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Author Topic: Spycraft Third edition Wishlist and Suggestions Mega-thread  (Read 25945 times)
gaghiel42
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« on: March 18, 2010, 01:40:36 PM »

Figured we should take our ideas and put them  in their own thread instead of lumping them in with the initial reaction thread.

This topic is for giving the Crafty guys our ideas on what we liked/didn't like (and why, lets be constructive here) and what we want to see more of.  Sure there is already a super ton of stuff out there for SC to work with, but I figure, heck, why not toss them a wishlist while we're at it.

Ok, to kick it off, I will toss out my wishlist.

1. More options for upgrades and somewhat more detailed upgrade locations.  One of my problems with the upgrades for Weapons and armor in Fantasy Craft was that you could just stack them all on top of each other and have crazy super armor/weapon.  This was cool, but I'd rather have locational based upgrades that you can only have 1 each.  Makes it simpler and adds some more usefulness to having magical/gadgetical upgrades later.

2. I want the feat training pick to work for any type of feats (except for like personal Lts and stuff) so I can "know Kungfu" Intersect/Matrix style.

3. Stat Block/Sheet for vehicles to make hit location easier/more fun.  I'm thinking here you could take the current hit location chart and add it to a variety of generic silhouettes labeled with the range of the D20 where they are hit and then effect listed under it.  For examples I am thinking the Dark Heresy character sheet for regular players only instead of a person, it'd be a vehicle.

4. Fantasy Craft Modern Booster Pack.  A couple extra pages (either PDF or in the books) allowing you to have a "where are they now?" for the various races from FC.  Options here for new feats, weapon upgrades, etc

5. Transmechs as a playable race in the core book. (If you did this and #3, it would be totally sweet for people riding inside them and such too!)

6. I know this one seems out there, but examples of Damage Saves for regular types of building walls.  In just about every campaign I have played/ran the players (or me) have tried to blow up/ram/knock down walls to get in or out of somewhere and we've just kinda had to make guess work as best we can or cinematically "handle" it.   Secretly, I just want the crunch there so I know how fast I need to be going to crash a car into a house. (Think Blues Brothers or Twister)

7. For whatever reason, I always had trouble with various Poison/chemical DCs being too low and players and NPCs rarely were effected by them.  So, make Posions/Diseases harder to resist.

8. Portable Turrets mounts as Gadget Item.  I want my laptop gun (see Perfect Dark) without having to go crazy with the trap rules.

Hmm, I know there are more, but this is a good start.  Whatcha got crafty lovers?
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2010, 04:59:25 PM »

I'd like to see the gun list trimmed way down, thusly: there are already some standardized damages, ranges, and whatnot for assorted calibers of firearm. So a 9mm Service Pistol, for instance, has a base stat line more or less by default. All that remains, really, is applying a variety of qualities to turn the base 9mm Service Pistol into a Beretta M92, or a Browning Hi-Power, or whatever.

So you could change the displayed gun stats to appear more or less like this:

9mm Service Pistol (dmg XdX, range X ft., threat X, ammo XMX, weight X lbs.)
Specific Examples:
         Beretta 92S (year) (add extra capacity)
         Browning Hi-Power (year) (add dependable)

Include just one or two examples of each of the various gun types, and you can ease the chart mania quite a bit, I'm thinkin'.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2010, 05:08:36 PM »

1. More options for upgrades and somewhat more detailed upgrade locations.  One of my problems with the upgrades for Weapons and armor in Fantasy Craft was that you could just stack them all on top of each other and have crazy super armor/weapon.  This was cool, but I'd rather have locational based upgrades that you can only have 1 each.  Makes it simpler and adds some more usefulness to having magical/gadgetical
upgrades later.

I'm confused. The upgrade options were pretty exhaustive, and limited in application. Upgrades all went somewhere, were limited in what you could add them too, etc.

6. I know this one seems out there, but examples of Damage Saves for regular types of building walls.  In just about every campaign I have played/ran the players (or me) have tried to blow up/ram/knock down walls to get in or out of somewhere and we've just kinda had to make guess work as best we can or cinematically "handle" it.   Secretly, I just want the crunch there so I know how fast I need to be going to crash a car into a house. (Think Blues Brothers or Twister)

It's already in there under the basic object damage save rules. Has a chart and everything.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2010, 05:30:46 PM »

1. More options for upgrades and somewhat more detailed upgrade locations.  One of my problems with the upgrades for Weapons and armor in Fantasy Craft was that you could just stack them all on top of each other and have crazy super armor/weapon.  This was cool, but I'd rather have locational based upgrades that you can only have 1 each.  Makes it simpler and adds some more usefulness to having magical/gadgetical
upgrades later.

