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Clarity Damage and Conditions: An Obscure Case of Situational Gameplay

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  • Clarity Damage and Conditions: An Obscure Case of Situational Gameplay

    It's actually a simple question with deep implications.

    With regards to the Clarity damage track, there are few bits of information that lead up to the question:

    * You gain a condition if you fill in one of the last three boxes.
    * Severe damage overwrites mild damage.
    * You gain the Comatose condition if you take damage when your damage track is already full.

    So, in the following situation:

    [X][X][/][/]

    A non-comatose Changeling gains 1 Severe Clarity Damage and their track becomes:

    [X][X][X][/]

    They certainly become comatose (and becomes comatose with persistence), but do they also gain a persistent condition from filling in one of the last three boxes?

    The text appears to give these two condition-granting, er, conditions as separate, and therefore this would be the case. Can anyone reveal information in the rules (or in an errata I've missed) that says otherwise?

    Thanks.
    - Thenomain


  • #2
    On the one hand, severe damage being what it is means it wouldn't be hard to justify a case like this resulting in two Persistent Clarity Conditions.

    On the other hand, the combined context of "Comatose is on the list of Clarity Conditions," "Comatose's Condition writeup only declares 'Reaching Clarity 0' as a Possible Source," "Comatose is effectively a bigger version of some of the other Persistent Clarity Conditions in the first place," "Your Clarity for the purposes of mechanics that reference the rating is determined by the number of unmarked boxes you have," and "the perception modifiers for Clarity only describe a range bottoming out at 1-2" suggest that the intended reading is "You become Comatose once your Clarity track fills with damage of any kind."


    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
      Comatose's Condition writeup only declares 'Reaching Clarity 0' as a Possible Source'
      This reminds me of something. Some quick note-taking...

      Comatose (p. 344): Possible Sources: Reaching Clarity 0
      Clarity Damage (p.107, 2nd paragraph): Comatose happens when damage is taken after the Clarity track is full of damage.
      Clarity Conditions (p. 107): One Condition for any amount of mild damage in the last three boxes, one Persistent for any amount of severe damage in same.
      (Note to self: So it's not one per box. Good to know. Interpretation: Max 2 conditions for clarity damage: One normal and one persistent. Uncertainty: If you are full up on mild clarity damage do you gain one persistent if severe damage enters this range? Interpretation: Yes.)

      (edit: Further inference: You can have at most 3 conditions from Clarity damage: One normal, one persistent, and Comatose. A lot of things have to be assumed to make this work, but I think it's fair. The Clarity track is short and even risking three conditions seems pretty severe. I don't know what the writer's intentions were, but this seems like the most balanced reading of the rules as written.)

      Conclusion: There are a lot of little rules in this system. I've been pouring over it for well over an hour trying to figure out how it's supposed to work, because I've been reading that Clarity is the lynchpin that makes CtLv2 the game that I want it to be.

      Clarity and Perception and Touchstones, oh my!

      I know Rule Zero ("wing it") is a good solution but the more I look into it the more I just want to use it as a sanity track and let whatever house-rules fall where they may.
      Last edited by Thenomain; 07-06-2019, 02:44 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Thenomain View Post
        (edit: Further inference: You can have at most 3 conditions from Clarity damage: One normal, one persistent, and Comatose.
        You can have as many Clarity Conditions as you allow to accumulate, I think.

        Remember, the dicepool for Clarity damage in most cases is just Wyrd plus any bonus dice from Conditions, and most Conditions only add a single die each.


        Resident Lore-Hound
        Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
          You can have as many Clarity Conditions as you allow to accumulate, I think.
          The rule is "one clarity condition for any amount of Mild damage" implies to me, pretty strongly, that even if you have 3 mild damage you have 1 condition from it. (edit: I admit that I'm assuming that's one condition gained for any number of instances. The book isn't clear about that, either.)

          The same is said for Severe damage and Persistent conditions. That's two.

          Maybe.

