Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Pingcode on Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:47 pm

I'm going to need to get around to writing that Code Blue-esque expansion for History and Streetwise, aren't I?
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  ZamuelNow on Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:54 pm

The problem with Streetwise is that it still doesn't have a consistent definition of what it does and does not do and arguably has the worst written/least defined description out of the 11 skills.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Pingcode on Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:15 pm

ZamuelNow wrote:The problem with Streetwise is that it still doesn't have a consistent definition of what it does and does not do and arguably has the worst written/least defined description out of the 11 skills.
Oh, it's got plenty of design space that can be explored.

- Etiquette
- Contacts
- Pathfinding
- Info-gathering

Straight off the top of my head:

Contacting: They say a well-travelled pony has a friend in every town, and you're no exception. With a successful streetwise check, you already know a pony relevant to the situation at hoof. This might be a guard you've had encounters with in the past, or a tradespony that you've had business with once upon a time - the important thing is that you know somepony who might be able to help you out. Base DC determined by size of the settlement and importance of pony. Deviation from DC determines attitude - a high success might give you a friend or a pony that owes you a favour, a failure will likely give you a contact that dislikes you or you owe a favour. Or several favours. A critical failure might mean you have an enemy. The same faces will tend to show up on multiple occasions, and asking for an existing contact where it would make sense for them to be is easier. For example you might know this one guard who just so manages to show up at every event you go to.

Only really good for a few ponies per location/adventure, you won't know everypony in Ponyville this way, but with investment in streetwise you'll almost always know somepony.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Zarhon on Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:42 pm

A poor definition is only part of Streetwise's problem. The other part is it's general lack of uses - it's situational to an area with NPCs (you can't use it in say a jungle), and due to being purely knowledge based, generally means its used once per such area, and then never again, in a manner similar to perception (you can't 'look harder', or 'remember better', its a "you do or your don't" skill check).

Contacts is certainly part of its set of uses, but hard to establish in completely foreign/new territory, or in an area where the locals aren't sociable. You have to rectify it by 'making friends' with faceless NPCs to turn those into actual contacts, but how do you do that without going on solo sessions?

Word of the streets, pop culture knowledge, and general knowledge of the streets are probably knowledge you should be "aware of" with streetwise, but can't actually reliably learn without socializing, or banners everywhere depicting stuff. And again, if you roll poorly, you end up clueless and cant re-roll.

It's social aspect implies it mingles with persuasion, but persuasion already is over-encompassing anything to do with talking or reading people, along with perception. What you can learn from streetwise you can similarly learn from perception or persuasion, making streetwise redundant in such aspects.

If we go with Pinkie Pie as an example - she'd be a streetwise pro. She knows everyone in Ponyville (and their birthday's), is friends with them, and even has stashes of secret stuff to hide around town. She probably knows what everypony does at any given moment. Sounds useful, yes? But here's the problem: It's isolated to Ponyville, where she's lived for years. Outside of ponyville, in completely unknown territory or with unsociable ponies, how far would the skill get her? She doesn't have friends in Canterlot, she's completely oblivious to the etiquette, she has no real way of employing skillful pathfinding... It's the kind of skill that requires a long-term commitment and initial grasp of an are to get a benefit from, which few campaigns can muster into a lasting benefit (nomadic heroes can't benefit from it at all).

So the real question for streetwise should be: How can we phrase it so it can be useful in many situations? How do we keep logic/realism/situational nature of populated areas not cause the skill to become stymied to uselessness or non-exciting benefits? Perhaps a intuition of sorts, a hunch?

In practice, streetwise is used to find ponies/creatures, find ones way (geographically, pathfinding...), find contacts (if any - this requires backstory commitment, a shady nature of character, or on-the-spot-making-up-NPCs), or getting ideas of how a society would operate.

What other uses can streetwise bring? When would a cutie mark crit be a game changer, and not just a "okay, you know a bunch of stuff, but it's not really that helpful  or difficult to get in the long run anyway"?

Another way to look at it: Streetwise is similar to the animal friend utilities - it requires NPCs set up in advance by the DM, or made up on the spot. You can't exactly "predict" or "know" what you can use until the DM says "yes, actually, you know this and that".

TLDR: The realism of how societies operate makes using streetwise when you're completely oblivious to something questionable or impossible without magical knowledge gaining. Knowledge gaining is what streetwise is limited to, and is redundant/dwarfed by other skills of similar nature but more practical, problem-solving skills. You'll hardly ever solve a big problem/obstacle with streetwise alone. You need a working, "friendly" society for the skill to work, which for nomads and explorers and "venture into unknown" characters never happens.

