Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Savioronedge
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby Savioronedge » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:31 am

Up front, overall Eternity is a stronger game than Old TORG...easier to teach, faster play, and such. Much of this is because of the changes I dislike--losing the "minigames", simplifying Interaction attacks; you know, the changes the rest of the players love (possibly excluding Utsukushi). Neither this nor anything that follows is meant as anything more than opinion, and the only provocation intended is of thought.
TorgHacker wrote:
Even if you took Possibilities out of the game entirely, the "player characters" would still have an advantage over the villains. Because of the Destiny Deck. There is nothing about the Destiny Deck that states it can only be used by reality-rated player characters. Now, it turns out that in Torg Eternity, that's what the situation is because reality-rated characters do exist...but it doesn't have to be.


McClain may have been hording Adrenaline and Second Wind cards. With Rallies and excellent use of Approved Actions, he might have pulled that rescue off without possibilities, Hero's, or Dramas. But Achilles shrugging off damage so obviously and carelessly that somebody decided he must have been dipped in the Styx to make him invulnerable...That, I believe, required Soaking.

Maybe David just rolled 3 20s and a 12 to get his Glory in play and topped his Outstanding hit with a couple of Coupe De Grace cards. I find it easier to swallow Hero, Drama, Posibility, to get the Glory and Trademark Weapon with 1 Coupe De Grace.

Merlin was not likely the Wizard the stories make out, partly because none of them agree on what kind of wizard he was. Still, he is much more readily explained as someone who can manipulate reality considering the lack of other mystic abilities in the area.

For every legend, the case can be made that luck and cards made all the difference, and I accept that this is the direction Eternity leans; just as I accept that the Spell Creation Worksheet from Pixaud's is gone forever.

I just want one of the explanations to Core Earth having Reality Perks to be that it has always had Reality Rated people from time to time. Explain it as Milesian reality conflicting with Dannan reality, the Greek clashing with the Persian, or alien realities visiting, in UFOs or previous invasion attempts that accomplished nothing beyond creating 1 or 2 Posibility rated people...I don't care how it is justified. I don't care if it is codified as not more than 7 people in the history of Core Earth or that it's impossible for a PC to have had the Reality skill before their reality was involved in This invasion. It's just the way that every attempt at justifying pre-invasion Core Earth Possibility-rated individuals has been shut down on these forums that is a sore point to me.

TorgHacker wrote:. There is more to this than meets the eye.

2. Question your assumptions.


1. You have never failed to deliver on that before

2. I tried and my assumptions asserted their Miranda rights. Now I have to wait until their attorneys show up.

mystic101
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby mystic101 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:11 am

Just wanted to remind people . . .

SPOILERS AHEAD . . .







. . . But the special Gen Con game last year revealed that ancient Earth did have contact with several different realities, so it could definitely have had reality-rated individuals for some unspecified period of its history. So no AI bending of the rules is necessary in this case. Here’s the thread where I posted the reveals:

viewtopic.php?f=29&t=2885&p=27571&hilit=Terra#p27571

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Matthew Surridge
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby Matthew Surridge » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:46 am

A lot of interesting stuff in this thread.

First, about house rules: I take a different approach than Sword of Spirit. I like house rules, and feel that's part of the fun of running an RPG. You get to customise the game, the storytelling engine, to fit the story you want to tell. I can see where this isn't going to be everybody's approach.

Second, about reality-rated individuals: this one of the exact spots where I made a house rule. I don't so much object to Torg Eternity's way of doing things as prefer the way Possibility-rated characters in oTorg fit into the theme of storytelling. I really liked the idea that the world breaks down into main characters and supporting characters, *and* that supporting characters can become main characters. Thematically that felt rich, and I can't get my head around the idea that reality-rated characters are something produced by the conflict of realities; it doesn't have the same resonance for me.

