Thoughts on the Gamma

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Thoughts on the Gamma
« on: May 02, 2011, 09:07:31 PM »
So, yeah, we're playing tomorrow and this is just from reading the Gamma but I thought I'd put this stuff down while it's fresh in my head.

-Encumberance is harsh.  Don't all Wizard's stat dump into Strength?  With an 8 strength he can carry his spell book and maybe a bow or staff - well he wouldn't take a bow because he can't carry the arrows.  That means he can't carry any food, adventuring gear, armor, etc.  Even if he had a 10 strength he won't be wearing leather armor or using a bow.  I'm not sure about the other classes, but our houseruled encumberance was almost universally higher (we gave everyone 6 basically plus strength mod, I think - maybe we did 5 for lighter classes).  I don't think I'll be able to convince my group to use all of these values.

-Love the rewriting of the basic moves.  Several cool little things.  I really like the re-worked Hack and Slash for balance purposes - not sure how the Fighter will feel about always taking damage but it makes more sense than him always being invincible because he can somewhat easily roll 10+

-Thief player is upset because he lost his magic device ability - this isn't something major I'll probably just let him take it but I thought it may be worth noting.

-Spell Defense is cool as shit

-Revised item list is awesome.

-Groups seem very squishy.  When they take more damage than their level they break apart?  Wouldn't a 1st level Fighter that deals 1D10 damage be able to break apart a level 5 group very easily.  As a GM that makes me nto want to use groups really.

-In our game on Sunday night, the players ran across 20 or so zombies.  The Halfling fighter dove into the group and failed his hack and slash taking a crapton of damage.  We had a discussion over whether he should know whether it was one group or a couple smaller groups ahead of time.  Using the new rules, would they always count as a single large group?  My only complaint with this is that it is very easy to ignore a group if a character with high dex finds himself in danger as he is unlikely to fail his Defy Danger roll to get hit.

-Love the expanded monster list.  Why is all damage static though?  I'm not necessarily opposed to this but I think it can make for a more dull combat at times.

-Monsters also seem soft in general (well, some of them).  Our group's Fighter will still do 1D10 + 1D8 (dual wield), +2 damage to start with, +1 damage from his Fighter ability from levelling.  If you combine this with the damage bonus from the Bard (this happens routinely in our game), he will still deal over 12 damage plus whatever the bard ability was reduced to - on average.  He is capable of dealing up into the high twenties.  That means he can one shot every monster below level 8 and some of the level 8 monsters.  He can have these stats by level 3.  This may be ok,it just seems odd that a level 7 or 8 monster won't be that hard to kill from a level 3 group.  Although, with that being said the monsters deal a lot more damage at higher levles so this probably evens out - it will just be a quick and deadly combat. 



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Re: Thoughts on the Gamma
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 09:21:42 PM »
More Thief stuff.

-Way too many abilities are based on Strength.  Think we will house rule poisoner to work with ranged weapons as our ranged weapon using Halfling already pales in comparison to the Fighter's damage output and doesn't have that many other abilities to make up for it.

-Don't think Tricky will ever be taken by a Thief in most campaigns as it seems useful in social situations - not dungeons which is what the vast majority of encounters will be.

-Opportunist is not very useful either.  You automatically take damage with the new Hack and Slash - the Thief will die pretty quickly from most monsters as he'll have say, low 20's by level 4 and will take around that much damage from a creature - just to add +1 damage.

I know our Thief player is really disapointed with the update and I understand why.  I really do like all of the other changes though and think overall the update really brought the game closer to release. 



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Re: Thoughts on the Gamma
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 10:55:25 PM »
-Load probably needs to come up, you're right.

-Hack and Slash was already the topic of Harper chewing me out for making a move where a strong hit wasn't really a total success. I already rewrote it.

-Thief's list was the victim of space. I prioritized getting the things out to people to look at over layout, so the character sheets in particular are bad, and I had to cut things for space. I may see about putting it back in.

-Spell defense is our answer to making Wizard's not quite so squishy, but at a cost. I love it too.

