Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

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Agamemnon
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Agamemnon » 20 Jul 2017, 12:59

thirtythr33 wrote:You start with a 0d free character trait for free.
You can upgrade character traits by paying the difference.
No trait can ever cost less than 1.

Can you "side-grade" and take a 1dT free character trait for 0pts?
You can turn your free 0d character trait into a 1dT character trait for free, yes. You're modifying the free trait as you're allowed to do.

Anything else is going to cost you a minimum of 1 point. You couldn't take a new 0d character trait and get it for free by making it a 0dT character trait. You can't take enough complications to make a Relationship or Faction free, etc.
Benedict wrote:I can understand that Traits must cost a min of 1 in the sense that you won't be getting infinite 0dT Traits to milk Drive points. Still, wouldn't it better if there was a max number of Traits per Tier instead, like there's max rank per Tier for Atrib/Skill?Prof?
Making them cost a minimum of 1 point each effectively does that now. If we went with your suggesting, I'm now tracking two things instead of one (trait slots and points, instead of just points) and what you'll very likely see is a PC using 4 of his 5 trait slots on free traits and dumping all of their trait points into something big and awesome afterward.

If we'd intended that from the beginning, we probably also wouldn't have made it as easy to buy down traits through complications and we wouldn't have to give away the free traits.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by higgins » 20 Jul 2017, 17:13

All traits (except the free ones) have a minimum cost of one point. By making it temptable, you can just raise it to a higher die value than usual for the same price.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Agamemnon » 21 Jul 2017, 20:15

Part 1 of feedback as I catch up on edits.
dysjunct wrote:p. 55. Special traits. Hopefully there will be more than just two examples
There may be, when the book gets closer to completion. I'm open to suggestions on what those might be.
thirtythr33 wrote:It seems strange to me that for Ties we have “aggressor wins” and “escalate” in that order of priority. Just because the more complex rule is the least used one. Usually you have the complex mechanic up front and eventually devolve to “just flip a coin or whatever” as it becomes less likely. Why not just use Escalation all the time? It fits thematically with Resort to Violence. If the idea is to just make a choice and move on ASAP, keep aggressor wins and then flip a coin and drop the escalation mechanic.
In almost all cases, you want to explain the simpler rule first and then the more complex rule that it builds on. You can't make escalation the default because in a lot of cases it doesn't make sense. The first thing to come to mind is a stealth v. perception roll. There is no state where that can remain a tie. Either the character is noticed or they are not noticed. Ties thus favor the aggressor. If I'm sneaking by you and you're guarding the area, then I'm the aggressor. If on the other hand, I'm hiding and you're actively looking for me, you are.
thirtythr33 wrote:There’s a lot of references to complications and compromises, without a clear definition anywhere.
It fits better in a GM section, since the GM is the one who has to assign them. I could possibly write up the section somewhere at the end of the Initiation book, but it's not quite fitting with the theme of "this is the book part you absolutely need to read to start playing." Ideally, a newbie needs only to understand Book I to start playing, and most of that can be taught on the go. I could add a quick comment on them at the end of "The Core Mechanic" but before "Getting More Dice" explaining the concept if not the actual rules for assigning them, but that still kind of breaks the flow of the section.
thirtythr33 wrote:Does getting dice from a trait count as tapping? Ie, does it count towards my 2 sources limit for tapping? Tapping says only “abilities” can be tapped, which excludes traits. It also says it is “treated in the same way” as tapping and is listed separately in the “down to earth” rule, so it implies that they are different but functionally the same (but wouldn’t count to the limit). (p14-17)

This is contradicted by the Traits section p48 that says “they can be tapped for a value equal to their dice”. Also, if traits count as tapping and I have a limit of 2, do I have a choice of using my trait in a conflict if I have 3 possible sources to choose from? Even if I haven’t hit the limit, is it optional to NOT tap a trait that would decrease my pool? Could a tap in 2 positive sources, and make it impossible to tap in a negative trait?
Text has been revised. Traits are tapped in the same way abilities are tapped and count towards the two taps allowed. Dice penalties from traits are automatic when they apply, and do not count as taps or take a tapping slot.
thirtythr33 wrote:Why don’t nobles have a listed income? I get that they don’t work, but why do take a cut from the money they make as tax. How does a lesser noble make his maintenance rolls with no income?
Greater nobles start with the largest assets and coin, and either a 2d patron or a faction that can be used as a patron if they full (as yet unreleased) faction rules aren't being used, and they don't have lifestyle costs to pay. If faction rules being used, the faction itself can be used to help pay for expenses.

