Point-Based Chargen Conversations

A popular insight in game design the last few years is “game play is a conversation.” To be nit-picky, you can play many games without having a conversation, but then it becomes boring, a game of dice and probabilities, not a complex interplay of events and reactions.

It occurred to me recently that character creation is a conversation, too. This is especially important to know in point-based games, and even moreso in universal games like Cosmic Cutthroats. When you can easily make any kind of Character, the GM can’t foresee possibility. They can lay out certain guidelines, but they should be involved in the process, as well. The best Campaigns are flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of Character concepts, and room for Players to add to the setting’s lore.

The hard thing about writing game advice is putting things into words that you’ve known in your bones, from decades of gameplay.

Fighting One-Trick Ponies

This is a followup to my previous post, where I talked about how in point-based games, it’s easy to make a powerful, boring Character. But what if you’re fighting a walking tank like this?

First, Don’t Do This

So in case it isn’t obvious, GMs, One-Trick Ponies aren’t good enemies in general, so this article isn’t making the case you should use them. In the interests of testing the game, though, we have to look at all possibilities, and one is an excitable GM sending a walking battleship against the PCs.


Buy 12 Levels of EDG. Use that EDG to Push Your Luck 4 times in combat.

Let’s say that the extra die and your native skill gives you a 75% chance for success. That means you’ll have about a 45% chance of scoring a Triumph with one of those 4 attacks, and when you narrate that Triumph, you can potentially end the battle, right there.


With the Marksmanship or Martial Arts Talents, you can spend 1 EDG to make a Joint Strike that ignores half the target’s PRO. If the target doesn’t have a ton of VP, Martial Artists can Body Slam to inflict Environmental damage; then, take Counterattack, and if they miss you with their attack, Body Slam them again.

Interesting Powers

Claws with the Cuts Through Anything Boost do Environmental Damage, which ignores armor. A lot of Impairment effects are pretty effective against targets with lower Athletics, PD, or MD, and so are Leech, Mind Control, Telepathy, and Time Control. That’s to say nothing of creative things like Size Control [Shrinking], Shapeshifting, or Teleportation with the Affects Others Boost. And you know, there’s nothing like Sympathetic Magic, doing that voodoo that you do so well. Speaking of Time Control, use Precognition to anticipate the enemy’s moves and retroactively plan a perfect way to foil them in one shot.

Intrigue and Allies

Troll the ever-loving shit out of them. Use Insight to figure out their mindset, then Intimidate them into losing EDG (even if you’re no threat to them, you can still threaten to key their car and burn their record collection!), or Deceive them into leaving. Or better yet, retreat and gather info about the enemy. Ingratiate yourself with his henchmen and turn them against him. Call on your Organization Membership to give you a special weapon to defeat this guy, or even just some extra hands to wear them down.

See if you can Turn your Bad Luck into Good

If the GM allows the Consolation Prize Optional Rule, pull out all the stops in battle. Try the craziest attacks you can think of, and if you score a Mishap, spend 3 EDG to turn that into a victory, but at a terrible cost.

To Sum Up

So in short, yes, at high levels, a straight-up punching shooting blasting fight can be super boring. So don’t do that! Take risks, try crazy stunts, and fight creatively!