Thursday, February 4, 2016

Random Stats and Racial Abilities? why are they still here?

a simple Question and i will make this blog short.

the Munchkins need a set of Pads to Stuff their brassieres so they can make themselves feel like they have a bigger cup size than one another. i'm flat as a pancake and i am proud. and i will tell you some of the biggest problems i have with the Concepts of Random Stats and Racial Abilities

Point 1: Random Stats Inflate E-Assets

you remember that point where your friends make fun of you for something you are lacking? this can be anything from Endowments, to money or even confidence. i won't give you a sob story of the feelings that led me to power game in my youth but i can tell you i did it to feel special, to stand out, to earn friends and respect, to be loved. and it didn't end well, my powergaming habits cost me more tables than i kept, but even worse, was my lack of filters. both made me really hard to game with.

and while powergaming made me feel badass when i was rolling stuff my character was good at. i wasn't really being fair to my companions. while i play a lot of underage female characters due to the large moe following that has happened since the early 1990s at the very least. i have used that to actually try to keep my characters alive. usually by making them a low priority target. "you don't want to kill the 79 year old elf in the gothloli dress? you want to kill the 150 year old dwarf in plate"

as you can tell, i have a habit of giving my characters a far higher level of intellect, wisdom and charisma than i truly possess IRL. especially charisma,  and well, i suffered from many years Roll-Playing instead of Role-Playing.

Random Stats. allow the player who miraculously rolled high, or cheated their scores, to have a massive unfair advantage that blatantly allows their characters to dominate greater foes than the characters with weak or even fair stats. and god forbid you have a character that has mostly penalties traveling along with a character that is purely bonuses. the latter will brag about his higher bonuses, while the former will complain and whime about their worse penalties. this can lead to very specific mindsets, especially for players who have horrible luck or players with extreme luck. most players who ask to roll in a point buy game, just want more stat points than the others.

better to deny the rolls first. and better to deny a randomly generated character that was made at home without a credible witness, but with the player's "lucky dice." where are these lucky dice that cap the important half of my stats and leave the other half in above average or even professional range?

Point 2: Racial Abilities are just as munchkin

i won't list a unique system for it. but most people that generally choose a race, are generally doing it for a racial ability that allows them to perform some broken gimmick, or simply want a racial stat bonus or few in whatever their primary stat for their build is going to end up being and don't care about the penalty to a stat they don't intend to use. while this is especially true of d20, and of the Various Editions and Retroclones of a specific popular nearly 50 year old Game Franchise that everybody knows the Title of. i will say the real reason people want different races to have different abilities, is so they can feel more powerful when they make that Orc a Barbarian, when they make that Dwarf a Fighter, when they make that High Elf a Wizard, when they make that Bunny Girl a Tavern Wench, when they make that Nymph a Shaman or when they make that Catgirl a Ninja.

in fact, entire balancing mechanisms are applied to keep races in line, when in reality, most players are either going to play the Races as blatant Steriotypes, or play them as themselves but with a cute accessory such as a pair of Butterfly Wings or a pair of Bunny Ears. really, if your race has any advantages that are outright not standard? why don't they buy them with advantages and disadvantages? whether gained from character advance or from taking the disadvantages at character creation?

are you really playing a bunny girl from a race of bunny warriors turned tavern wenches by years of being forced into slavery? or are you playing yourself with a bunny eared hairband because bunny ears are the new fashion trend you saw in an anime?

Point 3: Social Status is just as munchkin

it is fine to have a social status on paper, but if you want that social class to actually buy you in game benefits. you should have to invest metagame resources into those benefits. being attractive without the benefits for free is fine, but if you actually want the social benefits of being attractive, please spend those advances. you needn't take an attractive advantage to play an attractive character, but if you want to use that attractive appearance for social benefits, spend some damned advances.

Point 4: Background Restrictions do not balance a merit/edge/feat

if a feat/merit/edge is so powerful that you have to restrict its access to being taken at character creation, restricted its access to a certain alignment, or added behavioral restrictions such as a code of conduct to it, all you have truly done, is create an option you fear is too powerful and too munchkin to be used in certain builds. if you attach alignment restrictions or a code of conduct to a class, you are essentially saying the class is too powerful and you were desperate to balance it because you didn't know how to nerf it, by applying a character creation restriction to an Edge/Merit/Feat, you basically said that it is too powerful to be considered fair and has to be balanced by being taken at a point where it would be assumed to be considered sub-optimal.

Point 5. Arrays both outclass point buy and random stats at the expensive of variety. 

Arrays, though accused of killing character variety, actually don't, any character variety percieved to exist, actually truly doesn't in most class or archetype based systems. most systems can support maybe four or five character types with minor variations, and usually by shoehorning other Archetypes into the four or five. Systems like Cypher are smart enough to Admit this with Warrior, Adept, Explorer and Speaker. i mean, there is bleed-over between the four, but that is intentional to allow concept flexibility, most people playing a specific archetype with a specific playstyle, will play that archetype with the same overall play-style, regardless of how high their primary attribute is. using d20 as an example, it doesn't matter whether you have a 14 dexterity or an 18 dexterity. a character who defaults to archery as a combat style, will generally default to archery, regardless of what their actual dexterity score is and whether or not the campaign will allow them to increase it. characters who default to archery, usually tend to be human turrets. you will rarely ever have a mounted archer, or a flying archer, who mostly do those things for situational gimmicks. usually because most places have dimensions that rarely accommodate flight or mounts.