Dumpstats with funny looking eyes

Logo_RSPKarneval The German rpg-blogs’ carnival concerns itself with the topic of “dumpstats” this month. “But the games I usually write about do not even include dumpstats!” was my first meek response. Luckily, I then got reminded of the following little gem: SLA Industries’ FLUX stat

“How is that a dumpstat?” I hear the SLA Industries players ask (unless they had the same idea). “What is FLUX?” I hear the the non-SLA Industries players ask. (The question “What is SLA Industries?” we leave aside.) Apart from all the usual character stats, SLA Industries also features an additional stat for those characters possessing Ebb powers (the setting’s equivalent to magic/psionics): FLUX. Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Now, Ebb powers are limited to certain species and like all species, they get the base values for their stats (including FLUX in case of the Ebb-wielding species) for free at the start of character generation. Those base values can then be increased or decreased as part of the point-buy character generation… …which should be enough of a hint to see where all of this is going: Possessing one stat more than everyone else, the Ebb species also possess one more stat to decrease. They can even decrease it down to 0 (losing access to their powers) – with a base value of 10 for FLUX and a “re-selling” price tag of 5 points per rank, this results in a hefty 50 extra points to spend on other aspects of character generation (in a game where the starting budget is 300 points total!). As a player however, this is a far less obvious exploit than it might seem at first (at least it was to me and all the other SLA Industries players I talked to over the years). If I had to venture a guess, I would say that it comes down to a sort of blind spot – the key reason to select an Ebb capable species during character generation is, of course, to wield Ebb powers, and thus you look no further than the selection of said powers. After all, with the Ebb, such a character is merely a human with funny looking eyes… True enough! A human with funny looking eyes and an extra 50 character points! (Personally, I first stumbled across this whole mess after reading a snippet of setting information mentioning that Ebb users who lost their powers would be cast out and declared dead by their families and people. Upon trying my hand at putting together such an outcast character, I had a revelation…)

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