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Messages - Rafu

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Freebooting Venus / Re: The helpless are hard to kill
« on: September 29, 2016, 06:14:35 PM »
Not what I would have expected, maybe, but fine for me. :)

BTW, do I understand it correctly that harm against NPCs works like cumulative hitpoints? Like, for example: I launch a surprise attack against an unaware, but armored, opponent: 1 harm. I have their full attention. I leap from hiding and fight them, dealing 1 more harm: it's their second harm so far. They're wounded and flee (a 2-harm experience). Right?

Freebooting Venus / The helpless are hard to kill
« on: September 28, 2016, 10:09:38 AM »
Here's one more...

One of the PCs in our game is an assassin-for-hire type (he started with Stealth and Sword-binding). Sooner or later he's bound to notice that he can't actually manage to murder a healthy human being by rolling the Attack Someone Helpless move!
On a hit, when you "inflict harm per weapon and armor", that's 2-harm minus armor for all listed weapons. Even if you get to choose their bad experience, per strong hit, these are your only options against an unarmored human NPC:
They’re taken aback.
They’re wounded, and flee.
They’re wounded, but press on.
There's no "you murder them" option, you see... Was this done on purpose?

If your target is wearing light armor, you can at best hope to mildly annoy them, while military-grade, heavy armor makes you effectively immune to surprise attacks from nonmagical weapons.

Maybe the conscious design decision is that you want murder to require teamwork:
If another PC helps you, but does not strike a blow of their own, they can add 1 to the harm you inflict.

OTOH, I could see the bad experiences list for NPC humans being broader - like, including 2-harm options that render a person unconscious or leave them at their enemies' mercy.

Freebooting Venus / Re: Helping each other on Recover, Regroup & Prepare
« on: September 28, 2016, 09:49:29 AM »
Everybody chooses their own options. HOWEVER...

- If separated people helped each other, they committed to regrouping. Insist that they do.

- Anyone who wants to participate in making the plan has to choose to study the situation and make a plan with the others. Not choosing to, means that they make the plan without you.
OK, that makes perfect sense to me, thank you!
I think that's similar to how I handled it last Sunday, but it was less of an issue than the week before anyway, because only 2 players out of 4 had made it to the session. I'll have you know whether any more issues arise.

Freebooting Venus / Writing down your own ambitions?
« on: September 28, 2016, 05:19:09 AM »
When we go through the experience list at the end of a session, one of the players is like: "Nope, none checked - of course. I told you I didn't like swords & sorcery!"
(To which I usually reply: "What about keeping a fellow PC from committing an atrocity? I know you want to do that!", and she's like: "What a hopeless bunch! There's no way I can ever manage to keep them from doing what they enjoy so much.") :)

However, I know for sure she's actually enjoying our game. And this isn't a case of "I've had all the experiences I cared about so the game is over for me", either - actually, I think we all feel like the game has just started.

While responding to all the trouble which has been snowballing since the 1st scene of our 1st session (and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future - I guess I'm just good at making trouble snowball) it's obvious she's setting up objectives for herself. Specifically, her character has developed into a necromancer with issues about his upbringing as a necromancer and who morally disapproves of necromancy the way people in the setting usually employ it - as portrayed by me so far. Thus, he's growing into something like a "reverse necromancer" (that's what the player called it), constantly trying to use his necromancy skills to set right the wrongdoings of other necromancers in the city. And how could I, as a GM, fail to love such a development?

Also, in out-of-game chatter, she has half-jokingly stated some more objectives. She said she'd like her character to get a cat; I told her the easy way was through moving to better lodgings, and that, based on what little we know about cats on Venus, the alternative was bound to be quite the adventure. Considering what a rare, dangerous creature a Venusian cat is, those actually strike me as a perfectly valid, genre-fitting ambition and an equally valid, genre-fitting potential adventure.

What I'm now pondering is: should I customize the big list of experiences, adding a couple ones to validate a player's declared ambitions? I'm thinking such additions as:
  • I have set right a fundamental wrong.
  • I have permanently changed the customs of a city-state and the ways of her people.
  • I have acquired a most extraordinary being as my bound companion.
Vincent, what do you think of going this way? Have you walked it already and walled it off on purpose?

