A Brand New System - Official Announcement

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A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:53 am

Hey everypony, your friendly neighborhood DM here. A few of you might have already heard us talk about this in various Skype messages and PMs, but we obviously couldn't make the official announcement until today.

The Road We Traveled:
Nearly two years ago, I sat down to run a pony one-shot. Not finding any systems that I really wanted to use, especially over voicechat, I decided to make my own. With a little help from some friends, particularly Kindulas, we got the core of the system at level 1 designed and ready for playtesting in just eight days. Naturally it was seriously rough around the edges and had a lot of things that could easily lead to confusion, but that was fine - I'd be running the adventure so I could handle any of the balance issues and explain how everything worked as needed. And, besides, it was a one-shot. It didn't need to last in any case. There wasn't even a level-up system.

To our surprise, it ended up being a lot of fun playing in the system. The first combat ever run is still a matter of legend and song. The players asked for another session and then another and another... And soon we needed a level-up system.

Now it's nearly two years later and we've learned a ton from working on the system and getting great feedback. We've also run into a ton of problems that come from the system's rapid, fragmented creation. Even now, countless patches later, we still run into rules issues that even stump us. Yes, things were originally worded so casually that the designers can't always tell what the rules say should happen in oddball situations. There are also way too many toys players get at level 1 compared to what they get as they level up (in terms of non-combat stuff).

Combat balance is completely wonky too. The combat system was originally designed to work as a kind of puzzle, since we didn't think the combat we designed to run fluidly over voice-chat would be fun enough on its own to stay interesting. Luckily we were wrong, but this means the system was balanced for a type of combat that no longer occurs.

Also, where the heck is an updated and actually-useful DM's guide? I mean, seriously, it's been almost two years!

Luckily, we're excited to take everything we've learned and bring you into a brave new world (if you'd like to come of course). Asking ourselves what we'd do if we were to design a system from scratch, without worrying about protecting the sacred cows of the system as it currently stands, has led to almost every aspect of the system experiencing some fundamental change.

A lot's still in flux, but let's jump into some of the changes we expect to see in the new version.

1) No Max Life- We don't like limiting players when we don't have to, so we decided to try removing the maximum life restriction in our Wanderlust RPG. Players would still start each combat at their starting life total (so you couldn't infinitely heal near the end of a battle and then walk into the next fight with a zillion life), but if you rolled well and gained 10 life while you were at 25 - the extra life doesn't get wasted. You get to go to 35. This didn't seem to cause any problems when we got the monster's damage right and took off another rule in the system (teaching players about their max life total). With that, we're going to give it a try in the new system.


2) Techniques - A rare, new type of option will allow players to spend both combat and non-combat resources on certain abilities that have applications in both systems. Right now, we can't make a power that lets you turn into a dragon because that would have applications both inside combat and outside of combat (and no gameplay elements currently support anything that affects both systems at once). Techniques will now expand that design space. We don't expect to use them often, but when we want to represent something that flavor-wise should have both combat and non-combat applications - we can now actually make it!


3) Traits Will Use Point-Buy - We briefly worked on a system (and would like to pick it up again when we have time) called Bits. This system uses point-buy for traits and ignores items altogether. Point-buy works wonders for abilities and items, letting us carefully balance the power level of the various options and include options of varying power levels. This means that items will likely be less important to your builds, since it'll all be done through traits, and your DMs won't have to worry about your gold-totals as much. If your DM wants to give you extra toys though, he or she will still be able to and we'll have a solid system for that.


4) A Dungeon Master's Guide - Working on our game Wanderlust, a much more basic title designed for easy introduction and awesome module play, has given us great training in how to write a solid Dungeon Master's Guide. We plan to steal heavily from our work in that system to produce a more comprehensive guide to the new system. Yes, it's actually going to happen. Of course, the rest of the system needs to get done first but that'll just give us time to finish off Wanderlust's DM's guide and iron out the kinks.


