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Ubiquity is really easy to min max
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Gundark

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:51 am    Post subject: Ubiquity is really easy to min max Reply with quote

My experience with Ubiquity thus far is that it is really easy to min max. I know that every game can be min maxed by a player if they know where to look, with AFO (the only ubiquity game I have played) it seems easier than normal to do

What have you done or would do to keep things in check?
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mitchw

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you give us an example of what you consider min-maxing in Ubiquity?

Mitch
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm assuming Gundark means a "combat thug," as few folk every complain "My player build a social or investigative min-maxer." Smile Based on that premise...

Strength 5 and Fencing or Melee 5 is easy to make, giving you 10 dice in combat before adding a weapon. But outside of combat the character is going to suck. Social and investigation skills are very handy in AFO, and fighting every foe with a deadly weapon is going to end up in a court case sooner or later. That's something most RPGs never worry about, but in AFO heroes aren't above the law.

Few Skills at a high level also means the character becomes somewhat useless during Group Extended Actions, such as in Serious Situations.

Of course, I can build a Savage Worlds character with Fighting d12 right from the start as well, but he'll have weak areas as well.
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mitchw

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I see. When I think of Min-Maxing it’s when someone who knows the system much better than another player (or the GM) they can get ‘more’ out of the system than the others.

What you are talking about here I call “overspecialization”. Very Happy

I like to test my PCs ‘weak’ skills. I remind the players of the time on Firefly when Wash went out on a mission with Mal and they got captured by Niska. Wash is a super, maxed out pilot but lacked many of the streetwise type skills he needed to handle being ‘in the field’. This made the episode much more interesting IMO. So, I remind them that they may get to shine every now and then with their maxed out uber skill but for the most part, if they create a weak spot, I am going to poke at that weak spot. Twisted Evil

On the other hand, if a player comes up with a good backstory about why they don’t have a balanced set of skills, and they play the character that way, they can earn Style Points to help cover the deficits.

If the player only wants to ‘kill things and take their stuff’ then AFO may not be the game they want to play. Confused

Mitch
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Gundark

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should state that I like Ubiquity quite a bit, maybe even more that Savage Worlds, so I'm coming from this as a fan. I found that with my group that it didn't take much system mastery to see how they could really pump up a dice pool. When I ran the session they were two people rolling 14 and 16 dice to hit something, with plans to take certain talents that would make the bonus even higher (pushing 20 dice). That made me cringe a little bit. I'm of the school of character making that would make me want to be efficient in combat, but not at the expense of other skills.

OTOH if they are willing to only shine during combat and be mostly useless at other times, then maybe I should let the punishment fit the crime.
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've posted a lot of threads dealing with the effects of going to the +8 difficulty line in the magick system. Extended Duration spells or potions and skill or stat enhancing items, potions or spells can result in very high bonuses.

I think the magick system is the easiest to abuse because it is easy to get to the +8 difficulty line right at the beginning of a player's career, with a little planning. And this can affect every subsequent roll in the game.

For combat the roll of using the Skill bonus dice alone allows a +10 bonus to a fight.
The +10 mod cap limit helps, but that is still 5 average successes a roll that the a GM will face.

It is all self defeating of course. If you push the envelope the GM will answer in kind and the party risks getting into an arms race mentality, or he shifts game focus from combat to social events and the party is disgraced in social duels and loses all credibility.


Last edited by CanuckAlchemist on Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nestor

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the end, at least the way I see it, it comes down to style of play.

Ubiquity seeks to emulate the action adventure genre, whether in the 1700's or the 1930's. The expectation is that the players will work cooperatively with the GM to make the game fun for all.

For this reason, the system works toward allowing, even encouraging, the players to attempt cool, over-the-top actions, and leaves the responsibility of control to the GM, not the rules mechanics.

If a player is min-maxing just because he can or because he wants an "auto win" every time combat occurs, then I would hazard he may not be "getting" the concept of the game.
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nestor may have a point but I feel that line of thinking can only go so far. A good system should be robust enough to handle someone who is looking to maximise his advantage - to say he isn't entering in to the spirit of things can be a little harsh and unfair.

For me Ubiquity fails in a few areas with regards to the min/max issue...

1) The assigned difficulty levels are, IMHO, too low. A Nigh Impossible task only requires 6+ successes and this can be easily achieved by experienced characters. Even new characters can, with a little creative planning and prudent use of Style Points, achieve the nearly impossible on a regular basis.

2) Stating that a person who specialises in a specific area (let's use Charisma) will be weak in another is not entirely true. A character who maximises his Charisma attribute only has to take the Bold Attack talent to be just as dangerous in combat; now we have a character that has few weaknesses. This is something that can be done for all the attributes.

3) Enemies and creatures are generally underpowered for experienced characters. This is a bit of a generalisation but it has to be said that some creatures have to be house-ruled to make them a tougher challenge.

