Equipment and power-balance

ProfessorK
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:21 pm

Equipment and power-balance

Postby ProfessorK » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:21 pm

One of the issues with oTorg that we ran into was that, in order to keep characters balanced, low-tech was almost as effective as high-tech. It somewhat strained belief that a primative club could do as much damage as a modern day firearm, let alone a future laser-sword.

Additionally, there is the still-existant D&D problem where a character's abilities are defined as much or more by what random equipment they find as by the development of the charatcer themselves. A first level who gets his hands on a staff of the magi is going to kich a 5th level's arse.

Other cross-genre systems have solved this by making all equipment cost experience points-- the more effective the equipment the more exp it cost. (Most notabley HERO system.)

How is TORG-E handling these issues?

User avatar
TorgHacker
Posts: 4901
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:47 am

I think I'd disagree that low tech was almost as good as high tech in Original Torg. One of the things we actively dealt with was reducing the craziness that some of the high tech weapons/armor caused.

I think in Torg Eternity you'll find that character skill makes up a substantial part of the effectiveness of a weapon.

Some of the amazeballs equipment is treated as Perks (like Dragon Armor and Ion Gosuku).

As for Eternity Shards, they are balanced with the idea that the Delphi Council will be taking them, as well as providing them. So you don't have teams that end up having a basketload of them.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

User avatar
Gargoyle
Posts: 1797
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:20 pm

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby Gargoyle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:08 am

ProfessorK wrote:One of the issues with oTorg that we ran into was that, in order to keep characters balanced, low-tech was almost as effective as high-tech. It somewhat strained belief that a primative club could do as much damage as a modern day firearm, let alone a future laser-sword.


Sounds like you may have had more of a suspension of disbelief problem than a "balance" issue. A improvised club in TorgE held by an extremely strong individual can do about the same damage as a Tech 23 pistol. Not sure that's too unrealistic, and the club wielder is Vulnerable if they miss (love those effects). So IDK, maybe this problem is maybe not as bad in TorgE?

As far as balance, we did have problems with Tech 26 weapons doing too much damage in oTorg. They did way more damage than the sword wielding barbarians or ninjas. While realistic, that wasn't the most fun thing and I think it should have been closer in damage, with the high tech stuff's edge balanced by the chance of disconnection.

Additionally, there is the still-existant D&D problem where a character's abilities are defined as much or more by what random equipment they find as by the development of the charatcer themselves. A first level who gets his hands on a staff of the magi is going to kich a 5th level's arse.

Other cross-genre systems have solved this by making all equipment cost experience points-- the more effective the equipment the more exp it cost. (Most notabley HERO system.)

How is TORG-E handling these issues?


I did have issues with player characters collecting gear. You don't need spells or miracles when you can pull out the right Tech 26 tool to pick the lock or whatever.

In oTorg I dealt with it OOC by just having a conversation with the players. My approach was to agree not to "take away their equipment" or make them track ammo if they would agree not to carry too much stuff. I didn't make them add up the weight or anything, I just said they had to travel light, it couldn't be more than they could walk long distances with. And I was stingy with eternity shards. That seemed to work for us, but I'm interested in reading the rules before I do that this time...especially curious how players buy equipment, as it was said in a preview that they wouldn't need to keep track of currency.

For the eternity shard thing, I like how it's being done, but I suspect some tables may have problems with it. I think it's fine to have the Delphi Council act as the "Warehouse 13" of Core Earth, and I might even make that a location. But I think it's important to 'sell' the idea to the players too, that it's not a good idea for them to carry these things around. They will likely think it's for the best if they hold onto that stuff, since they're the ones saving the world, etc. I could see them getting stubborn on this, because in other games "loot" is an important thing and they may not trust the game or GM enough to give it up willingly. I could have an OOC talk with them like in oTorg, but I'd rather not be as heavy handed this time.

So I think what I'll have to do is have the Delphi Council be very helpful to them if they cooperate, and also make them understand that having Storm Knights running around with a bunch of eternity shards is not in the best interest of the big picture of the war, that the items are needed elsewhere. I think the idea of the DC loaning them a powerful eternity shard for a specific mission is a good thing. It encourages them to cooperate, encourages me to be less stingy, and also we get to see a lot of different eternity shards instead of the player characters walking around with a golf club bag full of artifacts. "Hand me my Heart of Coyote, Jeeves." So I'm hoping to be less heavy handed about it by making it more of an in character thing and rewarding them for being less loot driven.
"That old chestnut?"

