My Take on Torg Eternity

ZorValachan
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My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby ZorValachan » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:27 pm

Gargoyle asked me about some complexities/issues I brought up in another thread. I didn't want to hijack that thread, so starting this post.

This really is not a "rip" or "rant" against Torg Eternity (TE), I love many of the things it brought. I just find myself missing some parts of Old Torg (OT), especially in GMing long running campaigns. This will be long.

These are things I’ve noticed in running Torg in my personal game. I’m not trying to say either TE or OT is worse than the other. Actually, they are both Torg and have the Torg feel and it’s awesome. But I think they are two different games for two different play styles. OT for deep long lasting games covering years with complexities in magic, weird science, etc. for the people who love to tinker within the system. TE is great for one offs or casual games, which many of us find we need due to time restraints. if I didn't have years of Torg GM experience and hadn't written a series of rules articles (I condensed all the rules to one source, clarified those I thought were fuzzy, chose the one I felt was best when mutually exclusive rules were given, and a few house rules) then I would probably flock to Torg Eternity and never look back at Torg. But I wrote game guides on the basic rules, and others on magic, miracles, weird science, cybernetics and decking, and martial arts. You could say I invested a lot of time in old Torg.

I think many games are built around a GM plus 5-player concept, but I’ve never ran into trouble running 7 (my usual group limit) or up to 14 people for a one night “special cross-over event” with 2 or more groups teaming up. This includes Old Torg - my multiple one session team ups always went smoothly without having to modify rules - just increasing number/strength of opponents.

Caveat: With TE I’ve only played online, with OT I’ve done mostly table-top, but did online as well in Roll20. Roll20 has little icons/images you can apply to character tokens for conditions, so I do not believe this is fundamentally different than handing out tokens/chips to represent conditions, possibilities, wounds, etc. or writing things down on a character sheet.

I. A goal, IIRC for TE was to “streamline” the system. And in many ways, it did. But I really do see things that got more complex. Complexity isn’t necessarily bad, but interesting to be added to a game when streamlining/less math was a goal. So these are complexity adds, not me saying they are bad (my opinion stated on them is noted)

A) Stymie/setback/unskilled in OT had no numbers to remember. In TE you have Stymied (-2), Very Stymied (-4), Vulnerable (-2), and Very Vulnerable (-4) . Opinion: I am finding I like the stymies/vulnerables less and less, as the more players/villains in a battle the more tracking and trying to remember when things end is needed. stymie/setback/unskilled was simpler to do.

B) One-on-Many was one chart in OT that included both multiple actions and targets. TE has separate Multi-Targeting and Multi-Action that can be combined for various -2 penalties. Opinion: They both work, either spending time looking at a chart or time counting up correct penalties. TE is simpler for the less number of things done and OT for the more done.

C) Value Chart in OT was used for many things to find bonuses/penalties. It had a nice way to get a needed number/value. IN TE it seems to just be tacked on at the end. Not even used for movement/lifting etc. A lot of separate rules instead of just using the chart. Opinion: Loved the Value Chart sad to see it just a vestige now, but glad it is there.

D) Basic combat options (not subsystems/perks): OT had combat choices that fit on an index card turned vertically. TE combat options take a whole sheet of 8.5x11 paper landscape. Opinion: The index card is a lot easier to find what you need in the heat of battle.

E) OT never count ammo unless it was needed (such as a setback or similar), because people in movies never run out of ammo unless it makes drama, such as a setback "you're on your last magazine-start counting ammo". TE states to count ammo. Opinion: Unless you’re using bursts or perks (like double tap), I don’t see a point in counting ammo in a Torg game.

F) OT Soak damage, 1 possibility = 3 packets (packet = 1 wound, 3 shock, or a K, O, or KO). TE reality roll is needed to figure out what you heal. Opinion: I wish it would have been something like 1 possibility = 2 packets (packet = 2 shock or 1 wound) and use the roll for Orrorsh and a failure loses a packet.

G) Damage. OT used the exact bonus rolled for attack to add to damage. TE roll extra dice based on success levels. Opinion: I didn’t find this harder to remember than what I rolled on BD added to combat options, added to perks, added to base weapon values. I don’t think either system is “broken” as some people think one or the other or both are, but the Bonus Dice are growing on me for other non-GJN reasons-mainly exploding dice are fun.

II. Pros for TE
A) The new Perks. I love the perks. Any way to even more diversify templates is awesome. Additionally, the XP to buy the perk once instead of Possibility costs for each adventure is nice.

B) Cosm Cards! Really, in OT they made a couple drama deck cards to be used in specific cosms, but 95% of the time you drew them when they couldn’t be used. Cosm cards add flavor and problems that the Players bring upon themselves, awesome.

C) Possibility/XP Split. Very much needed.

D) Tharkold getting Spirit axiom nerfed. Seriously, it was like everything the Cyberpapacy was and better. Tharkoldu being rare and much scarier. Also, starting with a Tharkold realm.

III. Pros for OT
A) Templates. The OT templates had a lot more skill choice/variation than the TE archtypes. My personal house rule was to allow all skills on the template to be counted as “skilled” even if they were at 0 adds, but even without that, the templates themtselves allowed choice (instead of the GM having to give choice).

B) As opposed to D above, I do miss the racial options (Giants, Tharkoldu, and yes, Stalengers).

C) Subsystems. I really do like different systems for magic/miracles/psionics. I also think the limits in TE go too far in number known. I miss system failure and cyberpsychosis and decking. Martial Art style used to be a character focus, now it is replaced by Electric Samurai clones and a couple of ho hum Ki Powers. I will reserve judgement for Weird Science to when the Nile sourcebook come out, but so far not impressed by the subsystems, Martial Arts least of all.

D) Number of cards. OT had 160+ cards. It would take long adventures to go through the entire deck (sometimes we wouldn’t). Now it seems to happen every couple scenes. This leads to more Glories and other “game changers”. I don’t like the response of “take some Glories out” as I never had to fiddle with OT cards, other than putting the 6 or so cards from the Infiniverse in, and that was not needed, but my choice.

E) I really think the player’s call being at 15 result points (OT) instead of 10 (TE) changes things. I wish there was another success level in TE. So a Standard, Good, Great, Outstanding (or however you want to word it). Base damage, 1BD, 2BD, 3BD damage and Stymie Vulnerable, Very Stymied or Very Vulnerable, Very Stymied and Very Vulnerable, Player’s Call for interactions. I just find the 15 to be a "better" ultimate number than 10.

F) I miss skill specializations and trademarks (very different from Trademark Weapons). Specializations such as Beast Riding (horse), Energy Weapons (Godlight Pistols), and Air Vehicles (Grumann Goose) was cool and having Silver as your Horse, Wynona as your energy pistol, or O’Lordy as your plane was just awesome.

IV. Unsure. these are things I still am not sure about in TE.

A) Pan-Pacifica zombies. I like the plague and how it leads to a secret invasion, but they are a new Kanawa thing. What did PP do in other invasions before this one? I would like to able to do zombie-less regions, where PP is asked to go to because of other High Lord Problems, not just the zombie plague (you can handle zombies, will the same work with dinos?). With the cosm cards, they assume zombies, almost impossible to do a non-zombie PP session because of the cosm cards.

B) I don’t find the Drama/Destiny split to be as awesome/big/impactful as others, other than to reduce deck size and lead to II. G above, which to me is a supposed positive really being a negative.

