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 Post subject: Re: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:50 am 
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Hat wrote:
wilcoxon wrote:
<snip>Is it enough to only be able to shine in combat when everyone else can choose to shine elsewhere (sometimes in addition to combat)? I'm not sure.


Martial represents the most specialized archetype. If they always or nearly always shine in combat then for balance purposes they should be able to contribute elsewhere, but don't need to shine.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


I'm curious, in your opinion, other than Skills, what ways can Martials "shine in combat" over other Archetypes?

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 Post subject: Re: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:20 am 

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Harliquinn wrote:
Hat wrote:
wilcoxon wrote:
<snip>Is it enough to only be able to shine in combat when everyone else can choose to shine elsewhere (sometimes in addition to combat)? I'm not sure.


Martial represents the most specialized archetype. If they always or nearly always shine in combat then for balance purposes they should be able to contribute elsewhere, but don't need to shine.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


I'm curious, in your opinion, other than Skills, what ways can Martials "shine in combat" over other Archetypes?


They are much more likely to have a wide range of techniques and other combat talents. They can only use at most 2 techniques every other attack but they will have more options for what those are. In theory, the Expert could pick up all the combat talents a Martial can but, if you're going to focus that much, why aren't you a Martial rather than Expert (you give up almost all of your "any" talents to match the Martial). A Martial will also have a +1 Avoidance (Advanced Armor Training) which isn't huge but definitely helps.

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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: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:39 am 
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wilcoxon wrote:
They are much more likely to have a wide range of techniques and other combat talents. They can only use at most 2 techniques every other attack but they will have more options for what those are. In theory, the Expert could pick up all the combat talents a Martial can but, if you're going to focus that much, why aren't you a Martial rather than Expert (you give up almost all of your "any" talents to match the Martial). A Martial will also have a +1 Avoidance (Advanced Armor Training) which isn't huge but definitely helps.


That has been my exact rationale for what makes a Martial better than an Expert at combat: versatility. The Expert could indeed have Weapon Mastery for a weapon and a few combat talents, but they have focused in that area and probably aren't as strong Skills-wise as an Expert who hasn't. However, they still won't have the sheer flexibility of the Martial with a variety of weapons.

I think Martials need a 'unique' feature around maneuvers (My first proposal was they take 1 Recovery off of an Advanced Maneuver). It's not game breaking but does give them something to make their maneuvers faster to recover from.

I would say that a character looking to only focus in 1 weapon may be better off as an Expert rather than a Martial; whereas an Expert looking to really focus on multiple weapons or combat flexibility is probably better off as a Martial.

However, I get the sense that Paul feels differently so I'd like to see where he stands on the "make Martials shine in combat" over and above an Expert that has taken a combat focus.

John

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Kelb'Bakari Masalio, Dark-kin Altherian Corsair, Gentleman Archaeologist, and Wandering Bard
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 Post subject: Re: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:21 am 

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Harliquinn wrote:
<snip>
I'm curious, in your opinion, other than Skills, what ways can Martials "shine in combat" over other Archetypes?


In terms of shining there are 3 key areas in my mind - Frequency of hitting, durrability and combat impact.

Hitting frequently - basically skill ranks. All Archetypes have/can have max ranks in their chosen method for contributing in combat (physical or spell). That's a wash.

Durrability - still standing at the end or harder to drop. This is a combination of defenses, armor and stamina. Specific defenses vary depending on the character build, but in general it tends to balance out across the archetypes per tier. Might builds have a slight edge on Fortitude, but even for Martials there are quite a few Quickness based builds instead as it's also movement. Quickness doesn't factor into a Defense, so it's a tradeoff there. The +2 Defenses / Tier is an obvious choice for every archetype. A +1 to a defense for an advancement isn't necessarily a great choice, given the alternatives. Martials can add shields, but do so at the cost of damage (no 2 handed weapons, limited two weapon fighting options, no bows, crossbows, etc.) Spells such as Inertial Shield provide the same or better shield bonuses, keep a hand free and impose no penalty.

Stamina at its base is the sum of defenses, so unless there's more distinction between defenses, at it's base they're the same. The other ways to increase stamina are the +4 Stamina for a Martial advancement, the Toughness Talent (+6) and the Exceptional Armor Perseverance rune. A Martial's 10 advancements for a Tier are likely to be:
1. Path
2. +2 to Defenses
3. +1 to all skills
4. +1 to 3+Passive Logic skills (Any)
5. +1 to 3+Passive Logic skills (Combat and Physical)
6. 2 Any Talents
7. 2 Combat Talents
8. 2 Martial Techniques
9. +1 to 2 Stats
10. +1 to 2 Stats

So to add a +1 to a single defense or +4 Stamina, one of the above options needs to be given up. Stats work towards higher Fate as well as better defenses/stamina. So other than maybe Toughness, what does the Martial give up to start making a dent in distinguishing on Defenses / Stamina?