Lesser nobles are nowhere near so lucky. They are going to have to either buy a patron, buy a faction to represent that they are well-stationed enough to have a permanent fief of their own, or a status to use as a patron. If none of those things are true, the chapter containing the wealth rules has rules on characters working for a living. If a noble decides to do something so base as to lower themselves to working for a living, they will either wind up earning wages as a low or high freeman, depending on what it is that they do for a living.

This is actually fairly thematic, as one of the big sources of social upheaval in the renaissance was the fact that the lifestyle of the nobility was basically tied up in largess -- the more you spent and were seen to spend, the more important/noble you were. Meanwhile, the merchant class was becoming wealthier and wealthier because they were the ones engaged in so much of the actual production and trade. You create a dynamic of beggar knights and opulent-but-impoverished nobility who aren't technically supposed to work wildly indebt to the merchants and money-men who come from the middle class.
thirtythr33 wrote:Retainer seems insanely strong. Why is it so incredibly cheap? It’s cheaper, and better, than taking a Relationship with someone willing to take “great risk” for you. I’d probably atleast bump the costs up to 2-6 and reduce priorities to 9-13.
Price has gone up, points remain the same. A 9 point retainer would be be near-useless. That's like 2/2/2/2/1. Retainers are already restricted in what they can actually have regardless. Worth noting, while retainers are effectively 3d relationships, what they actually can do for you is fairly limited by comparison to what relationships can do. They aren't going to be as well-connected, well-positioned, or influential as people you can buy relationships with. They can't have a member of a faction or status unless you're also a part of that group, and if they do they can't be higher rank than you in it. They are also restricted on the traits they can take in general. For a lot of things, relationships will be better than retainers because relationships expand your personal network of people you can reach out to. A retainer is more like a sidekick. Add to that, retainers can't have T5s in any priority and you have to spend a nontrivial amount of your personal trait points to get them anywhere near as competent as another PC. Not to mention the fact that you have to pay for their upkeep like you yourself were a patron. The ideal role for a retainer is thus something like a bodygaurd, a trusted agent, lieutenant in your faction, etc.
thirtythr33 wrote:Relationships and Claim seem too easy to purchase at max effect and buy off down to 1 point with complications. Especially since Relationships can be tapped; all the other traits that can be tapped cost 1pt per tap or more and can’t be bought down with complications. Relationships can get you tap3 for 1pt.
Relationships as a trait give the player the ability to establish the nature of a relationship to their character mechanically. The modifiers are effectively setting the terms of that relationship. If the player wants to add a bunch of complications to get the price down, we say very clearly that this is an out of character arrangement that the GM must honor. That includes making sure those complications are felt. If a player wants to get a relationship for cheap, they are giving the GM a mechanical obligation to beat them with those complications. Enjoy!

Amusingly, Higgins spent a nontrivial amount of time arguing with me that Relationships were too expensive. It appears I'm doomed either way.
thirtythr33 wrote:When I’m getting a new proficiency, there’s still that weird situation where rank1 in a proficiency can be worse than rank0, similar to untrained skills versus rank 1 skills. Ie, if I have brawling 7, tapping 2 to sword is better than purchasing sword 1 and losing the ability to tap brawling. You could fix this by instead of reducing the cost the way you have, you have a flat cost of 4 to open a new skill, plus the new rank you are going to and allowing tap to skip ranks. Ie, if you are opening with 0 tap, it costs you 4+1=5 to get a new proficiency. If you already have tap2, it costs you 4+3=7 to start at rank3. Compared to your method, it only costs 1 pt less for tap2 characters but it pushes you over that “hump”.
The problem is that the moment you do that, we have the "but my default is now higher" problem again. This was one of the problems of defaulting from the last edition. You have Sword & Buckler 8 and buy Brawling at rank 5. Later, you increase Sword & Buckler to 12. Now your default is 6, but your Brawling is only rank 5. Then the player cries foul and claims that their Brawling should auto-upgrade. No matter how you answer that claim, you're introducing an incentive to game the system.

