Differentiating wizards of different realities

Staffan
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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby Staffan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:12 pm

Stormchild wrote:The Masterbook system (which is based on oTorg) is an easy-to-use rules system for creating any kind of SFX. If you want the damage effect to be higher you have to adjust the calculation, if you want the range to extent, adjust the calculation, balance it with disadvantages like contagion or incantation, so each SFX is unique. And then comes in the Bloodshadows magic system that uses SFX built with this Masterbook system but adjusted for different flair according to the magic discipline.

I've done some stuff with Masterbook, and I think the system there is exactly what Utsukushi does not wish to see (Utsukushi: apologies if I'm putting words in your mouth). The system for creating a miracle, a spell, a psionic power, or a weird science device are exactly the same. Some of the secondary stuff may be more or less appropriate for different types of SFX (using Helpers or Gestures to reduce the difficulty of a psi power would be a flavor fail, and it's called out as such), but the base system is the same for all types. It doesn't matter if you're calling down the Wrath of God on someone, if you're casting a Freeze Bolt, or if you're using pyrokinesis to burn them - if you're doing X damage at Y range with Z casting time, the powers will have the same difficulty/feedback.

It's also problematic when it comes to some types of effects, like healing. The suggestion used in Masterbook is essentially "treat the Effect Value as a First Aid skill total" - which is not particularly helpful when it comes to magical/miraculous healing.

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Rabbitball
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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby Rabbitball » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:40 pm

Staffan wrote:I've done some stuff with Masterbook, and I think the system there is exactly what Utsukushi does not wish to see (Utsukushi: apologies if I'm putting words in your mouth). The system for creating a miracle, a spell, a psionic power, or a weird science device are exactly the same. Some of the secondary stuff may be more or less appropriate for different types of SFX (using Helpers or Gestures to reduce the difficulty of a psi power would be a flavor fail, and it's called out as such), but the base system is the same for all types. It doesn't matter if you're calling down the Wrath of God on someone, if you're casting a Freeze Bolt, or if you're using pyrokinesis to burn them - if you're doing X damage at Y range with Z casting time, the powers will have the same difficulty/feedback.

It's also problematic when it comes to some types of effects, like healing. The suggestion used in Masterbook is essentially "treat the Effect Value as a First Aid skill total" - which is not particularly helpful when it comes to magical/miraculous healing.


There are two different camps here. One is to treat the effects as a master system, and adjust based on specifics (i.e. balance over flavor). The other camp wants the cleric to heal really well because "it's a miracle" and is willing to handwave the balance in favor a flavor win. OTorg was more of the first; TorgE is leaning more toward the second. I just know that the stuff I'm designing is mostly balanced with what is already there, but I will occasionally offer a difficulty break if there is a good flavor justification.
Dominick Riesland, aka Rabbitball
Co-author, Aysle Sourcebook for Torg Eternity
Creator of the Cosmversal Grimoire
"Those who will not follow are doomed to lead"—Anarchist, Magic: the Gathering

Staffan
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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby Staffan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:58 pm

Rabbitball wrote:There are two different camps here. One is to treat the effects as a master system, and adjust based on specifics (i.e. balance over flavor). The other camp wants the cleric to heal really well because "it's a miracle" and is willing to handwave the balance in favor a flavor win. OTorg was more of the first; TorgE is leaning more toward the second. I just know that the stuff I'm designing is mostly balanced with what is already there, but I will occasionally offer a difficulty break if there is a good flavor justification.


For me, it's not just the traditional D&Dish cleric = healing thing - that's just the most obvious target. I think different types of supernatural things should do things in different fashions, and be good at different things. For example, psionics ought to be the best at reading people's minds and assorted mind-bleepery, but should be bad at damage.

There's also the issue that TORG/MB magic is generally bad at absolutes (because of the way the Value chart works - a "0" isn't the same as "nothing"), or have to do some shaky interpretations of things. For example, the oTORG water breathing spell converted a certain volume of water to air each round, instead of just saying "you can breathe water." Scrying uses the effect value as a ceiling on Perception rolls, or something of that sort. And crowd control magic is nigh impossible - essentially, in order to temporarily disable someone, you need a spell powerful enough to defeat them outright.

