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Author Topic: A few queries: Burdens, Breathers and emotional combat  (Read 591 times)
Leviathan
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« on: January 02, 2013, 02:06:46 AM »

So, I'm now a few sessions into my fortnightly game, and I've got a few queries, partially checking that I'm doing things right, and partially to see how other people handle similar pacing.

So, first up, non-physical conflicts in a fight.
Say I've got someone pulling non-physical conflicts in the middle of a fight.
Specifically in this case the party is facing a number of snakes, including a couple of enormous ones. The party Terris decides to set himself on fire and wave a burning torch at one of them, trying to drive it off rather than hurt it.

At the time I set it as a Spirit vs Spirit contest targeting the Snake's willpower (and the Terris got a bonus die for setting himself on fire rather than just waving a burning torch).
Now, should the Snake automatically get to resist with its Spirit, or should this have been a "Take dice out of your combat pool if you want to defend" as normal for Combat? (though I think if I did that I'd have to make it a Wits or Charm vs Spirit to be more logical).

Similarly, emotional Allomancy during a combat, is it Metal vs Spirit as normal, or Metal vs Combat Pool?


Basically it boils down to "Do non-physical attacks in a Combat also go against Combat Pool, or the targeted attribute?"


Secondly, how frequently are other GMs giving their players Long Breathers? After three sessions the players are just getting their first Long Breather (the players had a couple of points of 'resting' for half a day or so, but they were kept on their toes quite a bit), and I'm rather worried about one of the players' burdens.
Specifically, the party Mistborn has managed in three sessions to:

1) Get beaten down to 'killed' in physical combat against four house guards and a noble (had her butt saved by the Thug), so that netted her a serious, a grave and a mortal burden
 - Torn muscle in arm (serious)
 - Severe limp (grave)
 - Shattered Confidence (mortal) [I figured the hoity-toity 'all non mistborn are worthless mortals barely better than Skaa' getting her arse kicked by five non-allomancers and being completely shown up by a Misting warrented a mental rather than physical burden]
2) Get scared out of her wits by a pair of Rioter snakes, and poisoned by a normal one
 - Severe Nausea (serious)
 - Claustraphobia (grave)
 - Fear of snakes (serious)

So that's three serious, two grave and one mortal burden, and she's only just gotten her first breather. Sure it's a good abject lesson in using tactics rather than going off half cocked, but I'm a little worried that she's going to end up a ball of burdens and nerves if current pacing keeps up.
The rest of the party have 0-3 burdens each

I've thought of three possibilities:
1) Assume that this is a bit of an anomaly, and keep going as per the normal rules
2) Allow long breathers that are in the weeks/months range to drop all burdens by one stage, rather than only one
3) Letting all breathers lower a burden *and* buy an Advancement

Does anyone have any ideas/advice?

Also, can anyone point me at the ruling for using Pewter or Gold to reduce Mortal burdens without Advancements? The Burdens part says refer to the Allomancy listing for the rules on it, but I just can't find it.
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Leonerd
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 06:03:50 AM »

O_o
Why would he set himself on fire? Against snakes? I can kind of understand the intimidation factor against humans, but snakes don't think "Whoa! That human just set himself on fire, he's so badass we don't stand a chance!". Actually, snakes would probably think "Hmm. Warm. Nice." and go cuddle him if they're that huge.

Anyway, I'd say take it out of the regular defense pool, mainly because emotional allomancers would be at a disadvantage if their opponents could just draw from a different dice pool. It makes sense to me that if you concentrate on attacking someone, a Rioter or Soother would have an easier time manipulating you, because you're busy with something else.

My group is getting their first Long Breather in about two sessions (we're three sessions in), but that's mainly because the previous sessions have been about making plans. There were no conflicts and nobody has enough points for advancements yet, so there's no reason.

Your Mistborn seems to be a bit reckless from what you've listed here. I don't know if it's the player or just how the character is played, but I'd say let her deal with the consequences. If it's just how the character is played, you could say those injuries taught her that she's not invulnerable and should rely more on her group. If it's the player, maybe she'll learn that too.

The rules for removing burdens without advancements are in the Pewter section (page 302), flaring Pewter lessens physical burdens by one degree. If your Mistborn has access to enough Pewter during the Breather, she could flare it for some time and ease all her physical burdens like that, she'd probably spend the rest of the breather suffering from Pewter drag. That way she could get rid of the torn muscle and the nausea and make her limp less severe. She could spend advancements to lessen one of the mental burdens (rebuilding her confidence for example) and end the breather with 2 serious and 3 grave burdens. That would still hold her back and hopefully teach her to be less reckless, but it's not enough to be worried.
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Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 02:57:46 PM »

At the time I set it as a Spirit vs Spirit contest targeting the Snake's willpower (and the Terris got a bonus die for setting himself on fire rather than just waving a burning torch).
Now, should the Snake automatically get to resist with its Spirit, or should this have been a "Take dice out of your combat pool if you want to defend" as normal for Combat? (though I think if I did that I'd have to make it a Wits or Charm vs Spirit to be more logical).