So the question is this: What can we say streetwise could (or should) let us do, that would actually be useful to solve problems, get benefits, and/or ACTIVELY get a awesome moment from? My guess - hunch sense, intuition.

What utility talents could use streetwise in a manner to cause something amazing, as persuasion masters use abilities to do similar?
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:38 am

....

As people say, we need to balance out the skills.

And to be honest, while some clarification might be able to fix the skills and make everything more balanced... a full revamp might actually be the better option.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:50 am

Heck, the skills haven't really changed since I made them in about 1 hour back when the whole basis of the system was built in under a week for that one-shot-that-never-ended. If a revamp of some kind *isn't* a good idea after over a year of playtesting, I'll be very surprised.

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:57 am

And people have highlighted a lot of problems...

- Persuasion can become very overpowered if focused on by a character and not regulated well by the DM
- Perception tends to be one of the strongest skills no matter the situation and its favourable to have high perception
- Arcana can be OP with the current Magecraft. Without it, it can be UP.
- History, Heal and Streetwise practically are very underused and UP
- Stealth & Mechanics are very particular and tend to be limited in utility talent interaction
- Because of this, Horse-Sense is considered the best attribute by far, while Knowledge is usually lack-luster
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:49 pm

ZamuelNow wrote:
Philadelphus wrote:Beside, Yee-Haw! works over two Attributes as-is (Athletics in Brawn and Acrobatics in Precision), so we still wouldn't have one for each Attribute (and nothing covering Endurance).
Wha..?  I thought it was Athletics and Endurance since that's what the Brawn Attribute covers and that's what's stated in the ability:

Yee-Haw:
Yee-Haw! (3) – Magic Interrupt
Trigger – You or an ally you can see makes a Brawn check.
Effect – After seeing the result of the roll, you can choose to add a +20 bonus to the check.
*sigh* Youʻre right, my apologies. I seem to be mis-remembering every facet of this system lately. That'll teach me to make any claims about it without checking and cross-referencing in triplicate.

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:22 pm

I'd like for us to somehow find a way to keep the same names if nothing else... I hated each of the two major name changes (Stunts -> Althtics & Pips -> Engery) that have happened in this system. And I'd be in full on rage to see more such name changes. I'd prefer to keep things named the same but changing the defs to help buff and nerf things on that side of the stat tree.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  tygerburningbright on Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:11 pm

On that note can we use this opportunity to restore the name of pips? If I recall correctly there was never that much support for it...
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  ZamuelNow on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:13 pm

Xel Unknown wrote:I'd like for us to somehow find a way to keep the same names if nothing else... I hated each of the two major name changes (Stunts -> Althtics & Pips -> Engery) that have happened in this system. And I'd be in full on rage to see more such name changes. I'd prefer to keep things named the same but changing the defs to help buff and nerf things on that side of the stat tree.
I think it really depends on the change itself.  I'm okay with Athletics while I think the whole energy/pips thing was poorly handled, especially since the suggested compromise of "energy pips" never came through.  Personally, Mechanics and History probably could stand to have renames but I'll elaborate on my thoughts further down.

Fury of the Tempest wrote:And people have highlighted a lot of problems...

- Persuasion can become very overpowered if focused on by a character and not regulated well by the DM
- Perception tends to be one of the strongest skills no matter the situation and its favourable to have high perception
- Arcana can be OP with the current Magecraft. Without it, it can be UP.
- History, Heal and Streetwise practically are very underused and UP
- Stealth & Mechanics are very particular and tend to be limited in utility talent interaction
- Because of this, Horse-Sense is considered the best attribute by far, while Knowledge is usually lack-luster
A lot of very valid thoughts.  In my opinion, adding the proposed Yee-Haw style abilities to Precision and Knowledge is one of the ways of lessening disparity between the skills since it's more options by default.  I think the concepts of the current 11 skills actually works well to cover concepts and just need adjusting and rewording.  As far as my opinion on the skills themselves:

