Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:58 pm

Philadelphus wrote:With Changeling's Trickery, you retain up to 10 points' worth of your abilities whenever you shape-shift. That was my attempt to work it in to the new system, which is rather difficult. I'm rather on the fence about it even being there in the first place.
Yeah... the problem with this is that it makes a True Shifter changeling almost impossible to balance, especially without some sort of species template. Which you don't really like currently, but most people object to.

Do you think True-Shifer changeling might just be completely removed?
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Greywander on Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:48 am

You know what we need? One of those talent calculators like you see for WoW or most other MMOs out there. It would make it much easier to view and compare abilities, and compute point spending. I'm willing to help create art assets for such a project, if anyone knows how to do such a thing. (A modular design that allows one to easily insert or remove abilities without rewriting the code would probably be best.)

As for racial templates, yeah, they don't need to be filled out to meet a quota. For earth ponies, canonically, they're heavily involved in the food industry. Look at all the ponies with food-related cutie marks and see how many of them are earth ponies. How this relates to abilities, I don't know. I imagine that each DM might have their own set of racial templates based on their interpretations of the races, and that this will be even more true for Living Legends.

As for Laughter, yeah, it had issues (can you say, "plot derail"?), but it was fun, too. Really, it's "power" was more dependent on the effects of the Tons of Fun table. Turning a dragon lord into a pretzel? OP. Turning a dragon lord pink? Less OP. Turning a dragon lord into a dragon lady? Uh... I think reintroducing it as an optional Virtue of Chaos fits rather well.

For magic, I think it's worth asking if we need a separate spellcasting system or not. Having all magic aside from some very specific spells fall under one or two utility talents doesn't make a lot of sense, but it also seems like it could get complicated very fast if we tried to lay down some more specific rules.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:53 am

Old Laughter is going to be an optional DM virtue called  "Chaos" that DMs can choose to introduce, without feeling the pressure to include that making the effect one of the mane six elements was.

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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  ZamuelNow on Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:31 am

Philadelphus wrote:Other stuff can quite possibly be added back in. A lot of stuff that was kinda tricky or fairly underutilized got removed so I could focus on the stuff left behind, but I do have plans to add at least some of that stuff back in. It helps to know that people actually want it. Smile 
Yeah, Speak With Nature is surprisingly high on my list since two different players have it and it's been one of the main way they've discovered plot points while still being forced to figure out the right questions to ask.  As far as Bridle Gossip/Word of Wisdom, I think the way to handle it is to figure out how much each verse is worth by itself and then allow it to be purchased multiple times, up to a set limit.



The idea behind the Found It! revamp was that with Thataway being more usable for the cost, FI becomes more character specific but able to be used at will instead of needing to guess.  Thus, it sort of mutates into Rarity gem finding than Pinkie spotting something but it allows the two utilities to fill different niches and better work in tandem with each other.  The revamped form could still have a range buff option since that's something the new system would be better designed to support.

Found It! - Revamp Proposal 2:
Found It! – At Will
Preparation Time: 10 seconds
When first choosing this talent, name a specific object or category of objects (such as gemstones, apples, or musical instruments). You may take this talent multiple times, choosing a different object each time.  You are made aware of the presence and precise location of any existing objects within a 30-foot radius of you – even if they are concealed or obstructed – such as being trapped in solid rock.  You may spend a Magic Point to increase the radius to 100 feet.




I may attempt something with racial templates via some reverse engineering.  I'll probably weigh in on the earth pony thoughts there.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:55 am

ZamuelNow wrote:I may attempt something with racial templates via some reverse engineering.  I'll probably weigh in on the earth pony thoughts there.
Go ahead. Having racial templates is a lot better than not. After all, their only templates/basis now. You don't HAVE to follow them.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:49 am

There shall definitely be suggested templates. If you guys want to put some together first, that'd be awesome.

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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:55 am

One thing to consider is just how big these templates are size wise
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Philadelphus on Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:42 am

Ok, let's see, Speak with Nature, Sweet and Elite, Words of Wisdom, Villainous Laughter, Pinkie's Interrogation, and Forcefield have all been added back in. Detect Thoughts has been renamed Read Thoughts. Terrify has had its wording tweaked slightly to better clarify it (hopefully). Flight abilities have been fixed, and I added a clarifying clause to the note for Loyalty. I think that covers the majority of points ZamuelNow brought up.

