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.