Author Topic: [SR4a] BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know  (Read 48522 times)

DamienHollow

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #30 on: (01:49:12/05-11-13) »
Okay, am I the only one here who flinches at they way he mentions karma like we net it by the dozens? I usually net 2-4 per run. Thanks for the math though ;D
can i see the numbers on gearhead (5BP) Born Rich and the two trust funds?
« Last Edit: (02:12:50/05-11-13) by DamienHollow »

StarManta

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #31 on: (15:28:08/05-11-13) »
Okay, am I the only one here who flinches at they way he mentions karma like we net it by the dozens? I usually net 2-4 per run. Thanks for the math though ;D
can i see the numbers on gearhead (5BP) Born Rich and the two trust funds?

This is exactly the problem I'm having with his analysis. The takeaway lessons appears to be, "softcap a few attributes and max out your gear, but buy most/all your skills with Karma". First, taking this advice to the extreme, the obvious problem would be that you would be doing several runs with no skills at all.

More fundamentally, I think he is drastically understimating the value of Karma in general. He is assuming that 1 BP = 2 Karma, which I suspect comes from the only direct BP-to-Karma conversion provided, which is in buying off negative Qualities. However, I believe that premise to be fundamentally flawed. Qualities are supposed to be more "baked in" to your character than other stats, and thus, will naturally be harder to buy off after chargen.

The highest Karma level I have played with has been ~150, and the highest I've even seen has been 300. This suggests a point of Karma is more valuable than BP, not less.

It's good to know the relative amounts that BP is worth compared to Karma, but there is no direct point value exchange rate between the two. It's worth it to say "Maxing an attribute with BP has a better BP-to-Karma value than buying skills"; it does not, however, follow that it's not worth it to buy skills with BP, which he seems to imply.
« Last Edit: (15:30:17/05-11-13) by StarManta »

DamienHollow

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #32 on: (15:47:51/05-11-13) »
He does have one thing right though. Karma punishes you for specializing.

RHat

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #33 on: (17:35:13/05-11-13) »
StarManta: The 1:2 ratio isn't just for qualities - karmagen makes use of the same ratio when it needs such a conversion.  Mathematically, 1BP = 2 Karma.
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JoeNapalm

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #34 on: (18:53:09/05-11-13) »
In defense of M2, he has a disclaimer in the OP.

He never has made any claims of this being the best approach, simply the most mathematically efficient in terms of Karma.

I know this will horrify many, but an extremist approach to CharGen is usually not going to generate the best character - it simply generates the best character for that single criteria.

That doesn't make this thread useless. It's very useful for making educated decisions, but isn't the only metric to consider, which is clearly addressed on the first post.


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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #35 on: (07:05:59/05-12-13) »
Holy crap, I never noticed that metagenetic improvement raised the minimum stat, too...  Thanks for pointing that out.
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Thrass

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #36 on: (13:36:19/05-12-13) »
metagenetic improvement ist strictly better then anything else, you get 1point of stat +1 maximum point for 10bp and 5b negative qualities
you can use it to push bp from your positive qualities pool into your attribute pool and it stacks with everything else
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emsquared

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #37 on: (18:56:13/05-12-13) »
Okay, am I the only one here who flinches at they way he mentions karma like we net it by the dozens? I usually net 2-4 per run. Thanks for the math though ;D
can i see the numbers on gearhead (5BP) Born Rich and the two trust funds?
Ummm, 2nd to last paragraph of the Attributes section, in reference to how much post-chargen karma you can gain by spending BP wisely: "Think about how long it takes you to earn 150 Karma, or even 40, once you start Running? Personally, I think I've only had 1 or 2 characters that have lasted beyond 150 Karma." Where do I talk about it like it comes in the dozens? The whole point of this thread is that post-Chargen karma is very valuable. All of the hours I've spent writing this stuff out is because I recognize how hard it is to come by "enough" karma in play. How can you take it any other way?

