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[Codename: Sardonyx] - Teasers

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  • [Codename: Sardonyx] - Teasers

    http://theonyxpath.com/codename-sard...ser-the-first/


    Ian A. A. Watson
    Onyx Path Community Manager
    Trinity Continuum Lead Developer

  • #2
    How exciting, however preliminary.
    I look forward to reading over this properly tonight when i get an opportunity. Thanks for bringing it up here Ian.
    -rubs hands together gleefully-

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    • #3
      Here are my first impressions as I read through it:

      - Momentum is interesting. I need to read more about it before I decide whether or not I like it.
      - Enhancements seem very interesting. If I understand the concept, the characters' actions and decisions can provide some insurance in case of a bad roll, but won't negate a truly catastrophic roll?
      - And if I understand step 5 correctly, an exceptional success can be used to negate a previous failure? Or there's a threshold of success that comes with a Complication, but you can forego the Complication if you roll high enough?
      - So excess successes can be used to buy up additional benefits. So far, roll resolution seems extremely versatile. I like it a lot.
      - "Rolling dice is fun because it makes the story unpredictable, and influences pacing without the Director just handing down events from on high. It gives players a chance to think about developing strategies and tactics based on the rules." => It's always a good sign when the people designing the game understand what the dice are for.
      - I don't have much to say on skipping dice rolls. It's meshes together well.
      - I'm guessing most of the powers in Trinity and Scion will involve Doubles, increasing Momentum, increasing Enhancements and negating Complications? Maybe turning Consolations into full successes?
      - And I just realized that I confused Consolations and Complications during some of my earlier comments?
      - The difference between Difficulty and Complications was unclear at first, but the more detailed explanations help a lot.
      - "Activate a Power: Some games will include additional ways to spend Momentum. This is a placeholder for those systems." => I like that a lot. Not necessarily that momentum can be used to activate powers, but that you've thought about it in advance and laid the necessary foundation.

      Overall, I like it a lot. The basic roll resolution is generic enough that you should be able to adapt it to different subsystems, but it's also complex enough that those subsystems will all feel very different from each other (Compare to a game like Fate, where anything you do comes down to one of four actions and you only have the illusion of distinction.)


      [Ex3] Why Gods Need the Exigence - Plot hooks for Exigent characters of various gods.
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      • #4
        I'm loving the system! The only real criticism I can come up with is that I don't get why the amount of Momentum you can have in your Black Pool goes down as the Tier goes up.

        That, and may I suggest “Fortune” and “Trouble” instead of “Black” and “Red”?


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        • #5
          I am optimistic. I'm concerned a bit about how valuable the black/red pools will be in play; esp. as the black pool is shared amongst the players. It seems a potential point of player style conflict (some players cooperatively managing a shared resource butting up against players trying to contribute as little as possible and grab and free momentum whenever they can. But it's way to early to know exactly how these things will work. I also generally get worried when the Director has to manage a resource to do part of their role in the game. I don't want to get stuck wishing I'd have one more red Momentum for something but not having it and either having to let something potentially fun/interesting go or fudge it.

          Originally posted by Tiresias View Post
          - Enhancements seem very interesting. If I understand the concept, the characters' actions and decisions can provide some insurance in case of a bad roll, but won't negate a truly catastrophic roll?
          Given they don't come in until after you succeed or fail, I think the point is to help the issue the previous games had where 5 successes above what you needed was supposed to be the best a human could do, and then trying to figure out how to make sense of what to do with 20 successes. You might not be able to spend more than 5 successes on "quality of success" effects, but you'll have other effects to boost if you're tossing around enhancements that start hitting really large numbers.

          - And if I understand step 5 correctly, an exceptional success can be used to negate a previous failure? Or there's a threshold of success that comes with a Complication, but you can forego the Complication if you roll high enough?
          My reading of this was the later: you can buy off Complications if you roll well enough. Like, you have to make a deal with a mob boss, and he'll expect a favor in return for whatever you're getting from him (Complication) but if you roll really well on your roll to make the deal, you can opt to buy off the Complication over spending successes on, say, increasing how big your cut of the deal is going to be; convincing the mobster that the deal is beneficial enough that they're going to not demand a favor after all.

          - I'm guessing most of the powers in Trinity and Scion will involve Doubles, increasing Momentum, increasing Enhancements and negating Complications? Maybe turning Consolations into full successes?
          My guesses are that Momentum is going to be a mixed resource regarding powers; some powers will generate it, others spend it, depending on what they do and who they benefit/harm. I'd also imagine part of this framework system is that powers will largely focus on letting you do things normal Attribute + Ability combos can innately do over dice mechanic adjustments (at least for higher tiers). So low tiers get dice mechanic tricks that give them some edges and what not. Medium and upper tiers are doing things like eye-lasers and flying.

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          I'm loving the system! The only real criticism I can come up with is that I don't get why the amount of Momentum you can have in your Black Pool goes down as the Tier goes up.