If you claim it does not auto-upgrade, then incentive is to get one proficiency as high as possible and then buy ranks in others, becuase thats the cheapest way to do it. If you claim that it -does- auto-upgrade, then the smart move is to buy your primary at a low rank and then invest a couple points into every proficiency. Then you will auto-upgrade them all as you raise the first.

Either way, there's a strategy to game the system. If you make the new rank equal to the tap value, then you're going to introduce the same problem. My solution then was to just make new proficiencies cheaper to learn and not have the two touch at all. If you have an 11 in Brawling and a 2 in Swordsmanship, so be it. The least worst solution (And the easiest to calculate at character creation) is to just let the players eat the cost of 2 ranks. Moving from 1 to 2 and then 2 to 3 is all of 5 points anyway. If you had a tap 3, then the whole process will cost you all of 7 points to get there. There's still a slight incentive to wait until you have a max tap for it, but that's all of a two drive point difference between rank 4 and rank 10, compared to the 5 points it would have been if the tap value gave free ranks.
thirtythr33 wrote:I need to think more on the restrictions and options around spending drive points on trait advancement, I’m not really understanding why so many exceptions and caveats are needed.
The TL;DR - Changing things about your character, or introducing new elements that could be in your background retroactively are fair game for drive points. Changing current or established things about the setting should be done through play.
thirtythr33 wrote:Is there any major reason Karma is counted when Drives are Burnt, as opposed to Eared? It seems like it would be easier to remember and do the bookkeep for during earning (at the end of each scene) rather than when spending (which might be in the middle of combat). It would just mean you get a few extra points form the drives unspent in your pool, but it would be trivial to just adjust the karma table up by 5 to 10 to compensate.
It incentivizes burning them. Part of the way you keep players from habitually getting an extra 4 and 5 dice on their roll is to get players to want to spend them. A character could die with 20-30 drive points still on their sheet. That's enough to be worth a priority bump.
thirtythr33 wrote:Alternate retainer advancement rule: just let the player spend drives points on their retainer as if they were advancing themselves.
I wouldn't mind that as an optional rule, but I don't foresee a lot of players choosing to spend points on their retainer when those points could have gone to them instead.
thirtythr33 wrote:Also, I'd like to acknowledged a really great design choice that is probably going to be underrated by most people.
[...]
By having a single chapter "Getting more dice" and putting EVERY SINGLE WAY you can get bonuses in the SAME PLACE is beautiful design. Now if I come up to a really difficult Req6 task I know that I'm going to have to squeeze out every dice I can, I just need to look in one place. Clean, simple, efficient.
I'm glad someone caught that. I'm not sure why more games don't do something similar.
thirtythr33 wrote:The only things I think might be missing here are Advantage & Disadvantage, even though it technically isn't "more dice", and Reach & Aim for combat.
Melee and Ranged combat are self-contained systems. Technically, they are optional systems. If someone really wanted they could play the entire game like move-less version of apocalypse world using just the information in Book 1 and Book 2. Thus, I wanted to keep information about optional systems in their relevant sections. This is also why the proficiency chapter no longer makes new players read through eight pages of maneuver data. Depending on the group's interest and comfort level, they might not use any of it and it's really in the way for someone first trying to learn.

As for dis/advantage, that's a weird one because it's not really a player-facing modifier. The Getting more Dice chapter is about stuff the player can do to mechanically secure more dice. TN modifiers are more situational and GM-facing. If your character did something very clever, or the GM decided the NPC you were dealing with was distracted, that's where an TN modifier might come in. This should be something that's GM's discretion more than something the player should expect or demand. When the GM gives you an advantage on something, it should feel like you earned it rather than you were fishing for it.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by taelor » 21 Jul 2017, 21:22

Can I get some clarification on Patrons? In particular, what exactly is the difference between taking a Patron, and taking a Relationship with some you work for? The sections in the rules aren't really clear on this. Is it just that Patrons hook into the resource mechanics, and Relationships don't?
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Agamemnon » 21 Jul 2017, 21:44

taelor wrote:Can I get some clarification on Patrons? In particular, what exactly is the difference between taking a Patron, and taking a Relationship with some you work for? The sections in the rules aren't really clear on this. Is it just that Patrons hook into the resource mechanics, and Relationships don't?
A Patron is essentially an employer. They agreed to provide you financial support in exchange for whatever it is you do for them. They are not your friend, you aren't cozy with them. You're a disposable minion who provides a service.

