House Rule: Alternate Perks

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Kuildeous
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House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby Kuildeous » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:02 pm

Based on a conversation held on rpg.net, I’m thinking of allowing an optional rule of alternate perks.

This is specifically for perks that, by their nature, are simply impossible in certain acts. This could be applied on a broader scale for all perks, which could be an interesting step toward troupe play without actually getting into troupe play, but I'm not interested in that right now.

The basic premise is this: Some feats are impossible to use in some situations. Examples include the drake companion, a signature vehicle, or even Dragon Warrior or Electric Samurai. The GM may tell the player, “So your giant dinosaur is going to attract a lot of attention in this next act where you’re infiltrating a cathedral in the Cyberpapacy, so you may use a Plan B.” Plan B is another perk to replace the temporarily lost perk. Maybe the Storm Knight knows they must be more resilient and can gain Endurance. Or the Storm Knight is angry without their companion and gains Whirlwind Attack. If you can weave a story of why the perk exists when you’re missing the other, then that’s beautiful.

I’m thinking that this applies only to those specialized perks that obviously will not fit that act. I probably wouldn’t swap out Sniper since it is theoretically possible (likely, even) that the character will need to start shooting. If the adventure takes place entirely in Aysle tunnels, then the signature dirigible is simply not going to work here.

I will likely go this route because it benefits everyone.
* It benefits the player because they can take the restrictive perk with a sense of confidence that their character won’t feel underpowered in acts that cannot make use of their perk.
* It benefits the GM because they can throw the group into touchy situations without feeling guilty about screwing over another player’s usability.

Any thoughts on ways to improve this? Any gotchas?
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utsukushi
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby utsukushi » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:35 pm

It's an interesting idea. I don't know what's been discussed in the conversation that led you to it.

It would definitely make more situational Perks more appealing. On the other hand, it might make them too appealing - I would be very tempted to take one just to have a kind of modular slot. To be ever able to say, "It looks like I'm going to need to be tougher this Scene" is a big deal, even stronger than Gizmos. So if my Drake companion is an awesome Drake most of the time and then an open toolbox the rest of the time, that's.. a big addition to the Perk.

Ideally, I think situational Perks just need to be better when they apply, as if they had Limitations. I'm not sure they are balanced that way; I have the feeling someone with a small dragon at their side is just supposed to be overlooked the same way Edeinos are. And I've been promised that Speed Demon is going to build up to cool things.

(Um... OK, I haven't personally been promised that, but Deanna suggested something vaguely to that effect once somewhere around here and I do believe that's legally binding. :lol: )

I think it would be more balanced to have it always turn into a specific other thing - basically, if you can't have your dragon/truck/whatever, then you bring this instead.

Wakshani
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby Wakshani » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:35 pm

Oh yeah, it'd certainly be a chosen Plan B.

For instance: Signature Vehicle (Plan B: Tenacious) … so you know that when you don't have access to your main thing, you know what the back-up is (and a good GM can even work that into an adventure, giving you at least a brief starring role since your normal Big Thing isn't available.)

If it was a *modular* perk, well, that'd be way too strong.

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Kuildeous
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:01 am

Wakshani has the perfect example of this:

"Well, if I don't have Dingo and Bobby with me, guess I'll just have to rely on my fists." (gains Brawler perk)


I would prefer a tight story to explain that specific perk. Like, it'd be a hard sell to replace the trademark vehicle with Negate. But if focus is off your vehicle, then maybe your Famous comes out more. Or--and this sounds like it's more of a logistical nightmare than it'd be worth--the Wealthy perk comes into play with all this other gear. That would require explaining why the cool gadgets are not around when the speedboat is there.

And I probably wouldn't bust a player's chops too hard about finding the perfect, thematic perk. Just make it consistent.
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Savioronedge
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby Savioronedge » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:03 am

I have been designing a set of Archetypes with "Unique" perks. Each is givin a Plan B in case 'your' GM doesn't allow my Homebrew.

Not the same thing, but kinda like the same thing.

GeniusCodeMonkey
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:04 am

I like the idea... I have a player with signature vehicle and he is always put off when he can use it 'it's dead XP'. I like the idea to have set Plan B perks, not modular. Or they are chosen when the main Perk is chosen.

Although it does seem like the Perk just has a limitation, so it needs to be powerful enough to mitigate that limitation if it isn't available 50% of the time.
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graethynne
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby graethynne » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:39 pm

Not to over simplify, but isn't an extra possibility the perfect solution here?

