On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Talk about any rules that don't directly fall under personal combat
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Korbel
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby Korbel » 02 Aug 2016, 14:34

nemedeus wrote:Your character's drive/passion/whatever is what makes him excel, and the extent of his excellence is proportional to how good he is (more dice from skills -> more likely to get bonus from explosions).

That's an interesting idea.
Or you could say that burning a SA Point gives you Advantage for the duration of the conflict (skill roll, Full Contest, combat). You can use this anytime. Even if your current SAs would not fire - but in this case you don't get a reward for engaging / winning in a conflict.

Or
SA "firing" just means you get an Advantage.

But I suspect Agamemnon and Higgins don't fancy having too many potential sources of Advantages.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby higgins » 03 Aug 2016, 02:29

nemedeus wrote:- SA firing stays, and while it doesn't grant bonus dice, it makes that roll explode*.
- When burning SA for dice, the roll also explodes (even when the SA is not firing).

I've been arguing for the first part in our private conversations with Agamemnon for quite some time. The second part (that all dice will explode whenever you dip into the SAs) I hadn't thought of.

Korbel wrote:Or
SA "firing" just means you get an Advantage.

But I suspect Agamemnon and Higgins don't fancy having too many potential sources of Advantages.

It's true. We don't want that, but not because it would make things easy. Advantages don't stack. So, that'd mean that if your SA is firing, there would be no mechanical reason to play smart and angle for advantages if a firing SA is already giving you an advantage anyway.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby nemedeus » 03 Aug 2016, 03:44

higgins wrote:The second part (that all dice will explode whenever you dip into the SAs) I hadn't thought of.
I'll admit that, now that I think about it, I can see why - never mind that part actually, it made more sense before I wrote it down.

This also means that there need not be a conversion rate change, although I'd advocate for SOME mechanic that allows a 1:2 conversion.

Maybe "two SAs firing"?
That would make sense only if the dice for spending are not directly bound to SAs.
Which would look a lot like "Tenacity" from my own game, which I told you about in pm some time back.
Either way, you probably have more interesting and dynamic ideas for this.

higgins wrote:It's true. We don't want that, but not because it would make things easy. Advantages don't stack. So, that'd mean that if your SA is firing, there would be no mechanical reason to play smart and angle for advantages if a firing SA is already giving you an advantage anyway.
Agreed.

Also: I talked before about "cool" mechanics and "specificality". With this suggestion, exploding dice are entirely linked to SA, which in my mind makes SA at least 20% cooler.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby Korbel » 03 Aug 2016, 05:06

higgins wrote:It's true. We don't want that, but not because it would make things easy. Advantages don't stack. So, that'd mean that if your SA is firing, there would be no mechanical reason to play smart and angle for advantages if a firing SA is already giving you an advantage anyway.

And what was the reason to make Advantages and Disadvantages non-stackable, actually? You probably said this somewhere else, but I can't remember.

nemedeus wrote:With this suggestion, exploding dice are entirely linked to SA, which in my mind makes SA at least 20% cooler.

It's cool, indeed. SA "firing -> possible "explosions". Nice.
But it brings some complications. In our game we were sometimes forgetting about exploding a dice. And now it would be even worse. You have a superior tool or better position? Advantage. You care about what you're doing? Exploding dice. New players are going to be confused, I can see it already.
Under current rules you just increase your pool. It is different from Advantage, too. But here you can see those numbers on your sheet, You just add them and you go. With Exploding Dice, you would have to remember about this new rule, which is not used in other rolls.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby nemedeus » 03 Aug 2016, 05:57

Korbel wrote:
higgins wrote:It's true. We don't want that, but not because it would make things easy. Advantages don't stack. So, that'd mean that if your SA is firing, there would be no mechanical reason to play smart and angle for advantages if a firing SA is already giving you an advantage anyway.

And what was the reason to make Advantages and Disadvantages non-stackable, actually? You probably said this somewhere else, but I can't remember.
I think it was, ironically, for simplicity's sake.

