Element Expansion - Discussion

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Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Mind Gamer on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:12 pm

Welcome to the discussion of the Elements of Harmony Expansion. Here, feel free to submit your own ideas and suggestions for potential additions we can make to the system, and critique what needs to be reined in.

The basic idea is such. The Elements of Harmony, as they stand in the official book, are a simple and quick way to connect the players to the Elements, while giving them something to spend their magic points on. This feeling of connection is stunted somewhat, however, given the lack of involvement the player can make with their element, or their character's connection to it.

At the same time, the growing bonds of Friendship manifesting as growing power with the Elements presents an oppurtuinty to include a system of organic growth. This starts with character creation and can lead all the way up to the highest levels, providing choices for players to make and newfound chances to customize their character's skills, while connecting to their character's story and growth in the flavor.

A currently proposed method of this is the Free Tech Tree, which can be demonstrated by two excellent examples created by Zarhon; The Elements of Loyalty and Magic.

LOYALTY - Branching Upgrades:
Unchained loyalty
Your loyalty element now also frees you of any physical or magical restraints.
V
Unburdened loyalty
Your loyalty element, when used, now also temporarily frees you of any and all restraints or hindering, whether magical, physical, mental, putting you in perfect mental and physical condition. Long-lasting or permanent hindering effects (such as sickness, curses, personal flaws, penalties or un-healable injuries) can freely be ignored for the next hour.

------------------------

Indomitable loyalty
If you would be defeated or KO'd during combat, you immediately recover from such without needing any medical assistance, provided your party wins the combat encounter, or reaches a peaceful resolution of such (fleeing doesn't count).
V
Undying loyalty
You cannot die for as long as any of the rest of your party is alive and your body doesn't suffer extreme injuries (like complete disintegration, or loss of head...). If you would die, you are instead put in a coma-like state, which requires a personal DC35 heal or endurance check to recover from (allies may boost or assist this check). You may perform this check once for each time, your allies spend an extended rest with your body in their possession/care. Your body swiftly regenerates any minor injuries whilst in this state.

------------------------

Unquestionable loyalty
Instead of its usual effects, you may now choose to have your loyalty element cause yourself and an ally of your choice to be completely immune to any mind altering, mental, magical, or physical effects that would cause you to act against your own free will or magically restrain you, for the next hour.
V
Uncompromising loyalty
You are now completely and utterly unable to cause injury or harm to your allies outside of combat, and they are unable to do the same to you, unless both are willing to allow it. If you would be forced to do such against your will by another creature, you may instead perform a cutie mark critical success skill check against them.

Element of Magic:
Lessons we've learned
You may now choose to use any one of the other elements, at no extra cost, instead of your usual Element of Magic effect.

V

Experiences we've shared
When you use "Lessons we've learned", you may use any Element upgrade benefits of that chosen ally, whilst they may use their element at no MP cost, once.

------------------------------

Well studied
In addition to using your EoM for a MP cost, you may now use it once a day, at no cost.

V

Magical Affinity
Whenever you achieve a cutie mark critical success, you gain a Magic Point. Other players may use Magic Points gained this way as if they were their own, with your permission.

------------------------------

Power of Friendship
When you use your element of Magic, toss a coin. If heads, you may give a Magic Point to an ally.

V

Friendship is Magic - 3/Campaign Interrupt
Trigger: All players with Magic Points boost a single skill check with a Magic Point, and all players without MP's succeed in aiding that skill check.
Effect: The skill check gets a +15 bonus, re-rolls any 1s, 2s, or 3s, and is treated as if it was a cutie mark skill.

Another example would be the Two Branch Tech Tree, which consists of being given a choice of two powers at each new level, both with their own unique effects that are unable to be directly compared for effectiveness. For instance; At one level of the Element of Laughter, you might be given a choice between more uses of your Laughter effect, or be given the ability to instantly stop a scene with a non-sequiter musical number for the same MP cost. At the next upgrade, you might choose between two completely new powers.

The point of this is to give players a more open connection to the Elements of Harmony, that lets them better define through the mechanics their connection to the Element... While providing more opportunity for flavor, organic growth in power, and story. With some effort, I hope to see a system like the above two examples become a third party addition... And if it proves effective and fun enough, submit it to be included in the official game. Thank you for your time, and have fun coming up with ideas! We can use all the help we can get.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:46 pm

So, the first thing I think that needs a decision on is how often/when we get these additions. Levels where we don't gain Utilities would be good but, I doubt the designers would really like us getting them that often, so I think we should acquire these upgrades on the same levels we gain Boons (3, 6, and 9).