It kinda goes along with my preferring to describe Core Earth as 'the real world plus a bit' as opposed to 'action movie cosm.' "Genre fiction invades the real world because it's got a kind of energy they don't" says more to me than "a bunch of adventure-fiction genres invade another adventure-fiction genre." Both are logical; I respond more to the first. Similarly I find it more satisfying to tell my players "you guys are main characters in this story, and as main characters in the story you get to do special stuff" as opposed to "you've got powers from making a moral choice in the presence of opposing realities." Now, so far I've had all the moments of crisis involve the wars in one way or another. But I personally don't have a real problem with a character transcending while in conflict with bad guys from their own reality.

So …

TorgHacker wrote:Even if you took Possibilities out of the game entirely, the "player characters" would still have an advantage over the villains. Because of the Destiny Deck. There is nothing about the Destiny Deck that states it can only be used by reality-rated player characters. Now, it turns out that in Torg Eternity, that's what the situation is because reality-rated characters do exist...but it doesn't have to be.

You don't need to be reality-rated to be a hero.

This is something that we actually had a lot of discussion about in development. And yes, the opposing of realities matters.

And while it may not matter as far as the play in Torg Eternity...it does actually matter as far as the backstory goes. And we have dropped hints and clues in the books about this.


… I am really interested in this. (Why keep it secret? Details still being worked out?) I will note that what I think of as important about being reality-rated doesn't necessarily have to do with the mechanical effects of having an advantage over one's enemies. That's part of it, but mainly it's the implication that being reality-rated makes the character storyable, makes them somebody about whom stories can be told, makes them somebody capable of glory. For me personally the idea of Reality determining who's a lead and who isn't is a concept that fits well with the rest of the structures of the game, specifically the division of stories into Scenes and Acts, and especially the structure of the Standard/Dramatic scene division.

Third:

Sword of Spirit wrote:I want reality-rated individuals to be a natural part of the cosmverse—champions of Apeiros not just as warriors against the darkness, but as an essential element in how things are supposed to work. But if they only exist at all because the Nameless One broke reality, they are basically unnatural aberrations instead.


It strikes me that this isn't necessarily the case. One can imagine other ways to cross between realities. Presumably the Akashans did so in a non-aberrant way. Or, to put it another way, I don't think genre-bending has to be entropic. It's just that the High Lords are violent.

Fourth:

Savioronedge wrote:But Achilles shrugging off damage so obviously and carelessly that somebody decided he must have been dipped in the Styx to make him invulnerable...That, I believe, required Soaking.


I wonder if it does. This was presumably a time when the Spirit Axiom was much higher, and perhaps Magic as well. I can see those two things combining to make Achilles as we know him.

Fifth: mystic101, I just want to thank you for posting that link — I've been trying to remember where I read the stuff about the 'third Egypt' ever since the Nile Empire PDFs came out!
Humankind cannot bear very much reality
— T.S. Eliot, who didn't know the half of it

My Torg Eternity review, part one and part two

mystic101
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby mystic101 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:12 am

@Matthew Surridge: You're welcome! You raised lots of interesting points in that last post.

As for the reality-rated question, I'm torn. On one hand, I like the idea that if any character starts acting like a hero, then they get to use cards in play, whether there's any "conflict of realities" going on at the time or not. It seems more egalitarian to say "Anyone can be a hero = anyone can use cards, if they act like a hero", rather than "Being a hero = acting like a hero + an invading reality has to be present + some 1-in-a-million X factor is also present somehow".

Darn it, if anyone can be a hero, then let anyone be a hero! And saying it's about card use instead of the reality skill does that.

However, Matthew Surridge makes an excellent point that the ability to spend innate Possibility energy, and the ability to soak damage, makes someone more narratively suited for being the hero protagonist of a story.

Hmm... maybe card use represents a more real-world style of hero, who can still do some amazing things but is more down-to-earth/"only human"? Whereas the P-rated heroes have become full-on action-genre characters, and thus more able to take on the alt-genre characters they'll be facing in the Possibility Wars?

I'm of mixed minds about it.

Sword of Spirit
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby Sword of Spirit » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:13 pm

TorgHacker wrote:While Eternity Shards are no question, more powerful in the hands of someone reality-rated either just because they can be tapped for Possibilities or because part of their powers requires something only reality-rated individuals can do (like Soak Damage), all of the Eternity Shards so far published have powers that are able to be used by Ords.