5) Destinies will (probably) now provide combat benefits - Some destinies absolutely beg for a combat side of things to go along with them and we like the idea of making destinies have even more impact by using some of our massive combat design space. Just imagine how cool a level 10 combat destiny feature could be. What about if Dynamic Duo could actually let both participants support each other in a fight? What if the Miracle Worker destiny could actually heal you in combat? We want to be careful when dipping into the sticky terrain of options that bridge the once impassable divide between combat and non-combat, so we're worried this might create too many problems - but some members of the team are desperately in love with the idea and so we've decided to give it a whack. If we can't figure out a way to make it work, we'll keep destinies more similar.


6) Tiers of Power - I lose track of all the level 1 character concepts that basically max out their character concept's stuff at level 1. It's perfectly possible to be basically the best flier you can be in the game at level 1 (in terms of abilities that help you fly, not in terms of the passive boosts that come from you leveling up). Because all abilities are available at level 1, we also have to keep everything of rather low complexity because a first-time DM might need to deal with any of the abilities as early as level 1. Instead, we're going to set up about 3 tiers of power for abilites. Let's call them Novice, Heroic and Legendary for now. You'll start the game with Novice abiilty points, which you can only spend to purchase Novice abilities. You'll earn Heroic points as you level up, which you can use to purchase more powerful Heroic abilities and upgrades to your Novice abilities. The same goes for Legendary points.

This means that new players don't feel the need to read all the abilities in the whole system before deciding what they want at level 1 We can give a solid amount of options at early levels and open the floodgates at later ones when you gain Heroic points and Legendary points. Don't worry, you'll still have a lot of interesting options. You'll just have even cooler ones to look forward to as you level up. We'll likely do this for traits, abilities and techniques.


7) Injuries - This idea came from a lot of different corners. Both from fans of the system and from tests in our home games, we really liked the idea of slapping negative conditions on players to add menace beyond damage to certain threats (and it made the Heal skill a lot more valuable). We've been testing the idea for Wanderlust and it's been ridiculously awesome. We can even show you the doc that explains how injuries work in Wanderlust and gives a big list of a whole lot of them. Wanderlust is a different system (it even uses 2d6 to roll for skill checks instead of a d20) but it's based off of Pony Tales and Living Legends so you should still be able to get a great idea of how they'll work. Here's a link.

Injuries Explained - Wanderlust


8] Reworked Skills List - The current skills system leaves a lot to be desired. It was put together in an afternoon afterall. There's been a ton of great talk about how to improve it to expand options while keeping things as streamlined as possible - especially among the systems' fans. We love a lot of the ideas suggested and plan on using one of the fan proposals as a baseline for the new list of skills. You can expect to see a new skill called Reflexes if that gives any hints.


9) Combat Rebalance - Still a thing. We're also seriously going to change the options available. WAY too much random stuff crept in or led to broken combos that make DMs cry. Also, some of the broken stuff prevents us from creating interesting other stuff just because it'd make the broken stuff even more broken. The end result will hopefully be a system full of cool options that won't lead to DMs bursting out in tears... Well, not more than usual anyway.


10) Focused Goal for the System - Pony Tales/Living Legends has previously tried to wear WAY too many hats. It was supposed to simultaneously be a great system for first-time roleplayers and awesome for min-maxers and a whole lot more. Some of the goals even contradict one another. The old system tried to be everything to everyone and thus often tripped itself up. Now we have Wanderlust for our super-accessible (you can learn all the important rules from scratch and have your character built in well under 15 minutes) system that's all about enjoying one-shots. We also have Bits, which is our super-min-max system that's all about building broken combos. The new PT/LL will be all about providing a system that makes it easy for you to build almost any (reasonable) character that you've imagined for a fantasy setting and quite a few for other settings as well. Then, the system will try to make the actual experience of playing the character even more fun in practice than it looked on paper.


And... That's a lot for now. As mentioned, a lot is still in flux and we'll absolutely keep the old docs up in case you prefer our old ideas to our new ones. We've got more ideas under the hood, but these are some of the more notable ones. As for a release date, we have no idea. We really shouldn't be working on this at all right now, but we've realized that if we wait till we have time it'll NEVER happen - so we're all pitching in off hours between other projects to make it happen. However, Lapis Lazily is looking forward to running a campaign this Summer and he wants to run it in the reworked system - so we're hoping to have it ready for testing by then.