Freebooting Venus / Re: Dogs & horses
« on: September 20, 2016, 10:43:09 AM »
While there are canines on Venus (dangerous varieties of jackals and hyenas, at a minimum) I'm considering using pigs as a replacement for dogs in most pet roles.
If we imagine the wild ancestors of Venusian pigs were smaller and less dangerous than Terran wild pigs, it's entirely plausible they, rather than canines, were the first animals to be domesticated by Venusian humans. Pigs thrive on the same food as humans, are smart, have a great sense of smell and can be trained to forage for humans, or help people in foraging. They're powerful and fearsome enough to be bred as guardians, and they can be bred in a variety of sizes (and colors) to fit into just as many roles, from huge boar-like war-pigs to cute, diminutive lap-pigs wealthy ladies carry around almost like fashion accessories.
Pigs dislike climbing stairs, which makes it extremely easy to keep them out certain areas in towns and cities. There would of course be a widespread taboo against eating pork - held to be gross and scary as a food, as it resembles human flesh way too much. But such an outlook wouldn't be universal amongst Venusian cultures: in areas where an abundance of other meats have long been available, the mere thought of eating pork would be disgusting, whereas some people from a number of agriculturally "backwards" areas of Venus would have local traditions of consuming pork, and generally think about it in more practical terms (and would be dubbed "pig-eating savages" by their neighbors).

I also think pigs (being more opportunistic feeders than aggressive predators) don't make for good hunting animals. Domesticated canines would thus exist on Venus too, specifically feral hunting-dogs descended from jackals or hyenas. These would be generally mistrusted animals non-specialists dislike to deal with. I can see one or more species of bats being bred for hunting as well.

Should I opt to take this route, horses would be horses - there's such a thing as "too much weirdness" indeed.

Freebooting Venus / Helping each other on Recover, Regroup & Prepare
« on: September 18, 2016, 06:27:02 PM »
If another PC helps you, both of you roll, and both of you get the effect of the better roll.
So, if three or more PCs all Recover, Regroup & Prepare together, and one of them rolls a 10+, they each get to choose 3 options, separately and independently from each other?
In the moment, it would have made more sense to us if they had to choose just 3 between all of them, and they all got the benefits from all 3 choices... the same 3 choices. This way, if they chose to study the situation and make a plan, they'd all be studying the same situation and making a common plan. But then, one of them wanted to consult with a ghost tutor, and do it quickly, while the others didn't have any ghosts to consult with...

My point is: when three PCs all roll to Recover, Regroup & Prepare in the same situation, they sometimes get the overall net benefits of making a grand total of 9 choices from the move, all applicable to the same situation. OTOH, if I mitigate this by ruling that they all have to choose the same options, I'm effectively ruling out all skill-based options. Should I limit this to a maximum of 2 PCs rolling dice, instead?

Also, it was sometimes a little tricky to judge when two PCs were in a position to help each other with this, because it depended on whether they intended to choose "regroup with your allies" as an outcome. Specifically, when three PCs were all in different parts of the city and they wished to reunite, in  order to exchange information and make a plan, they all rolled +Patient as they were helping each other on the move - it made sense, because they were all trying to meet. Then (only) one of them picked "regroup with your allies" as a choice, and they got to benefit from 8 more choices between the three of them.

One of the PCs has bought an estate with her first treasure roll, and all seem eager to improve their living conditions, so this is bound to become relevant soon enough.

This is from page 12:
Investing in Your Estate
Investing in your estate means employing people to work to improve it. Roll three dice and choose two among them:
1. You employ builders.
2. You employ a guard.
3. You employ laborers.
4. You employ a priest[ess].
5. You employ a servant.
6. You employ a specialist.
When you employ builders, choose 2, but don’t employ builders until you’ve already had laborers dig and lay your foundations. (...)

