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Mayhem.com • View topic - Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Do you have suggestions? Questions? Are there mechanical or balance problems?

Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Postby ShadowKyogre » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:36 pm

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Re: Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Postby Maugh » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:48 pm

This is a great post and I'm glad you're spending the time to really dive into the content like that. There's a couple of things to keep in mind as you're going through working with monsters, though, that might make your life a little easier.

1. First of all, the work that you're doing with the Seraph and the Soul Thief is -exactly- the way this game is meant to be played. I love that you're taking the base concept ant twisting it just a little to fit your own game and to build your own unique characters. That gives players a sense of ownership over the game and increases your own engagement, and is awsome. I love it when people post that kind of stuff.

2. Don't stress about having a specific limit or goal to the number of abilities a character can buy. The numbers that were thrown out were pretty arbitrary, just a shot-from-the-hip suggestion for what I noticed made decent characters as we've been playing. Ultimately, this is a point-buy system, where people invest one way or another, based on the way that they want to play the game. I played a caster once who bought 50+ spells (in the arcane system, given,) and most of the pre-gens we use have 1-4 spells, and maybe 5-12 abilities total. Of course, those are simpler for new players, but still. Both methods are valid.

I would caution against maxing out too much on the inhuman attributes. Keep in mind that each Race/Curse/Talent can only have two of these attributes above 12. By mixing a race with a talent, they can get 4, and by mixing a race, talent and a curse, they can get up to 6, but by this point they've invested 40 points in races & talents, and are likely neglecting important skills. They are also likely shying away from a cohesive character design for the sake of maxing out as many dice as possible. This can seem like an advantage, but keep in mind that it is very difficult to balance that many abilities and still be able to cover all of a character's bases. A good storyteller will be able to spot a character's (often glaring) weaknesses, and will help them define their character by both their strengths AND their weaknesses. Most of the stonger characters have some glaring weakness, anyway. (vampire's sunlight, fae's metal, werewolf's silver, etc.)

A good character in this game is usually one who picks a style and concept and builds out from there, adding things as they best fit that character's story and tone. I've noticed that players that play the game longer will end up investing in a variety of skills, branching out on a single concept, rather than amping up attributes or buying hundreds of abilities. Both are valid ways of playing the game, of course, but solid character concepts tend to be more interesting than power-gamed characters.

On the same note, for a total attribute sum, I would shoot for the 65 total for point-bought characters, but to be honest, by far the best option is to use 12/11/10/9/8/7/6/5 distribution. This gives a really nice range of strengths, mid-ranges and weaknesses, and prevents characters from overly imbalancing.



2. On Divine versus Demonic Balance:

It's true that the book talks about a stale-mate between the demon and divine characters. If I were to interpret this from a world-building and character type, however, It might be a little more complicated.

Demons breed for war. Their numbers are massive in the demonic continent, particularly with the cucacharan, who is damn near unkillable. They're tough as nails and brutal characters. The Vraaj are similarly brutal, and are the demonic nobility. Succubi are not really a combat-geared race. They have other, well, charms. Fiends are great at stealth, but are also not as combat-advantaged as some others. Of course, that being said, one of the hardest hits I've seen in the game is a dive-bombing fiend with a scythe, backstabbing a character from stealth. Brutal.

The Aesir and Vanir are both very tough characters, between the Vanir's arcane armor and weapons and the Aesir's raw power and endurance, they're brutally strong. They're also heavily outnumbered, and their strength is likely the only reason they have survived their war with the demons.

The angelic divine characters are quite strong as well, but they maintain a stance of isolationism. It's awfully hard even for demons to conquer the high havens, considering they are a series of sub-continents floating high in the sky. Makes them a little tough to conquer.




From a back-end view, I really think it's appropriate for the divine characters to be a little tougher. Good should will out in the end. I also feel that as a counselor, it's healthy to explore darker ideas and emotions, I also feel it's healthy to encourage people to play good characters. The "spirit point," mechanic is an overt attempt to bribe characters into doing good deeds. It's also fun when they do. A countering argument could be made for the vampire, but it's notable that there is no "evil deed" counterpoint in the demons.

It is, however, interesting that you use the Seraph as the example of Divine dominance. I would have thought that the Divine Blade was the toughest one. I'm of the mind that for raw combat, it's the strongest character in the game. This is debatable, though, and probably not true when you factor in volume 2 content.


3. More infomation on the monster manual and DND conversion can be found here:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=507

(I figured it deserved its own thread.)
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Re: Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Postby ShadowKyogre » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:10 pm

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Re: Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Postby Maugh » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:13 pm

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Re: Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Postby Maugh » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:27 pm

The 50 spell character was, not shockingly, human. A lot of my characters are human, actually, usually to counter-point what other players are doing, but also because that 20 point ability boost is awfully hard to turn down. Many players go for the hardest-hitting beefcake they can build. I rather like tooling out strategic options.

I'm going to try to get a copy of the arcane magic system up wihtin the next week, if I can. Arcane magics are borderline addictive. You start adding a few, and then realize how close you are to the next school, and pick up a few there, and then the next, and the next, and before you know it, you're building an archmage who has neglected everything else in favor of MORE SPELLS.

Rather nice flavor, honestly. I've seen three or four players and characters fall into that honey-trap.
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Re: Test Designing, +attribute/melee/spell skills limit

Postby ShadowKyogre » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:49 pm

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