Utility Items

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Re: Utility Items

Post  thematthew on Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:34 pm

The fact is though, if the item is balanced then you don't have to worry about people 'relying on them too much' or 'needing to raise the price' and if you do raise the price, instead they just get their money back. If all the items were actually designed properly (eg. fit within the intended game balance) then having one item means that you are denying yourself a different character option with a different, equally priced (thus equally good) item, and if the party's solution to healers is "everypony carries med kits" who cares? They are using their bits to diversify what they can do instead of stacking everything into a mile high bonus pile, which means less of a headache in the first place.

By making everypony buy new first aid kits each time they use one, you make one character's bits slowly go away (==>power goes down, making them a weaker character over time) while the pony who is just buying reusable stuff is staying constant. And hey, what if you decided fleshrender was underpriced after a pony already had it? Are you telling me that as GM you don't have the right to change your mind after somepony does something completely unexpected and crazy?
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:08 pm

thematthew wrote:By making everypony buy new first aid kits each time they use one, you make one character's bits slowly go away (==>power goes down, making them a weaker character over time) while the pony who is just buying reusable stuff is staying constant.

thematthew wrote:By making everypony buy new first aid kits each time they use one, you make one character's bits slowly go away...

thematthew wrote:...bits slowly go away...

Yes! Exactly! Bits slowly go away over time! You can either invest in something permanent, or splurge in something temporary. This is a cold, hard reality of life. In real life, when you run out of money... YOU GO GET MOAR! This the whole purpose of dragons who sit on hoards, is to give the players swag and money. Just as you control the items, you also control the methods available of getting them. They want more money? Have them get a job! It can be as ordinary or amazing as your imagination dictates. This, in my opinion, is an area of Living Legends (and RPGs in general) that is rather lacking, is why do the everyday ordinary stuff when chasing down the Big Bad is so much more fun? Harmony helps, but items, whether one-use or permanent, provide that reason in spades.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  thematthew on Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:35 pm

While that is true in reality, it is bad game design. If my character gets a permanent +1 (to damage, skill checks etc) every 1000 bits, and your character gets +10 instead once ever every 1000 bits or hell, even every 100 bits, I will win out as a character just because my bonus will always mean a flat +5%/1000 bits success chance for all time while yours goes away after you use it. Which, by the way, means that you get +50% chance of success on 10 rolls for every 5% I get, but it doesn't really matter because you're stuck hoarding those bonuses like Gollum in his cave. I use my bonuses, every day, because I can while you have to weigh the question of how likely it is that you need it.

This is about game balance, not actually realism. Because realism would have you spend your hard earned bits on flower sandwiches and rent instead of cool toys.

Also, when you make character abilities ablative (be it a utility which is usable once/lifetime or an item which gets used up) you create a precedent in which a pony which is played through his entire experience, you know naturally progressed, can be worse than a pony which shows up at the same general power level, such as when a new player joins a game and gets to make a character of appx the same level.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:15 pm

thematthew wrote:While that is true in reality, it is bad game design. If my character gets a permanent +1 (to damage, skill checks etc) every 1000 bits, and your character gets +10 instead once ever every 1000 bits or hell, even every 100 bits, I will win out as a character just because my bonus will always mean a flat +5%/1000 bits success chance for all time while yours goes away after you use it. Which, by the way, means that you get +50% chance of success on 10 rolls for every 5% I get, but it doesn't really matter because you're stuck hoarding those bonuses like Gollum in his cave. I use my bonuses, every day, because I can while you have to weigh the question of how likely it is that you need it.

Ok, I'll grant that... that's why the one-shot items are so much cheaper. I don't have to buy all one way or another; I could buy a 1500 Bit Sword of Awesomeness, and what do I do with the remaining 500? (assuming a 2000 bit allowance.) I could just hoard them... or I could buy some one-shot stuff for when things get really rough. It becomes a player choice; Do I buy one really awesome toy to keep forever? Or a whole bunch of little temporary things? Or somewhere in the middle?

thematthew wrote:
This is about game balance, not actually realism. Because realism would have you spend your hard earned bits on flower sandwiches and rent instead of cool toys.

So would I, depending on the campaign, the current circumstances therein, and the character, for that very reason: realism. I've enforced this in both of the in-person campaigns I've run; and granted, neither of my players have prior experience on the matter... but then neither complained either. Failing to think of something as simple as hunger or cold, when there are utility talents (not items, TALENTS) with these things in mind, is a good indicator of poor GMing in my opinion.

thematthew wrote:
Also, when you make character abilities ablative (be it a utility which is usable once/lifetime or an item which gets used up) you create a precedent in which a pony which is played through his entire experience, you know naturally progressed, can be worse than a pony which shows up at the same general power level, such as when a new player joins a game and gets to make a character of appx the same level.

