am cool with players changing their characters a bit if stuff hasn't already featured heavily in play as they may get a better feel for what will be fun once the game is actually underway.

Caesar Slaad

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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2006, 08:48:56 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Someone brought up an interesting thought in another thread, the idea that a possible solution to keep players from shutting down their options is to allow them to "save" their skill points from character creation, not spend them all right away.

It seems that relatively few games take this tactic, and tend to demand that when you make a 100 point character, or have a character with 8+INT skill points, you have to use all 100 points or the full 8+INT before you start to play the character.

Why is that? I mean, it seems a pretty clever option to me, the idea you can "bank" points.  Is it mostly a metagame thing, that it doesn't feel "realistic" or something that someone could suddenly develop a talent in a skill they didn't use to have?


It's definitely an advantage to do so compared to having to commit your points ahead of time. There are some games that allow you to defer design decisions in order to approximate something that happens in the genre/setting.

For example, DC Heroes in the olden days let gadgeteers make "omni gadgets", which you decide what power it has at the time you use it. It's a one shot affair, which made it pretty expensive compared to "known" gadgets. This was a way of emulating things such as batman's utility belt where he just happens to have something appropriate to the situation at the time.

Spycraft has a similar option with reserve common items and gear picks. They don't cost any more picks, but you have to make a gear check to get them. In the case of common items, it represents the classical "just happen to have" sort of situation. In the case of gear picks, it's more like fedex delivery. In either case, the number of these checks you have available depends on your wisdom bonus, which makes the stat more meaningful.

More along the lines of what you were talking about, also in Spycraft, there is a feat called "I Can Swim". Basically, it lets you defer the skill point allotment until play. This represents the sort of character who always knows something appropriate.

In these cases, though, it's more a matter of "genre emulation" than a "design in play" philosophy. Still, that might fit the bill of what you are looking for.
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John Morrow

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"Saving" Points: Why not?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2006, 10:50:21 AM »
Quote from: Yamo
In Fudge, it's part of the standard rules that characters are supposed to have one or more "Uncommitted Traits" remaining after character creation. [...]

That the kind of thing you mean?


If RPGPundit was talking about my mention of this, then Fudge is exactly what I had in mind, though I'm not sure you can call anything in Fudge "standard" or say you are "supposed to" do something in a certain way. :)

It's a simple solution to a problem that some players have.  If I retain this in my Fudge variant, I'll probably wrap it in some suggestions about how to manage it.  In general, if a skill comes up at any point for a character and the player doesn't use those points, they should need to stick with that decision from then on.

Quote from: Yamo
I can't recall any other system that specifically calls for this, but it would be easy to add to most games, I would think.


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