Beta 2 Questions / Feedback

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P2

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Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« on: March 22, 2012, 12:05:51 PM »
Hi everyone,

As requested, here is some feedback for Beta 2.

It's my first toughts about beta 2 (I didn't read the entire book yet), but there's some questions/feedback I would like to adress you.


1-   New Advancement XP Rules: The new rule about “Current Level + 7” to level up is too fast. The old way “current level x 10” was too slow. So I propose a new option – Next level x 5. It makes level advancement more balanced between the beta 1.1 and beta 2 rules.

2-   XP on a miss: I think letting players gain XP every time they miss isn’t correct. I would put some limit on it, maybe once per Stat, or, only once by session, like Alignment XP. So XP will be only granted at the “end of Session” move: 1 for resolving Bond, 1 for fulfilling Alignment, 1 for Miss on move, and 1 for any “yes” in the 3 questions.

3-   Hack and Slash move: What “…and the enemy makes an attack against you” exactly means? It will deal static damage, roll dice, make a hack and slash move? I think it needs better clarification.

4-   Defend move: wouldn’t it be right to add +STR in “Deal damage to the attacker equal to your level” line? Doing only your level, in first levels won’t be any effective cause monsters have armor too. Why would I use this option if I know it won’t do any effect?

5-   Parley move is missing the last paragraph: “This move doesn't force you to keep your promise, mind. It just requires that you make one. What you do afterward is up to you.”

6-   Make camp move is missing “If you don't have a ration to consume then you don't heal and take -1 forward” line.

7-   I liked the old +HP roll on level up move. Why removing it?

8-   The bard’s gear line doesn’t fit the new musical instruments position in the text, because now instruments are in the gear list: “Your Load is 5+Str. In addition to your instrument you get one from each list”. You should remove this bold text.

9-   Bard’s “Friendly Face” advanced move is missing. It is mentioned in “unforgettable face” move, but isn’t anywhere in the bard’s moves list.

10-   Bard’s “Metal Hurlant” move is weird and too strong: 2d6 damage + deafened. 2d6 damage for a scream or loud noise is too much! It’s better than a Fireball!

11-   There are 2 Bamboozle moves for the bard (one replacing the other). It would be better to rename one of them.

12-   Bard and Cleric “Multiclass Dabbler” moves are missing the text: “For the purposes of Multiclass Dabbler the Wizard's Spellbook, Prepare Spells, and Cast A Spell moves count as one move. The Cleric's Commune and Cast a Spell moves also count as one move. If you gain the ability to cast spells you cast them as if you were one level lower.” Like the fighter’s move has.

13-   Bard’s Multiclass initiated and Master are missing: Requires Multiclass dabbler.

14-   Is it intended for clerics only having multiclass dabbler as 6-10 advanced move? They don’t have multiclass initiate or master?

15-   Paladins, rangers, thieves and wizards don’t have Multiclass moves?

16-   Cleric’s “Divine Intervention” and “Divine Invincibility” are way too powerful! Hold 2 and 4 to negate damage for every commune is too much Godly, even for the cleric.

17-   Cleric’s Damaging Spells “Inflict Moderated Wound”, “Inflict Critical Wounds” and “Harm” cause too low damage. I suggest 2d6, 2d8 and 3d6, respectively, since you have to take an advanced move to cast damaging spells.

18-   Bundle of arrows is listed as 2 weight in Ranger’s gear. It’s only 1 weight.

19-   Why reducing Fireball’s damage to 2d6?

20-   Why reducing the quantity of illusory images in Wizard’s Mimic Spell?

21-   The Crossbow is still missing in equipment’s lists. Horse and Warhorse too.

Ok, I stopped in chapter 11 by now.

I’ll take some time this weekend to playtest with my gaming group and to analyze the other chapters.
 
Paulo Segundo 

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sage

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2012, 02:29:34 PM »
1. Have you played with level+7? Depending on number of rolls (since there's an element of chance with the XP on a miss) we're anticipating leveling at the end of each session fairly often. You get as many as 5 XP at End of Session plus a few from a miss.

Also keep in mind that now level up doesn't happen immediately, unless you're in camp, and you lose any excess XP.

I think it says this in the Advanced Delving section (I know it's on my list of changes to make at least): XP to level is the easiest thing to change in the game.

