I was a little behind following the campaign and the boards. I just rewatched the second-to-the-last-chat and the most recent one to date. I wanted to talk about the Axiom stretch goal and I thought it really merited it's own thread. The topic sort of gets lost amid general discussion of the KS campaign.
If you've followed any of other posts, I can be pretty opinionated, but oddly I'm pretty flexible and calm about this stretch goal. I can see why people are really concerned about it, but I don't think the Team has had the chance to really sell it very well and I see a good amount of potential in it. I'm going to play Devil's Advocate, but if you still hate the idea, I'm not going to bicker with you for 10 pages of a thread over it. It's not like it's the GodNet or anything. (shakes fist at Darrell, jokingly)
1.) Pay to Play vs Hard Earned In-Game Victory: First, before someone pushes back really hard on this—I think this is a worthwhile complaint. I really do. I totally understand it. So rather try to minimize it, let me point out a few reasons why it's not totally garbage. Normally I would want something like this to take place as the result of surveys and a big adventure (i.e Infiniverse). I'm sure many of you would agree. That said, this is a pretty tricky topic for Alpha and starting Beta characters to deal with directly. Whatsmore, if Baruk Kaah has the power to do it in Year One, why would he wait? Is he being polite to the Delphi Council? Is he breaking the 4th Wall and being polite to the GMs? (I'm being light-hearted not sarcastic) My point is that he has in-game reasons for doing it and there's no good reason for him to delay in Year One. Especially when his overall conquest of North America shows mediocre progress. Remember, a lot of how Torg Eternity is structured (in a good way) is exploring certain things that really didn't make a whole of sense in oTorg, so says Darrell.
2.) Adventure or Not an Adventure— Even if we don't have an adventure where the PCs battle to stop this, that doesn't mean there can't be an adventure where the EVENT is a plot hook. Darrell said in his 4/19 live chat stated clearly that he wants to PCs to be able to react to a possible change, not just backspace over the Axiom Numbers in the Sourcebook. I mean, Baruk Kaah is going to simultaneously change the axiom everywhere in the Living Land and I think most storm knights are going to sense it if they're in the Living Land—even if it's on unrelated business. There is a lot of potential drama and tension you can create in a campaign when you realize big stuff is happening. Yeah, it WOULD be better if the PCs were in on it, no arguing that...But this is Year One. I think we need to look at this less as the result of an adventure and more like a timeline event. We're not complaining that Australia is getting attacked by giant mutant horrors, because we didn't really have a say in it and that's a big change from the Core Rulebooks.
I would recommend to the team that this stretch goal include at least a small adventure (PDF only if necessary) where the event takes place, so the GMs can roleplay it out. Or at the very very very least, some kind of narrative experience that the PCs can have a roleplaying reaction to. Deanna's tweets were a dramatic narrative of the first 90 days. I wouldn't suggest tweets, but if you can't do some kinda of adventure, at least have a dramatic event the heroes can internalize.
FINALLY, if the backers vote down any change at all, Baruk Kaah should CERTAINLY make the attempt and have that be part of the timeline, along with an adventure or narrative. Arguing that the stretch goal is wasted with a No Change vote is fair. So make it part of the timeline whether he succeeds or fails.
3.) The Timeline: You Chance to Eat Your Cake— If this event is placed on a specific date, GMs have the option of saying that Core Rules Axioms apply up until July 4th of Year One, and a new axiom level applies afterwards. I think this makes sense, so I'm not going to belabor it. Just explain that very clearly.
4.) Baruk Kaah Doesn't Get an Axiom Wash: Just because he alters the axiom, doesn't mean that edeinos suddenly have city states and a military. It just means those things are now possible. He still have to do the legwork, which means uniting clans, appointing trustworthy secondary leaders, and a ton of organizing. Something he's not especially practiced in.
5.) Untapped Opportunities for Infiniverse Authors— If Baruk Kaah alters his axioms, consider that the main Living Land Sourcebook is already written. Darrell and Deanna have pledged that this change will appear in the final text, but they can't rewrite the whole book. Hell the Delphi Adventures have been assigned and are likely already written. (Smart money says they assumed they'd be funded, like they assumed the cards would be their own product)
Post Axiom Change Living Land would be a great opportunity for Infiniverse authors to write original material that the Developers can't get to until Year Two.
- Slaves need to be captured, where before they were killed. These stone cities won't build themselves. Rescuing and monkeywrenching construction is a new Storm Knight hobby in the Living Land.
- Baruk Kaah needs Nile Empire Engineers because very few edeinos actually knows how to build a ziggurat, let alone a wall. Here's a plot that deserves to be thwarted.
- Edeinos have a form of tribal politics right now. Just imagine how much more complicated it becomes when they can form city states? And it's not like they're instantly used to it. Who is? Everybody else. Storm Knights can broker deals with clan leaders who don't like Baruk Kaah and can offer meaningful support. Religious rifts can take a new meaning. Bad clan leaders can be 'undermined' to install more sympathetic ones. That's good ol' 'Murican politics right there! (Don't take that too seriously)
- Edeinos infrastructure is infrastructure to be sabotaged.
I'm sure people could come up with better ideas, but my point is post-axion increase LL is a fertile topic that Infiniverse authors could explore long before USNA can, which creates new topics / new clans / new locations / new possible perks and edeinos archetypes for people to write and put on the market without much competition from USNA. (Though they might dip their toes into it with a Core Earth Supplement and LL cameos in other supplements, and of course Year Two, which is 2-3 years away).
PLUS, all Infiniverse authors would have to do is specify "before or after the axiom change" and they could write about either version, IF the axiom change even applies to their product. A good reason to put it on the timeline, if we end up doing it. Example "This is a Post July 4th LL adventure." Again, July 4th is just an example date, see spoiler above.
6.) Show Me, Don't Tell Me: This is an opportunity to demonstrate what a High Lord is capable of without it being a fait accompli disclosure from the Delphi Council. Core Earthers had to learn the hard way what happens when you don't prepare to yank a stellae. Rather than having Quinn say at some point, "Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, they can do that," the powers of a High Lord can be demonstrated during an actual campaign. Not my strongest point here, but I thought I would lob it in with the others.
So, in conclusion, I think there is potential for actually voting yes to do it. Obviously I think Social would be better than Tech (because my whole post is structured around it).
I don't think it invalidates the Core Rules, and I'm not expecting the other cosms to do this as well.
Plus, I know they've said there won't be anything physical added to the box at this point, but if you vote yes.... You have a strong argument for a fresh table tent. There you go.
I'm going to vote Yes for increasing the Social Axiom. I won't be disappointed if the majority votes for no changes. I just enjoyed presenting a different perspective.