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Author Topic: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM  (Read 2000 times)

monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #30 on: 08 April 2018, 15:06:38 »
Owns Vehicle as written does do a poor job of making how it does change the potential dynamics of the player's negotiating power with who they work for.

Some things you can do to make it worth while that are at least somewhat supported by the fluff:

In eras where dispossession was a real possibility having your own mech instead of a rare state provided one would give you priority over someone who didn't come with their own when salvage was available.

Solaris stables would be forced to give much larger portions of the purse to the warrior who risked their own machine instead of a stable's machine.
[/examples]

How would someone who is running a clan chara switch clans, like winning a Harvest or losing a Trial and becoming the others bondsman turned warrior?

Clan Ghost Bear -> Clan Hells Horses or vice verse, after the Mark or Clawing Rituals?

I can't seem to find this... there a page reference or line I'm missing? Got both books...

TT

See changing affiliations page 53 A Time of War or if you want to keep it simple and potentially more in line with your specified timing just scrounge up some XP for the Protocol/Clan Hell's Horse and Interest/Clan Hell's Horse Rememberence.

truetanker

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #31 on: 08 April 2018, 15:40:27 »
* Checking asked requested page(s). *

Oh... Halving the final starting XP, rounded down and apply to said trait, skill or attribute... and only use final clans restrictions. Oh ok...

Now what about a Harvest Trial later on... a third clan? Do I keep everything and add the same restrictions as I did in Stage 4

Let me show you:
Stage 0 Goliath Scorpion -> CHH
Stage 1 Trueborn
Stage 2 Trueborn
Stage 3 ???
Stage 4 Seeker
Stage 5 repeat Stage 4 Washout -> CHH Stage 2 Freebirth- Calvary
Stage 6 ???

See where I'm hung up on?

TT
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monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #32 on: 08 April 2018, 18:46:04 »
Repeating some information from the PM I sent you since others might find it helpful:

Clans don't have a stage 3 module since that is done for them in their stage 2 modules.

Now for some new info since I saw this after reading your PM:

Me personally I don't think I'd make you take Washout as that more represents someone who failed their Trial of Position in the first place or make you take new training.  After all it is pretty rare that Clans would re-train a bondsman for some other duty and probably wouldn't have taken the bondsman in the first place if they didn't fight with skill and honor.

Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #33 on: 09 April 2018, 01:17:51 »
2. If Fast Learner is allowed it is always a no brainer despite the length of the campaign.  It pays for itself at 1,500 XP invested in skills.  Which is really easy to get any method of character creation you use. 

I don't follow why people say that. Most chargen, you want about 3500 in attributes, and at least some in Traits (here, at least 300 in Fast Learner). So 1500 out of chargen doesn't seem an easy hit.

Let's presume that you spend 1200 on skills.
That means you need to spend 300 XP, or about 30 *sessions* worth to *start* seeing benefit from Trait. And even then, you'd need many more sessions before you *really* start feeling you're outpacing people without it.


Let's say it is that easy to start with 1500 in skills, and you gain a benefit the very first time you play that character: you spent 300 XP on something, shouldn't something nice happen? That could've been Natural Aptitude or 3 points in Property, to give 2 crude comparisons.

Maybe I'm underestimating the problem?


monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #34 on: 09 April 2018, 01:52:17 »
It does do something nice from the get go.  All skills are 20% cheaper to raise and you get more XP from down time.

So the 1,500 XP in skills may go down to 1,200 XP with the 20% rebate but the skill levels don't change.

But if you do have only 1,200 XP in skills if you could scrounge up 60 XP you'd already have Fast Learner paid for as it'd rebate 240 XP from your skills without dropping any ranks.

Just as an example the sample Mechwarrior in AToW has 1,160 XP in skills.

guardiandashi

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #35 on: 09 April 2018, 01:54:44 »
I don't follow why people say that. Most chargen, you want about 3500 in attributes, and at least some in Traits (here, at least 300 in Fast Learner). So 1500 out of chargen doesn't seem an easy hit.

Let's presume that you spend 1200 on skills.
That means you need to spend 300 XP, or about 30 *sessions* worth to *start* seeing benefit from Trait. And even then, you'd need many more sessions before you *really* start feeling you're outpacing people without it.


