Suggestion Box.   Posted by Director.Group: 0
 GM, 36 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 08:09
Suggestion Box
One other thing I'd like to achieve with this game is to wring out the rules and see where they can be improved. So if anyone has any comments about how something's working, elements you don't like, elements you really like, or even comments or ideas about the setting, please feel free to raise them in here.

I'd really really appreciate it.
 GM, 72 posts
Thu 5 Feb 2015
at 14:40
Re: Suggestion Box
So let me get the ball rolling: spending only a portion of the Skill Points initially available seems to be causing some confusion for most players (and others have noticed the rule, but still commented that it's unusual/cumbersome/a bit of a tease). Thoughts on possible solutions, or ways to make it clearer or more palatable are welcome.
 player, 9 posts
Thu 5 Feb 2015
at 16:16
Re: Suggestion Box
Well, the current formula is this:

Skill Points = [(4 x (Intelligence + Knowledge + Wisdom)) + (2 x Age in years)]

So, taking an average 25 year old Haedrasian, that's (4x (17+17+15)) + (2x25) = 246. Of those 246, roughly 80% is static in that it's naturally tied to a person's ability (stats) which cannot be changed after character generation.

Taking a 65 year old Haedrasian, that would become (4x (95% of 17+17+15)) + (2x65) = 316, more on this later.

Darkrealm is a levelless classless system in that it has no advancement system (usually XPs) and (with the notable exception of magi) everyone can become whatever they want to be regardless of who or what they are. Compared to D&D you'd get the same effect saying 'everyone rolls d8 for health, and can pick up any one class feature per level, but every class feature has skill point requirements'.

The main problem however is the lack of an advancement system. Sure, having a levelless system allows for visceral combat since it prevents even the most experienced of warriors from literally having hundreds of hit points as early as level 8 and ludicrous scenarios of characters simply shrugging off levels of damage that would kill first levels en masse, but it would also lack a certain amount of incentive.

Pointing to the skill point formula above, your skill points are set in stone. There are no levels, so your stats are set in stone and the only modifiers you'll ever see are age penalties applying to the base stats. The only thing left to gain as a reward for ones efforts is money and prestige.

So here's what i suggest: You could alter the formula to:

Skill Points = [(3 x (Intelligence + Knowledge + Wisdom)) + (2 x Age in years)]

The 25 year old in the above example would have (3x (17+17+15)) + (2x25) = 197, or 80% of the original value of 246.

The 65 year old in the above example would have (3x (95% of 17+17+15)) + (2x65) = 270, or 85% of its original value of 316.

Here's some Excel tables i made:

The listing below shows Average, Elite and Heroic scores for Haedrasians, which would make up the bulk of characters. I set it up so it could be easily edited when needed.

The numbers at the columns are ages, one for each age category between Adolescent and Venerable since no one is going to play a 5 year old.

Age penalties to mental stats are included in the calculations, which would explain the decimal values.

Old SP
        15      20      30      50      65      75
Average 196,6   226,2   256     296     316,2   326,4
Elite   227,2   260,4   292     332     350,4   358,8
Heroic  257,8   294,6   328     368     384,6   391,2

New SP
        15      20      30      50      65      75
Average 154,95  179,65  207     247     269,65  282,3
Elite   177,9   205,3   234     274     295,3   306,6
Heroic  200,85  230,95  261     301     320,95  330,9

SP Decrease
        15      20      30      50      65      75
Average 78,81%  79,42%  80,86%  83,45%  85,28%  86,49%
Elite   78,30%  78,84%  80,14%  82,53%  84,28%  85,45%
Heroic  77,91%  78,39%  79,57%  81,79%  83,45%  84,59%

So everyone pretty much loses 20% of their SPs, slightly favoring older people who are supposed to be more knowledgeable anyway.

So what would people get back for it in return? Well, that ties into the core of what i would suggest: an advancement system.

Players tend to spend the points they are assigned. The general instinctive tendency is to spend unspent skill points since no one wants to be mediocre. If they can spend x points, they will spend x points.

Lowering their available SPs at chargen by roughly 20% across the board has the advantage that they can now be awarded around 50 SPs or so for their RP without them going over the maximum allotted SPs. A New Player will join, picks a 25 year old and rolls Elite Mental stats, so he is told he has 234 skill points to spend on skills. Behind the screens you know he can no longer advance once he breaks 292 skill points, but the player does not.

In chargen, you can spend 10 SPs to increase a stat by one point. If SPs would be awarded in a similar way as XPs in level based games (both are basically getting better at something through practice rather than being taught) you could still advance even if you've hit the SP cap. You'd basically be using the same system companies like White Wolf are, they grant you 1 or 2 XPs for winning a fight or completing a mission and you use those to buy stats and skills directly rather than wait for a *ding* levelup and a handful of free points to spend. Only in this case it'd be skill points, with stats costing 10 SPs apiece and being capped by the racial limit.

Generally speaking, you'd be handing out 3-5 SPs or so per story 'chapter' with some bonus SPs at the end of every story arc. Usually they're divided into points for participation, remaining in character etc. and a bonus point or two for those that went above and beyond, help get other characters involved and such or simply write excellent IC posts that are consistent with the lore. Work well as handouts such as "It's the GM's birthday, everyone gets 1 free SP", and the +2 SP for it being the character's birthday (Age+1) could be explained in much the same way, which would have a nice synergy with any ingame calendar you plan to use. But as a rule of thumb 3-5 per chapter is fine.

Using a perfectly manageable 3-5 points for advancement, even an exceptionally good player won't cap out his SPs until well into the double digit chapter numbers, and that's assuming he's been around all the time actively participating and getting others involved and not using them on stats. It allows people that are good at what they do to become better at what they do simply by participating in the RP, as opposed to the system in place now which basically keeps people locked in place the moment they step out of chargen. More importantly, it encourages people to go out and experience things (using SPs as incentive) and return home with some fresh ideas (higher skill ranks) that he couldn't have gotten by simply staying home.

Well... and that's my long-winded two cents on the matter....

This message was last edited by the player at 16:19, Thu 05 Feb 2015.