Understood, and at some point it was the opposite of my own approach, too, but once you flip around your expectations, everything works much better. It's also worth mentioning that SECR is more-or-less designed around this mindset, and using it the way you're using it is kind of like driving a Lamborghini with the parking brake on, and then complaining that it doesn't drive as well as you want it to. It performs like a dream when you use it as designed and recognize that we're talking about features, not bugs. Going out looking for the stats you want to fill out the character concept and background is not necessarily the same thing as looking to squeeze out maximum mechanical advantage. Let's say you're playing in a Jedi Purge-era game, and you're playing a young Human who grew up in the Jedi Temple, was briefly a padawan before screwing up and getting shunted off to the ExplorCorps before the war, and is now trying to piece together Jedi training while on the run from the Imperial Inquisition. If you start from the assumption that growing up in the Jedi Temple and becoming a padawan = starting as Jedi 1, you're going to be really frustrated trying to create your character, because there are no cross-class skills or anything like that. If, on the other hand, you start with the assumption that someone from this background should have basic lightsaber proficiency and Force training with some measure of outdoor survival and exploration skills, and then go looking for a class package that suits that skill set, you'll find an easy solution: Scout 1, taking WP: Lightsabers and Force-Sensitive as your starting feats. The character can call themselves a Padawan, and the skills will fit the background. As the character advances, he or she can multiclass into whatever classes get the blend of abilities right to reflect their capabilities based on their concept, background, and experiences. I don't think character optimization is necessarily metagaming, nor is it incompatible with good roleplaying, especially in the context of an action/adventure game. For a character like, say, Mace Windu, being an absolute beatstick is a pretty central aspect of the character, ditto someone like Wedge Antilles and piloting, or Tholme and stealth and spycraft. A certain degree of highly specialized skill fits the genre assumptions well.