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  • #31
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    Your disrespect comes through in your insistence to tell us something is universally a bad idea when we have firsthand experience that it's not.
    No, that's just a false narrative you and Holy haven constructed to get around what I've said.

    I think "Linear Creation, Quadratic Advancement," is a, "universally bad" (never my words mind you, that's part of your false construct) game design element. That's not disrespecting the decades of gaming fun that's been had by people (including myself) using systems with LCQA setups (aka every WoD/CofD/ST family game until CofD 2e and Storypath), it's just a bad mechanic that needs to go away and more so now that people have come to realize it's a bad mechanic.

    When I've said that IME nobody likes the free Merit thing, you and Holy have been all up for skewing that to mean I think it ruins games (again, not something I said, something added in), because it means you can claim I think bad rules always destroy the fun of the game (not something I've said), and thus claim I'm disrespecting your experiences by saying that they've used a bad mechanic as some sort of overall judgement on those experiences.

    The question is, what do you actually want when replying to us?
    I do my best to not post with a hidden agenda. If I want something, I say it. If I want a question asked, I ask it. I said what I want already. You responded by both proving my points exactly and then handwaving that aside to assert that it doesn't matter because free Merits isn't flawed that way even when you yourself point to the flaws in it.

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    • #32
      Some of my direct experiences with using non-Sanctity merits over conditions or equipment are these:

      Kindred Status: I really have commonly seen this playstyle and I prefer it. There are active NPC harpies in the domain, and we've ramped up the idea of the Cacophony such that reputation fluctuates each chapter, both up and down. Removing an XP cost lets the players function exactly like the NPCs through this process. I don't track XP progression/Beats for NPCs, so this levels the playing field in that system. If an NPC's reputation increases - I add the dot. I like being able to do the same for PCs. Further, I've always felt paying for Kindred Status amounted to an XP tax at Chargen for people in Covenants, and that's lifted in this system. I accept that some might feel revenants and the unaligned are slightly discouraged in this system as they are capped in how much status they can get compared to characters with both Clan and Covenants, or that players who enjoy and prefer being able to buy status with XP will be put off. Accepting those flaws means I don't call this a perfect system, but it doesn't mean I have to agree the system is always inferior.

      Blood Oaths: Two specific instances of this happened that I like in-game. 1) The current Carthian government appointed a special investigator to look into citizens possibly colluding with two blood-hunted Sanctified. As people began being subpoenaed and taken in, an Invictus NPC notary offered Oaths of the Model Prisoner for boon payments. Some PCs bought in, some didn't - and their experiences in those questioning scenes were different depending. Paying off those boons lead to other story hooks and other beat opportunities. But not having to stop and worry about whether everyone interested had three saved XP they were willing to commit until the oath ended was good. 2) One character's aspiration was to explore the Dominate discipline. Their Sire was a Notary, so I struck on the idea of the PC being tasked and put under an Oath of Action for the duration of the task while being granted Dominate. Again, this led to plot threads and beats on its own, and the PC didn't have to worry about forking over Oath XP during the exploration.

      Government Bonus: One of the themes of my game is the morality vs effectiveness of the Carthian Experiment running the Domain. The Primogen/Prisci form a ruling Council and have taken active measures to improve the Domain in a kindred version of public works. I wanted to put in a mechanical benefit to those works and I settled on granting bonus Herd to all citizens. Technically, I suppose I could have instead house-ruled City Status to grant the bonus directly like a Mystery Cult would, but it's close enough to be the same thing to me: Herd appearing on people's sheets that don't get Sanctity. Which could disappear if the Carthian Experiment fails or is overthrown. That added tension has been enjoyable, as even some non-Carthians appreciate the government since it means more blood in their bellies. Note that even after this was implemented, players continue to buy Herd above and beyond the bonus so it hasn't tanked the value of the merit.

