Character advancement

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preacher65
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Character advancement

Postby preacher65 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:29 pm

Hi, just a quick question regarding how MRQ compares to RQ2 or RQ3 in terms of advancing characters. In the old days, characters could roll to increase any skills that they'd used. Now they must spend Improvement Rolls to gain increases. Overall I like this, but there are two likely results, to my inexperienced eye.

The first, obvious one is that characters will improve more slowly, just a few skills per scenario. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I wondered if others have noticed this in actual play - particularly compared to old school RQ.

The second is that since players need to choose where they spend their increases, this might lead to more focussed development. I quite liked how characters risking use of a low skill in a stressful situation used to gain an increase if they succeeded, even though that might not have been a primary ability for them. The player might be less likely spend an improvement roll if it's going to take a lot of increases to get the skill to a reliable level, so their secondary skills might stay low.

This is all just in my head, though, so I'm wondering what the experience of players and GMs has been! 8)
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Postby Malakor » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:46 pm

Whether your players will focus their development will most likely depend on two things (at least this is true with my group), how 'roleplay' oriented they are, and how much the GM makes 'secondary' skills necessary during play.

I like the slower (albeit it doesn't seem THAT much slower than before to us) advancement, and it's much less book-keeping for the GM and the players, rather than having to remember to put a check mark beside a skill during the heat of the action.

One thing I've done for years with d100 type games that have evolved from the BRP core, is that any time a player rolls a critical, be it a success or a failure, I let them increase that particular skill by 1 immediately, as recognition for the insight gained by the 'stress' of what just occurred, be it good or bad. The onus for remembering this falls upon the player, and seldom does any one forget, because it makes for a bit of an exciting moment, even during combat, and it makes for a nice reward, even when things don't go their way.

Hope that answers your question Preacher65 and that I've not just rambled all over creation as I'm told I tend to do. ;)
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Postby gran_orco » Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:12 pm

Players now obatain improvement rolls after each session. Each day they add 1-5 improvement points, so they increase a lot their skills.
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Postby Loz » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:07 pm

gran_orco wrote:Players now obatain improvement rolls after each session. Each day they add 1-5 improvement points, so they increase a lot their skills.
I think you've mis-typed here, Gran, or misunderstood the rules.

Improvement rolls are awarded at the natural close of a game session (page 49) - not at the end of each and every session, and certainly not per day!

What constitutes a game session is up to the GM, but its normally going to be the end of a scenario or at a particular breakpoint if a very long scenario, but this isn't intended to be at the end of each evening's gaming.
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Postby preacher65 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:29 pm

Malakor wrote:I like the slower (albeit it doesn't seem THAT much slower than before to us) advancement
Thanks for the feedback. In the old days it could get out of hand, sometimes, especially with the various bonuses to increase rolls - a lot of skills increasing at the same time, and as you say, a lot of bookwork. The new system is more elegant, and puts an element of player choice and design back into the process.

However with only ~3 increase rolls per time, I can see things slowing down a bit. I take your point about the relative importance of "secondary" skills (secondary to a particular character, not the game as a whole) depending on players and GMs alike.

One of the things which got me thinking about this was the new rules for Divine Intervention - a successful roll could leave a player with anything down to 1% afterwards. That's an awful lot of increase rolls to use getting it back up, when you only get 3 per scenario (or major story break - thanks Loz). In a way that's good, as it makes calling for a miracle something truly exceptional. But I then began to wonder how fast characters progressed in general, with only a few increases per scenario. Just curious as to how folks find it works in actual play. I guess I'll find out soon. :)
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Postby Loz » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:20 pm

when you only get 3 per scenario
This is a guideline... you can make it as many or as few as you wish, but the rules recommendation is a maximum of five, depending on how the adventurers have acted.

Remember also that the Improvement Modifier can also offer a bonus; so an adventurer with high CHA could get up to six rolls.

You should use your own judgement. If you want your characters to advance a little more rapidly then offer four IRs per instance, with say a maximum of six, plus whatever Improvement Roll modifier characters may be entitled to.
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preacher65
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Postby preacher65 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:14 pm

Loz wrote:This is a guideline...
Understood, Loz, and thanks. I meant that as an average, assuming no CHA bonus. And it's not meant as a criticism of the rules! I like the element of choice in which skills to try for - e.g. whereas combat almost always got an increase roll in RQ2/3, now that's a conscious decision by the player. I think that's a good design decision. I'm just curious how people find it when compared to older versions, and Malakor's feedback is that advancement doesn't feel a lot slower during play.

But the best way to find out is to wait and see. :) As you say, we can adjust if needed, but I won't be going into things assuming it needs changing!
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Postby gran_orco » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:12 pm

Loz wrote:
gran_orco wrote:Players now obatain improvement rolls after each session. Each day they add 1-5 improvement points, so they increase a lot their skills.
I think you've mis-typed here, Gran, or misunderstood the rules.