Athletics: Straightforward description and usable in almost any campaign.  The availability and the fact that it overlaps 99% of what Acrobatics does makes combining it with just one other skill seem fair.  Effectively covers the opposite end of the spectrum of Persuasion.
Endurance: While not poorly defined, it's officially missing information about the ability to resist magical, and potentially mental, effects.  Sits in a weird place as one of the feast or famine stats since some campaigns don't use it much while for others it's literally life or death.  Hails as the skill that's the most passive and reliant upon the GM throwing things at you, barring a player volunteering for a dangerous environmental task, and probably the hardest to improve a regular success with a crit.  However, this passive status means it's always on with no ability to forget to use it.  The main fixes are updating the description to mention magic and adding some GM guide suggestions about it's use.
Stealth: Oddly a very good description.  Winds up covering a rather broad amount of concepts for stealth and being undetected.  Not always used but often useful when taken into play.  Sits at a sort of half step between active and passive since there's ways to boost and support it but it can also be fairly hands off.
Mechanics: I'd argue that it's the weak link in Precision but that's mainly due to the name and description since it's useful when it comes up.  It really needs to better portray its status as the skill for fine manipulation, manual dexterity, and hand-eye coordination.  The current name sort of hides these facts by making it seem purely machine/invention focused.  On the ability side of things, it really needs something like a watered down Magecraft.  I think it's worth noting that a lot of the construction focused abilities like MacGyver are automatic rather than using rolls with affects the skill's worth.
Acrobatics: The more agile counterpart to Athletics.  Somewhat overshadowed since there's probably only 1% of things Acrobatics can do that Athletics can't but there's a number of situations where raw strength winds up being more useful than agility.  Still quite useful due to the points where they overlap.  Description could be slightly adjusted to acknowledge the need for flexibility since contortion would better fit in here.
Arcana: The system's most infamous feast or famine stat.  Phenomenal cosmic power with Magecraft but rather weak without it.  It seems like the upcoming revamp of Magecraft means that some of the more lateral abilities like detecting magic and much lower scale manipulation are getting rolled into base level Arcana.  That's really what it needed, elimination of the outliers and moving the power level towards the middle.  Should also allow for some forms of magical resistance like a situational version of Endurance.
History: Arguably a fairly weak stat in its current form due to lack of abilities using it and limited scope, unless a character or campaign is really focused on it.  However, a research and intellect stat makes a fair bit of sense in the setting.  Similar to the discussion a few months ago about the skills, I really think this should be restructured as "Academics" with a greater focus on overall research capacity than just older facts.  Adjustments to Arcana lower the amount of overlap that was one of the concerns in the previous discussion.  I personally tend to require this stat be used for research and translation rather than Perception.  In an odder brainstorm, I'm wondering if this should be used to resist more overt/magical forms of mental manipulation and mind control since this system lacks a Will stat.  On the lore and customs end of things, this stat winds up having some overlap with Streetwise.
Heal: A counterpart to Endurance from the other side of the equation since it's active rather than passive.  While the description isn't bad, it needs some expanding and an official variant of Pingcode's Code Blue supplement in the GM guide to explain when it should and should not be used, especially regarding after combat resolution.  It's less of a bad stat but rather a situational stat whose use varies per campaign.
Perception: Probably the skill with the least need for passive stat bonuses, it has the status of being the stat that's theoretically always useful and usable for all campaigns.  Its use allows you to prepare for what other stats you'll need to use.  The description is fine but I think it potentially does too much.  I still feel that it should keep the physical detail aspects while the emotional radar aspects should be moved elsewhere, preferably Streetwise.  They really are two different skillsets which has been shown both in real life and on the show.  It's interesting that nerfing this skill actually still leaves it very usable, especially since Perception doesn't care which senses you're using.  A lesser variant of reading people should still be inherent to the power since even if you don't know what's up emotionally, you'll still often notice if someone makes an external change like altering posture.  Something else worth noting is that Perception isn't binary.  The better a roll, the more fine details you can pick up and the greater their descriptions.
Persuasion: Despite its status as a rather powerful stat, it has key drawbacks other stats don't have.  It has the greatest potential of being utterly denied access by the GM requiring actual roleplay.  Despite this, it still has use since performance arts like singing and dancing can't be displayed if the player lacks that skill.  While other skills manipulate the physical world around them, this is dealing with people.  In turn, this useful niche becomes its drawback since you can't tell the rock not to crush you unless you've got some other ability backing it up.  This and other systems have the quirk where a talent based on persuasion can be its own defense.  So someone with high deception can resist being lied to and spot other liars while two tough guys can have an intimidation battle.  I think the main thing needed on the GM end is the concept that if there's no need to roll if said roll has no chance of failure or success.  Also, this is probably in the same boat as Perception in that any passive buffs should be specific rather than cover all aspects of the skill.
Streetwise: Probably the skill whose definition is in the most need of a revamp.  There's been so many different ways this has been portrayed and used across varying campaigns to the point that this one skill almost deserves being split into its own discussion.  I think Zarhon did a fairly good job of outlining the positives and negatives but I think it mildly undermines some of the skill's strengths.  The concept of a streetwise character is usually able to pick up details to the point where it almost comes off as intuition and thus works with little prior input.  I've heard of some players and GMs using it as a general "survival knowledge" stat which I like more than when I originally heard that though I'm still mixed on it.  However, it is probably the skill that should be used as the defense against enemy Persuasion checks and the one that should be the emotional variant of Perception. In applying the show to the game, I'd argue that Pinkie Pie is probably only slightly above average with Streetwise but actually took Freaky Knowledge: Ponyville, has player specific access to some of the more social boons, and is more willing to throw Magic Points at a situation.  Rarity and Applejack tend to be better at picking up more broad reactions in others and understanding their environment.  Splitting things up this way also makes a Twilight style "notices minute details but utterly misses social cues" character work better.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:59 pm

... I cannot make any arguments about Zamuel's post. I put my agreement fully behind those changes.