Now, racial templates...you guys want some of those. Bear in mind that I wasn't planning on making these so what you're getting here is fresh off the top of my head, and subject to change and revision. With that said, here's my take:

Each race will have two sets of abilities: core abilities, which are what you might call actual racial traits – things that a member of that race ought to be able to do just by virtue of being a normal functioning mature individual of that race. The other will be suggested abilities, which are just that: suggestions for new players unsure what to take. They're things I think might go well or fit flavor-wise for some races, and I've given my reasoning where I thought it wasn't clear. They're open to change, so if you think something else would fit better (or some of them just don't really fit) feel free to say so.

Earth Pony:
Core abilities: None
Suggested abilities: Instant-Party (could flavor either Pinkie-Pie style food-out-of-hyperspace, or go for a slightly more canonical ability to grow plants for food really quickly), Nimble Hooves (let's face it, you really need them as an earth pony), Adept (to represent down-to-earth grit and determination), Hop, Skip, and Jump (to represent general physical ability), Yee-Haw! (the same), Speak With Nature (general plant affinity).

Pegasus:
Core abilities: It's Almost Like Flying, Weather-Crafter
Suggested abilities: Flight, Flight School, Awesomeness/Coolness/Radicalness (for that fighting pegasus spirit that refuses to give up in the face of defeat), Haste (pegasi seem to be pretty fast when they put their minds to it), The Rainbow Dash (some of them really, really fast).

Unicorn:
Core abilities: Telekinesis
Suggested abilities: Advanced Telekinesis, Spellchild (to allow them to work a little magic "for free"), This Is Whining! (for magically turning things around), Dispel Magic (for dealing with other unicorns' spells).

Baby Dragon:
Core abilities: Fireborn, Pyrotechnics
Suggested abilities: Longrunner (to represent that dragon stamina), Burrower (good digging power), Grandeur (because how cool is it to have a dragon in your party?).

Minotaur:
Core abilities: Terrify
Suggested abilities: Attack The Day (inspiring allies to greater heights), Fracture the Fourth Wall (because they seem to be able to do that), Challenge Fate/Against the Gods (because that seems like a thing they'd do), Nimble Hooves Hands (because they're probably a bit better at fine manipulation than most ponies).

Donkey:
Core abilities: None
Suggested abilities: Stubbornness, Stubborn as a Mule, Longrunner (for general donkey stick-to-it-iveness), Iron Pony (for even more Endurance), Hop, Skip, and Jump (general physical fitness).

Buffalo:
Core abilities: None
Suggested abilities: Hop, Skip, and Jump, Longrunner, Iron Pony, Herd Mentality (for working together with tribe members to accomplish tasks), Yee-Haw (general physical fitness).

Hippogriff:
Core abilities: It's Almost Like Flying, Weather-Crafter, Thunderborn
Suggested abilities: Flight, Flight School, Lightning Rod (lightning afinity), The Rainbow Dash (EXTREME SPEED!).

Zebra:
Core abilities: Words of Wisdom
Suggested abilities: Enchantment (general magical versatility, through potions of course), Hop, Skip, and Jump (general physical ability), Strengthen/Weaken Subtance (potions), Speak With Nature (nature affinity).

Griffon:
Core abilities: Terrify, It's Almost Like Flying, Weather-Crafter
Suggested abilities: Flight, Flight School, Haste (general speediness), Dirty Look (because I'm sure they could give a real good one), Watching Like a Hawk (sounds griffonish), Eagle Eye (flavorful).

Changeling:
Core abilities: It's Almost Like Flying, Telekinesis, Changeling's Trickery
Suggested abilities: Flight, Flight School, Advanced Telekinesis, Cunning Disguise (highly appropriate), Nightwatch, Untraceable (seems appropriate for a changeling), Telepathy (seems appropriate for a sort of "hive-mind"), Haste (for fiery meteor smashing), Spider Climb (for hanging on to things), Empathetic (for "sensing emotions", like love).

Diamond Dogs:
Core abilities: Burrower, Nightwatch, Scent Tracker
Suggested abilities: Herd Mentality (because they seem to come in packs), Villainous Laughter (seem like they'd be good at it), Gotcha! (good for grabbing troublesome creatures).


Well, in writing these templates I may have solved the problem I was having with how to deal with Changeling's Trickery in this new format. I need to look at it some time when it isn't late and I'm not stupidly tired, but I think with some judicious wording this should allow changeling-type abilities in the system.

