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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:40 pm 
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The biggest thing I'd like to see is a reworking of the damage over time by weapons. Other players (and non-players who've chosen not to play the game because of what they see as a huge flaw) have mentioned this to me as well.

Ignoring weapon tricks or martial techniques, weapon damage rules are such that Might (or Quickness) is often more important than weapon base damage. Weapon speed rules are such that fast weapons are better. Thus, for most Tier 1.1 characters, a dagger (Speed 3) is the best melee weapon. There is no system to handle the concept of weapon reach, which many experienced game designers say needs to be in any game with speed factors; in other words, a greatsword can keep someone at bay who has only the reach of a dagger. Once you get to exceptional weapons with reduced speed, a base-Speed 4 weapon (reduced to 3) is the best choice for almost everyone. But yet the game world encourages picking weapons by nationality and religion and flavor, so the game pushes us in different directions.

From what I've heard, the damage shifts once one gets into techniques, but everyone still goes through that Tier I phase where a dagger is the best bet.

I made a spreadsheet to show the best option for characters with various options. IMHO, game designers should always do the math to see what the results are.

I admit that this is potentially a big reworking of the rules. Conceptually, making the weapon's base die be bigger than the Might/Quickness component could help overcome this.

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:32 pm 

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Dante wrote:
The biggest thing I'd like to see is a reworking of the damage over time by weapons. Other players (and non-players who've chosen not to play the game because of what they see as a huge flaw) have mentioned this to me as well.<snip>


I would revise this to say a rework of damage is needed in general, not just for weapons but spells included. The equation needs to include base weapon damage, stat based damage, average armor, weapon speed and melee vs. ranged as core parameters. It could include things such as weapon lengths impacting granting or denying tactical edge as an idea. It should then address how damage stacks and scales and at what tradeoffs (talent costs, tier requirements, etc.) and how much advantage is there in specializing in spell or weapon as a focus of character investment compared to someone who doesn't specialize.

Part of the original intent was that in-combat healing was minimal as the primary end result was extended combats the more healing you added. It would also be interesting to see how something like having damage from casting through strain being resistant to in combat healing methods. Logically that could make sense as applying magic to a magic stressed system could have issues repairing the damage.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:54 pm 
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Whatever you guys do, don't make the game any more complicated than it already is. This has been to barrier to new players I have talked to. Personally I like the system but it took me a while to get into it, and if I wasn't already sold on the game world I'm not sure I would be playing this. Especially if I was new to role-playing. Whatever you do don't let this turn into Shadowrun...great world and they still haven't gotten the mechanics to flow right in my opinion. :( I will agree there's tweaks to be made but let's proceed carefully.

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Michael T. Hebert

Haakon val'Ishi, Beltinian Exorcist 2.7 [Divine]
Ursula val'Holryn, Grand Master of the Tralian Hammer 2.2 [Martial]
Arun of Tultipet, Holy Champion of Neroth 1.10 [Expert]
Rikitsa val'Holryn, Psion 1.9 [Arcane]


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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:21 pm 
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Haakon_val'Ishi wrote:
Whatever you guys do, don't make the game any more complicated than it already is.

Strongly agreed.

Also regarding the barrier to entry, there should be more pre-generated starting characters available at both Tier 1.0 and 1.5. In addition, those pre-generated characters should have recommended character advancements through Tier I and probably Tier II so that newcomers don't have to understand all the rules in order to be able to level up.