4) Gang-up bonuses don't work as written. With the rules as written the more enemies a character faces the lower his defence. Sounds good except that his defence can never reduce below his Passive Defence and a character with the Parry talent doesn't care because he can substitute his Active Defense rating with his Melee (Fencing) rating. With a 10 rating in Fencing this means he can face five attackers before he is relying on his Passive Defense.

Are these issues insurmountable? By no means but house-ruling is something that I feel is required when running an Ubiquity game. Smart players will develop well rounded and very capable characters and the GM needs to be prepared. Ubiquity could really do with a v2.0 revision but this is unlikely to happen in the near future if at all.

I still love the system and it is easy for the GM to adjust to the characters in his game so people should not be put off - I just feel that it is better to be prepared and have a good game than be unprepared and disappointed.

My campaign is going great-guns and I have a character with a Charisma rating of 6, an alchemist who is constantly looking to enhance and benefit the other characters, a noble with very high combat stats and a female musketeer who has great social skills and puts her dance and athletic abilities to great use in combat and non-combat situations.

At no point have I felt that any of them are too powerful because I'm catering for them and challenging them with equally capable opponents. They still have their moments to shine when they can cut through a throng of opponents and look cool but, when someone like Rochefort stands his ground or Milady de Winter meets them in a social gathering, they think long and hard before making their next move - just how it should be Wink
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1) The assigned difficulty levels are, IMHO, too low.

That´s one point that struck me as strange, also. But it´s also one thing that´s really easy to fix. As I don´t tell my players the difficulty against which they are rolling, for the most time, I assign it to my liking. I just tell them the result.
Quote:
With the rules as written the more enemies a character faces the lower his defence.

Depends on the number of attackers and how they are arranged. Five attackers won´t all be standing in front of the character - at least two should be in his flank or back.
This maybe house-ruling, but to me, attacks from the back can´t be parried without the use of a style point.
Quote:
A character who maximises his Charisma attribute only has to take the Bold Attack talent to be just as dangerous in combat;

But he will have his flaws in Athletics, Acrobatics, Linguistics, etc. - just to name a few. Additionally you would have to have a very good character-concept from the start to build such a character.

To me, the real weak spot in UBI is the XP-distribution. As you can put them everywhere, given enough play-time you can get very proficient in almost every skill.
I will develop some house-rules concerning learning skills and teaching.

What is a fencing master good for, when he can´t actually teach you something? And why bother with the Université, when you just have to put some XP in a skill?
Coming from systems like AGONE, where you push skills with learning and put your valuable XP into your flame to further the overall cause, the lack of learning-rules got me wondering.

And: When you have to get yourself a teacher (or a book, etc.), that´s just one more hindrance to min-max. Twisted Evil
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Nestor

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The GIT! wrote:

1) The assigned difficulty levels are, IMHO, too low. A Nigh Impossible task only requires 6+ successes and this can be easily achieved by experienced characters. Even new characters can, with a little creative planning and prudent use of Style Points, achieve the nearly impossible on a regular basis.


Really? *scratches head*

6 successes on the average require a 12-dice pool, unless you have players who consistently break the probability curve. Although I can see being able to assemble that size of a dice pool in combat (by adding a weapon's damage rating), I am honestly surprised at a character walking around with a 12 rating on a Skill, let alone more than one.

Quote:

2) Stating that a person who specialises in a specific area (let's use Charisma) will be weak in another is not entirely true. A character who maximises his Charisma attribute only has to take the Bold Attack talent to be just as dangerous in combat; now we have a character that has few weaknesses. This is something that can be done for all the attributes.


Althalus answered this one quite well.

Quote:

3) Enemies and creatures are generally underpowered for experienced characters. This is a bit of a generalisation but it has to be said that some creatures have to be house-ruled to make them a tougher challenge.


Well, if by experienced characters you mean ones walking around with 12 ratings on their Skills, I would have to agree. Wink

Quote:

4) Gang-up bonuses don't work as written. With the rules as written the more enemies a character faces the lower his defence. Sounds good except that his defence can never reduce below his Passive Defence and a character with the Parry talent doesn't care because he can substitute his Active Defense rating with his Melee (Fencing) rating. With a 10 rating in Fencing this means he can face five attackers before he is relying on his Passive Defense.


Well, a character's Passive Defense is based on his Body, which, uness you have a posse of Hulk Hogans as your PCs, should generally run in the 2-3 range. That means on the average 1 or 2 successes on Defense rolls, which usually doesn't fare well against most armed opponents. And I'm still honestly befuddled at the ratings you're bandying about. A 10 on Fencing? Wow. Just wow.

I guess what it sounds like to me is that you're running a very high-level game (with stats at 6 and Skill ratings at 10), which to be honest stretches the system's "area of operation", so I'm not surprised that you're hitting some road bumps.

In that kind of situation, having to bolster the ruleset with some house-rules is almost a requirement, as it would be with any RPG that's being used out of its "zone". Smile
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nestor wrote:
And I'm still honestly befuddled at the ratings you're bandying about. A 10 on Fencing? Wow. Just wow.