A Relationship implies that you are in some fashion on friendly terms with that person. They'll do you favors, feed you information, etc. You are in some fashion on equal footing. You aren't the king's minion, you're someone the king might call a friend. On the other hand, they also aren't paying for you.

Unrelated, and by popular demand:
Image

Edit: yes, I know patron isn't on there. I'm still fiddling with the specifics. I figured I'd show you a WIP before I took a break fora while and tried to put something other than coffee and nicotine in my system.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by KillerRed » 21 Jul 2017, 22:56

:D oooAgamemnon said ". I figured I'd show you a WIP before I took a break fora while and tried to put something other than coffee and nicotine in my system."

We know you are working hard and we appreciate it :D

Sorry for not using the quote function. Can't seem to work it on my phone. The tequila and rum and cokes may have a bit to do with it too.....
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by nemedeus » 22 Jul 2017, 09:36

Agamemnon wrote:
thirtythr33 wrote:When I’m getting a new proficiency, there’s still that weird situation where rank1 in a proficiency can be worse than rank0, similar to untrained skills versus rank 1 skills. Ie, if I have brawling 7, tapping 2 to sword is better than purchasing sword 1 and losing the ability to tap brawling. You could fix this by instead of reducing the cost the way you have, you have a flat cost of 4 to open a new skill, plus the new rank you are going to and allowing tap to skip ranks. Ie, if you are opening with 0 tap, it costs you 4+1=5 to get a new proficiency. If you already have tap2, it costs you 4+3=7 to start at rank3. Compared to your method, it only costs 1 pt less for tap2 characters but it pushes you over that “hump”.
The problem is that the moment you do that, we have the "but my default is now higher" problem again. This was one of the problems of defaulting from the last edition. You have Sword & Buckler 8 and buy Brawling at rank 5. Later, you increase Sword & Buckler to 12. Now your default is 6, but your Brawling is only rank 5. Then the player cries foul and claims that their Brawling should auto-upgrade. No matter how you answer that claim, you're introducing an incentive to game the system.

If you claim it does not auto-upgrade, then incentive is to get one proficiency as high as possible and then buy ranks in others, becuase thats the cheapest way to do it. If you claim that it -does- auto-upgrade, then the smart move is to buy your primary at a low rank and then invest a couple points into every proficiency. Then you will auto-upgrade them all as you raise the first.

Either way, there's a strategy to game the system. If you make the new rank equal to the tap value, then you're going to introduce the same problem. My solution then was to just make new proficiencies cheaper to learn and not have the two touch at all. If you have an 11 in Brawling and a 2 in Swordsmanship, so be it. The least worst solution (And the easiest to calculate at character creation) is to just let the players eat the cost of 2 ranks. Moving from 1 to 2 and then 2 to 3 is all of 5 points anyway. If you had a tap 3, then the whole process will cost you all of 7 points to get there. There's still a slight incentive to wait until you have a max tap for it, but that's all of a two drive point difference between rank 4 and rank 10, compared to the 5 points it would have been if the tap value gave free ranks.
i was thinking about this.

my conclusion is: why not allow tapping your highest proficiency by default, up to a maximum of said proficiency. unless you consider not having to buy up all my proficiencies to the same rank to be gaming the system, there is no gaming the costs in this, except at character creation i guess? you could adjust the points you get from the priorities down to compensate.

now on the other hand, that also would discourage branching out (i would like to get ranged proficiencies too, but i feel that i often don't have the points for it. doubly so once magic is on the table).

btw, i know I'm getting ahead of your plan but how do you intend on implementing emphasis at character creation?
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Benedict » 22 Jul 2017, 11:10

nemedeus wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:
thirtythr33 wrote:When I’m getting a new proficiency, there’s still that weird situation where rank1 in a proficiency can be worse than rank0, similar to untrained skills versus rank 1 skills. Ie, if I have brawling 7, tapping 2 to sword is better than purchasing sword 1 and losing the ability to tap brawling. You could fix this by instead of reducing the cost the way you have, you have a flat cost of 4 to open a new skill, plus the new rank you are going to and allowing tap to skip ranks. Ie, if you are opening with 0 tap, it costs you 4+1=5 to get a new proficiency. If you already have tap2, it costs you 4+3=7 to start at rank3. Compared to your method, it only costs 1 pt less for tap2 characters but it pushes you over that “hump”.
The problem is that the moment you do that, we have the "but my default is now higher" problem again. This was one of the problems of defaulting from the last edition. You have Sword & Buckler 8 and buy Brawling at rank 5. Later, you increase Sword & Buckler to 12. Now your default is 6, but your Brawling is only rank 5. Then the player cries foul and claims that their Brawling should auto-upgrade. No matter how you answer that claim, you're introducing an incentive to game the system.
i was thinking about this.

