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

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

    While the book itself is impressive, the systems content unfortunately leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I'm a little disappointed at the needless self-nerfing, as my fears have been confirmed after I had a chance to review my buddy's pdf. To clarify, over the past decade and a half in various conversations with the community, I got the perception that there was a vocal minority that somehow decided certain arcanoi were too powerful at level 5. This was really quite arbitrary and not in-line when you compare the iconic level 5 abilities of various other powers in the greater World of Darkness.

    Here are some examples of these changes in Wraith 20:


    a) Obliviate now requires you to touch the target, and can be soaked with the appropriate "art", and grants 3 angst minimum (if not 4 depending on how you read it). Really? Nothing in Spook's book indicates touching anything - and not to mention you will never really touch any important target... let alone touch it multiple times. So much for this being scary.
    b) Tempus Fugit now affects only a 10-yard area (for both speeding up and slowing down), you can no longer "carry it" with you. You are also only limited to 1 extra action c) and successful use only provides this bonus for 1-turn per success. This pretty much was nerfed in every possible mechanical manner. Less Actions. Less Duration. Forced area of affect so it's hard to pick out who it affects and who it does not. Wow.
    d) Aggravated damage can only be soaked by armour/arts (yes I know the player base was split on this - but the official errata for second edition wasn't).
    e) There are several other downgrades that I'm sure you'll all notice to various level 5 and level 4 Arcanoi (take look at Masquers, Monitors, heck even Chanteurs)

    With some pretty impressive level 5 traits available across WoD - its disheartening to see this trend. The arbitrary weakening iconic powers makes me happy I did not contribute to the product. I was really looking forward to some system clarifications for Arcanoi - not this random nerfing with no logical premise (other than perhaps, wraiths should be weaker? Because you definitely can't draw reasons to reduce level 5 Arcanoi effectiveness when compared to mage, werewolf, vampire, demon, changeling or anything else I can think of to be honest).

    Have you folks noticed this? Thoughts?
    Last edited by Nerhesi; 02-20-2018, 05:37 PM.

  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    I've mostly used 2e Arts with tweaks from Wr20. It works much better for our table. The new Inhabit made me sad. Everything else in Wr20 is better, however.

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  • Possessed
    replied
    Wraith is at it’s core a game about emotions, regret, unfinished business and hanging on to your existence in a hostile environment where the greatest enemy you will ever face is yourself.

    It is about learning to let go and about how hard that is.

    But it also is about history, you can meet Wraiths from radically different times sitting at the same table.

    But like pointed out it is also about a very real war for existence itself, not only for you but for everyone. Oblivion would just as gladly devour the Skinlands as it would the Shadowlands. If the Wraiths fail to keep Spectres and Oblivion at bay it may mean an end to everything. This war is just as important as any war fough by the Garou.

    Wraith is about lot of things. One chronicle may be all about seeking personal Transcendence while another may be about hanging on to your Fetters and trying to guide your living relatives on the right path. While another may be about some crazed sonsofbitches going on a Helldive to prevent the next big Onceborn plot while making sure that nothing awakes the Neverborn. Another game could be about exploring the far reaches or fighting the Vampires of the Tal’Mahe’Ra.

    What I am saying is that the structure of the game should help us tell all of these stories.

    Sometimes it is really smallscale and personal and sometimes it is about Death Gods.

    Personally Wraith has always been my favourite WoD gameline, even though due to popular demand Vampire has been the most played, and as such owning almost every book for the line the changes aren’t a big deal for me. I can always use the modern Wr20 rules while keeping the power level as it was. And like said there are many ways to approach Wraith and in a lot of them power level does not really matter. That said I have always been of the opinion that a games rule set must allow for players to achieve same levels of power as NPC’s of their type. Even if the chance of that happening is miniscule. That is why I like having Disciplines up to level 9 available in VtM, Archspheres in Mage the possibility to transcend in to a powerful spirit in WtA Etc. Now with C20 we finally have rules for Siochain and the Arts have been boosted to Fae like power. But sadly Wr20 does not give us any tools on how to become a Death Lord or any chance to rival Charon, the only way the rules even imply becoming something more, or less depending on how you see it but definately more powerful, is through becoming a Spectre and rising to Onceborn status but even that is mostly in ST hands, and then there are the Ferrymen but even though they gain much in their transformation they too use the same Arcanoi and that means that those Arcanoi must be enough to portray what they can do.

    So in summary while I do agree that in, perhaps, the most Wraith games powerlevel does not matter as they are much more about emotions and personal tribulations than about what powers you have still not having those powers that can help portray the other stories around anymore does indeed shut down story possibilities. And that is always bad no matter how one looks at it.

