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How do people feel about TN shifting?

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  • #16
    I found the Dragonblood excellencies really annoying as an ST, because each excellency is a bit different, and when you're running 5 NPCs who each have 10 excellencies, it's a nightmare to remember.
    Presumably, players find it easier.

    If Sidereals have TN shifting as their one dice trick, it should be easy for the ST to remember, especially as a group of Sidereals will all be using the same one.


    I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
      I found the Dragonblood excellencies really annoying as an ST, because each excellency is a bit different, and when you're running 5 NPCs who each have 10 excellencies, it's a nightmare to remember.
      Presumably, players find it easier.

      If Sidereals have TN shifting as their one dice trick, it should be easy for the ST to remember, especially as a group of Sidereals will all be using the same one.
      I mean I know I'll repeat myself, but the problem is not the complexity of one dice trick, it's the addition of many different dice tricks, simple as they might be. But your point ith DB excellency underlines what I'm trying to say.

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      • #18
        autXautY, though then if we do bump the cost up to, say, 3m per TN, to sort of equalize the cost per expect sux at high pools, does that then make Sidereals *too* weak at low dice pool? I guess I'd also have to ask if there's a disadvantage to not being able to do much that's too "granular" - the Solar can just add a dice, while Sidereal TN manipulation would be a bit less "granular".

        (This is not stuff that I'm sure about myself, so just underlining that these and the way you and vwllss trnt prncss are discussing them seems like the right thought process. Is there a sweet spot where this mechanic works, or is it an awkward "trap"?).

        JohnDoe244, I think that's partly true, though caveat: I'm a bit more down than most on "Sidereals have loads of blatently supernatural tricks (that circumvent rolls)!".

        I'm pretty committed to the vision of them as the subtle, mysterious Exalted who when you fight them, they aren't throwing around loads of really obvious sorcery. That's what they were *supposed* to be in their first presentation! The really good chapter fics with Sidereal Exalted fighting, like the opening 3e fic (when Eastern Star is "A Challenger Appears"), don't actually tend to have them throwing round loads of obvious magic, as much as lifted by Fate.

        I actually tend to feel that this is something under-served by Jenna Moran's original (and generally great!) design and which 3e could tend to stand to do a little better on... YMMV.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
          autXautY, though then if we do bump the cost up to, say, 3m per TN, to sort of equalize the cost per expect sux at high pools, does that then make Sidereals *too* weak at low dice pool? I guess I'd also have to ask if there's a disadvantage to not being able to do much that's too "granular" - the Solar can just add a dice, while Sidereal TN manipulation would be a bit less "granular".

          (This is not stuff that I'm sure about myself, so just underlining that these and the way you and vwllss trnt prncss are discussing them seems like the right thought process. Is there a sweet spot where this mechanic works, or is it an awkward "trap"?).
          TN reduction provides 1 sux per 10 dice. If it costs 2m, it's priced at the same rate as DB suxcellencies for a 10 dice pool. Let's call this a "fair" price. But if your pool is larger, 2m is "too cheap". And if your pool is smaller, say 5 dice because you're not capped in this Ability + Attribute, 2m is "too expensive" and 1m would be "fair".
          At 15 dice, a "fair" price would be 3m. At 20 dice, such as light weapon witherings, 4m would be "fair".

          So the question is where do you assume a normal Sidereal will be in terms of dice pools? If you assume they'll be hitting caps and reaching 13+ every roll, 3m is fine. But then any underperforming Sidereal gets doubly punished for their inadequacy. If you assume they'll be at 10 dice on most rolls, 2m is fine but then overperformers get doubly rewarded for their superiority. Etc etc.
          You could set a variable price (1m per 5 dice) but that's adding complexity.

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          • #20
            I find TN manipulation to be okay for an uncommon Sidereal manipulation. However, aside from that I think variable TN should be avoided at all cost.

            Personally, I don't have any problems with math and juggling numbers. So I also don't have any problems with all the old systems created by engineers (I think Phoenix Command is a nice little system).

            The thing is, most isn't engineering minded, and fast calculation in the head is hard for many. With the StoryTeller system, I might still think 4+3+2+2 dice is 11 dices. Someone that isn't just have to pick up four, then three, two more, and another two; and not having a clue how many dices they are holding.

            Then, a fixed TN puts the evaluation into the pattern recognition part of the brain. It takes a bit of training before people are used to what to look for. But our brain is pretty good at pattern recognition.