Thanks for the clarification! I missed that. So that means that my creative interpretation really come back to my primary motivation about theme and essence of my game more than resolving contradictions.

Spatula wrote:The only inconsistency for me is the existence of creatures that are always possibility-rated. Has every dragon made a moral choice in the face of clashing realities? Possibility energy is a thing, whether a cosm has encountered others or not, so it seems reasonable to me that some creatures are naturally possibility-rated and some individuals are as well, invasion or not.


My creative interpretation works for this part too (though Deanna aleady clarified a while ago that some creatures are more likely to be reality-rated than humans, and some of the foes are referring more to the ones the Storm Knights are likely to meet (ie, the High Lords bring the best to the fight) rather than how it is throughout their home cosm)). I do really like the idea that something powerful like a dragon, at least, is always reality-rated, and don't necessarily have a problem with a reasonable interpretation that expands that into some types of less powerful creatures.

So here's how it fits in my interpretation. Fay lands (assuming fay are more likely to be reality-rated than humans) and dragon lairs have higher Magic axioms. Fay and dragons are more likely to be reality-rated than humans. They live a long time. Based on the guidance in the Day One adventures, moral choices that can trigger transcendence aren't that difficult to come by. One might also say (and I really like this idea) that the more naturally likely a type of being is to be able to be reality-rated, the less extreme that choice has to be.

So the way I could interpret it: Creatures like a dragon all (or almost all) have the potential to be reality-rated, they live a long time in an area of conflicting realities, and a moral choice significant to trigger their transcendence for them doesn't require a whole lot = All (or almost all) adult dragons are reality-rated.

Spatula wrote:But really, it's all a bit "how many angels can fit on the head of a pin" to me. Either way one goes won't impact gameplay.


Isn't it great? I like the philosophical ponderings, because even if it doesn't have a mechanical effect, it has an effect on how I view the world, and that (even if unconscious) has a subtle effect that influences my enjoyment of the game. I'll get more out of it if the underlying philosophy that I'm working under fits some patterns than if it fits others.

Savioronedge wrote:Every Core Earther who knew real Martial Arts had Possibilities.


I'm not a fan of that level of commonality--I like it to be extremely rare so that the invasions really do ratchet it way up.

Savioronedge wrote:Plus, I personally loved the idea that Arthur, Taleisin, Mulan, Gilgamesh, Cuchulainn, Einstein, Tesla, Vlad, Joan, Anansi, Cleopatra, Odysseus, Achilles, Akhenaten, and many others were Reality Rated people and their incredible exploits became myths and legends or horror for that reason.


I'm absolutely with you there. I never even played OTorg, and that's just how it resonates with me, how it seems like it "should" be. I can understand that the designers may have some cool alternative reason for not doing it that (I might even agree with it once I understand it!) but coming as an outsider to it, I currently sort of see it as one of those situations where maybe they should have "killed their darlings" for the overall benefit to the game.

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Spatula
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby Spatula » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:43 pm

Huh, I forgot about the Nile backer adventure. So, both cosm-focused GenCon games have referenced the Space Gods. Is that going to continue, with the GenCon adventures revealing tidbits of history in the game world? How does it tie in with the upcoming Relics of Power adventure, if at all?

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TorgHacker
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:00 pm

Spatula wrote:Huh, I forgot about the Nile backer adventure. So, both cosm-focused GenCon games have referenced the Space Gods. Is that going to continue, with the GenCon adventures revealing tidbits of history in the game world? How does it tie in with the upcoming Relics of Power adventure, if at all?


Unknown.

