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Does Strength deserve to be an attribute?

Dog Quixote

Registered User
Validated User
Well, its main value to people who want it is that you control pretty precisely how a character comes out without too much constraints. Splitting into separate pools still means you're going to have to have a high value in one of those if you have a low one in another, and perhaps you'd rather have high value somewhere else, or have both of those high and something else low.
Surely it means the opposite? Splitting into separate pools means they're only balanced within each other - not against each other. So buying the abilities to be a good melee fighter for example may not mean dumping your intelligence or social skills, because you're using different pools to buy different abilities relevant to different spheres of the game.

Or else what would be the point?
 
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Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Surely it means the opposite? Splitting into separate pools means they're only balanced within each other - not against each other. So buying the abilities to be a good melee fighter for example may not mean dumping your intelligence or social skills, because you're using different pools to buy different abilities relevant to different spheres of the game.

Or else what would be the point?
But my point is what if you want to have crap social skills as part of your concept? If they system won't let you, that's not a positive feature from that perspective. I can quite see why it can be viewed as desirable in terms of aiming for some sorts of group-dynamic reasons, but I've certainly seen people resent the fact that a game, for example, forced a character to have some degree of fighting skill no matter what, and given the general thrust of most RPGs, that one is more defensible than most on practical grounds.

It can all too easily seem that, besides narrowing character design choices beyond what the general game purpose is (if it even has one), it forces investment in areas that are going to be (at best) the bailiwick overwhelmingly of the group specialist (or perhaps a couple of the same) within most systems, when, for example, the third best faceman or technician in the group will rarely if ever get use out of those abilities. You can get into a pretty interesting (but extended) discussion of whether the degree games tend to make those sort of things one-man jobs is appropriate or desirable, but that's still the context within which most people design characters.
 

Dog Quixote

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Validated User
All systems come with their constraints. Changing the way systems work merely changes what those constraints are. Point buy systems are not without their constraints (as I mentioned above) it's just that a lot of gamers are so use to them now they feel as if they're natural.

I don't think anyone's advocating that the all games that do things in traditional ways should be burnt in the public square.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
All systems come with their constraints. Changing the way systems work merely changes what those constraints are. Point buy systems are not without their constraints (as I mentioned above) it's just that a lot of gamers are so use to them now they feel as if they're natural.

I don't think anyone's advocating that the all games that do things in traditional ways should be burnt in the public square.
I think its overly blithe to suggest that people who prefer the more open point-based approach are only doing so from familiarity. Those systems didn't spring up ex nihilio; they arrived to fit a demand because of the constraint of extent systems weren't desirable to some people. I think that's more than "familiarity", and to suggest that none of them would be bothered by siloing ability pools further requires a bit more unpacking to be convincing.
 

A.J.Gibson

Actual Size
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I'd like to ask a follow-up question connected to the original OP: should each attribute always have some sort of defensive value, or some application that simply can not be worked around, so that you can never completely ignore them?
 

Dog Quixote

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Validated User
I think its overly blithe to suggest that people who prefer the more open point-based approach are only doing so from familiarity. Those systems didn't spring up ex nihilio; they arrived to fit a demand because of the constraint of extent systems weren't desirable to some people. I think that's more than "familiarity", and to suggest that none of them would be bothered by siloing ability pools further requires a bit more unpacking to be convincing.
None of this is a an accurate paraphrase of my comment.

What I said was that I think it's easy to miss the constraints inherent in point buy systems due to long term-familiarity. You suggest that people would be bothered by having to be good at social skills AND fighting. How is that any more of a constraint than only being able to be good at one?

And I'm certainly not suggesting that no one would be bothered by different kinds of systems (where on earth did you get that from?). Of course people would be bothered. You can't please all of the people all of the kind.

It's just...I don't see any reason why I should care. If you like the way traditional point-based system work you're not exactly poorly served. What exactly is the problem with advocating for a bit of experimentation and alternative thinking about design goals? You seem to be feeling personally aggrieved here - but I can't fathom why you should be.

But if it needs to be said than fine it's ok to play GURPS.
 
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Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
None of this is a an accurate paraphrase of my comment.

What I said was that I think it's easy to miss the constraints inherent in point buy systems due to long term-familiarity. You suggest that people would be bothered by having to be good at social skills AND fighting. How is that any more of a constraint than only being able to be good at one?
This seems based on the premise that a pure build system will only allow you to be good at one. I have no evidence that's routinely the case, so I don't consider it relevant.


