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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2467
Location: Central Alberta
The more I think of it, the more I think I've figured out why I don't like the Expert archetype:

It breaks the game.

Not 'breaks' as in makes the game unplayable, but breaks the game balance in that every archetype should be balanced. Personally, I think Martial, Divine, and Arcane are reasonably balanced to each other, but while they have identity and balance, they don't have necessarily what players want which is usually to be Gods. Expert allows so much variability and versatility that it is mechanically superior to all the other Archetypes enough that--as several prominent (or at least, highly vocal) members of the community have trumpeted in this very thread--many people simply refuse to make characters in other archetypes. The poll in this thread shows that 40% of people's primary characters fall into that Archetype, though the average drops to only 30% over everyone's secondary and tertiary characters. When almost half the players choose one of four options, it shows that the essential game balance is off, or that there is a 'correct' character build like we saw in D&D.

Does this mean that the Expert is essentially designed to be too powerful? I cannot say. I personally would like it to be HARDER for everyone to get spell casting, having to get it through a Path if they don't take the Archetype to get is (such as Apprentice Arcanist, Spontaneously Awakened Psion, or Initiate Itinerant). I was not a huge fan of Undisciplined Psion, but to me it made sense in the universe and clarifications have made it less rough to get. To be able to build an Expert who can do LITERALLY anything in the game out of character creation EXCEPT cast Eldritch or Elder while others need 1000 XP to do it seems off to me.

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Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:42 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:12 pm
Posts: 1036
I disagree that Expert is broken. Each Archetype (except possibly Divine) has significant advantages over others depending on your character concept. Each has tradeoffs. If I wanted to play a primarily dedicated caster, I'd pick Arcane. If I wanted a primarily combat character, I'd pick Martial. If I want a hybrid, I'll pick Expert (which I usually do because I like hybrid). Martial getting Advanced Armor Training and 2 techniques for 1 advance is huge for a physical combat character (effectively +1 Avoidance and halving advances needed for techniques). Arcane is a little less cut-and-dry to me but I've still built a few characters where it seemed to fit what I wanted better than Expert.

Divine, on the other hand, I think is broken (in the opposite way). I have not made any divine caster where I thought the Divine archetype worked better than Expert (and neither have my players). I'm sure there are concepts that do work better as Divine than Expert but I haven't found them (especially if you don't mind not having the advanced universal spells).

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Steve Wilcoxon
Ss'kethis - Expert Holy Champion of the Fire Dragon 3.1
G'hyu'thyh Sungha - Martial Templar of Illiir 1.7
Eryk Bauer - Martial Awakened 1.2


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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:40 am
Posts: 2046
Cody
I don't think Experts are seeking to be "Gods". I know for me, I just prefer the flexibility that Expert offers. This seems supported by the 'fluff' write-up in the Expert Archetype paragraph in the book as well.

For me personally, I tend to be a very 'not in the norm' character maker, so the constraints presented by Arcane and Divine just don't appeal to me as they don't offer a lot of flexibility outside the narrowly defined structure of skills (I also don't like the way the Advancements are structured to require 2 Advancements to raise all their skills). I think Martial characters are better structured to allow for flexibility, and I'd readily play a Martial Character (Though I might take a Divine Casting Background as well for a few buffs) if it fit my concept. Martial Advancements are pretty broad as well and give a lot of options.

Personally I think Arcane and Divine Archetypes suffer from being 'too restrictive' in their character building abilities rather than Expert being too broad. Every Arcane has the same skills, Every Divine has mostly the same skills but they have at least some variety based upon their deity.

One thing I'm going to say and I'm sure it might start a debate is this: When you get right down to it, Experts have nothing going for them over any other Archetypes other than their versatility. Arcane and Divine are focused on Spells; Martial are focused on Combat Maneuvers. Experts have no 'focus' (which is by design) so their strength is in the ability to use the 'Toys' of the other Archetypes at a little less effectiveness or with fewer options. There are no special abilities (e.g. "Skill Tricks") for Experts (Though I'm working on a system like that it's just slow going) so they just have to pick from the abilities generally reserved for the other Archetypes to build their concepts.

Let's also be honest, when it comes to combat, Spells and powerful Combat Maneuvers are really how fights are won. I can't remember a fight that was won with a well timed "Larceny Roll" or a life-saving "Persuasion" check. Now, combat is not the only thing the game is about, obviously, but it's a rather large part of the campaign.

There's also the problem of outside of combat, where I would expect Skills to really shine. Experts can generally raise a lot of skills really high. That's great! However, the other Archetypes have plenty enough skills to be very useful in a few focused areas. Arcane are great at Lore, Stealth and Deceit. Divine are great at Social Skills and a wide range of others. Martial are great at Physical skills. So, that leaves only a few skills where Experts excel that another Archetype doesn't. I have lost count at how many tables I've been at where even though I have the +12 to Persuasion, +12 Stealth, and +12 Athletics, and +12 Larceny, there's a Divine Character just as good at social, an Arcane just as good at sneaking (or better with spells), or a Martial just as good at climbing that cliff as I am. The few skills where Experts have few equals aren't used a lot in adventures. You don't need to have 3 people all greet the visiting Emissary with their great persuasion and etiquette rolls, or 3 people to jump the chasm to tie the rope to the other side...unfortunately it doesn't always fall to the Expert to really shine in those areas they are designed to shine. Therefore, we have to pick abilities from the other Archetypes to be competitive and feel useful.

