A few questions

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

A few questions

Postby Wazat » Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:51 pm

Hello again!

Some quick questions:

1) What's to stop a leeven from long-jumping 7 meters everywhere he goes (slow action normally gives 4 movement, but for long jump it's almost double)? Or is a leeven who has spent the points on Long Jump meant to be able to do so as his standard movement, all the time?
a) Same applies to Bound -- they're getting 5 meters for an average action (which is normally 3). Is this indefinitely repeatable (meaning, leeven hop and bound everywhere and are unreasonably fast)?
b) What about the Spear's weapon tech Vault? What (besides GM finger-wagging) would stop a player from vaulting everywhere? Does the jump require a skill roll?

2) Can Bound and Long Jump be combined with a charge or run-by attack?

3) There are two Charisma abilities named Small Favors. Is this just a mistake that will be corrected?

4) Ranged Disarm for the crossbow is marked as Active instead of Crit (it's a Crit action for longbows). Is this an intentional distinction between the weapons?

5) What's the throwing range for a javelin? I assume the Range 1,2 is for melee.

6) Staff marks its range as 2,3. Does this mean a staff wielder cannot effectively fight an opponent who is adjacent (and needs to back away)?

7) The spear weapons group seems like by far the most dynamic. This is amazing when combined with its fantastic d10 or d12 damage die (particularly for crit-happy characters like sneak-attackers). Has this difference not been a problem, or is a damage adjustment in the works?

I'm just concerned about sweep, precision strike, impaling throw, etc being piled onto a character who consistently crits or double-crits (through back attacks or sneaking) for +1d10 or +2d10 damage plus the weapon tech effects. I wonder if a sneaky character with another weapon would feel left out.

8) Possibly a dumb question, but do the melee techs Stun and Supreme Stun stack in a double-crit?

9) Casting through a staff increases the die you roll for the element check, e.g. pyromancy d12+4 becomes d14+4, right? It does nothing to affect other die rolls like damage or other effects?

10) What's the feedback cost for a spell when the player has 0 points in that element? E.g. pyromancy is untrained. I've been house-ruling it to double what it would cost for 1 point in the skill tree.

11) I know I've asked this before, but I'm wondering whether it's changed. Sylphs have perfect maneuverability in the air with their fly ability. Does this mean they don't need to pick up techniques for attacking and casting in mid-air, or does the first paragraph in page 39 still apply? The sylph's ability leaves it very open to interpretation, and it's come up in the past.

That's it for now. Thank you!
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:02 pm

1. a. Nothing will stop them from jumping around for the Leeven ability. The disadvantage is maneuverability. Straight lines for movement. Also. Rabbits are naturally really fast. Makes sense to me.
1. b. Vault I would make them do at least a standard move action to run into it, if only for the style of it.
2. Charge yes, run-by I would say no. Unless it was awesome, then I'd probably say yes. =P
3. This is a mistake, the kind that makes me grind my teeth and pull my hair out at night.
4. Ranged Disarm should be Crit. Good catch.
5. 1-2 for Melee, 5 for ranged. Also a good catch.
6. The longspear grip would prevent close combat. Of course, you could switch as an instant action to the quarterstaff grip...
7. Staves/Spears are awesome, and although I've probably played 20-30 sessions over the last year, i have yet to see anyone call them abusive. People have cited the Katana, the Lightsword, the Dagger, the Bow, the Greatsword, the Hatchet and Maul all as overpowered, each in different games. Personally, that tells me that the balance is doing pretty well. I could be proven wrong with further understanding, because I haven't seen someone dish it out with a spear like that. It is worth looking at again. I do like the dynamic style of a two-handed spear. I really like the idea of doing spears & shields as well. There's a reason why the spear is historically the most-used military weapon ever. Glad you're enjoying it. I don't think the sneaky daggers are left out. THey're easier to draw, easier to hide, and have plenty of umph through backstab abilities. I wouldn't mind seeing someone really try to trick out the spear, though. Haven't really seen it done.
8. Haven't thought about it. My gut says no. My brain says no too. (actually my gut asks why I'm typing when I should be eating.)
9. Yes, bigger spell power die. No on bigger damage or other effects.
10. Personally, I wouldn't let people cast magic untrained at all. It cheapens things a little. If you're using a magic item that would require it, that sounds like a DM discretion kind of a thing. I would still not let them cast untrained. I realize that's different that every other skill, but to me, it makes sense. Healing spells alone are enough reason to restrict that in my opinion.
11. Sylphs do not need to pick up techs for attacking or casting in mid-air. They're also a LOT slower in flight than winged characters. A good Ahrlen build can REALLY cruise. Winged flight moves 8 meters as a very slow action. The Ahrlen's dash flight ability puts that down to average. 10 levels in Athletics put that down to Very Fast. 1m maneuverability rating means they can turn on a dime, and they can get a few more tricks in the winged combat techniques. 8 that's spots of movement per VF action, and even more when diving. Don't count the birds out, just because the Sylph can cast/attack for free while flying.