Gargoyle

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:31 am

In a demo I ran, a high-tech character lost his high-tech hammer. He had to use a spear instead. His overall damage was a couple of points lower, but he was still the hardest-hitting PC in the group. Before he lost the hammer, his damage was high enough to always kill the edeinos warriors. With the spear, he had to actually roll a Good result to do a wound—which brought him in line with the rest of the group actually. I'm okay with that because this meant that the high-tech device was still pretty powerful but not enough to cripple the PC when he lost it.

It's a funky balancing act. You don't want to make high tech too powerful, or PCs will place gear acquisition ahead of saving the world. But on the other hand, you don't want to make low tech the equivalent of high tech, or you question how Cyberpapacy and Tharkold can roll over Core Earth resistances.

And while one may argue that a heavy club should do less damage than a laser sword, when someone is having their internal organs smashed or diced, the result is still the same. One may be easier to swing than the other, but this does not negate the effect of that other.

As for Eternity Shards, I posed a scenario earlier where Eternity Shards grow stagnant after a while. They need to be passed around in order to keep their Possibility flow fresh. I doubt this will be canon in the rulebook, but it can be implemented by a GM who wants to make Eternity Shards more ephemeral. There doesn't need to be a hard-and-fast rule on this, but I suppose you could just gradually reduce the number of Possibilities it provides until it's returned to the Delphi Council and distributed to another group of Storm Knights.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

User avatar
TorgHacker
Posts: 4901
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:35 am

Gargoyle wrote:
As far as balance, we did have problems with Tech 26 weapons doing too much damage in oTorg. They did way more damage than the sword wielding barbarians or ninjas. While realistic, that wasn't the most fun thing and I think it should have been closer in damage, with the high tech stuff's edge balanced by the chance of disconnection.



Yup. Cutting down on the range of weapon damage and armor bonuses was something we identified right from the start we needed to deal with.

As it turns out, damage 18 is about the point where a weapon becomes a "heavy weapon", and +4 is the max bonus to Strength for a melee weapon. No armor has higher than a +4 bonus. A lot of the 'tech' bonus for armor comes out in Max Dex and whether it causes Fatigue.

We tried to make sure that every weapon and armor had some reason for you to take it.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

User avatar
Hobbes
Posts: 176
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:35 am

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:38 am

Gargoyle wrote:I did have issues with player characters collecting gear. You don't need spells or miracles when you can pull out the right Tech 26 tool to pick the lock or whatever.


The reverse is true too, why pull out a Tech 26 lock pick when you can just wave your hands. Spells and Miracles are, effectively, those realms equipment.

In our first oTorg campaign the Elf Wizard/Priest was hands down the most powerful character. It wasn't even close as far as raw combat prowess went. Obviously every character can't cover everything so everyone at the table carved out a mechanical niche and carried on, but the Elf was the team ass kicker. In oTorg either Gear, Spells, or Miracles had the potential to be disruptive.

I'm looking forward to seeing how everything is implemented in Torg Eternity. Part of the fun of oTorg was the, sometimes, crazy imbalance between characters. "You can do what?" from new players, or someone who hasn't gotten around to reading every little thing about every Cosm was part of the fun. Modern "Balanced" games tend not to have that flavor of "fun".

User avatar
Gargoyle
Posts: 1797
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:20 pm

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby Gargoyle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:56 am

Hobbes wrote:
Gargoyle wrote:I did have issues with player characters collecting gear. You don't need spells or miracles when you can pull out the right Tech 26 tool to pick the lock or whatever.


The reverse is true too, why pull out a Tech 26 lock pick when you can just wave your hands. Spells and Miracles are, effectively, those realms equipment.



The advantage of tech in oTorg is you don't risk backlash damage, it often just works without as difficult a skill check or at least without as much investment in skill adds, and sometimes tech isn't a contradiction (though this of course this last can go the other way just as often).

Ideally they'd both be useful in different situations, yet still work differently for a different flavor, and the axioms of the realm would give an edge to one over the other for a particular adventure. At the end of the day, everyone should feel like they contributed to the adventure in a meaningful way, and one person shouldn't be the star every time. That's what I'm hoping for in TorgE without a whole lot of house rules or interventions from me.

In our first oTorg campaign the Elf Wizard/Priest was hands down the most powerful character. It wasn't even close as far as raw combat prowess went. Obviously every character can't cover everything so everyone at the table carved out a mechanical niche and carried on, but the Elf was the team ass kicker. In oTorg either Gear, Spells, or Miracles had the potential to be disruptive.


