Points, Paths & Advantages

Character Points are the currency of character creation. How a player spends them will shape the character and their adventures.

Character Points Allowance

A recommended starting character has 70 CP. This is enough to purchase at most 17 different advantages though 14 is a more normal number as this leaves some points over to increase CP/Dice Values. However, there is no intrinsic reason not to have starting characters with more points. Groups wishing to use different CP values for starting characters should select an appropriate points value based on the style of play they seek. Higher-powered starting characters are more difficult for new players to manage and have less room for growth. However they can be great fun for short campaigns, allowing the players to let rip. Lower allowances are more manageable and make a character's growth meaningful. They are ideal for campaigns where the characters start as farm-hands and develop into heroes.

CP Style of Game
50 or less Grim and realistic. Characters will have few abilities and are relatively easy to kill.
70 Recommended budget for characters in an ongoing campaign.
100 A good starting point for high-powered, action-film heroes.
150 True super-heroes. Massively skilled and hard to kill.
250 God-like.
What Is Normal?

When considering the starting allowance Game Leaders should consider how the characters compare to an average person in the setting. How many CP does your garage mechanic have? Is everyone in else in the world just a mook? What sort of dice and modifiers can a top surgeon put together when performing brain surgery? If the average person only has ten CP then even a 50 CP character is going to be a world leader in their field.

This question relates to the inherent difficulty of actions. Using the standard range of difficulties, landing on the moon has a 6d6+6 resistance before any situation bonuses. For a 50/50 chance of succeeding the pilot also needs 6d6+6 and to have a reasonable chance of success, 6d6+18 would be needed. But landing on the moon is not a single action, it needs a whole range of actions using different skills. This suggests Neil Armstrong had about 130 CP or more, enough to get several skills to 1d6+4 and probably a couple to 1d6+6.

The default 70 point allowance and inherent difficulty assumes a world where the average person in the street has 50 points. Of course, not everyone is created equally and a successful professional will have around 100 points while many disadvantaged people will have below 50 points. At this level characters with 70 are a cut above the average but with a large gap between them and the world's best.

Paths

Path cards provide a skeleton on which the player hangs both the character's back-story and their selection of advantages. The paths encapsulate key periods in the character's life where they learnt the skills which define who they are. Like any other advantage, a path is something important to the character and the absence of a path does not mean the character has never experienced those things. A character without the School path card might still have gone to school but it just had no impact on the person they became.

It is up to the group and Game Leader to decide the range of paths characters can select from. Each setting has its own list but it is possible to mix paths from different settings. Some caution should be applied as advantages can vary in power between settings, but in most cases paths can be applied across different genres. Once a list of paths has been decided, characters can purchase any path from it. The Game Leader may ask players to justify particular combinations, such as the High Born and the Street Urchin path, with a suitable back-story for the character.

Selecting a path makes available nine other advantages. Starting characters can only buy life and ability advantages made available on their paths. By their nature, path cards restrict a player's choices but help keep characters focused.

Using Paths In Actions

Path advantages are no different from other advantages. Their dice value can be raised with additional CP and they can be used in actions. As with any advantage they must be available and appropriate but otherwise they are used as per other advantages. They are extremely general in nature, representing a significant period in the character's life when they were exposed to a wide range of influences. As static advantages they embody the knowledge and learning we subconsciously pick up just by being in an environment or situation.

Buying Advantages

Acquiring paths and advantages costs CP with a minimum charge of four CP / 1d6+0. Improving an advantage to 1d6+1 costs an additional one CP. Improving it again to 1d6+2 costs another two CP. Upgrading it to 1d6+3 costs a further three CP and so on.

Dice Score Total Cost (CP) Upgrade Cost
1d6+0 4 -
1d6+1 5 1
1d6+2 7 2
1d6+3 10 3
1d6+4 14 4
1d6+5 19 5
1d6+6 25 6

Characters can be created with any combination of advantages and dice scores. A starting character with 70 CP could buy fifteen 4 CP / 1d6+0 advantages plus two 5 CP / 1d6+1 advantages. Alternatively they could buy two 25 CP / 1d6+6 and two 10 CP / 1d6+3 advantages. Both are perfectly legal builds thought the latter is not recommended.

Duplicate Advantages

Each advantage on a path may only be purchased once but a character is allowed to have identical advantages if they come from two or more different paths. Advantages which have '[Specify]' after their name need a focus, e.g. when selecting Weapon Expertise [Specify] the player must record the type of weapon – Weapon Expertise Pistols. These advantages may be selected multiple times from the same path as long as they have a different focus. No two advantages from the same path may be identical.

Meta-Character Points

Character Points and the advantages they buy are the core of any character but there are other significant factors shaping what and how much a character can do. The number of dynamic and static potential tokens, how many free resists and how much potential they can recoup all affect a character's ability to act. These values are known as meta-character points.

Standard characters have nine MCP:

  • 4 x Dynamic Potential
  • 2 x Static Potential
  • 2 x Recoup
  • 1 x Free Resist

Changing these can have interesting consequences, sometimes subtle, sometimes significant. This can be seen in monsters who can have significantly different numbers and mixes of MCP which give them distinctive behaviours. We recommend only experienced players and Game Leaders experiment with different configurations for characters as certain combinations can be unbalancing or lead to unplayable characters.

Active MCP Pool

Dynamic potential and recoup make up active meta-character points. This is the thinking, conscious part of the brain and the two factors combine to dictate how quickly and effectively a character can act. For the recommended balance the pool is six - two recoup and four dynamic.

Passive MCP Pool

Static potential and free resists form the subconscious or instinctive aspects of the brain covered by passive meta-character points. The passive MCP pool is three for the standard character - one free resist and two static potential.

Active & Passive MCP in Harmony

When creating a character a player may allocate MCP to active and passive pools as they see fit with one restriction: neither pool can be more than twice the other. In the recommended build the active MCP pool is six which is twice the passive MCP pool, the limit of its range. Within the active and passive pools, MCP can be divided up as desired.

This restriction only applies to character creation. Characters who improve their MCP by reaching milestones or other in-game rewards can use them as desired.

What To Consider When Adjusting MCP

The relative worth of dynamic potential versus static versus recoup and free resists is hard to calculate. A lot depends on the situation the character is in and what advantages they have. The number of the dynamic and static potential defines the maximum number of advantages and dice an action can contain. A high recoup allows the character to act more often but the more free resists a character has, the less potential they will need to use in defence. Of course, if the character is never attacked free resists will not get used and the MCP allocated to them is wasted.

Each character will have several character paths which are static advantages and each path generally contains two or three additional static advantages. A player who focuses on having more free resists over static potential is effectively devaluing the character points they spent on the paths. Most advantages with special abilities or feats are static and characters focusing on dynamic potential are limiting their range of actions.

Game Leaders should advise players on the nature of the planned game. If combat is very rare and most actions are narrative actions it makes sense for characters to increase their dynamic and static potential over recoup and free resists. Conversely, in combat-heavy games it makes sense to have more free resists.

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open/mechanics/core/characterpoints.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/06 12:49 by darth_tigger
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