Currently, the Storytelling and Storyteller Systems have primary/secondary/tertiary skills/abilities, and at character creation, the primary have more points, whereas the tertiary have less points.

For example, in the New World of Darkness, the following points are given at creation

            | Attributes | Skills
 primary    |      5     |   11
 secondary  |      4     |    7
 tertiary   |      3     |    4

But once the character starts to play (i.e. winning XP), the difference between primary/secondary/tertiary traits are lost.

One of the consequences (undesired for us, ST in our group, for multiple reasons), is that characters are not specialized enough. We want to tweak the system to have the characters keep the physical/mental/social "specialization" they applied at creation.

The solution is the following: Change the XP cost of those traits.

            | Attributes | Old Cost | New cost
            | primary    |    5     |    4
 Attributes | secondary  |    5     |    5
            | tertiary   |    5     |    6
            | primary    |    3     |    2
 Skills     | secondary  |    3     |    3
            | tertiary   |    3     |    4

We believe the system is good to produce the results we want, but I wanted to have feedback about the pros and the cons (we could have missed) of this tweak.

What's your viewpoint on the tweaked system?

  • \$\begingroup\$ How many XP does each player typically receive at the end of each session in your games? It will help in coming up with an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Sep 30, 2011 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc : As defined in the rules. We add one or two XPs for things like "Did your character really acted as a vampire?" and "Did you helped make this story go smoothly/better/in a surprising direction?", but nothing more. I guess and answer with standard XPs allowance is more than enough (i.e. Something like 2 to 4 XPs per session, IIRC) \$\endgroup\$
    – paercebal
    Sep 30, 2011 at 22:58

1 Answer 1


It depends on what you and your group mean by "specialized." The system you propose is likely to give you characters with • and •• rankings in many Skills in their primary category — someone who is Mental Skills primary will know a little about almost everything, rather than a lot about one or two things, because of the ease and benefits of getting that first dot. (Going from -3 to +1 in a skill is a big increase, and the most value for your XP.)

Something that might work to give more focus is to alter the cost of Skill Specialties. You could do as you're doing now, making Specialties cheaper in your primary categories, or use the rules from World of Darkness: Mirrors to encourage people to stack them on the skills where they wish to focus.

I find that players don't spend a lot of time increasing attributes; your best bet there is to limit the degree to which attributes can be raised after character creation — perhaps no more than one or two dots from start. Going from a 1 to a 2 or three should be possible; from a 1 to a 5 stretches credulity.


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