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Merit balance question - Horrors

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  • Merit balance question - Horrors

    I am working on a new merit that permits a character to have a horror as a loyal companion / ally. Something specific like the familiar merit, but with a magical creature (made with the rules for horrors) rather than a spirit/ghost/goetia. I am wondering what level of merit should allow what potency of Horror for the character to create. I was originally going to go with the familiar merit as a guide - 2 dots for a potency one horror, and 4 dots for a potency two horror, however upon looking at stats it seems that spirits are a bit more formidable at given ranks compared to horrors at given potency levels. Thus I am thinking of going with: 2 dots - potency one, 3 dots - potency two, and 4 dots - potency 3. How does everyone think this works in terms of game balance?

  • #2
    I do not actually think this is necessary.

    While it may at first seem like ephemeral entities have really strong dice pools that is because they usually just roll an Attribute without their Rank and even if they add their Rank it is just 1 or 2 dice for Familiars. With Horrors you usually have Attribute + Skill which will roughly equal those dice pools of ephemeral entities in the things the Horror is good at and may even noticeably exceed them if the Horror is very specialized.

    It is also worth noting that the Familiar Merit is per-dot one of the most valuable Merits a player can take if he uses the Familiar for all it is worth. Even just the use as a safe Mana battery is worth the dots already and then you get all the other uses on top, like having a crafty spy (incl. for Remote casting) and of course the Numina and Influences. Which is why I think it is very important to have the Familiar have a clear agenda that may occasionally be at odds with those of its master or have the Familiar react appropriately when it feels it is being taxed beyond due, to give the Merit a Drawback for all the power you are getting.

    Horrors cannot be used as Mana batteries but they are Merit batteries. Theoretically, you could multiply Merit dots by buying a "Horror Familiar", e. g. you buy a Potency 1 Horror Familiar which then has 3 Merit dots of its own. Here a good amount of ST direction and discretion is necessary when designing the Horror. Horrors also tend to be a bit more flexible in concept, so Dread Powers could be chosen more freely than Numina and Influences could be, which gives the player more options for covering own weaknesses.

    Considering all this, I think 2 dots per Potency is perfectly reasonable for a Horror Familiar (in fact, much like the regular Familiar Merit, it may actually be too cheap, especially when compared to Sleepwalker Retainers, which are much easier to compare with a Horror).


    Politeness is the lubricant of social intercourse.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by saibot View Post
      I do not actually think this is necessary.

      While it may at first seem like ephemeral entities have really strong dice pools that is because they usually just roll an Attribute without their Rank and even if they add their Rank it is just 1 or 2 dice for Familiars. With Horrors you usually have Attribute + Skill which will roughly equal those dice pools of ephemeral entities in the things the Horror is good at and may even noticeably exceed them if the Horror is very specialized.

      It is also worth noting that the Familiar Merit is per-dot one of the most valuable Merits a player can take if he uses the Familiar for all it is worth. Even just the use as a safe Mana battery is worth the dots already and then you get all the other uses on top, like having a crafty spy (incl. for Remote casting) and of course the Numina and Influences. Which is why I think it is very important to have the Familiar have a clear agenda that may occasionally be at odds with those of its master or have the Familiar react appropriately when it feels it is being taxed beyond due, to give the Merit a Drawback for all the power you are getting.

      Horrors cannot be used as Mana batteries but they are Merit batteries. Theoretically, you could multiply Merit dots by buying a "Horror Familiar", e. g. you buy a Potency 1 Horror Familiar which then has 3 Merit dots of its own. Here a good amount of ST direction and discretion is necessary when designing the Horror. Horrors also tend to be a bit more flexible in concept, so Dread Powers could be chosen more freely than Numina and Influences could be, which gives the player more options for covering own weaknesses.

      Considering all this, I think 2 dots per Potency is perfectly reasonable for a Horror Familiar (in fact, much like the regular Familiar Merit, it may actually be too cheap, especially when compared to Sleepwalker Retainers, which are much easier to compare with a Horror).
      My understanding is that, aside from clashes of will, spirits roll power + finesse, and thus have respectable dice pools. Also, the twilight state gives them very impressive stealth options that horrors can't match without spending dread powers. Your comment on Merits is something I did not take into account that could make a difference. Thanks for the response.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Newes View Post
        My understanding is that, aside from clashes of will, spirits roll power + finesse, and thus have respectable dice pools.
        Spirits roll Power + Finesse for violence, Numina, Influences, perception, and other tasks that would roll two Attributes. A spirit attempting to do research would roll Power; a spirit attempting to pick a lock would roll Finesse; either spirit would add its Rank to their respective roll if their concept lent itself to the action, but neither would roll Power + Finesse to perform their task without using a supernatural power.


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        Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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        • #5
          Thank you for the clarification.

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