A Brand New System - Official Announcement

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Quietkal on Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:42 pm

Just a thought, but how's life loss planned to interact with the Fatal Damage? Since it's not technically damage, would it only work up until the creature was knocked unconscious, or would it just sort of translate over into Fatal anyway?
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:03 pm

If life loss is maintained (we might decide that just dealing damage is enough), it would work the same as damage does. Damage is an effect that causes life loss if not prevented. Life loss bypasses the types of things that can prevent or redirect damage. So, fatal damage would be caused by losing more life than you have left. It'd just called fatal damage right now because it's helpful to understand what it does.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Zarhon on Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:06 pm

Similarly to that, how would abilities that cause 'self-harming', 'set hp to X' or 'ally harming' interact with fatal damage?

Would using "All or Nothing", verge on suicidal, giving you 15 fatal damage at the next turn, potentially killing you outright? Would stuff like supercharge be capable of giving you fatal damage if it ends up knocking you out? Would there be traits that allow you to avoid causing fatal damage to self or allies, or will such random/risky abilities be scrapped/altered altogether?
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:27 pm

Lots of current talents are built around a system that doesn't use fatal damage. Our new system will likely take inspiration from some and make similar talents that work in the new system. We can't comment on specific abilities yet, because we're not trying to just port the game over into new rules. We're looking to build a selection of talents, abilities and similar that are ideal for the new system. This will likely involve a lot of ports, because why reinvent the wheel?

In short, the process is not going to be "how will All or Nothing work in the new system?" The question we instead ask is, "Do we want an effect that gives tons of power this turn and drops you next turn in the system to begin with? Does it serve the new game's design goals?" If the answer to that question is yes, we'll take a look at what we've already designed and see if we have a cool talent that already fits this role. If we have one that we like, we'll port it in.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Xel Unknown on Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:51 pm

Personally I like Reist bypass and Loss of Life moves... Loss of Life itself being a neat little loophole in my opinion when it comes to the -X to damage traits... Allowing a healer build to still be able to do damage if needed.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Philadelphus on Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:07 am

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:In short, the process is not going to be "how will All or Nothing work in the new system?" The question we instead ask is, "Do we want an effect that gives tons of power this turn and drops you next turn in the system to begin with? Does it serve the new game's design goals?"
Well said. Basically, don't assume anything in the current system is going to be transferred over; we're rebuilding from the ground up, and if we come across a spot that could be filled by something we already have, then we'll use it.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Pingcode on Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:37 am

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

Post  Crystalite on Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:46 pm

You made new smileys and didn't tell us!? Shame!
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Dusk Raven on Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:15 pm

I assume from the "building from the ground up" sentiments that this may take a while to be released... curse you for making me all excited.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:22 pm

*evil laugh*

The good news is that your positive reactions have made us even more excited to work on it. We've already made phenomenal progress in the last week or so. However, we've learned our lesson about releasing things prematurely. It's just messy when we end up having to fix huge portions of it later. We'll definitely let you guys start testing it's ready for Beta, which we hope to have done before Summer. It depends on our schedules going forward.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:57 pm

Proactive Skills
In no particular order, these are the current proactive skills in our new system. They're subject to change, as is everything, and they're not going to be perfect for every single character (even games with over 100 skills don't always suit everyone) but we feel like this is going to be a vast improvement when it comes to both customization and gameplay over the old system. You will also no longer have attributes, so it's no longer impossible to make perfectly sensible character concepts like "a wizard that really doesn't know anything about healing".

Perception
Noticing details, spotting traps and ambushes etc.

Insight
Reading peoples' expressions, tones of voice and similar to determine what they're feeling and whether they're lying.

Might
Physical strength, swimming against the current, leaping wide chasms, breaking down doors.

Acrobatics
Tumbling, Balancing, Juggling, Agility. This + Might equals the old Athletics. Acrobatics and Might overlap in things like Running or Mountain Climbing which both could perform.

Heal
Injuries-be-gone and analyzing wounds, diseases etc.

Arcana
Analyzing and Manipulating magical effects, similar to how Dexterity can fiddle with traps or machines.

Dexterity
Small Motor Skills, lock-picking, machine-jiggering and trap-disabling/resetting.

Stealth
Name says it all

General Knowledge
Anything that doesn't fall into another skill. Who's the king here? Who's the local mob boss? How do you cook a decent meal? Which mushrooms are sage to eat? No longer will there never be any skill that works for a particular challenge.


Defensive Skills
It's often a major pain to take skills like Endurance only to have your dungeon-master never actually hit you with something that cares. On the other hand, most players won't take Endurance because of this and thus a DM has to be careful how many 'endurance-matters' things he or she throws at the party. It's a vicious cycle, and taking defensive options isn't as fun as taking some of the more proactive skills (even Heal can analyze wounds to determine information Sherlock Holmes style, and the presence of Injuries in the new system will make it vastly more useful). Thus, you'll also get the following 3 skills which you'll get to spend points on separately, according to how you envision your character.

