Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:56 am

Gargoyle wrote:
But you still have a point; players can easily make the case that they died in their background. One thing I wonder about though, it's not in the RAW, but is it RAI for them to be treated as undead and therefore count as Supernatural Evil? Part of me says no, a Storm Knight mummy isn't evil, but it does have precedence is anti-hero stories...the good vampire who is still affected by crosses (Ward Enemy) etc, and I think it would be cool and balance it out a little, so I'd probably say yes.

That is a very good question, and I'm inclined to say 'yes' and include that in the revisions.
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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby pkitty » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:54 am

TorgHacker wrote:
pkitty wrote:(Disclaimer: I'm only about halfway through the book.)

I find mummies a bit confusing as regards play balance. The LL book added Poison Tolerance as a perk to help you resist poison -- or I could just start with the Mummy perk (I was resurrected in my backstory) to be completely immune to poison, and suffocation, and even Fatigue? With absolutely zero downsides?

Similarly, the Recall Spirit miracle seems to grant far more on a Good success than on an Outstanding one. On a Good success, the subject gets resurrected with all of the benefits (the amazing Mummy perk) with no drawbacks. But on an Outstanding success, they get resurrected with no changes.

Is there some drawback to being a mummy that I just haven't read yet? And if so, why is it not be mentioned up front in the Mummy perk itself?

You're forced to pay for that Perk in XP.

Right, just like you're forced to pay for the Poison Tolerance perk in XP if you want it. That's inherent to any Perk, not something unique to the Mummy perk!

So just to be clear, from a mechanical standpoint the Mummy perk is 100% upsides, no special/hidden drawbacks? If so, then I reiterate my first paragraph -- this seems way unbalanced compared to other similar perks.

I'm harping on this mainly because you'd said you wanted to know if the NE was falling into the "NE does everything better" trap. Well, it lets you build a starting character who resists poison better than a LL character can and who gets a bunch of other benefits as well. In fact, I'd argue that the "ignores Fatigue" part is too powerful on its own to even be a single perk, based on the fact that Aysle Dwarven Dragon Armor and PP Electric Samurai Armor charge an entire perk slot just to reduce Fatigue for that armor by 1!

Heck, to compare apples to apples, if I were planning on building someone with a Rocket Ranger Battlesuit, it'd be silly of me to spend perk slots to add Cooling Vents, when it's far smarter to start with the Mummy perk (resurrected in backstory) and ignore Fatigue completely! Just compare the two: If Alive Allen has the two perks Rocket Range Battlesuit and Cooling Vents, and Mummified Mia has the two perks Mummy and Rocket Ranger Battlesuit, and the Fatigue result comes up on a Drama card, Allen suffers 3 Shock while Mia suffers no Shock! And on top of that, Mia is immune to poison, cannot be suffocated, and doesn't have to eat.

So yeah, Nile Empire mummies do everything better.
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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby Kuildeous » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:14 pm

That's a fair comparison. It's why I think the mummy perk really should be a postcreation perk that only applies when the story demands it. As it stands, it doesn't have that restriction, which would allow for that to happen with new characters.

I'm okay with it being really powerful, provided that it's a rare perk with very specific in-game triggers. But yeah, on paper, it is strictly better than some other perks if it has no constraints.
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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby utsukushi » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:28 pm

The Fatigue immunity does worry me, too - that's crazy strong for a Perk, and very abusable, even if you do have to get yourself killed in-game to take advantage of it.

But we'd talked about this before, and I'd actually posted in that thread, but maybe it does belong here more - how does Mummy work as a Nile Empire specific Perk? If you Disconnect, are you just alive? Or are you dead? "Alive" is the obvious interpretation for the way similar things work mechancially (you just lose the game-mechanic benefits of your non-locally-supported stuff) while "dead" is the obvious interpretation for the theme (for the same reason you're avoiding cyberhearts -- if this Miracle is all that's keeping you moving and you lose it, then the whole keeping-moving thing is among the benefits you lose.)

What if my Amaatist Priest's friend the Dwarven Warrior dies? Can the Miracle even work on her? I could imagine it turning her into a permanent 4-case Contradiction, but you never roll your Mumminess, and other Cosm Perks don't have that option. Given that in most campaigns the characters spread out among Cosms because that's the most fun and most interesting, that means in most games the only person who could cast this would also be the only one who could have it cast on them, and would incidentally have to be dead at the time, rendering it slightly difficult. So on the one hand that makes it less important if it's a little OP, but on the other hand that means it's taking up an awful lot of space in the book for something completely irrelevant because no one's ever meant to have it. (<-- Sorry, TH! But you're the one who kept schooling us on the importance of space... :P It had to sink in eventually!)

One thing I just worked out - it's not in the Perk, but in the Miracle. Most Mummies are going to have a permanent Injury. So that's basically the loss of an Attribute point. (I'm not sure what makes it a `Permanent' Injury -- does that mean you can't ever buy the attribute up after that? Or just essentially also reduces your Maximum by one? Given that you get to choose the attribute, that's not a real drawback, alas, but worth noting.) That is a significant cost - at least another 12 XP worth - and is actually neatly set up. If someone is trying to become a Mummy, and you get a Standard Success, you can try to bump that up... but spending a Possibility is I think actually guaranteed to rocket you up to Outstanding, at which point they just come all the way back to life and don't become an undead abomination. Poor thing! And you only get one shot at it. A Good Success is a whole lot harder to guarantee than Outstanding, curiously enough.

