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1  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Let's Read: Fantasy Craft: Adventure Companion & Call to Arms on: August 28, 2015, 08:24:11 PM
How did he get his eye back?

Uh...different artist? Magic? He's secretly Wolverine?
2  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Let's Read: Fantasy Craft: Adventure Companion & Call to Arms on: August 27, 2015, 06:53:53 PM
The front cover here has an old man telling a story to some kids[.]

That old man* should look awfully familiar. Look at the cover of the core book.

See any similarities? Perhaps someone who also likes to smoke?

I can confirm they are indeed the same halfling.
3  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Spycraft CCG Decks on: August 24, 2015, 10:46:04 AM
I doubt very much they did. We certainly don't have them...
4  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Mysterious Freelancer Revealed! Plus Spellbound Status Report! on: August 19, 2015, 10:42:30 AM
Is the ritual casting system still in?


You mention there are going to be new Origins.  Are these just Specialties, or is there some Species stuff?

Specialties only.
5  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Realworld Languages Table on: August 14, 2015, 10:25:52 AM
I think Scott's got most of the point exactly right - people didn't get "I speak Continent X" in 2.0, because it seemed too universal and there were no shades to it. Many thought it was silly that if you were from North America, you could speak Navajo, Spanish, French, English, etc. Some thought it was too gameable - regions with greater language diversity were just better! But I think the most egregious problem in many people's eyes was if you spoke "North American" where you could theoretically speak, say, Spanish, then traveled to Spain in the "Western European" cultures group, per the rules you had to roll. Many folks couldn't get past the idea that even though Cultures was hugely powerful in regions, that the language portions didn't automatically transfer over to other regions.

This in a way points back to the same problems we had in Classic Spycraft, where people learned specific languages and had to plan accordingly. But when you have an inventory and a hard list, what happens when you go somewhere where no one on the team planned accordingly? In a world of class skill lists, that meant most characters would only know one language period. So agents who go out in the field on missions wherever Control wants them, then promptly don't even know how to get to their hotel. Fail.

Interests in FC were a good solution for fantasy games, because languages in those worlds can often be counted on one hand, but Spycraft is a real world game, where we can appreciate exactly how many different languages there really are - and becomes an argument. Scott's list is a simple one, creating language families, but there are still hundreds more dialects, nearly-dead or dead-end languages ("What about Navajo? What about Rom?") that it doesn't cover that no player - GM or Agent - can fully anticipate, and when they run into the thing they didn't plan for, boom - head asplode.

The only solution we had left with SC3 is to make language about ability to communicate, not any particular language. It is there specifically to make spies the ultimate dabblers, where they have picked up phrases from their hand-waved pasts they can bust out of memory when necessary.

  Basically the lesson learned was when it comes down to "What do I have?" be it languages known or bottle caps, people DON'T WANT A NARATIVE ANSWER. They want an inventory. Explicit.

I think the lesson I've taken away is that people expect an inventory because that's what every other game does, and want an inventory until such time as it works against them. Classic Spycraft and FC Interest based language systems are both inventories, and both fail because player oversight can lead to mission-stopping complications or worse, limit what sort of missions players are willing to even engage. The expectation of inventories - and the inability of those implicit inventories to translate to other areas - is what caused the 2.0 model to explode on contact with many players.

Our solution for SC3 is to provide no inventory the player doesn't willingly choose to have (and this applies to everything on a character, not just languages). Doing so removes the planning problem of language inventory, gives Control full control over how often languages interfere with the mission ("you guys all had crash courses in Turkish before the mission, so you won't need to make Communicate checks in Istanbul"), and still allows players to be fluent in as many languages as they want (every player gets at least one Skill Training in any skill they want, every level).

Same thing happened with gear. You had a huge organization backing your plays and people would not stop selling agency assets so they could have a known number of dollars in their wallet. "How much is a gear pick worth?" "Just pick a jetliner and sell if for maximum dollars on the barrelhead." Serious as a heart attack, how many times have you ever seen a superspy stop and count the bills in their wallet? It's completely superfluous, but most folks will not let it go.

Side note - this attitude about minutiae has extended to gear as well. Just like languages, spies "just have" a certain lifestyle and mission assets like cash, so we can keep it all the hell out of the way and avoid the "jet setting murder hobo" of 2.0. 
6  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Realworld Languages Table on: August 13, 2015, 10:15:08 PM
Interesting list, Scott. Though SC3 eliminates Interests as a mechanic, your table meshes nicely as a reference for GMs on how to handle languages. I know full well people have always hated languages in all Crafty's games (well, not in Mistborn since there ARE no language skills), so I've decided to create a framework that provides rules, with GMs deciding how often they are applied. Since I have the file open at the moment, here's what the current language rules are (as a subset of the Academics skill):

Communicate Check
Standard Check ● 1 Free Action ● Difficulty Varies ● Criticals: Extended effect

This check is used to communicate or interpret complex messages in a language in which you are not fluent. This can include both spoken and written words. Control is the final arbiter of when and why you must make Communication checks (see sidebar).