      Hunting Grounds: I had a long plotline that consisted of players working on a committee to rezone the hundred-ish recognized neighborhoods of Philadelphia into ten Greater Wards, with each ward split into specific regencies. There was horse-trading, border disputes, vote buying, a Kindred census to determine how many regencies each Covenant gets, competition between Kindred to become Wardens, intra-Covenant competition over the regencies they got, legalese interpretations of old property rights - all good fun. When the committee finished, I decided to assign each regency in the final map a Hunting Ground rating, which the assigned Regent would be able to take advantage of. Buy, earn, steal, or luck into a regency - and you got the Hunting Grounds bonus when in that territory. I had few, if any, players invest in Hunting Grounds before this system. After though, when Hunting Grounds became shorthand for the value / prestige of a given regency, something you could actively compare against other regents and compete over - it actually invested more players into that system, with one player even considering investing up to HG5, so he can say he oversees the best regency in the city.

      My agenda here is to say these are specific examples from RL play that haven't triggered the favoritism, balance, or the merit-value issues that people have suggested are inherent problems to playing with non-Sanctity merits. I'll concede the rest of the debate, since you feel I'm arguing in bad faith and that your points have already been proven. Hopefully someone reading might find these examples interesting, inspiring or useful despite that.

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      • #33
        Tessie, Holy

        ​Nobody acknowledged the combat example Heavy Arms posited earlier. If once character can get free temporary merits (such as Status) by role-playing* social encounters, why can another play not do so by role-playing* out how they learned martial arts and getting free dots in a fighting style merit?

        * I really hate using this term this way, even if my character never says a word and all I ever describe is how I attack someone before rolling an attack (even as little as 'I punch him') then I am still role-playing. I use it here anyway since others were.


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        • #34
          To be fair... that line of thought was acknowledged, but my issues with the primary responses was not. Namely we haven't seen an answer to why certain traits are exceptions because of "story element" use, or why "it doesn't matter because that kind of trait is boring to RP, but we're totally not advocating for a system that biases one kind of RP over other kinds of RP," is acceptable.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by ElvesofZion View Post
            ​​Nobody acknowledged the combat example Heavy Arms posited earlier. If once character can get free temporary merits (such as Status) by role-playing* social encounters, why can another play not do so by role-playing* out how they learned martial arts and getting free dots in a fighting style merit?
            Speaking from my own experience, roleplaying as an act in and of itself isn't where I would see such rewards brought into play, as hopefully my examples shed some light on. For the various - exceptional scene / perfect in the moment / skin of your teeth / that exchange just made me lol - experiences I do favor beat rewards.

            To the difference between social merit rewards vs. something like fighting styles, at a base level I have no problem with those. If our current Carthian Experiment was a more militaristic one, rather than the public works focused one (granting Herd), I could see a themed-equivalent being citizen-wide basic training or boot camp, where you get dots in fighting styles instead.

            Now, the book specifically urges extra caution in dealing with the more 'inherent' merits like Ambidextrous, Eidetic Memory and Fighting Styles - as these all are harder to 'lose' once on the sheet. Status, blood oaths, hunting grounds, herd - these are all things that can be messed with / lost / abandoned, without your character being present. Losing Ambidextrous or your Kindred Dueling training are harder to justify with your character off-screen. So I'd personally keep that in mind, that it might be more difficult to maintain an easy-come-easy-go mentality.

            I have no issue biasing one type of play over another at a table through system, setting or themes; just as long as it's all a public part of your social contract or state-of-the-game discussions, otherwise people might build characters under false expectations, etc, etc. Standard concept.

            edit: And in my xp-less Status System, players can get increases through combat. Honor fights, deputy service, defeating antagonists, protecting your territory from poachers and threats - are all paths to earning reputation
            Last edited by Holy; 05-14-2018, 11:32 PM.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              To be fair... that line of thought was acknowledged, but my issues with the primary responses was not. Namely we haven't seen an answer to why certain traits are exceptions because of "story element" use, or why "it doesn't matter because that kind of trait is boring to RP, but we're totally not advocating for a system that biases one kind of RP over other kinds of RP," is acceptable.
              See my previous post about additional rewards not reflected in game traits.

              I'm just going to keep out of this discussion now. I'm pretty sure neither of us knows what the other mean by the ill-defined term "true roleplaying" and we're probably just going to continue talking past each other.


              Bloodline: The Stygians
              Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
              Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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