my conclusion is: why not allow tapping your highest proficiency by default, up to a maximum of said proficiency. unless you consider not having to buy up all my proficiencies to the same rank to be gaming the system, there is no gaming the costs in this, except at character creation i guess? you could adjust the points you get from the priorities down to compensate.
This part has also been nagging me. In fact I was waiting for the combat chapters before asking. Anyway, since it came up, why not? :D

The problem is two-fold: the bump issue must be addressed, as well as the higher default issue we had in 'Bastards.

Agamemnon confirmed that when one forms CP he gets Reflex+Proficiency, or Reflex+Highest Prof Tap if he lacks the Prof in question.

One assumption (might be wrong) is that when you learn a Proficiency you also learn ONE associated Emphasis for free with said Proficiency, then you have to pay for extra Emphases beyond the first.

The cost for getting a Prof from zero up to Rank 3 is :
Rank 1 : 5
Rank 2 : 2
Rank 3 : 3
Total : 10

With Tap 1 (Priority 2+) cost becomes 4/2/3 = 9
With Tap 2 (Priority3+) cost becomes 3/2/3 = 8
With Tap 3 (Priority5 exclusive) cost becomes 2/2/3 = 7

My suggestion is this.
If you have zero taps within a Proficiency category (Melee, Ranged) you buy ranks normally.
When you have a relative (Melee/Ranged) Proficiency that provides a tap bonus and you want to learn a new Proficiency from scratch you must buy at once up to the Tap value in one go when learning the new Proficiency minus the Tap value.

Meaning that when learning a new Proficiency and :
Your highest Prof is 4, you must buy to Rank 1 for 4pts.
Your highest Prof is 7, you must buy to Rank 2 for 5pts.
Your highest Prof is 10+, you must buy to Rank 3 for 7pts.

That way we have these interesting effects:
Your CP stays the same when you learn the new Proficiency (you were tapping after all for CP formation) but you get one Emphasis for that Proficiency.
The cost is the same as it is now, but you avoid that awkward bump when your Tap is 2 or 3.
You simulate the fact that the experienced fighter has an easier time (less total cost) of learning a new Proficiency by discounting through your tap value.
You simulate the fact that a very specialized field of knowledge (Tap2+) can inhibit your efforts of breaking the basics for new fields by having to pay in one go up to your Tap value.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In general I have to say that I really like the direction Scoundrels is heading to, despite my earlier (overly voiced) concerns. Scale has gone in the correct direction (at least for me), Traits are awesome, and I can't wait for Faction mechanics.

The only thing that struck me as odd is the Karma table. It's the only thing that has substantially went up, almost double from what Bastards was. Tbh I fear it is too much.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by nemedeus » 22 Jul 2017, 12:43

Benedict wrote: The only thing that struck me as odd is the Karma table. It's the only thing that has substantially went up, almost double from what Bastards was. Tbh I fear it is too much.
well tbh, is karma expended when you make a new character or is karma a total that stays with the player forever? maybe have a "karma cost" for additional prioritiy points?
that said, i always thought the karma system was a bit weird the way it previously worked. having a kind of permanent "bank" for it with which to buy extra priority points when you make a new character makes more sense to me personally
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Benedict » 22 Jul 2017, 12:53

That is a thought. Not bad at all I should add. Still I think that Karma tiers are really higher than what it used to be.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Agamemnon » 22 Jul 2017, 14:02

nemedeus wrote:i was thinking about this.

my conclusion is: why not allow tapping your highest proficiency by default, up to a maximum of said proficiency. unless you consider not having to buy up all my proficiencies to the same rank to be gaming the system, there is no gaming the costs in this, except at character creation i guess? you could adjust the points you get from the priorities down to compensate.

now on the other hand, that also would discourage branching out (i would like to get ranged proficiencies too, but i feel that i often don't have the points for it. doubly so once magic is on the table).

btw, i know I'm getting ahead of your plan but how do you intend on implementing emphasis at character creation?
That creates its own kind of weirdness. What you want that to mean is that when you're using a proficiency that is less than your maximum, you get the tap to help make up the difference. What it will actually mean is that a character with 10 in swords will have a tap 3. Which creates the weird moment where you have more dice with your 8 Brawling than your 10 swords that you're actually better at. Or worse, you have 10 in each and thus effectively rank 13 because you're always tapping the one when you're using the other.

