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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 5:40 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:44 pm
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The efficacy and availability of raise dead and other such magic has always been a tricky issue for Arcanis. It is something on our list of things to make clear in the 5e book and we will make sure that campaign documentation is updated as well. Hopefully it won't be needed, but we will try to make an official update before Origins.

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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 7:12 pm 
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Location: Temple of the Pantheon, First City
Hat wrote:
My comment wasn't that raise dead/resurrection etc. couldn't be in the system, just wouldn't have to be the way to address the death concern. I also recall a lot of people who got unhappy if they only got a raise dead or resurrection vs. a true res as they lost experience compared to others.


I'm afraid that you are misremembering. True Res was never available in the original campaign except in one specific certed circumstance at a battle interactive where Deopholis - a mysterious holy man whom consorts with Valinor - provided a true res to an individual PC. Aside from that unique event, raise dead and resurrection - complete with level loss - was the only choice available. People lost XP all the time and it wasn't a big deal since there were more than enough modules to get caught up. I personally lost a total of four levels (at above 10th level) over the campaign - more than most - and still entered the final BI at 20th level without ever using a level-up cert.

The point, to paraphrase one of the original cert shirts, is that stupidity should lead to character creation, not bad luck. In 5e when one drops to 0 (a common occurrence), all it takes is two bad rolls (with no mitigation possible) over two rounds and a character is dead. Most of the time other players are good about getting downed character stabilized, but I've also seen some tables where other players just kept attacking the monsters and ignored the downed PC.

The core 5e system and SRD was balanced with the idea that death is an obstacle that can be reliably overcome - Arcanis d20 set itself apart by making the 'raised by dawn or your soul is gone' rule, which made death a scary thing. However, if Raise Dead isn't available at all in a D&D rules set, then it makes the whole balance of the game out of whack because CR calculations can no longer be trusted.

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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 7:40 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1281
Heidi val'Tensen wrote:
<snip>
I'm afraid that you are misremembering. True Res was never available in the original campaign except in one specific certed circumstance at a battle interactive
<snip>
The point, to paraphrase one of the original cert shirts, is that stupidity should lead to character creation, not bad luck. In 5e when one drops to 0 (a common occurrence), all it takes is two bad rolls (with no mitigation possible) over two rounds and a character is dead.
<snip>
The core 5e system and SRD was balanced with the idea that death is an obstacle that can be reliably overcome - Arcanis d20 set itself apart by making the 'raised by dawn or your soul is gone' rule, which made death a scary thing.


You're right. I didn't remember clearly, though given the numbers of years that have passed, not surprising.

I and I believe most agree with the sentiment that stupidity rather than bad luck should lead to character creation. I also believe you've missed my point about Raise Dead etc.

Heidi val'Tensen wrote:
However, if Raise Dead isn't available at all in a D&D rules set, then it makes the whole balance of the game out of whack because CR calculations can no longer be trusted.


Raise dead is only ever required if a character dies. If a character who fails twice in their stabilization efforts and isn't saved by someone had the option of stabilizing by adding a permanent flaw or effect to their character to reflect the near death experience then the need for Raise Dead is removed. The CR calculation isn't impacted because the character is still out of action for the duration of the combat, and brought back at some cost.

Again, this isn't to say the spells have to be removed. A primary driver for those spells to exist in the Arcanis setting though, is with an approach like the one I described. This also prevents someone else's stupidity (not stabilizing a party member) from causing your character creation.

I'm no one official. I just see more than one solution to this problem.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 8:44 pm 
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Location: Temple of the Pantheon, First City
The issue with an XP cost in the current 5e campaign is that character progression is very tightly managed - unlike the d20 campaign, there are no extra modules. The intro modules bring you exactly from 1st to 4th, and the HPs are designed to provide further linear progression. Due to this, the traditional APL system has been replaced with a more generalized system in which there is minimal adjustment to combats (usually in the form of adding or subtracting a creature or two). It works right now, because the staff can rightly know the level bands in which characters will fall.

However, the alternative of losing an ability point or some other such permanent issue also raises the problem that a character may wind up no longer being worth their level (especially if a run of bad luck has had them die multiple times). This can throw off tiering calculations, obviously.