As further clarification, winged Combat techniques aren't FLIGHT combat, they're WINGED combat. I can see the justification for letting the Sylph use them, but that's a GM decision. Personally, I would say no. (Unless it was awesome.)

Thanks for the questions, they make it easier to make spot-edits. We likely won't do another full draft of the book until we have a couple other projects out the door, but this is still really useful.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:47 am

6. Ah, my problem was I wasn't looking at the equipment page. The weapon tech page doesn't mention the staff close grip, only its long grip.

10. Probably a good plan. Then they have to devote at least 1 skill point to being able to cast their spells.

I actually have a custom magic item I'm considering making available to the party, described here. It would allow them to cast spells they don't know and without having ranks in the skill (but at a risk of losing the spell from the focus).

11. Ah, I understand. Basically sylphs are perma-flying (really hovering) but they don't have the speed or power of winged fliers.

12 (new). BTW, I have a player in my party who says he casts the aeromancy spell Flight on himself regularly, and on each party member, reducing feedback each time as needed. Doing this, he essentially has perma-flying on the while party, and land barriers no longer mean anything unless I create a reason why he's interrupted or they don't want to be in the air. I'm trying to determine whether that's a bad thing.

Although it looks like Flight has been changed to tone it down a lot (moving higher and better flight to circles 2 and 3, where the feedback is harder to trivialize).

Thanks for your responses, Rob!
-Dan
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:24 am

I did catch the spellstones post, but wanted to devote a little more time to responding to it. It's good stuff. Thanks for posting it. I'll try to get to it later today, if I can. Work's been a little crazy the last few weeks.


12. Dnd ran into the same difficulty with high-powered spells. Generally, the trick is for the GM to counter-balance these kinds of things. The hard counter to flight is gravity. An unconscious character will fall, which will compound their unconsciousness with damage. Falling rules in Mayhem are pretty severe. Maybe a little too much so, honestly, but it does make flight a dangerous thing.

It may make sense to have the spell only be able to affect one target at a time. Same thing could be said for the invisibility spells in Void. I may have to make that kind of a change, but I'd have to read them again..
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:58 am

One target at a time (old target loses flying when you use it on another) might be a good idea. It would solve the problem with whole-party flying from one caster, though that means the flier cannot bring another player along with him in those legitimate situations where they want to use magic to bypass the castle wall. It also doesn't solve the issue with one player declaring he flies all the time, but the risks of falling do address that a little better. He's not perma-hovering like a sylph, he has to be flying like a bird at all times.

BTW, one alternative is for the hour duration to be split among targets, so if you have 4 players flying from one caster, it only lasts 15 minutes, and the caster is spending a lot of time renewing the spell and reducing feedback. But that may be ugly as well, and not quite solve the problem.

Hrm...

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll remind my player about the tricks and risks of flight, and have him look at the new versions of the spells that split it by circle.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:32 am

Don't forget that the Storyteller always has the ability to adjust content that is disruptive. We'll try to make the most stable, balanced, interesting game that we can, but with literally thousands of abilities and our small crew, it would be impossible to catch everything for every situation. Your alternate duration rule sounds solid. I don't know if I would use it in our manual, but there's no reason why you couldn't use that rule for your players, if you feel that constant casting of the flight ability is too disruptive.