C) TE Mooks elimination after 1 wound/Player Call. It’s good when there are less players and bad when you have more players (goes along with V. B below)

D) Less attributes. Not sure if good or bad. Same with Skills. I've loved games with hundreds of skills and also loved games that had 10.

E) Lower values. Since everything is lower, it theoretically shouldn’t matter, but they worked better with the old Number/Value Chart IMO.

F) Damage values. OT I felt in some things the 23+ values were high (I made a house rule about collateral damage to get players to think about not always using them), but all the 13s-15s now don’t seem diverse enough.

V. Observances:
A) As I stated above. TE is Torg. All my players agree that TE has the Torg “feel” they want and crave. there is nothing in TE that makes me point and say, "That's not Torg!". There are just things that make me point and shake my head.

B) I wonder if a fundamental “breakdown” in TE is based on group size. A lot of above is opinions based on mechanics, but I never had a problem in OT just adding a few villains to balance fights or increasing adds to bring a challenge up. In TE forums there is a huge discrepancy between those who see character deaths as a common occurrence and those, like me, who see the PCs going through things like a hot knife through butter. In my 25 years of Torg I've seen maybe 5 character deaths that weren't because a player wanted another character (3 was the same player all in the relics trilogy, his 4th still lives).
I’ve recently had the pleasure of getting to play instead of GMing TORG (first time since 1993) with 3 other players (4 character and GM) online. Started with a total of 16 cards (4 players x 4 cards each). The fights against mooks were easy, but not cake-walks and the Big Bad was challenging and it took all resources to survive - including playing an Orrorsh Cosm card to gain possibilities. It was scary and I wasn’t sure my character was going to survive after I played an awesome (in my mind) critical moment and about half-killed the vampire. but the half-kill wasn’t good enough and she tore into me. Survival was spending possibilities to soak and on the soak roll itself. Not sure if anyone ever obtained a glory card. it was fun, it was Torg, it was rough.
One day later, I GMed a 7-player game. Started with 6 cards in each hand (2 Glories, one from each of the last 2 scenes), so 42 cards and between 5-10 Possibilities each. 2 Glories in hands. One played and master-planned. Now they have 7 card base each. Villains were 3 Big Bads, each with a mook squad (4 mooks in each). First round of combat (dramatic scene) the group takes out a Big Bad and its squad. Second round takes out the second squad and half way through the Big Bad. Only damage sustained is by the players doing shock to themselves to power perks and 1 wound, which the barbarian wanted so he could bezerk. Spending Possibilities like eating Pezz for rolls and soaks, because they just keep getting more by card play (attuned has been used twice to gain extra cosm cards to gain extra possibilities). At no point have they thought things were dire.
It just wasn’t a problem in OT. The fact that Glories could be used as Initiative cards, and the more cards to the deck, never guaranteed they would be in hands. Now in TE, the reminder by the CE guy that he could look through the deck and get a Glory if needed was chuckled at, because 2 were in hands already.

C) The more I see/GM/Play, the more I think TE is great for 1 shots, short games, or those with a lot of time between sessions (like the one I do 2-4 times a year), where people might forget the subsystems their character uses. For a long-term sustainable campaign, I am heavily leaning towards a Hybrid based on OT, but modified with TE Cosm Cards, Perks, XP/Possibility split and Bonus Dice.

just my thoughts based on my experiences.
Last edited by ZorValachan on Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:30 pm

ZorValachan wrote:Gargoyle asked me about some complexities/issues I brought up in another thread. I didn't want to hijack that thread, so starting this post.


Thanks! I know you've got a ton of experience running OT and have played TorgE at least as much as me so your opinion is interesting to me as it is an informed one.


This really is not a "rip" or "rant" against Torg Eternity (TE), I love many of the things it brought. I just find myself missing some parts of Old Torg (OT), especially in GMing long running campaigns. This will be long.

These are things I’ve noticed in running Torg in my personal game. I’m not trying to say either TE or OT is worse than the other. Actually, they are both Torg and have the Torg feel and it’s awesome. But I think they are two different games for two different play styles. OT for deep long lasting games covering years with complexities in magic, weird science, etc. for the people who love to tinker within the system. TE is great for one offs or casual games, which many of us find we need due to time restraints. if I didn't have years of Torg GM experience and hadn't written a series of rules articles (I condensed all the rules to one source, clarified those I thought were fuzzy, chose the one I felt was best when mutually exclusive rules were given, and a few house rules). but one on the basic rules, and others on magic, miracles, weird science, cybernetics and decking, and martial arts. You could say I invested a lot of time in old Torg.

I think many games are built around a GM plus 5-player concept, but I’ve never ran into trouble running 7 (my usual group limit) or up to 14 people for a one night “special cross-over event” with 2 or more groups teaming up. This includes Old Torg - my multiple one session team ups always went smoothly without having to modify rules - just increasing number/strength of opponents.

Caveat: With TE I’ve only played online, with OT I’ve done mostly table-top, but did online as well in Roll20. Roll20 has little icons/images you can apply to character tokens for conditions, so I do not believe this is fundamentally different than handing out tokens/chips to represent conditions, possibilities, wounds, etc. or writing things down on a character sheet.

I. A goal, IIRC for TE was to “streamline” the system. And in many ways, it did. But I really do see things that got more complex. Complexity isn’t necessarily bad, but interesting to be added to a game when streamlining/less math was a goal. So these are complexity adds, not me saying they are bad (my opinion stated on them is noted)

A) Stymie/setback/unskilled in OT had no numbers to remember. In TE you have Stymied (-2), Very Stymied (-4), Vulnerable (-2), and Very Vulnerable (-4) . Opinion: I am finding I like the stymies/vulnerables less and less, as the more players/villains in a battle the more tracking and trying to remember when things end is needed. stymie/setback/unskilled was simpler to do.


I rather like it because it gives players a lot of options; I could shoot the vampire, but instead I was able to set you up by tricking it into thinking the 1st regiment was coming to make it Vulnerable, and then because of transparency was able to make an informed decision to spend a Possibility and make it Very Vulnerable. Poker chips, etc make it easier, and I can't disagree about it being more bookkeeping; it is, but I think it's worth it.

B) One-on-Many was one chart in OT that included both multiple actions and targets. TE has separate Multi-Targeting and Multi-Action that can be combined for various -2 penalties. Opinion: They both work, either spending time looking at a chart or time counting up correct penalties. TE is simpler for the less number of things done and OT for the more done.

C) Value Chart in OT was used for many things to find bonuses/penalties. It had a nice way to get a needed number/value. IN TE it seems to just be tacked on at the end. Not even used for movement/lifting etc. A lot of separate rules instead of just using the chart. Opinion: Loved the Value Chart sad to see it just a vestige now, but glad it is there.

Agree, this should have front and center in the book and not tacked on, but yeah, glad it's there.

D) Basic combat options (not subsystems/perks): OT had combat choices that fit on an index card turned vertically. TE combat options take a whole sheet of 8.5x11 paper landscape. Opinion: The index card is a lot easier to find what you need in the heat of battle.


There might be a bit of analysis paralysis because of all the options, but I didn't see any I thought should be left out. I think the GM screen might be useful for that, but rather than just having a screen that gets in my way I'll probably copy that page and hand it out.