But Relics of Power absolutely ties into the Akashans. Big time. Arguably more than the original one.
Deanna Gilbert
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OldCoot
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby OldCoot » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:36 pm

I lean heavily against house rules - my operating assumption is that any particular set of published RPG rules are intended to create certain effects within that game, and changing those rules distorts the intention, and (in my experience) tends to nullify what is supposed to be special about that game.
What I -do- mess with (on a minor scale) is the 'official' story - setting, subplots, 'known facts,' etc. I take inspiration from history books: the history 'everyone knows' is full of generalizations, glossed-over details, casually accepted interpretations, and so on. The quip 'history is written by the winners' isn't quite true - but history is written by historians, who often (if not always) have a particular interpretation they are putting forward, even if they are not intentionally distorting the facts. To me, RPG setting information is kind of like the 'official history:' true in the broad sweep, but doesn't cover all the details or irregularities that crop up all the time in history.
So, if the TORG rulebook (or even designer, beggin' yer pardon, ma'am) says that there were never any possibility-rated individuals in Core Earth before the invasion, my reaction is to quietly go "hmm...at least none that anyone knew about or recognized as such." Possibility energy is full of-- well, possibilities, and it manifests in an uncountable number of different ways. I'd even go so far as to say that maybe there never was anyone who could knowingly and fully manipulate possibility energy the way that High Lords and stormers can do since the invasion - but there were individuals who accessed possibility energy without recognizing it for what it was. Instead they interpreted anything unusual as a coincidence, divine intervention, or even just the result of their own hard work. Einstein and Newton, when they made their unique contributions to science, tapped possibility energy, but it felt so natural that they never recognized it. Individuals who performed amazing feats, or just seemed incredibly lucky, were often tapping possibility energy. It was not until the High Lords' invasion that there was any framework for understanding PE in any coherent structure; until that event, all examples fell into categories of 'skilled' and/or 'lucky,' and everyone was satisfied with that understanding.
All that said, it seems to fit in very well with 'ords' playing cards - some of the cards specifically say they may be played as a Possibility, which would provide a game mechanism for what I've described. (This does beg the question of why a stormer can't use Possibilities when they disconnect - to which my knee-jerk response is that they are overwhelmed by the sudden severance of connection that they aren't able to access energy at any level; not sure if that holds water, but sounds good on the face of it.)
"Praise the Lord from the earth, Ye dragons who serve His Word;
For fiery praise is fit to raise To the Maker of Heaven and Earth"

-Kemper Crabb (para Ps 148)

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Spatula
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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby Spatula » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:05 am

OldCoot wrote:All that said, it seems to fit in very well with 'ords' playing cards - some of the cards specifically say they may be played as a Possibility, which would provide a game mechanism for what I've described. (This does beg the question of why a stormer can't use Possibilities when they disconnect - to which my knee-jerk response is that they are overwhelmed by the sudden severance of connection that they aren't able to access energy at any level; not sure if that holds water, but sounds good on the face of it.)

I'm pretty sure ords using the cards can't use the possibility ones (Hero and Drama), and Storm Knights who have disconnected (or if someone plays the maelstrom card) can't use those cards, either.

As to your other point, in my mind pretty much all possibility/reality skill stuff is unconscious from the POV of the character, including modern-day Possibility War Storm Knight characters. That's how the old novels were written and I suppose that informs my perception of how it works. Though I imagine once you're getting into some of the upper-level Reality perks like Storm Caller, or using reality to uproot stelae, the character would have to be somewhat aware of what they're doing.

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Re: Creative Interpretation of Text as Given – Reality-Rated Individuals in Untouched Cosms

Postby Savioronedge » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:38 am

Spatula wrote:As to your other point, in my mind pretty much all possibility/reality skill stuff is unconscious from the POV of the character, including modern-day Possibility War Storm Knight characters. That's how the old novels were written and I suppose that informs my perception of how it works. Though I imagine once you're getting into some of the upper-level Reality perks like Storm Caller, or using reality to uproot stelae, the character would have to be somewhat aware of what they're doing.


Most instances were unconscious. A few uses were concious. I believe it was in Mysterious Cairo that the hero of the story addresses the villain with, "How's your grip on reality?" as he invokes a Reality Storm. I am also fairly certain that was why Apeiros spawned an avatar and created "The 5 Realms RPG"; to teach Storm Knights how to consciously use their Possibilities (another thing about which I disagree with the majority).

Still, until there is an invasion, I would expect the usual Reality use would be soaking and the rare "I have to make this..." occasion, both of which work fine as subconscious uses.


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