Also, some abilities, especially abilities that grant the players great mobility or outright circumvent game mechanics, do not necessarily make them immune to challenges. When played out right, these kinds of abilities open new challenges, even as they circumvent old ones.

A few examples:

A wall-crawling ability might make a pit or pit trap seem useless, which circumvents a challenge. On the other hand, wall-crawling characters might find themselves fighting wall-crawling opponents, like spiders or slimes. It would be hard for ground-characters to engage them directly like that, and it makes for a ridiculously cool visual that makes that character feel unique and powerful, while still providing challenge to keep them engaged.

A very fast character would zip around the battlefield, avoiding attacks. Maybe they fight a teleporting character, using their speed to their advantage, trying to keep up with instantaneous movement.

A flying character, for example, can overcome many environmental challenges, but what happens when they are faced with ranged attacks? The flying character is the most obvious target, but that can also be used as an advantage, drawing fire away from others, especially if they plan around that and build some defenses in magic or skills. What happens when they have to engage other flying targets? Aerial dogfighting actually works really well in this system, and can make that mechanic interesting for combat.

It can also help to encourage team-tactics. If you feel like one ability is really strong, figure out how they can use that to work -with- their team-mates. Collossus's strength is cool, but it's most interesting when he combines it with Wolverine's aggression, for the fastball special.

Anyway, food for thought.
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Re: A few questions

Postby TheMatt » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:03 am

7) The spear weapons group seems like by far the most dynamic. This is amazing when combined with its fantastic d10 or d12 damage die (particularly for crit-happy characters like sneak-attackers). Has this difference not been a problem, or is a damage adjustment in the works?

I'm just concerned about sweep, precision strike, impaling throw, etc being piled onto a character who consistently crits or double-crits (through back attacks or sneaking) for +1d10 or +2d10 damage plus the weapon tech effects. I wonder if a sneaky character with another weapon would feel left out.


I will have to build this and try it out.

Really ought to have filed each 'grip' as a distinct weapon under the weapons list, as well has 1H/2H variants, and melee/ranged variants. Not 100% sure we need a weapons list, actually, outside of an appendix. (Heresy, I know).

10. Probably a good plan. Then they have to devote at least 1 skill point to being able to cast their spells.

There used to be a 'zero' rule that you couldn't use magic you had zero ranks in..but I guess that was for Arcane magic.

12. Dnd ran into the same difficulty with high-powered spells.

High powered spells are partially for flavor. They are also the least often cast spells, and thus the least well-play tested spells...happily there aren't many of them.

BTW, one alternative is for the hour duration to be split among targets, so if you have 4 players flying from one caster, it only lasts 15 minutes, and the caster is spending a lot of time renewing the spell and reducing feedback. But that may be ugly as well, and not quite solve the problem.

This is a nifty idea. A million years ago, there was a boost called 'split' that allowed splitting spell effects. Had never considered splitting duration, but very flavorful. Splitting damage or effect would be cool.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:01 am

I have an Ahrlen named Schoah in my character sheet list who I built to basically exploit spears (but then grew to like as a character, so I rounded her out a little more to be more than a one-trick pony). High cunning and agility meets finesse with spears and some sneaking. She has great maneuverability and tight turns, allowing her to get fly-by-backattacks with a longspear grip very frequently (she flies in tight banks around the enemy's heads, ideally striking from outside their melee reach -- though she fears spells and arrows). Then she stacks on the crit and double-crit effects so that she knocks targets down, unhorses them, ignores armor when dealing damage, etc. And I make sure she can talk through situations well enough (I'm slowly breaking out of the bad habit of dumping charisma, which has the potential to be the most fun stat in the game).

So yea, I love Schoah. ^_^ I'm not sure how abusive she is with back-attack spears, but I want to see her in action more often just because she's such a fun design. And, as in any game, it's entertaining to see too much aggro suddenly take its natural course. Arrows love her more than she loves arrows, and despite her dodge roll, I imagine they'll be a potent problem once enough are amorously seeking her face. Muahahaha...