          I think that we are both uncertain as to how to apply this implies to me that the rules themselves aren't clear to us. And again, I don't mind "wing it" as long as the winging of the "it" is done with internal consistency. I'm just having problems finding the *intent* of these rules once we get past the layer of "mental damage messes up Changelings, yo".
          Last edited by Thenomain; 07-07-2019, 05:51 PM. Reason: I admit that I'm assuming that's one condition gained for any number of instances. The book isn't clear about that, either.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Thenomain View Post
            The rule is "one clarity condition for any amount of Mild damage" implies to me, pretty strongly, that even if you have 3 mild damage you have 1 condition from it.
            My reading is, quite unambiguously, "If a Clarity attack marks damage in one of your last three boxes, you take a Clarity Condition dependent upon the type of damage and the circumstances; if this reduces you to zero unmarked boxes, that Condition is Comatose."

            Healing Clarity damage doesn't undo Clarity Conditions intrinsically and many of them are not mutually exclusive, so there's not much call to assume that having one Clarity Condition of a given severity prevents you from getting others.


            Resident Lore-Hound
            Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
              My reading is, quite unambiguously, "If a Clarity attack marks damage in one of your last three boxes, you take a Clarity Condition dependent upon the type of damage and the circumstances; if this reduces you to zero unmarked boxes, that Condition is Comatose."
              I don't disagree. Which is what's frustrating me about this; both seem valid.

              [T]here's not much call to assume that having one Clarity Condition of a given severity prevents you from getting others.
              Sorry, what I meant there is that (by my reading) you get one Clarity Condition from any amount of Moderate Clarity Damage in the last three boxes for a total of one of those. You can get another, Persistent Clarity Condition, from any amount of Severe Clarity Damage, for a total of one of those. And a third (Potentially Persistent Clarity Condition) for the Comatose Condition.

              Where we're reading it different is whether or not you gain a Clarity Condition from per damage source in the last three boxes (your reading), or if you gain one for any number of sources of any kind of damage in the last three boxes (mine).

              We seem to be agreeing that once you get Comatose (from any source), then you cannot gain any more Clarity Damage, but disagreeing on when mandatory gaining of the Comatose Condition takes place. (You: When the track is filled. Me: When taking damage after the track is full. Both are stated in the book.)

              --

              I used to play with people who would quite regularly talk about "rules as written", as a panacea of any rules-based discussion. This conversation reminds me how this isn't always useful.

              And in case there's any question, Satchel, I'm not repeating myself nor repeating you in attempt to sound like I'm having an argument—I know where to go for an argument about this—but because I want to believe that somewhere in the text is a clearer answer.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Thenomain View Post
                Where we're reading it different is whether or not you gain a Clarity Condition from per damage source in the last three boxes (your reading), or if you gain one for any number of sources of any kind of damage in the last three boxes (mine).
                I am saying that, in the event that you don't resolve Clarity Conditions or heal Clarity damage, you can accumulate up to four Clarity Conditions — two from mild damage and two from severe — before you take Comatose, and getting to that point requires at least four separate Clarity attacks, because marking more than one of the last three boxes from one attack still only gives you one Condition.

                For simplicity's sake, take note that mild Clarity Conditions include the likes of Spooked, Shaken, and Dissociation — Conditions that are resolved purely by choosing to discharge them in appropriate circumstances and whose mechanical effects are "this Condition might resolve" — as well as Distracted, Withdrawn, and Confused — Conditions that are resolved by taking time out to regain your footing. Persistent Clarity Conditions are worse, but getting them is harder based on the simple fact that severe damage only happens on an exceptional success and having marked boxes of mild damage doesn't make severe damage accumulate faster.

                Mundane characters can get both Broken and Fugue from Integrity breaking points under dire enough circumstances, and I see little reason for changelings to be exempt from the same outcome under analogous circumstances for Clarity.