2. We like having at least one option that's open ended. We like encouraging taking chances. We like modeling the fiction of "learning from your mistakes." I don't see what's so bad about handing out more XP?

3. From the Moves Discussion chapter: "The enemy's counter-attack can be any GM move made directly with that creature. A goblin might just attack you back, or they might jam a poisoned needle into your veins. Life's tough, isn't it?"

It's supposed to be open. It's what makes the move interesting. If it only allows dealing damage (as it did at one point) it becomes a pretty boring move.

4. Sure, that's a good idea.

5. Yup, overzealous editing.

6. Same.

7. I could write an entire essay on this. Instead I'll just write an entire followup post on it.

8. Yeah.

9. That means we need to get rid of Unforgettable Face too.

10. Yes, but the Bard had to take an entire move to get it and they can't use it for anything else. The Wizard on the other hand can choose Fireball for free when they level up to add to their spellbook and if they don't need it they can prepare something else.

That said, we might look at changing it.

11. Yup, copy paste mistake.

12. Yes, we're deciding how we want to deal with it. That's a lot of repeated text, we're not sure if we shouldn't just make that a note in the moves discussion chapter.

13. Sure

14. The Cleric should have one multiclass move at high level. The name of that move is currently wrong.

15. That is correct. Some classes aren't as flexible. (We might add them for the Thief, but the Paladin is very deliberate)

16. Is this based on play? I mean, we can debate what it looks like on the page, but in play is another thing.

We've talked about making it 1 hold, 2 hold. We've talked about it being -1d8 damage. All those are on the table but so far we haven't felt they were needed.

17. Those are pretty huge damage numbers. We're thinking Ignores Armor instead but keeping the current numbers.

18. Yup, typo.

19. Because 3d6 is crazy-huge. It'll probably gain Ignores Armor as well.

20. Because it was the best damage reduction in the game by far. One casting could let you take up to 5 attacks, no problem. Even with other classes gaining some damage absorption this was the best way of avoiding damage in the game, it made the wizard able to wade into combat no problem.

Now the wizard can be prepared and have one hit protection, but they can't just cast one spell and then walk into the middle of melee. Of course they can keep casting it once the first is used up, but now they have to make tough choices in the heat of battle on which spell to cast.

21. Yeah, we haven't had time to add them. The HP and world changes took a lot of time!

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sage

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 02:50:06 PM »
Here's the big one: why does HP no longer increase?

First off, HP does kind of increase. You do get better at taking hits, but that's through moves that mitigate damage, not through more HP. So while you don't change the number of HP, your ability to take damage can increase, with the right moves.

In the old system we were kind of unequal: player HP scaled automatically, but player damage didn't. That meant that monster HP didn't scale much, but monster damage did. It created this odd setup where a monster would often be dealing far more damage than the players but have as much or less HP.

That's perfectly mathematically valid, but it made the world feel very inconsistent. X HP didn't really mean anything, even abstractly, since X HP for a player meant something far different than X HP for a monster.

Then there's the matter of GM damage. The GM had to be constantly aware of the players' level to be able to use damage well. It was a lot of work! As a GM I tend to think in terms of "that was a minor attack," with HP scaled by level "minor attack" meant something entirely different at low level (5 damage) and high level (15 damage?).

This gets even worse when you try to assign damage to something based on the fiction. Take a rock slide, for example. To me that's something that players shouldn't become effectively immune to through HP accumulation, but in the old system any value you assigned to it would break at some point. This meant that you still had to think of levels. (In fact, despite everything we tried to say, monsters still kind of had levels: you had to assign them a general HP/damage neighborhood that effectively amounted to "what level heroes should it trouble?")

On top of that armor didn't scale well. We had to fit in all these ways to increase armor just to keep it relevant when your HP has more than doubled.

Honestly, the more I ponder it, the more I can't see why D&D has kept it for so long. There's been a general feeling for years now that high level play is pretty much every edition breaks down in some way, in part because "high level" has always meant so many numbers increase automatically. In 3E it was damage, in 4E it's skills. Think of that 4E chart of "DC by level" that means that once you hit a certain level, suddenly the average lock you come across is harder to pick. That's a workaround for the fact that players were always getting better at their skills without choosing to, so DCs had to grow too.