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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:50 am

That split... that works very, very well actually.

I am very curious to see where your gonna go with the Changeling Trickery stuff.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:31 pm

Pingcode wrote:Going over the new stuff and taking into account the wording of derp, I think this needs an errata that Derp's crit range extension isn't a natural one - besides, it's a drawback, it shouldn't be turned into a massive advantage with certain combos.
Ping, my understanding is that Derp turns 2 and 3's into nat-1's...

When it comes to the new system. I love the idea. But will take time to move over from the old, that's my opinion. Also this is but a first draft, so I'd hope it get's refined quickly within a week or two.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:36 pm

Ok... One thing I dislike that I just noticed... WHY does the level up for new points be the same? Wasn't the point of this new system to allow for passive character growth for ALL levels?
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  ZamuelNow on Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:42 pm

Requesting page numbers in the footer.  Considering a comment made earlier, I wonder if the ability names should stay 12 pt font while the descriptions should be 11 pt font.  It would be subtle but would lessen the amount of page space used.  Might require a page break here or there though.  Suggesting Times New Roman with either Modern Antiqua or Fredricka the Great as the top of page header for better standardization with the other system documents.

Philadelphus wrote:Ok, let's see, Speak with Nature, Sweet and Elite, Words of Wisdom, Villainous Laughter, Pinkie's Interrogation, and Forcefield have all been added back in. Detect Thoughts has been renamed Read Thoughts. Terrify has had its wording tweaked slightly to better clarify it (hopefully). Flight abilities have been fixed, and I added a clarifying clause to the note for Loyalty. I think that covers the majority of points ZamuelNow brought up.
I'm pretty surprised Villainous Laughter came back.  Considering how much its worth was contested, I figured it was pretty high on the list of things to get dropped.  Just realized that Audiomancy, Crystalline, Element Master, Minimize, and Sunderblade aren't in the new list.  Mixed on Many Tongues exclusion since it's one of those useful things that never gets used.  Perhaps it should be buffed to explicitly state "speak, read, and understand" so it's more useful for reading ancient texts.  Speak With The Dead seems more useful and worth keeping since its last buff.  Magical Attunement is another in a weird place since it could be argued that Magecraft's removal/revamp means the magic detection should just be lumped in Arcana's base usage since it loses a lot of worth as a flat Attribute.  There's other missing things that seem to either have mirrors available or seem more like NPC powers so I'm not opting to argue for them though I can see their use and probably wouldn't mind if they were back.

While reworded, Brawn and Precision are still mentioned in the flight tree. While things like "I fly with my healing!" comes off like someone trying to min-max or metagame, alternate skills are sometimes used for the skill check. It should really be restructured as "## penalty to skill checks made to fly" and state that they should pick a flight skill. It's one of those forum errata things that either never made it to the documents or made it in but got overwritten. That reminds me, both Flight and Weather-Crafter need to state that the user may treat clouds as solid objects.

Now, racial templates...you guys want some of those. Bear in mind that I wasn't planning on making these so what you're getting here is fresh off the top of my head, and subject to change and revision. With that said, here's my take:

Each race will have two sets of abilities: core abilities, which are what you might call actual racial traits – things that a member of that race ought to be able to do just by virtue of being a normal functioning mature individual of that race. The other will be suggested abilities, which are just that: suggestions for new players unsure what to take. They're things I think might go well or fit flavor-wise for some races, and I've given my reasoning where I thought it wasn't clear. They're open to change, so if you think something else would fit better (or some of them just don't really fit) feel free to say so.
It mostly seems to work.  It's a little interesting that in more direct conversion from the old guides, I found that unicorns and pegasi were worth 12 points while earth pones were 10 points due to lacking a racial in the conversion and needing to use approximations.  I like the fact that while the old system had things that seemed to be approximations and guesses for the race templates, it felt like they really worked for the concepts.

As far as show canon, it explicitly states that earth ponies grow crops well but it implies that they are good at all ends of the food production chain with the number of food based jobs and the fact that this isn't mirrored in the other two pony races.  The subtlety and the overlap with singular individuals of other races muffles things.  Essentially, earth ponies are harvesters and homemakers, unicorns are artisans and scholars, and pegasi are military and athletes.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:01 pm

Also missing from the list, is Thunderbird...
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:09 pm

... I think I'll abstain from rereading to review until changeling trickery is updated
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:27 pm

Fury of the Tempest wrote:I hated the old laughter with a passion... I almost never wanted it to be used.