-Funny you should mention items, as I already have some things I want to change on it. Just so I don't screw it up again, what do you like about how it is now?

-Groups probably do need some work on what triggers their morale move. Brainstorm: maybe it's just "when you show yourself to be a force to be reconned with" or something. What triggers the move is, fictionally, doing something that would cause them to run and flee. Might be too vague.

-What is a group or not should probably be clarified. It's up to the GM, based on the fiction. If they really are acting as a group, like a gang of people, they're a group. If they just happen to be multiple monsters of the same type, they're not. It comes down to how the monsters relate to each other.

-Damage is static because the GM doesn't roll. I really don't like adding the caveat "except for damage" when I talk about the GM not rolling. That said, I'm a fan of static damage, so there will probably be some alternate rules for players not rolling, and Adam loves rolling, so there will be some alternate rules for GM rolling damage. (Oh yeah, and static damage is easier to balance.)

-This is something we really need playtesting on. Monsters should be pretty squishy, as it says in the monster section (Adam coined this phrase) monsters are bullets. They get fired at the PCs, pose a momentary threat, then disappear. That said, one-shotting everything is probably too much. Part of that comes down to me not being much of an optimizer, I didn't consider dual-wielding. Also note that the bard has changed a bit, that bonus damage may be thrown around a little less freely now.

-Ranged rogues are something we didn't cover very well. I'll need to think on how best to handle that, I think giving them backstab at range to begin with gets on Ranger territory.

-I kind of love tricky, because its a move that invites creative play, not "I attack again." The thief could totally sneak into the goblin storeroom and wreck some havoc. I'm also not opposed to moves that are most useful outside the dungeon.

-You're right, Opportunist got broken. Good thing I already changed Hack and Slash!

Re: Thoughts on the Gamma
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 01:48:24 AM »
As it is Tricky seems to be, in most dire situations, common sense.  I personally know very little about poison, but I do know how to rub oil on something without getting messy or how to put salt on food (poisoning food).  To me having a move for thief worded in this way makes anyone who doesn't have the ability in these situations a spaz among idiots. Something like knowing your poison must be ingested, because you created it, so when you're alone and have time to think you rub said poison on a candle to make sure they eat it; assuming you didn't take this move.  This being said using poison in any regard without poisoner should be done at high risk.

I will say this.  A move titled Tricky has big implications that it is something that I want to get every time.  However, the move as it is now is borderline tricky at best.  I do agree that sneaking into somewhere and poisoning food (something I did already in our game) can be entertaining/effective but perhaps doesn't require it's own move.  Something called Tricky sounds fancy and should be clever.

I say this full aware that changes are still in the works and space cut a lot out, however, I want to give my perspective as the thief of the group.  I think rangers could do their "called shot" even if someone knew they were there, while thieves can only do it before the battle.  I think this is a big enough difference that you wouldn't take the shine off of rangers.  Rangers are more than bow fighters.  They can track, dual wield, hide, and a ton of emphasis on animal companions and favored enemies. 

Currently, from just what's there now, a thief can be a thug (Forcing high str, dex, and con so you can backstab, perhaps sneak around, and not die when you will fail) or a merchant type know their way around wares.  While i'm full aware that both of those archetypes can be thieves one is a dumb brute and the other something I don't want to deal with in real life (let alone fantasy).  If this is a thief in this game then perhaps thief isn't for me here. 

Last rule set a thief could also start getting better than anyone with magic items.  I only bring this up again because it fit my stats as I felt out the system and allowed me to find a niche in the group.  I wasn't the big damage dealer (1/4 - 1/5 the warrior and now 1/3 - 1/4) I couldn't heal, buff or cast spells.  I was comic relief and a passive safety net vs traps.  I felt I had to take poisoner because at the time only one of us could do damage; granted it was due to the choices of the players, but a fact none the less.  Getting into magic items was a good alternate route that allows for being mischievous yet still useful to the group and a whole lot less boring than "let me know when I step on a trap" as my main deal.