Let's say it is that easy to start with 1500 in skills, and you gain a benefit the very first time you play that character: you spent 300 XP on something, shouldn't something nice happen? That could've been Natural Aptitude or 3 points in Property, to give 2 crude comparisons.

Maybe I'm underestimating the problem?
to use the example character I made up thread, that character has ~1400 XP in skills and frankly isn't what I would consider much beyond "average" in skills,  With that said, the crossover point is ~1500 XP worth of skills where the "harvesting of 'saved skill XP' makes the fast learner a no brainer, IE the table on pg 85
at "standard" XP a lvl 0 skill spends 20, and fast learner only 16 saving 4 XP
level 1 saves 6 XP (per skill) level 2 saves 10, level 3 saves 16, level 4 saves 24, level 5 saves 34 level 6 saves 56 and so on

monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #36 on: 09 April 2018, 02:05:55 »
That is pretty much the thing.  If you can get it before you have to finalize optimization of skills there is no reason not to.  If you can't then campaign length starts becoming a consideration.

William J. Pennington

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #37 on: 09 April 2018, 09:17:03 »
That is pretty much the thing.  If you can get it before you have to finalize optimization of skills there is no reason not to.  If you can't then campaign length starts becoming a consideration.

Yep. If you are playing a 'talent, but no training' type (very heavy on attributes, traits, but very little training), the frequency of play and length of the campaign matters for fast learner.m If you are doing a one off game, or very short campaign, then it may not be worth it. But those are pretty limited circumstances, which is why I rul it out of my campaigns.

I'm wondering if, in the full history of ATOW, if anyone's actually taken 'Slow Learner" as a trait, or not bought it off during chargen.

Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #38 on: 09 April 2018, 12:09:52 »
Yep. If you are playing a 'talent, but no training' type (very heavy on attributes, traits, but very little training), the frequency of play and length of the campaign matters for fast learner.m If you are doing a one off game, or very short campaign, then it may not be worth it. But those are pretty limited circumstances, which is why I rul it out of my campaigns.

I still don't see the problem.
It seems like the threshold of the problem is "at 1500, it pays for itself". So what? It's a Trait, it should give you some benefit.

Here, some examples:
That 'talent no training guy', let's say that's 500 XP in skills, with heavy Attributes. He'll need 100 sessions to break even.
The more typical build with 1000ish XP? 50 more sessions!
That 1500 XP in skills build, so immediate gain: He still needs to play 2 sessions before he can even get a +0 skill (which then saves him a whopping 4XP. To bump a nice +5 to a +6 would need 5 sessions of play, instead of 6.

And since the most typical frequency of play is monthly, I have a hard time looking at any of that as 'broken', or substantially better intrinsically.

How am I looking at this wrong?


Quote
I'm wondering if, in the full history of ATOW, if anyone's actually taken 'Slow Learner" as a trait, or not bought it off during chargen.

Probably never, unless it matched their concept of the character.


monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #39 on: 09 April 2018, 13:16:12 »
Fast Learner also doubles downtime XP so if there is extensive jumpship travel in the campaign it can cut into that 100 sessions pretty quick.

And even at 500 XP it is already off setting it's expense a decent amount as that'd be 100 XP you could return to other things and thus Fast Learner already 1/3rd paid for.

Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #40 on: 09 April 2018, 13:48:31 »
Fast Learner also doubles downtime XP so if there is extensive jumpship travel in the campaign it can cut into that 100 sessions pretty quick.

And even at 500 XP it is already off setting it's expense a decent amount as that'd be 100 XP you could return to other things and thus Fast Learner already 1/3rd paid for.

Again, it seems like you guys feel that it paying for itself = broken.
At 1500 XP, the trait has done exactly *nothing*.

Where is the problem?


William J. Pennington

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #41 on: 09 April 2018, 14:58:43 »
I still don't see the problem.
It seems like the threshold of the problem is "at 1500, it pays for itself". So what? It's a Trait, it should give you some benefit.


Oh, it gives plenty of benefit. The problem I have with it, as a GM, is that any character, in a standard campaign that is going to go on for more than a few sessions is effectively handicapping themselves by not taking it. Its always going to pay for every type of character,  no matter the situation, unlike other traits which are more situational. 

As a player, in a campaign, I'd take it every time in a non-one-off game, without fail.