            "Trix" that breaks those two principles are removing the strengths of the system.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
              I found the Dragonblood excellencies really annoying as an ST, because each excellency is a bit different, and when you're running 5 NPCs who each have 10 excellencies, it's a nightmare to remember.
              Presumably, players find it easier.

              If Sidereals have TN shifting as their one dice trick, it should be easy for the ST to remember, especially as a group of Sidereals will all be using the same one.

              Honestly, on the Storyteller side I'd just run them with the corebook QC DB excellency.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post

                TN reduction provides 1 sux per 10 dice. If it costs 2m, it's priced at the same rate as DB suxcellencies for a 10 dice pool. Let's call this a "fair" price. But if your pool is larger, 2m is "too cheap". And if your pool is smaller, say 5 dice because you're not capped in this Ability + Attribute, 2m is "too expensive" and 1m would be "fair".
                At 15 dice, a "fair" price would be 3m. At 20 dice, such as light weapon witherings, 4m would be "fair".

                So the question is where do you assume a normal Sidereal will be in terms of dice pools? If you assume they'll be hitting caps and reaching 13+ every roll, 3m is fine. But then any underperforming Sidereal gets doubly punished for their inadequacy. If you assume they'll be at 10 dice on most rolls, 2m is fine but then overperformers get doubly rewarded for their superiority. Etc etc.
                You could set a variable price (1m per 5 dice) but that's adding complexity.
                So, this is a very interesting one, and it might be worth considering a few things.

                First, with their excellency as current, it's very difficult for Sidereals to get high dice pools, compared to Solars and Lunars.
                An Essence 1 Solar can add 7 or 8 dice to most stuff he's got an excellency for, 10 for the best.
                Lunars are little more complex, a lot of the time they'll be adding less, but when it's really important they can still add 9 or 10.
                So if a Solar Melee-ist is trying to be as accurate as he can, he's probably rolling 20-22 dice with his longsword.

                An Essence 1 Sidereal can add... 1 dice.

                This means the dice pools you're calculating the TN reduction for are significantly lower.


                Secondly, how valuable extra dice is isn't simply a white-room cost of comparing to other things.
                How are important are they for this roll?
                What else could I spend motes on?
                How quickly will I get the motes back?
                If you're a No Moon Lunar doctor with only one combat charm, the Dexterity excellency, then it's worth spending 10m for 10 dice. It's worth spending 5m for 5 dice. But if it was 5m for 3 dice... it'd still be worth it. You've got nothing else to spend it on, and you'll get the motes back on your next turn anyway.

                So while comparing TN reductions to a Solar's mote costs for excellency might mean it's better the more dice you have, those exact numbers may not be the same for Sidereals. For one thing, I already mentioned that if their excellency still only adds 1 dice per Essence dot, they'll have much lower pools.


                The third point is that Solar charms work the same way. Say, for example, you've a charm that costs 3m and gives double 9s. Is it worth it? On 10 dice, no, buying 3 more excellency dice is better. On 15 dice it's roughly equivalent to buying 3 more excellency dice. On 20 dice, it's worth it.
                The thing is, because of the way Solars work, if you've got a charm that gives you double 9s on a roll, then you've definitely already got an excellency. You get the excellency first, then this charm. It's not designed to be used instead of an excellency, it's designed to be used on-top of an excellency. It also has prerequisites, so you know that no-one's going to be using this charm if they have less than 3 in the Ability, or whatever.
                This is why Double 9s (or re-roll 6s, or whatever) don't have variable mote-costs; the costs are simply costed for being used on enormous dice pools only. (Except for Excellent Strike.)

                So, if the cost is more expensive that buying more dice, then people can just... buy more dice instead. The issue of course, is that Sidereals have a terrible dice-adder, so that doesn't work that well.
                If the TN reduction isn't packaged with the excellency, then unless their dice cap is changed somehow, their excellency will be total rubbish.
                I'm not really sure where I'm going with this in terms of a fair cost for Sidereal TN reduction, just something to consider.


                Fourthly, considering the size of dice pools depends on the Ability. Brawl has enormous dice pools for Withering Attacks, as generally do Archery and Thrown, though Decisive rolls are less. Melee a bit less so, but it can be the same (at the cost of Parry). Other abilities have less, because you're not generally adding a free +4 dice.
                So a TN reduction is more valuable in Brawl than it is in, say, Survival.
                On the other hand, Brawlers get 5m back a round.
                On the other other hand, they desperately need motes in a way you probably don't when rolling Survival.