Oh, almost forgot.

Happy April Fools everyone! Make sure you play some good pranks.


Last edited by Stairc -Dan Felder on Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:50 pm; edited 7 times in total

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Zarhon on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:59 am

Jokes on you, some of these actually sound/look like good ideas. And now you're blood-oath-bound to make them happen.  Daring Do 

That wounds system doc would have been immensely useful to know about whilst I was making my Wild Worlds stuff.  You WHAT!? 

Tiers of power... That brings up the idea of having utilities which get stronger with level, passively (rather than via points, though they'd have to have the ability BEFORE they level to gain the level-benefit, avoiding spiking increases of power if you take lvl-improved stuff at lvl10). Something like the old "Spectral Battering Ram" becoming "Spectral Tidal Wave" when you reach lvl10, or flying gaining a "Sonic Rainboom" daily. And if the player doesn't want the passive lvl-upgrade for some reason, they can reject it in favor of more points for other abilities.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Dusk Raven on Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:45 pm

The idea of an April Fools joke is to make it obvious that you're joking. These all, for the most part, sound perfectly reasonable and exciting.  Razz 

Not a fan of the Overkill System, but the others sound pretty good.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Brony 7 of 9 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:34 pm

I am torn. So very very torn. These all sound like pretty good ideas to work on but the fact that it's April Fools might mean that they aren't anywhere near the development cycle.

Well played?
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Lapis-Lazily on Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:35 pm

I have no idea why anyone would treat this as a joke. We are entirely serious.  Big Smiles, Sweetie 

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:31 pm

One more thing Dan forgot to include!  sunny 

11) Fatal Damage - Currently, combat can be frustrating for DMs because it's difficult to give a real sense of danger when players can simply fall unconscious and pop back up like Jack-in-the-boxes over and over again. On the flip side, it's no fun for players to fall unconscious and lose all their energy. We're fixing both those problems with something we call Fatal Damage. Now, upon falling to 0 hit points, any further damage you take will count as Fatal Damage. Take enough of it, and you die. This makes it much more important to avoid falling unconscious (or getting unconscious allies back up as quickly as possible). On the flip side, this is enough of a deterrent to falling unconscious that we no longer need to penalize players by having them lose all their energy, so when you get healed you're ready to go and back in the fight immediately. Oh, and Fatal Damage will actually stick around out of combat until you can take an extended rest to remove it, so if you take a bunch of it in a fight early in the day you may want to be more careful in and around combat until it's gone!

Also, for fun, another injuries document I threw together that fits better with the current system (using 1d20 for checks, etc.) though it also uses Fatal Damage:
Injuries for the new system

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:55 pm

Thanks for bringing that up. Fatal Damage is going to be a much more lasting punishment for getting knocked down and will add a scary new tool to a DM's bag of tricks. For example, if you're at 5 life and take 15 damage - you'll now be at 0 life (unconscious) and have 10 fatal damage. If an ally grants you 20 life so you can get back to fighting, you'll now be at 20 life and still have 10 fatal damage.

Certain diseases, traps and poisons wielded by a wicked DM might also bypass your HP entirely and automatically deal fatal damage. Handle with care.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:53 pm

Well much of this feels kinda mixed bag of good ideas and stuff that could go horribly wrong... I'll just go in point by point reactions to each as I see them.

1) An Overkill System: Unsure if it's a good idea overall, sure it could work. But at the same time, it easily could just end up becoming another broken bit of madness the combat system is built on. But do have a little hope that those fears don't come to pass.

2) Techniques: I'm more wary of this idea then the overkill thing by a lot, but I will admit, as long as this third Hybrid Combat/Non-Combat thing is built to be "optional" in a way that nothing is loss overall if not used. Then it can work wonderful I think. The combat and non-combat split this system has is a charm that I really like, so if the minor bridge between them isn't built to be a vital new thing... I'll not regret it's existence.

3) Traits Will Use Point-Buy: First thing on this list I'm happy to see. Next to combat rebalance itself I'm really hoping this'll basically turn all of our items into traits or basically do that. It'll be a welcomed change by me. Can't wait for this to be finished.

