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1  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Hacking in the world of cyberpunk on: February 03, 2014, 07:59:39 PM
To me, purchasing equipment was always the longest and most tedious parts of SR.

The rest of character creation is comparatively tame. I actually like the priority system: that way, I don't need a spreadsheet to track point expenses.

Can I get my concept exactly right this way? No, but I can get to 90+%, which is good enough for me.

PS: races not in the basic rulebook are banned from my games. I hate freak show games in general.
2  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Medieval Radiation on: January 05, 2014, 11:04:38 PM
If it's not actual silver, but 'mithril', which just so happens to be not an element, but a rare alloy of silver and ... something else (cobalt comes to mind as having highly radioactive isotopes, caesium might do), then you have a story.

Note that the amount of radiation you need depends on how fast you want people to die. If they die over months handling the stuff, then you're looking at fairly low doses, which means lower portions of the radioactive material in your alloy. If it's supposed to go fast, then you need fairly concentrated stuff.

Marie Curie and her husband poisoned themselves over many years, and I think pitchblende (uranium oxide) was the main culprit. Dirigible is right, plutonium is so rare in nature that you probably can't dose anybody with it effectively.

Maybe you don't want the dwarves to be mining for silver, but for "cold fire" instead: glowing rocks that have phosphorus in them that gets excited by the radium or uranium irradiation.
3  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Disarming and various Feats on: December 29, 2013, 06:07:49 AM
Yeah, Vader is a bit literal-minded.

Krensky, out of curiosity, why is this a "no risk, no reward" situation for you?

Basically, the character sacrifices a use of Think Ahead (which, with Sword Mastery, is worth 7+ points of additional damage) for a pretty much guaranteed disarm (which the opponent can negate with a half action, depending on the circumstances). I think that's a fair trade.
4  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Disarming and various Feats on: December 27, 2013, 01:55:06 PM
Krensky, would you mind explaining how you get to "no" for the first question? Am I missing something about attack actions and attack tricks?
5  Products / Fantasy Craft / Disarming and various Feats on: December 22, 2013, 12:13:07 PM
Two rules questions came up today:

1) Can Think Ahead (Sword Supremacy) be used with a Disarm attack struck with a Sword? I'd say yes, since Disarm is an Attack Action, and Think Ahead is a Sword Attack Trick.

2) Does a successful Disarm performed with a sword count as "hitting someone with a sword" for the purpose of performing Sword Basic's free Anticipate action? Language is a bit fuzzy here. If it said "performed a successful attack against someone with a sword", I'd say it works on a Disarm, but since it says "hit", I'm less certain, because technically the attack didn't hit the opponent.
6  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Farthest Star] Like, pew pew, man on: June 29, 2013, 03:36:47 PM
Ah, I was relating "push" and "pull" more to the direction from where the force is acting.

Why does it make enough of a difference to you to make two categories out of it?

Actually, "pull" in the Necron Gauss sense makes really for a completely separate way of hurting people.
7  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Farthest Star] Like, pew pew, man on: June 29, 2013, 02:27:28 PM
From a technical point of view, I'd assume that the plasma weapon is still "push". The plasma is probably created by heating something really fast and really hot, which leads to expansion, and the expanding mess is focused in the barrel with magnetic fields to maintain a tight dispersion of energy for a longer time.

Gauss assisted electro-thermal could mean that they are adding momentum to the superheated mass from behind, but given how hard it is to even keep solid in one piece when sending through the railgun (there are several cool vids of people turning aluminum rods and the like into molten slag with their railguns on youtube), there must be extra work going into keeping the ball of plasma in one piece.

GURPS Ultra Tech and Ultra Tech 2 are two of my favorite references for those kinds of things. The technical explanation on how they work is pretty reasonable from a scientist's point of view, though I'll admit it's been a while since I last looked.
8  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Farthest Star] Like, pew pew, man on: June 29, 2013, 01:35:37 PM
Yeah, but that "Gauss" weapon is not a railgun, nor a Gauss weapon in the traditional scientific sense.

The description I gave holds as far back as Sterling's Schismatrix, and the only descriptions of working railguns I've seen work like that as well. Which sources are there for the pull type?
9  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Farthest Star] Like, pew pew, man on: June 29, 2013, 12:44:02 PM
I'm not sure why you consider the rail gun a "pull" weapon. My impression was always that the sliding armature or projectile is pushed by the magnetic field, and Wikipedia confirms that. In other words, it's like a normal gun, but with electric energy instead of chemical energy to drive the projectile.
10  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Brainstorm] Effect based magic systems and spell acquisition? on: April 04, 2013, 06:31:34 PM
What you're describing with regards to the colour or classical elements just sounds like reskinning and redistributing the current schools to suit the fluff of the setting.

Ah.  Clearly there's been a communication / interpretation error, since that's not what I mean at all.