Korbel wrote:But it brings some complications. In our game we were sometimes forgetting about exploding a dice. And now it would be even worse. You have a superior tool or better position? Advantage. You care about what you're doing? Exploding dice. New players are going to be confused, I can see it already.
[...]
Under current rules you just increase your pool. It is different from Advantage, too. But here you can see those numbers on your sheet, You just add them and you go. With Exploding Dice, you would have to remember about this new rule, which is not used in other rolls.
Actually, i think having two different things use two different mechanics is more memorable than one catch-all mechanic. That's what i call "specificality" -- specific rules (on the very base level of the game, the numbers that we can push around) for specific things (narrative things that happen in game).

Possible confusion with new players > the increasing dullness of a catch-all mechanic.
It's main reason i can't get anything out of minimalistic games like Risus or Fate. I mean, Fate is basically "freeform for people who don't want to admit it" as it is.

Also, caring about something doesn't make it easier, it makes you try harder. Which, i think, is beautifully reflected by the "Advantage->TN-1; SA->exploding dice" solution. I'm dubbing this "analogicity", because i like silly names for complex concepts of game design.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby Korbel » 03 Aug 2016, 06:20

nemedeus wrote:I think it was, ironically, for simplicity's sake.

Yeah, probably.

nemedeus wrote:Also, caring about something doesn't make it easier, it makes you try harder.

That's very true, but... the difficulty is expressed as an Obstacle. Target Number is "what the character brings to the roll" (as on p13... I know it's more about tools, but still). You could say that the character brings extra motivation - gets Advantage (TN shift).

I don't know what to say about "specificality vs catch-all" aspect. I need more experience in designing games, now it's about 0 ;)
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby higgins » 03 Aug 2016, 08:58

Korbel wrote:And what was the reason to make Advantages and Disadvantages non-stackable, actually? You probably said this somewhere else, but I can't remember.

The TN shift is exponential. One step difference up or down is... well, a (dis)advantage. Two steps is a massive difference. Three steps is basically an insurmountable difference compared to TN6. So, if we'd allow (dis)advantage stacking, the rule of diminishing returns would actually become a rule of compounding interests instead.

Plus I'm sure some rules-abuser would find away to get their TN down to 1 or 2. :roll: Unless we set barriers, add more special rules, blah-blah-blah... not worth it.

nemedeus wrote:I mean, Fate is basically "freeform for people who don't want to admit it" as it is.

Haha, that's a good one! :lol:

Korbel wrote:
nemedeus wrote:Also, caring about something doesn't make it easier, it makes you try harder.

That's very true, but... the difficulty is expressed as an Obstacle. Target Number is "what the character brings to the roll" (as on p13... I know it's more about tools, but still). You could say that the character brings extra motivation - gets Advantage (TN shift).

It makes sense to me. TN is the condition you're in. Ob is the difficulty. Advantage/disadvantage are situational modifiers. If you are motivated, the exploding dice mean you have a chance of performing better than your usual dice pool would suggest. Plus SA burning would allow you to "try harder" aka get extra dice into the effort.

Advantage and disadvantage are never about motivation though.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby Korbel » 03 Aug 2016, 10:10

higgins wrote:Plus I'm sure some rules-abuser would find away to get their TN down to 1 or 2. :roll: Unless we set barriers, add more special rules, blah-blah-blah... not worth it.

This is why GM has the final word. If you can find five good and different reasons and your TN ends up being 1, than you probably deserve the results.

higgins wrote:It makes sense to me. TN is the condition you're in. Ob is the difficulty. Advantage/disadvantage are situational modifiers. If you are motivated, the exploding dice mean you have a chance of performing better than your usual dice pool would suggest. Plus SA burning would allow you to "try harder" aka get extra dice into the effort.

Exploding dice, extra dice and a lower TN all have the same exact result: more successes on average. The question is: do you need them all? Maybe it would be easier and more elegant to keep just one of them?
Exploding dice: with smaller pools they're not going to be useful often and they slow down the process of rolling.
Extra dice: their impact on smaller polls is bigger, than on bigger pools.
Shifting TN: affects pools evenly and is already used in the game (wounds, Advantages). Well, maybe the results are not gradual enough (but it is to be discussed, how much granularity you need).

higgins wrote:Advantage and disadvantage are never about motivation though.