E) OT never count ammo unless it was needed (such as a setback or similar), because people in movies never run out of ammo unless it makes drama, such as a setback "you're on your last magazine-start counting ammo". TE states to count ammo. Opinion: Unless you’re using bursts or perks (like double tap), I don’t see a point in counting ammo in a Torg game.


One of my first house rules is not to count ammo, just like the sidebar in oTorg suggests. Even in TorgE you don't have to pay for the ammo or really keep track of encumbrance, so yeah, it's odd to have to count bullets, unless it's heavy weapon or special ammo. I think it's a relic of short burst, long burst etc...so I really only want them to count ammo for reloading.


F) OT Soak damage, 1 possibility = 3 packets (packet = 1 wound, 3 shock, or a K, O, or KO). TE reality roll is needed to figure out what you heal. Opinion: I wish it would have been something like 1 possibility = 2 packets (packet = 2 shock or 1 wound) and use the roll for Orrorsh and a failure loses a packet.

G) Damage. OT used the exact bonus rolled for attack to add to damage. TE roll extra dice based on success levels. Opinion: I didn’t find this harder to remember than what I rolled on BD added to combat options, added to perks, added to base weapon values. I don’t think either system is “broken” as some people think one or the other or both are, but the Bonus Dice are growing on me for other non-GJN reasons-mainly exploding dice are fun.

II. Pros for TE
A) The new Perks. I love the perks. Any way to even more diversify templates is awesome. Additionally, the XP to buy the perk once instead of Possibility costs for each adventure is nice.

B) Cosm Cards! Really, in OT they made a couple drama deck cards to be used in specific cosms, but 95% of the time you drew them when they couldn’t be used. Cosm cards add flavor and problems that the Players bring upon themselves, awesome.

C) Possibility/XP Split. Very much needed.

D) Tharkold getting Spirit axiom nerfed. Seriously, it was like everything the Cyberpapacy was and better. Tharkoldu being rare and much scarier. Also, starting with a Tharkold realm.


Yes, yes, yes, yes! And the Russian influence in Tharkold; it gets second place for most improved realm, right behind the Living Land IMO. Or maybe third if you think about Core Earth...they did a really good job with all of them IMO. Setting wise, I think the game hits a home run, with my only complaint being the unreasonable "I want more". I didn't feel like that initially, took some time to warm to Pan-Pacifica and Aysle, but I'm happy with all of them so far.


III. Pros for OT
A) Templates. The OT templates had a lot more skill choice/variation than the TE archtypes. My personal house rule was to allow all skills on the template to be counted as “skilled” even if they were at 0 adds, but even without that, the templates themtselves allowed choice (instead of the GM having to give choice).

B) As opposed to D above, I do miss the racial options (Giants, Tharkoldu, and yes, Stalengers).

C) Subsystems. I really do like different systems for magic/miracles/psionics. I also think the limits in TE go too far in number known. I miss system failure and cyberpsychosis and decking. Martial Art style used to be a character focus, now it is replaced by Electric Samurai clones and a couple of ho hum Ki Powers. I will reserve judgement for Weird Science to when the Nile sourcebook come out, but so far not impressed by the subsystems, Martial Arts least of all.


I teach kung fu...just got back from class, and it's a huge part of my life, both in the real world and as a fan of movies etc..so I really dislike the crappy ki powers. lol I'm reserving judgment until all the cosm books come out. But I have a feeling I'm not going to be satisfied with the diversity of various systems. I think they will be too homogeneous. I look at the spell list, the miracle list, and the psionic list and just don't see enough diversity in how they work. I understand why that is, and I do understand that you can make them feel different by tweaking the contents of the spell lists, just like you can make divine and arcane magic feel different from each other in D&D...but even in that game there is often too much overlap and I feel like I'm seeing that already.

D) Number of cards. OT had 160+ cards. It would take long adventures to go through the entire deck (sometimes we wouldn’t). Now it seems to happen every couple scenes. This leads to more Glories and other “game changers”. I don’t like the response of “take some Glories out” as I never had to fiddle with OT cards, other than putting the 6 or so cards from the Infiniverse in, and that was not needed, but my choice.

E) I really think the player’s call being at 15 result points (OT) instead of 10 (TE) changes things. I wish there was another success level in TE. So a Standard, Good, Great, Outstanding (or however you want to word it). Base damage, 1BD, 2BD, 3BD damage and Stymie Vulnerable, Very Stymied or Very Vulnerable, Very Stymied and Very Vulnerable, Player’s Call for interactions. I just find the 15 to be a "better" ultimate number than 10.

F) I miss skill specializations and trademarks (very different from Trademark Weapons). Specializations such as Beast Riding (horse), Energy Weapons (Godlight Pistols), and Air Vehicles (Grumann Goose) was cool and having Silver as your Horse, Wynona as your energy pistol, or O’Lordy as your plane was just awesome.

I partially agree. The new Trademark Weapon perk doesn't work the same, but IMO it's more interesting in the way it works than just providing more adds and fills the same narrative role for weapons, we just no longer have the same thing for other skills which I do miss. Specializations I also do miss for the flavor, but I don't miss the huge add totals. I like the lower cap and that there aren't too many ways to jack those numbers up to the point where people never seem to fail.


IV. Unsure. these are things I still am not sure about in TE.

A) Pan-Pacifica zombies. I like the plague and how it leads to a secret invasion, but they are a new Kanawa thing. What did PP do in other invasions before this one? I would like to able to do zombie-less regions, where PP is asked to go to because of other High Lord Problems, not just the zombie plague (you can handle zombies, will the same work with dinos?). With the cosm cards, they assume zombies, almost impossible to do a non-zombie PP session because of the cosm cards.


I like to think for previous invasions they did things the old Nippon Tech way...corporate takeovers, assassinations, and gangster stuff. It's a good question though, and until we get more cosm cards that's a good point.


B) I don’t find the Drama/Destiny split to be as awesome/big/impactful as others, other than to reduce deck size and lead to II. G above, which to me is a supposed positive really being a negative.

C) TE Mooks elimination after 1 wound/Player Call. It’s good when there are less players and bad when you have more players (goes along with V. B below)

D) Less attributes. Not sure if good or bad. Same with Skills. I've loved games with hundreds of skills and also loved games that had 10.

E) Lower values. Since everything is lower, it theoretically shouldn’t matter, but they worked better with the old Number/Value Chart IMO.

F) Damage values. OT I felt in some things the 23+ values were high (I made a house rule about collateral damage to get players to think about not always using them), but all the 13s-15s now don’t seem diverse enough.

V. Observances:
A) As I stated above. TE is Torg. All my players agree that TE has the Torg “feel” they want and crave. there is nothing in TE that makes me point and say, "That's not Torg!". There are just things that make me point and shake my head.

B) I wonder if a fundamental “breakdown” in TE is based on group size. A lot of above is opinions based on mechanics, but I never had a problem in OT just adding a few villains to balance fights or increasing adds to bring a challenge up. In TE forums there is a huge discrepancy between those who see character deaths as a common occurrence and those, like me, who see the PCs going through things like a hot knife through butter. In my 25 years of Torg I've seen maybe 5 character deaths that weren't because a player wanted another character (3 was the same player all in the relics trilogy, his 4th still lives).
I’ve recently had the pleasure of getting to play instead of GMing TORG (first time since 1993) with 3 other players (4 character and GM) online. Started with a total of 16 cards (4 players x 4 cards each). The fights against mooks were easy, but not cake-walks and the Big Bad was challenging and it took all resources to survive - including playing an Orrorsh Cosm card to gain possibilities. It was scary and I wasn’t sure my character was going to survive after I played an awesome (in my mind) critical moment and about half-killed the vampire. but the half-kill wasn’t good enough and she tore into me. Survival was spending possibilities to soak and on the soak roll itself. Not sure if anyone ever obtained a glory card. it was fun, it was Torg, it was rough.



