Shadowrun Play > Character creation and critique

6E without Attributes as Priority A

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Attributes matter a lot unless they're Strength  ;D

The reason the Attribute priority chart is so messed up is that it's mathematically perfect.  The designer was so consumed with making the numbers add up that they never challenged their base assumptions about the relative value of attributes and skills or how people assign attributes and skills in practice.

Here's how you can tell.  Attributes and skills take the same amount of karma to raise, right?  5x new value.  Well, the number of skill points at each priority level is always 8 more than the number of attribute points at each level.  You start with 1 in each of the 8 Attributes, therefore you always have the same number of attribute points as skill points at each level.  Perfectly balanced!

As anyone who's ever played this game knows, however, attributes are not worth the same as skills.  Attributes are worth more.  Charisma points are worth at least three times as much as a skill point to a Face - 1 skill point is a die in Con or Influence, but 1 Charisma point is a die in Con and Influence and Composure and 6 contact points and +1 to max connection/loyalty of those contacts.

And as anyone who's ever played this game knows, players don't spend attribute points like skill points.  Someone who takes E on skills doesn't divide 10 points between 8 skills.  They specialize and take 2 or 3 skills.  Yet that's what you have to do with attributes.  Your first 8 are spent for you.  And metatype points don't save the day.  They're primarily for Edge, Magic, and racial adjustments, not to wallpaper over the holes in the system.

Anyway, that's why the numbers are messed up and Attributes A is the "correct" choice 90% of the time.


Attributes A is the best choice for most characters, which does make the Priority table easier.  A in Attributes, E in either Resources or Magic (for most characters), fiddle with the B,C,D a bit.  Burn-outs and MySads are generally exceptions, but those builds are tricky anyway.

It reduces build variety, but not character variety.  The RPees are what matter, not the dice pools, so you may as well make the easy optimization choice. 

It does make giving newbies build advise easy, as they'll only wind up so far behind a totally optimized build.  It does create mechanical traps for new players that don't seek out advice, which is my main complaint.  YMMV. 

If you can learn to accept it and enjoy the advantages of a clear "best" choice during char-gen you'll be happier.

Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse.  I just got 6e, and the way I learn a system is by making characters, so I'd made about a half dozen and noticed that every single time, I ended up with A in Attributes.  Then I looked at the archetypes, and all of them seem to be built with Attributes A, and so I decided I'd figure out a character I thought could hold his own with characters built with Attributes A, and came up with van guy.

I'd argue that, in fact a MysAd would be better off in the long run with Magic C or D as well.  Put no points into Adept Powers, start with 2 or 4 spells, and then dump 30 karma into Powers (maybe get a few spells along the way).  After 3-4 months (missions time), you go from slightly subpar to amazeballs.  Wow, now I want to make a MsyAd.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  I have no problem with there being a pretty much best choice for Pri A, I just wanted to see if I was missing something.

As a thought experiment (and because of a dare from someone at reddit) I made a Face / Gunslinger / Physical Infiltrator with Attribute priority D or E. Between adjustment points (that went into both Agility and Charisma) and customization karma and resources into augmentations the character ended up perfectly viable with really good primary and secondary dice pools. I was actually surprised how well she turned out. Not sure where I put it though.... :-/

I guess if you skip edge, 17 points would be workable.  Maybe I should try again with that in mind


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