Homebrew Point Buy System

I have been working on a general "make-your-own-Type" system so GM's can come up with alternative Types for players to choose from, using a point buy system with a base "average" for abilities. I did away with maximums during character creation since it's an open "plug-in" type system.

Type Name
Bod 5 (all Primary and Secondary Attributes have a max of 10, raising past that costs double)
Mnd 5
Ref 5
Chi 0
5 points to divide between these Primary Attributes
Point Buy: each Primary Attribute level bonus costs 10 points

5 points in all Secondary Attributes (Move, Dex, Intelligence, etc) except for For, Kfu, Mag
5 points to divide among Secondary Attributes (because all Secondary are equal to category Primary values)
Point Buy: each Secondary Attribute level bonus costs 3 points

25 skill bonus levels to divide between Skills (recommended 5 skills at varying levels - +2, +8, etc)

Zero initial Schticks (Unique and Normal), which cost 10 (Unique) or 5 points each to purchase, from book
Point Buy: 22 initial Schtick points to purchase/raise Schticks

Wealth Level: Working Stiff
To raise to Rich costs 10 points

Weapons: 1 initial weapon
Each additional starting weapon you start our carrying costs 3

So for example:

Ok, I've spent some time on this, I don't know if other people have done something like this or there is a published work, but this is mine and I kind of like it, for my group at least, and thought I'd share it with anyone else who is interested. I don't claim it's accurate or perfect, it's just what I'm looking at going with for my own purposes.

Basically, I took the "levels" that the different Types have in various things, from attributes to skills, and gave those categories multipliers, to get a category point total for that Type - I'm calling these Character Creation Experience Points (CCXP) for lack of a better term, meaning they are mainly used when creating a new Type or a Typeless new character from scratch - this basically makes this a really primitive point-buy system, with the Types as "kits" or "packages". I'm really surprised at how many CCXP the Scrappy Kid has and how the slightly above middle of the road the Old Master is.

I did not take into account specifics of most categories except Combat or Non-Combat; Unique Schticks are treated equally among themselves, and similar with other aspects, to keep things simple. The only main concession I gave to specifics is that I gave -10 to four of the seven Non-Contemporary Types for having Limitations, either not being able to be healed by standard means, or being unable to learn Sorcery.

By jpneok at 2009-11-05

As you can see, the average CCXP total is about 320 (321) - although there are Types that have more (374 for the Spy) and less (294 for the Techie) in Contemporary, and even less in the Non-Contemporary group, this 320 is a good solid number of CCXP to build a Type or new character with, though like other games, there is also a chart for more or less skilled Types if desired, which changes the starting CCXP.

By jpneok at 2009-11-05

I also took the liberty of running all the statted characters from the FS introductory scenario, Baptism of Fire, through this point crunching via Excel and came up with the above, all seeming fairly reasonable as far as I can tell, and then made a chart giving examples of likely "breakpoints" for different "ranks" of NPCs and characters.

Does your system account for inherent weaknesses in some non-human types such as tranimal reversion, or the weaknesses supernatural creatures have to shticks commonly used by the factions that enslave them (sorcery's summoning shtick, and that arcanowave thingy that paralyses them, I think it's called a wave suppressor)?

Thanks for the feedback. Actually no, in answer to your question - since it is made clear that the Feng Shui characters aren't intentionally balanced in the first place, this system isn't meant to be able to faithfully recreate the original core (or those introduced in other supplements) Types, only to create new ones which are an "estimate" of the dead-center average, with the GM adjusting the available starting XP to "buy things" up or down as desired.

It does not take into account Unique Schticks relative to one another (I know some are more powerful than others so both shouldn't really be worth 10 points), nor any of the errata that you mention such as paralysis and being enslaved and such - to me that is mostly more color, and all of that is still going to require GM assistance and decision - you won't just be able to hand this system to someone and say "Here, make a character" without the GM's oversight - it is more for the GM to prepare new playable Types, with the players' input, using a system that has a rudimentary point buy system for fairly balanced customization, and shows the relative vaguely estimated "worth" of the existing types, to see how high or low is suitable to create a new type similar to an original one. It's more just a framework to allow a little structure for creating new Types, instead of just "eyeballing" it.