I've heard this from many people, so I don't doubt it. Priests having access to all miracles of their faith didn't help and there were some insane results possible with spells. High tech seemed to be my group's thing though in both campaigns I ran, so maybe the game was just vulnerable to min/maxing players.

I'm looking forward to seeing how everything is implemented in Torg Eternity. Part of the fun of oTorg was the, sometimes, crazy imbalance between characters. "You can do what?" from new players, or someone who hasn't gotten around to reading every little thing about every Cosm was part of the fun. Modern "Balanced" games tend not to have that flavor of "fun".


I agree! I'm not overly concerned about balance because of this. Balance is often overrated; it took years of GM'ing for me to understand that an 'unbalanced' game can be fun. I can always challenge the players with tougher villains and if somebody is eclipsing the group it can be fixed after they have a chance to shine for a while. But like you I'm curious about it.
"That old chestnut?"

Gargoyle

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:08 am

A large spell/miracle arsenal was a huge advantage in oTorg. It allowed for some crazy stuff. My edeinos optant wasn't satisfied until she was able to slap +7 or +10 to Strength and/or Dexterity for the entire scene. Presence cards and Possibilities worked wonders for that. I see no indication from the developer notes that this will continue.

Since spells and miracles are purchased through perks, we're not going to see the toolboxes of magic and miracles as we used to. In a sense that's kind of sad because having a wide array of spells epitomized a wizard's spellbook. But again, some balance had to be worked on.

Since the range between low and high is narrower, this makes Possibilities more attractive. Good thing they refresh now and are not tied to XP.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

User avatar
Hobbes
Posts: 176
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:35 am

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:34 am

Gargoyle wrote:I agree! I'm not overly concerned about balance because of this. Balance is often overrated; it took years of GM'ing for me to understand that an 'unbalanced' game can be fun. I can always challenge the players with tougher villains and if somebody is eclipsing the group it can be fixed after they have a chance to shine for a while. But like you I'm curious about it.


My group has a rule, min/max all you want, don't step on another characters shtick. As long as every character at the table has a "thing" that they do that no one else does, or does as well, then, whatever. The GM can always write down bigger numbers on the NPCs. Shadowrun 5E is a favorite example of this. You can be a terrible Hacker but the team would never know if you're the only Hacker on the team and the GM can scale the difficulty to you.

Anyway, I suspect most anything over a certain mechanical value in eTorg will wind up being a Perk of some kind. If every character has the same stat and skill pool to start with it comes down to what Perks are available to a character. Torg gear is transitory IME. Either you ditch it to blend in, or lose it crossing Realms, or a dinosaur eats it. Pan Pacifica and the Cyberpapacy are bad places to stand out. Aysle is going to occasionally turn your gear into magic items that an SK's axioms won't always be able to support. Living Land is going to turn your gear into a plant every now and then... ect ect.

User avatar
Gargoyle
Posts: 1797
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:20 pm

Re: Equipment and power-balance

Postby Gargoyle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:40 am

Hobbes wrote:
Gargoyle wrote:I agree! I'm not overly concerned about balance because of this. Balance is often overrated; it took years of GM'ing for me to understand that an 'unbalanced' game can be fun. I can always challenge the players with tougher villains and if somebody is eclipsing the group it can be fixed after they have a chance to shine for a while. But like you I'm curious about it.


My group has a rule, min/max all you want, don't step on another characters shtick. As long as every character at the table has a "thing" that they do that no one else does, or does as well, then, whatever. The GM can always write down bigger numbers on the NPCs. Shadowrun 5E is a favorite example of this. You can be a terrible Hacker but the team would never know if you're the only Hacker on the team and the GM can scale the difficulty to you.

Anyway, I suspect most anything over a certain mechanical value in eTorg will wind up being a Perk of some kind. If every character has the same stat and skill pool to start with it comes down to what Perks are available to a character. Torg gear is transitory IME. Either you ditch it to blend in, or lose it crossing Realms, or a dinosaur eats it. Pan Pacifica and the Cyberpapacy are bad places to stand out. Aysle is going to occasionally turn your gear into magic items that an SK's axioms won't always be able to support. Living Land is going to turn your gear into a plant every now and then... ect ect.


Yes, I think the setting(s) really help reduce the gear factor. You just have to make sure they travel a bunch. I think the Delphi Council will make things easier in that way, providing transportation whenever the GM wants things to move along. The more I think about it, the more I like the benevolent patron faction they have become, though I will certainly plant a bad apple or two in there.
"That old chestnut?"

Gargoyle


Return to “Rules Questions (TORG)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 27 guests