And I'm certainly not suggesting that no one would be bothered by different kinds of systems (where on earth did you get that from?). Of course people would be bothered. You can't please all of the people all of the kind.

It's just...I don't see any reason why I should care. If you like the way traditional point-based system work you're not exactly poorly served. What exactly is the problem with advocating for a bit of experimentation and alternative thinking about design goals? You seem to be feeling personally aggrieved here - but I can't fathom why you should be.
There's no problem with it. There also should be no problem with pointing out its going to be a poor solutions for a fair number of people. But apparently one is okay, but the other isn't.

I mean, seriously, if you offer a mechanical structure up as a suggestion, people pointing out the issues with it should be what you expect. Frankly, I'm not understanding your issue with my response.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
Splitting into separate pools still means you're going to have to have a high value in one of those if you have a low one in another, and perhaps you'd rather have high value somewhere else, or have both of those high and something else low.
Not necessarily. Priority systems (e.g. The Riddle Of Steel) let you both silo the points to buy different pieces and choose to emphasize or deemphasize those pieces as a whole.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Not necessarily. Priority systems (e.g. The Riddle Of Steel) let you both silo the points to buy different pieces and choose to emphasize or deemphasize those pieces as a whole.
That's fair. I'm familiar with that scheme from Shadowrun. Come to think of it, though I thing their character gen has other issues, so do most versions of Storyteller.

But the issue still comes up that you can have a situation where the player's view of what they want high and low doesn't match the game system's idea of where they're permitted to do that. I also think priority systems are getting progressively toward the area where any benefit over a free point build starts to become pretty unclear.
 

SuperG

Active member
Validated User
But my point is what if you want to have crap social skills as part of your concept? If they system won't let you, that's not a positive feature from that perspective. I can quite see why it can be viewed as desirable in terms of aiming for some sorts of group-dynamic reasons, but I've certainly seen people resent the fact that a game, for example, forced a character to have some degree of fighting skill no matter what, and given the general thrust of most RPGs, that one is more defensible than most on practical grounds.
All characters being able to contribute to roleplaying scenes is probably even easier to justify than all characters being able to contribute to fights.

Sure, not all concepts have classic social skills (being able to charm and persuade people). But your big dumb beatstick having "Menacing Presence" or "Legendary Reputation" doesn't subtract from that - they still only speak in grunts, it's just that those grunts can be used to get cooperation. Your shy introvert having "Geek Illuminati" doesn't make them less shy, it just means that there's a good chance they know someone else who shares their narrow niche hobbies and will help out - or maybe they have "Theoretical Knowledge of Ettiquette" and can pass tips to the actual talky guys ("no guys, you need to punch him in the face right after meeting him or it's a deadly insult. Srsly.")

Now, resenting that there's no option that's appropriate for your character concept is reasonable (solution: game needs more options), but wanting to be able to dump-stat social for more +'s to hit is not.

Similarly, being annoyed that you *have* to be personally puissant? Sure. Being annoyed that you have a mechanical knob to twist during combat, even if it's "look helpless and inspire others to save you"? Less sure.

It can all too easily seem that, besides narrowing character design choices beyond what the general game purpose is (if it even has one), it forces investment in areas that are going to be (at best) the bailiwick overwhelmingly of the group specialist (or perhaps a couple of the same) within most systems, when, for example, the third best faceman or technician in the group will rarely if ever get use out of those abilities. You can get into a pretty interesting (but extended) discussion of whether the degree games tend to make those sort of things one-man jobs is appropriate or desirable, but that's still the context within which most people design characters.
There is definitely an issue here. Wanting to be the guy who "does everything" in a game sphere (the guy who does all the fight, the guy who does all the talk, the guy who does all the solve problem) is a reasonably natural desire, but you can run into a lot of significant problems;

1) Everyone wants to be a face: If everyone builds talky, and only one person needed to, feel bad time.
2) No one wants to be a face: If no one builds talky, GM has a problem; the group now suffers lack-of-face consequences, encouraging *one* person to abandon concept and become the face instead of what they wanted.
3) Spotlight: giving the face precisely their intended amount of spotlight is a lot of work.


Sure, it's what people are kinda used to... but is it GOOD?
 
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