Once upon a time, I thought that Starting XP should be split between Attribute XP and Ability XP. You would have a considerably high number of points to assign your Attributes and a considerably lower number of points to get your Skills, Weapons etc. The logic behind it was that this way you couldn't accidentally make a character with Attributes too low or too high.
The problem was that you would often end up with leftover Attribute XP, so if you didn't want to risk forgetting that you have spare points (that don't count towards your Power Level XP and can only be spent on Attributes) later down the line, you had to do some extra math to get them sorted out. There were various templates you could use or easily modify to bypass this, but it was still somewhat annoying for Players who wanted to do everything by hand.
So I tried to think of a way to fix this without requiring drastic changes to the rest of the game, and came up with the idea of Dual Rank Advancement, which is to say that you could enhance Attributes by 2 Ranks apiece instead of 1. This way each Enhancement would cost a multiple of 5 and would completely eliminate any math complications. It had a noticeable downside in that it took away from your freedom to assign stats however you wanted to, so it wasn't quite a strict upgrade to the previous system.
Well I have been trying out another alternative, one that goes by the name of "Just free up starting XP so you can spend it on whatever you want." which I'll call Single Rank Advancement for the sake of simplicity. You still have leftover points sometimes, but having 1-4 extra XP that you can spend on anything (and the book would clearly state you can spend those points later but they don't count towards your Power Level) is much better than the original method.
Both systems have their ups and downs compared to the other, and I can't really call any of them a superior choice from where I stand.
|Some say this thing is overdesigned and others say it is perfect for a fully decked out suit.|
This may or may not be relevant to our poll between more options and simplicity.
Single Rank Advancement
It offers more freedom in Attribute distribution: This one is obvious. For some builds (like those dependent on Energy and Systems) a difference of one point can be a pretty big deal, and being able to eke out a 5 instead of having to purchase a 6 can make or break their functionality at a Power Level. It also means you can represent better specific concepts, for example a 3 in Fitness puts you at the lower end of average while a 4 is the higher end, it might not seem like much but sometimes the little details make the difference when it comes to flavor.
It is less punitive towards dump stats: This one is important for optimizers and specialists. Single Rank Advancement lets you have an Attribute at 1 or 3 to save up points for something else, which Dual Rank Advancement can't do. Both let you have an Attribute at 2, but for Dual Rank Advancement that costs 5 while it only costs 3 points with Single Rank Advancement, so this one is a pretty big strike in favor.
It lets us have more diverse Energy costs: It should go without saying that having a bunch of Upgrades and Weapons that cost 5 Energy to use when you can have 4 or 6 Energy but not 5 is kind of irritating. With Single Rank Advancement we can have stuff that costs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Energy. With Dual Rank Advancement we'd have to stick to costs of 2 and 4 (rebalancing things around that if necessary) plus the occassional ability that you can choose to activate for 1 or 2.
|One point can be what separates the prototype and mass production versions.|
Dual Rank Advancement:
It makes creating NPCs faster: When I first gave this a try by creating a whole lot of NPCs it took me half as long as it usually does. That is a lot of time saved that can be better spent elsewhere. The extra simplicity is especially relevant for high Power Level Bosses, because you can take their Attributes over 10 for just 30 points and that essentially covers a whole Power Level apiece. When advancing a Rank above 10 costs 11, 12, and 13 the math gets more complicated and bothersome to work with.
It eliminates leftover points: To go with the simplification and ease of creating characters, you have the benefit of never having to worry about whether you'll end up with one or two (or three or four) points you can't do anything with. Letting Players spend those points later is a workable alternative, but it still feels slightly bad when it happens and you have to remember that those points don't count towards your Power Level.
It lets us round up halved numbers: The entire reason that BCG rounds down numbers with fractions is because of all the stat halving in the game. Rounding up would skew the math in favor of odd-numbered stats which are cheaper and just as good when halved. If Attributes are even numbers by default we won't run into this problem though because they will almost never give us fractions (well a 6 getting halved into a 3 and then into a 2 would, but it is far less of a problem there) and once we can start rounding up again the game will speed up slightly. Not in a particularly significant way, but it will be a factor. And besides, rounding up feels better than rounding down doesn't it?
|Statting this guy goes from "only technically possible" to "actually quite easy".|
Choose your own Attributeventure
So there you have it. Both tested decently in different ways and I'm honestly not sure if I genuinely prefer one over the other. Both systems uphold different values that are very important to the game, so I don't have a favorite, though I think I know which one will be more liked in general. Like always, but now more than ever, I'd love to hear your opinions on this.