Endurance
Enduring serious damage, wounds and diseases through sheer physical toughness

Reflexes
Responding to traps and ambushes with lightning speed.

Willpower
Mentally resistant to mind-altering affects, or similar mental assaults (from resisting body possession and charm spells to holding onto one's sanity in the face of abominations).



Where's the Persuasion?
In an optional supplement. It's a fine line to walk between providing skills that improve gameplay/represent what your player is capable of and skills that take away the core experience of roleplaying. Here are some common issues with having a persuasion-based, "social tank".


1) The, “oh really” roll

Player 1: I ask the King for a boat (rolls decently).

King: I cannot spare any ships at the moment, I’m afraid. The huegoths harry our waters each moon and
There will not be--

Player 2: Oh really? You sure? (rolls huge)

King: … Oh alright.

This is the, “oh really?” roll. It’s the social equivalent of a skilled thief taking over at picking a lock. Only, unlike with the lock, this check precludes an interesting roleplaying exchange and cuts interactions with the King short.  It’s particularly troublesome for new DMs and new players, which use the Persuasion skills like a button to press when faced with unwilling NPCs. A DM could just say the king can’t be persuaded by tone, but that’s making the Persuasion checks irrelevant.


2) Shut up, don’t talk to him, I’m the one with the high Persuasion!

You wouldn’t want a guy with a low heal check to be making the crucial heal roll. You wouldn’t want the guy with low stealth to try sneaking past the guards. Why would you want the guy with the low persuasion skill to be talking to anyone important?

Players attempt to optimize this simple truth and people with lower Persuasion scores get pushed away from roleplaying. You can try to get around this by letting the roleplay happen naturally and then let the highest Persuasion guy roll no matter what, but that’s really artificial. In a character-based game like we want the new system to focus on, discouraging players from talking to NPCs isn’t high on our priority list.

3) Why do we need it anyway?
Persuasion skills create problems for roleplaying exchanges, sure, but what do they actually bring to the table? A bit of added character customization I suppose, but there are tons of ways to customize your characters and you can still roleplay the character as a persuasive devil. The persuasion skills are only really useful in character customization for players that suck beyond belief at diplomacy (and similar). They allow a guy who can only think to say, “Oh really? You sure about that?” in a bland tone to somehow come off as wildly persuasive in-game. That creates its own roleplaying problems. I’ve often had players get very frustrated because their diplomatic skills in roleplaying couldn’t support their diplomacy skill in a game. Their frustration was nothing compared to the other players at the table.

On the other hand, I’ve run whole games without a single Persuasion check to see whether it’s needed. I found those games flowing with rich conversation and an added emphasis on what the king’s motivations are and how you can get him to give you the boat. When you can’t just press the Persuade button, you actually have to pay more attention to the characters you’re interacting with.


The Reduced-Roleplaying Supplement
I know some DMs will want to include persuasion skills in their games anyway, and sometimes it can even be a good idea. Experienced DMs can also carefully circumvent most of the above issues (though it takes added work). We'd rather just cut the problem to begin with and give DMs that want persuasion-skills in their games the option to include them. You can just have a single ‘persuasion’ skill’ of course, but here is some added customization (which is the main point of putting it as a skill on a character sheet).

Either way, I’d recommend trying out the game without persuasion-skills first and seeing if you or your players like it that way. You can always add the following skills back in later.

Deception
How good you are at convincing others of your sincerity. If you are a master at Deception, you can tell someone that the sky is green and they’ll believe that you think it’s green (but won’t think it’s green themselves).

Persuasion
How good you are at convincing someone to agree with your position. If you are a master at Persuasion, you can get someone to believe that the sky is green – but good luck doing so if they think you’re trying to trick them.

Intimidate
How good you are at making people afraid of you. If you are a master at Intimidate, you can get someone to shout that the sky is green to everyone in earshot because they’re very, very afraid to disagree with you.


Last edited by Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:36 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Dusk Raven on Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:19 pm

A sensible setup. The three defensive skills remind me of the Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves of D&D.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:29 pm

Thanks. We spent a huge amount of time on it. It was funny how we didn't set out to mimic D&D's three defenses, but it just worked out that way. It's a very nice division for customization and gameplay. I've always liked those three defenses too, when I was playing 4e.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  mjh6 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:28 pm

So, would the points thing work the same as it does now? You get enough points so that if you spread them out evenly, each skill has 7, and you can only raise each to 10 under normal circumstances, then you apply training and expert skills? Or will there be something new?
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:43 pm

There will be a very similar system to what you're used to. Can't confirm the exact numbers yet, but with the skill-by-skill customization, I don't think we'll need training anymore. There may end up being options in abilities to do something similar to training if you want it, but we haven't worked out the numbers yet. I posted the skills in question the moment the system was designed and the whole team signed off, but it has yet to go through the numbers-tweaking of, 'development'.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Zarhon on Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:55 pm

Seems like an interesting array of skills. Approve of the 'isolation' the defensive skills get. Overall, pretty good stuff, though general knowledge seems like it might be a tad too strong by it's sheer flexibility.