I don't have her character sheet in front of me, but assuming 50 skill points, here's a quickly tossed together example:

Str: 5
Agl: 10 (12)
End: 11
Will: 9
Intl: 7
Intu: 6 (8)
Cha: 8
Cun: 12

Skill Ranks (pre-bonuses):
Melee 5
Athletics 3
Dodge 5
Grit 3
Charm 3
Sneak 3
Empathy 2
Perception 2

Ahrlen:
Sprinting Flight
Maneuverability
-future: stronger wings and dash flight (once you have the points to throw around)

Ability Tech:
Sneak Attack
Elusive (if you have the points)

Flight Tech:
Dive Attack
Flyby Attack
Tight Bank (if you have the points)

Spear Tech:
Finesse
Sweep
Flurry
Follow-through
Precision Strike
-later: Long Thrust & Unhorse
-later: Full Sweep, Great Flurry and/or Second Chance

Excuse any mistakes, I just sort of threw this together without lots of time to think it through. Also, I'm used to the first edition rules, so new changes & fixes may have eluded me.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:33 pm

Although we really try to make damage relatively balanced across a variety of strategies, in hopes of making the game playable with a variety of character concepts, you have to admit.

What you're desribing is a dive-bombing winged character impaling someone with a spear and driving them to the ground.

If that doesn't do a crap-ton of damage, then we may have missed the point.

This is especially true when you consider the amount of setup that requires. You're going to need to take off, gain enough altitude for the dive attack, get into a good position for the attack, then dive down. That's at least three actions to set up one attack. Once that attack hits, it probably should be devastating.

Similarly, I once had a player who built a minotaur, that took Chronomancy magics so that he could jump in the air, teleport 10 meters up, and then fall the full distance, ending with a 2-handed maul attack. This was especially potent when he had two other characters empowering his hammer-fall trick with elemental boosting spells. It was ludicrous. And ridiculously awesome. He dropped a few opponents pretty quickly, including knocking one massive demon onto it's face.

Of course, he fell just short of actually killing the demon, (who had a lot of HP.) Then the rabbit character, who had taken the makeshift ability, (allowing her to use random objects as weapons,) snagged a steel coin off of the floor (another part of the story,) and snapped it at the minotaur. Didn't do much damage, but it hit did just enough to kill the big gnarly demon. It was hilarious, and everybody won. The minotaur got to do his 4-action setup hammerfall of doom, while the rabbit got to use her quirky ability to win the day.

Reason why I tell the story is that ultimately, it's the imagery that sells the story, and not just the damage numbers. The setup you're describing with your ahrlen has spectacular imagery, and I think that without the combination of strategies that you're using to get to it, I have no problem with it being devastating. Besides, it's the GM's job to structure combat in such a way so that every player gets a chance to shine, even if some players are better at pulling out big hits.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:42 pm

Erm... Maybe I have misunderstood how fly-by attack works, but I'm assuming I'm making normal attacks while zooming past the target, not dive-bombing. Dive-attack is just there to open higher flight techs, and maybe get in the rare dive bomb when it's convenient (I could have just as easily taken dive descent instead).

Schoah is meant to fly behind a target and stab it repeatedly as she charges past, so she's often in its blindspot. Ideally she uses her 9 meter flying move range and 1-meter turn radius to fly semi-circles around her targets and stab from 3 meters in the air (charge past with an attack, slow action to turn, then charge again). (speaking of, her athletics should be 5 for faster move actions -- my bad)

When she cannot get behind the target, she uses Flurry to make 2 attacks to its face on her way past. She doesn't have the most optimum action economy because of the requirement that she stay in the air (meaning a full 9-square move each time), but she stays out of most melee reach and has enough movement to basically pick and choose the juiciest, most exposed targets on the battlefield.

Given those tactics, here's where the spear's damage and crit threshold come into play: Each non-crit stab deals 1d10 damage, which is quite good. A crit (beat defense roll by only 2) deals 2d10 damage, ignores armor, and often prones the target. Double-crit (beat defense by a mere 4, which is easy with back-attacks) will deal 3d10 damage, ignore armor, and prone the target. With a few more points, she'll also be unhorsing mounted opponents and sweep-proning multiple targets near each other. The spear is an amazing weapon for her. ^_^

Sorry I wasn't clear. Dive-bombing is awesome, but unnecessary to do terrible things with a back-attacking longspear.

