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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 10:07 am 
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jstomel wrote:
I don't get the idea of putting passives on a board with anything else. I can't see any circumstance where, when given a choice between a passive and a skill, i would choose the skill (maybe if I was a blacksmith). A passive benefits you all the time, a skill gives you a +1 bonus every so often. I build characters around passives, they are usually the first thing I choose.


Would you find it more appealing if Active and Passive non-social stuff was all on one board, and Skills and Social actives and Passives were on another?

//Panjumanju

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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 10:47 am 
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Hmm...I think that passives are what allows for the varying levels of engagement. One of the things that is emphasized is the "three levels of crunch", Passives are what allows you to play at crunch 0. Playing with primarily cinematic actions is enabled by passives, otherwise you would be pinging for base damage every attack. It might be technically true to say that passives aren't universally beneficial, but a heck of a lot of them apply most of the time. Nimble applies every time you defend (effectively giving you a +1 parry bonus), Fangs applies to all unarmed attacks, Martial prowess applies to all armed attacks (chances are that one or the other of these is your main attack). A bunch of them apply every upkeep (the ones that increase/decrease conditions, heal, or change initiative). Drive back and explosive rune apply to all attacks. Probably half the passives in the core book work this way, they will come into play every round or on every action of a particular type. Actives and skills are the icing on the cake, passives are the cake.

I'm fine with 50% passives, as long as everyone has 50% passives. It's when some people have 50% passives and some have 25% passives that throws me.


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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 10:56 am 
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Let's take my current character, a level 10 fardrengir, for example. He has two instances of summon mount (universally beneficial), striker (adds to all attacks), drive back (adds to all attacks), hunter's heart (every upkeep), trap master (increases the base level of all traps, a number I have written down), and hunter's cunning (only applies when I use a trap action). Most of these are actions that happen every combat round, only one is situational.


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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 11:30 am 
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jstomel wrote:
Let's take my current character, a level 10 fardrengir, for example. He has two instances of summon mount (universally beneficial), striker (adds to all attacks), drive back (adds to all attacks), hunter's heart (every upkeep), trap master (increases the base level of all traps, a number I have written down), and hunter's cunning (only applies when I use a trap action). Most of these are actions that happen every combat round, only one is situational.


Okay, I think I know where you're coming from now. I'm making assumptions here; correct me if I'm wrong. You're talking about combat specifically, or at least a game with a heavy focus on combat. You're right, Passives are broadly applicable in combat, if combat is all or most of what you're doing.

But, combat balance is not equal to game balance.

I'm not accusing anyone of "bad-wrong-fun". I've been in lots of fun games that were heavy on combat encounters. But the games I typically run are more situated in other elements, like exploration. Many of my players don't want combat that lasts more than 3 rounds. Combat always plays a part at my table, or at least conflict, because fighting things is fun, but balance in a system (or at least equality in relative play options) needs to come from more of a system wide perspective than just combat.

I suspect Skills play a bigger part in my games than in yours, and Passives a smaller part.

GMs vary greatly in how they present the game. I'm sure there's someone out there who runs FotN with no combat encounters at all. I think a balancing bias towards combat is pretty common RPG design, but I also think it's a miss-step. If you give someone a bunch of hammers, those nails are going to get it. But FotN under RGS2 is capable of a broader spectrum of experience already, I wouldn't want RGS3 to fall into the trap of everyone being spec'd for combat equally like some big Viking-variant Wold of Warcraft and miss the bigger picture.

Passives as 50% of the board slants play quite drastically in one direction of play. I believe with the changes made in RGS3 Skills have the potential to be an even more important way of interacting with the game world. The boards for characters are key in affecting the direction of the game; how many hammers for the nails. Every GM or prospective GM should be able to run FotN in a way that suits them. There are play-styles that neither you nor I likely engage in that the RGS3 system should account for. I think we should avoid biasing the design for combat, and keep in mind all possibilites of play style possible when thinking about the boards and what they should look like.

