The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:21 pm

Daedra18 wrote:I never played oTorg, so keep that in mind with my feedback.

With the core book, it seems like NE characters just have the highest number of options. Sure, they don't get psionics; but they get access to basically every other type of character option that is available.

Nile feels far more fleshed out, for character creation at least, than any of the other cosm.


I suspect a large part of that is because Super Attribute and Super Skill pretty much are the defining abilities for pulp heroes, and it seems like there's a lot of options there because those can be applied to one of 5 attributes and one of 20+ skills.

There are only six options in the Pulp Powers section of the core rulebook. The aforementioned Super Attribute and Super Skill, both of which if we left out would have been criticized as being core to pulp heroes. Similarly, Flight (Rocketeer), Ray (rayguns), and Force Field. The one that maybe could have been left out would have been Mind Control.

There are a LOT of pulp power character concepts that can be made with just those five (leaving out Mind Control). Meanwhile pretty much every other ability in the game does one very specific thing. So you need a lot of space for them.

One thing to mention though, since I haven't done that yet...Super Attribute IS the cosm "stat boost" in the same frame as Savage Strength and Spirit of Tatka Kerr are in the Living Land. There's not going to be a Beta Perk in the Nile Empire that does the same thing (well, except for one very specific example...but the prereqs for that one are hefty).
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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:22 pm

Spatula wrote:
TorgHacker wrote:
Spatula wrote:Heck, the Law of Masks gives the Nile MA a better armor value (+3, right?) than your average PP MA would have (+2 from irimesh).


No, for someone who's a Martial Artist, it's probably no more than a +2, and easily could be +1 only. Plus that only works while in the Nile Empire.

Ah, OK. I thought I read that it was something Nile characters could take with them as a passively contradictory item. My mistake on that count.


Not a mistake, just that you missed the "forget that noise, it's Nile only" once Darrell and I fully considered all the ugly implications. :lol:

We still are very much in the balancing stage on the Nile stuff.
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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby Spatula » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:36 pm

To sum up my thoughts, I don't think it's a huge deal in general, but the pulp martial artist perk is kinda worrisome both because Pan-Pacifica doesn't have much going for it as of this time, and the Nile already has a lot. For example, the PP MA doesn't have a lot to distinguish him/herself as a martial artist and is also limited in growth opportunities. While the Nile MA can go on to pick up Mind Control, Energy Rays, Flight, etc. after they have the unarmed-related perks that they want. Also, attribute boosts are super-useful (so useful that everyone else only gets them at Beta+) and stacking attribute and skill bonuses does make a character much more effective than most other boosts one would get from perks.

I think I might just ban Super-Skill in my home game. I was originally thinking that it was enough to say one couldn't take Super-Skill for a skill that uses an attribute boosted by Super-Attribute, but who else gets +2/+4 skill perks? And are the bonuses really that interesting to the character, or are they just about ruthless efficiency? Maybe it's better to just ditch the whole thing, or change it into "choose a skill to be Favored, the end."

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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby Gargoyle » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:58 pm

Here are some arguments that the Nile Empire is not better at everything, as requested. But I'm not really taking a position one way or another here as I don't think it's that simple. Also, inevitably one cosm will be better than the others when all is said and done, but my feeling is that as long as there are reasons to make characters from other cosms, and that the gap isn't too wide, it's fine.

On stuff that has been already released in the LL book or core:
- The Living Land miracles are flat out more powerful as they should be, and some of the perks are pulp power ish in power level and good.
- Tharkold has occultech, very advanced tech, and the most advanced psi.
- Cyberpapacy has the highest tech, nuff said.
- Core Earth has the Reality perks which are often underrated.

On stuff not released:
- Aysle will almost certainly have more powerful spell casters and spells, and more options, as it should have and enchanted items.
- Pan-Pacfica will have martial arts styles and other options besides ki powers, and a better gear list for Tech 24 (sorely lacking right now...not even any tech 24 pistols for my gun fu guys!)
- Orrorsh has the ability to corrupt yourself? Sorry, I love this cosm but I have a hard time coming up for one for this. I'm sure it will get love, but it seems like the nature of Orrorsh is masochistic. The Occult perks are interesting and useful though, so I don't have a beef with them at all. :)

Also, pulp powers that are on all the time risk contradiction every time they are used. Have Super Dexterity? Every roll of a 1 outside NE or a wonder in the LL is a contradiction on your most common skill checks. Super Mind? Find checks are pretty common...etc. So there is that downside.
"That old chestnut?"

