FS3



  • Sorry @faraday , just ads for FS3 games always get derailed by rules discussion.

    This is to move discussions here.

    In the Fifth Kingdon thread age was brought up.

    No one like young prodigy. But let's look at this. Hockey, best player right now is Connor McDavid. Turned 20 in January, only player to score 100 points this season.

    Every Olympic athlete, is younger.

    There have been studies on this. Some coorelation to age and youth having that belief they just can, and that diminishes as we age.

    I believe the grizzled vet being physically superior is more a trope than an actuality.

    Realistically one would see a decline as age progresses. More systems used to have this ... Physical goes down, mental goes up.

    I think the young prodigy argument is overrated though.


  • Politics

    In general, if we're talking about professionals who continue training and maintaining their skills as they get older, then what tends to happen is their natural physical abilities dwindle slowly, but their learned skills and long-term experience can compensate. You could do this by limiting a Skill rating by age and inversely limiting an Attribute rating by age, I suppose.


  • Coder

    @TimmyZ Actually I agree completely. Age has absolutely no relation to skill, which is why FS3 does not give you any bonuses for age. On BSGU you'll see as many 20's characters with Expert level as you will 30's characters.

    I do think that your background should justify your skills whatever they are. If you're a Veteran at Firearms because you've got 20 years experience or a Veteran at Firearms because you're 20 and have been training for the Olympics, either one works for me.

    Physical abilities - sure, you could make that argument as a sweeping generalization, but there are plenty of RL athletes and whatnot that buck the trend. (My 70-something year old tae kwon do master who can totally kick my butt being one who jumps immediately to mind). PCs are supposed to be the exceptions, so I don't feel obliged to punish them for being older.

    At any rate, someone said it in the other thread... FS3 is not designed to be super realistic and model everything. It's designed to be simple. 2nd edition was okay, 3rd has made various improvements around making it even easier to pick your skills without fretting over whether your background skill in Baseball should be a 2 or a 3, or whether that extra point you're spending on First Aid is going to cripple your chances for being awesome in Piloting.

    It is not a perfect system because there's no such thing as a perfect system. Everyone has their desired goals for what they want the system to model, and different tolerances for abstractions and generalizations.



  • Ads for EVERYTHING get derailed by randos.

    Thanks for making this thread!

    I agree people worry too much about prodigies, when this is a thing that should be handled by staff doing any kind of minimal app-review control.

    I once apped a professional Pyramid (BSG soccer/basketball) player on an FS3 game and there was apparently some discussion about whether she qualified as a 'prodigy' because she'd been very good in high school and left college to play professionally. The ultimate decision was, no. And of course it was. This is totally normal for a professional athlete. You're naturally going to be at your physical peak in your 20s, and your career is going to be done once you get too far outside that. This is VERY different than a 19-year-old who wants to be a doctor. They exist, but the doctors in their 30s and 40s should be light years more competent.

    The Pyramid player above had low-to-mediocre combat stats, because...she was an ex-professional athlete who had done no combat things until she was like 28. She had super-high Space Basketball skills, though!



  • I'm totally on board with being front heavy on physical skills.

    I mean, don't gymnasts peak when they're like 12 or something? I was listening to an interview with an airforce helicopter pilot and he said he was got transferred from active flight status when he turned 30 because he was too old. Most professional athletes are thinking about retirement before that time.



  • I am just not sure that any of these points are relevant when it comes to designing an RPG system, especially if simplicity is the goal.

    If deliberately (and very strongly) encouraging specialized characters without any skills outside of their focus areas is the goal then the FS3 character generation/advancement system certainly works but the issue is that in most cases? People are not in fact aiming for that when it comes to making their MUSH, or fail to realize that this is a goal of the system they are using because it is nicely coded.

    If you are expecting or encouraging people to have a spectrum of skills to represent broader interests then it becomes a trap and actively punishes people who do not do number crunching but just assign numbers that make sense for their character. For that matter it does not necessarily even represent 'reality' very well given that presumably picking up low level skills is just as easy before the character generation cut off point as it becomes afterwards.



  • @Packrat said:

    With 1xp a week, lets compare two people who are not that extreme. The first person takes (Skill) at 8 and (Skill2) at 8, the second person takes (Skill) at 8, (Skill2) at 4 then (Skill3) at 2 and (Skill4) at 2.

    It would take the second person 5+6+7+8 or twenty four weeks to raise (Skill2) to 8.