Regarding Gearhead, it's one of those weird Qualities with some tenuous benefits and wording (such as, it starts as 5 & 10 BP purchase levels at first then changes to 5 and 15 at the bottom), like it says you get the benefits for 1 scene but it doesn't say if that should be per session, per run, per campaign, etc., so I won't be covering it in the main entry. Generally though you could lump it in there with the very first entry of Part 4, Qualities "+1 or 2 to X-Skill or Test(s)" (i.e. only advisable to take if you want to be the best of the best of the best at something), but it's benefits go a little beyond that so I wouldn't. My personal opinion of it; if you know your GM likes to do a lot of chase scenes (with you as the pursuer or escapee) or otherwise vehicle related elements, could be a decent purchase (it's not that expensive if you have a "signature" ride you're planning on using) if you're the dedicated Wheelman, but in my experience I've never done much with vehicle scenes and don't hear much about people doing much with vehicle scenes, so I wouldn't be very inclined to purchase it. Then again, I'm a big fan of solid consistency, and this is a very niche thing.

I'm not going to include Born Rich or the Trust Funds in the main entry either, but I'll give you an ad hoc break down here:

Born Rich, essentially costs 20 BP/ 40 karma for 50K Y. 10 BP for the "privilege" of spending 10 more BP on cred. First, you should only take this if 1.) you've already spent all your possible cred and 2.) if you're going to spend this extra cred on something that is either hard to get post-Chargen, or on something that will net you post-Chargen karma (like Attribute-boosting 'ware). Second, it's exchange rate is not necessarily favorable. It's strictly worse than "In Debt" (though they fill slightly different Chargen needs), because even though you get less cred total and less cred per BP, you're also getting that BP which you can spend on cred (obviously this doesn't given you the nuyen-roof busting ability of Born Rich - only 10K vs 50K), so it's a good Neg Quality for PCs who are low on BP (due to Attributes, Skills and Posi-Qualities, etc.), but need more Y for gear. Even if you have to pay In Debt Quality off in Karma (as well as Y), you're still potentially getting 60K Y for 20 Karma (plus interest). If you don't have to pay it off in Karma (be sure to ask your GM first), you should absolutely take the 30 BP version of this Quality, every time. 3K interest can be hard to make at first, but if you can get some help from your friends, you're pretty much getting money - and more importantly 30 BP - for nothing.

Trust Fund is different and kind of subjective. You're paying either 10 BP or 20 BP for the equivalent of 5.5K or 10.1K cash infusions per month, right? That sounds freaking fantastic, no? But is the value really there? What do you do with that Middle or High Lifestyle? Do you need that high of a lifestyle? What mechanical game benefits do you really get from it? The answer is not necessarily a whole lot. If your GM will let you build a Custom Lifestyle with those budgets it's a little better of a Quality. But ultimately, you're making a significant mechanical sacrifice (10-20 BP) for a largely intangible to non-existent mechanical benefit in-game. This one is really a choice that should be made on the level of other RP choices. You don't take this Quality because it saves you a bunch of karma down the road, you do it because your PC has daddy pay for all his crap.
« Last Edit: (20:50:41/05-12-13) by emsquared »