It was fun. :) I had a glory and a hero card, and a possibility to spend, but we got Confused right when I was ready to use my critical moment....and people were getting hurt...and the DSR was ticking down, so even though I thought we had her, she got away. I was afraid we were going to lose people and fail, more to the power of the enemy and the bad luck of the dice than mistakes and it was great. So I fully agree, the system (and GM) came through.

One observation...the combat in TorgE goes so much faster as far as how many rounds it takes. At least to me it seems to, maybe you can confirm or correct that statement. In the Torg Revised book it says that a DSR should take something like 7 to 14 rounds...in TorgE it's 5. But I haven't ran oTorg in so long I don't remember if it really was that much longer. I think it was. If so, then you really do often rely on that critical moment to get your hand into your pool to be useful when it needs to be, and it makes those first cards you put in really important...I always felt very constrained on time to get cards into the pool.

One day later, I GMed a 7-player game. Started with 6 cards in each hand (2 Glories, one from each of the last 2 scenes), so 42 cards and between 5-10 Possibilities each. 2 Glories in hands. One played and master-planned. Now they have 7 card base each. Villains were 3 Big Bads, each with a mook squad (4 mooks in each). First round of combat (dramatic scene) the group takes out a Big Bad and its squad. Second round takes out the second squad and half way through the Big Bad. Only damage sustained is by the players doing shock to themselves to power perks and 1 wound, which the barbarian wanted so he could bezerk. Spending Possibilities like eating Pezz for rolls and soaks, because they just keep getting more by card play (attuned has been used twice to gain extra cosm cards to gain extra possibilities). At no point have they thought things were dire.
It just wasn’t a problem in OT. The fact that Glories could be used as Initiative cards, and the more cards to the deck, never guaranteed they would be in hands. Now in TE, the reminder by the CE guy that he could look through the deck and get a Glory if needed was chuckled at, because 2 were in hands already.


The group size thing is something I think needs more consideration. Also in oTorg you get more cards when you have fewer players, no such rule in TorgE. I'm inclined to think that bigger groups in TorgE should have smaller hand sizes, but I don't have experience running them. I just see things like the Inspire, Master Plan, Inspire, Master Plan, Inspire on the start of the Delphi Council video and think...hmmm. Now that may have been a fluke, but the chances of such things are way higher with more players.

C) The more I see/GM/Play, the more I think TE is great for 1 shots, short games, or those with a lot of time between sessions (like the one I do 2-4 times a year), where people might forget the subsystems their character uses. For a long-term sustainable campaign, I am heavily leaning towards a Hybrid based on OT, but modified with TE Cosm Cards, Perks, XP/Possibility split and Bonus Dice.

just my thoughts based on my experiences.


I totally understand why you're going that direction. And I'm jealous of you for having such a long running campaign. :) I think what will happen for me is that I will start running TorgE with just a short list of house rules when I get the physical books, because I'm just too busy and broke to print out the PDFs, etc, and by the time we get cosm books I'll be ready to do what I want with that material. I don't think I will have a stable group, but will likely have a few players that keep coming back, as I'll be running it at my FLGS in 3 hour sessions that fit nicely to a TorgE act, so TorgE without a lot of house rules will probably work great for me.
Last edited by Gargoyle on Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby MalicWanderer » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:32 am

Just a couple of thoughts in response to a specific few of those above:

While I do think the value chart is a great part of torg I actually think it's a good thing it's not as prevalent in TE as it was in OT. It might be that it could do to be a little more prevalent than it is, I don't know, but as I mentioned in the thread on lifting, for example, some things really just don't make any sense if you try to put them on a logarithmic scale. I don't remember how oTorg handles those exactly, I vaguely recall what felt like a large number of charts but not much detail beyond that. I'm sure they figured out some way to get reasonable numbers out of it, but ultimately I think "multiply your strength by 8" is just so much easier.

I know this was already mentioned but I do want to emphasize waiting for more sourcebooks before complaining much about subsystems (and lack thereof). I'm sure we'll see plenty of cybertech rules in the CP and Tharkold books, and probably decking in CP as well. And I'd reserve judgement on Martial Arts until PP's book is out (tho I do recognize it's frustrating having to wait for your favorite piece of the game to be published. I think my first character is likely to be a Gotak and I'm frustrated enough just waiting a couple extra months for the special high-spirit-axiom miracle rules.)

On soaking: I definitely prefer TE's version. Mainly because I think it will be much easier to explain to new players. "Spend one possibility to roll a reality test and depending how well you do you'll ignore a little, a lot, or all of the damage," is much easier to teach and to learn than, "You have three 'packets' per possibility you spend, each packet can be spent on ..." Much like with the value chart there's probably a middle ground there that would be easier while still closer to the original, it's possible even just a terminology/presentation change (I think anytime a rule requires you use the term 'packets' without being about parcel delivery you're going to have at least some issues) would go a long way, but I think what we have is fine and dandy and I like working the reality skill into it.

I do think it's a bit early to be saying the system isn't great for long running campaigns. There's nothing that jumps out to me as causing problems for long term play. I do worry the prescribed advancement rate will have groups outpacing the first 'year' of published content before any of the second one has a chance to be published, but that's really orthogonal to long term play in general and has more to do with the sheer number of cosm books they need to write than anything else. There're a lot of games who's design really pushes them towards particular campaign lengths (be they long, short, one shots, or what have you) but I don't think either version of Torg has much going on that precludes any particular length working very well if that's what the group wants. Personal preferences as to what one likes in a game of any given length or another aside, of course.

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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby Rocketeer » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:00 am

ZorValachan wrote:Gargoyle asked me about some complexities/issues I brought up in another thread. I didn't want to hijack that thread, so starting this post.

This really is not a "rip" or "rant" against Torg Eternity (TE), I love many of the things it brought. I just find myself missing some parts of Old Torg (OT), especially in GMing long running campaigns. This will be long.

It’s good to hear from others who have been playing Torg since the 90s. Thanks for taking the time to post this

ZorValachan wrote:These are things I’ve noticed in running Torg in my personal game. I’m not trying to say either TE or OT is worse than the other. Actually, they are both Torg and have the Torg feel and it’s awesome. But I think they are two different games for two different play styles. OT for deep long lasting games covering years with complexities in magic, weird science, etc. for the people who love to tinker within the system. TE is great for one offs or casual games, which many of us find we need due to time restraints.

I’ve only GM’ed two sessions of TE so far, but for me it does actually feel different from OT. I’m still trying pinpoint why that is, but as an analogy, playing OT compared to TE feels kind of like the difference between playing Magic the Gathering and playing blackjack. The difference is definitely not that extreme of course, but kind of that feel.

ZorValachan wrote:I think many games are built around a GM plus 5-player concept, but I’ve never ran into trouble running 7 (my usual group limit) or up to 14 people for a one night “special cross-over event” with 2 or more groups teaming up. This includes Old Torg - my multiple one session team ups always went smoothly without having to modify rules - just increasing number/strength of opponents.

