Friday, April 8, 2011

Looking at Generic Archetype Traits Again

It's been a while since I updated this because I wanted to get my thoughts in order. They're still not completely there--but here goes.

When I changed DP from 2.5 Damage Points per Archetype Point to 4 DP per AP it changed the way we looked at everything. The Generic Archetype Traits are (or were) generally 4 or 8 AP Traits that had some significant effect on your stats or abilities. Some gave extra skill points for combat skills (or other skills). Some gave STR and DP and things like that (CON). A few gave negative-damage mods and so on.

They were the architectural basis of the new rules. Most of them you could buy in "levels" so you could have a character who was Level 2 Speedy and an Level 4 Gunslinger or something like that.

The GATs were put together from a number of places--originally taken from the Fast Company rules which were used to design action-hero types. There were a bunch of things floating around that had unusual effects (+1 CON when nothing else gave you CON) and so on. We had / have GATs that give you social status and wealth ("Baron") and Success Point pools for vehicle operation (Stunt Driver) and so on. They are a way to make your character "super good" without being Super Good at something (being Built makes you something like Zangief from Street Fighter. It doesn't make you Superman).

However, after we changed the DP costs and had come up with the realization that some things (TAP) were based on a percentage of your total points ... I went back and looked at the GATs--and realized they all (almost all) had to change.

Firstly the ones that were straightforward and gave out things like DP, STR, ADP, and so on were reasonably correct. However, even most of them didn't incorporate what we'd learned about the "first level" of an attack being balanced by doing proportionally more damage than subsequent levels. But a lot of the GATs gave out benefits that were based on Total AP's (TAP-Cost) and those had to be completely reconstructed.

So that's what I'm doing now. The good news is (a) it's going much faster thanks to me creating a much, much more sophisticated spreadsheet for creating these things--and that minimizes mistakes and (b) the thinking is much more 'polished' this time around. Finally (c) things are just plain much more balanced.

The bad news is that I need to re-do everything there. Additionally some things (namely the TAP stuff) will not get infinite numbers of multiple levels--there's no way we can currently think of to allow multiple levels of "Black belt" which gives you CP for martial arts skills--that, as far as we can tell, is based on your Total APs and thus it needs to be explicitly based on exactly how many levels you have--how many CP you get).



  1. Where can I download all the JAGS source material such as Fast Company?

    I tried your website, but every button just links back to the homepage.

  2. The web-site is not fully functional right now. When I get home from travel in two weeks I'll try to put up some more links. The files /are/ on it--but after it got hacked a few times we moved to straight HTML.

    I'll get you access to the old files.

  3. Thank you very much, let me know at

    Also, a tremendous thank you for sharing all your hard work for free, I've just started up a steampunk group using your system and it's going great : )

  4. I'll do my best. I'm trying to commission some new artwork right now so I'll see how that goes.

    Glad you are using the game :)