By throwing out automatically increasing HP we gain a lot:

The GM can now assign damage super-easily. d4, d6, d8, d10, done. Just pick one and go. They'll always be dangerous, but never one-hit deadly.

Going along with that, damage sources can be entirely determined by the fiction. You don't need a "high level rockslide" to be dangerous to a 7th level character.

Monsters don't need pseudo-levels anymore. Also, monsters stay relevant for the entire game (more or less). If goblins stop being a threat it's because you've got the moves to deal with them, not because you just happen to have enough HP to soak their attacks indefinitely.

Monster damage, player damage, monster HP, and player HP now all fall into consistent ranges. They're not exactly the same, but a skilled fighting monster will now do damage comparable to a fighter (and often have similar HP).



I know it's a shift from D&D, but I feel its made the game far better. We took a lot of care making first level HP, armor, and damage work really well, and I think we did well with it. The problem was we then had to make 9 more levels all work equally well AND make sure the players scaled with their level correctly AND make sure the GM could scale their monsters and damage correctly. It was a big time sink of tweaking all for what? We can make the players more capable and better able to survive without it.

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noofy

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 07:10:38 PM »
The last unnecessary escalation re-visited huh? Its sooooooo much better this way, truly. Last night we had a 'world'-building' session, making steadings, converting our (highish level) characters and applauding the HP changes. Brancino the thief has gone from having 8 HP 'back in the day' up to 46 HP under Beta 1, back down to a more manageable 20. It just makes so much more mechanical sense, especially under the auspices of the AW ruleset with a D&D 'flavour'.

It helps that you explain the 'full-circle' approach of this iteration too Sage. Thank you! Sometimes it takes a bit of play in the 'extreme' to discover that the harm countdown (irrespective of level) makes more sense, in any version of dealing damage in the game.

Also, I have made some laminated cards up, with pictures of OSR-art characters copping ever increasing amounts of hurt on them. These are colour coded to match the 'damage dice'. d4 is yellow, d6 is orange, d8 is red and the d10 black. These are then put on the table as 'reminders' of when the players have to roll damage for themselves of the scale involved. So visually appealing! It'll also make them squirm a little when I look at their remaining HP, and think about what option to use when a monster makes an attack against them!

Moves maketh the character, not HP.

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P2

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 04:42:09 PM »
Hi Sage,

Thanks again for your gentle answers!

I hope you didn't get mad with me for asking so many questions. I have a clinic eye for spotting lack of padronization and breaches at rules (I'm a lawyer, btw), that's why I ask for explanations when I see one class gaining multiclass options and other don't and things like that.

I've found other minor mistakes in Bard's "Eldritch Tones" and "Eldritch Chord" moves, they still refers Archane Art as Arcane Music.

Also, I would like to elaborate a little further on some of your answer, if you don't mind.

12- I think doing a note on Moves Discussion Chapter would be the best thing to do here to avoid this repeated text.

14 and 15 - I understand, but, why being so hard and inflexible here? Maybe a better aproach for this is letting bards have 2 or 3 multiclass moves (that's his appeal, anyway) and the other classes to have only one, as 6-10 move.

Fighters currently have 2 (Dabbler and Initiate) in Beta 2, and this fact that instigated me to look at the other classes to see if they get multiclass powers. I tought "hey, why fighters have 2 multiclass powers and the other classes have none?".

16- I would go for Hold 1 and 2 option. My opinion isn't based on play, but hold 2 and 4 is way too strong, even on paper (see the answer you gave me on point 20, about the Wizard's Mimic spell).

We must remember that clerics already have the best healing power, and with this move, they could negate intire damage up to 4 times. It will be hard to fiction it as everytime God's act. It is so strong that makes this move indispensable for clerics, and I don't like to think about any move as indispensable for any character.

And, to finish, I would like to ask you to be more generous to the bard starting moves, 'cause none of them let him shine in something (ok, bards are my favorite class, I admit, but i'll try to reason why I'm asking it to you):

- Archane Art and Bardic Lore are fine, they are iconic and classic. I like the way they are, but they are supporting moves.

- I personaly don't like "charming and open" move, it very specifc and restrict. Bards shine in bluffing and diplomacy, and it's not very well represented here. Maybe changing this move to something in that way would be better.

