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  • Morbleiz10
    started a topic Beasts vs. Princesses - game balance question

    Beasts vs. Princesses - game balance question

    So I'm gearing up to run a Princess: The Hopeful fansplat campaign featuring three antagonist factions.

    Two factions have Beasts among their ranks, along with Darkspawn (low-end supernaturals rom the fansplat).

    One faction is led by an Anakim Tyrant, with an Anakim Ravager, a Namtaru Predator, and two Mnemosyne (from the fansplat) as his lieutenants.

    A second faction is led by a powerful Mnemosyne with an Anakim Collector, an Anakim Predator, and a Namtaru Nemesis among his lieutenants.

    There is also a fourth faction of Beasts that the PCS can potentially ally with against the other three factions and the campaign's Bigger Bad.

    ***

    The idea is to force the PCs into a moral quandary. They can work with the other faction of Beasts, who are unabashedly predatory (4 Predators, a Ravager, and a Nemesis) but have some semblance of morality when picking their prey....

    ...or they can go it alone against two groups of heavily armed mortals led by supernaturals.

    ***

    However, I'm trying to figure out if I created a balanced set of opponents for the PCs, should they choose not to ally with the third faction.

    Is a group of 4-5 Princesses with Inner Light 2-3 going to get TPK'd by 2-3 melee-oriented Lair 3 Beasts? Especially since those Beasts have mortal and low-end supernatural backup? Or are the Beasts going to get curb-stomped?

  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    *deep breath*

    Okay Konradleijon , I get the feeling you haven't picked up on the etiquette of the forums here, which can be reasonably understood, since it's not like the terms of use around here, and for the most part it isn't writtenup-so I'm gonna try and fix that here and give the quick guideline on Thread Necromancy Etiquette for you so we can...stop doing this.

    The General Rule-Do Not Revive Old Threads

    There are plenty of Thread Types that are exempt from the above rule, but it's important to start on the basics, and that basic is "If the thread has not been posted in for over a month, it is conventionally considered dead, and should not be revived."

    The simple way of dealing with this is to go to the last post in the thread before responding to ANYTHING ELSE IN IT, and looking at the upper left corner of the post for that time date. For example, if you look at Heavy Arms' post, you can see that that post was put up on May 28th of this year-at least three months ago. So as a general rule, you would not then revive a thread doing that. By contrast, if the last post were from September 15th of this year, then while it's definitely been a while since people talked about it, they may still be interested in that conversation and thus it's okay to revive it.

    So, That's the General Rule-but let's say you have something you want to say on the subject anyways? Well, the first criteria is a self-check.

    Keeping the Spark Going-Worthwhile Posts and the Situations That Make Them Such

    I want to start this section off by saying that, while this is a significant part of the Thread Necromancy problem, it's also part of a larger issue with your posting habits, and I want to just kind of clarify and give you some direction to not keep that up as a problem.

    Now, the primary rule of contributing to a thread that is cooling or dead is "I should only contribute a post if I have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation of the thread." A post like this can be a question that you really need clarification on, a major clarification on the topic that hasn't been added in yet, a meaningful "third option" that has come up yet, or a good critical analysis or personal anecdote to really bring that helps support a topic in there. The Big Thing that you're looking for here is "If I post this, is the conversation in the thread likely to pick up, or is it going to just be me posting here?" If it's the former, then congratulations, you have a piece to go onto our next phase of etiquette. If it's the latter, you should not post it.

    Now in much more recently active threads, particularly currently active threads, there's not as much pressure to contribute meaningfully to a conversation or to ask deep questions. A current-ish thread has room for light questions, funny quips and diatribes, and generally mild and loosely related posts. However, it does still pay to understand that certain kinds of posts carry different weights to them, and that certain kinds of those posts can be an unwelcome distraction to the conversation occuring.

    As a general rule, large statement posts (like essays or related stories) and questions inherently are more important to people's priorities than simple statements, jokes, and image-only responses. Because people on the forums treat questions and large statement posts as more seriously, it is very inconvenient when it turns out those questions are not serious or unrelated to the conversation at hand, and the same is true of large statement posts. The question you want to ask yourself is "Would I feel like someone wasted my time if I dealt with this only to find out it wasn't all that important for them to begin with?"