You're kidding right? At character generation all it takes is for a PC to have a rating of 4 in Strength and 5 in Fencing and, with a Fencing Style that gives +1 in Parry, you have a Parry of 10!

In attack the same character is likely to have a minimum of 12L with a rapier and that doesn't even take in to account the possibility of bonus dice due to Skill Specialization and Talents. Take a Fencing School Resource and you immediately gain +2 bonus at level one and the possibility of benefiting from more talents.

My game is not especially high powered - the system just allows smart players to maximise benefits from prudent use of experience points. We are, after all, talking about musketeers so it stands to reason the players are going to look very seriously at being able to fight Confused
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nestor wrote:
The GIT! wrote:

1) The assigned difficulty levels are, IMHO, too low. A Nigh Impossible task only requires 6+ successes and this can be easily achieved by experienced characters. Even new characters can, with a little creative planning and prudent use of Style Points, achieve the nearly impossible on a regular basis.


Really? *scratches head*

6 successes on the average require a 12-dice pool, unless you have players who consistently break the probability curve. Although I can see being able to assemble that size of a dice pool in combat (by adding a weapon's damage rating), I am honestly surprised at a character walking around with a 12 rating on a Skill, let alone more than one.


OK - I'm not saying the PCs in my game are running around with skills at rating 12; far from it. The game, however, allows for characters to regularly achieve the "nigh impossible" by such things as a little teamwork, taking extra time and having a good set of tools...suddenly you gain +8 on your dice pool Shocked With a skill rating of 4 you can now achieve the nigh impossible Exclamation That may work for you but I say the "nigh impossible" should be far harder to achieve even with time on your hands and a few good friends nearby.

Even if you don't have extra time and good tools available a few Style Points can easily solve the problem.
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nestor wrote:
I guess what it sounds like to me is that you're running a very high-level game (with stats at 6 and Skill ratings at 10), which to be honest stretches the system's "area of operation", so I'm not surprised that you're hitting some road bumps.

In that kind of situation, having to bolster the ruleset with some house-rules is almost a requirement, as it would be with any RPG that's being used out of its "zone". Smile

Not at all - perhaps looking at some of the Archetypes will help. The Duelist alone starts with 11L with a rapier and that isn't including his Fencing Style.

The Aging Noble has Skill Ratings of 8 in Diplomacy, 7 in Performance and 6 in Empathy along with 8L with a musket. These may not seem high but, with a few Style Points he is well on his way to achieving "nigh impossible" successes without having to roll any dice.

Those are just the first two Archetypes. The game system is awesome for GMing and allows players to run larger-than-life characters but I still feel the Difficulty levels are set too low.
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been toying around with setting new Difficulty Levels for my games. This may upset some who think Ubiquity is fine as is but, for those who are interested, I'm thinking of using the following levels...
    01-Easy
    02-Average
    03-Tough
    05-Hard
    07-Very Hard
    10-Nigh Impossible

These difficulty levels are the same as the standard rules up to Tough but then they become increasingly difficult with the Nigh Impossible requiring a dice pool of 20 dice to guarantee success!

This may seem excessive but, for me at least, having a character achieve the "nigh impossible" should be something that is truly memorable and to be talked about among friends over a few beers. Building a dice pool of 20 is not as difficult as it sounds but it is still challenging enough for players to have to think long and hard before attempting.

Others may disagree with me and heckle me down and are perfectly entitled to do so; I'm fine with that but for those who think a few system changes are needed here and there feel free to playtest.

Bear in mind also that such luminaries as Jeff Combos have always talked about Ubiquity v2.0 and, while that may never see the light of day, it does imply that some thought has been given to tweaking the system.
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Nestor

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The GIT! wrote:

You're kidding right? At character generation all it takes is for a PC to have a rating of 4 in Strength and 5 in Fencing and, with a Fencing Style that gives +1 in Parry, you have a Parry of 10!


And a character with a Strength of 4 means he has only 11 points to fill out the rest of his Primary Attributes, which means a lot of 2s and 1s. And spending 5 points on his Fencing means only 10 points on any other Skills. I consider that a corner case, in the sense that the character becomes an idiot savant, extraordinary in one thing but mediocre to poor in everything else.

As for attack ratings, keep in mind those normally include the weapon ratings. I was referring to Skills and Attributes specifically.

Quote:

My game is not especially high powered - the system just allows smart players to maximise benefits from prudent use of experience points. We are, after all, talking about musketeers so it stands to reason the players are going to look very seriously at being able to fight Confused


Being a musketeer is much much more than beng a master fencer. There's intrigue, diplomacy, and a score of other social engagements that can't be automatically resolved with a blade.

I understand if you disagree, but if your characters are walking around with multiple 4s in Attributes and Skills in the 8-10 range, they're high-powered. That is not the norm for the game.
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