There's a bit of vagueness with a few of them, though:

Insight
Spoiler:
An odd choice of name, given what insight normally means. It implies areas of understanding beyond just other creatures, which the skill as suggested seems to be exclusively focused on.

Wouldn't something like "empathy" fit more for those creature-oriented areas? Or does insight include stuff like deductive and logical reasoning, or understanding of 'cause and effect'?

Dexterity and Acrobatics
Spoiler:
These seem to raise a minor confusion when it comes to 'aiming' skills (archery, shooting with a gun or accuracy-requiring machine, juggling knives and flaming batons...), unless acrobatics is purely for bodily/dancing/performing feats.

Deception and Intimidate
Spoiler:
These seem to be redundant to add as 'optional' skills, since they seem to be fulfilled via insight (use someone's knowledge to make them assume a non-truth, or find out what they fear/are threatened by, so you can intimidate them with it), arcana/might (scare someone with a show of force or magical prowess / mystery of the unexplainable). Stealth could also count in some ways towards deception (hiding the truth, keeping one unaware of something in a conversation, concealing info, avoiding unwanted/risky topics...).

Defensive skills
Spoiler:
Considering their name implies them being used defensively, does that mean that for skill checks that don't involve a threat or immediate, unavoidable challenge to the player, the other equivalent skills are used in its stead?

For instance, a pony trying to climb an ice-covered, freezing mountain would probably require endurance to not keel-over and die. But what if the pony is trying to haul a large concrete slab over a long distance, a task that is taxing and exhausting, but not threatening or harmful. Do they use might, or endurance for such a task?

Similar situation can happen if a wizard tries to manipulate spells that need lots of concentration - assuming the task isn't threatening or can bring negative effects from a failure, do they use willpower, or arcana?

Long story short - Are defensive skills something PCs only use in response to DM threats, or are players expected/allowed/required to use them as skills that involve no threats, instead of relevant skills? Cause there might be a bit of a disparity between them (e.g. a player with minimal might, but massive endurance, allowing them to do superhuman feats of power whilst being a weakling).
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:25 pm

Zarhon wrote:Seems like an interesting array of skills. Approve of the 'isolation' the defensive skills get. Overall, pretty good stuff, though general knowledge seems like it might be a tad too strong by it's sheer flexibility.

There's a bit of vagueness with a few of them, though:


Defensive skills
Spoiler:
Considering their name implies them being used defensively, does that mean that for skill checks that don't involve a threat or immediate, unavoidable challenge to the player, the other equivalent skills are used in its stead?

For instance, a pony trying to climb an ice-covered, freezing mountain would probably require endurance to not keel-over and die. But what if the pony is trying to haul a large concrete slab over a long distance, a task that is taxing and exhausting, but not threatening or harmful. Do they use might, or endurance for such a task?

Similar situation can happen if a wizard tries to manipulate spells that need lots of concentration - assuming the task isn't threatening or can bring negative effects from a failure, do they use willpower, or arcana?

Long story short - Are defensive skills something PCs only use in response to DM threats, or are players expected/allowed/required to use them as skills that involve no threats, instead of relevant skills? Cause there might be a bit of a disparity between them (e.g. a player with minimal might, but massive endurance, allowing them to do superhuman feats of power whilst being a weakling).


1) Insight could easily be renamed Empathy, but neither name is perfect. Insight implies some wrong aspects, but Empathy is a broader concept than lacking the ability to read expressions, tone and body language. Someone oblivious to that stuff could still feel deep empathy for someone. Anyone have a third name suggestion?

2)All talky skills are going to be unnecessary, which is why we didn't include them in the base. However, none of the other skills can help you lie better. You can scare someone with other actions, but you can't give the "I will find you and I will kill you" speech in a more menacing voice than another character with a different skill. Stealth definitely doesn't help you lie.

3) Defensive skills are meant to be reactive in nature, not proactive. Endurance would not directly help you lug a cart for 100 miles. However, if you start pulling it so long that you have to make an endurance check to NOT suffer a debilitating exhaustion condition, endurance will help you endure such effects and enable you to keep going. Might is what you'd use to pull the cart in the first place.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  ZamuelNow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:46 pm

Sitting and re-reading Zarhon's question on defensive skills, I think it does bring up something that should be in the GM guide. There should be some discussion of "take 10" and "take 20" concepts. Someone with low might isn't moving the cart anywhere but someone with average might may be willing to take the "slow and steady wins the race" option for a non-immediate task. It should be discussed for GMs but not a default.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:54 pm

Good point. We might not use those exact mechanics (not as big a fan of take 10 as I am of take 20), but we should definitely talk about some version of the concept. It's seriously helpful.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  ZamuelNow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:37 pm

I think most take 10/routine check situations probably fall on the GM simply telling the player not to roll. Applejack trying to harvest an orchard should require a roll but a small handful of trees while fully rested on a nice day should be hand waved.