The third way for durability is Armor. Light goes up to AR 2, Bulk 1. Typical heavy is AR 4, Bulk 2. AR 5, Bulk 3 is possible, but the tradeoffs are significant as are the expenses. Not all Martials wear heavy, but if they do, they effectively take 2 points less damage than Experts or Arcane by default. Spells can add armor such as Benediction of the Gods and Body of the Warrior. Between spells like those and ones like Inertial Shield the armor and avoidance advantages for martials are minimized. Inertial Shield can easily hit +3 as an autocast by Tier 2, functions as a Tower Shield, doesn't take a hand, doesn't cause a -1 penalty to hit and if desired could be made into a binding spell. Advanced armor training helps, it's net +1 to Avoidance, +5 Pace in all but the heaviest of armors.

Combat Impact is the ability to deal with the threats. This can be raw damage in Stamina and Wounds, it could be ways of incapacitating or rendering ineffective the opposition or changing the landscape of the battle. This would most often be seen in Tricks/Techniques/Combat Talents. With the right weapons / techniques things like disarm, grapple and trip are available, but they can be a bit tricky to set up or riskier to try. Raw damage is pretty straightfoward as is being able to attack multiple targets with a single attack. Striking multiple targets favors casters for a few reasons.

1. Two target sweeping strike may be available early, but ranged AoE and larger number of target attacks favor the casters by early to mid Tier 2 at the latest.

2. Damage bumps to spell based AoEs affect all targets. If you add a d6 of additional elemental damage, every target takes it. Forward stance and Wolf Pack Tactics apply to all attacks, but do a Mighty Swing + Sweeping Strike and only the first target takes the extra +5 damage.

3. Ranged AoE is easy for casters starting at least at tier 2 if not before and areas 10' in diameter are common.

Perhaps I've been looking at spells too much recently, but spells like Enveloping Ward and Solidify Water come to mind and they completely shut a target down with a successful attack roll.

There may be other areas than the 3 I'm thinking of, but that's my current take on it.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:17 pm 
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Paul
Wow, first analysis, I think you've really done a good job of highlighting what it means to shine in combat. I'd love to add one: Problem Solving. This is more an area for encounter design, but I'd love for Experts to have more use of their skills in combat, such as Larceny, Athletics, Acrobatics, Perception, etc. that's for another thread though.

I have nothing to add on Hitting Frequency, I think it's true that all Archetypes can pump their combat skills or spell's to achieve this. Unlike other games, I think it would be artificial to limit attack bonuses based on archetype.

Durability: I agree with you that the Advancements for all archetypes are fairly fixed at early Tiers, until your attributes cap at around 5 or 8 (for most) and you can use those advancements for other things. I think again that most archetypes are going to have comparative defenses, with casters getting a higher Discipline, Experts getting higher Avoidance, and Martial getting higher Fortitude and Avoidance. There probably isn't much to do here for martial to really differentiate.

For Stamina, I think this is somewhere Martials could get a boost. Perhaps roll the +Stamina into one of their other advancements would help. While I'd argue that few if any experts ever use both of their 2 New Skills each tier, the Martials could use a way to bump Stamina without pushing their defenses too high as to be overpowered.

For Armor, I really see this as a place Martials can pull ahead a little more than they are. Perhaps along with reducing bulk by 1, Martials could perhaps have access to Talents like an Armor Specialization that adds 1 to the AR of any armor worn by type.

The thing to remember about spells like Benediction is that normally everyone in the party benefits so I don't think you can count those against Martials. Spell's like Inertial Shield can be used for comparison.

For Combat Impact. I would definitely support and like to see more combat effectiveness added to maneuvers in general. While I wouldn't want too many limited to Martial Only, I think there are ways to make Martials a little better at them and of course Martials will always have more maneuvers and flexibility. They also need to scale a bit better. One nice thing would be a way for martial archetypes to be able to boost effectiveness of Base maneuvers instead of just combining with Advanced.

For example, a Mighty Swing, perhaps Martials can adapt the base maneuver for an additional 3 points of damage for 1 more recovery. This would be easy enough to add to the current system. Maybe they could add a stun to a base maneuver for the cost of +1 speed and 2 recovery without making it an advanced maneuver.

John

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: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:30 pm 

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Hat wrote:
2. Damage bumps to spell based AoEs affect all targets. If you add a d6 of additional elemental damage, every target takes it. Forward stance and Wolf Pack Tactics apply to all attacks, but do a Mighty Swing + Sweeping Strike and only the first target takes the extra +5 damage.


Where do you see that only the first target takes the +5 damage? The book says the effects are combined and even specifically uses Sweeping+Mighty as an example. The errata only changes/clarifies things when combining Two-Weapon with multi-target (eg Spinning+Sweeping or similar). Unless I'm missing something, the +5 damage from Mighty+Sweeping applies to all targets.