The second major decision is if these additions will increase in power and thus be designed as level 3, 6, or 9 (or whatever we end up doing) on the power scale or if each upgrade to your base element would be equal in power.

If they scale upwards in power, I'd prefer we get a choice of at least two options each time, rather than making a choice at level 3 and then just getting the subsequent upgrades in that line at 6 and 9.

Basically, either scaling upwards in power or choice being equal choices, I'd prefer if we always had as many choices as possible every time we would get an addition to the element. So, this requires we don't design things that are dependent on previous choices (or at least that we have to make sure there are other options than things that do so).

Edit: And of course, we have to keep in mind to make things as viable for all possible games as we can.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Philadelphus on Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:08 am

Y'know, it's rather interesting: after seeing the first couple of posts advocating a new Element upgrade system, I decided to write my own third-party supplement for it and spent some time idly contemplating what one could be like...

...and ended up with almost exactly what you two have proposed here, a "Two [or in this case Three] Branch Tech Tree" taken at levels 3, 6, and 9. To whit:

A system where at levels 3, 6, and 9 (the Boon levels) you get to pick one of three Element- and level-specific upgrades.

To be more specific, I was planning to implement them as Element-specific Utility Talents with a level restriction (you can only takes ones that are your level or below). At levels 3, 6, and 9, you get to choose one of them, although you could also take (a lower-level) one at levels 5 and 8 if you really wanted to (since they're technically just Utility Talents in that regard). I'm kind of hoping to have the three choices at each level be something like "Improving {Element} in yourself," "Inspiring {Element} in others," and upgrading your assist ability in various ways. I'm thinking of options both to improve the power or versatility of the base form of each Element, along with new and unique powers (e.g., a possible level 9 "Inspire Loyalty in others" power could perhaps allow you to cause another creature to become temporarily loyal to you and do their best to undertake a suggestion you give them).

Anyway, I have a few things noted down, but nothing really set in stone at this point. If anyone's interested I could elaborate a bit more.

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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:15 pm

I'm interested in seeing what you've made Phil
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Philadelphus on Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:48 am

Well, let's see. Keeping in mind that this is all still hypothetical and subject to change...

Let's focus on a single Element, for simplicity, say Generosity because I seem to have the easiest time thinking up stuff for it. I mentioned before that I came up with a sort of "Affects You/Affects Others/Assists" system (or "Improving {Element} in yourself/Inspiring {Element} in others/Assists"). So at level 3, you might have the following three utility talents to pick (one) from:

Improving Generosity in yourself:
Actually, I don't have an idea for a level 3 talent for this yet. At level 6 I've tentatively got down that your bonus goes from +15 to +20, and at level 9 Generosity becomes 1/day instead of Magic (an option I plan to make available for all the Elements), but I haven't got a level 3 worked out yet.

Inspiring Generosity in others:
At the beginning of each day, you may choose an ally. That ally provides an additional +2 assist bonus whenever they successfully assist someone for the next 24 hours.

Assists:
If you roll to assist an ally using the same skill that your ally is using and you roll a higher number on your die than they do, you may swap dice rolls with your ally.

I've got a few tentative ideas for other abilities, some of which include:
Loyalty: "Inspire Loyalty" to cause a non-hostile creature to attempt to fulfill one of your suggestions.
Laughter: "Instant Music Number," where you get up to X non-hostile creatures to make assist rolls to help you with something?
Honesty: More questions? Ability to use it on non-helpless creatures? Daily bonus to Persuasion if being completely truthful?
Kindness: Hmmm. I haven't really thought of anything for Kindness yet.
Magic: Longer duration for the base ability, and the ability to use Magic Talents with it without having to spend a second Magic Point.

Along with the more overt abilities, I have some ideas for Assist boosts, such as rolling twice and taking the higher number on assist checks, bonuses to your assist rolls and assist bonuses, and "assist reactions" where, a number of times per day, you can add +1dX to your assist bonus upon successfully making an assist check.