- But the worst of his initial is "A port in the storm". It's pretty uselles and any one could do it fine, you don't need a bard to do it. I would remove this move and replace it for something better. Maybe Multiclass Dabbler or other move entire new.

I would love to see Multiclass Dabbler as a starter move for bards. They would still get Initiate as 2-5 advanced move, and Master for 6-10. It would reflect his versatility very well.

Well, that's all for now.
Thanks for your consideration.
P2
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 05:17:05 PM by P2 »

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P2

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2012, 05:44:05 PM »
One more thing:

In cleric's "Comune" and Wizard's "Prepare Spells", why not make the ability important?

They always get their level +1 of levels of prepared spells. Why not their level + Wis (for the cleric) or  + Int (for the Wizard).

So, if a 1st level wizard has Int 17 (+2), he would prepare his level (1) plus his Int Mod (+2) levels of spells.

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P2

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 12:36:01 PM »
The thief's 6-10 advanced move abokut doing more damage with backstab (I don't remember the name of the move right now) is missing "hand" tag. Is it intentional or got missing in editing? The 2-5 move that this one replaces has the "hand" tag.

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sage

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 01:35:43 PM »
No problem at all P2, these are the exact type of questions and catches that make the game better. Please keep them coming!

I'm a little cautious about giving the Bard a multiclass move to start with. It means they can be exactly as good a spellcaster as another class, which kind of infringes on the fun of playing that other class. If I'm the wizard and the bard casts spells just as well as I do, I might feel less special.

That said, I could see a special multiclass move for the bard: choose a starting move from another class not currently in play. So sure, you can cast spells as well the as the wizard, but only if no one is playing the wizard. That feels a little better to me.

My only remaining worry is just the bookkeeping of having to always reference another class for the Bard. That'd be minorly annoying.

I also disagree about the Bard's starting moves, especially Port in the Storm. That move is cool because it ties into the Steading system, so the GM is giving you information that really reflects the world, not just some flavor. If the GM tells you "walking down the main street of Greybark you can tell that it's in disrepair. The fine woodwork they're know for is falling into disrepair and there's piles of lumber, ready for trade, just sitting around." you can tell things about the world. Sounds like whoever buys Greybark's lumber is in trouble, and now you might not be able to buy stuff as easily here. Uh oh.

We're hoping to have some playtest feedback from Gamestorm this weekend, or at least from my home game next week, and we'll see about the Cleric. I'm leaning towards making everything but the Fighter, Paladin, and Mirror Image just subtract some amount from the damage instead of negating it. And yeah, hold 1 and hold 2 for the Cleric.

We probably need to revise the Multiclass options just a bit. Ideally the Bard should be the most flexible, with the Fighter close behind. Other than those two most classes should have one at most.

Giving the Cleric and Wizard more spells per day is a big deal. It also rewards them even more for a high score in their primary stat, which I don't think is needed. A Wizard already gets a lot from +2 Int, they don't need another prepared spell too.

Thank for all the typo catches. We're building a list and should have them fixed in Beta 2.1.

Again, thanks for all your insightful questions. I really enjoy answering them.

Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 01:47:52 PM »
That said, I could see a special multiclass move for the bard: choose a starting move from another class not currently in play. So sure, you can cast spells as well the as the wizard, but only if no one is playing the wizard. That feels a little better to me.

My only remaining worry is just the bookkeeping of having to always reference another class for the Bard. That'd be minorly annoying.
If multiclass is the last move on the character sheet and no one is using the other playbook, you could always cut out the desired move and tape it over the multiclass move.

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P2

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 02:08:43 PM »
Hi sage,

I understand that any port in the storm is tied to the steading system as you explained. My problem with it is that anyone returning to the city would see this. You don't need a bard to realize it.

About giving him an multclass move, it was just an idea, brainstorming. You could limitate it only to fighter and thief moves, or limitate is as you describe, only for classes not in play, or give him something interely new.

About the nagating/reducing damage, armors already reduce some damage. If you're spending a move slot to it, negating damage for 1 time (hold 1, maybe) seems more fair. The cleric is special 'cos he can do it to negate damage to other too (by divine intervention, which is really cool by hold 1 and hold 2).

