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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

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The Broken Hourglass: Building A Character Point By Point
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The third week of the month brings a new look at the rules and mechanics of Planewalker Games' upcoming RPG, The Broken Hourglass. This time around the rules department offers a column on devising strategies for spending experience points most effectively. Characters can be modified with four primary attributes, dozens of secondary abilities and special skill-boosting traits.

Primary attributes at first blush seem to be the slam-dunk best choice. After all, each primary attribute conveys bonuses to a number of secondary attributes, providing good return on a character's experience point investment. As a result, buying primary attribute points "moves the needle" on a number of important characteristics all at once. Purchasing points in Judgment leads not only to better social skills, but more mana as well.

Consider, however, that relatively few statistical checks key directly on a primary attribute's score. Most combat, spellcasting, and diplomatic checks are done against specific, secondary skills, and buying one point in Strength does not equate to one point in hand-to-hand combat proficiency.

Invest in secondary skills, then? To be sure, some are less expensive than the primary attributes, and allow characters to specialize directly in a few key spots. A dedicated archer could do better in the long run stocking up on Bow Precision than they would simply buying lots of Agility. And even more importantly, some secondary skills and abilities, such as the five magical skills, plus Luck and Stealth, have no parent attribute whatsoever—if you wish to improve in one of those abilities, you must buy the points directly.

The choice and flexibility of the secondary stats can create a false economy to the unwary, however. Spread those points too thin across too many different stats, and you may find that you would have done better just investing in primary, parent attributes.
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The Broken Hourglass: Rules and Mechanics, Point Buy Strategies
The Broken Hourglass

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Archives  News  The Broken Hourglass: Building A Character Point By Point