With OT, I ran games with a GM and 3 to 5 players, and they all played smoothly. With TE, I’ve only played games with a GM and 3 players.

ZorValachan wrote:A) Stymie/setback/unskilled in OT had no numbers to remember. In TE you have Stymied (-2), Very Stymied (-4), Vulnerable (-2), and Very Vulnerable (-4) . Opinion: I am finding I like the stymies/vulnerables less and less, as the more players/villains in a battle the more tracking and trying to remember when things end is needed. stymie/setback/unskilled was simpler to do.

Hopefully, when we get the physical status counters, tracking status will be easier for tabletop games.

ZorValachan wrote:B) One-on-Many was one chart in OT that included both multiple actions and targets. TE has separate Multi-Targeting and Multi-Action that can be combined for various -2 penalties. Opinion: They both work, either spending time looking at a chart or time counting up correct penalties. TE is simpler for the less number of things done and OT for the more done.

One of the major differences between OT’s One-On-Many and TE’s Multi-Targeting is the all or nothing aspect of Multi-Targeting. In OT, if a character attacked 6 opponents, he might hit 6, 4, 2, 1 or 0 of them. In TE, the character either hits all 6 or none at all. However, in OT all the opponents would get hit with the same damage, while in TE this is not necessarily the case due to the use of BD.

ZorValachan wrote: C) Value Chart in OT was used for many things to find bonuses/penalties. It had a nice way to get a needed number/value. IN TE it seems to just be tacked on at the end. Not even used for movement/lifting etc. A lot of separate rules instead of just using the chart. Opinion: Loved the Value Chart sad to see it just a vestige now, but glad it is there.

I definitely agree that the Value Chart deserved to be featured more prominently in the rules. However, one example that was provided in TE does show the Value Chart being used in a “lifting” test. The implication is that the Value Chart is to be for such tests, while the movement/lifting numbers, determined by simple multiplication factors, are to be used in situations not requiring a test. I think this allowed TE to avoid having to list and use Limit Values for the various races.

But again, the Value Chart should have been included in “The Rules” chapter, instead of being tacked on at the end of the book.

ZorValachan wrote: E) OT never count ammo unless it was needed (such as a setback or similar), because people in movies never run out of ammo unless it makes drama, such as a setback "you're on your last magazine-start counting ammo". TE states to count ammo. Opinion: Unless you’re using bursts or perks (like double tap), I don’t see a point in counting ammo in a Torg game.

However, as using bursts helps to offset Multi-Targeting penalties, players use bursts a lot. So, counting ammo will also occur a lot.

ZorValachan wrote: F) OT Soak damage, 1 possibility = 3 packets (packet = 1 wound, 3 shock, or a K, O, or KO). TE reality roll is needed to figure out what you heal. Opinion: I wish it would have been something like 1 possibility = 2 packets (packet = 2 shock or 1 wound) and use the roll for Orrorsh and a failure loses a packet.

This is a major change in the rules. In OT, negating damage was something players could count on. As long as they had one Possibility, their characters could survive a big hit. In TE, the odds of soaking any damage at all are not good.

Using the TE Archetype characters as an example, their Reality skill values range from 8 to 12. Most of them would fail a Soak test at least 45% of the time, and even those with the highest skill value would fail about 30% of the time. And these numbers are assuming no negative modifiers, such as already being wounded or being Stymied.

ZorValachan wrote: G) Damage. OT used the exact bonus rolled for attack to add to damage. TE roll extra dice based on success levels. Opinion: I didn’t find this harder to remember than what I rolled on BD added to combat options, added to perks, added to base weapon values. I don’t think either system is “broken” as some people think one or the other or both are, but the Bonus Dice are growing on me for other non-GJN reasons-mainly exploding dice are fun.

None of my players ever complained about the GJN issue. However, the combination of exploding BD and the uncertainty of soaking damage could lead to an ignominious character death in TE.

ZorValachan wrote: II. Pros for TE
The new Perks. I love the perks. Any way to even more diversify templates is awesome. Additionally, the XP to buy the perk once instead of Possibility costs for each adventure is nice.

B) Cosm Cards! Really, in OT they made a couple drama deck cards to be used in specific cosms, but 95% of the time you drew them when they couldn’t be used. Cosm cards add flavor and problems that the Players bring upon themselves, awesome.

C) Possibility/XP Split. Very much needed.


I agree. The Perks and Cosm Cards are great additions to the game, and the Possibility/XP split was needed.

ZorValachan wrote: III. Pros for OT
A) Templates. The OT templates had a lot more skill choice/variation than the TE archtypes. My personal house rule was to allow all skills on the template to be counted as “skilled” even if they were at 0 adds, but even without that, the templates themtselves allowed choice (instead of the GM having to give choice).

The TE Archetypes are good for quick one-shots, but the OT templates are generally much more useful.

ZorValachan wrote: C) Subsystems. I really do like different systems for magic/miracles/psionics. I also think the limits in TE go too far in number known. I miss system failure and cyberpsychosis and decking. Martial Art style used to be a character focus, now it is replaced by Electric Samurai clones and a couple of ho hum Ki Powers. I will reserve judgement for Weird Science to when the Nile sourcebook come out, but so far not impressed by the subsystems, Martial Arts least of all.

The OT subsystems were complex, but I think they were really well done. The Aysle magic system rivaled the one in Ars Magica, and the magic systems from the other cosms were quite flavorful. I thought the cyberspace rules from “The Godnet” sourcebook were better than the ones from Cyberpunk or Shadowrun. And I liked the rules for building Weird Science gadgets.

So, taken individually, I thought they were really good subsystems. However, as a GM, I found trying to keep track of all the rules was challenging. So, I was hoping for some simplification or unification of the rules in TE. But I think things were taken much too far in this regards. In TE, magic, miracles, and psionics are basically the same thing with the nameplate changed. Weird Science gadgets are not nearly as interesting as their OT counterparts. And TE’s Ki powers are underwhelming. I’m hoping the TE sourcebooks turn things around.

ZorValachan wrote: D) Number of cards. OT had 160+ cards. It would take long adventures to go through the entire deck (sometimes we wouldn’t). Now it seems to happen every couple scenes. This leads to more Glories and other “game changers”. I don’t like the response of “take some Glories out” as I never had to fiddle with OT cards, other than putting the 6 or so cards from the Infiniverse in, and that was not needed, but my choice.

I ordered a second set of TE cards, so I can have double sized decks.

ZorValachan wrote: E) I really think the player’s call being at 15 result points (OT) instead of 10 (TE) changes things. I wish there was another success level in TE. So a Standard, Good, Great, Outstanding (or however you want to word it). Base damage, 1BD, 2BD, 3BD damage and Stymie Vulnerable, Very Stymied or Very Vulnerable, Very Stymied and Very Vulnerable, Player’s Call for interactions. I just find the 15 to be a "better" ultimate number than 10.

I agree.

ZorValachan wrote:IV. Unsure. these are things I still am not sure about in TE.

A) Pan-Pacifica zombies. I like the plague and how it leads to a secret invasion, but they are a new Kanawa thing. What did PP do in other invasions before this one? I would like to able to do zombie-less regions, where PP is asked to go to because of other High Lord Problems, not just the zombie plague (you can handle zombies, will the same work with dinos?). With the cosm cards, they assume zombies, almost impossible to do a non-zombie PP session because of the cosm cards.