So it's a minimum of 3 steps before you can move in: buy land, dig foundations, employ builders -- though you'll probably want to employ builders multiple times before you move in, while you might get lucky and get to hire both laborers and builders on the same roll, or get an estate with old usable foundations as its charm.

This is from page 13, first column:
Moving to Your Estate
You can move to your estate as soon as you consider it habitable. Once you’ve done so, it no longer makes sense for you to spend your treasure to move to better lodgings. Now, when you examine your treasure and roll a 4, count it as a 3 to improve your estate.

And this is from page 13, second column:
4. Moving to Better Lodgings
When you move to better lodgings, (...)
If you own an estate, you can choose instead to employ builders, to invest in the improvement of your estate house.

There's actually three different rulings I can make out of it:

For the PC who owns an estate, rolls of 4 when examining treasure count as 3s (and the third quote above is just some fancy wording).

For the PC who owns an estate, a roll of 4 when examining treasure counts as a special case of improving their estate, where they skip the subsequent roll of three dice but they instead get the effects of rolling a 1 on it: to employ builders. This is different from rolling a 3 when examining treasure, in that they only get to employ builders, instead of employing people in 2 different functions, but they're warranted to get builders (thus, the second quote above is imprecise).
To honor the spirit of the law above its word, I'd rule that, for the PC who hasn't had viable foundations dug already, they get to employ laborers to dig the foundations instead of builders.

For the PC who hasn't yet moved into their estate house, same as B above. For the PC who has already moved into it, same as A. Thus, there is no mistake, contradiction or imprecision in the wording of the rules - it's just that the rules are quite intricate.

Which one is it?

Freebooting Venus / Re: Playest question: High Living
« on: September 14, 2016, 06:46:49 AM »
Someone is still playing this game? Nice to see.

Why, this playtest booklet is what, 1 year old? That's a pretty average time for something to be sitting in my "to play" list. It was probably the newest, or at least one of the newest games on the table the day we chose to play it.  :)

Also, if you're feeling brave, I dare you to try my little magic hack:

I've read it! I actually stopped to read most of the threads on this forum last night, but I went ahead and posted my question anyway, because that's the sort of playtesting Vx wanted, right?
One of the players looks like he's really angling for the wizardry skill as soon as possible, so should we ever get that far, and lacking rules for Grimoires, I'll seriously consider your hack as a way to keep the game interesting to him.

Freebooting Venus / Dogs & horses
« on: September 13, 2016, 06:17:18 PM »
Both a question to Vincent and an idea poll.

"Evolution, when allowed its course, runs in certain channels", but exceptions abound, apparently. Bats aside, it looks like Venusian mammals are similar to (future) Terran mammals, but slightly "off".
When I think of a pre-industrial human society, I think of large numbers of canines and equines, the staple working animals, living alongside people and being employed for all manners of everyday tasks. How are Venusian dogs and horses like -- or what other beasts do Venusians breed for steeds, cart-pulling, herding, keeping watch, hunting, etc.?

Freebooting Venus / Playest question: High Living
« on: September 13, 2016, 05:22:06 PM »
Started playing this on Sunday, with the usual suspects - same 4 people I've last played a full season of AW with. We've had a lot of fun so far, those of us who are into swords and sorcery and also Barbara, who doesn't quite like the genre. A lot of the fun during the 1st session came from the lodging random tables: they're wonderful! 2nd session scheduled next Sunday.

Now, for my first question (confirmation?). When we examined treasure (two out of four adventurers had 1 piece of unexamined treasure each), on first read I thought the effects of high living were in addition to any other treasure results - so that one PC rolled two dice for 1 unexamined treasure and got to lay the foundations of an estate plus high living, and the other got to move to better lodgings, also plus high living.

After rereading the rules later, now I think it was supposed to be either what you get from the roll or high living. So, one player on rolling 2 & 3 could have chosen to hire someone's service or to lay the foundations of her estate or high living, while the other on rolling 1 & 5 could have obtained a new piece of equipment or paid off debts or saved ahead (but he had saved ahead already, so chose to spend his savings on new lodgings) or high living.

So, which reading of the rules is right?

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