                So, the TN reductions don't have to cost the same, same as Double 9s don't cost the same in all Solar abilities.
                Although as I said, if they are seperate charms from the excellency, the excellencies are rubbish. Though if the excellencies are free... well, you can probably do something Character-Gen wise to fix it.


                I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by vwllss trnt prncss View Post
                  You could set a variable price (1m per 5 dice) but that's adding complexity.
                  Yep, good suggestion, but adds complexity, including on the player side between making "cliff edge" calculations at the boundary between every 5 dice (since there are no fractional motes). Like:

                  First, A) Do you want to pay 1m at 9 dice (>=5 dice, <10), or 2m at 10 dice? Because you can then save those extra motes on something else vs marginal extra successes on the one extra die. Then, B) if you do only want to apply to 9, as a player, do you *have* to pay for your entire pool, or do you get discretion than you can split your pool and only TN reduction to some dice? It seems like you could apply this in post roll, but then is that "fair"?

                  And then the ST has keep track of this on your roll.

                  The Wizard of Oz, bearing in mind your and @Alistair's comments on page 1 re the Essence dice/TN cap for Sidereals, I wonder if this cap for Sidereals even works well in 3e's environment!

                  In 1e and 2e, Essence was the cap, and that kind of intensified the "race for high Essence" among Sidereals (which is maybe kind of bad!) but at least players there have the option of buying Essence. While in 3e, there's an obligatory waiting period to build your Essence, and fairly slowly as it scales with total XP (unless Essence score XP thresholds are radically lower for Sids, for'ex). If they keep a low dice cap, seems like they'll need a lot of "trick" / non-dice Charm power, but taking such an orthogonal path then interacts strangely with cross-splat abilities which offer dice adders which it could be assumed players should have an incentive to want to buy (which Alistair notes is an is issue for MA... unless they get lots of proprietary Sidereal MA, but this runs at cross purposes with what 3e does with MA).

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                  • #24
                    So, Sidereal MA wordcount will already be at a huge premium, because they still need wordcount for Sidereal Martial Arts including at least two completely new ones we've heard of. The Samsara one and the Cut Everything one iirc. So I doubt we'll get a lot of normal MAs designed explicitly to work great with Sidereals, besides Violet Bier of Sorrows and Throne Shadow. Getimians are in a similar boat and they don't have the Sidereal Problem there cuz their excellencies have been said to just add dice or successes as usual. Therefore we can conclude there's not a lot the Sid book can do when it comes to including MAs made explicitly for Sidereals to combo really well with if they kept the QC Excellency.

                    Those four MAs I mentioned were just four MAs in a single book. You can look at every other style published so far and I'm pretty sure at least one Charm in each gets affected. So honestly I would really prefer Sids got a normal dice cap, something like (Ability + Second Ability by stunting weird ways of going about things) or whatever, and then their Charmsets got three Charms per Ability dedicated to lowering each Ability's TN by -1 at an individual cost.

                    For example, a Serenities Sid who wants to go real deep into Dodge. Small trees with very powerful but limited Charms yada yada but one of the starting Charms is, say, Melody of Detachment, which lowers a Dodge roll's TN by -1 or increases an opponent's attack roll's TN by +1 if she intends to evade it. Then at Essence 2, a follow-up Charm, Dancing Through Raindrops, further lowers TN by -1 and has a separate rider effect but at a bit of a higher cost than Melody of Detachment did, maybe an initiative cost but not WP. And then at E3, the next Charm, Jubilant Cascading Steps, further lowers or raises TN by -1 or +1 at a higher cost that includes WP. Through combo'ing all three Charms, you can go down to TN 4 or make your opponent's TN reach 9, while each increase or decrease carries escalating costs. You solve the MA problem, you make Sids have to buy TN reduction or increases instead of getting it for free, and you make TN reduction more potent for Sids thanks to the bigger caps. You also solve a lack of dice tricks in their set by, well, giving them those dice tricks. Falcon Style's Reroll 1s and 2s on any attack roll paired with TN reduction is gonna be a sight to see.

                    If the QC Excellency stays imma be sad for Sid Martial Artists, unless they get an expanded MA dicepool or some other way to make full use of MA Charm dice or successes.

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                    • #25
                      Edit: Ninja'd

                      I missed Alistair's previous post... yeah, looking at it now, Alistair's absolutely right, that severely weakens a lot of the Martial Arts charms.