Not arguing thatits a benefit, but that its too good of a benefit. And I ont think theres a way to fix it or slow learner--other than drastically reducing their cost and only having them affect training times/costs, and not XP in any way.

monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #42 on: 09 April 2018, 15:10:21 »
For me the fact that Fast Learner doesn't have the same opportunity cost is pretty much what it boils down to.

Yes it may cost 300 XP that you can put elsewhere if you don't take it but as I pointed out at a mere 500 XP in skills you're actually only 200 XP down in total raw XP opportunity cost for trying to keep the same skill ranks as a normal learner character would have.*

How quickly you can make that up depends on a few variables but Tech Empathy is the only other trait that actually changes total raw XP opportunity cost in such a beneficial manner for taking it.

Toughness or Property 3 would still have a total raw XP opportunity cost of 300 XP no matter how you invest in attributes, skills, and traits.

Now these other traits have other benefits other than raw XP opportunity cost to help make them worthwhile but hopefully I've shown that how Fast Learner has a variable raw XP opportunity cost makes it a much more worthwhile investment.

Still I grant broken doesn't seem quite the right word but I'm not sure what a better one would be.

Now to cover the converse side of this a bit.

Slow Learner does have a variable raw XP opportunity cost to it as well but figuring it out is a bit trickier.

For the same 500 XP in skills and Slow Learner you'd have a couple of choices.

1. Try and keep the same skill ranks.  This would require 100 XP of the 300 XP you got from Slow Learner thus making it's raw XP opportunity cost of -200 XP.

2. Accept that you'll have to lower some skill ranks or even lose some skill altogether.  Where this will leave your raw XP opportunity cost depends on how skill XP was distributed and could potentially net a more favorable raw XP opportunity cost.

*The only two ways Fast Learner actually has it's full raw XP opportunity cost of 300 XP is if you buy it after character creation is finished and thus can't get the XP back from the skills you already have or have so little XP in skills that the rebate you get from lower XP thresholds for the same skill rank would round down to zero.

BiggRigg42

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #43 on: 09 April 2018, 15:31:38 »
How would someone who is running a clan chara switch clans, like winning a Harvest or losing a Trial and becoming the others bondsman turned warrior?

Clan Ghost Bear -> Clan Hells Horses or vice verse, after the Mark or Clawing Rituals?

I can't seem to find this... there a page reference or line I'm missing? Got both books...

TT

I don't see a problem here. If a character from Clan Jade Falcon becomes a bondsmen for Clan Wolf, said character keeps all of his old stats as there is no reason for them to magically change. However, this character may level up differently now that said character is with a different Clan.

In sum, just change how the character spends XP, to level up, once the switch to a different clan happens. 

Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #44 on: 09 April 2018, 18:20:30 »
Oh, it gives plenty of benefit. The problem I have with it, as a GM, is that any character, in a standard campaign that is going to go on for more than a few sessions is effectively handicapping themselves by not taking it. Its always going to pay for every type of character,  no matter the situation, unlike other traits which are more situational. 

Yeah, that's simply and objectively not true, as I keep pointing out.

Please give me a crude example that demonstrates the problem.


Quote
And I ont think theres a way to fix it or slow learner--other than drastically reducing their cost and only having them affect training times/costs, and not XP in any way.

On Fast Learner, there is nothing to fix.
On Slow learner, those fixes might be OK, but I think the problem is that aesthetically, people don't want to delay their progress as a character. They dont mind working around specific problems (missing limbs, compulsions), stuff that has an RP impact. But just sucking at gaining skills isn't really an RP opportunity.


hopefully I've shown that how Fast Learner has a variable raw XP opportunity cost makes it a much more worthwhile investment.

No, I still don't see that.


Quote
Still I grant broken doesn't seem quite the right word but I'm not sure what a better one would be.

I acknowledge your position isnt as strong as WP's.



Quote
*The only two ways Fast Learner actually has it's full raw XP opportunity cost of 300 XP is if you buy it after character creation is finished and thus can't get the XP back from the skills you already have or have so little XP in skills that the rebate you get from lower XP thresholds for the same skill rank would round down to zero.

Optimization is the devil. ;)


monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #45 on: 09 April 2018, 18:39:56 »
Yeah I wouldn't ever ban Fast Learner but changing how much XP equals a skill rank never quite seemed right to me and with how all the various traits that can change XP to skill rank thresholds to add a little simplicity to my games I do have house rules that I'd like to use someday.

Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #46 on: 09 April 2018, 18:46:47 »
Yeah I wouldn't ever ban Fast Learner but changing how much XP equals a skill rank never quite seemed right to me

What do you think would've been a better method? A flat bonus every time XP is awarded in the game?
Actually reversing it, so Fast Learner has a negative trait Cost?


Quote
and with how all the various traits that can change XP to skill rank thresholds

Not connecting the dots on what you mean here? Example?


monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #47 on: 09 April 2018, 18:52:26 »
My house rule does boil down to it just improves non-campaign XP gains(downtime, training, pretty much anything a GM doesn't give you at the end of the session/campaign).

As for an example of what I'm talking about probably the best way to show you what I'm talking about is a spreadsheet I put together that is in the second link in my signature, first post, SkillRankChart.xls.

It contains all the possible combinations of traits that alter how much XP equals each particular skill rank 0-10.

[edit]didn't capitalize XP.  Lower case puts in a smiley.[/edit]
« Last Edit: 10 April 2018, 01:02:34 by monbvol »

William J. Pennington

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #48 on: 10 April 2018, 00:44:45 »
Yeah, that's simply and objectively not true, as I keep pointing out.

Please give me a crude example that demonstrates the problem.
Quote

After the break even point in skills, the character with fast learner is, effectively, getting more out of his XP utilized for skills than the character without. Another way of looking at it: not taking Fast Learner is assigning a character a 10% experience penalty on all skills purchased past the break even point.

The benefit for advanced skills taking half time to train is not of great significance msot of the time. The extra Downtime XP added--literally XP for nothing in comparison to the normal learner.  This is a minor perk, except in campaigns that really cover a lot of time with large, frequents breaks in sessions, where its a tad more significant.

With a successful career check, and a decent INT (6 to 8) will make 12/16 XP per month of downtime, as opposed to 6/8. Downtime is  variable, some campaigns have little, other have months of travel occur all the time. In those with little downtime, the training reduction time is more useful, while in those with more downtime, the free extra XP is going to be noticed more than the reduced training time.

the trainign During Downtime rules lets a fast learner get in double the amount of training checks. Many variables there, but the end result is the fast learner is goign to double the training gain this way of an other wise similar character who didn't take fast learner. Some months of downtime can make this method really generate a good amount of XP, especially in basic skills.

In terms of effectiveness, any character should be taking Fast Learner if they plan on ever having more than the break even point of XP spent on skills, or have a good deal of downtime to get free XP or train. Its simple math. Fast learner is past that easy to reach break even point,  handing the character free XP.  Characters without fast learner become increasingly disadvantaged in comparison to characters with Fast Learner as soon as the character pass the break even point in XP spent on skills  and factoring in the difference in downtime/training XP. The more the campaign goes beyond that point the more significant the advanatge gets. There's nothing special a character has to do to really benefit from it Fast Learner. Unlike other traits, that might not get used in a session, every adventure is going to feature the PC's earning XP and putting it to use eventually.

About the only way character without fast learner avoids this is if, at the end of the campaign, the non fast learner has kept the total XP of the character used on skills below the break even point, and spends the XP earned beyond that point on anything else but skills.

Something that universally good, and (objectively) worth more than its cost is, well, too good, and that is why I don't have it in my campaigns. (That and simplifying points based buying, with no differing costs for skills).



Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #49 on: 10 April 2018, 10:09:50 »
After the break even point in skills, the character with fast learner is, effectively, getting more out of his XP utilized for skills than the character without. Another way of looking at it: not taking Fast Learner is assigning a character a 10% experience penalty on all skills purchased past the break even point.

Yes. And the practical consequences of that are far less damaging than you keep indicating.


Quote
In terms of effectiveness, any character should be taking Fast Learner if they plan on ever having more than the break even point of XP spent on skills, or have a good deal of downtime to get free XP or train.

I hope that completely theoretical advantage they have UNTIL they hit the ""easy to reach"" break-even point keeps them warm at night.


Quote
About the only way character without fast learner avoids this is if, at the end of the campaign, the non fast learner has kept the total XP of the character used on skills below the break even point, and spends the XP earned beyond that point on anything else but skills.

Which isn't as weird and rare as you seem to indicate.


Quote
(That and simplifying points based buying, with no differing costs for skills).

A legitimate problem of those Traits, I agree.


Here's some examples that illustrate my opinion.