It doesn't even have to be called an Advantage/Disadvantage. Just say that when your SA is firing (or when you burn a point), you get a -1 TN shift.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby EinBein » 03 Aug 2016, 15:04

I definitely don't share your sentiment on this one, Korbel. This is going a huge step too far into direction of oversimplification to my taste.

TN change is by far too rough and I'm a huge fan of limiting it to one point up or down. Especially as the main effect should still come from physical condition of the character and nothing else. The more subtle changes to dice pool and exploding dice allow for additional variations and don't add too much complexity imho. Anyways, you are right in pointing out that the effects scale differently for pool sizes, but this isn't a gamebraker that justifies such radical oversimplification.

I fear that threads like these invite too many "revolutionary" ideas that tend to forget the balance of the two core pillars of the game system: simple mechanics on the one hand that are still enabling vivid stories of fictional realism on the other.

If the trend develops too much into the direction of simplification, we'll end up with a ruleset like Savage Worlds. The other direction is Burning Wheel or SoS. Both are not desirable, so please keep as much as it is as possible!
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby Korbel » 03 Aug 2016, 18:17

EinBein wrote:TN change is by far too rough and I'm a huge fan of limiting it to one point up or down.

Let's use TrosHAXE to check this... http://glidias.github.io/Asharena/demos ... ility.html

For example, you must roll a Skill. Your Pool is 5, Ob is 3. HAXE says it's 50%. OK.

Now, your SA is firing (2 dice) and you have a tool granting you Advantage.
With 7 dice, TN 5, your chance is 90%.

And if you use my system (double TN Shifts)?
5 dice, TN 4 - chance is 83%.

As we know, this is largely because extra dice have such a big impact on smaller Pools (the original issue). And what do I mean by smaller Pools? Well, up to 8 dice. With Pools bigger than 9 (which is a breaking point), a double TN Shift gives you a better chance to succed, than a single Shift + 2 extra dice.

And what is more common? Pools bigger, or smaller than 9? Obviously the latter.

Stackable TN Shifts can have advantage if you find three (or more) reasons to lower your TN. But how often is it going to be? With a common sense and a veto-power of the GM, I say it should be really rare. But when it happens, you do probably deserve it.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby nemedeus » 04 Aug 2016, 08:34

Is this where we start talking about a BoBd6?

higgins wrote:Haha, that's a good one! :lol:

I mean, other than inventing the tempting mechanic -- which is absolutely fantastic, mind you -- Fate basically has just one rule ("make an opposed roll")* Also, fudge dice are awful. Seriously, i hate them.

*("pick a number, any number" anyone?)

EinBein wrote:If the trend develops too much into the direction of simplification, we'll end up with a ruleset like Savage Worlds.
Amen Bruder!

Korbel wrote:This is why GM has the final word.
Honestly, that is a sentence i never want to see in a design decision.

The "It's up to the GM" rule aka Golden Rule is a terrible rule, and one that i'd really like the hobby to abolish wherever possible.

The Dark Eye 4th edition, one of the most terrible rule systems i know, was designed with a mindset that has this rule ingrained. The results speak for themselves (giving us numbers that don't matter and rules that are "optional", which just means "not recommended" - which makes no sense).

Tabletop Design Rule 0: "write rules as if everyone is going to use all of them."

-- END RANT --

Korbel wrote:As we know, this is largely because extra dice have such a big impact on smaller Pools (the original issue). And what do I mean by smaller Pools? Well, up to 8 dice. With Pools bigger than 9 (which is a breaking point), a double TN Shift gives you a better chance to succed, than a single Shift + 2 extra dice.
Actually, I think that SA should have a bigger impact on smaller pools, particularly now that we have to burn them for extra d.


Something else that we haven't exhaustively talked about:
The way i see it, the system was designed so that regularly getting ~3d from SA is all but necessary to succeed in a Bastard's Life. With these new changes, obviously SA don't "have your back" as much as before.
It still makes sense to burn 2 SA points every Scene, obviously, even if burn dice are spent on a single roll (which i'd have assumed) as opposed to "last until end of scene".

In other words, there are two problems:

1) the safety net is now way less safe than before.

2) no intrinsic Incentive to keep your SA high.
(Although there is still the extrinsic incentive of "too good to use". You want to keep your SA high cause you don't know when you will really really need them. Obviously, they aren't meant to be overly scarce in the first place, but, you know...)