Not only will it make skills that sorely need to be revamped/upgraded much more viable, but it'll also help Applejack-of-all-trades character's feel more powerful and useful.

Especially as the new system allows for builds that have 8 in all attributes and +2 to all untrained skills. At level 1
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:51 am

What is the state of the previous versions of the system as far as updates are concerned? Asking this here instead of the Simple Questions thread since I have a feeling the answer may not be "simple". Bare minimum, there at least needs to be a final typo/formatting fix and fine tuning before they hit a final lockdown point.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:10 am

Can the utility document accept some of the changes from the ability overhaul please? Like how there is an upgrade to Applejack-of-all-trades and how Animal Magentism doesn't require Call Animal?
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:05 pm

I don't think we'll be worrying about the old ultility document. While we're going to keep the documents up, it's hard enough to keep a single set of rule docs up to date, much less keeping previous versions updated too (especially when balance tweaks often depend on the other abilities available to the system - and the ability doc will be designed to work with a different selection of other abilities than the talents/racial traits available in the old system). Add to that the point-cost balance tweaks and it's just going to be unfeasible to try to errata both docs at once. 


If you want to use the older documents, feel free to ask your DM to allow you to use an updated version - if it still has the same point cost as a utility (3 points) go for it.

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:58 pm

Didn't expect it to keep getting updated. At the same time I do think it would be best to do the final typo fix. Actually, I keep forgetting to ask but this reminds me about what the status is of the documents for becoming someone with update clearance.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Crystalite on Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:50 am

Less suggestion, and more minor error I noticed during character creation:

Eagle Eye:
Eagle Eye
Gain a +3 bonus to Perception. You suffer no penalty to your perception checks from weather conditions.

...Is only present in the Pony Tales document! There's no mention at all in Living Legends. Could somepony remedy this please?
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:38 pm

Difficult to remedy, as it probably shouldn't be in the system at all. It was originally in PT for the griffons among us, but in general we don't like using such +X simple skill bonuses. They can make setting DCs far more difficult for a DM.

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Crystalite on Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:04 pm

Granted. But, if you're going to have it on one side, you might just as well have it on the other too, or else not at all.

But I'm not going to fuss about it further. Do whatever you want, it's your system.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:14 pm

Indeed you're right. The decision should be universal if the system's sole concern is making the best game possible, and there are no serious setting-based factors. While I'd like this to be the case, I don't really want to get into an argument with people if I cut the ability from PT. Arguments like that can take an extraordinary amount of time and energy, and if they're not followed up on for a very long time - we tend to get people saying that we're ignoring our players. If we're lucky, we'll avoid people saying that we're tyrants trying to destroy everyone's fun.

While I'd like to cut Eagle Eye, I don't want to get into a roiling argument about it - especially since we're moving to the abilities system anyway (which will not contain Eagle Eye in its final draft in either setting).

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:30 pm

Not true... Eagle Eye will be in the new system... Just without the +3 bonus... And a minor buff to what it can do.
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:45 pm

An ability named Eagle Eye is likely to be in the system (it's a good name) but the current iteration is not going to be in there.

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:20 am

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:An ability named Eagle Eye is likely to be in the system (it's a good name) but the current iteration is not going to be in there.

THAT is VERY different from what you said before. Honestly, the +3 is just a boost, its the ' You suffer no penalty to your perception checks from weather conditions.' that is the main catch
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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:39 am

It's the +3 boost that is the main issue. Unqualified modifiers to skill checks serve to spread out possible DCs and make the DM's job harder because the range of modifiers the players can be expected to have expands. They're also not super-exciting, just min-maxy.

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

Post  Philadelphus on Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:39 pm

I think what Fury is saying is that to him the +3 bonus is incidental, and that true grist of the ability is the flavorful part. Which is great, because the version in the Abilities document keeps (and expands upon) the cool flavorful stuff while dropping the problematic static skill modifier:

Eagle Eye:
Eagle Eye (1)
You take no penalties to your Perception checks from weather or atmospheric conditions such as smoke, fog, rain, etc. You can also clearly see small objects and fine details up to a mile away.

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Re: Official Errata Suggestion/Discussion Thread (changes you'd like to see made)

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