What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Antiquated on Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:13 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:The flaws document isn't official in any way. I like the idea, hence why we made Derp to begin with, but I haven't seen many other flaws that don't fall into the 3.5 problem of having a drawback that's easy to ignore or get around in some other way.
I think that might be a problem in general with flaws... I won't really get into it here because this isn't the right place, but I tend to approach flaws from a character building perspective. For example, when the party is chasing the big bad into the sewers and their healer says "Nope" because of her horrible hydrophobia, I find it hysterical (I actually did this to my party, it was great). Obsessions, compulsions and phobias when RPed correctly really help to flesh out a character.

In short, I love flaws, in part because I'm a psychology major, but if someone is determined to Power Game, they will probably be able to find a way around any given flaw. With flaws you either need to accept them and fully play them out, or make them so restrictive that they can't be stepped around, and the latter leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Even so, I'll think about it.
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Paper Shadow on Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:18 pm

Antiquated wrote:
Paper Shadow wrote:Herp Derp is from an unofficial (and now very outdated) supplement and Whirlygig was removed in the Boon rework, so they both don't count...
I was under the impression that those flaws could still be used if you like. I knew it was an optional doc but nothing in there told me it was unofficial or outdated. If those things are the case I would like for them to be reflected in the Flaws doc. However, I would rather the Flaws doc be updated. I like the idea of having optional flaws or official mechanics if your character has a phobia. (My current character does have a phobia and I've had a lot of fun playing her.)

And as for Whirlygig, I copy-pasted that directly from the Boons doc which is linked to the main document. If there has been talk of removing it or otherwise changing it, it hasn't happened yet.
New Boon doc here...

As for Flaws, the person who ran it left the forums due to Real Life. Personally, if I was him, I would remove Herp Derp, since the introduction of the Virtue of Reliability means that you can guarantee a roll of 7 or higher for every roll you make if you have Herp Derp, which is downright stupid to the highest degree...

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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Philadelphus on Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:39 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:The real burden of Loyalty on the DM is that they have to remember someone has Loyalty in the group and regularly throw mind-altering affects at the party so the Loyalty-user can feel cool. Luckily, the Magic talents can afford to be heavily situational since the +10-to-a-roll use is so awesome and always useful, but loyalty can be a bit annoying this way.
This has been on my mind to bring up for a bit to bring up somewhere, and here seems like as good a place as any. Loyalty is in a slightly different position from the other Elements in terms of its situational-ness, as seen below:

  • Magic: Can be used at literally anytime, in any campaign. (May not be a good time, but you can always use it.)
  • Laughter: Same thing, can be used at any time, in any campaign.
  • Generosity: Can be used anytime someone makes a skill check, which happens all the time in all campaigns.
  • Kindness: Can be used anytime you have a hostile creature. Encountering hostile creatures is generally a large part of many campaigns (it doesn't even have to involve combat, it could simply be general animosity towards you or the party).
  • Honesty: Can be used anytime you have a helpless creature. In terms of why you use it, you may want to use it anytime you want straight answers from an NPC you suspect won't tell you the truth. Dealing with NPCs is a fixture of campaigns, and untruthful, evasive, or just unhelpful NPCs are a pretty common occurrence.
  • Loyalty: Can be used when you encounter a "mind-affecting effect". Unlike all the rest, this isn't necessarily a common thing in all campaigns.

Now, in terms of situational-ness, Magic and Laughter can be used anytime, Generosity has lots of potential uses because rolling dice is an integral part of the game, and even Kindness and Honesty are applicable in many situations because all campaigns have at least some NPC interaction, and usually some involving hostile NPCs or ones that you might want to get information out of forcefully.

However, mind-affecting effects (MAEs) are a different matter. You can easily have a campaign that doesn't involve them at all. While Kindness and Honesty are both dependent on the GM having the appropriate kind of encounter, those types of characters (hostile, untruthful/unhelpful) are an established part of RPGs. MAEs, on the other hand, tend not to come up hardly ever in the campaigns I've played. (Granted, that's a sample size of 2, and I'd love to hear if that's simply the exception to the rule and they show up more in other campaigns.)