//Panjumanju

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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 4:30 pm 
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In the RGS2 ruleset, actives and passives are both pretty much combat exclusive. I know that actives have an "out of combat" effect, but it isn't one with any mechanics behind it. I haven't seen any social conflict abilities yet, but from the latest drop of the RGS3 rules, it looks like social will be handled similar to combat (initiative, action values, etc). I assume that there will be new passives that work for social combat similarly to how they work for physical combat. That is why I am fine with more passives, there will be an increased field of play in which to apply them.

The game I run has a lot of narrative play in it. We often go two or three sessions without any combat, and every problem has a non-combat solution. But I handle all of that through narrative and cinematic actions, there isn't really any current mechanics to support it. With the exception of crafting, skill mechanics are just "pull a weird and add a number". I would ultimately like to see skills take a more forward role, that is why I support option 3. It puts skills and social actions on the same footing as combat actions. I think if you were to put skills or socials on the same board as passives, you would be incentivizing against those things. A better solution would be to make more passives that apply to skills and social actions, or that apply to all three.


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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 9:15 pm 
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This is a superb discussion and I've been reading it with the desire to jump in, but I know when a designer does, it can stifle some new ideas and creative directions (which I want to capture).

I think now is a good place in the conversation, since both of you have understood the other's concerns and play styles. You guys have more in common than your diffferences, and I want to throw another point that hasn't come up as a point of discussion: the math.

When designing RGS1 back in 2006, early testing showed that a system built with an overwhelming amount of active effects overwhelmingly favours going first, or sometimes dead last. If someone cannot put up a meaningful defense by playing runes (either they drew poorly or simply used up all their runes) meant that they were dead. Simply max HP to 0. This is where the idea of Passives came into play. This was a "level up" mechanic that raised your baseline, so if you did get caught with little-to-no active defense, you're not completely decimated. Obviously as Passives progressed as a concept, they weren't only for defense, but could boost attacks, moves, initiative, conditions, etc... They became your much needed passive-always-active boost when playing on crunch 0. I run monsters during game demos as straw dummies for the forst few fights. They won't have Sceadugengan nor Orlog powers, just simple cinematic powers with a small boost from Passives. This is where they become a very useful toolkit for simple encounters, or for GMs that figured out how much DPS they want to dish out (ahead of time) and don't worry too much about variability of DF during the fight.

As a dweller or denizen levels, their life pool goes up, as do actions, but without Passives nothing else really increases. So if you need your Odin dweller to be able to withstand an triple amplified Cerebral Chains, then you need to be able to pad up his Passive defense, so when he plays 1 rune, you "feel" his level. All this to say in a very roundabout manner, Passives help make the math work in a system where you have levels that have a meaning that gamers expect.

So back to their place in the game. They need to be 1:1 as prevalent/accessible as Active powers, *and* they will have diversification as boosting skills, social and actives. They were more physical combat oriented in prior editions and I aim to adjust and course correct in RGS3. Out of combat effects were the "alternative" to Passives that are useful out of combat. It was a way to make a combat ready character useful and fun to play outside of combat. Yes their descriptions were very much hand-waving licked-finger-in-the-air abstractions for the table's Norn to assess and apply. It helped those players who love to improvise, but also infuriated those who want to all spelled out in +1's and -1's. We can please everyone all the time, but we try and give something (a tool) to everyone (all types of players).

That builds into my next point: we are building to a wide demographic. This isn't a pigeonhole rules set, where you say "oh you like light and fluffy? Play Fate" or "oh you like heavy numbers? Play Shadowrun 6"... with the 3 levels of crunch we're aiming to do more for more players. So we will want to keep some stuff up for interpretation, while other stuff needs to be spelled out in numbers. And if the early archetype designs are skewed badly in one way or the other, we need to be called out on it so we can course correct. I recall our circa 1995 FOTN rulebook had a table of magic items very much skewed 85% weapons, 10% armour and 5% misc. Again to an earlier point you guys made, hand out a bunch of hammers and you pre-determine the outcome.

