Post by Draining Dragon on Jan 6, 2017 21:36:12 GMT
I’ve talked about this proposal a bit in the Chasing the Stars thread and it seemed to get a generally positive reception, so I figured I would make a separate thread to discuss it.
In order to provide guidelines for roleplaying, I thought it would be cool and helpful to represent character abilities with numeric values. Think of the SPECIAL system from Fallout, or the Ability Scores of Dungeons & Dragons. It wouldn’t need to be a straitjacket or anywhere near as extensive as D&D (I'm not looking for skill checks or anything like that), but it would let us compare different characters and understand how effectively they would deal with different situations. It would also make it easier for those who are familiar with traditional roleplaying games to get involved in the RP scene on the forum. In keeping with the Mass Effect theme, I came up with the following areas of expertise (and related skills):
Combat Prowess: This reflects a character’s ability to handle him or herself in a direct fight. Tough characters tend to have higher Combat Prowess. Specific skills include Endurance, Strength, and Weapons.
-The Endurance skill is an indicator of your character's overall health, stamina, resistance to disease, and ability to wear armor. Fortitude is a power from this skill.
-The Strength skill is an indicator of your character's melee combat ability, carrying capacity, and ability to lift weight. Omni-blade attacks are related to this skill.
-The Weapons skill is an indicator of proficiency with different types of weapons and ammunition. The subcategories of weapons are Pistol, SMG, Sniper Rifle, Assault Rifle, Shotgun, Heavy, Explosive, and Low-Tech. Weapon Familiarity is indicated separately. Concussive Shot is a power from this skill.
Tech Prowess: This reflects a character’s ability to make use of general technology, including the omni-tool. Smart characters tend to have higher Tech Prowess. Specific skills include Electronics, Medicine, and Fabrication.
-The Electronics skill is an indicator of your character's skill with computers, hacking, and AIs. Sabotage is a power from this skill.
-The Medicine skill is an indicator of your character's knowledge of first aid and the anatomy of different creatures. Unity is a power from this skill.
-The Fabrication skill is an indicator of how well you can assemble and repair things. Combat Drone is a power from this skill.
Biotic Prowess: This reflects a character’s ability to manipulate dark energy. Strong-willed characters tend to have higher Biotic Prowess, though most people have no biotic abilities at all. Specific skills include Telekinesis, Kinetic Fields, and Spatial Distortion*.
-The Telekinesis skill indicates how well you can move objects without touching them. Pull is a power from this skill.
-The Kinetic Fields skill indicates how well you can generate biotic barriers. Barrier is a power from this skill.
-The Spatial Distortion skill indicates how well you can use shifting Mass Effect fields to rip objects apart. Singularity is a power from this skill.
Tactical Prowess: This reflects a character’s ability to operate in the field. Agile characters tend to have higher Tactical Prowess. Specific skills include Stealth, Perception, and Mobility.
-The Stealth skill indicates how effectively you can sneak and evade detection. Tactical Cloak is a power from this skill.
-The Perception skill indicates how aware you are of your surroundings and your ability to sense when things aren't right. Tactical Scan is a power from this skill.
-The Mobility skill indicates your talent for dodging and maneuvering in the battlefield. The rolling and dodging movement options from ME3 are examples of this skill.
Social Prowess: This reflects a character’s ability to influence others. Charismatic characters tend to have higher Social Prowess. Specific skills include Charm, Intimidate, and Bluff.
-The Charm skill indicates your talent for inspiring positive feelings and loyalty in others. Paragon interrupts from Mass Effect 2 and 3 are examples of this skill.
-The Intimidate skill indicates your talent for inspiring negative feelings and fear in others. Renegade interrupts from Mass Effect 2 and 3 are examples of this skill.
-The Bluff skill indicates your talent for misleading others.
*Shamelessly ripped from the ME wiki
For regular characters, these areas of expertise would be tracked on a 0-10 scale. I’ll provide a scale to give an idea of what each level entail. I go into more detail on the first five, and you can figure the rest out from there.
