Skill Caps

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Jay Belarpin
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Skill Caps

Post by Jay Belarpin » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:04 pm

We will for the 2017 season playtest the following:

3 Tier skill cap system

Niche skills are now capped at 25, except for Adepts whose Niche Skill is capped at 10. Those skills are;
Adept: Beatdown x10,
Agents: Tracking
Fixers: Funding
Magicians (all casters): Focus
Soldiers: Health

All other Unlimited skills are capped at 10

Tier 1 skill costs listed price per buy.
Tier 2 of the skill up to the same cap cost double base cost per buy.
Tier 3 up to the cap cost 4 times base cost per buy.

Example: Betty plays a human Soldier that she wants to be the BEST at Tracking. The first 6 buys cost 4 each. Buys 7-12 cost 8 each. Buys 13 through 18 cost 16 each.

This may allow some PCs a free rewrite.

Additionally, Death Touch (Level 1 Material spell) now has a damage cap of 5 per casting and it does not stack with itself. There is now T2 and T3 Death Touch spell. Which are hidden.
As all of this happened, Bill poured a drink.

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Re: Skill Caps

Post by Drakkon » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:56 pm

Howdy folks!

So I wanted to bring up this topic to see what everyone thinks about eliminating caps of certain skills to not having a limit. For example, an adept has a cap for funding at 2 and costs 6. I propose that we get rid of the cap of 2 and let them buy as many as they want. Now my thoughts on this have been if a PC wants to go and dump a ton of karma into a particular skill that costs a heck of a lot and keep buying more of them, then why not let them as it just takes away from other things they could buy. Another thought is that if the PC wants to go past their class skill cap, they can pay extra for it, like adding +1 karma cost for it at each level past their max or whatever the GM wants to set it to. I also compare it to magicians buying walk it off at 20 karma per purchase which they can buy unlimited of it but costing a fortune. At the very least, I would look into changing skills such as funding and beatdown or others that are similar to just not having the cap for them all together. Just my thoughts, feel free to butcher my idea and poke as many holes in it as possible.
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Re: Skill Caps

Post by jazzman831 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:08 pm

Well I would point out that beatdown and funding are unlimited, just not for all classes :-p

Also, more seriously, I think skill caps are more effective at differentiating than skill costs. Yes, for a given amount of karma, having access to a skill at 2/buy means you can take twice as much as if it were 4/buy, but karma really just represents the length of time you've been playing the character. There's fundamentally no difference between an Agent who's played 1 day and has 2 ranks of funding and an Adept who's played 2 days and has 2 ranks of funding.

In general, I think skills fall into the following broad categories:
  1. Limited by Game Effects -- things like crafting, or spellcasting. No point in having 35 levels of Chemistry if there are only 10 levels of chemical items.
  2. Limited to Differentiate Character Classes -- things like "soldiers can wear the most armor" and "fixers are the best at finding things". If these skills are uncapped then functionally the classes start to blur.
  3. Exclusive skills -- those that only one class can get
  4. Unlimited for All -- a weird mix of skills (mostly melee for some reason) not deemed "iconic". I could almost argue for adding caps to some of them
Categories #1 and #4 can't be uncapped by their nature. Similarly, all of the skills in category #3 are either uncapped or limited by game effect. I think, clearly, that the only category warranting limiting caps is #2. These skills are: Acquire, Armorer, Beatdown, Connections, Follow the Money, Funding, Healers Hands, Layered Armor, Take Cover!, and Tracking.

To me, I like that Acquire, Connections, and Follow the Money are "fixer" skills. Armorer, Layered Armor, and Take Cover! make sense for soldiers. So we've whittled it down to:
  • Beatdown -- probably not too gamebreaking, but then again, there's probably a reason that weak fixers are limited to base + 2 damage.
  • Funding -- making this unlimited seems gamebreaking, and if legends I've heard are to be true, it has been gamebreaking in the past
  • Healers Hands -- making this unlimited (or unlimitable) could be gamebreaking, but I see no reason why there are differing skill caps. Fixers as healers (or rather, only fixers as healers) never seemed right to me.
  • Tracking -- In a sense, I understand why agents have the most ranks, and it is one of their few specialties, but I don't think the game would be harmed by raising the cap.
TL;DR: I can see a case for a tweak or two, but probably just keep everything the same until Rob comes in with some hardcore math that says otherwise.
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Re: Skill Caps

Post by Ander » Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:20 pm

I don't think removing skill caps entirely would be good for game balance. But I would be ok with replacing a few hard limits for some class-neutral skills (like funding) with "soft caps" of increasing per-rank costs. If somebody wants to pump huge amounts of karma into getting a skill that is not "standard" for their class, I'm all for it.

Ultimately larp is about playing a character, and if your character would spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort on acquiring an unintuitive and nigh-unreachable skill, then who am I to say no?

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Re: Skill Caps

Post by Swordguy » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:46 am

jazzman831 wrote: until Rob comes in with some hardcore math that says otherwise.
Nah, you basically did it all for me.

Honestly, I'm in favor of more skill caps, not less. Particularly on Beatdown (~12 tops) and Funding (~20 tops).

In general, though, I prefer a game style which isn't afraid to tell players, "no, X is the limit of achievement you can make." When that's established, when you break that limit via long-term plot, it actually becomes meaningful.

The BBEG swinging 30's in each hand isn't very impressive, because any Adept PC played for long enough can swing that hard. He's not special, he's just statted with an arbitrary amount of Karma. If even the very best Adept is capped at 15 damage (3 weapon+12 beatdowns), suddenly the BBEG swinging 30's actually means something tremendous, because he's surpassed the maximum mortal achievement. Then you have automatic plot: how did he do it? Could the PCs tap that power? (etc).

Unlimited anything on behalf of the player population both renders high values meaningless, and provides another opportunity to break the game through sheer karma expenditure.
Mission, Method, Morals...all negotiable.

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Re: Skill Caps

Post by Ander » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:52 pm

Swordguy wrote:Unlimited anything on behalf of the player population both renders high values meaningless, and provides another opportunity to break the game through sheer karma expenditure.
This is a fair point. As is the point that one can essentially "Plot" their way to anything (everything is possible if you RP hard enough :) ). However, I also don't think the idea of removing or modifying some limits should be dismissed out of hand. A soft cap (allowing unlimited buys but with greatly increased cost) on some skills would preserve this "limitation" while still providing a path forward, even if it is a difficult and tedious one. This seems reasonable from an in-game perspective as putting such a large amount of character time and effort into getting a skill that high should be just as impressive as seeing an NPC doing it. Essentially the character has been using all of their time in the pursuit of this one goal at the opportunity cost of not picking up many other, potentially quite useful, skills or abilities.