The other option is that we have to build another exception into the rules and declare that tapping one into the other can't exceed the highest of the two (so tapping your 10 brawling into your 8 will bring it up to 10 dice but not exceed 10 dice). Aside from my dislike of rules exceptions, this creates the weird scenario where you technically have a ceiling on your proficiencies. You're effectively picking your highest proficiency at character creation and you'll never want to raise anything higher than that proficiency -3.

Even weirder, if you ever want to change what your character's focus is (you're playing Dunk the Lunk, brawler-turned-hedgeknight and at some point you want your Longsword to be better than your Brawling) you still wind up with three dead levels where the rank increases don't matter, only instead of these three dead levels being 2+2+3+4 = 11 points, the three dead levels would be 8+9+10+11= 28 points.

My main issue is not so much "Gaming the system" (which is annoying) but a distaste for when players have to try and manipulate the mechanics and make decisions about their character based on the optimal way to manipulate those mechanics rather than just based on what their character would do or what they want for that character. Effectively forcing players to choose one proficiency to be their "main proficiency" because raising others would be wasted leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
nemedeus wrote:btw, i know I'm getting ahead of your plan but how do you intend on implementing emphasis at character creation?
Benedict wrote:One assumption (might be wrong) is that when you learn a Proficiency you also learn ONE associated Emphasis for free with said Proficiency, then you have to pay for extra Emphases beyond the first.
Benedict has it.
Benedict wrote:[all that suggestion]
I'll chew on that. I don't know if I want to permanently tie proficiency costs to priority tier after character creation, but I am warming to the idea of just making you pay the full cost of the thing at once so we don't have the argument at all.
nemedeus wrote:
Benedict wrote: The only thing that struck me as odd is the Karma table. It's the only thing that has substantially went up, almost double from what Bastards was. Tbh I fear it is too much.
well tbh, is karma expended when you make a new character or is karma a total that stays with the player forever? maybe have a "karma cost" for additional prioritiy points?
that said, i always thought the karma system was a bit weird the way it previously worked. having a kind of permanent "bank" for it with which to buy extra priority points when you make a new character makes more sense to me personally
Karma, pg 66 wrote:The character’s total karma provides a bonus to the player’s next character within the same campaign. This bonus manifests itself as extra points to spend on the priority table when creating the new character.
The purpose of Karma is not to reward you for having played our game for years (amusing as that would be). The purpose of Karma is so that if you're playing a long campaign and your dude dies, your next character won't be starting from "level 1" so to speak. By the time you've burnt enough points to earn a karma bump, you (and presumably the rest of the group) will have made quite a few advancements and had a lot of development. This way your new character is kept in relative parity with the group as a whole. Your new character will start with zero karma. If you start a new campaign, everyone starts over with zero karma because it wasn't meant to carry over between campaigns. An exception could here be made if it was a new campaign featuring the same characters, at the GM's discretion.

Karma has gone up significantly in response to thirtythr33's observation that in the previous edition, the difference between +1 priority bonus was worth way more than 11 SA points was. As it stands now, I fully suspect he will show up with some math to let us know that the categories still aren't high enough. It's debatable whether 25 Drive Points could recreate the difference between a t4 and a t5 if that's how the character chose to use it.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Benedict » 22 Jul 2017, 14:28

Agamemnon wrote:Karma has gone up significantly in response to thirtythr33's observation that in the previous edition, the difference between +1 priority bonus was worth way more than 11 SA points was. As it stands now, I fully suspect he will show up with some math to let us know that the categories still aren't high enough. It's debatable whether 25 Drive Points could recreate the difference between a t4 and a t5 if that's how the character chose to use it.
Depends how fast one earns Drive points. Take Floating City for example. The game has run for 29 Scenes so far, spread in 2 Acts. I joined in this endeavor 14 months ago, and Ferran has been active for nearly 20 Scenes, not counting the one he soloed.

