Noir RPG: Balancing Characters

Characters created as suggested by rules of Noir RPG are overpowered and this hideously unbalances the game. Also, a couple of the character generation rules don’t make any sense.

Revised Character Points

For starters, always use the 75 point level for starting characters. The 100 point limit is workable but it throws out the dice rolling by allowing attributes to be raised far too high. Limiting and rejigging the cost of attributes, skills and traits seems the best way to fix the character generation process.

For example, the rules state that an average task has a difficulty of 14. This is only so if the skill and associated attribute are both at level-2. This can best be enforced at the 75 point template.


These are fine at five points per level of attribute. No change here.

Shticks and Skills

The current cost of shticks doesn’t work and there is no real benefit in taking a shtick over buying its individual components separately. I propose the following:

  • Each level in a shtick costs only 10 points. For the first level in a shtick, this gives the character, an edge and six skill levels from the ‘tricks of the trade’ list. Purchasing subsequent levels gives an additional six skill levels from the ‘tricks of the trade’ list.
  • Any skill not listed in the ‘tricks of the trade’ section of the shtick cannot be raised above the level of the shtick. For example, if a character buys two levels of the private investigator shtick, skills not on the ‘tricks of the trade’ list cannot be raised above two.

These measures focus the character generation process on the shtick and the benefits it gives the character. After all, the shtick is meant to be the core of the character and the thing the character is good at.

Pros and Cons

The rulebook costing of these traits is also badly broken. While particular pros and cons require individual treatment, the basic rule is to reduce the cost in the following table. A full list of pros and cons including both the original point cost and the revised point cost appears in the PDF version.

Current Trait Cost New Cost
4 or fewer points 1 point
5 points 3 points
10 points 6 points
15 points 10 points
20 points 15 points


The cost of moxie remains at 10 points per additional level purchased above level-1.


To make character generation easier, the PDF version has tables with the new values calculated already.