I'm confused. The upgrade options were pretty exhaustive, and limited in application. Upgrades all went somewhere, were limited in what you could add them too, etc.

I mentioned most of my ideas in the other thread starting around here: http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=3672.msg61860#msg61860.

But mostly in the means of format, I was suggesting that we could organize upgrades by rail/scope/stock/barrel/ammo/etc.  Then there could be methods of randomization which could be fun. Etc. 

Most of my other piece of this suggestion was to rather say please keep them limited instead of leaving most of the mods as things that just up the complexity a little and add to the cost.  It works for fantasy kinda, but modern not so much. In my fantasy craft game, my players would rather buy the cheapest armor with all the upgrades they could get, than buy the good stuff and only one or two mods.  I would rather see them go to a closet full of specialized suits and pick one instead of having a super suit that does everything.

Edit: Ooh this made me think of something else real fast.  More space on the character sheet for weapon/armor qualities and upgrades.

Quote
6. I know this one seems out there, but examples of Damage Saves for regular types of building walls.  In just about every campaign I have played/ran the players (or me) have tried to blow up/ram/knock down walls to get in or out of somewhere and we've just kinda had to make guess work as best we can or cinematically "handle" it.   Secretly, I just want the crunch there so I know how fast I need to be going to crash a car into a house. (Think Blues Brothers or Twister)

It's already in there under the basic object damage save rules. Has a chart and everything.

Yes they were, in pieces parts.  I am suggesting that they offer up "Brick wall" or "Office building wall" or something along those lines.  In most of the RPGs I play they have break DCs for doors, walls, locks, etc.  It'd be cool to have specifics instead of making a GC build a wall on the fly.  Especially if they consider some gadgets/toys that modern armed forces have that yank down walls, or bust down doors. 
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 05:35:34 PM by gaghiel42 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2010, 07:11:50 PM »

5. Transmechs as a playable race in the core book. (If you did this and #3, it would be totally sweet for people riding inside them and such too!)

Wow. Not in a thousand years in my opinion. If an 'espionage' toolkit product is wasting the time and space to include this in the core product, the bloat from a total lack of focus would make me suspicious of the entire book.

But some of your other check boxes are quite interesting Smiley.

The most important thing to watch here is 10kB - how Crafty lays out and supports a product with a single integral setting AND a toolkit in the same book is far more of a juggling act than a toolkit alone. It was one of the big hurldes to consider when tinkering with Farthest Star, and it's somethign I'll be watching closely.
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010, 09:09:06 PM »

Farthest Star

When do you expect to have this close to print?
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 10:51:38 PM »

5. Transmechs as a playable race in the core book. (If you did this and #3, it would be totally sweet for people riding inside them and such too!)

Wow. Not in a thousand years in my opinion. If an 'espionage' toolkit product is wasting the time and space to include this in the core product, the bloat from a total lack of focus would make me suspicious of the entire book.

But some of your other check boxes are quite interesting Smiley.

Ok, I can see your point there.  My original thinking was "Fantasy Craft had races, why cant other genres" and something along the lines of Transmechs being very espionage based (well movie verse anyways) so it wouldnt be toooo much of a stretch.  Ok, so instead lump these guys in as a "where are they now?" for the unborn.  They are close enough to the same thing anyways.

Alright lets see what else... hmm.

- I guess this is more of a question/suggestion than anything.  What do you guys think are the odds of Fragile Minds rules (sanity, campaign qualities, etc) being involved in either 10kB or SC3?  I'd love it if they snuck into one of them, but I think this too falls into the point Morg made about the transmechs... 