About multiclassing general, bards should be more versatile, so they get 3 moves as it gets now. I think thieves are very flexible too, they could have 2. The others, fighter included, only 1. What do you think?

About the cleric and wizards spells by int and wis stats, well, by the rules, if i'm a level 1 wizard with Int +2, i get my level (1) plus the static +1 levels of prepared spells = 2.

By the suggestion I gave, the same character would have level (1) plus int mod ( +2) levels of prepared spells = 3. It can make a big difference to the poor wizards life and give him some versatility, making his high score count. He sacrifices too much to have a high int, have the worst hp and damage dice. I think he deserves it.

What are these lots of things you said that he gots for his high Int besides spouting lore?

Cheers
P2

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sage

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 04:34:39 PM »
Anybody could get the information from Port in a Storm, but the Bard just gets to ask for it. They get insider information, just right there.

We'll see how damage negation plays out.

I'm fan of the fighter being more flexible, but we'll see.

With his +2 Int that wizard is already good at Spout Lore and Cast a Spell, as well as Defy Danger in certain situations. Cast a Spell is already a weird special case move: since spells can do so many things the Wizard basically gets to use Int to do all kinds of stuff: deal damage, prevent damage, get information, etc. I feel like the wizard is already really cool and quite powerful, I don't feel the need to give them even more ways to use Cast a Spell.

Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2012, 04:34:40 PM »
Speaking of bards, an obvious move for them that doesn't currently exist would be one that grants additional choices from the bardic lore list.

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P2

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 11:17:48 AM »
Hi guys,

As I've complained about Bard's "Charming and Open" and "Any port in the storm", I spent some time thinking in options for changing these moves.

I got a draft for changes in Charming and Open by now. It goes something like this:

"Charming and Open
When you speak with someone to gather sensitive information, tell lies, mislead or pretend to be someone else, roll + Cha. On a 10+, Hold 3; or they believe whatever you say. On a 7–9, Hold 1, and they get to ask you a question from the list below too; or your bluff is hard to believe, the GM will offer you two options between suspicion, danger, or cost. Spend hold, 1 for 1, to ask a question from the list below. The answers have to be truthfully.
   Whom do you serve?
   What do you wish I would do?
   How can I get you to ______?
   What are you really feeling right now?
   What do you most desire?"

I tried to make it more chaotic oriented and include the bluffing thing that bards are know for. I hope you like it and I'm waiting for your commentaries.

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sage

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2012, 12:47:28 PM »
A few thoughts:

I'd change the name of the move, if that's what you're going for.

The trigger is very broad. It has to cover a lot of fictional ground, which makes the move results a little weak. A more focused move is likely to work a little better.

The part of the move about asking questions might actually work better as an add on to Discern Realities. After all, that's mostly what Charming and Open is, you just don't have to roll to do it. If you really want a roll there I'd leverage the existing move.

That leaves the lie bit, which is pretty much Defy Danger with Cha. There can be uses for moves that just restate or refine Defy for certain situations, but I don't quite see that here.

I've thought a lot about the "tell a lie" move and thus far my feeling has been that lying is better covered by the GM moves. Making it a move can end up a little wonky unless the trigger is very specific, something like "when you tell a believable lie." If it's just "when you tell a lie" then the Bard can say "the sky is green" and have a shot at it.

On the other hand with the GM moves the GM responds appropriately. If it's an absolutely ridiculous lie, like "the sky is green," golden opportunity: the GM makes a hard move. If it's a convincing lie the GM might have the deceived ask for some confirmation or go along with it on certain conditions. If it's inconsequential, just move on.

That also leads to the overlap with Parley. If the Bard is lying they're most likely doing it to Parley, which is already pretty well set up for this.

Anyway, that was a bit of a digression into my thoughts on tell a lie moves. Hopefully they're helpful.

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P2

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Re: Beta 2 Questions / Feedback
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2012, 01:02:09 PM »
As I said, it was just a draft.

I was thinking in refrasing it to "when you try to deceive others". When i wrote the draft I was thinking about a believable lie, I just didn't put in the writing.

Other aprouch would be: when discerning realities by asking people sensitive anwers, you can ask the following questions and take +1 forward. When defying danger by deceiving others, take +1 foward too. They are very specifc moves for the bard