With one exception, I thought the cosm and realm descriptions in TE were quite good. That one exception is Pan-Pacifica. I really dislike the zombie infection plot line, and having an army of Kanawa security forces overtly blanket the region is hardly a stealthy invasion.

I’m currently working with another member of our gaming group to totally rewrite the Pan-Pacifica invasion. We’re definitely paying homage to Nippon-Tech, but also adding a few new twists.

As for the Cosm Cards, for the time being, I’ll just double up on the non-zombie cards.

ZorValachan wrote:B) I don’t find the Drama/Destiny split to be as awesome/big/impactful as others, other than to reduce deck size and lead to II. G above, which to me is a supposed positive really being a negative.

Again, doubling the size of the TE decks should help. And I might take out a few Glory cards as well.

ZorValachan wrote:D) Less attributes. Not sure if good or bad. Same with Skills. I've loved games with hundreds of skills and also loved games that had 10.

E) Lower values. Since everything is lower, it theoretically shouldn’t matter, but they worked better with the old Number/Value Chart IMO.

I’m not sure what the reason was for scaling the numbers down, and the scaling seems to be somewhat inconsistent.

Also of note is the fact the the Difficulty Numbers (DN) for actions actually increased in TE. The Average DN in OT is an 8, but for TE the Standard DN is a 10. This is a significant difference.

For example, using average Attribute values, OT characters with +1 Lock Picking skill will have a skill value of 10, and thus, will have a 70% chance of succeeding at an average difficulty skill check (DN 8). A comparable TE character will have a skill value of 9 and will have a only 44.5% chance of success on an average test (DN 10).
Last edited by Rocketeer on Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby Gargoyle » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:36 am

MalicWanderer wrote:Just a couple of thoughts in response to a specific few of those above:

While I do think the value chart is a great part of torg I actually think it's a good thing it's not as prevalent in TE as it was in OT. It might be that it could do to be a little more prevalent than it is, I don't know, but as I mentioned in the thread on lifting, for example, some things really just don't make any sense if you try to put them on a logarithmic scale. I don't remember how oTorg handles those exactly, I vaguely recall what felt like a large number of charts but not much detail beyond that. I'm sure they figured out some way to get reasonable numbers out of it, but ultimately I think "multiply your strength by 8" is just so much easier.

I didn't care about the lifting or encumbrance stuff so much; oTorg revised had a Lifting skill based on Strength to make it work and I'm not sure I'd want to go back to that. I"m more interested in using it for measurement conversion and effect values. Thing is, with the pared down spell system, etc, you don't need it as much, so it's not a deal breaker, and I really am ok with it where it is, just feels a little less like Torg with it downplayed so much.

I know this was already mentioned but I do want to emphasize waiting for more sourcebooks before complaining much about subsystems (and lack thereof). I'm sure we'll see plenty of cybertech rules in the CP and Tharkold books, and probably decking in CP as well. And I'd reserve judgement on Martial Arts until PP's book is out (tho I do recognize it's frustrating having to wait for your favorite piece of the game to be published. I think my first character is likely to be a Gotak and I'm frustrated enough just waiting a couple extra months for the special high-spirit-axiom miracle rules.)

But I want everything NOW! <pouts>
I honestly don't know what they could have done better with this on the core book, but my concern about sub-systems not being interesting enough stems less from what we've seen and more from comments on the forums that they aren't going to do things like a casting on the fly system etc (though they did say there is going to be a spell discovery system and that sounds fun). Part of that is caution, they don't want to make the mistake again of previewing something that may not work out (like they did with improvised magic in the Aysle preview). But part of it is a conservative design philosophy; they don't want the game to be a hodge podge of systems like oTorg, and that's understandable. I am just concerned that they will take that too far and casting spells won't be much different from miracles or psionics. That's ok for the core rule book to a point, but when things like TorgHacker's proposal for different backlash for different types of spell casters don't make it in, I feel like a lot of good flavor is being left on the cutting room floor.

On soaking: I definitely prefer TE's version. Mainly because I think it will be much easier to explain to new players. "Spend one possibility to roll a reality test and depending how well you do you'll ignore a little, a lot, or all of the damage," is much easier to teach and to learn than, "You have three 'packets' per possibility you spend, each packet can be spent on ..." Much like with the value chart there's probably a middle ground there that would be easier while still closer to the original, it's possible even just a terminology/presentation change (I think anytime a rule requires you use the term 'packets' without being about parcel delivery you're going to have at least some issues) would go a long way, but I think what we have is fine and dandy and I like working the reality skill into it.


I like that the Reality skill is damn important for a change and that getting disconnected is scary, and I'm ambivalent about packets vs 1 wound and 2 shock per 5 points or whatever.

I do think it's a bit early to be saying the system isn't great for long running campaigns. There's nothing that jumps out to me as causing problems for long term play. I do worry the prescribed advancement rate will have groups outpacing the first 'year' of published content before any of the second one has a chance to be published, but that's really orthogonal to long term play in general and has more to do with the sheer number of cosm books they need to write than anything else. There're a lot of games who's design really pushes them towards particular campaign lengths (be they long, short, one shots, or what have you) but I don't think either version of Torg has much going on that precludes any particular length working very well if that's what the group wants. Personal preferences as to what one likes in a game of any given length or another aside, of course.


Have to agree for the most part, any game is going to require some tweaks for a table that isn't "standard" in the minds of the designers. And these days with lots of one shot games and infrequent gaming due to busy schedules, and so many distractions and competing forms of entertainment, I think TorgE was certainly designed more for modern gamers than back when we didn't have the Internet, social media, video streaming, etc etc. So it will take some tweaking for a group that plays a every week for a year, or who play marathon sessions of 8 hours or more, or something other than what the designers had in mind.
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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby Gargoyle » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:55 am

Rocketeer wrote:
ZorValachan wrote: F) OT Soak damage, 1 possibility = 3 packets (packet = 1 wound, 3 shock, or a K, O, or KO). TE reality roll is needed to figure out what you heal. Opinion: I wish it would have been something like 1 possibility = 2 packets (packet = 2 shock or 1 wound) and use the roll for Orrorsh and a failure loses a packet.

This is a major change in the rules. In OT, negating damage was something players could count on. As long as they had one Possibility, their characters could survive a big hit. In TE, the odds of soaking any damage at all are not good.

Using the TE Archetype characters as an example, their Reality skill values range from 8 to 12. Most of them would fail a Soak test at least 45% of the time, and even those with the highest skill value would fail about 30% of the time. And these numbers are assuming no negative modifiers, such as already being wounded or being Stymied.


Ouch, the math reveals just how much harder it can be to survive.
ZorValachan wrote: III. Pros for OT
A) Templates. The OT templates had a lot more skill choice/variation than the TE archtypes. My personal house rule was to allow all skills on the template to be counted as “skilled” even if they were at 0 adds, but even without that, the templates themtselves allowed choice (instead of the GM having to give choice).

The TE Archetypes are good for quick one-shots, but the OT templates are generally much more useful.