    It would take the first person 1+2 plus 1+2 or six weeks to raise (Skill3) and (Skill4) to two each and catch up on the 'well rounded' skills of the second person.

    This is something i wanted to look at. It's only looking at how fast to catch up.

    I wanted a common goal, all four stats at master level (10).

    This takes first player 146 weeks, the second 160 weeks. Four less weeks than the catch up math, 14 weeks difference.

    But honestly that may takes years to get to an end build.

    Also for putting in a warning that the system can be min/maxed is kind of silly. No game system does this, I'm not sure why FS3 would.



  • @Packrat said in FS3:

    If deliberately (and very strongly) encouraging specialized characters without any skills outside of their focus areas is the goal then the FS3 character generation/advancement system certainly works but the issue is that in most cases? People are not in fact aiming for that when it comes to making their MUSH, or fail to realize that this is a goal of the system they are using because it is nicely coded.

    It's not encouraging either way. Because someone with a more mathematically aligned perspective sees this, get big silks now, slowly round out others as needed, it doesn't mean that is encouraged or intended.

    My experience: take advantage of min maxing, be tough from the get go, others get tired of it and go play with other people.

    Deliberately encouraging or forcing specialist approach isn't necessarily by design. Plenty of systems do this. I have no problem with them. It just seems there is a mindset to single out FS3.

    Honestly the weeks one spends getting politics or hunting could well be the weeks of time lost not rping with the right individuals, no matter how stacked the dice or build is.


  • Coder

    @TimmyZ said in FS3:

    Deliberately encouraging or forcing specialist approach isn't necessarily by design.

    Yeah, I mean... the system lets you enforce skill limits. You can force the doctor (in code, not just in app review) to be well-rounded instead of just pumping all his points into Medicine if that's what you want for your game.

    You can also completely configure the XP progression to fit any model you want. You could completely disable any raises above level 4. You could restrict them to only have 1 skill at 7+. You can make XP a flat cost instead of exponential, to mirror chargen. The fact is that most games don't leverage these features, and then people throw up their hands and say 'the system is designed to suck'.

    At the end of the day, it's not about pure realism and it's not about pure fairness. It's about blending the two together in a way that suits the game you're trying to run.


  • Pitcrew

    @Packrat said in FS3:

    If you are expecting or encouraging people to have a spectrum of skills to represent broader interests then it becomes a trap and actively punishes people who do not do number crunching but just assign numbers that make sense for their character.

    Every game system I have ever seen punishes players for diversifying. Every system as skills that are wildly more useful than other, (9 times out of 10 these are combat and noticing stuff) Even if you have a linear c-gen and xp system, there is little reason not to max out what will be used, max here either being systemic limits or the limits those running the game choose to enforce, and spending points away from maxing those areas is to your determent because regardless of theory in actual practice certain things will be used more in the course of play as the people who run things focus on the stuff they enjoy and think is important.


  • Coder

    @ThatGuyThere said in FS3:

    Every game system I have ever seen punishes players for diversifying.

    Agreed. This is one of the problems I tried to mitigate a bit, though, in 3rd edition by giving you a bunch of background skills completely free. You're not penalized in any way for having a modest number of hobbies and interests.

    To look at the punishment thing another way though... look at a system like D20. Say that you allow some players to start at level 4 while others start at level 1, which is pretty much exactly what FS3 does. Isn't it kind of expected that the guy who chose to start at level 4 would have a mechanical advantage over the guy who chose to start at level 1? Or the guy who chose to multi-class at level 2/level 2? Are the lower guys being "punished" or are they just experiencing the effects of their choices?

    Here it the blurb about this effect in the 3rd edition documentation:

    Some characters will have higher AP totals than others. Is that fair? Sure it is, as long you realize that it’s the player’s choice. Characters in FS3 have equal opportunity, but ultimately you pick what you want to play.

    The system is designed so that abilities central to the game’s “action” cost more than other abilities. A Navy SEAL will obviously have more action-oriented skills than a master cook (unless the cook is also Stephen Seagal). They’re both great at what they do - one just needs more AP to get there.

    But why would you want to play a lower-powered character in the first place? Why not maximize your allowable AP rating?

    Dice are fun, but story is the most important thing. Telling a story about a wide-eyed young recruit or sidekick can be fun. And John McClane in Die Hard wasn’t particularly powerful, but he’s one of the most badass action heroes ever. In the right story, everyone can have a chance to shine.

