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 Post subject: Mental damage
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 5:54 pm 
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One thing my group complained bitterly about was mental damage. More specifically, they complained about being stun-locked. To be honest, I hear them on this. It's not a lot of fun to not do anything on your turn. I try to keep down the mental damage because of this, but not exactly interesting then.

So, considering options on house rules

Option 1 - mental damage does not hit In-Hand runes. If the In-Hand pile is chosen, it is treated as physical damage. If you have runes in other piles (In-Play, Contingency), it acts as it does now.

Option 2 - Runes hit with mental damage don't move down into essence. Instead, they are turned over and turn into unbound colorless runes. They can't be used for Metas or Active Powers at all, but still can be used for Cinematic Actions which don't require a specific color (so, no using your size+1 weapon). Any that are already in place as Metas are popped free of the rune chain and move to essence during clean-up. Contingencies are still pretty messed up here, because presumably you declare an Active power on a contingency, and those are no longer bound to active powers. If you are generous, you can let the contingency continue with Cinematic Actions that make sense. Runes become colored and bound again once in Essence.

Obviously, option 1 is the simplest. I'm going to present it to the group after I decide to throw in mental damage and see what they think

edit: talked to player who was particularly vocal about stun damage. he offered up a "register lock" idea, and then I presented Option 2 above and he was intrigued. Also, thinking I might allow 2 runes to be used in place of a specific color (so 2 runes to attack with your size + 1 weapon)


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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 9:38 pm 
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I have always hated taking agency away from players. AD&D effects such as stun, sleep, paralysis, etc... effectively took you out of the game. I really wanted to avoid that in my games. That's why there are a few design principles I have implemented in RGS:
1) No absolute effects (ie. if you fail this check, you're paralysed and can't do anything) instead all effects are incremental (ie. +1 to an effect)
2) Players always have the Void rune, so even if you get hammered, you still can do "something".

Obviously everyone's pain threshold will be different.

There is something experienced players do, especially at higher levels- split their hand on Upkeep. 50% of runes are tossed into Contingency actions in case they get blasted with Mental damage.

I think you're doing the right thing- talking to your group and finding a hack that works. I'll suggest a few more options:
1) M damage can only wipe the pile it hits, once the pile is empty, there is no overflow.
2) M damage is split equally among all upper piles

One last question, do your players have M damage? You can always throttle your own M damage to match their capabilities.

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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 10:41 pm 
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They did when we were playing, and I expect we will when we start.

As for Overflow, I shifted it to physical after that. It seemed to work pretty good, or at least didn't cause anyone any grief. Unfortunately neither of those options actually stops the problem they feel - getting hit by 4 points of mental damage (not a lot) and losing all their wyrd before they've gotten to act. Yea, contingencies, but... I think it's not a satisfactory thing for them.

I've got two other people to bounce it off of, but this guy is probably my big mechanics player, so I am feeling positive.


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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:45 pm 
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How about this idea:

Mental damage first hits Contingency and forces the rune-chains there to pe put into In-Play. If or as soon as Contingency is empty, the rest of the damage overflows to In-Play and pushes runes from there (defenders choice) back to In-Hand. Those get neutral (no active powers, no traits, except for the Void-Rune) but can still be used for generic actions or traded off 2 to 1 for a trait (and can still be sacrificed, don't forget about that). And after everything else up here is emptied, In-Hand gets the boot by first "neutralising" the Runes and then going to Essence (lifting the neutral status). And only then, the rest of the damage goes the "physical" way.

It's a pain of micro-management and keeping things in mind, related to the rest of the rules, but it totally takes the mentioned spike off the board. On the other hand, the defender always has the chance to push his runes from In-Hand back to In-Play with defensive interrupts an can so loop the damage into nothingness.

Optional, just let the attacker choose which of In-Play or Contingency gets hit first before overflowing into the other and directly put the Runes neutral to In-Hand before continue as mentioned.

cul8r, Screw

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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:29 pm 
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Screwdesign.Unc wrote:
How about this idea:

Mental damage first hits Contingency and forces the rune-chains there to pe put into In-Play. If or as soon as Contingency is empty, the rest of the damage overflows to In-Play and pushes runes from there (defenders choice) back to In-Hand. Those get neutral (no active powers, no traits, except for the Void-Rune) but can still be used for generic actions or traded off 2 to 1 for a trait (and can still be sacrificed, don't forget about that). And after everything else up here is emptied, In-Hand gets the boot by first "neutralising" the Runes and then going to Essence (lifting the neutral status). And only then, the rest of the damage goes the "physical" way.


this makes a weird anomaly where if you get hit with mental damage you get more actions. That seems a little off, even if they are generic. The movement to In Play, particularly, is troublesome, as that implies that actual actions go off at that point.