One thing I might recommend as an easy adjustment would be to only count the best combat AV at full price, and discount the others- the rationale being that the strongest will be the most used. I might even go so far as to say that additional combat skills should be rated at 1/3 normal cost, the same cost as non-combat skills. Sorcery schticks should definitely be at least as costly as combat schticks, seeing how versatile they are.

I would also suggest that Sorcery, as a skill that can be used for combat, healing and utility, should be more expensive, even allowing for the costlier schticks. Say *4 instead of *3.

It's certainly an interesting analysis, and useful when eye-balling modifications or new types. As the system stands, I thought it would be interesting to rate the character types in my slow-burning up-coming free independent Feng Shui supplement.

Gentleman Retainer - 285
Golem - 270
Modern Mage - 319
Rookie - 316
Tart with a Heart - 322
Tainted One - 343

And for giggles, the last character I played.

Chan Mingxia - 409

(I'm not so sure the system works for assessing NPCs or established characters on the basis of this, as Mingxia would obliterate Ta Yu quite trivially.)

Thank you for the feedback.

That's a very interesting set of characters with values ranging somewhat where you'd expect, with this framework and I agree, Ta Yu doesn't seem quite as badass as normal, considering Chan Mingxia's 409.

I am not fully able to interpret what you're meaning here. The best combat AV of what? Are you talking about which skill gives you the best combat AV? If you're assigning points to things to begin with, how do you know which AV will be higher until you've assigned points to it? I'm definitely missing what you're saying here, and I don't know what other combat skills there are, besides Guns and Martial Arts, really, to rate at 1/3 normal cost?

I agree with you on Sorcery, I'll have to look into that closer and reevaluate the core Types, and make it worth at least 4.

The Golem and Retainer seem fairly low powered in this system, what do you think is causing them to be so low, Sorcery Schticks or something?

Arcanowave Devices, Creature Powers, Guns, Martial Arts and Sorcery are all 'combat skills' as they can be used directly in combat or as a dodge AV- and are the skills you can't buy with freebie points during character creation.

A Magic Cop, according to the FAQ, has Guns 13, Martial Arts 12, Sorcery 12. Now, Depending on circumstances either Guns or Sorcery will be preferred, with Martial Arts generally taking a back seat. Forcing the character to pay full cost for all three seems a little inaccurate. So I'd say pay the full cost for Guns (or Sorcery, if Sorcery is made more expensive), and a reduced cost for the other two. So, I think you pretty much got what I meant.

I agree that it can be ambiguous when the combat values can change during character creation, but in most cases it's only the second best that can fluctuate, so probably won't make a huge difference to the overall rating.

The Gentleman Retainer has a very useful skill-related unique schtick and does not emphasise combat, so I think it's OK.
The Golem has certain special advantages (cough Body 12 cough) that make up for a nominal shortfall.

It strikes me that maybe combat skills should be given more weight in the overall calculation, maybe considering their final AV rather than the bonus over the secondary attribute. I say this because at present:
REF 7, Guns 15
is worth the same amount as
REF 7, Dexterity 10, Guns 15.

Using the full AV means counting the secondary attribute twice (once normally, then again as part of the combat skill), but I think this is not unreasonable. Certainly I think the Old Master should be higher placed in the pecking order. Using the full AV may also make the NPC assessment more reasonable.

What do you think?

Okay I see your point about the other combat skills and agree.

I think I see your point with the Guns/Sorcery/Martial Arts hierarchy and choosing one main and one backup, with the backup being worth less than the main, and the third and all others possibly being worth 1? No wait, it seems you're saying all other combat skills being 1 except for the very first - I can kinda see both... I'll see what I can come up with both ways.

