Mike McCall wrote:Just addressing the OP for a moment: while a lot of your observations are fascinating (and I agree with some of them), none of your OT preferences automatically make TE less suited for long campaigns. If I'm reading right, you seem to be of the opinion that long campaigns require more fiddly rules bits and subsystems for players to engage with. I don't find that at all, and I don't really play with anyone who does (there was one guy, but he ultimately found our group frustrating). Some of us like less complexity in a game for the sake of focusing on other things than mechanical subsystems, not because it's a one-shot and we need to get to the action now.
Maybe you're just talking about your personal preferences still, but it seems to me that you and I have very different assumptions about what a long campaign needs, because I don't see anything inherent in long-term play that TE is lacking or inferior to OT in.
Sorry, I shouldn't have tried to post in 5 minutes before work. Forgive me, I was trying to add some points and it wasn't fully fleshed out. On the Long-term things.
"Fiddly stuff" is not needed for a long-term campaign. After reading my post you might be amazed, but I loved 4th ed D&D. I GMed a four-year campaign with 2 different groups. I also never liked any previous edition. I -can- see when people said it didn't feel like D&D, and that was one of the reasons I liked it. It was also probably the least "fiddly-bits" D&D out there. (note: 4th was an attempt to get the younger crowd in. It and the dropping of the OGL split D&D/Pathfinder and directly led to 5th ed "rolling back" rules because of the old players jumping ship. I hope and think USNA took this into account when making Torg for new people and not just old. Like I stated earlier, for me TE does feel like Torg)
Also, I am not talking about a full blown OT with all supplements. I mean OT box set (including world book). I played the first 5 years with nothing but that (my game shops didn't have TORG). In the late 90s or very early 2000s there was a huge sell off where WEG was selling books for $2-3 each and the Infiniverses were a free download. that's when I got 99% of the books. I still had to go to Ebay for the Cyberpapacy. So I GMed Torg with practically the OT box set for like 5ish years. I feel I can compare that to TE now.
What the game requires is paths to follow that don't step on others toes. In OT the ninja had 8 techniques that had to be learned in order. You had 6 attempts to start, but no one I had ever learned all 6. Then you had to up the MA skill to attempt another test. A martial artist in TE has 3 Ki powers. That's maxed after 1 adventure. My current characters have been through 5 Acts (25XP) they currently have all their "core" Perks. Anything they now get will overlap someone else's perk. It's things like that I am speaking about.
Maybe my "simple" house rule of letting the players treat all skills listed on their templates as skilled affected things in ways I never will realize. But they spent a lot of Possibilities (XP in my last OT game) upping skills that were unique to them. With the add max and decreased skill list, there's not as much extended diversity in TE. there's a diversity which starts to converge.
TE has a lot of overlap. and it might sound contradictory, but with having so many Perks cosm specific, that makes the "any" perks that much more likely to be taken by everyone. in OT my groups Edeinos and werewolf were very different fighters. the former a gunslinger with skills based on that in human form and high dex/str/tou. the later an optant who buffed himself in combat. The jungle warrior with leopard companion who came later made a third very different melee combatant. In TE my Nile amazon and Aysle barbarian are at the point they are going to be taking the same perks. Its convergence instead of divergence. To me (and my players) its cool when you do something that makes the other people go, "wow! I never thought edeinos could be so savage!" and 5 sessions later the same guy go "wow! you're ignoring shock and KO!". In TE, I've gotten, the "Wow your amazon rocks!" and 5 sessions later, "Yes, Relentless is awesome, I have that too."
With sourcebooks will that change? Possibly, but the Perk costs start to skyrocket. When I did get the OT cosm books, the people who wanted "paths" had them (such as the ninja who learned a major MA form, then started to create his own) and those who did not could just buy into skills and whatever other spur-of-the-moment things they wanted. I had a player who specialized in mechanics and vehicles (Realm Runner template). After 10 years he got Heavy Weapons (for vehicle mounted things), but never used anything in combat.
Generally what I am wondering is will TE characters eventually stagnate, where XP costs, XP gain, and divergent choices be a practical impossibility (vs a theoretical yes). In OT I did have some players get bored with a character, but never a character stop advancing because of the mechanics.
Other thoughts based upon things brought up elsewhere in the thread:
if you read my original post closely, you'll see I am not against TE. I have 2 groups. one that runs every other week and one that meets 2-4 times a year. The later I will use TE. Even though they are veteran OT players, the time between games is normally enough to forget the subsystems. with TE, The players won't need to memorize complex subsystems. I agree in cases that is a better solution. In my other I haven't decided. if I do go back to OT in that group, it will be a hybrid, bringing TE things into it. That is more TE than OT. 1.25 TE vs. .75 OT in my games.
On remembering tokens. As I said, I use roll20 for the bi-weekly group. It has symbols to use as counters. The difference I have seen is the forgetting of when they end, not exactly what they are (although that does happen to some of the less attentive players in both TE and OT) In OT things like that lasted until the end of the turn (Unskilled/setback/Stymie -although a common house rule was to have it last until a roll again happened to negate it) the TE conditions last until the end of the character's next turn. Which as pointed out in various threads can have the other side act 0-2 times, depending on the initiative card. the more characters (heroes and villains) in play, the crazier the timing can get, especially for the GM.