Karma so far? 8. By Bastards standard that means I need 3 more to reach the +1 Priority Mark.

If I was transfering Karma from Bastards to Scoundrels I'd need 17 points more. If we continue in a similar pace and my activity is atleast as constant as before that translates roughly to 30 new Scenes and 2 years of play at least. 3 years playing the same character to reach the +1 Priority Bonus sounds A LOT.

I'm not saying that it should stretch like Bastards up to +9 Priority bonus, that's kinda absurd -- for my tastes at least.

Still I was thinking that a scale similar to Bastards that caps at +4 or +5 would be better.

Or maybe something like this:

Karma / Bonus
0-10 = +0
11-25 = +1
26-40 = +2
41-55 = +3
56-70 = +4
71+ = +5
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Agamemnon » 22 Jul 2017, 14:52

Benedict wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:Karma has gone up significantly in response to thirtythr33's observation that in the previous edition, the difference between +1 priority bonus was worth way more than 11 SA points was. As it stands now, I fully suspect he will show up with some math to let us know that the categories still aren't high enough. It's debatable whether 25 Drive Points could recreate the difference between a t4 and a t5 if that's how the character chose to use it.
Depends how fast one earns Drive points. Take Floating City for example. The game has run for 29 Scenes so far, spread in 2 Acts. I joined in this endeavor 14 months ago, and Ferran has been active for nearly 20 Scenes, not counting the one he soloed.

Karma so far? 8. By Bastards standard that means I need 3 more to reach the +1 Priority Mark.

If I was transfering Karma from Bastards to Scoundrels I'd need 17 points more. If we continue in a similar pace and my activity is atleast as constant as before that translates roughly to 30 new Scenes and 2 years of play at least. 3 years playing the same character to reach the +1 Priority Bonus sounds A LOT.

I'm not saying that it should stretch like Bastards up to +9 Priority bonus, that's kinda absurd -- for my tastes at least.

Still I was thinking that a scale similar to Bastards that caps at +4 or +5 would be better.

Or maybe something like this:

Karma / Bonus
0-10 = +0
11-25 = +1
26-40 = +2
41-55 = +3
56-70 = +4
71+ = +5
You still have the problem with the karma threshold being way, way too low. Pretend for a moment you make a character with a T4 in skills. Once play begins, you wind up buying a new skill at rank 4 between sessions. In the process, you've spent 14 points (5+2+3+4). You can now instantly retire that character and make an identical character who can afford a T5 in skills, with 10 more skill points than you had before. For the advancement cost of 4 points in a skill, you get 10 points of skills. Making this even more ridiculous, those 10 points could all be placed on the highest ends of your existing skills making them worth drastically more in drive points than their face values would indicate, as the value of an ability goes up the more of it you already have.

As it stands, you can't judge the pace of a game by the pace of a play-by-post. I've been running my test campaign for about two months now. Weekly sessions in 3-4 hour blocks. Tonight will be session seven or session eight. By my notes, we've already been through 22 "significant" scenes. 29 if you count total scenes. PCs have each earned between 1-4 drive points per game, and two of them have already started racking up karma — though my players are still trying to hoard their points I think. They like having the big numbers, I think.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Benedict » 22 Jul 2017, 15:25

Agamemnon wrote:
Benedict wrote:[all that suggestion]
I'll chew on that. I don't know if I want to permanently tie proficiency costs to priority tier after character creation, but I am warming to the idea of just making you pay the full cost of the thing at once so we don't have the argument at all.
Missed that part earlier. The idea is not to tie prof cost to priority tier. Tie it to the highest Prof instead. Do I turn my Priority 1 Proficiency scholar (hehe) into a master swordsman by spending everything into Swords (Rapier) up to 10? I turn my Swords Tap to 3. From that point on learning new Melee Proficiencies would require me to pay up to 3rd Rank in one go.