    While important for current conversations, it is far more important for cooling or dead threads that your posts be meaningful contributions. So if you have such a post, great! Now what?

    Go To Current Threads or Make a New Thread-Do Not Revive Old Threads

    So if you have a post that meaningfully contributes to the conversation, one that you think is likely to start up conversation again, then the best thing to do from there is to look around the threads and see if there is a more recent thread going on that covers that same topic. If you find such a thread, you then get to add your own comments to it and keep it going, and also bring in the benefit of the original thread you wanted to comment on as context should you link to it in your post.

    If there are no threads currently going on that relate to the comment you want to make, it's still considered rude to revive an old thread-so what you should do instead is start a new thread on the topic. You can, in your original post for that thread, insert a link back to the original thread so people may have it as context on the new thread, but whether you do that or not, it is better to turn a continuation of a dead thread into a new thread all of it's own. You can use this as another way of thinking about the previous step-"Is what I have to say so important that I could warrant making a new thread on it?"

    By doing this, rather than coming off as rude from bringing up a conversation people might well be done with and never want to see again, you can bring in activity to a forum. It's usually greatly appreciated, and is far more likely to get results than simply reviving an old thread.

    Now, between those three points, you should be set, but we have one more big bit to cover, and it's a tricky one-

    The Exceptions to the Rules-Some Threads are Meant to Go On Forever

    While the above guidelines are to be considered in almost all cases, there are some threads that are intended to stay around-and going beyond that, there are certain areas in the forums where long-running threads are more of a thing, and therefore have more leeway on reviving old threads.

    Namely, the Off-Topic part of the forums is loaded to the brim with threads that are intended to be long running and continuous. The main good guideline is if it's centered on a clear subject that isn't tied to a momentary occurence, it's safe to respond to. These threads tend to be quite large already, and some even have a iteration number attached to them. Some example for Off Topic threads that are safe to revive include

    -What Is On Your Mind(currently named "Does this forum make my butt look big?")
    -Movie
    -The LBGT Thread
    -The D&D Thread
    -You Know What I Hate Mk 4
    -You Know What I Love
    -The Drunk Thread
    -Let's Talk Comics

    and more asides.

    In Game Focused portions of the forums, the rules can be a lot more island-esque. Exalted, for instance, has a pretty different culture compared to Chronicles. Nevertheless, there are some thread types that persist amongst all of them, including Simple Question threads, Art and Music threads, Homebrew Project Threads (including original fangame threads), Inspiration/Character Idea/Story Seed threads, and some more asides.

    Some threads are acceptable to revive even if they aren't intended to be around as permanently as possible, and those namely tend to be threads on Products that have been announced and not-yet released, though once a product is out and the thread has exhausted itself, it becomes rude to revive those arbitrarily. Most of the time, those threads will maintain activity anyways, but if the product isn't out yet but the thread is having a lull, it is appropriate to post in there.

    Some examples from Chronicles include

    -Sample Mysteries
    -Doing First Tongue Translations(Which, in fact, is stickied)
    -Ask a simple question, get a simple answer(Demon the Descent)
    -Deviant Kickstarter
    -Changeling Resources
    -Demon Translation Guide: Inferno

    and more asides.

    It's not always clear what is and isn't acceptable to revive as a thread, so check on times, and if you really feel like it should be okay to revive even if that last post was from a month ago, the main thing to ask is if the thread is intended to cover a concern that can be visited and revisited with frequency, or if it's a conversation what to be had and then let go of.

    Even more simply and beneficially than that, if you aren't sure if it's okay to revive a thread or not, then it's safe to assume you shouldn't revive it and should go seek a newer, relevant thread, or making your own.

    Finally, why is this a thing?

    Simply Put, It's Rude-Do Not Revive Old Threads

    A lot of the time, we don't want to have to bother with a thread if we absolutely have to read through posts, if not pages, to get what a new contribution to it is about. Often, the resulting contributed point ends up non-sequitor-ish anyways, and makes it feel like our time is being wasted. In the case of some threads, it brings back a lot of exhaustion and maybe negative feelings that we would rather not want to experience. A thread that has gone through it's paces is also a poor means of creating interest and conversation because it inherently feels tread out, where as a new one inspires the need to answer, comment, or rebut, which creates activity.

