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Ubiquity is really easy to min max
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Nestor

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Joined: 24 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The GIT! wrote:
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.


Then I humbly suggest that maybe you need to look at how you're applying those bonuses. I could see how a team could pull that level of pluses, but on a regular basis? Question

Let me make it clear. I am not in any way criticizing your play style. My goal is to point out that you're slightly pushing the envelope in terms of what the game is designed to handle, which is why you're finding it necessary to add some house-rules.

I am interested and curious in seeing how you handle the situation. Smile
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nestor wrote:
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.

I disagree. With a rating of 4 in one attribute that means 11 points to be distributed among five other attributes - no 1s necessary and a possible 3 in one other attribute with the rest at 2. To say that spending 5 skill points on one skill will make him mediocre to poor in the rest is way off base as well. You only need to have a rating of 4 to be considered average in a skill and be able to provide Teamwork bonuses. The other option is for a character to only spend 3 points on a skill and take the Skill Aptitude talent to boost it to 5. Many of the Archetypes have skills that have 4 skill levels assigned and some of them have an attribute at level 4 so this kind of idea is not new and it isn't taking the game away from its "area of operation".

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

I fully understand the impact weapon bonuses have but they are still relevant to this discussion.

Nestor wrote:
The GIT! wrote:
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 being 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 what it is to be a musketeer and I can assure you I have created some very complicated and difficult social scenarios for my group. The issue is, however, that the argument is flawed thanks to the wonderful selection of Talents that allow characters to circumvent the perceived limitations of putting a lot of points in a particular attribute.

Further, it strikes me that many people seem to think it is a bad thing to specialise in a particular field rather than try to be a Jack-of-all-Trades (which BTW is a must have Talent for the smart player). The thing is, with a group of four characters (fairly normal sized gaming group) you can have four specialists who also have enough skills to provide Teamwork bonuses to each other. Being a specialist in a field is actually the preferred way to go.

Nestor wrote:
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.

I'm sorry Nestor but I do disagree and at no point did I say any one character has multiple 4s in Attributes but having skills in the 8-10 range is very quickly achieveable without being high-powered. Even without experience points many characters can have one or two skill ratings in the 6-8 range and with Style Points the likelihood of succeeding at more difficult tasks quickly becomes commonplace.
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Last edited by The GIT! on Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nestor wrote:
The GIT! wrote:
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.


Then I humbly suggest that maybe you need to look at how you're applying those bonuses. I could see how a team could pull that level of pluses, but on a regular basis? Question

On the contrary, I think the smart players will create situations for themselves where they can apply modifiers. Having the right tools to do a job basically gives a +2 right from the get go An example in the book says that using a grappling hook to aid in climbing gives a +2; I'd say that not using a grappling hook is more likely to give a negative modifier. The game is actually designed to be generous with modifiers but I still feel the difficulty levels set for tasks are too easy.

Nestor wrote:
Let me make it clear. I am not in any way criticizing your play style. My goal is to point out that you're slightly pushing the envelope in terms of what the game is designed to handle, which is why you're finding it necessary to add some house-rules.

I am interested and curious in seeing how you handle the situation. Smile

I honestly don't think at any point I have pushed the envelope in terms of how the game rules are written - I do feel that the system is due for an update to make it more robust. It has so much potential to be one of the best rule-sets out there but as written it can be abused.
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:42 am    Post subject: Example Build Reply with quote

Well let's try to build an Idiot Savant

Assume the intent is to max out 1 area (Intelligence) and see how weak a character is in other areas.

Stats

Body 2 Move: 4
Dex 2 Perception: 8
Strength 2 Initiative: 8
Charisma 2 Defense: 4
Intelligence 6 (with Talent) Stun: 2
Willpower 2 Health 4

So you put 2's in everything and 5 in Intelligence, 15 point build. taking Intelligent as a Talent to give you a 6 in Intelligence. Min maxed to the hilt.

Stun of 2 is average, Perception and Initiative are awesome because of Intelligence bonus. health. Well.... don't get hit. This is not a great score and you accept it.

Skills:
0 level

First number is level () is final score
Fencing or Melee 3 (5 or 9 with Calcutalted Attack)
Ride 1 (3)
Firearms 2 (4)
Medicine 4 (looking at battle wound repair) (10)

Other Skills

Investigation 2 (Cool
Linguistics 1 (7)
Bureaucracy 1 (7)

Streetwise 1 (3)
Diplomacy 2 (4)
For 15 points spent

So except for streetwise and ride the plyer can give a +2 teamwork bonus. This very bright man is rising up from the streets using his mind and intelligence. He can fight, and patch up wounds. He may not be an educated physican, just a rough and ready stitcher of wounds, but he is good at his trade, better than many so called 'Doctors'

Fencing Style is Anatomie


Talent is Intelligent as mentioned above.
the 15 extra points buys the Talent of Calculated Attack

this gives base 9 to attack, and a rapiers makes it 12 dice, impossible attacks on average

Focsing o intelligence gives 16 skills with Intelligence to benfit from the high base score, while other stats have 6 or 4, and only 1 for Willpower.