I'll have to take your word on that... none of the campaigns I've taken part in, as a GM or as a player have gone on long enough for that to present itself.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  thematthew on Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:41 pm

See, the problem comes when the "You can turn in any item for a full refund" rule Dan stated come in, because them the guy who bought some silly 500 bit item he didn't care about iand then at level 2 got himself 1500 bit pants of also awesome to go with his 1500 bit sword of awesome, but you couldn't because you used one of your 100 bit temporarily awesome items and thus only have 2900 bits.

That's the problem.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:31 pm

That's the problem with the player, not the item he chose to buy and use. And again, leveling up isn't the only way to get Bits; if he's short a hundred, let him run someone's errands or something like that for some quick Bits.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Kindulas on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:04 pm

Grey Pen wrote:That's the problem with the player, not the item he chose to buy and use. And again, leveling up isn't the only way to get Bits; if he's short a hundred, let him run someone's errands or something like that for some quick Bits.
But you don't really do that in a game. The problem is that our game, as it is, is set up with gold as a progressive piece of the character's value, not a fluid currency like real life. I personally think consumables feel really awkward in the system. I think Dan is in favor of consumables, however. Anyway, I'm very troubled by the combat/non-combat thing as well. The idea of making combat and utility money works mechanically, it makes *no* in game sense. We make a lot of realism concessions for the sake of a fun game but not like that. I believe we're in agreement here.

Now, the idea of having a combat and a utility use is awkward IF the two are precombined. I like the idea of legendary items with a pletora of both Combat and Utility uses, but otherwise not so.

However... the idea that whenever you buy a combat or utility item, you can give it another effect of your choice of the opposite type is... more plausible... but still incredibly awkward.

Still, there *must* be a way to work utility items into the system properly, they're too cool to exclude. Perhaps if we make traits more valuable we can offset the level of imbalance it can bring... but that's only a partial fix. I am a little annoyed, though, that items end up being THE LARGEST portion of combat value your character has.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:08 pm

I think an easy way to fix that, is just to make Utility Item's prices be more fuldic then the Combat Items are. With no real price on them, but just High Cost, Low Cost and the like? Maybe that'll make things work better?
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Kindulas on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:16 pm

Xel Unknown wrote:I think an easy way to fix that, is just to make Utility Item's prices be more fuldic then the Combat Items are. With no real price on them, but just High Cost, Low Cost and the like? Maybe that'll make things work better?
confused
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:17 pm

I"m not sure how to better explain my idea either...
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Kindulas on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:21 pm

Are you thinking of having utility items being listed as "High cost" and "Low cost" with no other designation?
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Re: Utility Items

Post  tygerburningbright on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:23 pm

Xel Unknown wrote:I think an easy way to fix that, is just to make Utility Item's prices be more fuldic then the Combat Items are. With no real price on them, but just High Cost, Low Cost and the like? Maybe that'll make things work better?

I think that he is saying to put Utility Items into teirs? Like one item would be expected to be used by an 7th level character and another by a 1st or something like that.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:29 pm

Um... No, not like that, but more just not putting real hard numbers but more playing fast and lose with Utility item prices? (somehow he things that'll fix things, don't ask why, Xel is a madpony oddball after all)
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:57 pm

Kindulas wrote:
Grey Pen wrote:That's the problem with the player, not the item he chose to buy and use. And again, leveling up isn't the only way to get Bits; if he's short a hundred, let him run someone's errands or something like that for some quick Bits.
But you don't really do that in a game. The problem is that our game, as it is, is set up with gold as a progressive piece of the character's value, not a fluid currency like real life.

...Huh?!?

I mean no disrespect... but that makes NO sense to me.

Now, I do agree that a player should get some fixed number of bits per level-up. But why the hay wouldn't they be able to go get more, especially if they're willing to risk life and limb (or worse, boredom) in order to do so?

Just sayin'.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  thematthew on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:41 am

The reason is that the monetary value of a character is a part of their statistical capabilities. As such, if you let a character gather extra monies as a part of just doing whatever, they will become significantly more powerful than their actual character level suggests as their monetary value increases. If instead you maintain to the expected worth based on character level, they will have a level of power that you can guarantee fits within expectations.

