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Combining Strength and Vigor into one stat.

 
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BrotherBen
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Joined: 30 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:23 am    Post subject: Combining Strength and Vigor into one stat. Reply with quote

Hello.

I've had a copy of the explorers edition rules for a while now. But I have never had the opportunity to run/play a game before.
I am running a Wild West type game that does not get as wierd as Deadlands but as occult as Solomon Kane. I've been looking at the character creation rules but have been underwhelmed by the application of strength and vigor when compared to agility or smarts. I've considered changing the rules to count both as one stat and pc's get one less stat increase at creation. It makes sense to me that someone who's tough should also be strong or that someone who's sickly should also be weak. Before I decide to do this I'd like to consult the more experienced community.

How do you find the rules as they are now? What are the effects of changing the rules this way? Has anyone else tried it? How does it affect a setting where the weapon of choice is six shooters and shotguns?
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ValhallaGH
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Combining Strength and Vigor into one stat. Reply with quote

BrotherBen wrote:
How do you find the rules as they are now? What are the effects of changing the rules this way? Has anyone else tried it? How does it affect a setting where the weapon of choice is six shooters and shotguns?

I find the rules to be quite balanced, even when the favored weapons are six shooters and shotguns. Bringing a gun to a knife-fight is a losing proposition. Wink
Strength, in a Western, can be tanked without too many problems; though having a good strength is impressively useful.
Vigor is health. It's used to resist damage, disease, poison, deprivation, exposure, and damage. It's an amazingly powerful attribute with no reason to minimize it.
In combat, Smarts and Agility are not very useful. They have uses, but their primary combat value was how many combat-relevant skills you bought up to levels that rock.

You're not the only one to attempt this. Though the previous discussions seems to have fallen off the board. The general conclusion was that a) Marathon runners are not always strong, and weight lifters are not always healthy, b) both attributes are powerful enough (in the game mechanics) to fully justify their continued separate existence, and c) removing one or the other would force the introduction of three to eight edges to cover the capability that is currently handled by a roll of Strength or Vigor.


TL;DR: Play the game as written a few times, then change what doesn't work for you.
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Last edited by ValhallaGH on Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could probably be done, but if you didn't want unbalanced PC's you'd really need to reduce the character creation attribute points from 5 -to- 4. Strength is important for a few derived stats like melee weapon damage and weight allowance, so with only 4 attributes to now raise it's likely going to increase faster. Consequently, the few times your PC's do engage in melee (knives, improvised weapons) they're going to drop extras that much easier. As well, Vigor is used for natural healing, wound soaking, incapacitation avoidance, bleeding-out avoidance, avoidance of certain types of fear and fatique avoidance, which likely means you're going to end up with PC's that are that much more hardier. And PC's Toughness will probably end up being 1 point higher on average.

IMO, from what you gain by combining Vigor with Strength, it's probably not going to be worth it when weighed against the potential of effecting the balance between PC's and WC/Extra foes. Personally, in most of my settings I make the Strength attribute more important by making the Climbing, Swimming and Throwing skills all linked to it.
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Blackhawk
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it would limit some character types. You could have a weak character who is, nonetheless, extremely resilient. An old mage or shaman, for instance (depending on genre.) It is easy to imagine someone with natural strength, but is in horrible condition (the classic overweight thug who can punch through a door, but couldn't run around the block.)
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BrotherBen
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. I think I heard enough pro's to keep the rules as is. From a cursory glance, It seemed as if agility was a god-stat. Though if it was an actual problem then an errata or rules change would have been issued in the years since the game's release.

My new question then is, if I find a ruling that isn't to my liking, what are some better ways to change how rebuild characters?
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BrotherBen wrote:
My new question then is, if I find a ruling that isn't to my liking, what are some better ways to change how rebuild characters?

You're almost always better off creating a setting specific Edge or Hindrance.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone discussed the same idea last year, there was quite a lot of useful feedback. You might find the thread of interest: Hacking attributes?
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:
Someone discussed the same idea last year, there was quite a lot of useful feedback. You might find the thread of interest: Hacking attributes?

Thank you! I spent 10 minutes failing to find that thread. Embarassed
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Planecreek
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Joined: 28 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Has anyone else tried it?