Improvement rolls are awarded at the natural close of a game session (page 49) - not at the end of each and every session, and certainly not per day!

What constitutes a game session is up to the GM, but its normally going to be the end of a scenario or at a particular breakpoint if a very long scenario, but this isn't intended to be at the end of each evening's gaming.
WOW! Certainly, I have misunderstood the rules. It is not something new on me :oops: Thank you for the clarification.
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Improvement rolls

Postby EricJ » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:04 am

The old system had the disadvantage that players would be tempted to use secondary skills just to get extra improvement rolls: "Caddy, my mace." Gamesmasters would have to disallow improvement rolls for the most egregiously silly of skill uses.

However, it had the advantage that characters would learn skills by practice that players wouldn't choose for them to learn in a focused system like MRQ. Would most players choose for characters to learn Area Knowledge skills for Ralios or Jrustela given a small number of skill rolls per session? Yet those skills would be picked up by characters naturally over seasons of adventuring quite naturally. Characters who do not progress in them lead to an un-RQish style of characters not integrated into their societies.

Perhaps the rules should encourage gamesmasters to award an extra improvement roll every so often, based on game time, but restricted to social, political, or language skills:

"Your characters have just spent the last month in Safelster. Each one gets two skill increase rolls, limited to Streetwise, Lore (Safelster), and Language (Safelster)."

"Your characters have just spent a season rowing on a Waertagi ship. Learn Language (Waertag) at base level."
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Re: Improvement rolls

Postby weasel_fierce » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:30 am

EricJ wrote:
"Your characters have just spent the last month in Safelster. Each one gets two skill increase rolls, limited to Streetwise, Lore (Safelster), and Language (Safelster)."

"Your characters have just spent a season rowing on a Waertagi ship. Learn Language (Waertag) at base level."
I've done this a lot, especially for Lore and Language skills.
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Re: Improvement rolls

Postby kurgan84 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:34 am

EricJ wrote: Perhaps the rules should encourage gamesmasters to award an extra improvement roll every so often, based on game time, but restricted to social, political, or language skills:

"Your characters have just spent the last month in Safelster. Each one gets two skill increase rolls, limited to Streetwise, Lore (Safelster), and Language (Safelster)."

"Your characters have just spent a season rowing on a Waertagi ship. Learn Language (Waertag) at base level."
Yes ! I use exactly the same house rule ! :D
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Re: Improvement rolls

Postby GoingDown » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:22 am

EricJ wrote:"Your characters have just spent the last month in Safelster. Each one gets two skill increase rolls, limited to Streetwise, Lore (Safelster), and Language (Safelster)."
Mee too. I do this a lot, but with little bit boarder scale, I usually give about 5-7 skills to choose from. Works well.

Also, for normal skill increase rolls, I restrict them so that only ones which were been used in adventure are valid for improvements.

Sometimes during adventuring, some players state that during adventure, on all free time his/her character is training/reading whatever for certain skill. If it is possible for the character, I will allow it, and after adventure session, he/she can improve that skill.

I think that GM should always restrict the improvement roll options for players, but I am not sure if it is mentioned in MRQ2 rules?
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Re: Improvement rolls

Postby preacher65 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:01 pm

EricJ wrote:The old system had the disadvantage that players would be tempted to use secondary skills just to get extra improvement rolls: "Caddy, my mace."
You're right. Fortunately my players never tried that, or if they did, they were subtle about it and I didn't notice. :) But it's one reason I appreciate the new system.
However, it had the advantage that characters would learn skills by practice that players wouldn't choose for them to learn in a focused system like MRQ.
This is what I miss in the new system, but as you and others have pointed out, it's within the GM's power to give extra increases.

I even used to do that in older rules. "You've spent a month riding north to hte mountains. There were no stressful encounters, but you can all make a Ride increase roll anyway." I think this approach works very well with MRQ2.
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Postby soltakss » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:24 pm

I've been using experience points in RQ3 for something like 15 years and my experiences are:

1. It avoids the "Tick Chase" that happened with both RQ2 and RQ3 where PCs try as many skills as they like to be able to try for experience rolls.

2. It avoids the "Master of All Trades" problem where everyone can do everything.

3. It does slow down skill progression, but not necessarily character progression, as the two are most definitely not the same.

4. PCs can focus their skill development, concentrating on those skills that are important to them or which they need for a specific purpose.

5. Failure to increase a skill means more if there are limited chances to increase skills, so I always give an increase of 1 on a failure and treat an increase of 1 on a successful roll as an increase of 2.

I would never go back to unlimited experience rolls as, in my experience, this is far better. However, I would vary the number of experience points given. On normal scenarios I give 1D4+4, on dangerous ones 1D6+6 and on particularly problematic ones 1D8+8.
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