    Any way you slice it, it is usually better to create new threads, or to contribute to current ones.

    Thank you for your time, and remember

    Do Not Revive Old Threads.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 10-15-2019, 06:41 PM.

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  • Konradleijon
    replied
    Interesting I wonder what the Fluff for their Interaction..

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Having an area resonant with your Lair because through whatever means makes it easier to impose Lair Traits, but it still isn't free. You're still also capped by your Lair rating on how many you can impose in a scene, and you still have to find ones that are relevant. That can be hard since imposed Lair Traits are 'natural.' Blanketing an area in darkness doesn't stop flashlights or supernatural light powers from making things visible.

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  • HelmsDerp
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    "Watch the chaos" of… usually two to three other stage hazards at most, and the more dangerous ones inevitably lock you out from invoking them freely in any circumstance but dimming the lights. If you want to draw down the Lair, say, outside during the day, you're spending Satiety and Willpower and rolling at a substantial penalty unless you've been hunting in the area and it's the same type of location as one of your Chambers.

    Beasts are built around home field advantages. The cost is that they have to be at home to take advantage of them.

    Or the Beast has the Death of Light Atavism, in which case they can do it at will with no expenditure and no roll in all circumstances except supernatural light. There are a looooot of ways to combo Atavisms and Lair traits. Siren's Treacherous Song for Thunderous. Vengeful Earth for Earthquake. Dragonfire can create Infernos. Storm Lashed for... a bunch of possible traits. This is not an exhaustive list.

    Not every Beast is going to have that kind of synergy, sure, but it's not a difficult thing for them to achieve.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Keep in mind that while inflicting an Anathema is a Hero exclusive power, a Beast is stuck with it until they can resolve the Condition. Other creatures might not know what it is, but during that period anyone that happens bring it to bare will cause the appropriate effects on the Beast.

    It was never balance as much as making the different splats sharing the same world and game systems make more sense. While this certainly lead to some increase in balance in general (knives aren't randomly more deadly in the rules for some splats than others) and in more specific cases (Clash of Wills and Supernatural Tolerance being standard for everyone and powers that can affect anything never targeting a trait that doesn't exist/have a counterpart for everything), it was never stated as a goal in the 15 years of the game lines to balance them against each other.

    I'll also challenge anyone that thinks CofD PCs are "weaker" compared to the WoD, but that's getting off the rails of this thread.
    Last edited by Heavy Arms; 05-28-2019, 04:40 AM.

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  • Penguinbowler
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    "Watch the chaos" of… usually two to three other stage hazards at most, and the more dangerous ones inevitably lock you out from invoking them freely in any circumstance but dimming the lights. If you want to draw down the Lair, say, outside during the day, you're spending Satiety and Willpower and rolling at a substantial penalty unless you've been hunting in the area and it's the same type of location as one of your Chambers.

    Beasts are built around home field advantages. The cost is that they have to be at home to take advantage of them.
    Thanks, still dislike anathma being hero exclusive (mostly because heroes tend to be a lot weaker) but knowing the actual cost is great (I checked the lair section of the corebook and couldn't find it

    As for them not caring for multisplat balance, that's new to me, guess the circles i was in were wrong as they said it was a goal (Maybe it was the fact compared to the Classic world of darkness counterparts everything is a lot weaker) but eh, authorial design choices change over time.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by Penguinbowler View Post
    Liars not really having a cost to use (Dim the lights and watch the chaos all for the low low cost of... does it have a satiety cost?)
    "Watch the chaos" of… usually two to three other stage hazards at most, and the more dangerous ones inevitably lock you out from invoking them freely in any circumstance but dimming the lights. If you want to draw down the Lair, say, outside during the day, you're spending Satiety and Willpower and rolling at a substantial penalty unless you've been hunting in the area and it's the same type of location as one of your Chambers.

    Beasts are built around home field advantages. The cost is that they have to be at home to take advantage of them.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    We also have two very rough categories of splats. Some splats are very "innate" focused where you can make some significant assumptions as they get more powerful. There's things most Elder vampires are going to have at their disposal because they're available and useful to any vampire so even if they didn't start with it, they picked it up over time, or it's a thing that naturally gets more powerful (ex: physical intensity). Other splats are very "concept" focused where it's really hard to generalize about them. "This changeling is powerful enough to be the Monarch of their Court," tells you so little about what sort of powers they'd have at their disposal. You really need to know what a Lost's concept is to have any idea what tools they're going to bring to the table when things get serious.