It's not to say that you can't have extra bits for inns and food or such, it's just to say that you can't have extra bits spendable on actual items with benefits such as a fleshrender.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Kindulas on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:49 am

Grey Pen wrote:
Kindulas wrote:
Grey Pen wrote:That's the problem with the player, not the item he chose to buy and use. And again, leveling up isn't the only way to get Bits; if he's short a hundred, let him run someone's errands or something like that for some quick Bits.
But you don't really do that in a game. The problem is that our game, as it is, is set up with gold as a progressive piece of the character's value, not a fluid currency like real life.

...Huh?!?

I mean no disrespect... but that makes NO sense to me.

Now, I do agree that a player should get some fixed number of bits per level-up. But why the hay wouldn't they be able to go get more, especially if they're willing to risk life and limb (or worse, boredom) in order to do so?

Just sayin'.
Okay, so for the inability to get more I actually meant like doing simple errands. And besides, doing daring quests for gold... usually comes with leveling as well.
And maybe I've designed too much and not played enough
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Philadelphus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:17 am

Kindulas wrote:
Now, the idea of having a combat and a utility use is awkward IF the two are precombined....

However... the idea that whenever you buy a combat or utility item, you can give it another effect of your choice of the opposite type is... more plausible... but still incredibly awkward.
As someone admittedly new to this discussion, this seems like the best idea to me. Simply have two lists: one of combat effects, one of non-combat effects, sorted by cost (500 bits, 1,000 bits, etc). When you buy an item for X cost, seeing how all items are infinitely malleable in flavor anyway, simply pick one or more effects from each list that add up to X amount (whether it's X from each list or X/2 is semantics). In effect, Genetic Engineering for items.

So, just for an example, you could buy a 3,000 bit item, choose "1/battle: cause 5 ongoing damage on up to three target enemies (save ends)" and "1/day: add a +5 bonus to one of your skill checks" and flavor it as a sword, or a shovel, or a really nice hat, or what have you. Example prices and effects are for example only. I make no claim to actually be able to balance them.

The hardest part of this idea would probably be pricing the out-of-combat effects, but I'm sure it could be done. It would have the advantage of, at least in theory, making all pecuniary expenditures worth equally much on both the combat and the non-combat side. As long as two players spent the same amount of bits they should have the same advantages in both areas, even if the bonuses and effects they chose were completely different. Anyway, just my 2¢.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Kindulas on Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:44 am

That is the solution Dan is looking to go with.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:03 am

Kindulas wrote:Okay, so for the inability to get more I actually meant like doing simple errands. And besides, doing daring quests for gold... usually comes with leveling as well.

Okay, that makes more sense. Not a whole lot, but I see where you're coming from now.

Kindulas wrote:And maybe I've designed too much and not played enough

Probably. If the Approved Tester Thingy that... I think Philadelphus suggested? If that falls through, this problem will probably be remedied, at least in part.
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Pi3th0n on Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:53 pm

So with the "It's almost like flying" talent, doesn't it say that you could get the power to fly from an item, and not necessarily like your character suddenly grew wings? So shouldn't items be completely flavor? And be up to the characters deciding whether or not they want their utility talents to be item-based or not?
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:54 pm

Pi3th0n wrote:So with the "It's almost like flying" talent, doesn't it say that you could get the power to fly from an item, and not necessarily like your character suddenly grew wings? So shouldn't items be completely flavor? And be up to the characters deciding whether or not they want their utility talents to be item-based or not?
This is more a topic about items that give utility talents or utility talent like effects, not how one flavors utility talents themselves! XD
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Re: Utility Items

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:01 pm

Pi3th0n wrote:So with the "It's almost like flying" talent, doesn't it say that you could get the power to fly from an item, and not necessarily like your character suddenly grew wings? So shouldn't items be completely flavor? And be up to the characters deciding whether or not they want their utility talents to be item-based or not?

True... but suppose I only want IALF for twenty minutes? Or suppose I want to be able to loan it to someone else for a while? Or suppose I don't want to wait 'till Level 2 (or 5, or 8?) Instead, I could spend some bits and rent a Jet-Pack. Or buy one flat out.


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Re: Utility Items

Post  Kindulas on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:33 pm

Pi3th0n wrote:So with the "It's almost like flying" talent, doesn't it say that you could get the power to fly from an item, and not necessarily like your character suddenly grew wings? So shouldn't items be completely flavor? And be up to the characters deciding whether or not they want their utility talents to be item-based or not?
You could change the flavor of what is and isn't an item to some extent. But if we were to not do utility items, that WOULD mean that if you get money, you wouldn't be able to buy anything utility. So you can flavor you utility talents as items if you want, but we lose the opportunity . Besides, to be fair that description was before we starting doing items. I do get your point, but really I think we can have both.
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