I've got a few ideas:

About 2), simply give a bonus effect when your SA is 5 (or 4). Like, have dice also explode when they land on a 9 if the firing SA is at 4 or 5. This wouldn't make sense with classic add-number dice explosion, but in BoB it's concievable.
All assuming that SA firing doesn't stack, and that burn dice from different SA don't stack either (in other words, burn dice need to come from one SA).

For 1), well, mostly 1:2 conversion (which is kinda meh). I'd been thinking about "Attribute burning" (only 1 point at a time but you get 4+[value before burn]d! or something) but that has its own problems.
Maybe have an additional Attribute that does that? (like for example Edge from Shadowrun) ... nah, that would be stupid.
Guess we'll just have to live the dangerous life from now on, hahaha


Another question: are we on the same page that with the new model, instead of "burning" SA for stat increases, burned SA move to a "experience points" bank? Or did i misunderstand this.


Sidenote - might be a cool add-on/lever: different types of SA with different "emphases" as back in TROS. A "Drive" could enhance the Grin and bear it effect, for instance. "Luck" could have the aforementioned Explosion TN 9 (insead of giving it to any SA).


And, because i just spotted it:

thirtythr33 wrote:Huh? With the combined dice, someone arguing to get Agility + Stealth vs Cunning + Stealth is probably only wheedling 2 or so dice difference. With the 1-10 attribute and skill system, wheedling between a Social Attribute test or a Manipulation Skill test might be 5+ dice difference. If you make the ruling that "if it is close to a Skill, then it's the Skill and never the Attribute" then Speed, Acumen, Willpower and Social are basically dump stats.

I agree that these Attributes need more applications, overall.

Suggestions:
1) make them spendable for something?
2) tie SA burning effects to them?

this is stupid.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby Korbel » 04 Aug 2016, 09:25

nemedeus wrote:Amen Bruder!

What does using German words mean? What are you up to?
Einbein, bitte, vergesse nicht du bist Halfte-Polnisch :D

nemedeus wrote:Tabletop Design Rule 0: "write rules as if everyone is going to use all of them."

You can't escape this Golden Rule, I'm afraid.
Just like with shooting into melee. Ii was proposed to "target" your friend and intentionally fail your Placement roll (to actually hit the second combatant, that is your enemy). And the answer was:
Image

What do you think - how often players are going to have three (or more) different reasons to Shift their TN? Sticking to the Skill roll example - you can have a superior tool, extra motivation (SA firing) and than what? What else can you bring to the roll?
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby higgins » 04 Aug 2016, 12:38

nemedeus wrote:About 2), simply give a bonus effect when your SA is 5 (or 4). Like, have dice also explode when they land on a 9 if the firing SA is at 4 or 5. This wouldn't make sense with classic add-number dice explosion, but in BoB it's concievable.

Actually that was one of my early suggestions to Agamemnon to keep the SA rating there.

Image

The problem with that being that if your base TN is 9. What happens if you roll an 8? Do you still reroll it, despite it not being a success? That feels kind of wrong. Same holds true for your example, with base TN 10 and rolling a 9.

nemedeus wrote:Another question: are we on the same page that with the new model, instead of "burning" SA for stat increases, burned SA move to a "experience points" bank? Or did i misunderstand this.

Any burnt SA goes to Karma, regardless of how you burn it. Don't see a reason to change it.

Korbel wrote:
nemedeus wrote:Tabletop Design Rule 0: "write rules as if everyone is going to use all of them."

You can't escape this Golden Rule, I'm afraid.
Just like with shooting into melee. Ii was proposed to "target" your friend and intentionally fail your Placement roll (to actually hit the second combatant, that is your enemy). And the answer was:
Image

Well, to me, the placement is a clear rules abuse, whereas a GM-imposed restriction on something that is by RAW stacking sounds like to him going: "Nonono, you can't roll so many dice!" Which is basically an abuse of authority.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby Korbel » 04 Aug 2016, 13:32

higgins wrote:Well, to me, the placement is a clear rules abuse, whereas a GM-imposed restriction on something that is by RAW stacking sounds like to him going: "Nonono, you can't roll so many dice!" Which is basically an abuse of authority.