Prodigy is a perk that grants a bonus possibility every act. So any act where another perk is completely unavailable (Signature vehicle while deep underground, Dino or Drake at a dinner party etc) thhat PC gets a free possibility.

Grae

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Kuildeous
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:59 pm

graethynne wrote:Not to over simplify, but isn't an extra possibility the perfect solution here?

Prodigy is a perk that grants a bonus possibility every act. So any act where another perk is completely unavailable (Signature vehicle while deep underground, Dino or Drake at a dinner party etc) thhat PC gets a free possibility.

Grae


I had considered this, and in fact I think that was mentioned on these boards somewhere. Nothing official, but it sounded good.

But Prodigy is a perk exclusive to Core Earth. While, by definition, Plan B is not supposed to be used 100% of the time, it still isn’t like a full use of Prodigy, but in the interest of keeping Core Earth special, I would prefer not to devalue that perk by offering it as a Plan B for those not of Core Earth reality.
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graethynne
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby graethynne » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:12 pm

Kuildeous wrote:
graethynne wrote:Not to over simplify, but isn't an extra possibility the perfect solution here?

Prodigy is a perk that grants a bonus possibility every act. So any act where another perk is completely unavailable (Signature vehicle while deep underground, Dino or Drake at a dinner party etc) thhat PC gets a free possibility.

Grae


I had considered this, and in fact I think that was mentioned on these boards somewhere. Nothing official, but it sounded good.

But Prodigy is a perk exclusive to Core Earth. While, by definition, Plan B is not supposed to be used 100% of the time, it still isn’t like a full use of Prodigy, but in the interest of keeping Core Earth special, I would prefer not to devalue that perk by offering it as a Plan B for those not of Core Earth reality.


That makes sense, though in my mind it somewhat depends on whether you have many core earthers at your table and/or whether any of them are interested in Prodigy. I am all for niche protection, and making sure my players feel special, but I know most of my players (I am running roster style so this 15+ people) are biased away from Core Earth characters, so I am not too worried about deflating Prodigy at the moment. That could certainly change, but honestly, if any PC has a Perk that hard coded N/A enough of the time that this tweak might water down Prodigy in a meaningful way I'd be inclined to re-examine my adventure structure and maybe talk to the player about the perk they chose, because it may be that the fix is making it apply more often to swapping it (depending on player preferences).

As always YMMV of course :)

Grae

Savioronedge
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Re: House Rule: Alternate Perks

Postby Savioronedge » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:12 am

graethynne wrote:
Kuildeous wrote:
graethynne wrote:Not to over simplify, but isn't an extra possibility the perfect solution here?

Prodigy is a perk that grants a bonus possibility every act. So any act where another perk is completely unavailable (Signature vehicle while deep underground, Dino or Drake at a dinner party etc) thhat PC gets a free possibility.

Grae


I had considered this, and in fact I think that was mentioned on these boards somewhere. Nothing official, but it sounded good.

But Prodigy is a perk exclusive to Core Earth. While, by definition, Plan B is not supposed to be used 100% of the time, it still isn’t like a full use of Prodigy, but in the interest of keeping Core Earth special, I would prefer not to devalue that perk by offering it as a Plan B for those not of Core Earth reality.


That makes sense, though in my mind it somewhat depends on whether you have many core earthers at your table and/or whether any of them are interested in Prodigy. I am all for niche protection, and making sure my players feel special, but I know most of my players (I am running roster style so this 15+ people) are biased away from Core Earth characters, so I am not too worried about deflating Prodigy at the moment. That could certainly change, but honestly, if any PC has a Perk that hard coded N/A enough of the time that this tweak might water down Prodigy in a meaningful way I'd be inclined to re-examine my adventure structure and maybe talk to the player about the perk they chose, because it may be that the fix is making it apply more often to swapping it (depending on player preferences).

As always YMMV of course :)

Grae


This↑

But also, let me bring up a few Perks:
Strong Willed
Survivor
Brute

In any Scene in which a character with one of these perks does not have to test Defeat, the perk was 'Wasted XP'.

It can be argued that any scene with conflict could cause a PC to use the Perk, but nobody takes one of these with the intent of using it. These are cool background notes with a potential effect.

If a player wants to take a Perk with limited or possibly limited usefulness, they should discuss the concept with the GM and together come to an understanding before committing their heart to the concept.


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