          That, and may I suggest “Fortune” and “Trouble” instead of “Black” and “Red”?
          I'm guessing that pool sizes going down with Tier is part of the scaling structure; especially for mixed tier play. High tier characters probably don't need a few bonus dice, or giant piles of momentum to do what they need to do. But having momentum is still useful. This creates a reason to bring lower tier characters along, since they increase the maximum size of the group's pool (and even if a bit out classed, if they fail a lot they generate momentum/aids that way). A command/leadership focused higher tier character could manage to really boost the rolls of a lower tier henchmen without a lot of extra powers to handle that.

          I'm also thinking the names of the pools will be adjusted to the different game lines. I'm not sure calling the red pool specifically something negative is a good idea, since I was getting the idea that it could be used to boost friendly NPCs as well as antagonists.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
            I'm loving the system! The only real criticism I can come up with is that I don't get why the amount of Momentum you can have in your Black Pool goes down as the Tier goes up.
            Target number decreases as Tier increases; more powerful characters don't fail quite as often. They've also got supernatural fuel traits to balance things out. But as others have noted, it's quite modular, so we can fiddle with it.


            Neall Raemonn Price
            Beleaguered Scion Developer

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms
              I'm also thinking the names of the pools will be adjusted to the different game lines. I'm not sure calling the red pool specifically something negative is a good idea, since I was getting the idea that it could be used to boost friendly NPCs as well as antagonists.
              It surely can, so the Director can indirectly aid if she wants.

              They're black and red because sardonyx is black and red, but different names is something to consider.


              Neall Raemonn Price
              Beleaguered Scion Developer

              Comment


              • #8
                Just adding my voice to those thanking the team for getting this out to us. Its really appreciated

                Having read it through a couple of times now here's how my thoughts have settled:

                Likes

                * Base system (x+y)
                * Fixed target number
                * Fixed target numbers tied to tiers
                * Double 10s's (yes!)
                * Mentioning options for dice, no dice, agreement play etc. Each to their own but its nice to have it spelled out, especially for newbies
                * No modifying of dice pools

                Too Early To Tell

                * Enhancements - not enough info
                * Complications / Buying off complications - seems cumbersome at face value
                * Effects could go either way, depends on the implementation. Could be very cool, or cumbersome - need more info
                * Mixed actions - not enough info really
                * No modifying of target numbers

                Dislikes*

                * Consolations and Momentum. Seems like a bunch of additional work right at points in a game when things are better served by streamlining, in my experience. Feels like a solution in search of a problem
                * Black / Red pools - yeah, no way am I keeping up with that. Really dislike this. Also feels like a solution in search of a problem

                Disclaimer: I realize the points I dislike are core the entire new system - so that's a bit of an issue for me personally. Hopefully getting a chance to see more detail and a bit of play-testing will help change my mind on these items. But that's my initial reaction anyway.
                Last edited by CHILL; 06-03-2015, 02:02 PM.


                Trinity Continuum G+ Fan Community
                H.S.U.

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                • #9
                  Having played Fate, various Cortex Plus games (Smallville, Leverage, Marvel Superheroes), and similar games of a style I like to call narrative-driven, I think I get where Sardonyx is coming from.

                  Several of the games I described above have what I call a “no, but…” mechanism in them. The purpose is to help shift the players' mindset from failure never being an option — something to be avoided at all costs — to failure being a detour, something that's still not as good as success but still worthwhile. Sure, I'd love to drive straight through to my destination; but if I can't, I'd rather be put on a detour that leads me around the obstacle than to be stranded by the obstacle (in a chase scene, this might be literally the case). Consolations give the Director a means of rewarding the player for making the attempt even though he didn't get what he was going for, which tends to make the players less risk-averse.

                  Likewise, several of these systems have a metagaming currency that the GM is supposed to use to encourage players to go along with plot developments that they would not otherwise be inclined to go along with; that's Momentum. The idea is to encourage the players to have their characters take risks by ensuring that no matter how bad the results are for the character, the player gets something tangible out of it. If you get caught by a roadblock and there's no detour readily available, it still wasn't completely pointless.


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                  • #10
                    Funnily, I designed Momentum specifically because of some issues I see with recent games like those. These are:

                    1) Failing "forward" is often accused of making success seem arbitrary and unimportant. It doesn't have to be, but in many, many cases this is what play groups default to.
                    2) The trouble with treating every action as an unambiguous move forward in the story is that it threatens to break things down into small pieces, like serving you a cake one crumbly bit at a time.

                    Momentum rewards punctuation in performance, rising tension and biding your time. That's why you always spend big. The basic inspiration is the common gambler's fallacy that certain results have to eventually stop happening because they happened before. Momentum makes that fallacy true--your ship will come in--but how big the ship is depends on the risks you're willing to take.
                    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-03-2015, 08:12 PM.


                    Writer, Game Designer, Pro since 99.