The Difficulty of this check depends on the complexity of the message or idea being communicated:

Difficulty * Message Complexity
10 Simple (e.g. “How do I get to the city?”)
15 Average (e.g. “Watch the rooftops – there may be an ambush.”)
20 Detailed (e.g. “Once you trigger the detonator, get to the rendezvous point. I will meet you there after I take out Dr. Kholera.”)
25 Complex or Technical (e.g. “First, splice the third circuit to the second – not the first, as that will overload the computer system. Then insert the code cracker into the line so we can intercept their transmissions.”)

* Note you may extend the length of this action to a full round (to pantomime, repeat what you say, or re-read carefully) and benefit from extra time on this check (see page XX)

With success, the listener understands the content and context of the message exactly. With failure, Control determines how the listener interprets the message – correctly, incorrectly, or not at all.

Languages are an essential part of the espionage trade – most spies speak at least 2 languages, and nearly all know enough bits and pieces to get them by wherever they may be sent. Spycraft has always struggled to model this sort of knowledge in a way that satisfied everyone – some players want a more realistic approach where study is required, while others prefer a more cinematic approach where spies are nearly universally fluent.

The Communicate check is built solve this problem, allowing anyone to attempt to use any language in any situation, even if they may have never encountered that language before. The check represents more than just academic training; it’s also a combination of off-screen language prep, previous field experience, academic trivia, and ability to read others’ intentions no matter what language they speak.

Ultimately, the stringency of language barriers really depends upon Control. In a game where language is a real barrier, Control will call for more Communicate checks; in ones where language is not, Control may not call for them at all.

Our recommendation, as with all skill checks, is to use Communicate checks only when the outcomes of both success and failure are interesting or dramatic (such as when an Agent is trying to skim a Chinese technical manual to figure out how to stop a missile from launching, or when interviewing a tribal elder for information on enemy troop movements near his village). The only time to not make Communicate checks is when failure will grind play to a stop; remember, pacing and fun is always more important than rolling dice.

Don’t forget: if you don’t want to be bothered with Communicate checks, you can always grab the Fluency Trick for a single Skill Training (see page XX).

Academics Tricks
•   Fluency (Academics Trick): You are fluent in one language of your choice, and no longer need to make Communicate checks with the chosen language. You may take this Trick multiple times, each time choosing a different language (e.g. Fluency (Spanish), Fluency (Russian), etc.)
7  Products / Mistborn Adventure Game / Re: Mistborn: Final Empire Board Game Discussion on: August 06, 2015, 06:01:43 PM
"House War" was considered but ultimately not a good fit for the game. I think it sends the wrong message: house war IS part of the game, but a bigger part of the game is cooperation to solve the problems that face the Final Empire. "House War" sends the wrong message about what the game is about, especially to those less familiar with the Mistborn brand (e.g. not you guys). Plus, my plans for expansions will not include house war as a theme...

The game was VERY well-received at the show, both by novel fans and folks new to Mistborn. This is sort of our final playtest prior to moving to the Kickstarter in the fall, so I was very glad to see this latest set of revisions held up under intense scrutiny Smiley
8  Products / Mistborn Adventure Game / Re: Mistborn General Purpose Newbie-Friendly Q&A Thread on: July 25, 2015, 01:45:12 PM
I have a question. when a kandra character takes the form of someone and attempts to use Influence or Resource, do they use their own score or that of the person whose form they have taken?  I can see it both ways.  On one hand, the whole reason for impersonating someone is to take advantage of their reputation and/or status, but on the other hand, it's still the kandra and they aren't actually the other person.

The kandra would use their own Resources and Influence for a few reasons. Game wise, this is a balance thing - if Kandra could also steal someone's stats using their bones, it would create new "dump stats" and I don't want to go there. Narratively, I think that Influence and Resource are things that come from the character and influence the world, not things the world simply "gives" them. Using Influence is about knowing how to manipulate people, play politic, call in favors, etc; Resources is about money, but it's also about knowing how to USE that money, cut deals, and manage an estate.