I'm going to try to be at board game revolution on Saturday, btw. Maybe we can give this a test-drive. I may be starry-eyed-idealizing the tactics when it doesn't work that way in-game, or I may be forgetting a critical rule or mis-remembering how charging works.
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Re: A few questions

Postby TheMatt » Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:02 pm

1-meter turn radius

Isn't that 'around' a 1m hex', rather than a point? Turning around a 1m hex would require 3 hexes of move.

Also a reminder of the 'why' of:
a) Why charge must occur in a straight line; &
b) why the max (normal) move is 5 (so you can't move from outside a characters threat range into their blindspot in a single action).

Should be a rule that says 'flying character must use entire move, unless has hover'...?

A crit (beat defense roll by only 2) deals 2d10 damage, ignores armor, and often prones the target.
Where does the improved crit come from?
This multiple stacking of crits concerns me a little bit.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:04 am

Crit threshold: That's regarding sneak-attacks and back-attacks. It's 2/4 for sneak attacks (thanks to the Cunning Ability), and 3/6 for normal crits.

Turn radius, charging, etc: Yes, I know. :) But a radius of 1 is an amazingly quick turn nonetheless, especially if you have 8 spaces of movement to maneuver and you're sprint-flying as an average action.

I was assuming a flying character had to use his entire 8-meter move or risk crashing, as it says so explicitly in the flight section. You can choose to fly only 4 spaces, if landing or falling isn't a problem (e.g. you're flying over a bed of soft, pillow-shaped bunnies; then it's totally cool).


The trick with a fast back-attacking flier is it's able to get into back-attack position far more easily than others. This makes back-attacks and the resulting crits a concern to look at, but not necessarily game breaking. I'll try throwing some fliers like this at my Mayhem group sometime in the next month or so. They're itching for a solid battle, and this could be a good test since the party has magic, flying players, etc. But no arrows, I think.



All that aside, Rob and I tried out the build on Saturday. I didn't do much flying (most combat happened indoors, and in the one battle that was outdoors, I had overwhelming roleplay reasons to not engage in combat).

However we did determine that the spear's sweep should happen on double-crits only. I was frequently able to prone the ogre with critical hits, with or without back-attacks (only needing to beat their defense by 3). It got a little terrifying. Constant prone is potentially more potent than initiative damage in some situations, as the target will take notable penalties to attack, movement and defense, and must choose to either stay down with those penalties or spend valuable time standing back up. And while they're down, allies can beat on them much more easily.


The whole reason I bring this up is because when you can do amazing things with crits (or even just one amazing thing), a crit range of 3/6 and damage die of d10 is scary. That combines well with long reach and a skilled flier. Even if it the spear's damage were only reduced to 2d4 or 1d8, that would lower the potency of the mixture. That said, Rob didn't seem to be worried about the damage die at all, and it may not be a big deal. Once the crit-prone threat is relaxed, the spear's power probably cools down and matches other options. Testing will tell.

-Dan
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Re: A few questions

Postby TheMatt » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:29 pm

So. When we balanced the weapons list, it was still possible to get more than 2 crits. Ie, you could get 4 or more. Lower amp weapons rely more on their amps for getting their damage total, so when that change occurred, low amp weapons got nerfed a bit. I've backchecked in since, and it's not broken...but it is significant. Although less some than some of the abilities (such as Sneak Attack...).

Part of my brain still twitches as the idea of an amp of 2. In early drafts of the weapons list, amp 2 weapons were devastating. Some of them had big dice (d12, d14).
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:50 pm

Amp 2 -- What does that refer to?

Some day I would like to compile a list of sneak-crit builds for various weapons and see which ones are the most fun, crazy and/or powerful. Initiative damage, prone, disarm, bypass armor, and a few other effects are pretty nice, but some weapons simply focus on dealing their damage in high volume without needing to sneak or crit and come out just fine.