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


Last edited by Dante on Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:23 pm 
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A few assorted other things I'd like to see:
  • More val bloodline power options.
  • Make the Heal skill more useful.
  • Give the Weapon Mastery talent at Tier II a useful ability.
  • Add War Hammer (favored weapon of Althares) to the list of regional weapons for Altheria
  • Flintlock Pistol & Flintlock Rifle as a weapon group for the Weapon Familiarity talent
  • Better arrange presentation location of some rules. For example, the rule on use of a shield by a non-proficient PC is under the talent for shield proficiency, but why would a player whose character is not proficient bother to look at a talent they don't have? As another example, the rule for base starting languages is under the Linguistics skill, but most characters don't have that skill, and why would a player whose character doesn't have Linguistics skill bother to look at a skill they don't have?
  • Be more explicit about the rules on incompatibility of divine and arcane magic. It feels awkwardly worded now, and directly stating it in the magic chapter (Codex of Magic) in addition to putting it in the Arcane/Divine Spell Casting talents would help.
  • Be more explicit about all limits on permitted spellcasting abilities by race and gender. This includes the limits on divine spellcasting for male ss’ressen, male worshipers of Saluwe, and female worshipers of Illiir. Also be explicit when there is a difference between what's allowed for PCs vs what's allowed for NPCs/threats; e.g., the current rulebook implies that only vals can have psionics, whereas we know that other NPC races can have psionics as well; and cite Leola val'Assante as the only example ever of a female priestess of Illiir so as to avoid confusion.
  • Consider re-working armor. Currently, it seems that fewer PCs benefit from heavy armor than would in real life because of the AR/Bulk trade-off.
  • Tweak the skill-advancement in the Arcane archetype. Because of Harvesters, it's logical for Elder and Eldritch mages to need Deceit and Skill; but that doesn't seem as logical for Psions. (John Bellando has a nice suggestion for that in another post in this thread.)
  • Correct all the many typos and assorted errors
  • Keep separate Stamina and Wounds. That's a nice way to handle things.
  • A few more Stamina points for Minions. Although the concept of minions is nice, in practice all players meta-game it such that they take special tactics against minions versus other foes. Giving minions a small Stamina value that's not always 1 can change this; perhaps a range of 1 to 20 Stamina (depending on the nature of the foe) such that one hit might or might not take them out could overcome this meta-gaming effect on tactics.

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


Last edited by Dante on Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:01 pm 
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Here are things I'd like to see addressed with an ARG 2.0

1) Archetypes (Starting Attributes):
I think most of the starting skills/talents for Archetypes are well done and balanced. If there is a change to make it harder to get Arcane Casting for non-casting Archetypes and harder to get Martial Techniques for non-Martial Archetypes, I'd like to see Experts get 2 more Additional Skills. This would help add a bit more 'skill bonus' (Right now Experts get 1 additional skill over other archetypes)

2) Archetypes (Advancements):
I think the Archetype Advancements need updated to be more balanced and relevant:
Arcane: Replace the 2 Skill Advancements with "Gain 1 Rank to a number of Trained Skills equal to 3+ your Logic Passive Value chosen from the following: a single Arcanum skill, Deceit, Stealth, or any Lore Skill."
Divine: Replace the 2 Skill Advancements with "Gain 1 Rank to a number of Trained Skills equal to 3+ your Logic Passive Value chosen from the following: a single Arcanum skill, Knowledge (Religion), Deity's favored skill, or any Social Skill."
Expert: No change.
Martial: Replace the "Gain +4 Stamina" with "Gain +6 Stamina".
Replace the Skill Advancement with "Gain 1 Rank in a number of Trained skills equal to 3 + passive Logic to be selected from the following: Heal, any Combat or Physical skills"

3) Backgrounds:
I would like to see fewer, but more customizable Backgrounds. Minstrel from Codex of Heroes is a good example. Instead of so many backgrounds offering specific talents and skills, have some more generalized Backgrounds that can be somewhat customized by the player. This would make customizing the character the player wants to play easier. Offering a choice of Pick 3 of 5-6 or Pick 2 of 3-4 would help with this.

More to come...

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- John Bellando

Kelb'Bakari Masalio, Dark-kin Altherian Corsair, Gentleman Archaeologist, and Wandering Bard
"The highest compliment an Altherian can pay you is to shoot you with his flintlock. It means you were worth the expense."


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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:58 pm 
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It could be good for beginners to have a minimal "basic rules" to get started. This would be a subset of the rules available in PDF (and maybe only sold as an inexpensive PDF) to get going. This would be intended for beginning players but the intention that experienced/serious players and all GMs would get the full rules.

After PCI creates the full rules, they could extract some of them to make a "basic rule book" of some sort.

I envision a basic rule set being an expansion of the current "Fast Play Rules" with:
  • Minimal flavor and description of the world. A sentence or two on each nation, God, race, etc.
  • Full character creation rules
  • Copy of the "basic rules" on the Action skill roll resolution
  • List of all skills even if not a description of all skill uses.
  • At least the basic races (IMHO: humans, vals, elorii, black talon ss'ressen, dwarves)
  • Tables of national & religious weapons, skills, etc
  • Lists of weapons, armor, basic gear
  • Limited set of backgrounds
  • Limited set of common talents so that new players aren't overwhelmed
  • Limited set of common martial techniques
  • Limited set of common spells
  • A few suggestions (either by archetype or for pregen characters) on advancement through Tiers I & II so new players don't have to pick through tough choices but can just treat it like games with predetermined level advancement. And make sure the book has all the corresponding talents, martial techniques, etc.
  • Combat rules and example of combat

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:53 am 
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I keep meaning to post a separate thread with all my thoughts but I keep getting side tracked by real life. This is the summary version of my thoughts rather than the long form essay version. Even in "brevity mode" its going to be a long post.