1. Skill sparse build:
3500 in Attributes. (Exact ones not very interesting)
1000 in Traits (including Fast Learner)
500 in skills.

In this example, that Trait does absolutely nothing of benefit to the player until 100 sessions are played. Longest campaign I've ever played (if I count carry-over between MW3 and ATOW), I *might* be at 50 sessions. 100 sessions at 1 per month means an 8 year sentence before any advantage is even noticed.
Yes, likely less due to Training, a bone thrown given how crap the Fast Learner Trait actually is.

2. More typical build
4000 on attributes & Traits in some proportion. Includes Fast Learner.
1000 on skills. (Most sample characters are built along these lines)
Break-even happens after 50 sessions. Still *years*. Let's call it 3.

3. Skill-heavy build
3500 on Att+Trait
1500 on skills. Break even achieved during the first session.

Can we agree that both #1 and #2 represent builds where Fast Learner isn't just not powerful, but actually a really bad buy? That player could've had some more interesting Traits, higher attributes or higher skills right out of the gate, getting immediate benefit, vs the theoretical payback 'at some point' in the future, years removed. Even if they game weekly with #2, that's a whole calendar year. 50 get-togethers where everybody else at the table is literally better than you.
Seems like you've earned a little advantage at that point, if you ever get to cash it in.


Now let's look at #3, the ideal. There is no way to make that build without really cutting in to attributes, or without making a savant who's only good at 1 thing. He'll be objectively better in whatever skills were focused on, and objectively garbage at everything else, likely taking penalties at all skill checks, except the ATTs he got to 4 (possibly only 2 or 3 of those, presuming DEX/RFL for our MW wunderkind)

Not only doesn't that seem broken to me, it seems like you need to make some pretty hefty sacrifices just to get your 1500 out of the box.


But I'm getting the feeling I'll not convince you. I think by now I've made my case as best as I can, so if that still doesn't change anything, that's just how it is, then.

Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #50 on: 10 April 2018, 19:16:52 »
I've built quite a few characters in AToW (mostly NPCs), and I have to say I'm with Paul here (as rare as that seems to be).  Only a small number of them actually benefit from Fast Learner.  Granted, those that do really benefit.  It seems to be a "rich get richer" sort of thing.  But overall, I think the trait is balanced as is.  It's not an automatic choice for everyone.  It really depends on where you expect the character to go.

Paul

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #51 on: 10 April 2018, 20:34:56 »
I have to say I'm with Paul here (as rare as that seems to be).

 :clap:

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #52 on: 12 April 2018, 10:22:26 »
For me, character creation is about executing a character vision as an archetype.  Fast Learner does not represent that archetype, nor does it offer a decision based on the archetype.  It's simply about the numbers on my sheet crossing a specified threshold, then I take it automatically.  The opportunity cost just isn't there.  It's not like, say, Attractive which is a specific investment in social situations and basically a dead trait in combat.  There I make the conscious decision to go for the social situation aspect to the exception of combat with that 200 XP.  That's a decision based on the archetype I'm executing, such as the dashing noble, the hotshot pilot, or even the shrewd businessman.  Fast Learner just isn't about that.  It's about if, in executing the vision of my character, I ended up spending more than a specified number of XP on skill points.

I bare no particular ill will toward it.  I wouldn't even say it's particularly broken.  I just feel like Fast/Slow Learner, as implemented, do not meaningfully contribute to the game experience.  Ironically.

Anyway, that's my two bits on it.

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #53 on: 12 April 2018, 12:13:16 »
Related to Fast/Slow/Boring, learning...

A D&D group of mine from LONG ago, played as 'Peasant Heroes', using sub-par stats. The adventure went just as well as any other, up to about L3, when we stopped playing them. The difficulties we faced might not have been as dramatic as those which everyone somehowmagically rolled all 18's for each stat.

Conversely, a different group from several years ago were complaining about min/max'ing, while they still wanted to use maximum effectiveness (you know that guy who takes x levels of ninja, y levels of rogue-this, z levels of rogue-that so they get +wun meeleun to their rolls)... They refused to allow me to play a character with average stats - 7 to 10 on most, and the highest being an 11.


Fast learner DOES help considerably. BUT to select this Trait on EVERY character somewhat detracts from the Role Play factor (while still being valid and allowable). I don't mind if all players choose to Fast Learner, and I sometimes recommend they do, if it would help THEIR experience.
However, in the spirit of "character death during creation", Natural Selection would suggest that mainly those with Fast Learner, and far less Slow Learner, would survive, or be otherwise noteworthy enough to play-as.