Given some of the other questions with it that people have brought up (does it confer temporary immunity? what if you're mind-controlled to explicitly not want to break the control, does it leave you the free-will to do so?), I'd say Loyalty at least deserves a small rewording/rewrite to make it clearer. I'd also love to see it get a buff to make it more universally applicable. Perhaps have it provide a morale bonus to visible allies for a short period when you use it, with the flavor that you're "inspiring your allies" with your loyalty?

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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Antiquated on Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:48 pm

Paper Shadow wrote:New Boon doc here...

As for Flaws, the person who ran it left the forums due to Real Life. Personally, if I was him, I would remove Herp Derp, since the introduction of the Virtue of Reliability means that you can guarantee a roll of 7 or higher for every roll you make if you have Herp Derp, which is downright stupid to the highest degree...
Thanks for the link, I'll look through it a bit later. I'm a little behind on the Virtues, I only found out about them yesterday. But that does sound absurd.
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  ZamuelNow on Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:10 pm

@Antiquated: Anything not in the stickied thread(s) in Official Game and Game Updates should be assumed to be fan made/unofficial. Boons are in a weird place since the update is declared to be in "beta" but the thing about Whirlygig is that it's a group ability so theoretically the team could say someone else would be better suited to have it. As far as flaws, they're good to have yet most of those should be roleplayed as opposed to give stat bonuses.



While I still think Honesty is the weakest element, this conversation has brought a lot to mind about the weaknesses in Loyalty. It's intriguing since prior to discussion I viewed it as one of the stronger Elements which may reveal different GMing styles. Something I personally would houserule that might need to be official would be that the user can always use it even if brainwashed and that the effects linger so you can't just be immediately re-brainwashed.
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Philadelphus on Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:29 am

ZamuelNow wrote:While I still think Honesty is the weakest element, this conversation has brought a lot to mind about the weaknesses in Loyalty.
I would definitely rate Honesty as the second-weakest element in my opinion, since it requires you A) suspect that someone won't tell you the truth in the first place, then B) have to render them "helpless" somehow. Duplicitous NPCs aren't uncommon in games, but they do require the GM to actually include them (unless you have really paranoid PCs who just use Honesty anyway even when the poor NPC target had no intention of misleading them.)

ZamuelNow wrote:It's intriguing since prior to discussion I viewed it as one of the stronger Elements which may reveal different GMing styles. Something I personally would houserule that might need to be official would be that the user can always use it even if brainwashed and that the effects linger so you can't just be immediately re-brainwashed.
Yeah, I may very well have just randomly gotten campaigns that didn't really include or focus on MAEs. Loyalty may very well be much more powerful in certain campaigns. Though that's basically the problem I have with it: Magic and Generosity (and theoretically Laughter) are equally applicable in all campaigns to the same extent, and Kindness and Honesty are generally going to be useful in most settings. But Loyalty can be either incredibly useful or completely superfluous depending on the campaign.

And I agree, I think those houserules you mention should probably be Errata'd into the text for Loyalty.

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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Antiquated on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:25 pm

Philadelphus wrote:
I would definitely rate Honesty as the second-weakest element in my opinion, since it requires you A) suspect that someone won't tell you the truth in the first place, then B) have to render them "helpless" somehow. Duplicitous NPCs aren't uncommon in games, but they do require the GM to actually include them (unless you have really paranoid PCs who just use Honesty anyway even when the poor NPC target had no intention of misleading them.)
Another issue with honesty is that if you roll high enough on persuade you can usually get an NPC to fess up without forcing them to tell the truth with a magic point. In my game, myself and the honesty player have been through three "interrogation" scenes with NPCs that were both uncooperative and helpless, and in every case we've been able to talk them into talking without using the magic point. My character can gets a +19 total with my re-skinned Villainous Laughter utility. Add to that any circumstantial bonus the our DM thinks my argument was worth and we haven't needed to use the magic point on Honesty at all yet.

I mean, we will probably run into a time when an NPC is just out right hostile and no persuasion roll will be able to win them over, but still...
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:31 pm

And on the other hand, in my games Honesty is often an invaluable tool that can provide information otherwise impossible to access. I've actually had to work to account for its power.

