Re: Character Ratings

From: Roderick and Ellen Robertson <rjremr_at_...>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 17:21:32 -0700

> > Hmm, well since *I* am "They" in a lot of cases...
> And I thought I had schizophrenia problems ;)

Considering how many mail addresses I have just at :-)

> > *Technically*, "Keyword 15w2" means all abilities in that
> > keyword are at 15w2.
> OK.
> > However, the way *I* use those numbers
> > in play assumes that three or four of the "main abilities" in
> > that keyword are +/-1 to 2 points from that number - so it's
> > an "average of the best abilities". The rest of the
> > (unlisted) abilities in the keyword are probably less than
> > that - figure "improv penalties" from -3 to -10 (for a really
> > unused ability).
> That feels right, when looking at PCs. In fact, I wonder if PC sheets
> perhaps ignore the initial keyword ratings once play has started? If you
> need to know the rating again, take the highest three or four main
> and average them?

That would be a way to do it, since a warrior (or whatever) is assumed to have been doing "warrior stuff" during the time he hasn't been in the spotlight. Of course, if the player wants to start a new ability ("Hey, 'Repair Equipment' should be part of the warrior keyword, I want to buy it at my keyword rating") do you want him to start it at the average of the four top abilities? That's a decision you'd have to make.

> > A follower (especially a retainer, who basically *is* just a
> > keyword) should be at that rating in all abilities unless you
> > think there is a really compelling reason to change it.
> OK.
> > Note that for a follower to get individual ability ratings, he has
> > to be a sidekick, not a retainer.
> And even then, they're restricted to only a few abilities. My sidekicks
> telling me their backstories and trying to promote themselve to alternate
> PCs. I think I need five or so PCs with one player. I would say "working
> a team", except that they keep arguing :(

It's when you argue back that you have to really start worrying :-).

> > Poor old retainers are
> > restricted to a keyword and 17 (by the rules - if you want to
> > raise a retainer's keyword rating, *I* won't stop you). They
> > are *supposed* to be the faceless spear carriers. if you want
> > a more persoanlized followr, than get a sidekick.
> An intriguing thought for you - when you "get" a new follower or either
> type, they don't just come out of thin air. They may well have been NPCs
> the last scenario who we got on with. If an NPC decides to become a
> follower, of either type, do they suddenly lose all their skills and
> an X-17 keyword?

Remember that there's also allies, enemies, patrons, etc. If the NPC is about the same power level as the character, will he *really* want to follow the hero?

I figure that once an NPC has gotten "screen time" he will probably automatically qualify for Sidekick status. I'm assuming that your NPCs aren't hyper-detailed (that's part of the idea of keywords, after all), so he's probably already got a keyword or two, and a couple abilities. Go ahead and let him retain his ability ratings. You might give him some "negative" abilities ("Hates the rest of Group", "Drinks to excess", Thinks he's better than everyone else", "Fawns on hero", etc) to balance out the extra experience he's had. No-one says that they have to be always good for the character (look at Kallyr's trickster!)

> I think my trouble is, I still see NPCs as PCs who happen to be being run
> the GM today. That's how we've always tended to do things in games I run,
> look at the next scenario, decide which characters will join in, which
> stay at home, which will tag along, choose who's playing which one, and
> decide who's a PC and who's a "follower" based on that. The HW/HQ sharp
> division between Hero (capital H) and faceless spearcarrier just doesn't
> seem to allow for this.

They sound like Allies to me (even if they aren't at the hero's level of expertise): have lives outside the hero's, don't always come when called, et c.

Once you've decided whose bothering to join the current adventure, you can parcel them out to the players & let them have "really experienced sidekicks" for that session.

It is by my order and for the good of the state that the bearer of this has done what he has done.
- Richelieu

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