I agree and disagree with the remark that players in OT had to learn different subsystems. I always said Torg was an easy game to play and hard to GM. The player only needed to know his character's subsystem. The GM had to know every subsystem that players used. I never had a Weird Scientist until this year (and got two), My one Psychic only played a few sessions, So I forgot those rules (although I made a rules doc for it, as I did for all subsystems- so if needed I could understand it easily. OT was bad on many explanations). When I started as a player I only knew miracles. I understood the cybernetic Templar and mage were different, I got bits and pieces on how they worked from listening, but I never cared to learn about them as they did not affect me.
I never had groups that didn't spend on rerolls in OT. There was a tendency for players to "keep" 10-20 possibilities for adventure stuff (soak, rerolls, and negations) and anything left over for advancement (spending or saving). My OT players would spend a possibility on a roll of a 2 just to hit and do a shock - not my choice, but hey. My XP/Possibility split for my last OT game cleared any remnant of that.
In TE I hoard Possibilities for soaking when I play. Even with a SPI of 10, my Reality of 1 (11 total) makes spending a possibility to make the soak successful a must. that's 2 possibilities to make sure I heal 1 wnd. Last game - start with 3, gained 1 for (I think Jump Scare) for 4. Got hit, used 2 to soak. got hit, used other 2 to soak. Played Ominous Portents (maybe called something similar) cosm card for 3 more. Got hit used 2 to soak. still had 1 wnd at the end. I would have died if I hadn't hoarded. This situation is a complete reversal of the logic given for players should be spending them like crazy. (Loved that adventure, don't get me wrong, but the logic doesn't fit).
Above scenario is a direct opposition to my 7-player game where the card play makes them spend possibilities like they are eating pezz and nothing is a challenge. i do believe that TiaMaster is correct that the # of players is a huge factor in Possibility play. in OT I could have 2 or 14 players and get the same "flow" just by adding/decreasing villains
Answering about cosm card encounters. For the Gm have those encounters made when you go to the table. You know what realms you are in and what cards may play. Be prepared. I started a PP/LL mixed zone Act. The players started in a small village composed of dino hunters and advanced farming equipment. before I could move the scene along, Zombie Outbreak was played. Then immediately after that Security Clean up (those might not be the exact names, but a zombie encounter followed by Security forces trying to kill the players (I mean "quarantine" the area). I didn't get to my scene that session. I also for whatever reason had Dino attacks ready, but not those. So I learned. next adventure Dino attack was played and I had a "Hunted" in play (see below), so had 2 dino scenes ready. That took 30 minutes for both combined.
I am curious on the 1 Act sessions (3-4 hours) are they "rushed to you?" You being anyone, as I really am interested. I've been able to play 2 great sessions (1 Act each) where there are 3 scenes. First is mission briefing. Second is small scene/standard encounter with mooks. Third is dramatic encounter with BB and wrap up. For those games it was great. Con Play, Store Play, one offs, I understand. But for any of you who are doing long term play, how are your sessions going? My 7-player sessions are not going any faster in TE than in OT. I just had a session in which 3 hours was 3 rounds of combat. I have no idea how time got that messed up. in OT that would have been about the same result (# of defeated enemies), but in OT it was 6 rounds for the same 3 hours. in OT the next session that combat ended in 30 minutes, because the players used their pools and plowed through the villains. Curious to next TE session to see if that is the same. How does problem solving/Role-playing scenes with deeper NPC interaction affect the time? like I said, with 1 Act sessions, it seems a little "rushed", but that is completely logical based on the situation that the session needs an end and can't wait until next session to finish. To contrast in my OT and TE game my Acts are usually 4 scenes. an example 1) Get to the place to start the Act and interact with the locals maybe a DSR or a persuasion is needed. Find clue(s). 2) Travel to where the clue led. I spend this scene describing the realm, pointing things out (like in my Azteca - non-stinging bees are kept by almost everyone for honey, turkeys and Chihuahua's are bred for food, etc.) to give them a feel for the realm. 3) anything from a mook fight, to a puzzle - maybe both at the same time! - or 2 smaller mook fights while travelling 4) big bad confrontation/usually a fight and either the adventure ends or a reason to move to the next Act. in my 3 hour sessions; 1) lasts 1 session. 2) and 3) are done in 1 session and 4) has been taking 2 sessions. Lucky roll20 lets you stop and pick up without having to save anything. So my campaign Acts are taking about 4 sessions. The one OT 1 Act session I did back in July right before TE rules were distributed, I had to drop a scene and rush the end because of time (6-7 hours).
I forgot to mention I miss all the other non-romance/nemesis subplot cards. I made it so that Romance/Nemesis cards are a "subplot" card which you can roll to see what subplot you get (thus the Hunted from above)
I understand that TE was not made for us 40+ year-old grognards. But us 40+ year-old grognards are the ones who 10 years ago got the 20-somethings (then, 30-somethings now) into Torg, who were salivating at the "failed" Torg 2.0. And some of us preached the virtues of Torg to whoever would listen to the 20-somethings and teens in our groups this year to invest in TE. (my group goes from 16 to 60-something)
For the record, I never got Torg Revised and Expanded until the PDF for this kickstarter came out, so I am unfamiliar with any changes from the boxed set to that. I do plan on being part of all TE kickstarters. I know there is too much goodness in those books (either to take completely as TE or convert to OT). I NEVER have been in any other KS. I just don't have the cash flow. But my birthday and Christmas presents will be TE. Even if they are months before/after those happen. I even canceled my subscription to another game company's serial for TE
So please, don't take me as a TE hater. I am not.
Glad to have developers here to give us rulings, input, and opinions.
I might have to keep my posts down after this... 3 hours to a post isn't something I can devote on a regular basis