Also, CR calculations being thrown off are because many monsters have instant-death or potentially instant-death abilities that range from Save or Die to Save or Age 2d4*10 years (which could be instant death). It is these abilities that would throw CR off, because in a no-raise-dead campaign or a campaign where the core rules are altered in a fundamental way to make death cause permanent penalties, these abilities carry much more power and threat - so much so that many PCs will choose to run once they discover a monster has such an ability. These monsters should have a much higher CR if the core rules are altered.

Final point: thus far, 5e Arcanis has been a very low-gold campaign. To be frank, I've played 14 modules, hit level 5, and have had to buy so many potions of healing that I barely have 250 gold (I've literally spent no money on anything other than healing potions, BTW) and quite often don't even break even on modules. Everyone I've played with is in the same boat - even with a cleric healing the party, as a whole the tables usually go through between four and eight+ potions a module - much more for some modules. With a material component alone for Raise Dead costing 500gp, and the casting cost for non-Acolyte-background individuals likely being at least that again, I would hardly think that the spell would need an additional drawback. At an estimated total cost of 1000gp, it would likely beggar the entire table to have a party-member brought back... assuming that they could get the body to a temple before dawn. Adding permanent penalties on top of this seems a bit unnecessary and would require a much more complicated campaign infrastructure that could support a wider level-range for each module in order to account for those whom have lost XP/ability-points/etc. In a game where a +6 proficiency bonus is the penultimate in ability, even a -1 penalty is huge enough to cripple a character forever. Further, the APL problems and the issue with the viscous cycle of characters falling behind the rest of the party (dying, losing a level, then dying again due to being underleveled, etc) caused by level loss is the reason that the designers of 5e removed level-loss to begin with.

I do understand where you are coming from - in 3.5 and previous editions of D&D, level loss was a big thing. 5e, however, was designed around the fundamental idea that level loss didn't happen - so it was not calculated into any of the formulas that they used to pick spell levels, assign CRs, tweak the XP chart, etc etc etc. In order to do as you suggest - and do it properly in a balanced fashion - PCI would have to backengineer all the balancing formulas in the core rules, reassign XP rates, reassign CRs, change spell-levels of instant-death-type effects, etc... plus increase level-bands of modules, introduce XP slop into the expected character progression, etc etc... all this on top of already working on the new Arcanis player's guide. That's a lot of work just to make it harder for a PC to recover and remain playable following a run of bad luck... especially when just paying for the raise dead to begin with is already a big penalty... and to be fair, the nature of the Blessed Lands (everything is many days travel away for the most part) means that getting a Greater Restoration isn't usually possible before dawn... much less a Raise Dead - so even if the spell is made available at any temple, death will still be scary and most likely permanent anyway.

Anyway, that's my take on the matter. As always, YMMV.

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Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 7:54 am 
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Sorry for waxing verbose above... it only just now occurred to me that one might find it condenscending or overly aggressive - if it did come off that way, then I apologize; my intent was only to be helpful. Game design is a passion of mine and I can get a bit carried away at times. I have every faith in campaign staff to take care of the raise dead issue appropriately - I only provided the info/opinions above because I really like to be helpful whenever possible.

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- Jacqualine Alicia C.

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Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
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Location: Portland OR
I have some thoughts.

Issues of death & RPG worlds have always been a potential friction point. Different campaigns and/or worlds have dealt with it differently. In some worlds and settings "dead" is essentially a condition like "stunned" or "petrified" and it's just a matter of resources or restorative spells to get back on your feet. Not realistic and not necessarily heroic. In others, dead is dead. As a teen ager I played a Middle Earth RPG and spent over an hour building a tolkienian dwarf and that character died falling into a 10' spiked pit in the first encounter. That might have been realistic but it wasn't heroic (or fun either!).

So there has always been a spectrum of options. The "sweet spot" seems to be: enhances fun, not totally unrealistic, doesn't undermine heroism.

I know that thematically Arcanis wants to have a grittier feel than something more like the Forgotten Realms. And I know from talking with Henry that at times he feels confined by some of the D&D tropes. Including the relatively easy ability to return the dead to life. Henry has also said that he's wanted to do the "Nasha storyline" for awhile but that it would only makes sense if Raising the Dead is a rare or even Legendary event.