I just noticed that thieves couldn't hide, thought it was put under dex until I saw that rangers could so now thieves, the stealthy people who backstab, aren't good at hiding or are as subtle as a warrior. 

I would like to bring up a system related note I've seen for a while.  With Evasion.  I love it with the exception that I will never have dex marked as a thief so I remove one of my possible ways to gain xp.  I really think a thief needs this as to not become a smear on the wall, especially those poor folk who melee. 

Our campaign doesn't lend to it but I do want to note that the move heist is awesome.  Probably my favorite of all moves of any class because of what it allows the group to start doing.  I may never use it, but with the updated list of moves I'll probably end up with this one with the off chance i get to use it once ever.  Except perhaps escape route. 

My thoughts are a bit scattered, even when I write, and I tend to over exaggerate to make a point but I hope mine isn't lost in what's above.  I also tend to not post about what I think is good.  Take it in the vein that I like what I don't talk about.

Re: Thoughts on the Gamma
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 10:02:28 AM »
to be fair, agony, i didnt fail the roll on the zombies, i chose to do double and take a hit (and i did like 50 damage...) also the most i can do with the new rules is 2d8+2 (which is a still a lot more than anyone else and not counting magic weapon or bard buff) but i am thinking of doing that to give some balance to the party.

while talking about thief moves: i feel assassin should be more of a buff. warrior gets a + str mod damage ability on the 6-10 ability list which is usable much more often than assassin. (every hit as opposed to the one backstab thieves are likely to get) i guess i see backstab as a very damaging attack that needs to be carefully set up. (if anything this alone should have kept the "kill it if its lower level than you" imo) especially looking at what weapons the thief can use, the most a backstab can do is d6+3. id say make it at least +dex mod if not +level damage.

it also seems that with the current rules bard is the best healer in the game. at level three a bard can heal 12hp a round, every round, with the worst thing happening being they "draw unwanted attention" (arcane music for level x 2 + healer's tune + (paladin)hospitaler). compared to a cleric who is healing 2d8(maybe +2) the 12 static is huge. it goes up by two every level, so i guess it kind of wanes when the cleric gets access to cure critical wounds but average on 4d8 is still 18 while the bard will be singing for 16. at level 7 the bard can also take the cleric saintly ability to add his level again to the healing done. i guess it depends on what drawing unwanted attention means to the MC and group, but compared to the penalty for partially succeeding on a spell, it seems very light.

issues with marking XP: this one i dont really have an answer too... but it has come up in our group a couple of times. when we mark xp we tend to mark things that are not common for that class. i (as a fighter) almost always have my int and wis marked. this isnt so bad because i can find times to spout lore and discern realities. dex is never marked for anyone, because whenever it has happened that person gains 20+ xp that session. the wizard and the bard tend to get their str and con marked. besides defending people, there arnt many ways to get xp with these stats. the only str based move is hack and slash which is very dangerous for these people, a they have both low hp and str (more likely to not get a hit and less able to take the damage). this ends up making it pretty hard for some of these classes to get xp with how we are marking starts. any ideas or suggestions?

also, can you post the changes you have made as you make them so we can incorporate them into the rule set we are using and test them as well?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 10:09:17 AM by evilben »



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Re: Thoughts on the Gamma
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2011, 05:56:22 PM »
For the ramdom damage I just made the players roll for the damage they took, kinda like the harm moves in AW which kept the dice out of my hand and added the fun of "why do I always roll high on the damage I take and not the damage I dish out!"

- Colin



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Re: Thoughts on the Gamma
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 12:05:21 PM »
Really good point on the Bard healing! The Bard's in a tough spot. The Cleric can get better at healing by getting access to new spells, but the Bard needs to get better, at the right rate, without spending too many Moves on it. It's tricky, and it's still wrong. Thanks for pointing that out!

The great damage rebalance is still ongoing, but we're not looking to make everyone deal the same damage. The Thief can sneak around, pick locks, reduce armor... all of that is a big deal. That said, they need to be in the same neighborhood, which they aren't.