4) A Dungeon Master's Guide: All I can say is ABOUT TIME when it comes to this subject. Another of the list I'm in full support of.

5) Destinies will (probably) now provide combat benefits: Ok... Don't like this idea at all. That'll be all I can say for now, maybe the techniques stuff will seem neat enough to make me warm up to this one. But don't have high hopes at this point.

6) Tiers of Power: Mostly neutral of this thing, but logically I think it can be an improvement... But we'll see that when we see it.

7) Injuries: This seems like a neat idea that I hope the best for it.

8] Reworked Skills List: Um... Call me stupid but I'm not sure what this means. The use of the term "Skill system" I'm half-sure of what that means overall. And don't see what difference there is between this and the tiers of power thing...

9) Combat Rebalance: The #1 important item of the hour that should be finished asap in my opinion.

10) Focused Goal for the System: Another really great thing to hear about. And will agree to it.

11) Fatal Damage: Oh, now this is one neat idea to change combat altogether for the better.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  A1C Bronymous on Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:54 pm

Nuhnuhnuh no nuh no. It was a joke and that's all it was, stahp.

It was also the same joke as last years April Fools, just more detailed.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Lapis-Lazily on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:34 pm

Everybody keeps thinking this is a joke. It isn't.  Daring Do 

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  ZamuelNow on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:38 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:...and it actually makes balancing encounters easier since we don't need to worry as much about players losing damage by overkilling monsters.

I'm not so sure about this. I think it would be better to build these aspects into the nukes themselves than create their own mechanic.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:48 pm

Maybe an analogy will help: Dan put together a nice Model T to drive around the block a couple of times. People loved it, so he opened it up for everyone to drive. Dan & co. have been tinkering with it and adding new features for some time now, and it works "well enough" that a lot people are using it and getting annoyed when we want to haul it off the road and tinker around with the engine. We'd like to turn it into a Ferrari, but that would require completely removing the chassis and rebuilding from the ground up and would be highly disruptive (we've seen how disruptive it is switching over from utility talents to abilities, this would be a lot more disruptive than that). Since plenty of people are in the process of using it at the moment we're just going to do the least disruptive thing and go try to build a Ferrari from the ground up. That way when it's finished people can choose to use it if they like, while those who enjoy the current experience can continue to do so without change.

@Xel: Skill system refers to the various skills we have, like Persuasion, Athletics, Arcana, etc. We think we can make a better skill system than we have now. Smile

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Zarhon on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:08 pm

Lapis-Lazily wrote:Everybody keeps thinking this is a joke. It isn't.  Daring Do 

It's like you intentionally posted on April Fools day to avoid any and all negative backlash/criticism such big changes/updates might bring!
Dan vs Smiles 

My thoughts, assuming that some of the announcements aren't jokes, as I only know a few are:
Words words, and hidden surprises:

1) Assuming they work similarly to special moves, overkill could be rather cool, and would indeed be an incentive for using powerful AOEs more... Assuming the DM uses minions/multi-enemy fights, and the effects gained from overkills aren't broken.

If the simple act of "overdoing it" against a minion causes a massive (or even chaining) effect for the PCs, it might lead to DMs outright stopping using minions (or multiple-creature / summoner fights) just to avoid the overkill effects from triggering, and making the fight easier than it should be.

A boss fight with six minions can have all his minions wiped out in a single AOE move, on top of which five overkill effects might trigger. Summoning any more minions would lead to more overkills.

If this system would be implemented, it would have to take into account the DM's side as well - providing examples of DM-crafted multi-creature fights that are challenging with overkill, how to use minions (who would effectively become 'overkill bombs'), and other such stuff, in the DM handbook.

2) Curious about this. Can't really judge with no examples, but it's probably something the system would do good with - the complete combat/non-combat separation makes DMing much harder than it should be, and can stymy players at times.

The thing with techniques, though, is that they might be too good not to take - if they provided combat benefits, but at the same time 'don't count' for the usual combat limitations, picking it for combat optimization would be a necessity (it would effectively be a 9th combat talent you can take, on top of your usual limit of eight), and players without techniques would effectively always be doing less than those with them.

Could be good, could be bad, depends on execution.