We are effectively running an experiment right now because ALL the available adventures started off as A:RPG mods and were converted. And the A:RPG is a different system! It that handles resources and death quite differently! That potentially makes conversions between systems a challenge. (And will presumably still be a challenge when D&D mods eventually get converted to A:RPG mods...).

So death. Currently I suspect it is ALOT easier to die in the D&D version of mods. In a A:RPG module it doesn't matter if the 3 fights take place the same day or on different days. You face each fight at full power. And the mods were written to reflect this. D&D is the opposite. While 3 fights in three days is a cakewalk, 3 back to back fights without resting is a dangerous drain on resources.

I am not entirely surprised that I am hearing of parties drinking a lot of healing potions.... Effectively we are hearing the feedback right now on Round 1 of how well this Experiment of the converted mods are going. If you have a strong opinion this is a good time to offer (polite!) suggestions.

I think it's obvious that the Arcanis campaign does not want to to overly penalize characters that die and render them unplayable through do loss. At the same time, in the campaign I think there is consensus that there should be some kind of bite that is the result of dying. Also an issue of fewer modules this time round?

So. Suggestions?

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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 9:16 pm 
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Not at a PC so will try to be concise, but I had an idea to replace death in most circumstances with a random critical injury chart (things like a hobbled leg or broken arm with associated penalties) Such injuries would either last for X (I think 2 is a good number - makes natural healing a pain but not insurmountable) modules (and noted on the PC's AR) or could be healed immediately by a greater restoration. That way PC death would only occur in specific, appropriate circumstances so long as whomever converts modules is cognizant of monster abilities and avoids instant-death effects unless it is meant to remove PCs from play (like a suicide mission) Example: As Editing Cat of Old Coryan, I nixed Meehan's inclusion of bodaks in a module and replaced them with something else because the save or die effects of Bodaks were not CR appropriate due to Arcanis-specific rules.

If we want raise dead to be an epic thing (like Into the Cauldron Epic) I'd suggest a general campaign rule that critical injury replaces death wherever possible (drowned? Once they pulled you out, so long as it was a reasonably quick thing, you just got water in your lungs and can't dash for two mods - unless you get that Greater Restoration) and that death should ONLY ever occur if specifically called for in a module with the words "this death overrides the campaign critical injury rules and is permanent"

Anice chart of injuries that allows either the GM to pick an appropriate one or a random roll (player's choice betweenrandom or GM pick, to avoid adversarial GM tailored penalty shenanigans)

This solution is lore-friendly, avoids permanent (ie: unbalancing) penalty, and still keeps a sense of consequence.

If staff likes this idea, I'd love to help write it.

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5e character:
Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 9:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:52 am
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Eric;

I have run or played all of the modules. And actually I did read those that that I played after playing them. Come on by the Bar on Two and I will be happy to give you or any other staff member my feedback and suggestions, the good and the bad.

Overall, I am very happy with the campaign. I appreciate the work that everyone has put into the 5E campaign. But like all experiments, I feel that there are some things that have worked and some that might need tweaking.

And I'll buy the first round.

Lucas

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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:16 pm 
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Possible 'house rule' for the setting.

Vanquished by HP vs Vanquished by Con.

PCs Vanquished by HP make a full recovery after the combat.

PCs that suffer a 'death blow' (-ve total HP or other 'instant death' effect) suffer a Wound. Each PC has 1+Con Bonus in Wounds before permanent death/raise dead is required.
Having a Wound means Disadvantage on ALL d20 rolls until healed.


Gives a little buffer to those massive hits that I hear about.

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 Post subject: Re: Availability of Raise Dead
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:40 pm 
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Southernskies wrote:
Possible 'house rule' for the setting.

Vanquished by HP vs Vanquished by Con.

PCs Vanquished by HP make a full recovery after the combat.

PCs that suffer a 'death blow' (-ve total HP or other 'instant death' effect) suffer a Wound. Each PC has 1+Con Bonus in Wounds before permanent death/raise dead is required.
Having a Wound means Disadvantage on ALL d20 rolls until healed.


Gives a little buffer to those massive hits that I hear about.


I quite like this - simple and effective - plus no bookkeeping. Honestly, I like this better than my idea.

Edit: needs a clarification on how to heal a Wound though - I'm guessing a lesser restoration at a minimum?

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5e character:
Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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