-Combat: completely out of shape and literally cannot aim to save your life
-Tech: unable to use even the simplest machine without assistance
-Biotic: has no biotic abilities
-Tactical: you're clumsy and lack any kind of awareness of what is around you
-Social: unable to communicate in any meaningful fashion
2: Below Average (Child)
-Combat: you will lose just about any fight, but you could at least inconvenience your opponent
-Tech: technology confuses you, but you manage
-Biotic: has very weak biotic potential and would likely struggle to manifest any powers at this point, even with training
-Tactical: you have a short attention span and are still fairly clumsy
-Social: you can talk to people but you can't guarantee they'll listen
3: Average (Adult Civilian)
-Combat: you are in decent health and can use a gun
-Tech: can operate basic technology, such as the Omni-tool and most terminals
-Biotic: has biotic potential but cannot actually use biotic powers
-Tactical: is reasonably aware of their surroundings and can be a bit sneaky when necessary
-Social: can converse normally with other people
4: Above Average (Law Enforcement)
-Combat: can learn combat-related skills and use some combat powers
-Tech: can learn tech-related skills and use some tech powers
-Biotic: can learn biotic-related skills and use some biotic powers
-Tactical: can learn tactical skills and you have an instinctive sense when something isn't right
-Social: you can influence people to a limited extent
5: Experienced (Military Grunt)
-Combat: can engage multiple opponents at close range successfully and knows how to use military weapons and armor
-Tech: can use most tech powers
-Biotic: can reliably use biotic powers
-Tactical: can maneuver effectively in the field and notice oncoming threats
-Social: the average person will rarely question you
6: Very Experienced (Veteran)
7: Specialized (Operative)
-Social: to be determined
-Tactical: Kai Leng
As for the skills, a character would be limited by their knowledge of specific subjects. A character with high Tech Prowess and knowledge of Medicine would still struggle with Electronics if they were not knowledgeable of that subject. Their natural affinity for Tech might help them learn, but they still wouldn’t be as capable as someone with slightly lower Tech Prowess but decent knowledge in Electronics. A character with a score of 3 in any area of expertise does not know any skills from that area. A character with at least 4 Prowess in an area can know any number of skills from that area of expertise.
As for how points would be allocated, I’m not sure. My natural instinct is to start characters at 1 in everything and let players choose how many points to allocate between a minimum and maximum, which would allow diversity in ability levels without making any characters absurdly weak or OP. On the other hand, there might be situations which called for weak or OP characters, and this could also encourage min-maxing, which isn’t really what a story-driven roleplay should be about. With that in mind, I recommend the following power level for a character, subject to change:
15-30 Prowess Points
2-6 weapon familiarities
Here is a sample character and the template to use:
Birdface served in the Reaper War and is skilled with a variety of weapons as being a decent tactician. He's never been one for tech, though, and only learned enough to be able to apply first aid in the field. He has experience as a leader and knows how to pull a team together, as well as how to mess with an enemy's head.
Combat: 7/10 (Endurance, Strength, Weapons)
Tech: 4/10 (Medicine)
Tactical: 6/10 (Perception)
Social: 5/10 (Intimidate, Bluff)
Weapon Familiarity: Pistol, Shotgun, Assault Rifle, Heavy, Explosive
Powers: First Aid, Frag Grenade, Marksman, Fortitude
This character has 22 Total Prowess, knows 7 skills, is familiar with 5 weapon types, and has 4 powers.
If we did implement this system, it would be wise to stress that these values are not the sole deciders of outcomes and that you should build your character to be interesting from a roleplaying perspective, not to necessarily be better than everyone else. We might also just make it an optional concept for character creation rather than a requirement, so that people who want to describe their character more organically can do so. Thoughts?
1/7/2017: updated to give more information on skills, make the Prowess scale more comprehensive, give a recommended power level, and provide a sample character as a template