Why I like low-powered games

I wanted to take a few moments to try and explain why I enjoy lower-point campaigns. Perhaps that is the wrong way to start. What I actually enjoy are campaigns where real-world style threats are actually threatening, like a pistol, or even a knife. I like stat “normalization” with a cap of around 13 to 14, because characters with more realistic-feeling attributes seem easier for players to get into, more so in modern day era settings. I want the players to feel like they can’t take any encounter for granted, and they have to use smart tactics and planning to get the upper hand on the bad guys. Now, to some extent I have to create bad guys that are somewhat on par with the PC’s (my dimension hopping campaign has an average point value of 120 with 30 points in disads (not counting lower than average attributes) and 5 Quirks). But on par doesn’t necessarily mean that all the NPC’s are equal to the PC’s, there are plenty of powerful bad guys, but the players know this (usually) and plan accordingly. Either ambushing the baddies, or negotiating if possible, finding an ally, or just coming up with a clever plan. Having characters that are grounded in what feel like realistic skill levels and attributes gives them a real sense of accomplishment when they do get the better of a serious bad guy.

Many great TV shows feature pretty normal folks dealing with a variety of RPG style adventures. Examples include Lost, Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy or Rome. All of those rely on [clever scriptwriters] the characters working hard to overcome various obstacles. None involve the protagonists wading into a firefight with a pistol skill of 25+ and a massive Dodge from their DX & HT of 18 and taking aimed shots at the eyes. The characters in these shows never seem optimized, or “efficient”, and they seem more believable and sympathetic as a result.

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Long time gamer looking for a place to write out my worldbuilding ideas (and maybe some other stuff while I'm at it).

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