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Rabbitball
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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby Rabbitball » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:21 pm

Staffan wrote:For me, it's not just the traditional D&Dish cleric = healing thing - that's just the most obvious target. I think different types of supernatural things should do things in different fashions, and be good at different things. For example, psionics ought to be the best at reading people's minds and assorted mind-bleepery, but should be bad at damage.

There's also the issue that TORG/MB magic is generally bad at absolutes (because of the way the Value chart works - a "0" isn't the same as "nothing"), or have to do some shaky interpretations of things. For example, the oTORG water breathing spell converted a certain volume of water to air each round, instead of just saying "you can breathe water." Scrying uses the effect value as a ceiling on Perception rolls, or something of that sort. And crowd control magic is nigh impossible - essentially, in order to temporarily disable someone, you need a spell powerful enough to defeat them outright.


You won't have a problem then with TorgE. This comes at the expense of not having a defined power design system at present. Powers do what they do (a water breathing spell will let you breathe water, a spell to move boats without wind will move up to a size X boat, etc.) and the answer to power bleed is that the designers just won't let magic do healing or miracles turn brains into mush. Good and Outstanding results do stuff, but it's not an automatic amount (except for bonus damage on attacks). So using the Improvised Apportation as an example, normal lets you do work without touching the tools in normal time, Good gets more work done in the same time, and Outstanding gets A LOT of work done.

If we were to do a crowd control spell, I would probably treat it as an area effect spell.
Dominick Riesland, aka Rabbitball
Co-author, Aysle Sourcebook for Torg Eternity
Creator of the Cosmversal Grimoire
"Those who will not follow are doomed to lead"—Anarchist, Magic: the Gathering

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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby Staffan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:29 pm

Rabbitball wrote:You won't have a problem then with TorgE. This comes at the expense of not having a defined power design system at present. Powers do what they do (a water breathing spell will let you breathe water, a spell to move boats without wind will move up to a size X boat, etc.) and the answer to power bleed is that the designers just won't let magic do healing or miracles turn brains into mush. Good and Outstanding results do stuff, but it's not an automatic amount (except for bonus damage on attacks). So using the Improvised Apportation as an example, normal lets you do work without touching the tools in normal time, Good gets more work done in the same time, and Outstanding gets A LOT of work done.

Sounds good.

If we were to do a crowd control spell, I would probably treat it as an area effect spell.

By crowd control, I mean spells like D&D's hold person or entangle - abilities that let you temporarily disable one or a few foes in order to split one big fight into two smaller ones. They don't necessarily have to be AOEs.

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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby Rabbitball » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:35 pm

Staffan wrote:By crowd control, I mean spells like D&D's hold person or entangle - abilities that let you temporarily disable one or a few foes in order to split one big fight into two smaller ones. They don't necessarily have to be AOEs.


Entangle would be AOE, and was along the lines of what I thought you meant. Hold person can work, although for the things I design, I'm trying to either be different from D&D, or change the names to condemn the guilty. :twisted:
Dominick Riesland, aka Rabbitball
Co-author, Aysle Sourcebook for Torg Eternity
Creator of the Cosmversal Grimoire
"Those who will not follow are doomed to lead"—Anarchist, Magic: the Gathering

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TorgHacker
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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:09 pm

Problem with something like Hold Person is that when you think about it, it's a pretty major effect, especially on a main character...which often you've got on the badguy side.

That is, it's often one "boss" and some minions. So you have to watch out you don't accidentally make an 'I win' button.
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utsukushi
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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby utsukushi » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:04 am

This slides a lot into the Disappearing KO Mechanic issue, but... incapacitation effects have always been an issue in games. It's nice to have ways to disable enemies without killing them, but game designers often seem to think, "Well, all it does is stop them for a few minutes, so that can be cheap and easy!" and players take like five seconds to add, "And a few minutes is plenty of time to slit their throat."