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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:35 pm 
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Well the only other option I can think of, is that your void rune, cant get knocked out of your hand by mental damage?

I like mental damage as a whole as a player, since it disables enemies, but as a Norn I understand that you are not wrong, that when used on players it has a serious effect, where a player can be stuck doing nothing.
With their void rune at minimum, they can at least swing (unless its a weapon that requires a Physical rune, unless your void rune is physical? )or they can re-position as they need.

Another option of course is adding a counter to metal damage?
Not sure if this is already a thing as I am at work and don't have the books in reach.
Example: Pay [Metal Rune] or [Moderate Sacrifice] to counter the metal damage, and convert it into Physical?
Like a defend action you can do this as an instant.

Only thing I don't like about this rule, is I see it being abused quite abit, and it does take away alot of how mental damage works, as most of the point from what I can see, is to prevent your opponent from having actions.

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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:32 pm 
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Aroth wrote:
Well the only other option I can think of, is that your void rune, cant get knocked out of your hand by mental damage?


correct. the void is always there as an option

Aroth wrote:
I like mental damage as a whole as a player, since it disables enemies, but as a Norn I understand that you are not wrong, that when used on players it has a serious effect, where a player can be stuck doing nothing.
With their void rune at minimum, they can at least swing (unless its a weapon that requires a Physical rune, unless your void rune is physical? )or they can re-position as they need.


my own modifications came up because my players were not happy when I hit them with mental damage. It was pretty much a direct result of losing runes in hand. I think it would have been less of an issue with contingency by itself, or maintained powers in In Play (those non-maintained powers aren't really a big loss anyways. They felt like their turns became a waste of time.

IIRC, it came up when I used Winter Rusalki on them.

And, to be honest, I get it. I've been in that position and it's not a lot of fun. You'd rather take a penalty because you can at least try.
Aroth wrote:
Another option of course is adding a counter to metal damage?
Not sure if this is already a thing as I am at work and don't have the books in reach.
Example: Pay [Metal Rune] or [Moderate Sacrifice] to counter the metal damage, and convert it into Physical?
Like a defend action you can do this as an instant.


I could see this, though I might modify the ratios a little bit. A Moderate sacrifice might be about right, but a Mental rune is very cheap for being able to use your physical defense against something that, out of the gate, does half the equivalent in physical. Andrew has the ratios and might be able to provide some guidance.

Aroth wrote:
Only thing I don't like about this rule, is I see it being abused quite abit, and it does take away alot of how mental damage works, as most of the point from what I can see, is to prevent your opponent from having actions.


exactly. I don't really mind it hitting Maintained/Open/Combo runes and ripping them up. I don't mind it hitting Contingency. I don't think my players would either. The In Hand is the one that gets them.

In general, rune taxes are pretty rough (taunt, blind, etc) but targeted ones are a lot worse. It isn't helped by your turn all happening at once, thus you are either all in In Hand/Contingency, or In Play/Contingency.

Might be interesting to do a variant of combat that has you rotate around, everyone playing one rune chain, then around again if people still have runes, etc, until everyone is out. This would make mental damage much more interesting as a byproduct. it'd also be a lot of turn overhead :)


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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:53 am 
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raleel wrote:
Might be interesting to do a variant of combat that has you rotate around, everyone playing one rune chain, then around again if people still have runes, etc, until everyone is out. This would make mental damage much more interesting as a byproduct. it'd also be a lot of turn overhead :)

Would even make the battles in game more dynamic and the initiative mechanic more tactic. I like the idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Raleel did your players try splitting their runes during upkeep (half to contingency and half in hand)?

At higher levels, the threat of mental damage tempers crazy plays of full desinty from in hand.

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 Post subject: Re: Mental damage
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:04 pm 
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No, largely because they were concerned with wasting them in contingency. Now, I may grant they might not be thinking particularly hard about actions, but moving into contingency and the action not happening vs getting that rune removed because of mental action is pretty much the same result - turn is wasted.

That's then not fun part for my group.


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