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Author Topic: Lets talk about Feruchemists  (Read 4854 times)
Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2011, 05:06:06 PM »

To balance this you would need to say that the defender's Outcome reduces damage and this adds in another level of complication into the system which I don't think is desireable.

That level of complication is already in the system in the Contests and Outcomes section.  In fact, I had already assumed Outcome was the difference between attacker's Result and defender's Result because it had already been defined that way.

Did everybody remember that there is a hard cap of 10 dice for a dice pool. This means (to me) that players can't roll more than 10 dice period. And, any nudges available (no matter how many) can only be used if the roll succeeds. (See pg. 142) If the roll fails, all of those nudges are wasted.

To me, this negates any crazy benefit a feruchemist tapping a pewter metalmind has over a mistborn burning pewter. At most, either party is limited to 10 dice to determine success.

The problem stems from Nudges adding to damage.  Per the feruchemist rules, they can add dice to any pool with any dice over 10 becoming Nudges.  Even against a Pewterarm Savant with 10 ranks in the Pewter metal, it is still going to be a 10 dice vs 10 dice affair which means about even chance for whether or not the Feruchemist hits.  If the Feruchemist hits he his doing at least 20 extra damage assuming he had 0 dice to begin with and tapped 30 points.  Any extra dice from Physique + any extra Nudges from the roll will add even more damage to the total.

If we assume the Pewterarm is wearing the Heaviest armor (Protection: 3) has Denser Tissue twice (another Protection: 2) and has a 16 Physique* and 10 Resource (26 Health), he will probably be able to survive 1 hit but become Gravely Wounded.  Mind you this is a Pewterarm with some crazy amount of Advancements to have 10 Pewter, 10 Resources, 6 Physique, 2 Stunts and Savant vs a brand spanking new Feruchemist using his default character with no advances and Feruchemy 3.

*Note that Physique is capped at 6 normally, +10 while burning pewter.
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2011, 05:23:37 PM »

That level of complication is already in the system in the Contests and Outcomes section.  In fact, I had already assumed Outcome was the difference between attacker's Result and defender's Result because it had already been defined that way.

Yeah, my bad Smiley
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Dreamstreamer
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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2011, 06:40:49 PM »

It still seems like a player issue rather than a rules issue. If a feruchemist wants to expend the same effort that it takes to rip a steel door off its hinges or chuck a horse, I can easily see how the same force applied to another living creature would be...messy.

I believe that overall it still seems balanced. A feruchemist can't keep that kind of effort up for too long, and the excess nudges would be wasted when applied to some extras. And there is still the glass cannon/one-hit-wonder effect.

What is the feruchemist going to do? Store up strength before the character is ready to go? "Hang on guys! I know that we need to reach that shipment of Atium before it's loaded on the barges, but I need a few hours to store up the necessary strength for the smackdown!"

And all that time spent at less than normal? "Heh, yeah, I'm literally half the man I normally am, but that is so that I can be twice the man I normally am later!"

I think the balance is all a matter of pacing. Just as you don't want mistborn characters to always have access to never ending vials of pure metals, it is also important to control how often a feruchemist stores up with his/her metalminds. They can also "lose" their metalminds. If a mistborn loses a vial, they can borrow from a friend or take from their enemy. Not so with the feruchemist.

I don't disagree that feruchemists are powerful, but I also don't believe them to be unbalanced, considering the other options in the game.
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Skywalker
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2011, 07:07:38 PM »

It still seems like a player issue rather than a rules issue. If a feruchemist wants to expend the same effort that it takes to rip a steel door off its hinges or chuck a horse, I can easily see how the same force applied to another living creature would be...messy.

That's cool Smiley I still feel the system as a whole doesn't contemplate Nudges at that range. As already shown, Nudges in every other instance rarely exceed 10 at the most extreme. But, hey, its cool if its not an issue for you.

If nothing else, this thread provides a good warning to a GM that a starting Feruchemist has a very good chance of one shotting an experienced Mistborn, if they are prepared to hulk out like this and there is a good chance that the Feruchemist will have the charges to do it too.

I believe that overall it still seems balanced. A feruchemist can't keep that kind of effort up for too long, and the excess nudges would be wasted when applied to some extras. And there is still the glass cannon/one-hit-wonder effect.

The Feruchemist doesn't need to keep it up for long. He's only got to win one roll at those Nudges, as its an instant kill, and the Feruchemist has better than average odds of success even aganist an experienced Mistborn. Its actually the better strategy for a Feruchemist in that situation IMO. And players are notorious at doing the right thing Smiley

But yeah, against a bunch of extras, I agree with you, the hulk out isn't an issue.