So while the character is a lousy shot, and can barely sit on a horse. He is average in Diplomatic efforts, a little streetwise. But can speak several languages, handle the paperwork with ease.
After a fight he can patch folks up with his rough and ready First aid. he gets folks back on their feet in no time.


If he spends his first 15 xp from adventuring on Calculated Defense his Defense ratings both active and passive goes from a 2 to a 6. This makes him very tough to hit.

Another option is to give him Lifesaver and he heals 5 L wounds on average, or 10 Nonlethal per First Aid roll.

So that's my 10 minute Min max character. his Charisma based skills are the weakest point, but for Intelligence based rolls the 6 is outstanding.
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say he is weakest in the physical side of things, Athletics is missing, might swap out streetwise for Athletics to let him climb and jump.

Physical challenges will be a problem, he is a thinker not a brawny action hero. But in a swordfight, he is lethal.
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks CanuckAlchemist - that's an interesting character build and shows very well how easy it is to min/max.

For me the very simple way to make the system more robust is, as I pointed out before, to tweak the difficulty levels for task resolution. I'm reluctant to stop handing out experience points otherwise the characters can't grow and develop as people in the setting.

All successful game systems have to be tweaked and adjusted from time to time - Savage Worlds is now effectively on its 4th edition and the Deluxe Edition has just won the Gold Ennie Award for Best Game. I really feel that Ubiquity v2.0 would be very well received and would help it survive against the growing competition in the RPG industry; indie games are rapidly becoming very successful thanks to the print-on-demand and pdf method of sales. As an example Honor + Intrigue received an Ennie Judges' Spotlight Award (I mention this game because it's a swashbuckling game and bloody good).

I understand and respect Nestor's point of view but just feel that it is time to take the system to the next level as it were.
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The difficulty-ratings seem to be built around a rating of 5 - which just doesn´t fit into the "reality" of actual play.

I would raise them even more - a difficulty of 1 should be marked as "trivial", not just "easy".

01 Trivial
02 Easy
03 Average
05 Tough
07 Hard
09 Very Hard
11 Nigh Impossible

So you need a rating of 6 to do an average task by taking the average and 10 for a tough one.
IMHO every difficulty above this should not be resolvable by just taking the average under normal circumstances. You HAVE to put effort into this, be that Style Points, teamwork or time.

Taking CanuckAlchemists Idiot Savant as an example, he would have no problem, doing Average bureaucratic tasks, have a chance for hard ones but will have to put real effort into anything beyond that.

This also means, that the GM maybe has to revise the assining of difficulties a bit. There will be more average tasks and less hard ones.

It will further the need for specialists but shifts the focus a bit from fighting to other tasks. If you need more XP assigned to non-fighting skills, attack-pools will get smaller by themselves.
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another option is to use what WotC did in Star Wars and have a sliding difficulty scale. What a guy with Bureaucracy 4 calls easy isn't the same as the guy with Bureaucracy 8. Each difficulty descriptor would have a small scale, like Easy 1-2, Average 2-4, Tough 3-5, Hard 4-6, etc.

Things like party size do matter a lot in this discussion. Had our group four players, then we'd likely each play a very good specialist. As it is, we have 2 players, so we're buying a lot of skills at level 1 just to avoid the untrained penalty. 2 XPs isn't a lot to sacrifice to ensure a rating 4 (higher in some cases) in our preferred attributes.

There's the cost of buying new things. Having spendable XPs and varying costs means there's no growth curve. A guy who buys lots of skills will be vastly different to one who invests in Talents. Not after a few sessions, but give it 40-50 XPs and the differences begins to show.

I'd also prefer villains & monsters to go more down the Savage Worlds route -- just give them what they need to be an appropriate threat, and completely drop comparing them to Allies, Followers, and Mentors. That way you can have a fencing villain with low attributes or skills, but loads of cool Talents. As it stands, if you want more Talents for him he automatically has higher attributes and skills.

Must add that the system is far from broken. It just needs a few tweaks to help smooth out the wrinkles.
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'd also prefer villains & monsters to go more down the Savage Worlds route -- just give them what they need to be an appropriate threat, and completely drop comparing them to Allies, Followers, and Mentors.

