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 Post subject: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:21 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
Posts: 632
Coming from a DnD mindset that always found sorcerers to be my favorite class, I saw APRG a chance to play a functional DnD Sorcerer Necromancer. So, when I first created Ooze Jumper (My first PC) I had in mind the Etzara pictured on page 90 of the Codex Arcanis. My concept was strongly influanced by a DnD style Necromancer, and I wanted to highlight the creapyness of gnomedom. As stated by a pc, who identy I've forgotten, "I've met many a gnome that have strived to overcome the stereotypes and prejudice of their race. Then there is you..."

But as some of you may recall from the old boards, I've been stuck in a DnD 3.5 mindset with this PC's concept from the outset. (Pocket Caster thread??)

Anyhow, with the Errata out, I've been prepping Oozy for Arcanicon and I have to say that the more I dive into the crunchy side of the rules, the more I find that my PC's personality and skill set becomes more complex. Frankly, I'd even say more 3-D.

I know I am about three years behind the learning curve compared to other players. But I am curious if anybody else had a similar awakening in their PC concepts when transitioning from DnD? I am also curious if this effect was intentionally designed into the system or if it is just a pleasent side effect.

Thanks

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Eric Hughes

There once was a gnome called Oozy,
Who kissed a Yaricite floozy.
But rather than wed,
She drowned him instead,
Now he is a Yaricite toosey!


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 Post subject: Re: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:08 pm 
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I think it is hard to break away from a certain mindset for most people. i started in D&D 3.0, then converted to 3.5. I played those systems pretty much exclusively for about a decade before ARPG. I'll admit that it was difficult for me initially to figure out character design in this system.

Hands down, my favourite thing about the ARPG is the complexity of character creation. Sure, it takes at least an hour to build a character, but you can do so many different things! I wouldn't necessarily say that it changed the way I think of my characters, but I do think it has let me design characters which are truer to the core concept. This is why I am so excited for the new rulebooks to be released. Every additional background, path, talent and flaw adds exponentially more potential characters to the game. I really love the fact that you would be hard pressed to find two identical (or really, even similar) characters in this system.

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aka Raseri 'Crash' val'Emman - Master of the Incandescent Flame (Martial 3.6)
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aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


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 Post subject: Re: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:34 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1306
I've played a wide variety of systems over the years. In my experience you can either start with a concept which has no defined mechanics (I want to be an awesome swordsman) or with specific mechanics to build around (in D&D: probably prestige class, with A:RPG it could be flaw, background, path, etc.)

Once you have what's most important, you start filling out around it. I really like the flexibility of character creation. I agree with Akira that there are lots of options available.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:14 pm 
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I might be in a minority here, but I actually started with Arcanis at the very end of the 3.5 era, and hadn't tried too many other systems when ARPG came out. As such, I hadn't really gotten into the 'paradigms' that others did about other systems (specifically 3.5), such as the pocket-caster, the meat-shield, the DPS, etc. I have always liked multi-use characters, which is something that D&D didn't really support well with its fairly limited class system. The same is true about other games I have played with similar leveling systems. So, when ARPG came out and I could make my caster who was also effective in melee and who could be a talker, this was a dream to me! Finally, I could make a well-rounded character rather than an archetype or a collection of feats and magic items!

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Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
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 Post subject: Re: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
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I guess what I've noticed is how well the system rewards muliple skill sets and a diverse concept.

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Eric Hughes

There once was a gnome called Oozy,
Who kissed a Yaricite floozy.
But rather than wed,
She drowned him instead,
Now he is a Yaricite toosey!


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 Post subject: Re: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 801
Location: Michigan
Eric Hughes wrote:
I guess what I've noticed is how well the system rewards muliple skill sets and a diverse concept.


Actually, one of the things I like is how it almost forces multiple skill sets, and penalizes min/maxing. Compare spellcasting (and spellcasters) from previous rules which pretty much required "I build my character to do this" designs (if you were a caster and didn't do that, you were a character of minimal use), to this system that rewards mixed builds.

In this system, no matter how much you pump yourself as a pure caster - max your stat, take the talents, tweak everything to get every skill point - and you will be a great caster. EXCEPT, that after about two spells per fight, you will start to eat strain or burn fate points. Probably the most powerful characters out there are the most multipurpose - pop off a useful spell or talent while your recovery goes away, then use a combat maneuver as you let the strain go down. So the more you try to powergame, the more you fail...

Plus, spellcasters are much less powerful than they used to be, with flight being much harder to acquire, invisibility not existing, fewer long term buffs, and teleport/word crashing spells being plot only. I like that, since it used to be that casters were the most powerful characters after mid-level, bar none. Now it's much more balanced. About the only place I see that not being true is the Val'Mehan diabolist - its hard to balance having 2 demons at your beck and call all the time. That just looks like it will be ugly.

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 Post subject: Re: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:45 am 
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acurrier wrote:
Sure, it takes at least an hour to build a character, but you can do so many different things! I wouldn't necessarily say that it changed the way I think of my characters, but I do think it has let me design characters which are truer to the core concept.


An hour!? Slacker! :)

John

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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: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:02 pm 
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The system is very flexible and it's one of the things I really like about it. I have spent hours upon hours building Kelb, not because I was looking for the perfect min/max combination (He's far from that) but that I started with 'a concept' and had trouble building it within the rules.

I like bards. They are generally my 'go to class' for a new system. Arcanis has a path called "Bard" but I don't feel it captures the traditional arcane casting, quick-talking, song spouting bard concept I had in mind.

Building a bard in the Arcanis system is a little hard to do at character generation. The Arcane Archetype is very much on stealth/deceit and casting, but little on the other traditional rogue-like abilities. The Expert Archetype is a perfect foundation, but getting Arcane Casting at character generation (outside of a Shamanic tradition) isn't really possible. Therefore, I went through different iterations...