What is the feruchemist going to do? Store up strength before the character is ready to go? "Hang on guys! I know that we need to reach that shipment of Atium before it's loaded on the barges, but I need a few hours to store up the necessary strength for the smackdown!"

And all that time spent at less than normal? "Heh, yeah, I'm literally half the man I normally am, but that is so that I can be twice the man I normally am later!"


Its worth noting that a Feruchemist will get 10 times his rating in charges every short breather, of which there should be one per session. Its 30 times his rating in a long breather which you get one every few sessions. So, there is a good chance, a Feruchemist will have the charges to do exactly what is being contemplated without much inconvenience, before you even get to storing in play.

I feel that this issue is going to come up in lots of Mistborn games. That's cool, but its the one thing I have found that it really pays to have your eyes open about when running the RPG.

I think the balance is all a matter of pacing. Just as you don't want mistborn characters to always have access to never ending vials of pure metals, it is also important to control how often a feruchemist stores up with his/her metalminds. They can also "lose" their metalminds. If a mistborn loses a vial, they can borrow from a friend or take from their enemy. Not so with the feruchemist.

I don't disagree that feruchemists are powerful, but I also don't believe them to be unbalanced, considering the other options in the game.

The pacing in Mistborn is pretty explicit though, even in terms of Mistborn vials, especially once you factor in breathers, resources and props. Also, whilst pacing is an important consideration, I am not sure it should be driven by a concern to restrict the power of one PC. In my experience, if that is not done well, it can actually lead to bad feelings and victimisation. Constantly stealing a Feruchemist's metalminds is a bad solution. Props are noted as being a part of the PC and so you need a good narrative reason to part them from them.

Personally, if this becomes an issue in play, I would prefer just to tackle the problem spot direct with the patch already suggested, than try and mess with the wider pacing of the game.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 07:12:46 PM by Skywalker » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2011, 07:29:52 PM »

I haven't read through the bits and pieces about Outcome levels yet so I can't comment on the usefulness of that rules idea.

However, would simply capping the amount of nudges that can deal damage, at least against non-mooks, be a viable idea? (a bit like Mutants & Masterminds Minions rules).
So if you've got 20 nudges, but are capped at (random number pulled out of hammer space) 10 damage for an attack, you deal 10 damage and have 10 nudges to spend on knockdown/knockback/disarming/blinding/flower arranging/setting up for next turn ?
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Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2011, 07:42:44 PM »

I generally feel if it is good for the Heroes it is good for the Villains so as someone who usually GMs, I worry more about some player running into this from an enemy.  There isn't a player alive that I know who wouldn't start complaining, and rightfully so, if I instantly killed him with 20+ damage from some Feruchemist or Hemalurgically enhanced enemy on the first round of a combat.

So what if it doesn't help him with extras?  They aren't particularly bad at dealing with extras, and there are plenty of other people to handle them.  I would like my hero-villain encounters to have some drama behind them and not just have them open the can of whupass known as a Feruchemist and move on.

However, would simply capping the amount of nudges that can deal damage, at least against non-mooks, be a viable idea? (a bit like Mutants & Masterminds Minions rules).

That could be a possibility, too.  A lot of the examples have a 1 Nudge, 2 Nudges, and 3+Nudge effects and you could follow a similar pattern here.  Basically you could only add 1 or 2 Nudges to damage with 3 Nudges being some blanket benefit to everyone else, like giving everyone else +1 damage.


In any event, I suspect there was something else intended here as the +1 Nudge per 5 points you tap makes zero sense in the current reading of the rules.
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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2011, 08:11:58 PM »

I have got to agree with Bill on this.  Even if you don't think the mechanic is unbalanced, the risk of an anti-climatic fight is pretty high for either side of the equation, even with powerful PCs and NPCs.

As for Leviathan's idea, it would work but I really don't see a need to limit Nudges in any other situation but this one, so a wider house rule seems both unnecessary and risk wider consequences.  The +1 Nudge for 5 charges seems the most direct patch (and even has some rules precedence) with minimal disruption to the rest of the rules IMO
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 08:51:03 PM by Skywalker » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2011, 10:29:25 PM »

In any event, I suspect there was something else intended here as the +1 Nudge per 5 points you tap makes zero sense in the current reading of the rules.

I got the same feeling when I was reading. Perhaps using ten or more charges can only be used for lifting/throwing objects or attacking a stationary object, not combat? Perhaps the strength becomes unwieldy at those higher levels? This would limit the ability to 10 charges for combat purposes.
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Glacialis
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2011, 07:17:54 AM »

What was Sazed able to do in the later books, when he hulked out? And what were his targets? Not one, but two of the most feared critter types. And HOW long did he say he stored up that strength?