    Still I love my Wr20 just as I love the rest of my books of that line and since they are still available in pdf,if nothing else, for those who wish to see other possibilities offered by the Arcanoi as they were as well as quite a bit of lore so if someone feels dissappointed by the power level I suggest getting the old books to support your Wr20. Since even if the power level thing is an edge case, and quite frankly something I barely thought about before this thread, the old books have so many alternate, or initiate as they are now called, powers for the Arcanoi that they are definately worth a look even if one is comfortable in the current Arcanoi rules.

    All in all this is truly a matter of YMMV but personally I have liked all of the 20th editions for WoD and Wraith is no exception. Sure all of them have some changes I disagree with but still they are my favourite editions and as an old gamer I still have the option to fall back on previous editions on those matters I disagree with. I do not think there is a single rpg out there that I have St’d or played as ”it is meant to” as every ST, at least every St/Gm/other abreviations I have ever met, makes his/her own little changes to the setting and adds a rule there or changes another here so in the end we all play by someones House rules and House setting or that is my experience at the least.
    Last edited by Possessed; 06-21-2019, 06:09 PM.

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  • Prometheas
    replied
    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    Well TBF, much of the common werewolf tropes aren't suitable in a TRPG environment. Stuff like getting turned into a werewolf from cosmic phenomena...that you have absolutely no control over as a player. Not very fun to get to the main appeal whenever the ST feels like it.
    That's my point though, just sticking to public knowledge about ghost stories without diving into deeper mythology or creative liberties limit's the Game aspect of our Role Playing Game.

    I'm not saying you can't have fun in Wraith 20, but they've taken away some of the ways you can have fun without replacing them with anything tangible. I'd be just as put off if W.o.w. randomly decided to delete a third of their classes without adding anything else.

    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    I'll be honest: out of the Big 5 WoD gamelines, Wraith always struck me as the least concerned about being a game making you feel like a supernaturally empowered badass.

    The intent of the game was never about becoming god/king of the Underworld. It's about trying to settle your unfinished business and move on.

    Which is fine by me.
    It's also a story about fighting the encroaching spectre armies of Oblivion, the machination of the mighty Death Lords, and exploring the underworld in all of it's awesome glory. There's plenty of reason and precedent for Wraith to have wheels moving on a more epic scale and for players to be the movers-and-shakers of those plots.

    Stripping the game down to Only support it being a personal journey through the afterlife as you try to find your own resolution to your past mistakes, when previously you could be that And more, is massive bad mark in my opinion.

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  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by Prometheas View Post
    We also don't commonly associate werewolves with stepping into the spirit world, turning into giants, or controlling fire. Removing those things would make WTA less fun though.
    Well TBF, much of the common werewolf tropes aren't suitable in a TRPG environment. Stuff like getting turned into a werewolf from cosmic phenomena...that you have absolutely no control over as a player. Not very fun to get to the main appeal whenever the ST feels like it.

    I fail to see his reasoning on this. It seems more like a personal preference that limits possible stories, and that didn't work in Mage revised Or V5's favor.
    I'll be honest: out of the Big 5 WoD gamelines, Wraith always struck me as the least concerned about being a game making you feel like a supernaturally empowered badass.

    The intent of the game was never about becoming god/king of the Underworld. It's about trying to settle your unfinished business and move on.

    Which is fine by me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Prometheas
    replied
    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    Well reading through that section I suspect he's referring to how ghost stories as we typically know them aren't commonly known for being ones about ghosts that ascend to becoming death gods.
    We also don't commonly associate werewolves with stepping into the spirit world, turning into giants, or controlling fire. Removing those things would make WTA less fun though.

    I fail to see his reasoning on this. It seems more like a personal preference that limits possible stories, and that didn't work in Mage revised Or V5's favor.

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  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by Prometheas View Post
    Wait, what does he mean? There are god-like examples of ghosts and figures of death throughout history.
    Well reading through that section I suspect he's referring to how ghost stories as we typically know them aren't commonly known for being ones about ghosts that ascend to becoming death gods.

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  • Prometheas
    replied
    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

    That was one of the questions I submitted to a Q&A interview with Dawkins. Specifically at 20:30 - 26:35.

    Basically...it was a deliberate a design choice to bring down the Arcanoi, not a mistake.

    That the old 1e-2e versions of some of the Arcanoi were "all over the place" and nonsensical to what ghosts are typically described as doing in ghost stories. That to him, tweaking the powers was to bring things down to what ghosts are more commonly known for doing.