Which caused arguments...

Am I one of the only people here that actually likes the changes, but I simply think it requires more work?

A few more upgrade options would be nice, but there's more important stuff to work on.
Fury, you aren't alone in likeing the changes, I like them too. And equally feel that this first draft needs a good deal of revision before it's finalized.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:32 pm

I think both I and Philladelphus agree with those sentiments too. We wanted to get everyone's feedback long before it was presented as something 'finalized' - but with enough developed that people wanting to could playtest it. My players have been playtesting this ability system myself and it's gone well so far in its infancy.

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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:39 pm

Well... What do you do with the whole of the lack of magecraft/magical tricks in the system? Also having the arcana options for forcefeild being unlocked by "dispel magic" really just is odd to me.

Also... Personal Project is missing... THIS IS WORST POSSIBLE THING EVER! I loved Personal Project! Hell most favoret combo is mixing it wiht magecraft/magical tricks.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:43 pm

Magecraft itself as we currently know it is destined to be a DM-option to include without being specifically available to players in the core books (like the Chaos virtue). I opted to use it, because I'm confident how to balance it. As it turned out, the player that focused entirely on maxing arcana with magecraft ended up finding his less focused heal skill far more valuable and his character arc (both mechanically and story-wise) became focused on his growth toward becoming a healer.

As for the basics of understanding magic and fiddling with it on a very minor scale (the way that mechanics can fiddle with locks and traps) I let the normal arcana skill do that.

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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  ZamuelNow on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:43 pm

The Dispel Magic option on Forcefield is not for the creator but instead it's for those trying to break it. They can either try to smash it or they can de-spell to simply turn it off.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:46 pm

Also there is missing racials Personal Project and Thunderbird... (I can understand retooling Personal project will be hard, but still I love the silly thing. and the edit to my last post, I loved comboing it with magecraft)

I'll admit that does sound like a swell idea to turn Magecraft into an Optional thing... Would help balance the thing in my opinion...
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:52 pm

Magecraft opitinal would make it easier for DM's
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:47 pm

If we're going to keep Honesty as is, I suggest we at least get a clear cut def on what "helpless" and "without distrtion" mean. I mean without those two details, honesty can only be as strong as the GM and PCs can argue it is. With the GM's opinion winning more often then not. Which just at a glance is really weak.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Philadelphus on Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:38 pm

Xel Unknown wrote:Ok... One thing I dislike that I just noticed... WHY does the level up for new points be the same? Wasn't the point of this new system to allow for passive character growth for ALL levels?
That's another thing I forgot to mention in my original post. At the moment, you get 30 points at level 1, and then would get 3 points (the equivalent of a utility talent) at levels 2, 5, and 8.

We've actually discussed this a bit, and Dan brought up the point that characters really get a lot of stuff at the very beginning, and fairly minor improvements after that (other than destinies, but those usually involve at most one or two choices and the rest just plays out). There was a suggestion of reducing the amount of points at level 1, while simultaneously increasing the points you get further along. So you might start with, say, 20 points, but twice as many points each time you level up. That's just an idea we were toying with, though, no plans to make it official at this point because it would require a radical re-make of pretty much all current characters. It might be interesting to have as an optional alternate level-up scheme that would be easier for new players since they wouldn't have so many choices all at once at character creation...

ZamuelNow wrote:Requesting page numbers in the footer.  Considering a comment made earlier, I wonder if the ability names should stay 12 pt font while the descriptions should be 11 pt font.  It would be subtle but would lessen the amount of page space used.  Might require a page break here or there though.  Suggesting Times New Roman with either Modern Antiqua or Fredricka the Great as the top of page header for better standardization with the other system documents.
I can see about changing the font size. I really like my Droid Serif font, but standardization is good too.

Also, I meant to ask this yesterday and forgot, would people like abilities to be organized the way they were in the utility talents document (Utility Belt, Spellcrafting, Psionics, etc.) rather than by point-cost?