    If you're going to use FS3 for your game, it's up to you to give everyone a chance to shine regardless of how they spent their points.

    You might be surprised what happens when you de-emphasize the points (they're in a non-obvious place in 3rd edition) and put players into a cooperative environment where they're not pitted against each other. We've had a lot of characters come through BSGU who didn't even spend their maximum AP.



  • My two cents worth...

    I don't have a problem with FS3, per se. I think Faraday came up with a decent, simple game engine that has lots of different genre applications where skills are emphasized.

    That being said, I think that it falls into a common trap for many simple generic systems in that it does basic stuff really well, but falls apart once you start moving away from the basic stuff. Once you start moving beyond skills into more supernatural elements (be it magic, psionics, or superpowers), the system starts getting kludgy. For pure skill and attribute driven games, it's certainly fine.

    Another (minor) quibble that I have with FS3 is that I'm not entirely sure how successes and levels of success are generated. Like, I understand how attributes and skills work together in systems like WoD, Shadowrun, and 7th Sea. With FS3, it's 'do a roll and the engine spits out a result'. It's not like other games where you see numerical results like 'Runescryer rolled Computer, getting x,y,z for a 'Good' result'. When I can't see the numbers and how things interact, it makes it harder for me to get into the system as a player.


  • Coder

    @Runescryer Recent versions of FS3 spit out the die results and highlights successes. Success level is just based on the number of successes. It's really just Shadowrun 4's die mechanics with D8's instead of D6's :)

    <FS3> Faraday rolls Firearms: Success (8 5 4 4)



  • @faraday Okay. I've been in like 3 or 4 FS3 games before, and I can't remember any of them spitting out the numbers before. Thanks.



  • @Runescryer said in FS3:

    @faraday Okay. I've been in like 3 or 4 FS3 games before, and I can't remember any of them spitting out the numbers before. Thanks.

    The latest version of FS3 (2) spits out numbers. But the dice have always been explained in the documents. I think most places that used FS3 didn't indicate these were available at the website and via github.

    Shadowrun or WoD, between with d8, each for at 6 or higher is one success.



  • @TimmyZ Yeah, the name of the system was always mentioned in passing in news files, but never really had any link or directions to documentation. And that's a failing on the Staff of the games, not Faraday.


  • Pitcrew

    I will agree with that. the first game I played that sued it mentioned the systems name but had no details on how it worked. I only found the documentation by going a google search.
    I didn't that because I am a systems nerd and really wanted to know how it worked, I can see players less inclined to go digging not bothering to go the extra steps.
    I would also greatly recommend anyone game using the system include a like to the documentation in a news file.


  • Coder

    @Runescryer @ThatGuyThere The system includes a link right there in 'help FS3', so they would've had to actually go out of their way to remove it. Now, to be fair, the documentation for 2nd edition isn't the greatest. That's another thing I've tried to remedy with 3rd ed's guides.


  • Pitcrew

    The one and only "solution" to the linear chargen/exponential advancement "problem" that I know of is just to run chargen the same way you run advancement (that's what my own still-in-testing system does). I would be that this isn't something that Faraday is particularly interested in, because it would involve re-writing chargen, but if it were something that she -was- interested in, it's as simple as just giving new players a bunch of XP and letting them buy up skills/attributes with it. Yes, it's a more complicated system because they have to learn about increasing costs for higher levels, but it makes sure that there's no incentive to stack wicked high skills in chargen and spread out to other skills later.

    Sidenote to @TimmyZ -- I don't think the goal would ever be to get all four skills to 10. They would be to get the main two skills to 10, and then the "extra" skills to say... 4. At which point, the person who started with a pair of 8s is going to be way ahead.


  • Pitcrew

    I didn't grasp all of this stuff until reading this, but I'm kind of grokking now that my character is facing this on BSGU. Note, I didn't stat her (she's a roster) so I really don't know how the spending or any of that works. I don't mind that she's underpowered, but I can kind of see two problems.

    One, the one (action-y) thing she's supposed to be good at, well, she's actually just the same as everyone else (because everyone min-maxes). Two, the thing she's bad at, well, it makes her preeeetty bad and she's mostly always going to be that way. I think she can bump the skill once in a reasonable timeframe, but after that it will be (RL) years?

    It is what it is but I can see why people wouldn't see this design as necessarily the best. The TV show definitely has a lot of rookie pilots who become hot-shots, and even if they're not outshining the main characters, you don't get the sense of them being unskilled.


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