Sunday, January 3, 2016

Random DF Campaign Notes

Just answering some random questions that came up in play and after play.

Can I buy up attributes piecemeal?

In other words: Buy 1 HP [2], then 1 Lifting ST [3], then blow 5 more and upgrade +1 HP and +1 Lifting ST to a full level of ST? Or buy +1 Per, then +1 Will, then upgrade them to +1 IQ?

In a word: No.

It's just a headache. I'd need to ensure that no stats went down, that costs were properly accounted, and answer questions about racial traits (can dwarves do this with their racial Lifting ST?) and stat maxima. Inevitably that will lead back to discussions about selling back parts of stats, effectively - if you can buy +1 Will and +1 Per and then upgrade to +1 IQ, can you buy +1 IQ without Will and Per? I'm on record all over the place as strongly disliking that for many reasons; anything that leads halfway to that isn't something I'm going to consider.

I'd also have to deal with players trying to figure out the best way to get their stats up. What's the most point efficient way? What's the best way considering the next couple of sessions? Do I need more HP or more damage? More Speed or more Move? More FP or better rolls to stay conscious? What about advantages - is Hard to Kill a subset of HT?

When I have to choose a little extra complexity to add some flexibility and easy - I'm going to choose easy.

Can I get an ally at 25% points and upgrade him to 50% later?

Yes, but only very slowly. You can't dump 4 points this session on a Guard and then 4 points next session upgrading him to a Squire. You can spend the points in this fashion, but then I'll just have the NPC improve in lockstep with the PC (1 xp for 1 xp) until they reach their paid-for point level. So this is much slower than just waiting.

Summonable allies are different, because it's easier to explain sudden shifts in the power of a demon, elemental, etc.

Can I get an Ally with less than Constantly appearing?

For non-Summonable allies, I prefer Constantly. If someone really wants to cheap out and get 12- to cut the cost of a 50% value Ally in half, I will probably allow it. But:

- You have to roll that Appearance roll every session - even the first session! ("I have to give two weeks notice, sorry!")
- You can't use Luck on the roll.
- If the roll fails, the Ally was unavailable for all purposes - they can't make some Continual Light stones for you before you leave, or sharpen your swords, or buff you, or loan you some stuff, or anything of that sort.

Isn't that on the blog?

The real secret to this blog is that we use it in game. When one player wanted to learn Animate Shadow, which I'd changed. How did I change it? Bring up the blog and search.


  1. I know this question is annoying, but I sadly can't resist. Can you buy a 50% ally that is available on a 12 or less (or 15 or less) and later upgrade THAT to constantly available? I don't think anyone has enough points saved for a 50% constantly available ally (our fault, to be sure!)

  2. I do allow buying attributes piecemeal, as a house rule. My players are really bad at saving points across sessions, and I've never given out 10 points to any PC in a single session, so buying piecemeal is probably the only way they'll ever manage to raise an attribute.

    Even with this house rule, only one PC has raised a primary attribute so far in the current game. The Knight bought +1 ST, trading in +1 HP and +1 Lifting ST.

    (I just say no to all the corner cases that you're worried about. If in doubt, no.)

    My players love to buy up secondary attributes that only cost 2 or 3 points per level, like HP and Lifting ST and FP (and its cousin Energy Reserve). Secondary attributes that cost 5 points per level, like Striking ST and Will and Per and Basic Speed and Move, are too expensive for their spendthrift ways. Though I suspect the fighter types with their 10 Will might rethink that the first time they run into a mind control wizard.

    1. My experience generally is that, if my players have a lot of small-ticket items they could buy or larger ticket items they could buy later, they splurge on small-ticket items. Not allowing piecemeal is a somewhat odd solution, in that you can only get certain things in chunks, so you really do have to save. It sort-of works - people buy lots of "component part" advantages, but they do also up their stats.

      Your game runs pretty slowly compared to mine, too, right?

  3. I think I award about the same points per session that you do, but my game runs less frequently. About once per month. So in over 2 years the most advanced PC has earned 76 points.

    I think my next DF game will allow Impulse Buys, as a reason for players to save points. (My theory is that Impulse Buys cause most players to hold back 1-2 points for emergencies, but not usually spend them. Though I guess it depends on how often emergencies happen.)


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