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What is with the significant "nerf" to Arcanoi in Wraith-20?

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  • #61
    Or to break things down further, since I know Outrage 5 - Obliviate was a point of contention, lets looks at the systems write up for each one:

    2nd Edition
    System: The player rolls Strength + Outrage against the local Shroud. If trying to affect another wraith, the difficulty is the target's Stamina + 3. Each success inflicts one level of aggravated, nonsoakable damage. Living creatures suffer Health Levels of damage, but their souls fall into a Destruction Harrowing if they are slain. Wraiths reduced to zero Corpus through this art also immediately fall into Destruction Harrowings.

    This art costs 3 Pathos. The wraith also gains 2 Angst each time he uses Obliviate.
    20th Anniversary Edition:
    System: The wraith must touch his intended target. The player spends 3 Pathos and rolls Strength + Outrage. The Spook’s Shadow gains 3 temporary Angst. Each success inflicts one level
    of aggravated damage that bypasses armor and is soakable only if the victim has an appropriate art.

    A living being killed by Obliviate becomes a wraith but immediately falls into a Destruction Harrowing. A wraith reduced to zero Corpus through this damage likewise suffers an
    immediate Destruction Harrowing. In either case, failure at the Harrowing doesn’t consign the character to Oblivion. Instead, she becomes a Spectre.

    A destroyed Spectre or plasmic returns to Oblivion. The Labyrinth knows its own.

    A destroyed inanimate object falls directly into Oblivion (unless it’s Inhabited, in which case it becomes a relic — and the luckless Artificer suffers the same damage that the item itself took).
    So, the main differences of note are:

    -20A requiring a touch to activate.

    -2nd Editions Difficulty against other wraiths was determined by the target wraith's Stamina + 3. 20A is just a static Difficulty depending on where in the Underworld the Spook is.

    Here's the problem: 2nd Edition version is overpowered.

    2nd Edition version having no range limit makes it horribly broken, in that a Spook can deliver Agg damage at any range is kind of insane. And is absolutely a disruptive power at a table to make scenes and encounters hard to design for if the player with Outrage can just zap a target from any range.

    It also thematically makes zero sense to make Outrage like this for the Spooks. They were always portrayed as brawlers, pummeling targets of their Outrage with their fists. Making them snipers or artillerymen with infinite range contradicts that completely. So yes, changing it to a touch attack makes sense.

    (although BTW, this is not to say Wr20 fixed things completely on meshing themes with mechanics. Inhabit still mostly has nothing to do with Artificer's business of soulforging, aside from the one Initiate power that Wr20 added)

    Frankly if I was STing a 2nd Edition game, I probably would have house-ruled Obliviate anyways to have a range and not let a player run rampant with the power by RAW.

    The Storyteller system has enough holes as it is, I'm all in favor for providing more clarity to rules.

    And the changes in how Difficulty works...yeah, static Difficulty is just inherently better. Since there's less dirty math the ST needs to do if it's just a static number.

    So yeah. Rules wise, Wr20 Obliviate is better then 2e simply for having more coherent rules behind it.