Yes. Got rid of vigour. I also liked strength and physical resistance together, and thought cardiovascular endurance should be more separate.

Changes were:
Toughness determined by strength (which was renamed brawn). Got rid of size stat(apart from whether they were small, large or huge, which gave -2, +2 or +4 to toughness)
Endurance determined by agility (which became athleticism), with a "stamina" edge available - +2 to fatigue rolls.
Soaking and incap rolls moved to spirit
Some minor other edge/hindrance adjustments to reflect above
4 stat points instead of 5.

What was found
- Worked fine
-Most monsters have nearly the same toughness, as vigour plus size often was close to their toughness determined by strength alone
- PCs are generally more powerful by about one level up per rank, as they have less stats to increase, and attributes are more powerful generally.
- toughness scores tended to be higher
- High strength/toughness PCs became much easier to buy, and the balance shifted toward those characters.

It was the last one that made us go back to the normal rules (but kept the stamina edge). In a low tech setting - those PCs are already pretty reasonable power wise, and a further shift toward the brawny was too good for that type of build. The character building balance felt better with the original rules.

In a guns setting, it may be more balanced, but you might find everyone tries to get Std8 as is a cheap way to get both toughness and melee effectiveness.

Quote:
if I find a ruling that isn't to my liking, what are some better ways to change how rebuild characters?




Could you give an example? As suggested - a setting edge or hindrance may be the way.
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BrotherBen
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Could you give an example? As suggested - a setting edge or hindrance may be the way.

Say after playing for a while I found that I do want to go ahead and combine strength and vigor. Should I allow my players to fully respec their.characters?
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Redtwin
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Joined: 02 Aug 2005
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did something similar as well, combining Strength and Vigour into Physique. However, I also beefed up all the other Attributes and made them more expensive (I use a point buy system rather than a level based one). Agility now determines a new derived stat named Dodge - which is basically Parry but also applies to ranged attacks to make things more consistent. I also reduced the number of skills and rolled some of them and a few other things into Smarts and Spirit.

There is one problem, though. I have to modify Edges and such on the fly to make them fit. This is fine most of the time, but I really love Necessary Evil, and modifying all the super powers to fit is just too much work. :'-(
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Planecreek
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Should I allow my players to fully respec their.characters?




I would say not fully. Most stats and advances would remain the same. They would respec just the differences from the stat change and respec must be in flavour with the current character.

Assume strength and vigour combined into "physique". 4 stat bumps instead of 5 at creation. The cheat math for that is to look at what difference from d6 St and Vg are - that is what the PC can spend on the physique attribute or other advances (I can explain the math in more detail if needed).

Example: Std6, Vgd10. Respec:They have 2 stat advances above d6 in strength and vigour. So I would say they have a physique of d8 (1 advance). As they were a toughness based character I would probably suggest they needed to spend the other advance on a toughness based edge like nerves of steel or hard to kill.

Example: Std10, Vgd8. Respec: They've spent 3 advances above d6 and they are strong and tough. So I would say they are d10 physique (2 advances). They then have another advance to spend that would be in keeping with the flavour of the character.

Example: Std4, Vgd4. Respec: They have -2 advances. I would give them physique d4, and then have to lose another advance. Although I would probably say they can keep what they have but don't gain next time they level up. (As you can see from the examples, combining strength and vigour favours certain character types.)

So I would say, allow them to respec, but in a very limited fashion that doesn't make the PC radically different.
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BrotherBen
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I brought up respec because I'm breaking up my campaign into acts. The intent is that the players get to know the setting and.the system in the first act. If details about their character don't work for them as they expected, I would let them change some details around.
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Redtwin
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like a valid point for them to make entirely new characters. When you don't really know the setting, it's hard to make really deep interesting people for that setting. Now that they're more familiar, maybe give them the option to make somebody who really fits into that world?
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BrotherBen wrote:
I brought up respec because I'm breaking up my campaign into acts. The intent is that the players get to know the setting and.the system in the first act. If details about their character don't work for them as they expected, I would let them change some details around.

There's really no problem allowing a full respec as long as it's before the 1st advancement. I've done that for campaigns I've had my kids and their friends playing in and it's been fine. After the 1st advancement it gets trickier and a player in my games would have to make a darn good case to even respec a single skill point or edge.
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