Anyway, that's most of the stuff I have at the moment (obviously I'm nowhere near complete). I haven't really had time to work on it this week.

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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Mind Gamer on Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:29 am

This, I can get behind. Yourself, Your friends, and to the world. That's a great trio of general routes you can apply the element to, so... Yeah. Woot.

If I may throw in a thing or two? Such as Kindness in Yourself being temporary immunity to non-combat status effects. A state of zen. (Think Fluttershy beating the Cockatrice in a staring contest.) Kindness in Others would be possibly extending the standard effect of Kindness to multiple individuals in a group, and Kindness in the World might be something like summoning the aid of nature (or it's equivalents) to aid everyone in the party with their skill checks at once. So if you passed your aid skill check, everyone in the group gets the benefit, manifested as local friendly animals helping.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:26 am

You/Yourself/The World

... Interesting.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Philadelphus on Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:17 am

Indeed, some interesting ideas being floated here. I've written up what I have so far into this Google Doc: Elemental Upgrades

Keep in mind that I'd like to have 6 Elements X 3 Levels to choose at X 3 options per level = 54 total options, and I have 24 at the moment so it's nowhere near finished (not to mention it needs some fleshing out of terminology and mechanics).

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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:32 am

Gave Phil my thoughts in the document.

In addition I think Zarhon's Unchained, Unburdened, & Unquestionable Loyalty are all good along with Power of Friendship.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:38 am

Some suggestions, taken straight from my Harmonious Elements:

Loyalty. For ten minutes, if any ally fails a skill check in a skill you are trained in, perform the skill check yourself with a +5 bonus. Treat your ally's check as successful if you succeed.

Laughter. Trigger: An ally rolls a critical failure. Effect: Turn the critical failure into a Cutie Mark Success.

Generosity: Trigger: Your ally uses a magic point. Effect: Negate the use of the magic point your ally uses.

Honesty: For a hour, gain a +10 bonus to detecting if someone is lying.

Kindness: You can soothe the wounds of an injured creature for an hour, and gain a +15 bonus to rolls on treating the wounds with a Heal check.

And the obvious one for Magic. You can activate the talent of the Element an ally posses.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  sunbeam on Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:38 pm

I have one for honesty:
____ - Magic
Target creature becomes Helpful. Though a helpful creature won't change it's actions or attitude towards you, when you ask it a question it will automatically offer up all relevant information on the subject, without any attempts at lying or subterfuge. This effect ends after the creature answers X questions.

It's more useful than regular honesty, because the creature doesn't have to be helpless. But the creature will probably try to run away, or kill you, or something, while answering your questions. It also has some cool teamwork potential with Kindness.

X should probably be more than 3 if we want the elements at later levels to be more powerful, and less than 3 if we want the elements to be as strong as their original counterparts. Alternatively, I know that some people are calling for a buff to Honesty, and while this doesn't exactly remedy the issue there, as start could be making Honesty answer 5 questions and this thing answer 3 questions.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:01 pm

@Fury's suggestions:

Loyalty could end up covering a lot of checks, I think we could remove the +5 bonus and it'd be a little less crazy.

Laughter is good.

Generosity: Not bad but, not that interesting. Still, I don't see a reason it shouldn't be an option. Though, it will need to be an earlier option than Zarhon's similar Magic option.

Honesty: That's just really dull.

Kindness: Shouldn't be skill specific like that. We already have a problem with skill favoritism in the system, let's not add it here too.

Magic: I'm always going to be opposed to this idea. Magic should not be able to make everyone in the party feel useless by taking their special feature whenever they feel like it or worse make the obviously best choice be everyone in the party taking Magic.

@Sunbeam's idea: Interesting...
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:20 pm

Magic's level 9, allowing you to use the original element of someone else in your party? What's wrong with that?
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:27 pm

I just said what was wrong with it. It's someone else's special thing. And Magic has much better things it could be doing anyway.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:31 pm

But the person now has all the other super-cool awesome abilities with that element as well.

Your just using the weakest ability they had.

Besides, it fits the lore, and your not the boss of this.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:48 pm

.....

Yeah, nobody is "the boss" of this at all as it happens. It's a group effort. Why did you even feel the need to point that out? I'm just stating my opinions. Seriously, please stop taking personal offense to people having opinions that don't agree with yours.