I allways thought, this rating was something along the lines of a Challenge Rating, not the way the creature was built.
Why not just drop this, then?
Quote:
Must add that the system is far from broken.

Very far from it - but there are some small holes in it that are like potholes in a street. Ubiquity is going fast and every pothole rattles up to your teeth. Wink
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Althalus wrote:
I allways thought, this rating was something along the lines of a Challenge Rating, not the way the creature was built.
Why not just drop this, then?


I might for my next setting, but first I'd want to run it by Jeff. It's his sandpit -- we just get to play in it. The current system does have its uses. If you buy Ally 1, for example, there's a ready-made list to pick from.
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Nestor

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess it comes down to a matter of play style. In the time I've played with Ubiquity (mostly with HEX), the issue you mention just never came up for me.

But that's possibly 'cause I game with people who don't try to squeeze every single bonus they can from a situation because they can; they're too busy chewing up the scenery, spouting movie quotes and recreating scenes from their favorite flicks. Very Happy

To explain a bit of my philosophy, I have an instinctive hesitation to handling min-max / powergaming through rules expansion. It creates a trend for one-upmanship, as the aspiring munchkin then seeks to dig out yet another loophole that has to be dealt with, until your nice elegant system becomes a bloated mess. Believe me, I've seen it happen. It ain't pretty. Wink

I prefer to go the social engineering route. I work with the players to make sure one's idea of fun doesn't step on the others'. In the end, it's a communal experience.

I've also weaned myself from the "play for XP" attitude. We create the characters we want to play, and any growth or development is dealt with in-game. If a character learns a new skill, it's because he's spent time studying it, not because he happens to have dinged a level. Wink
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the Nestor camp as a player/GM. I like a character who can do his job probably, even if he isn't the best at his one thing. My current LOA detective's highest rating is Investigation 6, and Investigation doesn't get used every scene. Odds are that won't be increased any time soon.
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If a character learns a new skill, it's because he's spent time studying it, not because he happens to have dinged a level.

*sign*
But why is there no rule for this? Playing by the book, you distribute your XP between gaming sessions - that´s exactly the *DING*.

We need "Richelieus Guide to Learning and Teaching"! Wink
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: The average person is a Lackey Reply with quote

I think part of the issue is the stat system and skill system is representing what a regular/average person on the street can do, both in terms of their stat base and skill level. The mass of people, the NPC's make the armour and weapons the players use, as well as make everything thing else. They are the barbers, vets, surgeons, cobblers, craftsman.

What are their base stats and skills?
pg 12 of the book has stat evaluations, 1 is poor and 2 is average.

pg 18 shows a skill rating of 4 -5 as average. If you have a 2 Attribute that means you have spent 2 or 3 skill points in 1 skill to get an average ability.


So the average person (looking at the various professions listed as possible lackeys is that the average person has the stats and skills of a lackey, and a master level person would be a level 1 Ally.

A Lackeys/Followers get 9 Attribute points and 5 Skill points. So they are going to have poor or average attribute, and poor or average skills in 1 or 2 skills. That is the same as a level 0 Ally or a 'Weak Ally'

An Ally of level 1 or 'Average' has 12 Attribute points , or an average of 2 in every stat, and 10 points for skills, double that of a lackey. This can give them average scores in 5 areas of interest.


Players on the other hand have 15 Attribute points, 66 percent better than a lackey and 25 percent better than an Ally. 16 skill points are 3 times better than a lackey, and 50 percent better than an ally.

The point I am making is the players are basically Olympian level athletes and highly trained Polymaths. So they are going to be able to do things far beyond what the 'mere mortals' can do.

So I think the average tasks of the day to day world is a 2 not a 5. This means that a character musketeer, if he has a craft, and puts points into it, is making masterwork level gear because he is just that gifted.

But the skills system is set up so that the average person can make a living with their average rolls of 2 as a result. And along comes a musketeer that can swim like Phelps, and run like Bolt, and craft swords like a Toledo master. And is scratching for coin rolling to get a few extra livre each month.


So I like Wiggy's comment about what a Bureacracy 8 calls average is different than what I Bureaucracy 4 calls average. I just think a paragraph could be put into the book pointing out that characters reresent an incredibly skilled swashbuckling level of ability. The difficulty will be in trying to limit the players from saying "If I am so good, how come I ain't rich?"
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The GIT!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TAG Wiggy wrote:
Must add that the system is far from broken. It just needs a few tweaks to help smooth out the wrinkles.

This is exactly how I feel. With a few tweaks here and there I believe Ubiquity can be a very robust and flexible system. At the moment it is a very good system but it does require a bit of house-ruling (IMHO).
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