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: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1307
Nierite wrote:
The more I think of it, the more I think I've figured out why I don't like the Expert archetype:

It breaks the game.

Not 'breaks' as in makes the game unplayable, but breaks the game balance in that every archetype should be balanced. Personally, I think Martial, Divine, and Arcane are reasonably balanced to each other<snip>


There are multiple ways to improve the game balance of each of the Archetypes. In all cases it boils down to ensuring that there is enough special foo of whatever type to entice people to play it over other build choices. Adding the option to select 2 Martial Techniques as an advancement option brought the Martial more into parity with the other archetypes. That advancement option makes it harder for a non-Martial character to keep up. Not impossible as I described in another thread, but harder. And that's an option that goes past character creation. Both of the key extra Arcane and Divine advancements are skills based limiting their usefulness over the Expert's focused advancements.

If the Arcane archetype granted access to a Talent - tiered or base that made casting with subtlety easier, that would be significant if only they could get it. As another example it could be that with a given tiered talent, it's no longer Limited if you're archetype X, but it remains Limited requiring additional Paths for further progression or to unlock the Unlimited version.

Perhaps it's slightly different. Perhaps each Archetype gets 1 or a choice of a few Tiered talents that they automatically gain the benefit of as they go up in Tier without expending a Talent to get it. Something like this would grant effectively 4 extra talents over a character's lifetime, so overall balance would need to be reviewed. I'd also put requirements in similar to weapon tricks that you must still meet certain criteria in order to access that next tier. I realize that this is what the choose any 2 (Skill, Combat, Arcane, Devout) talents are intended to do. Perhaps that just gets emphasized a bit more or it becomes 3 talents instead of 2.

Otherwise make requirements for Paths or Talents something that play more specifically to the strengths of the Archetype. It could even be as generic as Prestidigitation, ASC II and 3 other Arcane Talents. Possible for a non-Arcane archetype to get, but more challenging.

Just some thoughts.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:16 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 802
Location: Michigan
To my mind, arcane and divine are clumsy/poor compared to martial and expert because of their skill advancement. Experts can advance any skills (3+passive logic) they want with one advancement. Martial can advance their primary skill (attack) as well as any other combat or physical skills (#+ passive logic) in one advancement. Arcane and divine have to advance their primary skill (casting) along with two associated skills as one step (so just 3 skills), and then another to advance their other option (3+ passive logic lore/social). I think that arcane and divine would be a long sight better if instead of having those two different skill advancement options at each tier, they just had one that said, “Gain 1 Rank in a number of Trained skills equal to 3 + passive Logic to be selected from the following: casting, X (deceit/know rel), Y (stealth/god’s skill), and social (for divine)/lore (for arcane) skill.” It means they would get less total skills possible per tier, but it would be massively more useful because they could get several more in just one grab – just like experts and martials do.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:12 pm
Posts: 1036
I agree with toodeep's suggestion (and agree it would improve arcane/divine).

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Steve Wilcoxon
Ss'kethis - Expert Holy Champion of the Fire Dragon 3.1
G'hyu'thyh Sungha - Martial Templar of Illiir 1.7
Eryk Bauer - Martial Awakened 1.2


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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2467
Location: Central Alberta
Nierite wrote:


Just a bump to this. Come on I know there are more than just 35 people playing Arcanis on these boards!

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Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:34 am
Posts: 960
Location: Southwestern Ohio
Well I can think of three people alone in our area who play Arcanis and have no presence at all on these boards. One has no access to the Internet and other two don't take or have the time to keep up with the boards the way some of us do. I will see if I can get them to post.

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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: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:12 pm
Posts: 1036
I think there's something like 15-20 Arcanis players in this area (active to varying degrees). I'm pretty sure at least 11 have no presence on these boards (I know little about the other group as they have been playing together a long time - I know at least one of them is on the boards but I don't see him post much). I'm pretty sure none of my 5 players have created accounts on here (and are unlikely to play Arcanis outside of me running them through the mods).

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Steve Wilcoxon
Ss'kethis - Expert Holy Champion of the Fire Dragon 3.1
G'hyu'thyh Sungha - Martial Templar of Illiir 1.7
Eryk Bauer - Martial Awakened 1.2


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 Post subject: Re: Arcanis Character Poll, take 2 (or 3?)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2467
Location: Central Alberta
Well, please pass on the link to the poll to those who aren't on the boards! I've posted it a couple times on my personal Facebook as well as the old ArcaniCon FB page and on G+, though relatively few people who aren't on the forums here will have seen either.

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Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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