The goal with how we split the boards will need to reinforce all kinds of play, a wide spectrum of play styles, and will need to ensure that the math is sound. I hope this post didn't stifle the back and forth but maybe throws in a few more considerations. I look forward to the rest of the points made as we approach a clearer understanding of the best board setup.

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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 10:37 pm 
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Quote:
They need to be 1:1 as prevalent/accessible as Active powers, *and* they will have diversification as boosting skills, social and actives.


Andrew, when you say the above, are you considering all "abilities" (combat actives, skills, and socials) as "actives" as far as the need to maintain 1:1 prevalence?


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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 11:04 pm 
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jstomel wrote:
I would ultimately like to see skills take a more forward role, that is why I support option 3. It puts skills and social actions on the same footing as combat actions.


I would also like skills and out of combat behaviour to take a more forward role in the game. Mechanical reinforcement dictates playstyle. However much I think the out of combat lines for Active Powers are amusing and interesting, they're difficult to bring up effectively in-game on a consistent basis. Skills and social actions being on the same footing as combat actions is, I agree, the best way forward.

jstomel wrote:
I think if you were to put skills or socials on the same board as passives, you would be incentivizing against those things.


This is where you lose me. Why does the option of a Passive pale in comparison as a viable choice against a Skill? Especially if that Skill is now open to meta-tags and other broader applicability under RGS3? I see them as (relatively speaking on a case-by-case basis) comparable. They're just circumstantial.

Running games I've had quite a few characters nearly die in the harshness of Fimbulwinter's cold, boats of Dwellers starve on the open seas, and once a Dweller was put to death for failing in his effort to present himself well to a Jarl, after having spilled his drink all over the Jarl's map in a drunken stupor. Passives would not have helped there.

jstomel wrote:
A better solution would be to make more passives that apply to skills and social actions, or that apply to all three.


In terms of Passives that apply to social actions I think that's a given for inclusion in RGS3. Passives that apply to Skills? Now there's an idea. That's really interesting. But, how would you do a Passive that's not just adding a rank to the Skill? Something like..."Windy Prophecy: Can now do Omens / Potents under harsh weather conditions and amongst distractions without taking an penalty."? Or "Knocker Crafting: From learning the secrets of the Knockers your crafting times are halved."? Options for augmenting the method of execution? (Like the ability to better do certain Skill checks in battle?) I think that has a lot of possibility.

//Panjumanju

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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 11:06 pm 
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jstomel wrote:
Quote:
They need to be 1:1 as prevalent/accessible as Active powers, *and* they will have diversification as boosting skills, social and actives.


Andrew, when you say the above, are you considering all "abilities" (combat actives, skills, and socials) as "actives" as far as the need to maintain 1:1 prevalence?


I second that question.

If that is the case then ultimately we're talking about two boards that are Talents (Powers, Skills, and Social) and Passives (for Powers, Skills and Social). That may well be the best solution.

//Panjumanju

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 Post subject: Re: RGS 3.0
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 12:22 am 
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Panjumanju wrote:
jstomel wrote:
Quote:
They need to be 1:1 as prevalent/accessible as Active powers, *and* they will have diversification as boosting skills, social and actives.


Andrew, when you say the above, are you considering all "abilities" (combat actives, skills, and socials) as "actives" as far as the need to maintain 1:1 prevalence?


I second that question.

If that is the case then ultimately we're talking about two boards that are Talents (Powers, Skills, and Social) and Passives (for Powers, Skills and Social). That may well be the best solution.

//Panjumanju


So I'm kicking around another variation of the boards, not sure what number we're on so Ill call it option 9:
Have 3 boards:
(1) Actives+Active boosting Passives,
(2) Social abilities + Social boosting Passives
(3) Skills + Skill boosting Passives

Boards 1 and 2 make immediate sense, but 3 takes some imagination. This approach gives us a 1:1 option of boosting your baseline or boosting your possible max value. Thoughts?

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