3) Sounds like a solid plan. Having a specific combat build in mind, but being unable to use it at lvl1 (due to lacking key traits or items), is pretty annoying. This would hopefully make it less clunky. It does bring into question on how much combat power/potential one would get via leveling, though, and what impact the items would have, if they lost their semi-trait status.

4) Full support for this one. The current doc is a mockery of outdated, non-useful info.

5) This sounds like it could have the same problem as techniques - a specific destiny's combat benefits simply being too good (or having fantastic synergy with a specific build) to refuse it, leading to a disregard of the RP in favor of combat effectiveness, or a massive gap in combat effectiveness between players with or without a specific destiny. The idea of destinies affecting one's power would justify it as a significant power-gain, though (as well as the current notable lack of any combat advancement for destiny levels).

6) The tier powers could stymy a lot of the character building. The thing with lvl1 characters is that they're built upon the (reasonable) assumption that those abilities they will need throughout the entire game, and that they best symbolize their character's abilities. If a certain character-defining, key abilities are unavailable to a character from start, it can lead to a mechanically-bland character that has to wait to level up (in real time) to get the abilities their character needs to be cool/themselves.

It's something like, you play a mage who's really good at fireballs, a pyromancer. Except you can't do actual fireballs until you get to level 3. Leaving this awkward period where your mage is waiting to get their character-defining trait.

7) Wholeheartedly approve (and already sort of suggested/offered with my Wild Worlds injuries). Main problem of combat/noncombat separation is no good methods of applying negative stuff outside of direct combat (which can be clunky to design, especially on short-notice, thus favoring a non-combat solution), as well as allowing design of traps, a staple of DMing.

8 ) Yay! The current skills are indeed flawed in their wildly varying usefulness, relevancy, and clarity/vagueness.

9) Reasonable/expected. We'll have to see it first before judging, though.

10) A focus on 'build whatever you want' sound good, but won't the techniques and tiers of power be somewhat limiting/detrimental to it?

11) I'm actually sort of 'testing' this system via Explorers of Equestria. Looks like a solid concept in theory, so far. Hasn't come up yet in execution, though there has been some notes on it being a bit incompatible with several combat features that orient around KO'ing (like the armor of energy storing).

TLDR: If you want us to not treat the stuff as a joke / faux-promises of features, show us concepts/examples/prototypes of stuff we can actually acknowledge, rate, and most importantly, suggest ourselves (we all like having the option of creative input).


Last edited by Zarhon on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  A1C Bronymous on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:13 pm

Philadelphus wrote:Since plenty of people are in the process of using it at the moment we're just going to do the least disruptive thing and go try to build a Ferrari from the ground up. That way when it's finished people can choose to use it if they like, while those who enjoy the current experience can continue to do so without change.

Please this. I'm so much more open to learning a different system than watching one I enjoy change and disappear in the name of Science.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  AProcrastinatingWriter on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:18 pm

Bronymous wrote:Please this. I'm so much more open to learning a different system than watching one I enjoy change and disappear in the name of Science.

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:...and we'll absolutely keep the old docs up in case you prefer our old ideas to our new ones.

I'll bother critiquing these ideas if tomorrow comes and the honor-bound April Fools' Reveal hasn't happened.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Pingcode on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:30 pm

Philadelphus wrote:Maybe an analogy will help: Dan put together a nice Model T to drive around the block a couple of times. People loved it, so he opened it up for everyone to drive. Dan & co. have been tinkering with it and adding new features for some time now, and it works "well enough" that a lot people are using it and getting annoyed when we want to haul it off the road and tinker around with the engine. We'd like to turn it into a Ferrari, but that would require completely removing the chassis and rebuilding from the ground up and would be highly disruptive (we've seen how disruptive it is switching over from utility talents to abilities, this would be a lot more disruptive than that). Since plenty of people are in the process of using it at the moment we're just going to do the least disruptive thing and go try to build a Ferrari from the ground up. That way when it's finished people can choose to use it if they like, while those who enjoy the current experience can continue to do so without change.