TorgE shifts the paradigm a bit. The default character generation in oTorg was to just take a template, modify it, and play. I felt it was great because it got you in the game quicker but it wasn't quite a pregen. Now the default is to do character generation from scratch which could be very time-consuming for new players or due to analysis paralysis. You can literally play almost any fictional concept. Day One adventures help bridge the gap, fortunately. The archetypes help too. But they do feel more like pregens than templates to me for some reason, maybe because they're presented outside of the core rules and not as the default chargen, and because they're called archetypes and are very close to the iconic Storm Knights in the book. So I'm not sure I like how all this was done, but I can't say I hate it or that it's terrible, or even that it's not the best way to do it because of space issues. Just maybe I'll say it's not ideal, and that's not a very strong complaint.

ZorValachan wrote: C) Subsystems. I really do like different systems for magic/miracles/psionics. I also think the limits in TE go too far in number known. I miss system failure and cyberpsychosis and decking. Martial Art style used to be a character focus, now it is replaced by Electric Samurai clones and a couple of ho hum Ki Powers. I will reserve judgement for Weird Science to when the Nile sourcebook come out, but so far not impressed by the subsystems, Martial Arts least of all.

The OT subsystems were complex, but I think they were really well done. The Aysle magic system rivaled the one in Ars Magica, and the magic systems from the other cosms were quite flavorful. I thought the cyberspace rules from “The Godnet” sourcebook were better than the ones from Cyberpunk or Shadowrun. And I liked the rules for building Weird Science gadgets.

So, taken individually, I thought they were really good subsystems. However, as a GM, I found trying to keep track of all the rules was challenging. So, I was hoping for some simplification or unification of the rules in TE. But I think things were taken much too far in this regards. In TE, magic, miracles, and psionics are basically the same thing with the nameplate changed. Weird Science gadgets are not nearly as interesting as their OT counterparts. And TE’s Ki powers are underwhelming. I’m hoping the TE sourcebooks turn things around.

If you look at the "spell lists" though, there is some differentiation. You can't heal with magic, and psionics has its own niche powers like mind reading. The overlap bugs me though with mage hands /telekinesis and enhance type effects. And the actual use of the powers has very little difference, I agree. Psionics are stealthier...? Otherwise you might as well be casting spells instead of calling them miracles or psionic powers. I too hope there will be more diversification with the cosm books.

ZorValachan wrote: D) Number of cards. OT had 160+ cards. It would take long adventures to go through the entire deck (sometimes we wouldn’t). Now it seems to happen every couple scenes. This leads to more Glories and other “game changers”. I don’t like the response of “take some Glories out” as I never had to fiddle with OT cards, other than putting the 6 or so cards from the Infiniverse in, and that was not needed, but my choice.

I ordered a second set of TE cards, so I can have double sized decks.

We shouldn't have to do that for optimal game play though, especially if we have a "normal" sized group. And there is always the risk of screwing something up when you add cards...the probabilities of a particular hand don't increase, but you'll get more instances where weird things happen because of more duplicates of certain cards in play, like multiple Master Plans with multiple Inspires or Rally. Cards are just as likely to clump on a random shuffle as not. Also shuffling a lot of cards isn't really fun, especially with sleeve protectors, but that's just me being lazy. :)

ZorValachan wrote:D) Less attributes. Not sure if good or bad. Same with Skills. I've loved games with hundreds of skills and also loved games that had 10.

E) Lower values. Since everything is lower, it theoretically shouldn’t matter, but they worked better with the old Number/Value Chart IMO.

I’m not sure what the reason was for scaling the numbers down, and the scaling seems to be somewhat inconsistent.

Also of note is the fact the the Difficulty Numbers (DN) for actions actually increased in TE. The Average DN in OT is an 8, but for TE the Standard DN is a 10. This is a significant difference.

For example, using average Attribute values, OT characters with +1 Lock Picking skill will have a skill value of 10, and thus, will have a 70% chance of succeeding at an average difficulty skill check (DN 8). A comparable TE character will have a skill value of 9 and will have a only 44.5% chance of success on an average test (DN 10).


I sort of look at this and the increased difficulty in soaking wounds as part of the campaign being more difficult overall than oTorg. I welcome it because I think failure and character death are a good thing in the long run, but I understand that's not for everyone.
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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby ZorValachan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:58 am

Quick post before work, so I can't go step by step right now.

On the soaking damage. I do like the idea of using reality as a skill. A house rule I had in OT was using a reality total to find the number of seconds a reality bubble would last (instead of a standard 15 min), with your turn being the minimum and the max being the adventure. so I do like the use of the skill for things other than disconnections and reality storms. I just think in a game where you have 3 possibilities as a norm, spending 2 to soak damage is harsh. As pointed out the standard DN went from 8 to 10 and base attributes are lower so that standard is much harder to do.

I am basing my "long term" comment on 2 main factors. 1) While the cosm books will add new perks, spells, miracles, etc. The base subsystem (the same thing) is laid out already. I know there was talk about magic specialization and such, but in OT a mage could spend time creating spells, finding spells and there was no game "limit" to it. TE has definite limitations. And if the guy can't get more than a handful of spells, martial art techniques, etc. over the long haul, it becomes less satisfying (perk cost goes up and up and XP gain is the same). 2) The fun games I've played have been short and in a way rushed to put an Act in 2-3 hours, so the session could end at the end. This was intentional and completely understandable. We don't even have the same exact people in each session, so it is needed. My ongoing game is about 1 scene for 3 hours, with the intrigue, rping etc. The flips the cards more and allows more of the whole Glory business talked about. it just makes it that much harder to keep ramping up difficulties. OT was a lot easier. Right now TE is new and my players excited, but I already see some "cracks" in that as things are either too easy or too long.

The last OT DSR I did was I think in May. 4 step fixing a plane engine while in flight. I think it took about 10 rounds. mainly because C wasn't showing up. They never failed a check. would have preferred it lasting 6 (1 minute).
In TE The battle lengths are honestly the same as OT for the dramatic fights. Mook filler standard scenes on the other hand are faster, as they are over in the first 2 rounds (such as Dino Attack, security clean-up, and zombie outbreak). Which makes me wonder if they are even worth it.
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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:18 am

Quite a bit. I don’t disagree with everything. I have a few thoughts that came out.

Re: Conditions in OT and TE
I'm not sure it's harder to remember in TE than in OT. Sure you have to remember that you're -2 to hit in TE, but in OT, you had to remember not to include your skill adds on Unskilled. But when things are flying all around you, it can be easy to forget. I even forget to apply it to my villains. I use poker chips with "-2" and "-4" painted on them for Stymied and "+2" and "+4" for Vulnerable. These seem to help. I also have "-1" painted on Wound chips. Even that can take some getting used to, but my players are coming around.

Re: Pan Pacifica zombies
You said that it seems like every PP adventure is going to involve zombies. I'll disagree here and say that it depends on the players. The GM can choose how involved the zombies are to the main plot, but the players can choose to play that card and declare a zombie attack at that time. If they play it, then they obviously are okay with having zombies, so give them what they want. This can wreck a finely crafted adventure though. I ran a convention demo where I planned on not using zombies at all. One player went ahead and introduced zombies during an auction scene. Okay, I rolled with it, and the zombies provided the necessary distraction for the villain to steal the Eternity Shard.

Re: Group size
I think that TE does not scale well. There were lots of items to consider, and I believe that scaling fell to the bottom of the priority list. Something had to, right? Fortunately, we have a pretty active community to offer things like small groups playing two cards into their pool per action or cutting down hand size by one or two for larger groups. Boss enemies tend to be tougher for smaller groups, so consideration must be made there.