emsquared

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #38 on: (19:11:44/05-12-13) »
The takeaway lessons appears to be, "softcap a few attributes and max out your gear, but buy most/all your skills with Karma".
That is just about exactly the takeaway lesson: Put as much BP as you can into your Attributes and Gear (especially those that are central to your core skill-set), and spend as little as you can on Skills while still having a functional character (I generally try to stay below 100 BP spent on Skills, around 60 is fantastic, but not very realistic for anything but Magicians or combat specialists - Hackers and/or Generalists {like a Bounty Hunter} usually end up in the 120 range - and I usually aim for pools ranging from around 9 in things I need to be able to do but not excel at, to 15 in the things I need to excel at).
First, taking this advice to the extreme, the obvious problem would be that you would be doing several runs with no skills at all.
Yes, and your doctor tells you to drink more water, but how many people go home and chug a gallon of it and die? The answer is; only those Evolution wants out of the mix.
More fundamentally, I think he is drastically understimating the value of Karma in general. He is assuming that 1 BP = 2 Karma, which I suspect comes from the only direct BP-to-Karma conversion provided, which is in buying off negative Qualities. However, I believe that premise to be fundamentally flawed.
This is explicitly stated as the basic assumption of the thread. It is a math thread and it is based on a mathematical assumption. If you don't agree with it on some level, then don't follow any of the advice - simple as that. I don't care what you do with this information, I don't care if you agree with it or not. It's widely applicable and accepted as true - doesn't make it the overriding driver of choices in all cases. I agree. I also don't have a dog in your race. You're free to enjoy spending your time playing, compensating for a Chargen system disconnected from the PC advancement system.
The highest Karma level I have played with has been ~150, and the highest I've even seen has been 300. This suggests a point of Karma is more valuable than BP, not less.
Yes, and one would think that one might realize the fact that I've spent hours and hours to show others how to turn BP into karma would assert and reinforce this view. Do you understand what is going on here? (Hint: I'm trying to show people how to have the PC and RP they want, with out getting bent over by BP-Chargen. Okay, SPOILER: that wasn't a hint, that was actually just a statement of my personal goal.)
It's good to know the relative amounts that BP is worth compared to Karma, but there is no direct point value exchange rate between the two. It's worth it to say "Maxing an attribute with BP has a better BP-to-Karma value than buying skills"; it does not, however, follow that it's not worth it to buy skills with BP, which he seems to imply.
I never said, "don't buy any Skills", I simply encourage Skill purchases at certain levels (1, 4 and 6) and the purchase of (certain) Skill Groups, where do you get this stuff you're writing?
« Last Edit: (19:32:41/05-12-13) by emsquared »

DamienHollow

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #39 on: (03:01:29/05-13-13) »
Will you be touching any on the metavarients or Shapeshifters? I just did some looking and found some interesting numbers in terms of attributes (50BP fox shifter gets about 40BP worth of attributes (including magic) and a few vision enhancements while the 75BP lion/tiger gets 110BP, + 1 reach, and the same vision enhancements.)

Dragonslayer

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #40 on: (03:26:40/05-13-13) »
I'm wondering how the two Drake qualities stack up personally.  70 points of Attributes plus reach and a breath weapon that does jack without a high Magic and skill investment.

And it's situational, since it only counts while shifted.

I_V_Saur

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #41 on: (11:01:34/05-13-13) »
You're probably swimming with things to do, Emsquared, but it occurs to me that there's a couple notable qualities worth looking at.

Latent Awakening/Dracomorphisis. In the case of being a Latent Adept or Technomancer, you don't actually pay anything later, and don't get your abilities early on, which pretty much ruins the whole point of being one, but as a Magician, Mystic Adept, or Drake, you get to pay later, can focus your BP on other things early, and you get a power boost. (Technically at GM's discretion, but these are most commonly triggered around artifacts and high Background Counts, so there's some measure of control over it.) I'd like to know, number-wise, how smart it would be, from a number standpoint. I always liked the Latent qualities, but I'm not sure if I'm helping, or crippling, my character in the long run.

The Carrier Quality doesn't buffyou, it buffs an ally who you end up infecting. If the party coordinates, or you just feel generous, you're giving quite an Attribute bonus, and some powers. (The negatives are RP-related, not covered by pure numbers, even though they are pretty rough negatives.)

Spirit Pacts...Dream Pact means you can do jobs while asleep, and gain extra cash. Not karma, but cash. That means you can afford extra Ware and such, get closer to bigger jobs, and generally advance yourself towards more Karma awards than other characters.
Formula Pact means you have a Spirit of steadily advancing power backing you, because so long as you live, it's safe from enslavement. It also means you live forever, and can gain even more Karma.
Magic Pact can give you a serious power boost once daily, in exchange for a bit of Edge, which few people rely on anyways.
Power Pact? You can do some seriously broken things with it, or so I've heard.

emsquared

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #42 on: (11:26:04/05-13-13) »
Will you be touching any on the metavarients or Shapeshifters? I just did some looking and found some interesting numbers in terms of attributes (50BP fox shifter gets about 40BP worth of attributes (including magic) and a few vision enhancements while the 75BP lion/tiger gets 110BP, + 1 reach, and the same vision enhancements.)
I'm wondering how the two Drake qualities stack up personally.  70 points of Attributes plus reach and a breath weapon that does jack without a high Magic and skill investment.