OK, first show me how one could possibly get three Advantages at the same time. With a skill or combat roll. Even with SAs working like an Advantage, it's going to be quite hard. Well, maybe in combat? There is a possibility that a character has a SA firing, won a positioning roll and is performing a Maneuver granting him Advantage... but with such favorable conditions it's probably just to let him roll at TN3. His Pool is probably going to be quite small anyway (after commiting dice to Positioning and paying an AC) - and with small Pools, stacking TN Shifts is not a problem (as above). Anyway, it would be rare. And I don't see how this could break the game (the trick with Placement Rolls is much worse and goes perfectly RAW).

When I was saying about the veto-power for the GM, I was thinking more about some absurd situations, like the player saying: "oh, I have an Advantage because I was sleeping in a super-comfy bed... oh! and another Advantage - I had a great breakfast... and another because of this, and another because of that". So than the GM tells him to shut up and kicks him out of the door, eating his character sheet.
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Re: On Skills, Attributes, and their intersection with SAs.

Postby nemedeus » 05 Aug 2016, 07:59

Korbel wrote:What does using German words mean? What are you up to?
Einbein, bitte, vergesse nicht du bist Halfte-Polnisch :D
Don't mind me, I'm just germanning around... xD

(seriously though, i just don't like Savage Worlds that much. It's okay for oneshots, but that's pretty much it.)

higgins wrote:Actually that was one of my early suggestions to Agamemnon to keep the SA rating there.

The problem with that being that if your base TN is 9. What happens if you roll an 8? Do you still reroll it, despite it not being a success? That feels kind of wrong. Same holds true for your example, with base TN 10 and rolling a 9.
I must admit i haven't thought about that.

I'll say though, it doesn't feel wrong to me.
Obviously, with the old model ∀x: diceroll Explode(x) => Success(x) ("for all dicerolls, exploding implies success" -- damn, i don't get to use predicate logic enough these days), but is that really what exploding dice mean (particularly after the would be change to SA)?

That said, i would shift the 9up/8up areas one column to the right, nonetheless, for the 3/5 breakpoints which are already used in other places, no?

higgins wrote:Any burnt SA goes to Karma, regardless of how you burn it. Don't see a reason to change it.
Ah, i see.

In that case, i'll say the exchange rate should be 1:2 flat (at least for combat, still not sure about skills -- alternatively skills 1:2 / combat 1:3?! Iunno).

We can limit SA burning to 3 per roll, but even better would be the "burn dice =< skill dice" rule*, which makes sense anyway: it makes skills more valuable versus attributes, which is a good thing imo.

*or was it "burn dice =< (attribute + skill) dice"? Which would also be fine but wouldn't encourage skill specialization.

Korbel wrote:When I was saying about the veto-power for the GM, I was thinking more about some absurd situations, like the player saying: "oh, I have an Advantage because I was sleeping in a super-comfy bed... oh! and another Advantage - I had a great breakfast... and another because of this, and another because of that". So than the GM tells him to shut up and kicks him out of the door, eating his character sheet.
Well okay. I'd argue though, the rules are quite clear that these things you listed are not Advantages. In fact, this is another good reason to not have Advantages stackable, that way you prevent shenanigans like that from the very start.

I can appreciate the idea that we could define different types of Advantages (Tool Advantage, SA Advantage, Positioning Advantage etc.) that stack not with themselves but with eachother (kinda like AC bonuses in DnD 3e), but i don't think the game will be better for it.

(As pointed out before, TN shifts are HUGE, so much so that i'm half inclined to mod Wound TN Shifts if i ever run a game, or at least give my players options like for example a Gift** like "Made of Iron/Made of Steel (minor/major)" even though everyone is going to want that then.)

Finally:
Korbel wrote:Anyway, it would be rare.
See the thread about rule exceptions:
What exactly constitutes a "Rule Exception"?


**I love your work so far Agamemnon & Higgins, as i've hopefully made abundantly clear by now. The one thing that i'm missing in Bastards are "Feats"/"Stunts"/"Powers" or whatever you want to call them... but I'm gonna make a thread about that soon, i think, because i really want to talk about it. Teaser: they will work like the Narrative SA burns cause that's basically what i did in my own game.
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