- I said it in another thread sorta, but I am really looking forward to/hoping for a bunch of new Specialty sub-class options like you had in FC for SC3.  I'd say that I would hope you just add on a bunch instead of cut some out, but with the 10kB book coming out at about the same time, it'll be easy enough to just sort them by relevance and keep both lists fairly solid and not too bloated.  (although Im a fan of big lists and don't mind a little reprinting as long as it doesnt take away room for other stuff)

Otherwise, I think something else that may be helpful is a little clearing up conceptually what is considered to fall under the "Espionage" umbrella vs what falls under the "Crime Noir" genre.  If these truely are genre books, what about things that cross over and such?  Im thinking X-Files, Stargate, Cowboy Bebop, etc.  Do these fall into a category that is already covered, or are they considered more a gray area where additional genre books will eventually fill in the gaps?
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2010, 11:29:47 PM »

I'd like to see the gun list trimmed way down, thusly: there are already some standardized damages, ranges, and whatnot for assorted calibers of firearm. So a 9mm Service Pistol, for instance, has a base stat line more or less by default. All that remains, really, is applying a variety of qualities to turn the base 9mm Service Pistol into a Beretta M92, or a Browning Hi-Power, or whatever.

So you could change the displayed gun stats to appear more or less like this:

9mm Service Pistol (dmg XdX, range X ft., threat X, ammo XMX, weight X lbs.)
Specific Examples:
         Beretta 92S (year) (add extra capacity)
         Browning Hi-Power (year) (add dependable)

Include just one or two examples of each of the various gun types, and you can ease the chart mania quite a bit, I'm thinkin'.


This was exactly what I was thinking.

Looking back at my play experiences with 2nd ed and arming up, I would religiously buy either the LDA 14*45
(basically a Colt .45 with double the ammo capacity) or the USP .45. In first ed it was the CZ 75. In all cases it was basically because they were one of the best meetings of ammo cpaacity and damage code (and it didn't hurt that they were aestheticaly pleasing).
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2010, 12:41:35 AM »

Looking back at my play experiences with 2nd ed and arming up, I would religiously buy either the LDA 14*45
(basically a Colt .45 with double the ammo capacity) or the USP .45. In first ed it was the CZ 75. In all cases it was basically because they were one of the best meetings of ammo cpaacity and damage code (and it didn't hurt that they were aestheticaly pleasing).

Ditto, unless I had a special requirement [using a specific type of gun to emulate someones signature or what not].
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2010, 04:49:51 AM »

When do you expect to have this close to print?

I'm in a watching and waiting mode at the moment. I work on it when the mood takes me, but there are a lot of potential examples both of format and profitability I want to see come to fruition before I commit to it as more than an outlet for my creative energies. Just reconsidering the scope (the sense that I can probably say all I feel needs to be said in a pair of 64 page releases) makes it less ambitious and more achievable. Seeing how setting products for Fantasycraft and single-setting core products like 10kB pan out will tell me more about how much I should exert myself.
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2010, 04:53:52 AM »

Looking back at my play experiences with 2nd ed and arming up, I would religiously buy either the LDA 14*45
(basically a Colt .45 with double the ammo capacity) or the USP .45. In first ed it was the CZ 75. In all cases it was basically because they were one of the best meetings of ammo cpaacity and damage code (and it didn't hurt that they were aestheticaly pleasing).

Heh. Thus illustrating that it doesn't matter if you faithfully present 77 pistols if one of them outshines the other in all meaningful categories in the game mechanics.
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2010, 08:23:19 AM »

The CZ 75 was interesting -- I chose it because it's one of the visually identifiable weapons from Hero Machine 1.0, in which I did my character portrait for my first game and then looking up the MAG it had that sweet extended clip and full auto feature and I just didn't feel the need to look any further.
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2010, 03:48:29 PM »

Since Battlefield 2 is my favorite video game, and SC2.0 my favorite table top game, I'm going to make the same simple request for Battlefield 3 and SC3: Zip lines and grapple guns. Lots and lots of them.
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2010, 11:16:11 AM »

At the risk of asking for things already mentioned, here's my personal wish list based on my experiences running 1.0 and 2.0 in play-by-post and tabletop and fiddling with FantasyCraft:

Keep It Flexible

I have no real fear this will change, but its worth mentioning - the main appeal of Spycraft for me as a GM was its ability to stretch and encompass a variety of modern action-adventure subgenres. I think I can also say my players liked how customizable their PCs tended to be. Talents, Specialties, the wealth of useful Feat choices, and things like Campaign Qualities are all gold.

Make It Easier to Learn

On the flip side of the previous point, it was common for my players to get overwhelmed by all those options and features. They aren't neophyte gamers, but 2.0 flummoxed many of them. Since a lot of the rules seemed integral to the game, I was reluctant to simply excise them so I tended to spend a lot of time trying to explain the interior logic of the choices and give examples of what each thing would mean in gameplay. Perhaps some "quick start" PCs or tutorials would be useful in giving folks guidelines?