(1) Attributes. Raw attribute scores don't do much of anything other than generate two separate derived scores: your passive value which usually powers your defenses & the size of the die you roll when using that attribute. IMO it would be more elegant to just buy your passive values. 1=awful (d4). 2=a little bellow average (d6). 3=a little above average (d8). 4=stand out from the crowd (d10). 5=heroic levels (d12) & 6=human maximum (d12+2). This would muck with the advancement options "to raise a 2 attributes by 1" but I find the raw attribute scores to be kludgy and the progress of advancing attributes at 6, 9 & 10 (where you don't get anything) idiosyncratic and frustrating. This would be the biggest change to the game on my list and I'm not sure it would be worth it ... still the relative meaninglessness of actual attribute scores bugs me.

(2) I would prefer that race and perhaps background be more meaningful. It is my experience in many RPGs that differences are significant at creation but become marginal as you "go up in levels." It would be neat if you got something at the start of each tier from your race such as a talent or a bonus to a (non combat/non arcane) skill. This could be the bloodline talents for vals and elorii. Ss'ressen & could get a biological or racial ability at each tier. Humans could go either combat or skill or Arcanum and get a talent of the right type each tier.

(3) Backgrounds. I agree with John and others who would like to see backgrounds that are somewhat more flexible (where you get a pick from a set of skills or talents). But I also want to continue to see specific backgrounds that represent a meaningful subgroup in the campaign. Former Soldier vs. Legionnaire is a good example. In my perfect world both could be used to represent military service in the Coryani Empire. Former Soldier would ideally be more flexible at creation, still potentially count for meeting prereqs like Centurion, but would probably have a weaker "total package" than Legionnaire.

(4) Archetypes: I see a lot of Martial and Expert characters. Despite seeing plenty of spell casters I don't see a lot of Divine or Arcane Archetypes. IMO this is because of two factors (A) there is no spellcasting equivalent of a basic attack & (2) Its fairly easy to poach spellcasting as an expert ... which also gives you the skill ranks to reliably hit opponents with melee or ranged attacks. There is also a possibility that (C) the skill advancements for Arcane & Divine are poorer than the options given to Experts and Martial characters. While spell casting is potentially a separate issue of game balance, I believe the game should either make it harder for experts to cast spells OR that the spell casting archetypes need a boost to help rebalance them.

(5) Damage: I agree that the game favors small fast weapons. Since I have never seen a game that didn't have a few weapons that were more attractive than the others (in 3rd E D&D that would have been spike chains & tralian hammers) this doesn't really bother me much. Whatever we do some options will be sexier than others. But I am not against simple ideas that address the issue. Hat's idea that we add a static +1 to d6s, +2 to d8s, +3 to d10s & +4 to d12s would be fine be me. Tweaking weapon tricks would also help. For example make the weapon trick Mighty Swing solely the province of two handed weapons.

(6) Talents. Talents are not balanced against each other. Not sure if they need to be. But most of the "+1 to X" talents strike me as significantly underpowered choices. I think a static bonus that's always on (for a non combat/non-arcane skill) might be raised to +2 as a baseline. In particular I think having a talent called "Master Craftsman" deserves something better than a meager +1 to your artisan rolls. That's not very masterful. Something that is situational or only useable 1/scene might be raised to Daredevil's level of +4. Weapon Mastery 1 is a clear exception to this.

(6 1/2) Talents (and Weapon Tricks & some spells) that use "weird" combat skills to operate are a pet peeve of mine. Blade Upon the Wind and Throw the Blade are primarily derived from having ranks in melee balanced. But both require you have "combat levels" of a different skill to use. I don't ever see these abilities used. If they aren't used why did we spend ink and space on them? I think its wonky when given powers from paths or tricks can't be used. Similarly the spells Far Strike & Whirling Blade work with melee & ranged attacks despite the fact that the Arcane Archetype does not readily allow you to have enough ranks to do one or the other with a reasonable chance of hitting. (...yet one more reason to be an Expert who casts rather than an Arcane Archetype...). Basically I don't think it should take contortions in how you choose your skills to utilize abilities gained from "standard" options. Many Bloodlines abilities that involve ranged attacks also fall into a similar trap and I think would be better served to have language closer to "roll to attack using Arcanum or ranged (Any)." Basically I think if you get an ability from "something," I think you should be able to use it without having to go through build contortions just to use it.

