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Confusion over Character Advancement

posted Mar 23, 2018 22:15:54 by TimKellogg
So, in reading through character advancement, I am left baffled, and a little frustrated. (Not unusual, I assure you). So, milestones after an evenings play, one receives nothing but the chance to swap stats around a little. After a more significant milestone (End of major portion of adventure??) one gets the ability After a major milestone (End of arc) one receives actual advancement. So, the intent is to keep characters from real gains in real ways? Next stop is "reputation".........Any clarification will be greatly appreciated.
[Last edited Apr 03, 2018 15:50:55]
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12 replies
Deadmanwalking said Mar 23, 2018 23:04:07
Normal Milestones happen every Mission (not session) you invest in (ie: spend Determination, get injured seriously, etc.). They let you swap around a limited set of things (Focuses and Disciplines only), or can be saved and used like a point of Determination later.

Spotlight Milestones happen when the GM declares that this episode is important enough to have one, and the players collectively decide it's this one specific character (ie: the character with the biggest role). That specific person can swap attributes or Talents, plus stuff about the ship, as well as doing any of the stuff under Normal Milestones.

Major Milestones happen after several spotlight Milestones, and actually let you increase something.

And the intent appears to be very slow advancement, which makes some sense with the way the shows have worked.

As for Reputation, gaining it is actually pretty simple. It works like any other Test, with the number of positive things you do serving as number of d20s, the number of negative things as Difficulty, and your Rank as the range where you get 2 successes. Every success past the difficulty is +1 Reputation. How much Reputation you lose on a failure is weird (it's 1, plus one per failed die, plus one per die that rolled too high based on Rank), but it's still not too complicated.
TonyPi said Mar 24, 2018 01:34:38
My players are realizing that Supporting Character development is very important. Leveling up the supporting crew each mission (introducing them and using them often) can be satisfying while waiting for Arc Milestones.

If you think of Next Generation as a game, likely Geordi, Worf and O’Brien were supporting characters that got a lot of attention and development, while the main characters had major arc milestones like Picard in “The Battle” and Data in “Datalore”, slower but significant revelations and changes to their stories.
Contributor to Continuing Mission at F&SF author.
briandavion1982 said Mar 24, 2018 19:27:24
I disagree with Worf being a supporting character,only Picard and Data saw more development then Worf, maybe initally in the first season but it's pretty clear that by the end of the series he'd graduated to "main player character" status. Perhaps Tasha Yar's player wasn't into Gene's new RPG campaign and elft early in it, and a new player took a supporting character and made it a full fledged character? :)
[Last edited Mar 24, 2018 19:27:57]
JonathanThyfault said Mar 26, 2018 16:19:51
The idea behind milestones is that character’s don’t necessarily get more powerful, but they grow and change. It’s not like D&D where a hobgoblin is a major threat at lvl 1 but can be beaten unarmed and blindfolded at lvl 20. A Klingon will always be a formidable opponent for a human, no matter how experienced they are.
TimLintern said Apr 02, 2018 04:05:19
Actual advancement is extremely sparse in STA. It's the only part of this game that I don't absolutely adore, but I also understand why advancement is so slow, as starting characters are already *elite* personnel.

That said, if you assume an average 4-man group with a generous GM giving out one spotlight advancement every single session, and no player getting more spotlights than they need to earn their arc milestone advance until everybody else also has an equal number of arc milestones, it would take 12 *missions* for everyone to advance once, 28 for everyone to advance twice, 48 for everyone to advance three times, etc. And that's the absolute best case scenario. Add to that the fact that the only way to improve your Starship is to donate your arc milestone to the ship (here's hoping that the Operations book has some Engineering talents to buff your ship a little!).

So you really need appreciate and make the most of what you start with, is what I'm saying.
[Last edited Apr 02, 2018 10:44:44]
TimKellogg said Apr 03, 2018 16:24:45
Deadmanwalking - I understand what you are saying, and it makes sense - to a point. Let me give you an example from a game session we played a while back. The CO sent a runabout with science package to study an anomaly. The runabout was destroyed by a cloaked Klingon ship which we were unaware of. At the end of the mission (I thank you for clarifying this) - the Commander would have had significant negatives for reputation, because 6 people were killed in the destroyed runabout - 4 supporting characters, and 2 PC's - for a total of 6. This mechanic encourages CO's to never risk people, or impact his reputation.

Let me explain further, I think part of the issue with our understanding the rules is precisely that we played the Decipher system for so long. The advancement in these rules seems paltry by comparison. I have to admit that we experienced an issue involving characters which became, over time, very difficult to pose challenges to, due to their advancements. I welcome a differing view of the genre, and I do not intend to sound like I am crabbing, or overly complaining. I am simply trying to comprehend the intent and proper operation of the rules. In our ST:A game, I am Captain (Commander, actually, in charge of a Steamrunner class), and so part of my job is to help the GM figure this stuff out. In the 14 year history of the campaign we played, we swapped off GMing several times, each time we had 2 folks GMing as a team with as many as 15 people playing. I really like the approach, but shifting gears to the new system is proving - problematic. So I appreciate y'all's help as we muddle through this.
[Last edited Apr 03, 2018 21:44:26]
Deadmanwalking said Apr 03, 2018 18:58:38
As for Reputation, it's not quite as bad as you might think.

Say you lose 6 people and thus get 6 negative influences on your reputation. Well, you're gonna fail that roll. So, how much Reputation do you lose? Let's say you roll two dice for positive influences and net 1 success. You lose a grand total of 2 Reputation, one automatic and one for the failed die, because Reputation loss is not based on the difficulty directly.

So yeah, losing lots of people hurts your reputation, as it should, but it doesn't cost you 1 Reputation per dead crewman or anything.

In terms of other Advancement, you might want to think of Main Characters as already really advanced. They've done the equivalent of hitting nearly max level and are gonna advance super slowly. Supporting characters, meanwhile, get serious advancement every time they show up until they eventually hit nearly PC level (but that's something like 13 missions in).
TimKellogg said Apr 03, 2018 21:43:27
Deadmanwalking - Rereading the section on reputation tests - only positive results count for dice rolls. So in my example above, 0 (The number of positive die roll successes) is less than the negative (-6). Since 0 successes were rolled, the PC looses one rank in reputation. No dice were rolled so no failures or successes within the confines on the reputation of the character, AND no results were under the rank responsibilities, so the net reputation loss remains at -1.
Deadmanwalking said Apr 03, 2018 22:29:10
If there are no other influences, that's correct, yes.
TimKellogg said Apr 06, 2018 14:23:15
Deadmanwalking said 2 days ago
If there are no other influences, that's correct, yes.

Umm, what other "influences", I did not see anything else, when last I read it.
Deadmanwalking said Apr 06, 2018 15:05:48
I mean 'Positive Influences' in the Reputation sense (ie: the things that give you dice on the Reputation Roll).
TimKellogg said Apr 07, 2018 19:40:02
Ah, very well, then. Thanks for the opportunity to "talk" this through, it helps me a great deal! Good gaming!
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