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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:17 pm

Spatula wrote:To sum up my thoughts, I don't think it's a huge deal in general, but the pulp martial artist perk is kinda worrisome both because Pan-Pacifica doesn't have much going for it as of this time, and the Nile already has a lot. For example, the PP MA doesn't have a lot to distinguish him/herself as a martial artist and is also limited in growth opportunities. While the Nile MA can go on to pick up Mind Control, Energy Rays, Flight, etc. after they have the unarmed-related perks that they want. Also, attribute boosts are super-useful (so useful that everyone else only gets them at Beta+) and stacking attribute and skill bonuses does make a character much more effective than most other boosts one would get from perks.

I think I might just ban Super-Skill in my home game. I was originally thinking that it was enough to say one couldn't take Super-Skill for a skill that uses an attribute boosted by Super-Attribute, but who else gets +2/+4 skill perks? And are the bonuses really that interesting to the character, or are they just about ruthless efficiency? Maybe it's better to just ditch the whole thing, or change it into "choose a skill to be Favored, the end."


To be honest, I'm kinda wishing we actually did it that way and made the static bonus be the Enhancement. I think at the time we settled on that might have been a bit too connected to the Original Torg way of doing things, and it was before Favored actually even became a thing (that was pretty late in development).
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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby pkitty » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:24 pm

Here are my thoughts. Bear in mind that I have yet to run a Torg game so this is all gedanken:

1. Super Skill is crazy awesome. +4 in your best skill for the price of two perks (or one perk plus a few limitations)? No other perk offers anywhere near that massive a boost. And because it's any skill (even in theory Reality, Faith, or a magical or psi skill), it'll always be whatever is most important to your character. And this lets you ignore skill limits! With Mastery + Super Skill I could have +12 in something! Literally no other cosm offers that option.

2. While you say that Super Attribute is just the equivalent of the various "+1 to an attribute" perks from other cosms, it's actually far better for three big reasons. First, it actually lets you get up to +2 where none of them do. Second, you can apply it to whatever attribute you want; most cosms offer only one or two attribute boosts, but the Nile offers all five. Third, it's the only one (as far as I know) that lets you ignore attribute limits!

3. The most high-Axiom psionic ability in the game is Mind Control. So if you want a psi who specializes in Mind Control, you need to be from the mega-psi cosm of Tharkhold and a master of the right psi skill . . . or just be from the Nile, where Mind Control doesn't even have any prerequisites and anyone can learn it. It really makes me wonder how many other awesome "capstone" abilities from other cosms will be more easily learned and used by a Nile hero. It feels like this sets the precedent that anything another cosm can do, the Nile can do more easily.

4. (Partial.) Right now, the upcoming perk that lets Nile sorcerers spend a Possibility to cast any spell is the most useful spellcasting perk in the game, period. That said, I do have faith in y'all to include Aysle stuff that makes that pale in comparison, but this does add to the "well I may as well just be from the Nile" feel.
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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby pkitty » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:27 pm

TorgHacker wrote:To be honest, I'm kinda wishing we actually did it that way and made the static bonus be the Enhancement. I think at the time we settled on that might have been a bit too connected to the Original Torg way of doing things, and it was before Favored actually even became a thing (that was pretty late in development).

Well, it may be a bit late to do this as a full-on errata, but you could at least present a sidebox of "optional rules" in the Nile book that tone that stuff down.
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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby utsukushi » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:28 pm

For me, this question - The Nile Is Better at Everything - isn't really related to the Super Skill/Attribute thing. Those are definitely a thing, but while I remember arguing against it once, I've come to think a lot of their problems are smoothed out by the fact that they're considered permanent increases and therefor change your XP costs. It *does* still make them very game-able over time, and I still see serious issues around that when people are creating high-XP characters later in the game (when they can actually decide to max out a skill and an attribute and then buy both of those within their first few Perks), but... well, yeah, we are seeing more Attribute-boosting Perks in other Realms, too, that work the same way. And while someone from the Nile can pick any Attribute, where it's looking like the other Realms will be offering on or two, most characters only care about one or two anyway.. and a Living Land character could boost both their Strength and Spirit through Perks. And of course, there are other cool options. Like, Recall Spirit is pretty good, but even a Nile Priest with Super Spirit and Super Faith still can't spam rez like a dedicated Light hero from Aysle. (OK, that's still not that easy, but I do believe it is still the easiest resurrection we have, and I hope it stays that way. Of all the Realms, Aysle's basis has a strong precedent for the revolving door of death. Except maybe the Living Land... with its wildly high Spirit and things like, for example, the Law of Life, it seems like a good place to bring someone back. I don't remember if it actually has that or not, now, though.)