Repeat What Bears Repeating

One thing I noticed in FantasyCraft was that some bits of vital information would be mentioned once and then never mentioned again. While I realize you guys were probably wanting to avoid excess text given the size of the rulebook already, some redundancy on critical features wouldn't hurt. One of the big examples I can think of is the rule regarding starting skill point totals for PCs at 1st level. This is given almost in passing in one part of the character generation chapter but not repeated in the classes stat block. Given that, in my experience, nobody spends the time to read the entire character generation chapter in detail when making their first PC, repeating this kind of thing in places where its necessary would be helpful.

For the Love of God, Fix The Gear Rules

I think FantasyCraft pointed to a sea change in how you looked at gear, but I just want to be clear about this: gearing up in SpyCraft 1.0 AND 2.0 was a nightmare. Even if I included options to simplify it from the Big Score, my players would spend long periods of game time on trying to grasp what all those codes meant and what upgrades they could get and what precisely they needed and then I'd have to track special qualities and flip pages to figure out how X interacted with Y and...well. You get the point, I'm sure.

I'm personally not all that interested in detailed lists of equipment - and while I realize some players like to dig deep into hardware even my tech-head, NRA member, min-max loving players would get confused and annoyed by these interlaced gear systems and subsystems. The game is really about what the characters do and how they interact with the obstacles I present them with, NOT whether or not they picked the optimal armor, weapon, vehicle, or kit for the job. I'd personally suggest that if you want to include lots of specificity and qualities for each and every bit of non-living equipment that you make it more optional and maybe even in a Gunbunny-friendly sourcebook rather than in the core rules.

Be Careful With Gadgets

On a similar note to my previous plea, I'd like you to be more cautious when it comes to gadget rules. While I realize its partially the GM's job to spot when a player has abused a given system, 2.0's open-ended gadget options could quickly go from "that's cool" to "that's totally ridiculous and unbalancing". Things like Skill Boost, for instance, would often result in PCs who had no Computer skillz but who could defeat any Hacking challenge provided they spared some gadget slots to get a bunch of limited use +10s to their skill checks. This was especially grating if we had another PC WITH Computer skills but whose player was less system-savvy and couldn't keep up with the min-maxer. Ultimately, I ended up having to lock out practically every gadget rank in PBP games because of this.

Dramatic Conflicts Should be Fun

One of my favorite aspects of SpyCraft in any version was the idea that car chases and computer hacking could become featured set pieces of their own in Dramatic Conflicts. One of my least favorite aspects of SpyCraft was the way these conflicts could become bogged down in interminable fiddling. This was especially true if the conflict was focused on one PC doing everything (see: Hacking) and/or if the conflict featured a lopsided contest. In the former case, the other PCs would have to sit around and wait for the guy to do his thing - which was often a predestined outcome that wasn't that engaging - or the players would end up having to pick one or maybe two strategies since they couldn't qualify for anything else. I ended up abbreviating many would-be conflicts into simplified Complex Tasks, which is a shame given how excited we were about Dramatic Conflicts initially.

If Dramatic Conflicts aren't being dropped or made into something totally unrecognizable, I'd suggest reviewing the DCs, the skill bonuses of probable participants (PC and NPC alike), and how involved you want to make given Conflicts in the future. I'd also be wary of offering one min-maxed specialist PC a system that lets him hog spotlight time, stay safely at home, AND seemingly solve numerous problems (Hacking, I'm looking at you again). I'm okay with letting them shine from time to time and be an asset in an adventure, but when they're doing the work of an entire team on their own with little sign of breaking a sweat, something's wrong.

In A Skill-Focused Game, Skill-Focused Classes are Paramount

One thing I noticed with some alarm was how experienced SpyCraft 2.0 players would almost always multi-class into Scientist when trying to get the best bang for their buck. Once I got past being literally minded about what the class represented, I was still left with the sensation that it was a class that you'd be STUPID not to take given what it offered. I don't like this, personally; it suggests that theres One Best Way to do something in the game (i.e. Get High Skill Bonuses/Big Threat Ranges) that seems to be pretty crucial to the default genre. While I realize that character classes like the Soldier are meant to be balanced by virtue of having all those combat Feats, the fact is that skills were always more relevant and potent - especially in a modern setting that features investigation, interaction, and intrigue.