Overall it still comes across as being intended more for NPCs, which is cool, but it's pretty prominent in the book and TorgE has always been, as we've also been frequently reminded, very player-facing.

For the record, I don't like `rarity' as a control on `power'. That's how, say, Magic: The Gathering does it, and it just means that once one player has that rare ultra-powerful effect, it's that much harder to balance because it's really hard for anybody else to get a similarly powerful effect because they're all rare.

Given that whole Outstanding Success aspect on Recall Spirit, I have the impression Mummy is meant to be more of a mixed bag, though - something you might want, but really might want to avoid. The Permanent Injury is a good start. Making them count as a Supernatural Evil is a neat idea, but in practice, most of the bad guys aren't equipped to fight Supernatural Evil anyway - not after the first time they cut themselves shaving and explode - so I'm not sure it would really help.

...If it were me (which it's not!), I think I'd actually reverse the Fatigue thing. Say they suffer a little extra Fatigue akin to an Elf, but in Cosms with Spirit under 12. That's Core Earth, Pan-Pacifica, and Tharkold, compared to Core-Earth, Living Land, and Pan-Pacifica for Elves. I get the thinking behind the total Fatigue immunity, but given that they do still have Shock, I'm not sure how necessary it is. And if you flip that, it means a Mummy doesn't need to breathe or eat and is immune to poison - all rare but situational. They probably don't age, either, which I know is irrelevant in a game yet most of my characters still strive for, for some reason, and is super satisfying to get. But they gain a Fatigue condition and probably lose an Attribute point, plus they have to buy this Perk, and... yes, balances out to be a bit on the negative side, but that's why an Outstanding Success means you don't have to do it. It's a chance to bring someone back to life, but at a cost. Not a Terrible Cost like I hope we'll see in Orrorsh, but a cost.

CyberPapacy should have a Miracle that can take back resurrections granted from other Cosms. I mean, not quite that simply, but a Miracle that tries to wrest their wrongfully-stolen spirit back out for the glory of Heaven - maybe skipping Shock and inflicting Wounds directly, but that only works on characters who have died and been brought back to life - would be awesome, and totally appropriate for the CyberPriests.

...Anyway, I'm sorry, Deanna. I just get thinking out loud when I'm excited about something, so I hope you take this as a compliment more than anything else. The book is fantastic and there is once again so much that I am really loving about it! And for Mummy specifically, I really want to say again, that balance around the Good Success is absolute genius - it's subtle, and feels like it'll be very effective, no matter where you leave the rest of it. I like that a whole lot and I hope we see similar tricks in future resurrection options, honestly.

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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:13 pm

A couple of quick points.

1. Darrell and I are talking.

2. The intent was never to have this being purchasable at character generation, but only be acquired through play.
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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby Atama » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:10 pm

I can just see someone drawing the Martyr card from the deck...

“Yay! The mummy card!”
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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby ZorValachan » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:16 pm

On the Nile Possibilities. The general text states they can be spent in any realm, like LL possibilities. But the specifics say that when "used to invoke the Law of Action", which can't be used outside of the Nile Empire. The LL only require LL axioms to be met, not be in the cosm itself by invoking a law.
Outside of the Nile do they work like normal possibilities? Or normal but with the Weird science drawback? I wouldn't see anyone keeping these outside of Nile.
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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby Spatula » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:22 pm

Super-hearing, page 30: What does it mean to "discern the nature of someone"?

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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby utsukushi » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:47 pm

It's tricky. The whole Mummy thing, I mean. They're such an integral part of... not so much actual Egyptian mythology, but the cinematic side of it... that you do actually want them to be awesome, and like, my earlier thoughts totally lose that piece. But for the game, they can't be so awesome that everybody wants to be one, or worse, has to be one.

If there were more room for it, I think it'd be cool to start them off as an outright bad thing, but open up a Perk Tree that could become awesome. Probably would just need a bulleted list of options like the armor suits have - different paths you can take your Mummification down. Far enough down a tree and perhaps Beta or Delta level, I'm not even sure total Fatigue immunity would be unreasonable. But then of course... it's a little late in the process to go that way, too, I expect.

I do have to admit, Deanna, your openness here through the last couple years has done a lot, I think, to open my eyes to how hard game design really is, especially when you get to the scale of something like Torg. I'm pretty sure I still get caught up in thinking how obvious my brilliant solutions seem to me, but I sure hope I've gotten better at understanding that it also has to work for a few thousand other people, and that's... not so simple. Who'd have thought?

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Re: Nile Empire Sourcebook Questions

Postby hawaiianbrian » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:53 pm

Perhaps a couple of drawbacks could balance this out a little. Vulnerability to miracles, they leave a telltale trail of fine sand everywhere they go, they are rebuked by gods/goddesses of life, etc. And wouldn't this essentially cause your very existence to be a contradiction anywhere with a lower Spirit than the Nile Empire? Transformation would basically result in you becoming a desiccated corpse.

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