As for fitting the lore, I'm more concerned with people having fun and feeling that their character is interesting. Even if it's the simple base ability that Magic could mimic, it's still a thing only they can do (assuming a diverse element party which is my default assumption) and that makes their character more interesting and unique. If you're going just for fitting the lore, Magic might as well not have rules because it can canonically do just about anything.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:10 pm

I'm concerned with people having fun as well. That's why I suggested the magic ability in the first place. Its a fun ability, that wouldn't take the fun away from the others, as their ability is already much more powerful than the one being copied.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  sunbeam on Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:08 pm

I don't know how this might be ported to being as powerful as a magic talent, but I figured I should leave my Generosity utility talent here for inspection too:

Give until it hurts - 2/day
Roll 1d6. For the next hour, target ally gains a bonus equal to the roll result on their skill checks, and you take a penalty to skill checks equal to the roll result.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Mind Gamer on Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:13 pm

As a powered up Element ability, Sunny, I'd suggest bumping up the potential bonus/penalty from 1d6 to 2d4. This gives a higher potential bonus, to just over half of the basic Generosity bonus, while increasing the minimum from 1 to 2, making it less potentially underpowered.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:15 pm

Personally, I don't really like the penalty idea myself.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Mind Gamer on Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:18 pm

Well, the idea behind it is that you're using self-sacrifice to help someone else. However, there is one thing that might lessen that sting... How about you only suffer the penalty for using Give Till It Hurts if the skill check succeeds? That way, if it was too out of reach for you to help them with anyway, you don't suffer needlessly.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  sunbeam on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:50 pm

Okay, I have my thoughts in order now.
The thing is if it's a magic point ability, then it has to give at least a +10 bonus, or you would just use a normal magic point. Since it's a prerequisite is the Element of Generosity, this baseline is now increased to +15. And since adding +10 to one skill check has a greater effect than adding +3 to 5 skill checks (over the course of an hour), the bonus would need to be even higher. What about this:

Give 'til it hurts - Magic
Target ally rolls 2d20 on all skill checks, adding the values on the two dice together, for the next hour*. You take a -10 penalty to skill checks for the next hour.

*Rolling two 20s at once still only results in a critical success, not a spectacular success.

The "for the next hour" line is still the most balanced way of distributing a bonus and a penalty for an extended period of time that I can come up with. I'm not certain if this is too powerful or not. On average, it's the aproximate equivalent of magic pointing every skill check made for the next hour at the cost of requiring a magic point for you to actually be functional, but it plays out a lot differently due to the variation in 2d20.

I still do like the flavor of taking a penalty in return for a boost in an ally, especially because with the magic point cost, it's much harder to make a build that revolves solely around buffing your allies with this. And being able to stake a claim to the highest-powered, widest-ranging, booster talent in the game, even at such high cost, gives it appeal to a lot of people at first glance.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Mind Gamer on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:53 pm

You do have to ask yourself this, though; "Is it broken if Spellchild allows use for free?"

Shockingly, not in this case! Because in order to have this new version of Give Till It Hurts, you'd have to save up 4 racial points and spend them all at the point in which you choose the Element Upgrade. So yeah, using the magic point works.

The lesser version that worked more like a utility talent was nice too, but I can see the difference and why it was changed.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:56 pm

I don't think all the upgrades have to be a magic-talent.
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Re: Element Expansion - Discussion

Post  sunbeam on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:05 pm

I was actually wondering about that. On the one hand, all the elements being magic talents is a cool thematic component (and ensures that everyone has uses for their magic points), and, more importantly, it keeps every talent at the BANG level you expect out of magic talents. If I'm getting a new utility talent that's tied directly to my character at level 9, on the eave of ascending to my level 10 destiny, I want it to look pretty darn impressive.

On the other hand, not having all the elements be magic talents give us more design space, and assuming magic drain talents remain in the system (which, at the very least, Steady Hooved probably will), it means that people with magic drain talents can still use their elements.

Personally, I vote that we design them all as magic talents until we hit an idea that would work better as a x/day sort of talent.

Having outlined all that, I actually like Give 'til it Hurts more this way. I'll admit that it might need to be scaled back down to the original size to avoid widening the range of skill checks even more, but this version had the...allure that the other version lacked. Like I just mentioned, the cool thing about magic point abilities is that they look like crazy powerful talents, Which is exactly what this one needed.
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