-----------

Regarding the rest.  A first level character with 2nd tier effects.  2 out of a maximum 5 (by any logical extrapolation that is the same as a Mage (or Seer or...) starting with 4th level spells and getting 6th level spells at Career Level 6.

So unless they are extraordinarily weak effects at tiers 1 and 2 (which ultimately raises the question of why separate them at all if that's the case), said character will be a disgusting powerhouse that overshadows his contemporaries.  More powerful and more flexible then any caster or other character type.  So it straight up fails at my first design goal.  It also artificially inflates the value of origins with +1 Starting Action dice (by an extreme degree).  So maximum based off Starting AD just doesn't work.


EDIT: Also, you might want to rethink the tone you've chosen to use.  Posting like you're educating a developmentally challenged child because I didn't follow your "hilariously aloof" single line posts (with no actual reference to my posts) is categorically not the way to convince me you have a valid point.  It is, however, a great way to get me to completely ignore you.

You might want to check out the new Mage instead (the Awakening): power levels scale much better, and effects are better defined (no more changing gas to metal with a starting character). Rotes work differently and are worth taking.

But it does bear mention that a starting Mage is a lot more powerful than a first level FC character. If working with a Mage-like system, I'd probably give the character 1-2 dots for level 1, and then a dot every level thereafter, and limit by level how many dots he can have in one sphere. 5 dots should be around level 18, your dot maximum would increase at levels 5, 9, 13, 18.

The other way you could use dots is to inform you what the effect types are that can be invoked, but you can still assign spell levels to the effect to determine DC and spell cost. Use existing spells to benchmark this level, or maybe assign a slight penalty to DC or spell points to make the effect-caster pay for his flexibility.

11  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Brainstorm] Effect based magic systems and spell acquisition? on: March 31, 2013, 03:30:57 PM

I like the idea of this, but the level of skill requirements doesn't sit well with me in a game like Fantasy Craft.  Skill points are already so valuable, that even losing 2-3 of them feels like a pretty huge ask (and looking at that list you'd want at least 4 forms and a technique at bare minimum to have any real versatility (and avoid: Party Role: Bio-Cannon)).  I could be wrong - like I said, I haven't read that game.  I'm also curious how they handle using two skills at once - do you make 2 checks (Form + Technique) or just one (and if so, which skill)?


You know, I thought about that as I was posting it. I'd say the direct port wouldn't work, or at least not well: there are 11 techniques and 5 forms, so that would be 16 more skills.

Ars Magica does add both form and technique to get to your skill roll bonus, so maybe you would cap them at half the regular skill cap, but that would still be effectively 8 skills total (or 7 extra compared to now).

I'd have two possible solutions:

1. every time you put a skill point into spellcasting, you get some number of skill points to put into form and technique. Since no one is supposed to be good at everything, it'd be 3-5 points or so, depending on how many areas you want a character to be able to max out in.

2. you decouple it completely from skills, and just award a number of points for every spellcaster level that the mage can distribute as he/she sees fit. Feats could buy extras.

What the ranks need to be depends on whether you add or average them, and what the TNs will be. In Ars Magica, the players are fairly accomplished mages, but yet the TNs for the high levels are very hard to hit (eg a good technique +form might get you to +15, add another +4 or so for attribute, but the TN can be up to 35, and you only add a d10....). Ars Magica gives you bonuses to your roll if you have take time, have the right mana (called vis, I think) available to burn, and I believe you can also take fatigue to boost the roll.
12  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Brainstorm] Effect based magic systems and spell acquisition? on: March 28, 2013, 08:57:08 PM
I've always liked the Ars Magica system.

Spellcasters buy ranks in technique and form, where forms are things like Create, Destroy, Divine, Rule, and Change, and techniques are Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Mind, Body, Animal, Plant, etc.

To create an effect, you combine the appropriate form and technique, eg Fireball is Creo Ignem (Create Fire), add the ranks in the two, and add those to your roll against the TN. TN is, of course, determined by power level, so Perdo Mentem (Destroy Mind) at low level makes someone forget something, and at high level it makes them insane.

Since the cost of skills increased superlinearly, most casters would have one or two strong forms and one or two strong techniques, and a little bit of everything else.

You can learn spells from books by rote, but you can also increase difficulty and critical failure chance and make up the same effects on the fly if you don't know the spell.
13  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Not quite Paradise (but it sure feels like home) on: March 27, 2013, 12:10:41 AM
Diamond Age still had plenty of conflict, as I recall. I don't think energy or matter was unlimited, and shortage is bound to create conflict at some point. Then there's power, too, for which there where nanobots that could modify behavior.