I haven't been through these techs in a while. I just discovered the new(-ish) dagger tech Assassinate. Oh yes... that plus Sneak Attack, Backstab and Precision Strike... oh, this may out-compete my much-beloved crossbow assassination build. :)

Questions and corrections:

Question about triple- and quad-crits: Does a dagger crit on 3/6/12/24? Or is it 3/6/9/12? I can't find where it's specified in the book.

Also, regarding Twisted: are you rolling the melee attack using Unarmed or Dagger statistics?

Scythe: How do Double Slash, Cyclone Swing, and Spin Strike work together? Heavy sword has these as well.

Heavy Sword: I suspect Intimidating Strike should be an active ability. You're actively using an immediate action to do this, then taking a separate action one second later to do your attack.

Light Sword: IMO, "Lightsword" should be renamed to something else, like "light blade" or "longsword". It's currently very confusing that "light sword" and "lightsword" are two different things. Especially so since some text (e.g. Secondary Defense) treats the two words as synonymous.

Can the light sword's Perfect Double Wield be combined with, say, Lunge? Or other active techs? (Or actually I mean, is it meant to?). Perfect Double Wield, Double Slash, Disarm, Precision Strike, Run Through and Lunge together (particularly with Sneak Attack) is amazing. If your first two attacks double-crit (e.g. you feint or back-attack):
-Make 4 attacks for up to 8d6 damage (2 double-crits and 2 non-crit free attacks)
-Disarm the opponent, twice just for good measure
-Bypass armor reduction with the main hits
Though it has to be said, in contrast, dual-wielding maces consistently makes 2 attacks for up to 6d6 damage, without nearly as much set-up or investment. As long as you're not going for crits at all, that's a very reasonable path. And axes have their own terrifying properties like punishing parrying. So I don't know whether this is a problem at all.

The more I look at the variety of weapon builds, the more excited I am to branch out and try different things. I tend to go sneaky or back-stabby on principle, but axes look like loads of fun. ^_^

Unarmed:
-Dropkick should specify whether it means you (the user) falls prone, or the target of the attack falls prone.
-Is Careful Strike meant to be passive or active?
-Extra comma in Fast Grapple
-Grapple Lock appears to target a third individual (you have someone in a grapple, but you then snatch someone else's arms). Not clear though.

Whip:
-Should Doublesnap be Active? Depends on how it can be combined (e.g. with Whip Snap or Whip Fury).
-Whip Grapple sounds like the target initiates the grapple.

Mounted Counterattack should say "you may make a counterattack" instead of "they". I see this in a number of other descriptions. I recommend on settling on "you" referring to the person with the ability, and "the target" referring to who you're attacking, etc. The wording will be much clearer.

Magic:
Just to confirm, unless they say otherwise, I assume spells cannot crit. I also assume damage bonuses of spells like Flame Strike are not affected by crits (meaning, they don't get the spell dice as extra damage dice). Charging a dagger with Flame Strike and then back-attacking for 5d20 fire damage would be abusively wrong. ;)

Although you could use the aeromancy version, and back-attack-crit with a weapon that causes initiative damage on crit. It takes setup time for each hit, but you could potentially slow down a BBEG enough to let the party really wail on him bad. ^_^
Edit: Spark Strike, with Daze (Heavy Axe) or Stun (Trained Fist)
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Sun May 04, 2014 1:16 pm

Amp is the old term for 'crit'. "damage amp," used to be the semantics that were used.

Assassinate triple/quad crits. It is 3/6/9/12/15, adding 3 each time, rather than fully doubling.

Perfect double-wield should be active. The other double wield effects are. Otherwise that gets brutal really, really fast. Yipes, that's a pretty big oversight.

Twisted. I would rule unarmed for the attack, damage for dagger.

Scythe: Cyclone Swing should be a crit effect, I think, based on the way that it reads. Don't know/remember why it's not. Double-slash should allow a second attack, and I see no reason why it couldn't do the spinstrike as that second attack, but I would only let it attack against the people that it double-critted against the first time. It may be simpler just to allow a single second attack, rather than a tech-attack. Interesting.