Re: Soaking damage
The possibility of failing to soak is what chaffs me the most. I've had villains defeated early because of a poor Reality roll. And it is frustrating for a player to spend a Possibility only to have it fizzle. Good thing that Possibilities have the potential to flow like candy in some realms. I've not resorted to house rules on this yet, but I will say that I liked the earlier draft (which is seen in the Free RPG Day adventure) where you simply spend a Possibility to remove a Wound or BD worth of Shock. Multiple Possibilities could've been spent this way. I'll probably stick with RAW since I run demos, and I don't want to confuse myself with contradictory rules.

Re: Ammo
I'm okay with counting bullets, though since reloading is a simple action, I'd only really require it for burst weapons. Even then, I wonder if that can be ignored. There's already a downside to the Bursts, they double or triple your chance of a Malfunction (though not for disconnecting like the earlier drafts). If you choose not to count bullets, then the Malfunction can be that you run out of ammo entirely for that gun (but maybe not if it happens in the first two rounds).
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TorgHacker
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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby TorgHacker » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:24 pm

Rocketeer wrote:This is a major change in the rules. In OT, negating damage was something players could count on. As long as they had one Possibility, their characters could survive a big hit. In TE, the odds of soaking any damage at all are not good.

Using the TE Archetype characters as an example, their Reality skill values range from 8 to 12. Most of them would fail a Soak test at least 45% of the time, and even those with the highest skill value would fail about 30% of the time. And these numbers are assuming no negative modifiers, such as already being wounded or being Stymied.



I've noticed a certain underlying assumption that many old time Torg players make when evaluating some of the changes in Torg Eternity. One of them is that the game is balanced with the assumption that nobody is using cards or Possibilities. They're not. Players will have cards. They can trade cards. They'll have Possibilities that they (usually) can spend. If the players are low on Possibilities, Cosm cards are there to get them more.

Players have a LOT of tools to mitigate luck. While mathematically the above statement is true, in play it definitely isn't.


The OT subsystems were complex, but I think they were really well done. The Aysle magic system rivaled the one in Ars Magica, and the magic systems from the other cosms were quite flavorful. I thought the cyberspace rules from “The Godnet” sourcebook were better than the ones from Cyberpunk or Shadowrun. And I liked the rules for building Weird Science gadgets.

So, taken individually, I thought they were really good subsystems. However, as a GM, I found trying to keep track of all the rules was challenging. So, I was hoping for some simplification or unification of the rules in TE. But I think things were taken much too far in this regards. In TE, magic, miracles, and psionics are basically the same thing with the nameplate changed. Weird Science gadgets are not nearly as interesting as their OT counterparts. And TE’s Ki powers are underwhelming. I’m hoping the TE sourcebooks turn things around.



One thing I remind old time Torg players about Torg Eternity is that it's not just a game for them. We want (arguably we need) new players to get the game. One of the highest complaints by new players is that the amount of subsystems was too much to explain and know. Original Torg is definitely a game of its time, but newer players nowadays, especially those who are coming in from D&D (and most of them do) don't want to learn a bunch of different sub-systems.



ZorValachan wrote:D) Less attributes. Not sure if good or bad. Same with Skills. I've loved games with hundreds of skills and also loved games that had 10.

E) Lower values. Since everything is lower, it theoretically shouldn’t matter, but they worked better with the old Number/Value Chart IMO.

I’m not sure what the reason was for scaling the numbers down, and the scaling seems to be somewhat inconsistent.

Also of note is the fact the the Difficulty Numbers (DN) for actions actually increased in TE. The Average DN in OT is an 8, but for TE the Standard DN is a 10. This is a significant difference.

For example, using average Attribute values, OT characters with +1 Lock Picking skill will have a skill value of 10, and thus, will have a 70% chance of succeeding at an average difficulty skill check (DN 8). A comparable TE character will have a skill value of 9 and will have a only 44.5% chance of success on an average test (DN 10).


Again, this ignores the fact that players have massive resources for luck mitigation. One thing that happened in a lot of Original Torg games was that Possibilities were hoarded, saved for soaking damage or for negating an NPC Possibility or for saving for advancement. In my games is was extremely rare for someone to actually use a Possibility to improve a roll.

We want people to spend Possibilities to boost rolls. And in Torg Eternity they do. We want the PE to flow. Players spend Possibilities to be awesome, then use Cosm cards to get more Possibilities to be awesome, and the flavor of the realms comes out through that.

As for the reduction in attributes, this was a result of playtesting.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

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TorgHacker
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Re: My Take on Torg Eternity

Postby TorgHacker » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:38 pm

Gargoyle wrote:
MalicWanderer wrote:Just a couple of thoughts in response to a specific few of those above:

While I do think the value chart is a great part of torg I actually think it's a good thing it's not as prevalent in TE as it was in OT. It might be that it could do to be a little more prevalent than it is, I don't know, but as I mentioned in the thread on lifting, for example, some things really just don't make any sense if you try to put them on a logarithmic scale. I don't remember how oTorg handles those exactly, I vaguely recall what felt like a large number of charts but not much detail beyond that. I'm sure they figured out some way to get reasonable numbers out of it, but ultimately I think "multiply your strength by 8" is just so much easier.

I didn't care about the lifting or encumbrance stuff so much; oTorg revised had a Lifting skill based on Strength to make it work and I'm not sure I'd want to go back to that. I"m more interested in using it for measurement conversion and effect values. Thing is, with the pared down spell system, etc, you don't need it as much, so it's not a deal breaker, and I really am ok with it where it is, just feels a little less like Torg with it downplayed so much.




One of the things we decided very early on was to get rid of the Power/Push table. That had some definite downstream impacts, one of which was lessening the reliance on the value chart for certain things.


I know this was already mentioned but I do want to emphasize waiting for more sourcebooks before complaining much about subsystems (and lack thereof). I'm sure we'll see plenty of cybertech rules in the CP and Tharkold books, and probably decking in CP as well. And I'd reserve judgement on Martial Arts until PP's book is out (tho I do recognize it's frustrating having to wait for your favorite piece of the game to be published. I think my first character is likely to be a Gotak and I'm frustrated enough just waiting a couple extra months for the special high-spirit-axiom miracle rules.)

But I want everything NOW! <pouts>
I honestly don't know what they could have done better with this on the core book, but my concern about sub-systems not being interesting enough stems less from what we've seen and more from comments on the forums that they aren't going to do things like a casting on the fly system etc (though they did say there is going to be a spell discovery system and that sounds fun). Part of that is caution, they don't want to make the mistake again of previewing something that may not work out (like they did with improvised magic in the Aysle preview). But part of it is a conservative design philosophy; they don't want the game to be a hodge podge of systems like oTorg, and that's understandable. I am just concerned that they will take that too far and casting spells won't be much different from miracles or psionics. That's ok for the core rule book to a point, but when things like TorgHacker's proposal for different backlash for different types of spell casters don't make it in, I feel like a lot of good flavor is being left on the cutting room floor.



Yeah, like I've said before, judging Torg Eternity on a core book only against Original Torg's box set + umpteen billion (give or take) sourcebooks was unfair.

As for leaving my proposal on the cutting room floor, the problem was that people kept forgetting the different backlash stuff. It took up half a page and people kept forgetting it. So it didn't earn the space on the page and the space in the brain.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America


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