You might want to google "additive manufacturing". A whole lot closer than nanotech, and (hopefully) more scalable. The idea for both nanotech and additive manufacturing is to gain more control over material properties and to use less material than subtractive (conventional) manufacturing. So you actually would make everything, or the parts for everything, with additive or nano-manufacturing. And by using less of everything to create more advanced stuff, you can increase abundance and wealth.
14  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Disarming and You: What Happens Next? on: February 15, 2013, 11:27:17 PM
I agree that good encounter design (and, just as importantly, players who are willing to go along with that encounter kind) go a long way to reduce the boredom of combat, and it's a tool I've been using for a while. Varying primary goals (eg. hostages, timers, races, deathtraps) are the most suitable, because the primary goal in this case does not necessarily force combat.

I disagree on the "an encounter that you can mow through with nothing but standard attacks is an encounter with no element of risk to begin with". D&D encounters have been built around the dice game principle forever, and while there may be risk of dying, depending on the opposition, it's still a dull encounter (unless you find it exciting to see if you can roll a 20 when you need one, in which case straight up gambling might actually suit you better). The virtuoso fencer: getting the steel out of his hands sounds like a good idea, but should be almost as hard or harder than beating him down, if he really is a virtuoso fencer - lateral thinking would involve something altogether different in this case.

So agreed on the encounter design. However, what I wish for (and realize I'm not likely to get) is a system that encourages different actions, even in the "regular" beating down the bad guys. Or in other words, to me there are two ways of solving the combat issue in RPGs: make it short (ie finish a combat in sub 20 mins), which hardly any game does, or make the combat subgame an actual game that's worth playing (which also hardly any game does). D&D 4th tried the latter, but the result was, at least to me, not engaging enough to sink time into, and it took way too much time to finish combats.

FC is way better than most games in that you have advanced actions (which, for the record, I use extensively, even when they are less efficient, because it keeps me from getting bored in fights), but as pointed out, there still is a heavy slant towards the standard attack that makes it a favored option. Any optimal option (towards which I count the Feint/Attack with sneak attack dice combo) makes things less interesting.

Attack options that set up combos or open up actions that are otherwise not available make things more interesting. The mix-up trick is good. Actions that allow you to improve your chance to hit (like Feint) are good, but usually only if they can be followed up with actions that do more damage (which is how feint is used most commonly in practice). As long as you can compare action-to-action, optimal choices are easy. Once initial choices branch into additional choices whose efficiency increases as they are chained, optimization gets a bit harder, and things get more interesting.

Just think of board games: a game with a single obvious strategy will be won by the person with the most luck, which is unsatisfying, so you won't play the game often. If the game has many different paths to victory that vary significantly from the outset and may have to be rebalanced during the game, and the strategies are difficult to weigh against each other, then you get something that people come back to. While I think FC is taking steps in the right direction, it hasn't reached the latter, but I think it has the potential to do so with a few small tweaks, and those are what I'm looking for.

OK, done with off-topic.


15  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Disarming and You: What Happens Next? on: February 15, 2013, 01:28:49 AM
I'm addressing any argument in a vacuum that disarm is worse then a standard attack. You know what else is a worse use of a half action then a standard attack when there's no context? Pretty much every other half action.

Standard attacks are not only better than pretty much every other half action, they are better than most full actions. They push the fight towards its end by chewing up vitality, and they give you the bonus of ending the fight immediately.

They are usually a better option than the alternative even when the story (or situation) would much prefer a bullrush, a disarm, a trip, or whatever.

I'd call this a major design flaw, because standard attacks are also, by far, the most boring action available.

If this has been your experience I feel that your party is not very good at using advanced actions. Even if using disarm makes the fight last 1 turn longer, the fight goes from 5 turns to six turns and the over all damage your party receives goes from 105 to 42. (that's the average of 1D12+4x10 or two attacks per turn for 5 turns vs the average of 1D4+1x12 or two attacks a turn for 6 turns without a weapon) and in reality it's less than that even as the sword stance that was factored in above also gives a +1 to hit that the opponent would lose so he'd hit less frequently. Feint or trip attacks can allow your knife wielding burglar or your scout to deal a large amount of sneak damage, a bull rush can move someone into a bad position or separate characters for a divide and conquer tactic. Distract could mean that the guy who has 1 hit point left doesn't take a hit at the next initiative count and thus doesn't die.

I really feel like people undersell the advanced actions.

And the bad guy would fight unarmed why for 6 turns, rather than picking up his weapon? Or drawing a new one?


 
Except for when they're not. Like when Threaten or Tire is a better option. Or you need to take something alive or in one piece so disarm followed by a grapple is a better choice. Or you need to push something away from it's goal. Or when protecting something is a higher priority then destroying the thing attacking it.

No, I get that. But the 'except when they're not' happens too rarely for my taste. Just look through the various online games and see how often people use standard attacks vs everything else.

I guess what I would like to see is a combat where people are encouraged to really do different things every turn, lots of maneuvers etc, rather than the advanced actions being the exception.
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