                We seem to be agreeing that once you get Comatose (from any source), then you cannot gain any more Clarity Damage, but disagreeing on when mandatory gaining of the Comatose Condition takes place. (You: When the track is filled. Me: When taking damage after the track is full. Both are stated in the book.)
                And as mentioned previously, while both are mentioned, the singular statement in the writeup is the only place that actually suggests a character is supposed to be able to remain active at Clarity 0; there's no analogous mechanic to Health's "Upgrading Damage" rules provided and the circumstance of rolling exactly as much damage as you have remaining Clarity boxes is specific enough that it's reasonable to assume, in light of all the other ways the mechanics don't provide guidance for continuing to play a conscious character at Clarity 0, that the Condition writeup is the more accurate of the two.

                And in case there's any question, Satchel, I'm not repeating myself nor repeating you in attempt to sound like I'm having an argument—I know where to go for an argument about this—but because I want to believe that somewhere in the text is a clearer answer.
                And speaking as someone who's been in this fandom for nearly ten years and attempting focused read-throughs of the lines for more than half that time, I must regretfully state that there are many cases where you just have to make an interpretation from context, find dev-and-writer intent where you can, and be consistent with your implementation within the same game or be prepared to handle the complications of updating your rulings as your understanding of the content evolves. The book is past the errata phase, so the printed wording is as clear as it's going to get.


                Resident Lore-Hound
                Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                  Mundane characters can get both Broken and Fugue from Integrity breaking points under dire enough circumstances, and I see little reason for changelings to be exempt from the same outcome under analogous circumstances for Clarity.
                  This resonates with me the most about this issue. "There's no reason Changelings get a break compared to everyone else". (edit: Mind you, "everyone else" doesn't treat the Integrity Track like a health track and gain and lose points like a yo-yo in the hands of a trained professional.)

                  And as mentioned previously, while both are mentioned, the singular statement in the writeup is the only place that actually suggests a character is supposed to be able to remain active at Clarity 0
                  Conversely, the "Comatose Condition" (p.334) is the singular place I've found where it's stated that Comatose may be gained at Clarity 0. Where else does the book state Clarity 0 induces Comtaose?

                  And speaking as someone who's been in this fandom for nearly ten years
                  (jokingly) Newbie.

                  ...there are many cases where you just have to make an interpretation from context, find dev-and-writer intent where you can, and be consistent with your implementation within the same game
                  I admit this in the first post (c.f., Rule Zero), but I still hold out some hope that there is a True Answer, considering the weight OP has apparently put behind Clarity as a key system in this version of Changeling.

                  I'm such an optimist.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Thenomain View Post
                    Conversely, the "Comatose Condition" (p.334) is the singular place I've found where it's stated that Comatose may be gained at Clarity 0. Where else does the book state Clarity 0 induces Comtaose?
                    The book doesn't state that Clarity 0 does anything else, is my point — the maximum penalty to perception rolls comes from Clarity 1-2, not Clarity 0-2, every other Condition listed in the Clarity Conditions setup is clear that it's caused by mild or severe Clarity damage in the last three boxes, and even the most narratively onerous of the severe Conditions doesn't utterly rob you of your consciousness for its duration. Your character can be simultaneously Sleepwalking, Delusional, and subject to Fugue states and still have more deliberate impact on the waking world than they do when they're Comatose. There is no reason to assume the Condition is not the more correct source of the two.

                    I admit this in the first post (c.f., Rule Zero), but I still hold out some hope that there is a True Answer, considering the weight OP has apparently put behind Clarity as a key system in this version of Changeling.
                    They've put the same weight behind it as a key system as Cover, Satiety, Stability, Humanity, Harmony, Wisdom, Pilgrimage, and Synergy. Second Edition and the rest of Storytelling Revised have been pretty consistent about having the Integrity-equivalent for a splat work in a way that says things about the characters it's attached to or acts as a motivator for or against specific activities.

                    (edit: Mind you, "everyone else" doesn't treat the Integrity Track like a health track and gain and lose points like a yo-yo in the hands of a trained professional.)
                    Resolving Clarity Conditions is literally the only core means of healing Clarity damage that doesn't take at least one scene. Mild damage heals all at once from spending time with Touchstones, but mild damage also doesn't detach your Touchstones and the Conditions it can instill are comparatively minor, as mentioned above; "everyone else" also doesn't generally risk lowering their effective rating from something as simple as getting lost or realizing they were lied to or spending the day alone, but the greater commonality of mild Clarity attacks generates an extra layer of maintenance while severe damage fills the role most other splats accord to permanent loss of dots.