ZamuelNow wrote:I'm pretty surprised Villainous Laughter came back.  Considering how much its worth was contested, I figured it was pretty high on the list of things to get dropped.  Just realized that Audiomancy, Crystalline, Element Master, Minimize, and Sunderblade aren't in the new list.  Mixed on Many Tongues exclusion since it's one of those useful things that never gets used.  Perhaps it should be buffed to explicitly state "speak, read, and understand" so it's more useful for reading ancient texts.  Speak With The Dead seems more useful and worth keeping since its last buff.  Magical Attunement is another in a weird place since it could be argued that Magecraft's removal/revamp means the magic detection should just be lumped in Arcana's base usage since it loses a lot of worth as a flat Attribute.  There's other missing things that seem to either have mirrors available or seem more like NPC powers so I'm not opting to argue for them though I can see their use and probably wouldn't mind if they were back.
Villainous Laughter someone else requested for a character they have. I'm rapidly finding out which utility talents people really care about! Some of those others should definitely come back too.

ZamuelNow wrote:While reworded, Brawn and Precision are still mentioned in the flight tree.  While things like "I fly with my healing!" comes off like someone trying to min-max or metagame, alternate skills are sometimes used for the skill check.  It should really be restructured as "## penalty to skill checks made to fly" and state that they should pick a flight skill.  It's one of those forum errata things that either never made it to the documents or made it in but got overwritten.  That reminds me, both Flight and Weather-Crafter need to state that the user may treat clouds as solid objects.
I don't know why that got left in there, I must have been more tired than I thought when I made the change last night. Fixed now.

Interesting point about treating clouds as solid objects, I thought that Weather-Crafter said something to that effect but I guess not. Hmm. According to the show, birds can sit on clouds too (Find a Pet), so it would seem that the ability is tied to being able to fly...whereas Rarity was weather-crafting in Magical Mystery Cure, but probably wasn't able to sit on clouds at the time. So maybe it should just go under flying? Then you could have, say, unicorns with Weather-Crafter but who can't sit on clouds, and any pegasi with Weather-Crafter are going to be able to by virtue of being able to fly. Since Weather-Crafter specifically doesn't mention how you change the weather, whether by directly interacting with it or by using magic or what. I'll go ahead and add a line about cloud-walking to It's Almost Like Flying.

ZamuelNow wrote:
Philadelphus wrote:racial templates and stuff...
It mostly seems to work.  It's a little interesting that in more direct conversion from the old guides, I found that unicorns and pegasi were worth 12 points while earth pones were 10 points due to lacking a racial in the conversion and needing to use approximations.  I like the fact that while the old system had things that seemed to be approximations and guesses for the race templates, it felt like they really worked for the concepts.
Yeah, the assist bonus improvement stuff got bundled into The Most Dependable of Ponies and had a slight discount, so you can exactly recover earth pony racials from before and have an extra 2 points afterwards (compared to pegasi and unicorns).

Xel Unknown wrote:Also there is missing racials Personal Project and Thunderbird... (I can understand retooling Personal project will be hard, but still I love the silly thing. and the edit to my last post, I loved comboing it with magecraft)
I cut Personal Project when I first started on this project because at first glance it looked really hard to move over. On second glance, now that I have more experience with the new system, I think it wouldn't be too hard to do (it'd have a format similar to the Element of Magic, most likely). There's no real reason not to, so I'll look into adding it back in.

Thunderbird isn't in there partly because I dislike how half of its functionality is already in Thunderborn and I hate having redundancy (I also dislike having both Waterborn and One With The Waves when both of them offer super-non-drowning and water-protection abilities). On the flip side, I really like the second half the Thunderbird (the extra assist boost part), and I'd really like to take that part and make it a more flavor-neutral 1- or 2-point ability on its own. I'd meant to look into that but had forgotten about it, so thanks for reminding me.

Also, I agree that a clarification/definition of the terms in Honesty would be good, I'll see about nailing that down.

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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Xel Unknown on Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:43 pm

Personally I LIKE the reduncy of there being multiable immunite type x-borns in the system. I mean not everyone who'e want to be immune to X, would want to also be able to expel X from their body. If possible I'd enjoy there bieng an option for each of the x-borns to have a non-born option to be immune that type of thing. But I guess you got a point that the 5 a day charged bonus to skill checks thing is better off as a flavor nutral version.
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Re: Utility Talent/Racial Trait overhaul/revamp - New "Abilities" system

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:59 pm

Also, I meant to ask this yesterday and forgot, would people like abilities to be organized the way they were in the utility talents document (Utility Belt, Spellcrafting, Psionics, etc.) rather than by point-cost?
Yes please!

Also, you ARE working on changing Changeling Trickery right? Or does official templates come first?
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