1) Expert with Prestidigitation and no other casting - Just felt too limited in casting
2) Expert with Divine Casting (Templar) - A Divine Bard makes sense in Arcanis with Cadic as your deity, but the spells just didn't have the right feel to them
3) Expert with Arcane Casting (Path: Arcane Apprentice) - This is what I ultimately decided upon. It cost me a path and a big delay in true casting, but I feel I've finally got it down.
- I've also focused on the Arcimous Primus Fighting Style as a way to really mix up the magic/fighting and give me a variety of things to do in combat to complement my out of combat contributions.

Having said that, I still think that assembling your character from the components is a great way to go. The components being:
A) Race
B) Nation
C) Archetype
D) Background

There are two issues in my mind that make character generation more complex that could potentially be addressed:
1) Arcane Casting Background - It would be great to have a background that at the very least makes Rudimentary Spellcasting 'non-limited'. This would still require a lot of investment at character generation to cast arcane spells, but it would make some builds a little more realizable earlier for folks.

2) Flexible Skills in Backgrounds - While I don't advocate choosing mechanics for mechanics-sake, many of the backgrounds could be made more flexible in their skill selections. This got better in Codex of Heroes, but I think having more backgrounds give "Pick 3 of these 6 skills" or "Gain Skill A, and your choice of Skill B or Skill C" would help people pick backgrounds that fit the flavor of their character without being a detriment mechanically. As shown by much analysis, stacking skill ranks is important in this game or you fall behind.

As an example: my idea of what being a 'sailor' means to my background may be different from the authors. If the author has chosen the 3 skills he feels all sailors have, then I'm either limited to those skills or I pick a different background that gives me the skills I want/need for my character even if the name of the background is odd. With some more selection (Similar to have Witch Hunter does it) in each background, I think it would go a long way from finding the 'perfect match' of skills to choosing the background you feel is fitting and still having some flexibility with the mechanics.

John

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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: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:22 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 801
Location: Michigan
toodeep wrote:
Eric Hughes wrote:
I guess what I've noticed is how well the system rewards muliple skill sets and a diverse concept.


Actually, one of the things I like is how it almost forces multiple skill sets, and penalizes min/maxing. Compare spellcasting (and spellcasters) from previous rules which pretty much required "I build my character to do this" designs (if you were a caster and didn't do that, you were a character of minimal use), to this system that rewards mixed builds.

In this system, no matter how much you pump yourself as a pure caster - max your stat, take the talents, tweak everything to get every skill point - and you will be a great caster. EXCEPT, that after about two spells per fight, you will start to eat strain or burn fate points. Probably the most powerful characters out there are the most multipurpose - pop off a useful spell or talent while your recovery goes away, then use a combat maneuver as you let the strain go down. So the more you try to powergame, the more you fail...

Plus, spellcasters are much less powerful than they used to be, with flight being much harder to acquire, invisibility not existing, fewer long term buffs, and teleport/world crashing spells being plot only. I like that, since it used to be that casters were the most powerful characters after mid-level, bar none. Now it's much more balanced. About the only place I see that not being true is the Val'Mehan diabolist - its hard to balance having 2 demons at your beck and call all the time. That just looks like it will be ugly.

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 Post subject: Re: System breaking the mold
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1958
Location: Portland OR
I feel Tukufu certainly is much more developed than many of my other shared world characters ... but I don't necessarily know that he's more three dimensional than Jaeger was for me in the old 3x campaign. Or than Nepenthes was in a home game we ran in 4e. Or Daniel O. Abernathy was for me in Living Death... I think generally the complexity and 3D-ness of my character is a direct correlation to how engaged I am with a campaign or setting.

Its an interesting question to consider.

I suspect Eric, that you're right. The system of Arcanis does tend to promote 3D characters. Though I would guess its a reflection of how you need to reflect on your PC constantly as you go up through advancements. Unlike D&D there is no autopilot and set builds. You instead make a lot of (incremental) improvements. You need to keep asking who am I & what do I want to do better.

I've played in many many different systems. And obviously the underlying mechanics greatly impact game play and choices you make in and out of combat. In D&D you start out scared of daggers and rat bites, but become progressively more powerful until you have the ability to challenge creatures of world shaking power. Call of Cthulhu reverses that. You're most powerful at creation and essentially get weaker as you go along until you finally end up gibbering in a corner. Knives *always* remain dangerous and you never get to wrestle Cthulhu "at 20th level". In 7th Sea I feel you literally have to do something mind boggling dumb to risk PC death even at creation...like trying to catch a ride on a cannon ball mid flight.

What I appreciate most about this system is that there are so many meaningful choices in how you approach combat. Dagger fighters make sense. Sword wielders make sense. Even dual pick wielding militias have unique choices... And so far, I feel the martial choices are as powerful, interesting and complex as the spell casting choices. Storm of Knives vs. Sweeping Strike? Is one better than the other? SoK is potentially better at killing more minions. SS probably does more damage to the enemies...

...and as noted there are different ways to put together similar packages at creation (or evolve packages over time). Your dagger fighter can be an Expert as easily as a Martial PC. Your sneaky scout can as easily be a Martial PC, an Arcane PC or an Expert PC. I see as many Experts as Arcane or Divine spell casters.

The original kernel of Tukufu came out of a Malifaux mini I've had for awhile. Its a "Guardsman" who looks a bit like a musketeer. Pistol in one hand, Sword in the other, both pointed front and center. I "knew" it was Altherian (mostly because of the pistol), was flexible in combat with different modes of fighting, and had the right skill set to serve as a courtier/intriguer/spy. That's not a 3D beginning, but like a pearl, layers keep getting added to that humble start.

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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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