                    Resident Lore-Hound
                    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                      The book doesn't state that Clarity 0 does anything else, is my point
                      It doesn't have to do anything else. However:

                      the maximum penalty to perception rolls comes from Clarity 1-2, not Clarity 0-2
                      Well clearly something in the book is inconsistent. My reading of the rules is now down 1 reference to your 2.

                      every other Condition listed in the Clarity Conditions setup is clear that it's caused by mild or severe Clarity damage in the last three boxes
                      Okay, then let's keep on the inference: Why not the last two out of three, and the final box being reserved *for Comatose, period*? Instead the book says when the track is full, the *next* damage knocks you comatose, which doesn't require any inference. The inference is that this text is wrong—which I am, again, more than willing to accept but I still don't see the weight against this statement being notable enough to fold.

                      Or in other words: By your reading, how can any Condition other than Comatose be caused by the last Clarity health box?

                      They've put the same weight behind it as a key system as Cover, Satiety, Stability, Humanity, Harmony, Wisdom, Pilgrimage, and Synergy.
                      Okay? We're aggressively agreeing on this point.

                      "everyone else" also doesn't generally risk lowering their effective rating from something as simple as getting lost or realizing they were lied to or spending the day alone, but the greater commonality of mild Clarity attacks generates an extra layer of maintenance while severe damage fills the role most other splats accord to permanent loss of dots.
                      And this is why I wonder if "you can get up to 5 conditions from Clarity damage in the worst-case scenario" was the intent. Illustrated:

                      [X][X][ ][ ][ ] - No Conditions
                      [X][X][/][ ][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 1)
                      [X][X][/][/][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 2)
                      [X][X][X][/][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 3)
                      [X][X][X][X][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 4)
                      [X][X][X][X][/] - Comatose Condition (Total: 5)

                      My core question about situations like this is: I can see the description meaning something different; is this what was intended?
                      Last edited by Thenomain; 07-10-2019, 05:21 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Thenomain View Post
                        Okay, then let's keep on the inference: Why not the last two out of three, and the final box being reserved *for Comatose, period*? Instead the book says when the track is full, the *next* damage knocks you comatose, which doesn't require any inference. The inference is that this text is wrong—which I am, again, more than willing to accept but I still don't see the weight against this statement being notable enough to fold.

                        Or in other words: By your reading, how can any Condition other than Comatose be caused by the last Clarity health box?
                        Given the explicit options available for resolving Comatose from mild damage, it's entirely possible that Comatose comes in addition to whatever Condition you might get from marking your last Clarity box; difference in intensity notwithstanding, it seems unlikely that the intent was for an unlucky roll to require the character to realize they're dreaming when that's something the severe form characterizes as needing outside assistance.

                        The Condition's cause is described as "Reaching Clarity 0," not "Clarity damage in your rightmost box," after all.

                        And this is why I wonder if "you can get up to 5 conditions from Clarity damage in the worst-case scenario" was the intent. Illustrated:

                        [X][X][ ][ ][ ] - No Conditions
                        [X][X][/][ ][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 1)
                        [X][X][/][/][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 2)
                        [X][X][X][/][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 3)
                        [X][X][X][X][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 4)
                        [X][X][X][X][/] - Comatose Condition (Total: 5)

                        My core question about situations like this is: I can see the description meaning something different; is this what was intended?
                        The worst case scenario is that you never resolve as many Clarity Conditions as you accumulate and just keep picking up more as you heal the damage without treating the more lasting injuries; "two mild Clarity attacks followed by two severe Clarity attacks followed by a third of either type, with neither of the Conditions from the first two having resolved and none of the mild damage having healed beforehand" is not so much a worst-case scenario as a very specific scenario.