Similarly, emotional Allomancy during a combat, is it Metal vs Spirit as normal, or Metal vs Combat Pool?

Basically it boils down to "Do non-physical attacks in a Combat also go against Combat Pool, or the targeted attribute?"

When it comes to attacks against one of the Resiliences, you always use the Conflict rules and the attack goes against the opponent's Conflict Pool - basically, all attacks in a Conflict ARE Contests, but they use the defender's pool rather than the attribute you'd use outside conflict. So, for example, if your Terrisman wanted to wrestle a snake (a physical Contest) rather than try to attack their Willpower, they'd still defend using their pool of dice, but the Terrisman's pool would be formed using his Physique rather than Spirit. This very necessary abstraction allows characters to change actions and plans midstream during Conflicts, rather than worrying about losing actions or reforming pools in the middle of the round Smiley

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Secondly, how frequently are other GMs giving their players Long Breathers? After three sessions the players are just getting their first Long Breather (the players had a couple of points of 'resting' for half a day or so, but they were kept on their toes quite a bit), and I'm rather worried about one of the players' burdens.

*snip*

So that's three serious, two grave and one mortal burden, and she's only just gotten her first breather. Sure it's a good abject lesson in using tactics rather than going off half cocked, but I'm a little worried that she's going to end up a ball of burdens and nerves if current pacing keeps up.

The frequency of Long Breathers, really, is up to you and the pace of your story. However, if you're worried the party's breaking down (it sounds like they are to me!) then I would absolutely start instituting some Long Breathers. As I suggest on page 449, you should reasonably expect about 1 Long Breather per session - for your players that would have given them all a chance to burn away those Burdens AND for some, if not all, to spend Advancements as well. What you really don't want is the players to stop trying things because they're just too frayed at the edges; if that happens the whole game will come grinding to a halt!

Quote
I've thought of three possibilities:
1) Assume that this is a bit of an anomaly, and keep going as per the normal rules
2) Allow long breathers that are in the weeks/months range to drop all burdens by one stage, rather than only one
3) Letting all breathers lower a burden *and* buy an Advancement

Does anyone have any ideas/advice?

My advice before changing the rules is first to look at how you define a Long Breather in your game. Anything over 24 hours can be a Long Breather as defined by the rules, and the players could likely make those spaces for themselves (choosing to lie low for a day or two, instead of a half day) rather than pushing through. You may even want to be a little more generous on when Long Breathers trigger - for example, on those half day rests every session, let them be a Long Breather if the party's got its butt kicked recently. There are no Fun Police that are going to kick in your door for being generous to the Crew for the betterment of the game Smiley

If that *still* doesn't satisfy, then neither 2 or 3 look like bad changes. But I strongly suggest start by looking at when you're allowing Long Breathers to come into play first, so you don't have unintended consequences down the line.

Quote
Also, can anyone point me at the ruling for using Pewter or Gold to reduce Mortal burdens without Advancements? The Burdens part says refer to the Allomancy listing for the rules on it, but I just can't find it.

In addition to Leonerd's point on Pewter, Feruchemical Gold can be used to remove Mortal Physical Burdens by spending 90 charges (pg 358). Feruchemical Duralumin can be used similarly for Mortal Social Burdens, and Feruchemical Aluminum for removing any type of Mental Burdens (though this is effectively a personality wipe, and has other side effects).

Hope that helps!
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Leviathan
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 07:58:33 PM »

O_o
Why would he set himself on fire? Against snakes? I can kind of understand the intimidation factor against humans, but snakes don't think "Whoa! That human just set himself on fire, he's so badass we don't stand a chance!". Actually, snakes would probably think "Hmm. Warm. Nice." and go cuddle him if they're that huge.

Well, there were a few points for it in his mind. One, he figured that the creatures might be smarter than your average snake due to being able to cause fear, plus it'd distract the snake from eating the party member who had saved his life last session, *and* it'd give the "Humble Terris Steward" some street cred (he's secretly a Feruchemist and stored away the heat to prevent being burned).
It seemed like a fun story idea Smiley

Quote
Anyway, I'd say take it out of the regular defense pool, mainly because emotional allomancers would be at a disadvantage if their opponents could just draw from a different dice pool. It makes sense to me that if you concentrate on attacking someone, a Rioter or Soother would have an easier time manipulating you, because you're busy with something else.