And it's situational, since it only counts while shifted.
You're probably swimming with things to do, Emsquared, but it occurs to me that there's a couple notable qualities worth looking at.

Latent Awakening/Dracomorphisis. In the case of being a Latent Adept or Technomancer, you don't actually pay anything later, and don't get your abilities early on, which pretty much ruins the whole point of being one, but as a Magician, Mystic Adept, or Drake, you get to pay later, can focus your BP on other things early, and you get a power boost. (Technically at GM's discretion, but these are most commonly triggered around artifacts and high Background Counts, so there's some measure of control over it.) I'd like to know, number-wise, how smart it would be, from a number standpoint. I always liked the Latent qualities, but I'm not sure if I'm helping, or crippling, my character in the long run.

The Carrier Quality doesn't buffyou, it buffs an ally who you end up infecting. If the party coordinates, or you just feel generous, you're giving quite an Attribute bonus, and some powers. (The negatives are RP-related, not covered by pure numbers, even though they are pretty rough negatives.)

Spirit Pacts...Dream Pact means you can do jobs while asleep, and gain extra cash. Not karma, but cash. That means you can afford extra Ware and such, get closer to bigger jobs, and generally advance yourself towards more Karma awards than other characters.
Formula Pact means you have a Spirit of steadily advancing power backing you, because so long as you live, it's safe from enslavement. It also means you live forever, and can gain even more Karma.
Magic Pact can give you a serious power boost once daily, in exchange for a bit of Edge, which few people rely on anyways.
Power Pact? You can do some seriously broken things with it, or so I've heard.
Sorry guys, as my initial post states, I have no intentions of getting into Metavariants, SURGE, HMVV, Drakes, Free Spirits, AIs or any of those things. Part of that is because I personally don't really like them yet (I only came to 4E mid-2012 after not having played SR since 2nd), so I'm not bored with the "normal" options and these detract too much from the cyberpunk-ness of the setting for my tastes - taking it to full on fantasy with a technology element, and therefore I don't use them and so I don't know how the numbers play out and I therefore don't feel qualified to do any sort of analysis, but mostly I don't intend to because it just introduces too many options and combinations - I haven't even gotten to Spells and Martial Arts and *shudder* my analysis of Adepts yet, which I really still want to do. Unfortunately, taking over as GM for my group has indeed distracted me from all of this.

Again, sorry, I really would like to help you out.

Carz

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #43 on: (15:44:24/05-13-13) »
Spirit Pacts...
Magic Pact can give you a serious power boost once daily, in exchange for a bit of Edge, which few people rely on anyways.

I've never understood why people felt that Edge is not 'useful' or 'used very often'. Maybe its me, but I run a human caster with maxed edge of 7 and end up using it all before it refreshes.

Buy I look at it a certain way, and its a way that it at least tangentially related to this thread: I look at edge as a 2nd stream/method of putting points into your primary character focus/abilities.

For example, once you buy the 6 rating skill, and you have a 6+ stat, and maybe cyber or magic buffing it, how do you make yourself better at it? I do so via buying/using more edge.

I do agree that, being a limited quantity its only as useful as the refresh rate allows it to be, so talk to your GM about how often you get it back. But even then, using it as a shot of Nitro to your primary abilities might allow you to end a fight or chase scene a round or two early, lowering damage taken by your group, putting you in a better position to complete you mission.
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emsquared

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Re: BP Character Generation: the Math You Really Should Know
« Reply #44 on: (16:48:00/05-13-13) »
I've never understood why people felt that Edge is not 'useful' or 'used very often'. Maybe its me, but I run a human caster with maxed edge of 7 and end up using it all before it refreshes.
I don't think people ever say EDG is "not useful", it's just a matter of which is a better approach for a given PC or player; investing your resources on being consistently good at what you do, or investing your resources on EDG where you're perhaps more adaptable and possibly able to make the clutch move when it's really needed. And while it's not a fully binary path, doing anything meaningful with your EDG at chargen requires a significant investment (40 BP) - that's 10% of your PC, and fully 20% post-Attributes.