It doesn't have a chassis. It's a rulebook. :maud:
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  ZamuelNow on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:46 pm

[quote="Zarhon"]
Lapis-Lazily wrote:6) The tier powers could stymy a lot of the character building. The thing with lvl1 characters is that they're built upon the (reasonable) assumption that those abilities they will need throughout the entire game, and that they best symbolize their character's abilities. If a certain character-defining, key abilities are unavailable to a character from start, it can lead to a mechanically-bland character that has to wait to level up (in real time) to get the abilities their character needs to be cool/themselves.

It's something like, you play a mage who's really good at fireballs, a pyromancer. Except you can't do actual fireballs until you get to level 3. Leaving this awkward period where your mage is waiting to get their character-defining trait.

What I'm hoping is that it's limited to things with upgrades. So you can be a decent flyer but you can't be the absolute best at level 1.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Zarhon on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:20 pm

ZamuelNow wrote:
Zarhon wrote:6) The tier powers could stymy a lot of the character building. The thing with lvl1 characters is that they're built upon the (reasonable) assumption that those abilities they will need throughout the entire game, and that they best symbolize their character's abilities. If a certain character-defining, key abilities are unavailable to a character from start, it can lead to a mechanically-bland character that has to wait to level up (in real time) to get the abilities their character needs to be cool/themselves.

It's something like, you play a mage who's really good at fireballs, a pyromancer. Except you can't do actual fireballs until you get to level 3. Leaving this awkward period where your mage is waiting to get their character-defining trait.

What I'm hoping is that it's limited to things with upgrades.  So you can be a decent flyer but you can't be the absolute best at level 1.
Yeah, I think it's a question of what the devs regard as decent/novice/heroic/legendary. Stuff like "how far can a lvl1 character go in out-of-combat power?".

Would a lvl1 Rainbow Dash have any chance of performing a Sonic Rainboom, or clear the skies in 10 seconds flat, outside of a cutie crit? Or does she have to level a bit first? And if crits are her only option, how did she do it when she was just a filly and had to do it to earn it?

Does Twilight Sparkle have to reach lvl 10 to telekinetically cradle Ursa Minors, or perform stable time loops?

Pingcode wrote:It doesn't have a chassis. It's a rulebook. :maud:
Ooh, a new smiley. Can we have more, please? I believe there were a lot of them back from the smiley contest, that were mentioned would be added in.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:36 pm

Zarhon wrote:
ZamuelNow wrote:
Zarhon wrote:6) The tier powers could stymy a lot of the character building. The thing with lvl1 characters is that they're built upon the (reasonable) assumption that those abilities they will need throughout the entire game, and that they best symbolize their character's abilities. If a certain character-defining, key abilities are unavailable to a character from start, it can lead to a mechanically-bland character that has to wait to level up (in real time) to get the abilities their character needs to be cool/themselves.

It's something like, you play a mage who's really good at fireballs, a pyromancer. Except you can't do actual fireballs until you get to level 3. Leaving this awkward period where your mage is waiting to get their character-defining trait.

What I'm hoping is that it's limited to things with upgrades.  So you can be a decent flyer but you can't be the absolute best at level 1.
Yeah, I think it's a question of what the devs regard as decent/novice/heroic/legendary. Stuff like "how far can a lvl1 character go in out-of-combat power?".

Would a lvl1 Rainbow Dash have any chance of performing a Sonic Rainboom, or clear the skies in 10 seconds flat, outside of a cutie crit? Or does she have to level a bit first? And if crits are her only option, how did she do it when she was just a filly and had to do it to earn it?

Does Twilight Sparkle have to reach lvl 10 to telekinetically cradle Ursa Minors, or perform stable time loops?
Don't think such talks really hold much water, sure yeah, it would be nice to get such things to match up to the show as best they can, but it's likely there is going to be a good deal of desync.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:45 pm

Yeah, the Mane 6 are exceptional pretty much by definition. Also, Lauren Faust irritatingly didn't seem to prioritize character-balance in fan-rpgs when designing her stories and world. Characters that fit the setting are the goal, not precise mimics of the Mane 6 (though we do use the show for inspiration all the time).