*nods* good good, I did leave that bit as it should be then. Though if he pulls it again I think he'll be attacking with Charm or Wits rather than spirit Wink

Quote
Your Mistborn seems to be a bit reckless from what you've listed here. I don't know if it's the player or just how the character is played, but I'd say let her deal with the consequences. If it's just how the character is played, you could say those injuries taught her that she's not invulnerable and should rely more on her group. If it's the player, maybe she'll learn that too.

Hehe, it's a bit of both. I daresay this will.. help.. things somewhat. Though she's still making very basic mistakes, like forgetting to start burning Pewter until a couple of rounds into combat. She'll learn better soon enough I'm sure.

Quote
The rules for removing burdens without advancements are in the Pewter section (page 302), flaring Pewter lessens physical burdens by one degree. If your Mistborn has access to enough Pewter during the Breather, she could flare it for some time and ease all her physical burdens like that, she'd probably spend the rest of the breather suffering from Pewter drag. That way she could get rid of the torn muscle and the nausea and make her limp less severe. She could spend advancements to lessen one of the mental burdens (rebuilding her confidence for example) and end the breather with 2 serious and 3 grave burdens. That would still hold her back and hopefully teach her to be less reckless, but it's not enough to be worried.

Aha, I've found the passage, but the way it's written it only reduces the burden while you're flaring the metal, it doesn't help you heal from it?
Gold, by contrast, states "You lose one/all X grade physical burdens"

My advice before changing the rules is first to look at how you define a Long Breather in your game. Anything over 24 hours can be a Long Breather as defined by the rules, and the players could likely make those spaces for themselves (choosing to lie low for a day or two, instead of a half day) rather than pushing through. You may even want to be a little more generous on when Long Breathers trigger - for example, on those half day rests every session, let them be a Long Breather if the party's got its butt kicked recently. There are no Fun Police that are going to kick in your door for being generous to the Crew for the betterment of the game Smiley

You mean my group can stop barricading the door in case of the Fun Police? Well that's a load off my mind Wink
Good point on 'flexing' the amount of time that a Long Breather requires. "Half a day in your well stocked Noble's encampment counts as a long breather" would make sense, though I may specify to the players that they're allowed to 'take a day off to rest' as well if they want to (we're still getting the hang of the collaborative storytelling aspects).

That said, if flaring Pewter does allow you to permanently heal physical Burdens the way that Gold does, that'd pretty much solve the issue right there
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Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 12:30:02 AM »

That said, if flaring Pewter does allow you to permanently heal physical Burdens the way that Gold does, that'd pretty much solve the issue right there

Flaring Pewter only lets you ignore the burdens while flaring - remember how Vin and Kelsier say a person who stops burning can drop dead? That's part of what they were talking about Smiley Gold on the other hand allows you to permanently remove the burden.
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Leviathan
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 01:21:00 AM »

Flaring Pewter only lets you ignore the burdens while flaring - remember how Vin and Kelsier say a person who stops burning can drop dead? That's part of what they were talking about Smiley Gold on the other hand allows you to permanently remove the burden.

Hrm.. as a matter of interest then, what is the point of Pewter's healing ability?
It says it doubles your Healing rate to two Health per day in which you spend eight hours burning Pewter, so Pewter healing is only useful on the rare occasions that you aren't getting a Short Breather in a day, or need to spend all that day's breathers doing other things?
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 01:22:36 AM by Leviathan » Logged
Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 01:01:51 PM »

Flaring Pewter only lets you ignore the burdens while flaring - remember how Vin and Kelsier say a person who stops burning can drop dead? That's part of what they were talking about Smiley Gold on the other hand allows you to permanently remove the burden.

Hrm.. as a matter of interest then, what is the point of Pewter's healing ability?
It says it doubles your Healing rate to two Health per day in which you spend eight hours burning Pewter, so Pewter healing is only useful on the rare occasions that you aren't getting a Short Breather in a day, or need to spend all that day's breathers doing other things?

Correct. Pewter is insanely powerful without even factoring in the healing ability, so I don't mind a few curbs on it for purposes of game balance Smiley
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Leviathan
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 06:07:04 PM »

Correct. Pewter is insanely powerful without even factoring in the healing ability, so I don't mind a few curbs on it for purposes of game balance Smiley

No arguments there Wink
And plays well into the Pewter endurance thing.
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