Now, there is one possibility to have it both ways: making a new Stunt that simply allows a kandra to inherit one of these stats from a set of bones - that's pretty cool, actually, since we have few Stunts related to disguise currently.  Cool
9  Products / Mistborn Adventure Game / Re: Mistborn Allomancy Dice (Kickstarter) on: July 23, 2015, 12:59:03 AM
Hi gang,

Don't worry - there will be other opportunities to get Aluminum dice. Ed has some more information on that, but this will NOT be the only time they are available, nor do we intend to require folks to be at events in order to get them.
10  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: How to balance encounters? on: July 14, 2015, 12:22:58 AM
Greetings all,

I am working on getting ready to run my first FC campaign that is not from a module.  I have run some FC previously, but it was from Time of High Adventure.  This time, it is all my creation.

As such, I wanted some general advice on properly balancing encounters.

The book has some advice on pages 243-244:

Minor Threat (Up to 40 XP)
Average Threat (41–80 XP)
Significant Threat (81–120 XP)
Serious Threat (121–160 XP)
Extreme Threat (161+ XP)

But, is that really a good guide?

Not by itself, it's not Smiley My intent was that this was for judging the threat of an *individual* creature - either as a squad of standard NPCs is equal to the number of PCs or a solo special. Typically, I pair a standard NPC type + 1 special for non-trivial encounters, with the upper limit being 1 standard NPC squad per player + 1 special NPC "star".
11  Community / Play-by-Post / MOVED: Potions: making them more usable? on: July 14, 2015, 12:17:14 AM
This topic has been moved to License to Improvise.
12  Products / Spycraft Third Edition / Re: Wide range of agent team sizes in Spycraft 3 on: July 08, 2015, 01:48:08 AM
This is a semi-related question based on Pat's answer; how cross-compatible will Spycraft 3rd Edition be with the current Fantasy Craft line?

I think the company line is "portability over compatibility." SC3 is a ground-up rebuild of Spycraft, a true next generation game over FC and previous iterations of Spycraft. Some aspects like attributes and character builds are 100% different. Some FC logic definitely informs parts of the game, like the continual tuning of weapon damage and basic functions of combat and skills. Some items will be immediately familiar, like Tricks. You can certainly use the bits together...but not all of them have equally-friendly connectors.

Will they be similar enough that one could play a character in both subsystems without too much hassle?

Not knowing what defines "hassle" for your group, I would say most likely not. Characters are pretty different in their expression in this iteration. Classes are completely different.

Could a GM include machine-guns and computers in their fantasy game (or orcs and magic swordsmen in their modern game) with little (or even no) conversion needed?

Far too early to say for sure, but my thoughts is they would be pretty easy to use, since a weapon is just a stat line. I am not aiming to make FC and SC3 weapons interchangible, however - a great many qualities have already been removed from the system to bring greater focus on the ones people *actually use* (just like we did between SC2.0 and FC).
13  Products / Mistborn Adventure Game / Re: Mistborn General Purpose Newbie-Friendly Q&A Thread on: June 30, 2015, 10:09:16 AM
Who owns the "City" skaa?  The plantation skaa are leased from the Lord Ruler, but I wonder if the "City" skaa are not owned and are just exploited.

That very topic is discussed in our next book (due out this fall!) Smiley
14  Products / Mistborn Adventure Game / Re: Hemalurgy and nudges in conflicts on: June 26, 2015, 10:55:14 AM
Page 289 says that if a allomancer gains a hemalurgic spike, and it boosts his power rating above 10, "any extra are converted to nudges whenever he rolls with that power". I'm confused as to how exactly that works in a conflict though? If you have, say, Pewter 6, and get a pewter 5 spike, so you have pewter 11 (or 10(+1)), and 6 physique. You declare that you're going to hit someone in a conflict. You gain 10 (pewter) + 6 (physique) dice, right? You attack with ten of your dice, so you roll 10, and add a free nudge? When you're defending, do you also add a free nudge to your defense roll, because you're rolling with your power? Do you not gain nudges from Hemalurgy in conflicts at all?
My players are fighting Inquisitors, so this is kind of important!

In conflicts, you can never form pools larger than 10 dice, so the free Nudge rule does not practically apply. Dice that you dont' spend from your action dice can be used for Defense however, so they're not lost in translation  Smiley

15  Products / Mistborn Adventure Game / Re: Character with their own hemalurgic spike? on: June 24, 2015, 11:04:38 AM
Not as useful since it addresses the specific rather than the general... just pointing out, per WoB (though not sure how it goes in the rules of the MAG) spikes will never steal a trait unless the person intends to perform hemalurgy. Even if you do the rest of it right, unless you do it with the mindset of "I am going to charge this spike now" it wouldn't work.

But wouldn't that be contrary to the most clearly illustrated version of a spiking we see in the books (Spook's)? I doubt the attacker or his victim knew what Hemalurgy was, much were less intending to perform it. The reason I've always understood there were not more Hemalurgic accidents was the precision required - you must have a metal of specific purity, kill the victim by hitting them just so, etc. - not intent.
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