Intimidating Strike: That's fair to classify it as active. That's probably cleaner, if only because it gives a bonus. However, I don't see why you couldn't do the intimidate check and then use another active, like a lunge or a wide-swing. It's a bit messier, but I could see it going either way.

Ugh. It is truly depressing that I can go over these abilities over and over and over again until my eyes bleed, and still miss things. I've had half a dozen people look over them as well, and still finding minor problems. Thanks for working with these. Making these edits are really, really important to making the content as pristine as possible.

"Lightsword" Yeah, the semantics are rough on this one, considering it's used in two or three different ways, technically. I had the weapon entry as "rapier," as one point, but that got messy because it should include things like the Jian and epee and similar variants. Naming all of the different specific variants gets nitpicky pretty quickly, especially since the group of people that know the differences between an epee, a rapier, a fencing sabre are relativly small. For most people a "light sword," versus a "heavy sword," is going to be satisfactory.

For the variations in the action speeds, having the 5 categories of swords, (rapier, sabre, broadsword, longsword, greatsword,) is rather nice. IN fact, this distribution is the reason why we have 5 action speeds instead of 3, which at one point was proposed, to clean the mechanics a bit. Not a bad fix, but this gives it a little more flex in the action speeds.


Dropkick: The atttacker falls prone. INteresting when combined with "kip up" acrobatics, and/or "Ground fighting," or maybe even the "anklehook," axe abilities.

Careful Strike: Could be. sort of like intimidating strike, I could see it going either way.

Fast grapple, good catch.

Grapple Lock, applies to the person you are grappling. Sort of a "stage 2" grapple. Grapple, then lock. At one point Matt was proposing a whole system build on levels of ongoing grappling.

Doublesnap: Yeah, should be active. Good catch. Doesn't look like there's a whole lot it could combine with anyway, except for the 'wrap' abilities, and doubling those makes no sense.

Whip Grapple. I can see that.

"You" versus "They," Yeah, this is a really interesting semantic choice. referencing "You," for rules text is actually a MTG convention, and is a direct choice. Citing "you" instead of "the character" removes the barrier, referring to the player and the character as the same entity. I can see how that could be useful, in terms of cleaning semantics, but I still think there should be a division between instructions for the player and mechanics for the character, which makes it easier to distinguish between in-game mechanics and outer rules and meta. I like to keep that distinction, so the use of "you," referring to character actions is something that we've intentionally avoided. It does mean that I have to be really careful in referencing which character is doing what at what point, which can be cleaned up here and there. This is actually a fundamental part of the writing style for technical rules writing, and there are good arguments either way. Making this kind of a change would, however, be a COLLOSSAL endeavor, because it would impact the writing throughout the whole book. It would be easier to start a new game project than to re-write the entire body of text.

Magic: Nope, spells don't crit. Damage bonuses from stuff like flame strike can't crit either. They do, however, have pretty heavy damage on their own. This helps distinguish play style between casters and fighters, which is pretty important. If the mechanics work exactly the same, they lose some of the relative flavor.


Thanks again for going over these. It's tremendously useful, and I will be incorporating most of these kinds of edits when I do the next print run. That will, however, likely be a while, and probably not until after we get a second book and a couple of modules out.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Mon May 05, 2014 1:19 pm

You vs They: Another alternative is "the user", which always refers to whoever is using this ability. Right now the current semantics create a lot of unclear meanings.


As for editing, it sounds like something that would benefit a ton from simple crowd-sourcing. E.g. someone sets up a wiki and starts putting abilities up there, and anyone could hop on and make edits or contribute to the page's discussion (Wikia-style). With the help of many visitors who do what they normally do when visiting a wiki (ask questions, correct small errors by their own volition, etc), you would quickly work through a lot of wording issues, balance issues, etc. Then your next edition of the book draws upon the refined wording in the wiki, polished smooth by many small editorial visits instead of just a few people who have looked over the text a thousand times. I'm a software engineer, and I've learned time and time again that other people are going to see all the problems I've become blind do, and I need them to see those for me. :D For a game book, open wikis are an amazing tool.