But I DO think it's a thing, and the point is that it's, like, everything. Pan-Pacifica is the realm for martial arts, but Nile has Pulp Martial Artists. Aysle is the magic realm, but Nile has Pulp Sorcery. You want a kludgy parasitic prosthetic that boosts your strength? Super Strength with a couple limitations can honestly describe that better than Occultech. Caught between that and being Cyberware's annoying little cousin leaves me seriously still in the dark about what you guys can do to make Occultech interesting. Speaking of which, high tech gadgets should be the CyberPapacy's thing, with Pan-Pacifica second, but Weird Science does everything they can do, often better.

Wherever another Realm should be better at something because they have, like, half again Nile's Axiom, the Nile's answer is basically, "Ah, yes, but we have duct tape." Duct tape tech, duct tape magic, duct tape miracles, duct tape martial arts, even duct tape psionics. And since every one of those is or can be a Pulp Power of some sort (and this is where Super Skill really jumps in. Pulp Sorcery may not be directly a Pulp Power itself, but you can do Super Skill: Alteration, say, and make it one), you also get Enhancements, and the Nile is the *only* place that has those.

Ultimately, when I really bear down and look at it closely, I think that's the real source of the issue: Enhancement and Limitations. They're both more powerful and more fun to play with.

Outside of other Races - which honestly don't have much that Pulp Powers can't still do - I'm very hard pressed to think of an archetype that belongs to any other Realm that can't be built in the Nile. And then, yes, probably made better, but honestly, even just equality is troublesome. Characters are supposed to come from all over the place. If there's going to be a whole group out of one Cosm, you know it's going to be the Nile. (I mean, unless it's Core Earth because you're just starting as Core Earth, but that's a game model, not a group planning decision.)


...I have two arguments against it. The first is that, while I think the effect of it may be too strong, I DO, as I've said before, really like that feel. "Yes, but we have duct tape" is exactly the attitude I want the Nile to have. I just think they should be second best at everything. I don't know if that's really an argument against the statement being true, though.

The second argument feels weaker to me, and it is that, of course, we haven't seen all the Cosm books yet. Nile is next, so we're seeing bits of it and that's where all the attention is. The Living Land is hard to make the comparisons with, because it has always been the "most different" Realm anyway. It probably does have some concepts that would be hard to create in the Nile, but it also leans hard on the "Race card" (so to speak) to do that. As we've noted, quite possibly Pan-Pacifica will have things for Martial Arts that the Nile can't copy, and the same may be true for other Realms. I just think from what we have seen, it's going to be really hard to do that while still also not falling into power creep.

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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:32 pm

pkitty wrote:
4. (Partial.) Right now, the upcoming perk that lets Nile sorcerers spend a Possibility to cast any spell is the most useful spellcasting perk in the game, period. That said, I do have faith in y'all to include Aysle stuff that makes that pale in comparison, but this does add to the "well I may as well just be from the Nile" feel.


FYI, that isn't what the ability is. They can cast any spell in the two lists that pulp sorcerers have access to, not "any spell".
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Re: The Nile Empire is Better at Everything

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:33 pm

pkitty wrote:
TorgHacker wrote:To be honest, I'm kinda wishing we actually did it that way and made the static bonus be the Enhancement. I think at the time we settled on that might have been a bit too connected to the Original Torg way of doing things, and it was before Favored actually even became a thing (that was pretty late in development).

Well, it may be a bit late to do this as a full-on errata, but you could at least present a sidebox of "optional rules" in the Nile book that tone that stuff down.


No, it was decided that there wouldn't be 'optional rules' in the game. Plus, even though I wish we'd done it, I would have been outvoted anyway. :lol:
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