I might be mistaken, but while Priority Pick 5 for Atr and Skill is the ONLY way to get a Rank 9+ for a SINGLE ability in said area, Proficiency doesn't restrict the player in that way. I can have a starting character with Prof5 Rapier11 Firearms11 and 6 points to spare. Or a Prof4 Rapier9 Firearm9 starter. Or any other combination, with Prof10 being a viable goal - even if a very long-term one in case of low Priority pick.
Agamemnon wrote:You still have the problem with the karma threshold being way, way too low. Pretend for a moment you make a character with a T4 in skills. Once play begins, you wind up buying a new skill at rank 4 between sessions. In the process, you've spent 14 points (5+2+3+4).
In the aforementioned example of FC that's 6 points more. Still you're right that a PBP is not the way to judge game flow. There were times of hectic activity, then weeks of radio silence. If we'd played table-style weekly 4hr sessions I'd say that these 14 months would account to something less than two months. Maybe 6 sessions.
Agamemnon wrote:You can now instantly retire that character and make an identical character who can afford a T5 in skills, with 10 more skill points than you had before. For the advancement cost of 4 points in a skill, you get 10 points of skills. Making this even more ridiculous, those 10 points could all be placed on the highest ends of your existing skills making them worth drastically more in drive points than their face values would indicate, as the value of an ability goes up the more of it you already have.
When a player pulls a stunt like that on me, first I'll decapitate him, then I'll drink his blood with a stove flue. :twisted: :lol:

In all seriousness tho, who would do that just for a +1 Priority bonus? He could ask it right from the start. 8-)

Anyway, personally I'd probably avoid the Karma thing all together. If someone died mid-campaign we'd have a chat as a group, then probably ask him to make a new character with some bonuses (depending on how much he spent so far) to bring him on par with the party.

Not so sure if there's a need for a mechanic to model that.
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Re: Beta feedback: Initiation and Character Creation

Post by Agamemnon » 22 Jul 2017, 16:13

Benedict wrote: I might be mistaken, but while Priority Pick 5 for Atr and Skill is the ONLY way to get a Rank 9+ for a SINGLE ability in said area, Proficiency doesn't restrict the player in that way. I can have a starting character with Prof5 Rapier11 Firearms11 and 6 points to spare. Or a Prof4 Rapier9 Firearm9 starter. Or any other combination, with Prof10 being a viable goal - even if a very long-term one in case of low Priority pick.
Skills and attributes are set up the way they are because the normal human range is 2-8. By picking a t5, you're essentially buying the ability to be a hafthor bjornsson or a steven hawking kind of character where there is just something about your makeup that lets you get to an absurd level of competency that normal people aren't going to be able to approach no matter how hard they train. Proficiencies aren't handled the same way simply because you are almost never in a position where you're rolling them unopposed, and there is such a level of diminishing returns at the upper end that we don't really need to cap it. The normal people you'll fight will tend to have 10-12 dice and at a certain point it doesn't matter whether you have 17 dice or 25. Your opponent will only ever get so dead. The possible exceptions might be for fights vs. multiples and fights vs PCs who are in a similar arms race.
Benedict wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:You can now instantly retire that character and make an identical character who can afford a T5 in skills, with 10 more skill points than you had before. For the advancement cost of 4 points in a skill, you get 10 points of skills. Making this even more ridiculous, those 10 points could all be placed on the highest ends of your existing skills making them worth drastically more in drive points than their face values would indicate, as the value of an ability goes up the more of it you already have.
When a player pulls a stunt like that on me, first I'll decapitate him, then I'll drink his blood with a stove flue. :twisted: :lol:
In all seriousness tho, who would pull that just for a +1 Priority bonus? He could ask it right from the start. 8-)
Sure. But on the other hand, imagine that same scenario but a PC eats a bullet. They could have spent the three points to survive the wound (Not Quite Dead Yet), but then they realize "well hell, if I let this dude die my next character is going to be more powerful than this guy anyway." The design is supposed to compensate the player, not incentivize them.
Benedict wrote:Anyway, I personally would probably avoid the Karma thing all together. If someone died mid-campaign we'd have a chat as a group, then probably ask him to make a new character with some bonuses (depending on how much he spent so far) to bring him on par with the party.

Not so sure if there's a need for a mechanic to model that.
A "bonus depending on how much he spent so far" is exactly what that mechanic is. Karma also serves a couple of other important purposes. It incentivizes players to burn points, it's a nice feeling of "keeping track" of how long that character has been in play, and it takes some of the sting out of losing drive points for going against your drives, or paying off temptations because those points will ultimately still benefit you.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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