                    Thoughts at mobunited.com

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                    • #11
                      If it makes you feel any better, Malcom, that's how I read it. I've been Storytelling/DM/GMing almost exclusively for nearly 15 years now, and bumping into the same issues I think your referring to I'm excited about the idea even if (as of now) it seems like a bit more paperwork


                      Call Me Ray.

                      Southern Gothic - Welcome to New Calais

                      Who Wants to Live Forever – Highlander in the World of Darkness

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                      • #12
                        From the teaser post: "So rather than try to hack one system that was originally created for horror gaming into three separate tiers of power, Rich asked us to come up with something that scales properly to all three, and was built with an action focus in mind." -- THIS. ALL OF THIS.

                        To be more specific, there's a quote in Mage's Book of Worlds at the beginning of an Archangel's description (I want to say Gabriel): "Contain yourself! This is one who cannot be fought." (The Phantom Stranger, referring to the Spectre -- the literal Wrath of God.) No stats. You fight an Archangel, you lose, and what happens next depends on how generous the angel/ST is feeling. That, to me, is quintessential WoD: Some beings simply cannot be challenged, and must be accepted as beyond even godlike reality warpers.

                        In Scion? You get to punch the evil creators of the universe in the face and put them back in their hole. That's a viable endgame -- I ran that, too, and it was a blast. A Node 10 Nova? Can create a universe. Not a Horizon Realm (with years/decades of work and a few dozen close personal Archmaster friends), not a world, not a galaxy -- a universe. There's an ongoing cross-game joke that Green Sun King of the Primordials in Exalted is Divis Mal post-retirement. (And wow, did that go wrong if true. ) So, IMO, this is really the right way to go, in theory. We'll find out how it works in practice soon, hopefully.

                        EDIT: On a crunchier note, three of the Attributes appear to be Might, Reason and Cunning. Anyone notice others?
                        Last edited by Captain Aeon; 06-03-2015, 06:38 PM. Reason: Further commentary


                        Heroes die. Hope is a phoenix.

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                        • #13
                          I like that Complications can be bought off by successes, or left as they are. So you can choose to succeed but maybe suffer the effect of the complication, or fail but resolve the complication, and if there are multiple complications then you can potentially buy off one and still succeed, thus meaning players can pick what complications to resolve and such.

                          Seems quite interesting and tactical, and also means that complications are something players can deal with if they spend to resources to do so. Quite a lot of potential outcomes to a single roll, which is good, but it doesn't seem overly complex and has a nice step by step process to work things out. The fact that the Director doesn't have to worry about positives an negatives to dice pools, just setting difficulties and adding complications, means that the mechanic players need to worry about and those the GM need to worry about are pleasantly distinct.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Captain Aeon View Post

                            EDIT: On a crunchier note, three of the Attributes appear to be Might, Reason and Cunning. Anyone notice others?
                            Is it sad that I've already been working on a mock up Character sheet based on that alone... don't answer... I already know.


                            Call Me Ray.

                            Southern Gothic - Welcome to New Calais

                            Who Wants to Live Forever – Highlander in the World of Darkness

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                            • #15
                              Attributes include Might, Reason, Cunning, and Persuasion, in a Physical/Mental/Social by Power/Control/Resistance grid. Might is most likely Physical Power. The others I'm shaky enough to commit to, but I suspect Reason is Mental Power and Cunning is Mental Control. Persuasion seems more Social Control but it could be Power. I don't know if all the Attributes will be differently named or not. I'm hoping they may avoid the somewhat gooey area that is Resolve and Composure in new World of Darkness.

                              Abilities seem to include Culture, Enigmas, Brawl (the classic returns), and Awareness. It's good that there seems to be a dedicated perceptive skill; I think games tend to suffer without it. I'm curious whether we will have a fixed skill list or not. Also specialties will be a thing.

                              My guesses are that Momentum is going to be a mixed resource regarding powers; some powers will generate it, others spend it, depending on what they do and who they benefit/harm. I'd also imagine part of this framework system is that powers will largely focus on letting you do things normal Attribute + Ability combos can innately do over dice mechanic adjustments (at least for higher tiers). So low tiers get dice mechanic tricks that give them some edges and what not. Medium and upper tiers are doing things like eye-lasers and flying.
                              I would suggest that powers that actively manipulate Momentum are rare, as it isn't a real, tangible thing in the game worlds, but a narrative conceit. I also don't see Momentum being used for flying and eye lasers. I think powers that call for the expenditure of Momentum will be things like finishers, criticals, combos, limit breaks, overcharges, showstoppers or whatever you want to call them; powers that you can really only use at a certain dramatic point. It would certainly be good for things like "wild talent" - say a psion's power suddenly jumps when trying to keep her daughter from being killed by an Aberrant.

                              Actually, you know what would make an excellent Edge? Loved Ones, people you care about who would give you extra Momentum when they are threatened, or when they cheer you on.

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