As a side-note, the Random Character creator I've created will occasionally produce a mix of both Fast or Slow-learners, which I feel does give a far more organic world than when A = B = C ... etc.
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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #54 on: 12 April 2018, 12:20:18 »
Yep. If you are playing a 'talent, but no training' type (very heavy on attributes, traits, but very little training), the frequency of play and length of the campaign matters for fast learner.m If you are doing a one off game, or very short campaign, then it may not be worth it. But those are pretty limited circumstances, which is why I rul it out of my campaigns.

I'm wondering if, in the full history of ATOW, if anyone's actually taken 'Slow Learner" as a trait, or not bought it off during chargen.

Slow Learner is awesome.  No, really.

I've never played ATOW, but I have built a number of characters for it, primarily just to see how the system worked.  I'm not really that big a fan.  But I've built at least one or two characters who had Slow Learner.  I don't have their character sheets anymore, but if I remember correctly, I used it for a very specific character optimization trick.  I wouldn't normally do it, but Slow Learner rules in the right situation.

The way to "break" ATOW is by taking lifepaths, maximizing the number of negative traits that your character can live with, and then try to keep positive traits and skills that you don't want under the buyback level.  Slow Learner can (in certain situations) help with that.  For instance, let's say a particular lifepath gives you Slow Learner at -100.  It also gives you +50 to two different skills, but you don't intend to really specialize in either of them.  Yippee, I got +50 to Running and +50 to Tracking.  I'm sure my nobleman mechwarrior is really going to use those.  :-\

So what do I do?  If I buy off Slow Learner, then I'll have level 2 skills in Running and Tracking, that I'll probably never use.  I'll also have to pay 100 points to get rid of Slow Learner.  Meh.  But if I keep Slow Learner, I'll get an extra 200 points in the character optimization stage, since the negative trait will increase to its full level of -300.  I'll also get to reduce the number of points assigned to Running and Tracking.  A normal character (no Slow Learner, no Fast Learner) will hit level 2 in a skill at 50 XP.  But Slow Learner gets there at 55 XP.  Since my character won't have the full points for level 2 in those skills, during character optimization it falls back to level 1.  That's 33 XP.  So I get back 17 XP for each skill that I wasn't really going to use anyway.  That's a 34 point savings.  Now yes, each skill that I want to be good is going to cost more.  I won't advance as quickly.  But I'm going to get enough points back from the stuff I don't really use that this shouldn't be an issue.  And I've got an extra 200 XP from not buying off Slow Learner that I get to start with.


monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #55 on: 12 April 2018, 12:33:36 »
Errata changed the penalty to 20% a while ago.  So you'd only salvage 28 XP and probably spend more than that 200 XP on skills you do want.

massey

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #56 on: 12 April 2018, 12:52:18 »
Errata changed the penalty to 20% a while ago.  So you'd only salvage 28 XP and probably spend more than that 200 XP on skills you do want.

Not if you're a stat/trait heavy character.  And you're not just getting the points back from two skills.  You're getting points back from every skill you didn't specialize in.  Did you somehow end up with +20 to Andurien History?  Well now you get that all back.  Build a character with it, pick your lifepaths carefully, and you'll see what I mean.

massey

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #57 on: 12 April 2018, 13:20:29 »
And the break-even point for a character would be 1500 points of skills for a Slow Learner.  And that’s presuming you WANT all those skills.

monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #58 on: 12 April 2018, 14:33:01 »
Having actually played a fair number of campaigns now Slow Learner is more of a liability in practice than it is in theory.

monbvol

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Re: HELP: HOPELESSLY CONFUSED BY CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM
« Reply #59 on: 12 April 2018, 14:56:35 »
And as a counter point I added up how much XP is in skills for the sample Elemental in A Time of War, who has Slow Learner, and got 1,860 XP.

Leave it to the Clans and their phenotypes to muddy the waters a bit since what you get from a phenotype doesn't always zero sum and add in the sample characters don't always make it particularly clear when they've maxed out their negative traits.

But if I could buy off Slow Learner before skill finalization that character would have the same skill ranks but actually be 10 XP better off.

Going full other end of the spectrum for Fast Learner would actually be 20 XP better off keeping the same skill ranks.