I see your point about the cost being dependent on the final AV of a combat skill - it seems kinda, I dunno, confusing - if the GM creating the Type is looking at costs in XP when creating, he is counting up how many levels he is able to spend, which means he's looking at the XP cost first and level second, but I see you really do both so I think I understand and see your point, it's just counter-intuitive to me but is a very good point and I'll see how I get that to come out.

As I said, I do agree I need to up the cost for combat skills, they are undervalued.

I am not following here at all. Ref 7 is 20 points by my current system, and Guns 15 is 24 (15-7=8 x 3 = 24), so 44 XP.
In second option, Ref 7 (20 XP), Dex 10 (9 XP), Guns 15 (15 XP)...Ahhhhhhhhh.... wow. That is beyond crazy, I would never have caught that, guess I don't think that far ahead, if this equals that then this other becomes this... you've pointed out a really big oversight on my part, and I also see that, though redundant, having to pay for the secondary attribute twice does even things out more. And I still need to increase combat skill costs in general.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and advice on this, I have some rethinking to do. =)

No problem! It's good to see a decently rigorous approach. I remember previous ideas for 'point-buy' being shot down because they were framed as character generation systems, but as you rightly say it's better used to assess balance between archetypes you've eye-balled. I'm just glad that someone's looking into it because I'm too lazy to try. :wink:

I am glad to see that my contributions fall appropriately within the bell curve! Out of curiosity, what would have been the Nun's points, as she was written?

I've been going over some things with an eye to Type creation, and referencing various resources, including older comments on my earlier attempts this way, as well as type tweaking pages, etc. What does anyone think of this?

This is intended to be the general template for an average dab of chargen clay, moldable by a GM using 800 XP or character points or something, to create a new Type. This is based on the statistical average of all 26 original core types.


Pri Cbt Skl/Most Useful -- 15 -- 20 -- 300
Sec Cbt Skl/Very Useful -- 8 -- 3 -- 24
Ter Cbt Skl/Somewhat Useful -- 8 -- 2 -- 16
Limited Usefulness -- 2 -- 1 -- 2 (Info skills)
Skill Bonuses -- 5 -- 10 -- 50

<< Fu Schtick >> -- 5 -- 10 -- 50

Pri Att Hard -- 16 -- 10 -- 160 (BOD, CHI, MND, REF)
Pri Att Soft -- 3 -- 15 -- 45
Sec Att Hard -- 1 -- 1 -- 1 (For, Dex, etc)
Sec Att Soft -- 1 -- 2 -- 2

<< Unique Schtick >> -- 1 -- 30 -- 30

Limitation -- 0 -- -20 -- 0
Weapons -- 2 -- 20 -- 40
Wealth -- 2 (Working Stiff) -- 40 -- 80



Mag Arc. Device/Jammer Cbt (depends on if Primary, Sec. or Ter.)
Mag Creature Powers Cbt (etc as above)
Cha Deceit SU (Somewhat Useful)
Per Detective VU
Dex Driving VU
Per Fix It VU
For Gambling SU
Dex Guns Cbt
Int Information LU
Cha Intimidation SU
Agl Intrusion VU
Int Journalism VU
Cha Leadership SU
Agl Martial Arts Cbt
Int Medicine VU
Mag Medicine VU
Per Police VU
Dex Sabotage SU
Cha Seduction SU
Mag Sorcery Cbt

Equivalents (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Combat Levels, Fu Schticks):
1 Pri Cbt Skl Lvl = 6-7 Sec Cbt Skl Lvl = 10 Ter Cbt Skl Lvl = 2 Schtks
1 Schtk = 3 Sec Cbt Skl Lvl = 5 Ter Cbt Skl Lvl
2 Sec Cbt Skl Lvl = 3 Ter Cbt Skl Lvl

Most Types get 15 Pri Cbt Skl Lvl + 5 Schtk worth or 150 Ter Cbt Skl Lvls