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:27 pm

After several hours of design and development yesterday, the team now has serious doubts about using Overkill as something everyone has to take at level 1. We still like the idea, but it's a lot clunkier in execution than we would like. If we had a computer to track things it'd be a lot easier. This was our favorite idea going into the new system, but it ultimately doesn't seem to square with our design goals or good gameplay to have absolutely everyone worry about it. The execution we'd need to use to make it playable also causes a few more developmental issues than it solves.

We still love the idea though, so we're going to try working the basic concepts into Berserker-style combat talents and traits. The idea is that using certain Berserker talents will generate a secondary resource called adrenaline, which can be used to pay for extra damage or effects. It's like building up your rage and then unleashing it. So we still get the cool design space, only it's focused on the type of gameplay and character that makes the most thematic sense for it and not given to everyone in general.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  tygerburningbright on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:16 pm

This is actually real?

Also why in your right mind would you announce it on April 1?
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Quietkal on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:34 pm

I'd say that's a good call on the Overkill. Maybe make it a thing for a few specific talents or a trait (I'd vote for just a few 'finisher' talents doing specific ovrekill effects,) and not a world mechanic.
Also, please don't announce things on April Fools day.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Zarhon on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:42 pm

On the topic of Overkill and similar "extra effects", what is the dev team's opinions on certain combat abilities or effects that depend purely on specific monster builds, types or encounters being present to function?

Examples include "Smash and Grab" (which affects enemy pips) and, "Animate Bone Mite"/"Rise for me!"/Death Is Power (which seem like 'overkill' abilities):

Talents for reference:
[-1] Smash and Grab - Standard Attack
Deal 1d8 damage to target creature. If you roll 5 or higher, that creature loses 1 energy and you gain 1 energy.

[-1] Animate Bone Mite - Reaction Utility
Trigger - An enemy falls to 0 or fewer HP
Effect - You conjure a Bone Minion that has the following stat block.

[-4] Rise for Me! - Reaction Utility [Created by Silent Belle and Sunbeam]
Trigger - An enemy falls to 0 or fewer HP.
Effect - You conjure a Blood Skeleton with the following stat block.

[-4] Death Is Power - Reaction Utility
Trigger - An enemy is reduced to 0 hp or less.
Effect - You may immediately take a standard action.

Smash and Grab sort of relies on the DM using/crafting a creature that needs energy (so, it's pointless against minions that die instantly from anything, or creatures that have only [0] abilities), and that losing 1 energy is significant (maybe the creature has a [+10] pip booster and [-10] attack, meaning losing 1 pip is rather insignificant). So, depending on the monster it's used against, it might be very useful, or a sub-optimal ability trumped by other 1d8 abilities.

The Necro talents rely on enemies having a specific amount of hp (namely, low hp, or being minions), there being multiple enemies (usually more than two, to justify its gain/effectiveness), and that the caster has pips when the enemy is downed (otherwise, he 'misses' his chance of summoning). Against a solo, a bulky bunch of monsters, or a monster dying when the necro doesn't have pips, the abilities end up are completely unusable.

Will there be modifications to such abilities, that rely on DM meta and specific monster concepts to work? Or additions to such, coupled with a DM 'monster manual' to make those abilities work?
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:35 pm

Great question. I haven't brought this up with the team yet, but I can give my personal answer.

I think some of these types of effects were clever tactical options for players and some of them were mistakes. When they give players options that are decent in most fights and aren't absurdly overpowered in any particular kind of fight, I like them. Like AOE, they're not always useful but players can take them for those times that they will be useful and enjoy the rewards. It also gives a DM a chance to design an encounter that a particular player will really get to shine in. Since all players deserve a chance to shine, this is a great tool to give players that opportunity.

When the options require the DM to build pretty much all encounters while keeping the ability in mind, when the ability is on a + move that naturally wants to be used often, or when the ability is useless in the vast majority of situations and/or way too powerful in its ideal situation then I consider it a huge mistake.

I expect we'll move ahead very cautiously with these types of talents in the rework. Ideally, we want the DM to be devoting as much of his or her brain as possible to making the story incredible and keeping combat exciting. Anything that unnecessarily creates more variables for the DM to track or more problems for them to work around is what we call a, "DM Tax".

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

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