And it would be a place where you could refer people when they had rules questions or wanted to look up the most current errata. Since you make the b&w PDF available for free, you wouldn't be losing customers -- if anything, you may gain quite a few as they buy physical books and other materials after getting into the game thanks to the wiki. This is the route Pathfinder took, for example, even though their wiki is closed to edits.

If you ever want a wiki like that set up, I'm happy to do it. You'd be amazed at how much information visitors will voluntarily contribute, correct, and suggest. And a swarm of visitors can make far more complete edits than even the most fastidious examination by just a few people. ^_^
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Mon May 05, 2014 1:48 pm

I appreciate the offer, and I can see how crowdsourcing can help, and we've actually taken that approach in the past, but it has been a mixed bag. Quality varies dramatically, for example, and specific standards sort of go out the window. I spent an awful lot of time correcting poor edits when that was done, and filtering content that was not helping. Also, it's tremendously difficult to keep the content current with the book itself. Going back and forth between files and databases is a massive headache.

As far as posting content, asking questions, and getting feedback, that's sort of what this forum is for. The process you're describing is really the process you're doing.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Mon May 05, 2014 2:55 pm

Re-thinking. About a wiki. If it's something that you want to set up, I have no problem with that. I can't guarantee any thought-space for it, just because my time is pretty stretched right now, but I'd certainly support it if it's something that you want to do, I don't have any reason to object.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Mon May 05, 2014 6:02 pm

Sure. If I can get basic access to your website we'll probably be able to set up a wiki there (we can talk by PM or e-mail if that's an option you want to pursue). Or I can do a Google Sites wiki (which doesn't use wiki markup and will have some other odd limiters, but it's more user-friendly).
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Re: A few questions

Postby TheMatt » Tue May 06, 2014 11:45 am

Mayhem Annual, release the weapons abilities with updated text. Include book 2 weapons content?

Corrections, clarifications, and new content.

Rob, how are you storing the weapons text these days? Is it all directly in InDesign, or are you feeding it into Indesign through a spreadsheet/mailmerge?
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Tue May 13, 2014 2:16 am

I worked something like 30 hours in 2 days at the start of last week, then spent the rest of the week very sick. Sorry for dropping out for a while there. I'm now alive enough to get back to this.

I've started a wiki here:
https://sites.google.com/site/mayhemwiki/

Unfortunately Google Sites doesn't appear to support "anyone can contribute" -typed access ala wikia.com, but I can manually give anyone edit permissions on request.

Thus far I've added lots of stubs (for page linking -- I'll finish them later), and I filled out the Cunning Abilities (which seemed like an easy start). It's a lot of work, but the easy linking across pages and the ability to have discussions and errata on each page will be awesome. Now I just need some willing minions to fill it out with me... muahahahaha...

I have a quick question: Does the cunning tech Dirty Fighting give its bonus to everyone attacking the target, or just the user? The wording makes it sound like a great teammate ability, but I wanted to check.

Cheers!
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Re: A few questions

Postby TheMatt » Tue May 13, 2014 2:40 am

Good to have you back.

Can you add me as an editor? theblindsage at g male * COM

You might as Rob if you can have an old copy of the 'master content'. It's a bit dated, but it would save you a lot of retyping.

Pretty sure it's just the person with the dirty fighting ability.

Unless they do specifically do something that would aid everyone, like throwing dirt in someone's eyes...
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Tue May 13, 2014 10:03 am

It applies to everybody. It's putting them at a disadvantage in general. Still should be justified, dirt, etc.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Wazat » Tue May 13, 2014 10:53 am

Happily added. Glad to have you, Matt! I've added you as an owner of the site, meaning you are able to both make edits and invite others as editors. Use that with discretion, of course -- though I doubt we'll have many griefers. Mayhem doesn't really attract that crowd. :) Also, just add people as editors unless they're one of the devs.

Rob, even though you won't have time to make many/any edits yourself, would you like to be added as an owner? I could actually add the midnightcampaign e-mail address itself as an owner, and that would give you (and anyone else with access to that e-mail) an easy avenue for adding other users who are interested in contributing.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Maugh » Tue May 13, 2014 11:38 am

Sure. I'd also be happy to send you the most recent excel file for the content, like Matt was saying. May make your job much easier.
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