                        Yes, the Clarity track starts out with a lower maximum than most other splats' equivalents unless you build the character very specifically, but most of the core seemings start with the option to add another box, and Icons exist for the specific purpose of not needing to spend Experiences raising the component Attributes of the track even as they generate more vectors for Clarity attacks in the first place, so a character in a position for this to happen to them is pretty much already in a bad place to begin with.

                        But again, the nature of Clarity attacks seems pretty definitely such that if multiple things shake your surety in the way the world works before you can adjust, each one makes it demonstrably worse until you're overwhelmed. If you want a more concrete answer than that, the only other recourse is to ask the people who made the system personally, which I'm hesitant to do while the Companion and the rest of the supplements from the Kickstarter are still in the development process.


                        Resident Lore-Hound
                        Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Thenomain View Post
                          [X][X][ ][ ][ ] - No Conditions
                          [X][X][/][ ][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 1)
                          [X][X][/][/][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 2)
                          [X][X][X][/][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 3)
                          [X][X][X][X][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 4)
                          [X][X][X][X][/] - Comatose Condition (Total: 5)

                          My core question about situations like this is: I can see the description meaning something different; is this what was intended?
                          This seems exactly accurate. Do note that to get in this situation, you'd have to only take 1 damage at a time. If you are at:
                          [X][X][ ][ ][ ] - No Conditions

                          and then take 2 damage in one attack to arrive at:
                          [X][X][/][/][ ]

                          You still only get 1 Condition from that attack since it "marked damage in one of the three rightmost boxes". However, if you get to that point by taking 1 damage twice, it would be 2 Conditions. You can only gain 1 Condition per attack, never more.

                          In other words, the scenario you describe would be incredibly rare, you would need to be taking clarity attacks over and over again, always only taking 1 damage per attack, and never resolving any condition or doing anything about it between all of those events.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Thenomain View Post
                            [X][X][ ][ ][ ] - No Conditions
                            [X][X][/][ ][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 1)
                            [X][X][/][/][ ] - +1 Condition (Total: 2)
                            [X][X][X][/][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 3)
                            [X][X][X][X][ ] - +1 Persistent Condition (Total: 4)
                            [X][X][X][X][/] - Comatose Condition (Total: 5)

                            My core question about situations like this is: I can see the description meaning something different; is this what was intended?
                            Yes! This is how it would work (although as some others have pointed out, this is a pretty niche scenario that would rarely happen).

                            The "next damage after the track is full" line is an artifact from previous edits that unfortunately no one caught in errata. Sorry! When you take damage in your rightmost Clarity box, you go Comatose. That's partially because we didn't want things to get too hectic with too many Conditions, and partially because it's just simpler. It's pretty uncommon to fill your track anyway unless you're high-Wyrd (or some other shenanigans are happening).

                            This does mean that it's theoretically possible to be in the situation where you take 4 Clarity damage at once and go Comatose without any other Clarity Conditions to resolve to heal damage. In that case, you'd need someone to come rescue you as though it were Persistent--which is intentional, it's kind of like the Clarity version of Beaten Down. But if, at your table, you find that it's happening more often than you'd like or you don't want to do it that way for whatever reason, you could rule that resolving any Condition that could be a Clarity Condition (Confused, Shaken, etc.) even if you didn't get it through Clarity damage can resolve Comatose.


                            Meghan Fitzgerald | Onyx Path freelance writer & developer
                            Changeling: The Lost developer
                            Mage: The Awakening developer

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                            • #15
                              Thank you times a million, Meghan.

                              I have told anyone who is willing to listen that the new Clarity system lies at the center of bringing Changeling around to "a game of beautiful madness", and wanted to get it right.

                              @unahim:
                              You can only gain 1 Condition per attack, never more.
                              And thanks for clarifying this, too. Diving into the Clarity mechanics have lead to some outright programmer-nerd levels of trying to double-check wording against other examples. People with a short Clarity track will start getting Conditions almost immediately if they start taking damage. It's not as likely—as they'd much more likely be low-Wyrd—but it does create a math-y situation that I was worried about understanding.

                              Thanks to everyone for the conversation. Stay strange.

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