Looking at the Scientist equivalent in FantasyCraft (Keeper) and what changes were made, I think its probable the designers noticed this too, but I still felt obliged to mention this. Skill Power = Power in SpyCraft, and this is especially true if Dramatic Conflicts return in 3.0.

Making Bond or Bourne Should Be Easy and Obvious

While I realize that Bond and Bourne aren't team players and therefore may not be the ideal models for PCs in a team-based game, I still think it should be fairly easy for them to be statted in 3.0. I never got totally convinced this was the case with 2.0, as the results often were weird multi-classed hybrids. They're archetypal, particularly given the 21st century take on the genre, and even if a PC version needs to be less omnicompetent in a team context to protect niches, I also don't think they'd need to be complicated or overpowered to work.

Same goes for just about any appropriate spy genre archetype, ideally; Smiley, Nikita, Modesty, IM force characters, whatever - it should be made obvious to GMs and players alike how you might use them as a model and what class suits them best.

Skill Simplification

Skills are clearly central to SpyCraft, and I always liked how they could do a variety of things in previous versions. One thing I didn't much like, however, is that they didn't seem to be scaled very well. Networking was one example, what with its wacky DCs for summoning contacts, but there were others. FantasyCraft looks like it addressed some of this disconnect, so I'm hopeful 3.0 will do the same for SpyCraft.

On a related note, though; Blend/Sneak, Notice/Search. I get the idea, but I still don't like the way they're implemented. As a GM, I'd have to track bonuses, roll for players, and get confused about when which applied. I'd also get perplexed by if/when you could use action dice with them, activate threats or errors, and what precisely those would mean. Then there's the issue of what successful use meant, how long it'd apply, how a sneaky person could be obvious (high Sneak, low Blend) or an alert person oblivious (high Search, low Notice), and how that related to NPCs. And my players - always confused by them. Its just too much nebulous vagueness for something that's fairly crucial and common in a spy game, I think. Could you consider conflating them or else using something like D&D 4E's fixed passive skill checks? Or, at the very least, could you explain them in clear and concise ways so everybody gets how they're supposed to work? Just a thought.

Minions, Villains, Adversaries, Special, Standard, Mastermind, Lieutenant...

FantasyCraft introduced the Mook NPC quality. It also apparently lowered the Damage Saves of yon Standard NPCs so they weren't as bulletproof as those in SpyCraft 2.0. This is something I hope carries over to 3.0. Having said that, though, one thing that always got weird for me when working with NPCs was getting the definitions down pat. There are places in 2.0 and FantasyCraft where we're told that there are two types of NPCs (Standard and Special), but later on we're also told there are kinds that are unique because they oppose the PCs. Then you get NPC qualities that sound sort of like they are even more subtypes that have special roles - often simultaneous with the other categories.

All these years later, it still confuses the Hell out of me, especially because many of these mentions are only made once and never again. Antagonists? Adversaries? Villains? Masterminds? Lieutenants? Minions? Foils? Augh! I hope this is clarified a bit in 3.0.

Take Your NPC and Shove It, I Ain't Tracking Him No More

FantasyCraft did a lot of neat stuff to make the Crafty engine easier to grok and work with. It did, however, do one thing that made me fear for my sanity in running it. This is the notion of PC created/controlled NPCs with their own roman numeral-laden, NPC quality-having stat blocks. Which level. And change. And somebody has to sort out at the game table using the NPC chapter.

I know, I know. A good player will be sure to take care of this on their own, preferably before/between sessions. But, man; that's just a whole new level of crunch for me to instruct my players about if they decide to have a Personal Lieutenant, Animal Partner, or some mysterious minion-summoning class or Feat ability I have yet to comprehend. Do people really play with these PC-controlled-NPCs that much? And is there any way we can make it simpler for us GMs to work with them? 'Cause, right now, if I see them in 3.0 as they appear in FantasyCraft, I'm going to probably get an ulcer and redact their mention with black blocks. But that may just be me.
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2010, 03:16:40 PM »

Mathey - first, welcome. I've greatly enjoyed reading your threads over on RPG.net.

Second - thank you for that post. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's this sort of honesty and clear-eyed commentary (good and bad) which will be key to us sorting what fans want. Without getting too far into it, I can tell you just about everything you mentioned here is something we've got under the microscope, and it's very helpful to hear your take on those issues here.
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