(7) Horror. While I really loved the Horror rules in the Ravenloft & Masque of the Red Death settings where it is/was used to heighten drama. I think A:RPG is schizophrenic on the topic and it doesn't work nearly as well. I think the basic idea is that if you are a hardened veteran of the Legions then blood and death doesn't bother you...but freaky tentacle horrors and other deeply wrong crap "that has no business existing in civilization" makes you freak out and run. But the mechanics as written don't play out that way. Mostly I find in practice that its a fate tax...because if really its important I don't run away or go fetal then I'm just going to spend the Fate point. This doesn't do anything to heighten drama. I think it would be better if (A) you couldn't use fate on the roll & (B) there were more steps between "hey this is a little creepy, I'm at -2 to other Horror checks" (essentially nothing) and "Ruuunn!!! Run you damn fools!!!"(essentially I am defeated). It might be nice if players had the option to choose from various debilitating (but not crippling) effects. I also think provoking Horror might be useful to incorporate into monstrous traits. VO might have a built in horror check that triggers when anyone is unfortunate enough to get near one...

(8) Stacking. I would like the stacking rules to be simplified. I think the (5) categories for bonuses should be: Talent, Item, Magic, Ally (or maybe called Assistance) & Untyped. Untyped bonuses should be rare and would stack with themselves if they come from different sources. Weapon Mastery 1 is the poster child for an untyped bonus. (Tactical Edge might also be an untyped bonus.) Runes and Spells would be consolidated (Magic!). Bonuses from your talents would almost always be from talents. Bonuses from your ally's talents would almost always be Ally/Assistance. I think you should still be able to get both static bonuses and extra dice bonuses in the same category. If it was appropriate, a talent could explicitly give a bonus that was something other than a "Talent" bonus. For example some bloodline talents might provide a magic bonus.

(9) Keep the clock even if it is a barrier to some D&D players from trying the game.

(10) Spells. There should be some base lines on what spells of each tier can do. For example damaging spells: I think it might be desirable for Tier 1 damaging spells to primarily be single target and expand through built in adaptations to range...and multiple target/small area effect at melee or close range (essentially arcs and small cones). Tier 2 damaging spells might expand into small area AoE at range and bigger AoE at close range. At present I find it odd that mental scream at Tier 1 is categorically better and more flexible than synaptic shock at Tier 3. I think those powers could almost be reversed. I also it find it odd that heat wave has an radius of 20' (!) when something like Storm of Knives has a radius of 5'. Both at Tier 1. Generally I like the way current "utility/mobility" spells scale with level...I think there is less of a problem here.

(11) spell casting vs. pure fighting. Most systems favor spell casters, especially as one "levels up." I know Hat and other are concerned about balance. IMO this system has done a superior job compared to D&D in most of its editions. However there are a few thoughts I have that would probably be helpful. (a) There should be a Martial Technique at each level that targets either fortitude or discipline (or one for each). (b) There should be a martial technique by Tier 2 that pushes an opponents clock regardless of what weapon you are using.

...okay. that's enough for now. I don't know that I've done justice to several of the above ideas, but it covers what I think could do with some tweaking.

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:46 pm 
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I would like to see the way that bloodline powers attack defences standardized, as proposed here.

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Akira Currier
aka Raseri 'Crash' val'Emman - Master of the Incandescent Flame (Martial 3.1)
aka Leif of House Borghild - Skohir Human Myrmidon (Martial 2.4)
aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


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 Post subject: Re: ARG 2.0 - What would you like to see?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:02 pm 
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Location: Southwestern Ohio
I'm pretty sure I didn't see this earlier so here goes. A MAP! Yep a map of the world showing the places referenced in the book. If we want to gain a wider audience we need to make sure that fundamental piece of information is front and center in any new edition. I'm sure it's on Henry's to do list but I felt it worth mentioning since one of the reviewers of the book on Amazon was pretty unhappy about the lack of a map. Case in point is the new 7th Sea Book. First thing you see when you open the book is a color map of Theah. Not too fancy and it does the trick. It's also available online but for those who don't go online a lot (and there are some :) ) having it with the book is really nice.

Just my two cents.... :)

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Michael T. Hebert

Haakon val'Ishi, Beltinian Exorcist 2.7 [Divine]
Ursula val'Holryn, Grand Master of the Tralian Hammer 2.2 [Martial]
Arun of Tultipet, Holy Champion of Neroth 1.10 [Expert]
Rikitsa val'Holryn, Psion 1.9 [Arcane]


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