Just saying...hulk squish is supported pretty well. Terrisman aren't, though, renowned for their aggressiveness so perhaps the universe balances these things out.
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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2011, 10:41:12 AM »

What was Sazed able to do in the later books, when he hulked out? And what were his targets? Not one, but two of the most feared critter types. And HOW long did he say he stored up that strength?

Just saying...hulk squish is supported pretty well. Terrisman aren't, though, renowned for their aggressiveness so perhaps the universe balances these things out.

My thoughts as well.
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Skywalker
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« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2011, 02:04:39 PM »

What was Sazed able to do in the later books, when he hulked out? And what were his targets? Not one, but two of the most feared critter types. And HOW long did he say he stored up that strength?

Just saying...hulk squish is supported pretty well. Terrisman aren't, though, renowned for their aggressiveness so perhaps the universe balances these things out.

Yeah. I don't think anyone wants to nerf Feruchemists ability to hulk out. The observation is just that this ability is seemingly out of line with every other aspect of the system in regard to Nudges. Nothing else in the system seems to grant more than 10 Nudges even in the extreme.

As said, this single discrepancy may be cool for you. However, it pays to be aware of this issue, at the very least, so that you don't put a Zane level NPC against starting PCs and find that he is easily one shotted by the Feruchemist PC.

FWIW at Pewter Feruchemy 6, that means Sazed could tap 60 charges in one go. Even with the suggested patch (applying the existing rules for Nudges universally) he will be amazingly powerful as seen in the books. He would be at 10d, +11 Nudges. That would obliterate an Elder Koloss as currently statted. So whilst you comment is a good to be remembered, I don't think it necessarily suggests that the existing rules are the most representative of the books. In fact, it makes me think even more that the tap 5 charges for 1 Nudge was meant to be applied universally as has been posited.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 02:09:26 PM by Skywalker » Logged
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« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2011, 02:12:05 PM »

How many charges did Sazed have stored for the fight at the gates? How long did it last, and how many did he smack? I'm really not to spoil things for people who haven't read the books.

Based on the limits of feruchemical charges in items the size Sazed was wearing, how many could he have swatted using rules as written? How many did he, from evidence we have in the books?
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Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2011, 02:27:11 PM »

Are we seriously using Sazed as a comparison for a newly created character's capabilities?  How many advancements did Sazed have?  Yes, Sazed should be able to do these things.  But even a starting character with 0 advancements has a better than fair chance of accomplishing that feat.

The proper response to a new crews encounter with a Steel Inquisitor shouldn't involve the Feruchemists cracking his knuckles, priming his pewter metalminds and saying "I can take him" and have a better than fair chance of being right.

Anyways, we have Narrators for a reason, to adapt a game for a given group.  If you don't mind starting Feruchemists that can one shot any enemy in the game right out of the gate then it is fine the way it is.  That isn't something I really want in my games.

I have already changed it for any games I run in the future, other Narrators have been made aware of it, several alternatives have been posited, and it is up to Crafty if they want to leave it as-is for the final print run.

Thanks to Leviathan and Skywalker for starting the topic.  It has allowed me to fix what I see as a hole in the game.
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« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2011, 02:35:39 PM »

Starting characters? Certainly not. But patching it so that even Sazed couldn't have held the gates as long as he did...that's my concern.
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Skywalker
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« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2011, 02:35:44 PM »

How many charges did Sazed have stored for the fight at the gates? How long did it last, and how many did he smack? I'm really not to spoil things for people who haven't read the books.

Based on the limits of feruchemical charges in items the size Sazed was wearing, how many could he have swatted using rules as written? How many did he, from evidence we have in the books?

His charges are never stated in the books, so we don't have concrete evidence in that regard. That makes any subsequent analysis almost impossible to be accurate.

By the book, Sazed can store a maximum of 100 charges of Pewter. He also could also store 100 charges of Iron for weight. IIRC his Steel was low. He also recovers 60 charges of both per short breather, which is quite a lot of recharge.

To be able to take out an Elder Koloss he would need to tap around 10 to 20 charges of both (assuming that they aren't treated as Extras, which I suspect they would be in a battle that size).

Its worth noting that the above is pretty much the same whether you use the rules as written or the patch. The rules as writen allow Sazed to take out 10 Elder Koloss, where the patch around 7 or 8. The patch doesn't really impact conservative use of Feruchemy. It only diminishes extreme uses. Elder Koloss are tough but not as tough as an experienced Mistborn. You don't need that many Nudges to take them out as  they have 9 Health only and no armour, so the dice cap isn't an issue. The patch only really prevents the experienced Mistborn one shot (despite his Pewter and Duralmin). Feruchemy under the patch remains very potent.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 02:48:59 PM by Skywalker » Logged
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