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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: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:49 pm 
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wilcoxon wrote:
Hat wrote:
2. Damage bumps to spell based AoEs affect all targets. If you add a d6 of additional elemental damage, every target takes it. Forward stance and Wolf Pack Tactics apply to all attacks, but do a Mighty Swing + Sweeping Strike and only the first target takes the extra +5 damage.


Where do you see that only the first target takes the +5 damage? The book says the effects are combined and even specifically uses Sweeping+Mighty as an example. The errata only changes/clarifies things when combining Two-Weapon with multi-target (eg Spinning+Sweeping or similar). Unless I'm missing something, the +5 damage from Mighty+Sweeping applies to all targets.


You are correct...if you combine a Base Maneuver that imposes an effect or extra damage with a multi-attack Base Maneuver (Sweeping Strikes, Passing Strike, Flows like Sand, etc.) then every target of the attack suffers the effect/damage.

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: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:53 am 
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I've been working on something I may submit to a few people for review, but it got me thinking about Paul's third "Combat Contribution" and around "Impact". I would also include versatility or flexibility in that category.

I think the Martial Archetype has the potential to be very effective in that area, if they make that a priority.

Here are the different status effects or conditions that Maneuvers (Tricks and Techniques) allow:
Tier 1
Grabbed - Mancatcher Staff
Push 2 - Variety of Weapons
Immobilized/Prone - Bola
Reduce Pace (Action) - Scimitar, Sickle
Immobilized - Pick
Prone/Pushed - Large Shield
Stunned - Club
Disarm - Variety
Trip - Variety
Action Penalty (-2) - Any
Force Movement - Any
Multi-Targets (2) - Any

Tier 2
Pinned/Prone - Mancatcher Staff
Forced Dismount - Pick, Halberd
Stunned/Push 5 - Small Shield
Multi-Targets (3) - Any
Avoidance Penalty (-2) - Any
Bleed Effect - Any

Tier 3
Reduce Pace (Scene) - Bow/Crossbow/Flintlock
Multi-Target (All in 30') - Dagger
Blind - Any

Tier 4
Instant Death (Common/Minion) - Mancatcher Staff, Unarmed
Multi-Target (15) - Bow
Multi-Target (Melee) - Any
Reduce AR - Ranged Weapon

Tier 5
Ranged Disarm - Flintlock, Crossbow
Bypass AR - Bow/Crossbow, Flintlock

Just a sampling. Granted, I think there could be some additional ones at higher tiers that stack multiple effects.

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: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:12 pm 

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John,

Keep in mind that the status effects are across a wide range of weapons and associated skills. In your list there are at least 5 weapon skills represented if not more. Even if a character could keep all of them up there are speed costs in switching weapons, bulk and weight costs for carrying them and talent implications such as with weapon mastery. Characters may certainly avail themselves of one or two weapons with status type effects, but more than that is rarely practical. Especially when you consider that a caster gets all of that plus the ability to target different defenses running off a single skill.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Archetypes, Backgrounds, Spell Casting & Balance (was Po
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:01 pm 
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Hat wrote:
John,

Keep in mind that the status effects are across a wide range of weapons and associated skills. In your list there are at least 5 weapon skills represented if not more. Even if a character could keep all of them up there are speed costs in switching weapons, bulk and weight costs for carrying them and talent implications such as with weapon mastery. Characters may certainly avail themselves of one or two weapons with status type effects, but more than that is rarely practical. Especially when you consider that a caster gets all of that plus the ability to target different defenses running off a single skill.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


Paul
You bring up a valid point, but I may have contributed to the confusion. I only listed the 'lowest Tier' at which an ability was gained. The same abilities can be gained at higher Tiers with other weapons (For instance, Crushing Blow for Stunning is gained by different weapons at different Tiers), so I don't think all weapon skills are needed (Though a more detailed cataloguing would be necessary to see for sure). In addition the "Weapon Group" Talents are a nice way to double-dip in some combinations.

However, where I think we have a fundamental difference of opinion is that I believe Martial Characters have the unique ability to broadly apply their 'martial prowess' across weapons and weapon groups, using both skills and Talents. Martials should really be keeping 2-3 weapon skills maxed as a rule in order to truly capitalize on what Experts/Casters can't do. I believe that the Martial Characters who aren't really broadening their weapon choices to accommodate different needs (materials, damage types, speeds, etc.) aren't truly making the most of the Martial Archetype and may be better served by another Archetype. Practically any character can keep 1 weapon skill maximized (3 Ranks / Tier) with the proper choices, but only Martials can do this reliably for 2-3 skills. It's this versatility that lets them shine in multiple situations where others would fall behind.

As an example, my Expert really maximizes his use of the Steel Whip. If I encounter a creature resistance to bludgeoning damage or to the particular material my weapon is made of, I have to find other ways to deal with it. A Martial character should be able to whip out his piercing weapon and be just as skilled with Talents and Ranks.

In much the same way that an Expert can't devote *all* their skill focus to a single skill (e.g. Persuasion) and expect to be making good use of the Expert Archetype.

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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