WOIN Some skill-granting career exploits in NOW are amazingly unbalanced.


I was just reading over the careers from NOW, and it seems like some of them have exploits that grant skills at a much higher level than is normal in the the other WOIN games. Normally an exploit can give you three or four new skills at 1 rank, or with a College degree you can get a single skill at 3 ranks. If you do further studies in college you can eventually get a doctorate which increases your specialty skill to 6 ranks, but it takes several exploits to get there.

In NOW, the Actor career has two different exploits (Method Actor and Costumer) that let you get a skill at 6 ranks in one shot. That's nuts. It's basically all three college degrees in a single exploit, albeit only for a specific skill (either acting or disguise). There are two other OP exploits. The Laborer career gets Jack of All Trades, which seems like it should give several skills at 1 rank (compare to the Handyman exploit from the thematically similar Craftsman career), but instead it gives you the equivalent of three bachelor's degrees at once by giving you three skills (of your choice from a broad skill list) with three ranks each. The Reporter career has the significantly less flexible Research Skills exploit that also grants three skills (one of which is your choice from a small list) at three ranks. None of these careers, nor their completely busted exploits have any prerequisites. So you could in fact take them all, and have a grade five character with the equivalent of two doctorates and six bachelor's degrees!

To compare the power levels of these exploits, lets translate their skill bonuses to the XP it would cost to get the same skills through incremental advances. Getting four skills at 1 rank (like you get from going to Basic Training or from being a Handyman) is worth 12 XP. Not all that much, since new skills are cheap, but at least you're diversely competent right away. Getting a Bachelor's degree is worth 18 XP. A little better bang for your buck, but narrower. A Master's degree is a pretty bad deal by itself, worth only 12 XP (assuming you're not dropping any of your career skill points into your specialty, so the Masters is rank 3->4), but it lets you go on to a Doctorate which is worth 33 XP all in one pop (rank 4->6). An academic career track is thus worth 63 XP overall, for an average of 21 per exploit. The Reporter and Laborer's exploits give you the equivalent of three bachelor's degrees, 56 XP worth of skills. The two Actor exploits each give you a doctorate equivalent in a single grade, 63 XP worth of skills, though you are limited to specific skills that might not be widely applicable.

With exploits that good, why would anybody go to school for engineering, computers or acting? Learning on the job is several times better.