                      Personally, I feel that it'd be easier to give Sidereals an excellency cap of Essence+Ability, then make TN reduction a series of charms. Possibly one that's repurchased to get more than 1 reduction in TN, which might scale in cost (2 for TN6, 5 for TN5, 5 and 1wp for TN4, something like that). And it would need good Ability scores presumably (so you know everyone buying TN 4 has Essence 3 and Ability 5, so they're going to be using a big dice pool). They also wouldn't have to cost the same for every ability.



                      I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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                      • #26
                        (Essence + Ability) is the same size as the Liminal dicepool when at iconic anima, which is kinda low. They'd have DB Excellencies at E1, and only match E1 Lunars or Solars at E5. I'd probably go with two Abilities the way Lunars get two Attributes, or... idk, Ability + (Willpower/2 rounded up) or something. Something that potentially lets their Excellencies be up there with the rest, since they no longer retain TN reduction as part of their Excellency.

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                        • #27
                          You're right about it being a bit lower, but it'd be wider too.

                          What I mean is that an Essence 5 Solar might have some excellencies that are at 10 dice, but most won't be.

                          For example, my Zenith who I think has just reached Essence 5 has... let me check... 14 excellencies. But he only has one Attribute at 5 (Intelligence). And only half of those excellencies are for his 7 Abilities that are rated at 5. The others are for Abilities at 3 or 4.
                          So he can roll 10 dice for Intelligence+Occult or Intelligence+(certain) Crafts, but he only rolls 8 dice for Dex+Martial Arts, 7 dice for Stamina+Resistance, 9 dice for Charisma+Performance, 7 dice for Strength+Athletics, 9 dice for Perception+Investigation, 7 dice for Wits+Socialise, 6 dice for Join Battle. And his excellencies allow him to add that many dice. So for most rolls we have to make he actually can't add 10 dice.

                          Whereas an Essence 5 Sidereal with 7 Abilities at 5 could add 10 dice to all of those Abilities at 5, and 9 dice to any Ability at 4. It doesn't matter if they only have Wits 3 or Manipulation 3 or whatever.

                          So, yes, Essence+Ability is pretty rubbish at Essence 1, but it's decent at Essence 3, good at Essence 4, and really good at Essence 5.

                          Not saying that means they should definitely have that (do the designers want Sidereal power to go up like that? Do they want high-Essence Sidereals to have great excellencies? Do they want low-Essence Sidereals to have some of the worst excellencies at character gen? Can that be dealt with by, say, giving out free excellencies like candy?), but it's just something to consider. Especially as, in the setting, Sidereals have much higher Essence scores on average than Solars. That's not so important for Sidereal PCs, but it matters for Solar PCs fighting Bronze Faction kung-fu masters or something.

                          I'd definitely not like their excellency to be stunt-based.



                          I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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                          • #28
                            It's not important for PCs, and that's what matters to me. The fact that your Excellency will start off rubbish and only get decent by the time the game is dying or going halfway through is not a reassurance at all, if anything it makes me feel worse about Sidereals than just leaving their QC Excellency as is. Lunars already get "wider" Excellencies by being capable of stunting all their 5-dot Attributes into each roll they can Excellency, and only having nine Excellencies to get as opposed to 25. Essence-based does not make their cap wider than that, only wider than Solars, so even then they're worse than other Celestials at their Excellencies. Honestly I'd just say their Excellencies add successes and make their success cap (Ability) and that's it. 2 dice count as one success for those purposes, so for Charms that add dice, they get (Ability x2).

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                            • #29
                              Designers could fiddle around with the Essence scale such that Sidereals hit 3-4 very rapidly and then progression to 4-5 is slower. That might be appropriate on grounds of theme. It seems like it would compresses a lot of what the designers can do in Essence progression in Charm trees in service of the dice cap tho! Which is probably a bad idea.

                              If Astrology College scores stick around, those could be used for capping, but adding any sort of extra thinking and then arbitration time to rolls seems not so advisable for keeping things fast and flowing, esp. as Astrology Colleges relatively abstract - e.g. "Is this really a Att+Abl+'The Sorcerer' roll?", "How do I manage to get an Astrological College invoked on this roll?", etc.

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                              • #30
                                I am pretty sure the Colleges are not staying around as dots you purchase. And I would certainly not want them to. So far I prefer the (Ability) sux cap idea.

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