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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  ZamuelNow on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:44 pm

My problem with it, and I'm pretty sure most people's problem with Honesty, is the helpless requirement. It feels like it would be better to use one of the other anti lying utilities instead. Or since they're already helpless anyway you can just persuade/intimidate them until you get answers. It's less "this sucks" and more, "why would I use this over the other options?".
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:47 pm

The power of Honesty is that it can compel people to answer truthfully and without distortion. The helpless requirement is to keep the talent from being the most powerful game element in the entire system.

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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:49 pm

Not all games are your games Dan... Best to remember that.

Hell I'd say all elements have a weakeness of some type:

Loyalty: Needs a GM to use Mind Altering Effects in order to feel worthwhile. (Worst of them all.... It's basicaly either at best the most invaluable element in the campaign if the GM's plot allows it, or it's never/rarely (Like 1 to 5 max the WHOLE campaign) used element for the campaign.)
Laughter: Random as all buck... Rarely does the same thing between campaigns. (This is part of it's charm, but still is a weakness of the element)
Generosity: Needs an ally to do a skill checks. (This makes it the strongest of all elements in my opinion... Though debatly Magic can outclass it if the player is just that good.)
Honesty: Needs a "helpless" target, also requires a target that'd not wanta normally give honest answers, or just need to lease nothing up to question. (One of the weaker ones... Almost as bad as Loyalty's drawback, but I have seen people be able to use it.)
Kindness: Needs a Hostile Target... (I'd lable this one weak too... Even if you do use the element, it at best is just giving you some time to help keep the enemy calm, and if somebody is being a troll, they can ruin the Kindness-Bomb event. But still likely to be better off then Honesty, cause getting a hostile creature in any campaign is something normal to end up with.)
Magic: Need to know all the Utilities and know when to be able to use them with just a short five minutes. (some people can work with this limit, I'm not one of those who'd care to try. Depends fully on the PC's foresight and skill to know when and how to use it. This fact is why I'd put it second in terms of power when ranking these elements.)
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:53 pm

Xel Unknown wrote:Not all games are your games Dan... Best to remember that.
Indeed, that's sort of the point of posting different experiences. And as long as people are going to post their experiences with the talent, I'm going to post my experiences as well - so everyone gets an idea of how different things are.

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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:36 pm

I think the thing to ask is twofold.  
  • Do you balance to the mean, mode, upper end, or lower end of player usage?
  • How balanced are the Elements/Virtues supposed to be to each other?
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  Antiquated on Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:50 am

ZamuelNow wrote:I think the thing to ask is twofold.  

  • Do you balance to the mean, mode, upper end, or lower end of player usage?
  • How balanced are the Elements/Virtues supposed to be to each other?

These are both excellent questions. It hadn't even occurred to me that we might want the elements and virtues to me unbalanced. I can see it though, now that that option is pointed out.

I guess it boils down to this: how are people building their characters and how are they meant to build their characters?

I mean if people are almost exclusively building their characters to fit the idea and personality they have in their head--I'm going to call this the character-centric way to do it because I feel it leads to deeper role-playing and a more immerse game--then I'm not sure it matters how balanced everything is.

But if on the flip side, players are building their characters from a sort of power-gamer perspective, then I would think that it would be best if things were as balanced as possible.

However, there is almost certainly a good mix of these two approaches, not to mention a few approaches to character building that I haven't thought of.

Then there is always the perspective that we might want to allow for any kind of character building pattern. If the power-gamers want their optimum build, let them have it, and we might as well toss out lots of other options the power-gamers won't even consider--because they aren't as powerful--so that the people building their characters a character-centric way can have more toys to play with.

In the end, I'm not really sure what the right call is. Yes, some Elements are under-powered and one in particular is overpowered, but I'm not longer sure that's a bad thing. If we accept that Honesty and Loyalty are just there as flavor options for the people who don't care about building a powerful character and instead want their specific character (and their specific character would have Loyalty), then it no longer matters that they under-powered compared to the other options.
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

Post  ZamuelNow on Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:06 am

Power for non-numeric utilities is subjective by default. What is good for one campaign may have fewer uses in others. Thus, the first question comes into play. The case scenario fluctuates a fair bit.
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Re: What's up with the Magic Harmony ability?

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