View Full Version : [Feng Shui] Attribute-less!

2007-12-13, 10:30 AM
This is an idea spawned by a thread offsite (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=368186) where I was musing about the problems with Attributes. This thread is also mirrored over on the Atlas Games boards (http://www.atlas-games.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3175) and RPGnet (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=368983)for anyone who also posts there. I was musing about the problems with Attributes in Feng Shui. A spark of brillliance provided by Neel Krishnaswami was to simply ditch them altogether.

Because this idea comes via my own derivation of Feng Shui Lite, there are some significant changes on standard Feng Shui:
1) The only schticks we use are Gun (also doubling up as Weapon), Sorcery and Creature Powers. Some selected Fu and other schticks are retained. Either way they're not terribly relevant here.
2) All the old archetypes are ditched for being unbalanced and more hassle than they're worth to tinker with. That also means new Skill list.

Last because of the specifics of the game I'm intending to play (a fantasy one-shot):
3) There are six archetypes, based on the roles from True20.

Rather than rehash the entire thread, here's the gist of the new structure. All characters have three core skills:
Athletics (which replaces all the physical Attributes)
Awareness/Perception (named not fixed, it's for detecting things)
Willpower (for resisting magic and so on)

Variations in physical abilities are represented by some new schticks, all of which basically give +3 to a specific check:

"Strength" - +3 damage and to checks involving lifting/shifting stuff
"Constitution" - +3 to checks against poison, disease and death
"Toughness" - +3 to damage soak
"Agility" - +3 for acrobatic stuff (but NOT Dodging)

I may add more, but generally for anything that would normally use the Secondary Attributes for Body or Reflexes, you take half your Athletics AV.

-Is that a good substitute figure?

Where Athletics is largely an active Skill (though it can also used for Passive or Active Dodge), Awareness and Willpower are both used reactively. Awareness can be used to resist Intrusion and Willpower to resist Sorcery and Creature Powers, as well as social Skills like Intimidation and Deceit.

I'm toying with adding a "Bookworm" type schtick which gives you a load of Info skills for free.

Combat Skills I'm using are thus:

Close Combat (ie Martial Arts without the acrobatic stuff; weapon and unarmed combat)
Ranged Combat (Guns, but for fantasy so covering bows, crossbows and thrown weapons live javelins, axes and bolas)
Sorcery (largely unchanged)
Creature Powers

Creature Powers occupies a special place; no one starts with it by default, they have to choose it and replace some of their normal starting schticks to use it.

Otherwise everything else is covered by Skills:

Deceit (Seduction merged in)

So if your character is "smart" you pick up lots of Info skills. If you're "charismatic" you get Deceit, Intimidation and/or Leadership at high levels.

I'm still undecided exactly how to balance these. My cap for all AVs is 14; nothing goes higher. I'm musing with allowing everyone to have one 14 in each category, but then the cap for all others is 12. So you can have one good "core" skill, one good combat AV and one good other skill. Everything else tops out at 12.

This I'd build into my six archetypes, which are:


Alternatively, I try to preserve the rough balance that existed in the old archetypes, whereby having a high AV in one combat skill means you can't have too high in any of the others. That went something like:

If you have one high (14 in this case), cap for any others is 10 - like the ex-Special Forces, Ninja and Maverick Cop. Karate Cop is an obvious exception here, with a 14 and 13.
If you have two high, maximum is 13; sometimes that means one 13 and one 12 (like the Masked Avenger). Although you get the Private Investigator with two 13s, others with 13 and 11.
If you have three or more, it's anyone's guess since they're all over the place. Magic Cop (with errata) has a 13 and two 12s. Abomination four 13s.

What I don't want is character's main AVs being too far from each other. Reason I capped at 14 was that everyone has at least one thing at 12 or more, and 2 points is not to big a gulf. I don't want characters with a 14 a 13 and a 12, for example. At the same time, the Warrior and Adept should have a 14 in their primary combat AV.

Anyway, that's the basic idea. I need to rework the archetypes to include Willpower, but here's what I had before:

Core Skills

Adept: Athletics 8 Perception 8
Adept-Expert: Athletics 10 Perception 11
Adept-Warrior: Athletics 11 Perception 10
Expert: Athletics 11 Perception 14
Expert-Warrior: Athletics 12 Perception 13
Warrior: Athletics 14 Perception 11

Combat AVs

Adept: Sorcery 14
Expert: Close Combat 13/12 and Ranged 12/13
Warrior: Close Combat 14/12 and Ranged 12/14
Adept-Expert Sorcery 13/12 and Close Combat/Ranged 12/13
Adept-Warrior: Sorcery 13/12 and Close Combat/Ranged 12/13
Expert-Warrior: Close Combat 13 and Ranged 13

Then for points to spend:

Warrior: 40
Adept-Warrior: 45
Adept and Expert-Warrior: 50
Adept-Expert: 55
Expert: 60

My concern with the current setup is that the Adept gets stiffed. Low on the core skills, only one combat skill when everyone else has two, and not even that many skill points. All to be able to take five Sorcery schticks (max for anyone else is four).

So thoughts on this venture so far?

2007-12-14, 05:17 AM
Right, let's try to get these archetypes sorted. This is building their core to be put into a regular archetype patter with some fixed stuff and some chooseable options. I think an easy way of balancing them is the total number of points on their three core skills and two combat ones.

Core skills
Adept: Athletics 9, Awareness 10, Willpower 14
Expert: Athletics 11, Awareness 12, Willpower 11
Warrior: Athletics 14, Awareness 10, Willpower 10
Adept-Expert: Athletics 10, Awareness 11, Willpower 13
Adept-Warrior: Athletics 12, Awareness 10, Willpower 12
Expert-Warrior: Athletics 12, Awareness 11, Willpower 11

Combat skills
Adept: Sorcery 14, Close Combat 10
Expert: Close Combat 13/12, Ranged 12/13
Warrior: Close Combat 14/12, Ranged 12/14
Adept-Expert: Sorcery 13/12, Close Combat/Ranged 12/13
Adept-Warrior: Sorcery 13/12, Close Combat/Ranged 12/13
Expert-Warrior: Close Combat 13, Ranged Combat 13

Skill points and schticks
Adept: 43 Skill points, 5 schticks
Expert: 46 Skill points, 4 schticks
Warrior: 40 Skill points, 5 schticks
Adept-Expert: 46 Skill points, 4 schticks
Adept-Warrior: 41 Skill points, 5 schticks
Expert-Warrior: 45 Skill points, 4 schticks

Now that's based on everyone getting equal points, with a schtick being worth 5 Skill points. Doesn't really seem a lot of difference between them, but for a few points here and there. In the old scheme, the reason to go Expert was that you got lots of Skill points. Now it's not really a big deal.

Should I just go back to the other arrangement, and to hell with it being "balanced"?

Again I'm left wondering if the Expert-Warrior really adds anything.