I'm wondering how General Knowledge is going to interact with Freaky Knowledge and also the loss of History. History probably runs into the role play issues Persuasion has but I wonder if GK is too broad. Though I guess it could be argued that FK will always have use due to the fact that it's a specialist skill and can help define a character.
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:40 pm

Indeed. I've already tried out General Knowledge in a game and it's been absolutely fine so far. I'm sure someone somewhere will try to apply it to do something silly, but we'll just explain that it's for things that fall through the cracks and handling random things. If it's doing anything proactive, powerful and intense - you're using it wrong. It's so *broad* that the DCs to do anything truly challenging in it would require great rolls and FK at best.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Quietkal on Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:59 pm

Is Arcana still the magic casting skill, or is that relegated to flavor in abilities?
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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:03 pm

Abilities are how you create tangible effects out of nothing.

Arcana lets you manipulate EXISTING magical effects, as well as analyze them, the way dexterity can help you disable traps or slightly rejigger them. Arcana could dispel or help you bypass enchantments, or perhaps slightly tweak them to your advantage (if a spell is detecting for non-goblins for a golem to attack, you might be able to shift it to detecting goblins instead with a great check). Gaining control of certain magical constructs, like golems, can also be possible the same way dexterity can let you fiddle with a mechanical turret.

It's magical mechanics basically. You couldn't use it like Magecraft could. Thank god.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Philadelphus on Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:25 am

Regarding the use of insight, I think it works quite well for its role. Two people could both listen to a third person telling a sad tale of woe that befell them; the first could empathize with them and want to cheer them up as a result, while the second could observe them closely and use insight to tell that they're actually an actor making it all up. It's basically "reading people" and I think "insight" sums it up nicely.

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Re: A Brand New System - Official Announcement

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:27 pm

Thought I'd spoil our current draft of the Rework's Level-Up Table (including what you get at level 1).

Commentary:
The old system got a ridiculous number of ability points at level 1, because it was originally designed to be a 1-level game (without any level-ups whatsoever). When we added leveling up, we couldn't afford to give out a lot more non-combat stuff, especially if we wanted room for destinies, because there was a crazy amount at level one.

In testing, we discovered that non-combat abilities are surprisingly not very necessary for a great story and roleplaying experience. We ran whole games without any non-combat abilities whatsoever (and many other systems hand out practically none) outside of the skill system. This gave us freedom to cut back on the abilities at level 1, which should also make getting into the game easier, and instead make level-ups much cooler by giving you lots of added ability options as you gain levels.

We also cut boons because they're a great idea in theory but in practice we could never get them to work. There were few abilities that felt powerful enough to be a boon without creating massive headaches for DMs. We tried so, so hard to get Boons to work in the old system but the vast majority were almost-universally met with shrugs and 'meh' responses - which is almost worse than outright hatred. At least hatred is making people feel something.

Instead, we're following a common house-rule and are going to be handing out a lot of added personal power instead. Trust me, if we could design boons that were awesome without causing problems - we would. We loved the idea when it was first pitched. If some of you figure out how to do it and make a great supplement, awesome. Until then, we are very sad-but-relieved to see them go.


Level 1: 10 Novice Ability Points, 1 Special Move, 1 Novice Feature, 7 Combat Talents, Assorted Skills
Level 2: 3 Heroic Ability Points, 2 Heroic Trait Points
Level 3: 3 Heroic Ability Points, 2 Heroic Trait Points
Level 4: Choose Your Destiny
Level 5: 3 Heroic Ability Points, 2 Heroic Trait Points
Level 6: 3 Legendary Points, 2 Legendary Trait Points
Level 7: Destiny Feature
Level 8: 3 Legendary Points, 2 Legendary Trait Points
Level 9: 3 Legendary Points, 2 Legendary Trait Points
Level 10: Destiny Feature


Notes
As mentioned earlier, abilities will be separated by tier. Novice points can purchase novice abilities, heroic points can purchase heroic abilities and legendary points can purchase legendary abilities.

Novice abilities will be roughly as powerful as the current abilities in PT and LL. Heroic abilities will be roughly 2x as powerful as equivalently-costed novice abilities and Legendary abilities will be roughly 3x as powerful as novice abilities.

Most abilities will cost 3 points in their respective tier (the current system of costing in LL).

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Stairc -Dan Felder
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