    Beasts are in the second category. They have no innate weakness in combat... but they have no innate advantages either. Even something like Lair Traits have to be relevant... a lot of them could be meaningless when fighting a member of a different splat. They can't throw down vitae to boost their attacks (and they don't keep getting a bigger pool of blood as they age), or have the innate ability to take on a form that regenerates all bashing and lethal damage every turn, etc.

    Combat heavy Beasts come from combat heavy concepts that Beast allows you to make, not just by playing a Beast.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    This is the exact opposite of the case, they’ve been saying for fourteen years that intersplat balance is not a thing.
    This. That the "weaker" splats have had upgrades (especially vampires) has created a somewhat more even curve, but the changes have been for those individual gamelines and not because they strived towards more balance between splats.

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  • Sith_Happens
    replied
    Originally posted by Penguinbowler View Post
    But Chronicles has for the most part been trying to keep the gap between them as small as possible, as in it's a design goal stated by the developers.
    This is the exact opposite of the case, they’ve been saying for fourteen years that intersplat balance is not a thing.

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  • Penguinbowler
    replied
    This is probably the one complaint about beast i have that can never really be changed. There is a massive power gap between beast and most other splats, and if it was classic i wouldn't really have an issue with it. But Chronicles has for the most part been trying to keep the gap between them as small as possible, as in it's a design goal stated by the developers. Liars not really having a cost to use (Dim the lights and watch the chaos all for the low low cost of... does it have a satiety cost?), combined with having no easily exploitable weaknesses like Fire or Iron makes dealing with a beast a hassle. Anathema being a hero exclusive ability is also kinda weird, most other splats have the debuffs occur do to their own actions, such as getting to strong or overusing their powers, beast need to have it applied while in combat by a very weak enemy. Kinda why i like Incarnates more as antagonist, they have a very real weakness in their myth, that if you break will leave them helpless.

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  • Deinos
    replied
    Its gonna be *rare* that a full brood of beasts can't obliterate a parking lot full of enemies, likely without even a roll. The fact that beasts can turn up anywhere they want makes them exceptionally hard to deal with.

    I like the nice touch of some of the beasts having darkspawn, beasts and their creations really do resemble various permutations of darkness dudes. I can imagine them getting along well in some cases.

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  • Sith_Happens
    replied
    So the first thing to remember is that, statistically, at least one of those Beasts can single-handedly TPK anyone who makes the mistake of fighting them where they want to be fought. Lair Traits just do that.

    Any more than that I’m going to need to see some Callings and Courts. 4-5 Troubadours of Clubs are going to be a red mist before they can even warm their vocal chords. 4-5 Champions of Storms is what the Dark Mother has nightmares about.

    Which version of P:TH may or may not prove particularly relevant but it can’t hurt to say.

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  • Morbleiz10
    replied
    This actually is helping. It's cementing my resolve that the PCs really need to ally with SOMEBODY to deal with the two evil factions.

    I tried not to make the enemy NPC Beasts ridiculously combat-optimized - the guy with the nastiest combo of Atavisms only has Str 2 or 3 and 2 dots in Brawl. (Said combo: Unbreakable, Looming Presence, Crushing Coils, and Ravenous Maw)

    However, you're definitely making me think that I should test the waters with a couple of Horrorspawn first, or throw the PCs at some Darkspawn to gain experience before they go up against the major bad guys.

    I'm also thinking that the PCs should definitely work on their diplomacy skills. Allying with a Hero is an option if I use one of the less reprehensible ones. Jones the ex-Navy SEAL from the corebook springs to mind, especially given that his followers are veterans who wouldn't much like either of the two evil factions.

    Of course, then they might lose the option to ally with the more moral faction of Beasts...

    Alternatively, Task Force Valkryie or VASCU could come sniffing around. The Union or Network Zero could also be options.

    One of the things I'm trying to do in this campaign is keep things complex. The PCs are in an interconnected world, after all.

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