Tuesday, 5 January 2010

DW RPG: Character Design

Some notes on creating and bettering characters in the DW ATS system. Note: This is drawing on old memories, so I could be completely wrong...

There are points to spend on Attributes and Traits, to spend on Skills and Story Points (which are a seperate post). It's always tricky to decide on the level of attributes without playing the game. They say 3 is human average, but it's very easy to have 4 as the average. They also think points should be held back to buy traits, but I think most gamers will try to negate positive traits with negative traits. It's common in other systems where good and bad sides exist to do that, so there is spill over here to do the same, and thus end up with higher than average attributes. Certainly, it's what I remember trying to do (and as I said before, those bad traits are so interesting for character development).

It looks like the skills buying system has been simplified. I remember that Areas of Expertise started at level 4 (now level 3) and that getting an AoE was 1 point but increasing the skill at that level was 2 points. This meant that if you wanted two AoEs, you'd be better off just increasing the skills.

However, in this new system, I think it's going to be easier to be more of an all-rounder, although that's never really that interesting a character to play. (I think, under the old system, I developed an example character that took advantage of one or two... not so much loopholes as 'if the GM could be persuaded...' to exemplify that the system wasn't that geared towards specialists, and indeed created a character that while not great, wasn't bad at pretty much nearly everything. I suspect I could do so again, and do so easilier(*).)

On the other side, there is character improvement. Originally there were Improvement Points, but it wasn't clear how many should be awarded, nor how often. And, there is the problem of if Story Points could be converted into Improvement Points, that can lead to people not spending Story Points to try to improve their character (Savage Worlds also has this issue). Now they have the "if the GM can be persuaded that you should be able to increase this skill", which I see can easily lead to arguements at the table and tears before bedtime. (Especially if you are trying to improve a bad skill, but haven't been able to successfully use it because it's bad!) I'm not saying that an XP system should be developed, but one aim of this game is to cater to inexperienced role-players, and this is one area that feels too vague for that concept.

(*)My Firefox spell-checker isn't working, which explains other wrong spellings in this post, but this one, at least, is intentional.


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