    And when it comes to compared to the other WoD gamelines...he sees no issue with wraith being at the bottom of the totem pole compared to the other gamelines. That traditionally, ghosts are not known for causing all-powerful, god-like feats at the same level that vampires, mages, fae, etc are. And that ultimately, Wraith is really difficult to have crossovers anyways due to a.) wraiths spending most of their time in an Otherworld and b.) it always being really hard for the other splats to get to the Underworld/Lower Umbra due to needing very specific powers to get there...which is going to lead to a smaller pool of player and build options.
    Wait, what does he mean? There are god-like examples of ghosts and figures of death throughout history.

    There have been personified gods of death and the underworld since the first recorded myths. For example, Ereshkigel(the queen of the dead) was able to capture and subdue Ishtar in babylonian myth. Considering Ishtar was one of the most powerful and venerated gods in babylonian myth, this puts Ereshkigal at a terrifying level of power in babylonian culture.

    In Japanese mythology, the demon emperor sutoku is the ghost of a former imperial prince who's life of tragedy and betrayal led to them becoming a powerful spirit. Said ghostly emperor was thought to be so powerful that his curses were blamed as the cause for what dismantled the imperial power base, shrouded the island in natural disasters, and birthed the genpei civil wars.

    For a more modern example, the Grim reaper is the imagined personification of death born from the aftermath of the black plague and was such a universally terrifying symbol in europe that we still use the Iconography as a horror element in modern storytelling.


    Ghost's, Death, and The Underworld have more than their fair share of "God-like" abilities in mythology, in fact they're central to many myths where "God-like" feats take place.

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  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by Nerhesi View Post
    A bit of a necro here... but I assume no changes were made post publishing the final? I was looking around to see if any changes were done in any of the releases after the main book, but all I saw are several threads along the same lines of concern.
    That was one of the questions I submitted to a Q&A interview with Dawkins. Specifically at 20:30 - 26:35.

    Basically...it was a deliberate a design choice to bring down the Arcanoi, not a mistake.

    That the old 1e-2e versions of some of the Arcanoi were "all over the place" and nonsensical to what ghosts are typically described as doing in ghost stories. That to him, tweaking the powers was to bring things down to what ghosts are more commonly known for doing.

    And when it comes to compared to the other WoD gamelines...he sees no issue with wraith being at the bottom of the totem pole compared to the other gamelines. That traditionally, ghosts are not known for causing all-powerful, god-like feats at the same level that vampires, mages, fae, etc are. And that ultimately, Wraith is really difficult to have crossovers anyways due to a.) wraiths spending most of their time in an Otherworld and b.) it always being really hard for the other splats to get to the Underworld/Lower Umbra due to needing very specific powers to get there...which is going to lead to a smaller pool of player and build options.
    Last edited by tasti man LH; 06-18-2019, 11:31 PM.

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  • Nerhesi
    replied
    A bit of a necro here... but I assume no changes were made post publishing the final? I was looking around to see if any changes were done in any of the releases after the main book, but all I saw are several threads along the same lines of concern.

    Leave a comment:


  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by Nerhesi View Post
    I was just checking to see if anything has changed. Oh well
    I mean. The final PDF isn’t even out yet. We don’t know what has changed aside from Lifesight, Deathsight, Heightened Senses, and Insubstantiability added back in.

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  • Nerhesi
    replied
    I was just checking to see if anything has changed. Oh well

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  • Mental-Mouse
    replied
    Like, why replace Guesswork and Interpretation? Why not have those in the book and put these new things in something else?

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  • Mental-Mouse
    replied
    Its Easy enough to put Elysia back in...but it never really should have been removed imo,(Maybe it'll be in one of these oher books coming out.)

    I suppose it is also easy enough to get Specters to mess around with corpses again...though I forgot what ability it was that did that.

    Not sure why so much was changed...

    It also Seems Fatalism Got Worked over quite a bit.

    Good thing I got copies of my old books so I can properly fix things up...No idea why so much of the great stuff was removed.
    Last edited by Mental-Mouse; 03-28-2018, 11:56 PM.

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  • Deinos
    replied
    When I first browsed this thread, I wanted to wait and see. Honestly, he's got a great point -- but a "nerf" doesn't really do it justice. It goes beyond just weakening wraiths/spectres, often in really annoying ways; at least two VERY essential elements of the game (the yin and yang as I see it) are stripped out; wraiths taking dreamers along with them to the underworld, and specters hijacking dead bodies (what got me into specters in the first place). I suppose they can do so for a few seconds or as a crummy zombie.

    The nuisance factor in getting normal people to interact with wraith's setting, or specters to interact with the waking world, is already quite high. What makes V20, W20, etc. cool is that its your old RPG stuff, compiled, arranged for comfort, etc; whereas with Wr20 you not only have to relearn everything over again, but get to find out most of the stuff you liked doesn't exist anymore, or is largely untenable.

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