In a lot of ways, the old KO mechanic, while really awkward, was a brilliant balance on that. I'm not really sad to see it gone, just remembering that it had its strengths over just counting up damage.

Stormchild wrote:So, between us two, they make at least one happy

Well... maybe? I'm well aware that I'm hard to please, but my hopes are a lot higher than just, "Please disappoint Stormchild." I never picked up Masterbook -- if I'd known it evolved from Torg I might have, but I just found that out recently, here. (Not QUITE as recently as your post, I remember somebody, quite possibly you, mentioning it somewhere else)

And no worries, Steffan! I do it to people all the time. I don't know. From what you said, yes, it sounds like exactly what I don't want; from what Stormchild said, it sounded maybe not that bad. Alas, while the pdfs look pretty cheap on Drivethru... I just put all my spare money into some obscure Kickstarter recently, so I can't really justify picking them up on what's really just a point of curiosity right now.

Rabbitball wrote:One is to treat the effects as a master system, and adjust based on specifics (i.e. balance over flavor). The other camp wants the cleric to heal really well because "it's a miracle" and is willing to handwave the balance in favor a flavor win.

And there was a time when I would have said I was totally in the first camp. Balance is important, and too many games didn't have it. But then I think the industry went too far the other way, balancing things to the point where nothing could move anymore.

I DO like the idea of a spell-design system someday, and probably all of those sections (magic, miracles, etc.) need at least enough consistency that it's possible for GMs to make up their own. But yeah, these days, I prefer the balance to be on a more intuitive level, with some room for an occasional effect that you know wouldn't `add up' right, but works because it should.

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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby dev/null » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:04 am

Stormchild wrote:What I am hoping for is:
A) a simple design system for SFX - what to do to create a Torg Value Number for an effect (the Masterbook system did this extremely good)
B) different systems of how to incorporate the SFX into the different setting - what a firemage has to do to learn and cast a fire based spell, what a necromant has to do to get a similar effect but with a totally different spell, how the same effect can be achieved with a gadget made by a weird scientist and so on.

An example: an SFX to look at a distant place
- the Firemage invents a spell called firescrying, he needs a source of flame, a contagion of the target he wants to see and has to speak the magic words
- the Necromant invents a spell called deathwatch, he needs part of a corpse that had lived on the site to be watched, a sacrificial animal and has to speak with the ghost of said corpse
- the Weird Scientist needs a possibility capacitor, a screen of some kind, some other electric and electronic stuff and has to put one poss into the televisor he builds

But all of these SFX have the same DN,the same range, the same rules whatsoever, they are only achieved with different skills and need different story elements.


What it seems like you want is the return of Arcane Knowledges, or the Orrorshan occult magic, and having them all able to do the same things, but through different flavor. Well, seeing as everything is going to be Perk based, relating to magic and weird science, and everything else under the sun, you can always let people take a Perk from somewhere they normally can't, and handwave it into their reality processes. But then we get into the realm of everyone doing the same things, and there really is no difference in the feel of them. If they all DO the same thing, does the flavor really make them feel any different? You are basically just giving the same things to everyone when they wouldn't normally have access to them.

Quietly casts Disintegrate and Magic Missile as an Aylish Magician over from the corner of the room

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Re: Preview #16 - A Closer Look at Perks (Part 2)

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:49 am

TorgHacker wrote:Problem with something like Hold Person is that when you think about it, it's a pretty major effect, especially on a main character...which often you've got on the badguy side.

That is, it's often one "boss" and some minions. So you have to watch out you don't accidentally make an 'I win' button.


Another litmus test is "how would I feel if this was used on my player character?". Players are eager to use these types of spells but often call foul when it's used on them. And they have a point, effects that cause you to not be able able to play your one and only character are no fun for anyone, and these days result in a player bringing up Netflix on their phone or something, effectively removing them from the game and seeking other diversions.
"That old chestnut?"

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