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The Alexandrian

Skills, Attributes, and Abilities - Ruleset - Draft

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Summary: I am working on a system to govern successes and failures in RP.

Motivation: Generally, utility skills are ill-defined and undervalued.  In the absence of a system to facilitate skill checks, there is no glory in using a utility skill.  If a player decides a character busts through a reinforced door, for instance, that character busts through a reinforced door.  If a player decides a character bakes a wedding cake a la Cake Boss in well-under two minutes, that character bakes a wedding cake a la Cake Boss in well-under two minutes.  Moreover, balancing power levels on this forum is challenging.  On one hand, you have characters that one-shot god-like creatures, and on the other hand, you have mundane characters armed with swords.  I hypothesize this is tied, to some extent, to power fantasies, but I think the overarching issue is that it isn't easy to draw the line between average, powerful, and overpowered characters.  Ultimately, NPCs and the environment too often present little to no challenge to PCs.

Objective: I intend to draft an optional ruleset addressing skills, attributes, and abilities in this thread to generate a system to govern successes and failures in RP - specifically survival/community-oriented RP.  Constructive criticism is very welcome.



Skills

Revamping...


Attributes

Revamping...


Abilities

In this system, players purchase abilities at character creation or revision.  Players have 100 points to spend on Ability Acquisition.  Costs to cast are loosely based on supernal's Magic Complexity Ladder.

Passives - No Cost to Cast; Always Active

  • Resistances - 35 Points to Acquire
  • Immunities - 60 Points to Acquire
  • Innate Abilities - 50 Points to Acquire

Color/Aesthetic Changes/Benign Utility Skills - Cost 1 Mana Point to Cast

  • Manipulate Material Property (Excludes Damage Dealing Properties) - 10 Points to Acquire
  • Party Tricks - 5 Points to Acquire
  • Interpret Language - 10 Points to Acquire
  • Shape Matter - 10 Points to Acquire
  • Access Pocket Space - 5 Points to Acquire

Movement - Cost 1 Mana Point to Cast

  • Breathe Substance - 10 Points to Acquire
  • Traverse Substance - 10 Points to Acquire
  • Accelerated Travel - 30 Points to Acquire

Augury - Cost 1 Mana Points to Cast

  • Commune with Supernatural Beings - 5 Points to Acquire
  • Clairvoyance - 30 Points to Acquire

Buffs - Cost 2 Mana Points to Cast

  • Buff Attribute - 20 Points to Acquire
  • Buff Skill - 20 Points to Acquire

Enlarge/Shrink - Cost 2 Mana Points to Cast

  • Enlarge (Size Limit: 1300) - 25 Points to Acquire
  • Shrink (Size Limit: 0.005) - 25 Points to Acquire

Illusion - Cost 3 Mana Points to Cast

  • Illusory Images - 30 Points to Acquire
  • Illusory Sounds - 30 Points to Acquire
  • Illusory Smells - 15 Points to Acquire
  • Illusory Textures - 10 Points to Acquire
  • Mind Tricks - 30 Points to Acquire

Heal - Cost 3 Mana Points to Cast

  • Cure Ailment - 20 Points to Acquire
  • Induced Regeneration - 40 Points to Acquire

Plague - Cost 4 Mana Points to Cast

  • Hex - 30 Points to Acquire
  • Induce Deterioration - 30 Points to Acquire
  • Debuff Attribute/Skill/Ability - 25 Points to Acquire

Transmute - Cost 4 Mana Points to Cast

  • Split/Duplicate Inanimate Object - 40 Points to Acquire
  • Transform Object (Alchemy) - 25 Points to Acquire
  • Manipulate Extant Energy - 40 Points to Acquire
  • Manipulate Extant Matter - 40 Points to Acquire

Arcane Abjuration - Cost 4 Mana Points to Cast

  • Dispell - 20 Points to Acquire

    
Destroy - Cost 5 Mana Points to Cast

  • Create Energy - 40 Points to Acquire
  • Destroy Energy - 40 Points to Acquire
  • Destroy Matter - 40 Points to Acquire

Conjuration - Cost 6 Mana Points to Cast

  • Create Matter - 40 Points to Acquire
  • Shapeshifting - 45 Points to Acquire
  • Create Animate Object - 50 Points to Acquire
  • Create Living Being - 50 Points to Acquire
  • Resurrect - 50 Points to Acquire

Permanent Enhancements - Cost 400 Mana Points Initially Invested; 80 Mana Points Every Other Month for Upkeep

  • Warding - Free
  • Enchantment - Free

Abilities must be specific.  For example, a character would not cast "Destroy Matter" but might fire a beam that causes erosion.

Powerful abilities should have drawbacks, and no set of abilities should provide the ideal solution for every problem.


Miscellaneous Information

Trinkets

Trinkets are quest rewards that increase up to two skills by 3%.  Trinkets are rare, highly-valued items.  A character may only attune to 3 Trinkets at a time.

 

Successive Skill Tests

In Successive Skill Tests, characters roll two skills in succession to accomplish a goal.

 

The Help Action

Often, a character may assist another by succeeding in an appropriate skill check to lower the difficulty of another character's skill check or improve potential outcomes.

 

Dodging

Players may treat NPC misses as PC dodges or proper misses.  There is no dodge skill; combat tends to be more meaningful when stakes are high and enemies cannot be slain in one hit.  Average NPCs can sustain 4 hits before being incapacitated.

 

Player Versus Player Combat

This ruleset was not designed for Player Versus Player Combat.  Other rulesets, like T1, may be more appropriate for PVP.

 

Skill Progression and Expertise

Characters advance in a skill as their players roll skill checks.  Players are rewarded with skill advancement regardless of IC successes and failures.  After characters have taken 5 skill checks, one of which must be a Challenging Roll, for a specific skill, that skill is eligible for a 1% increase.  After a total of 120% in skill points is earned through this method, characters no longer advance in skills.  No credit is given for skill checks with no significant consequences for failure such as rolls made in training scenes.  The intent of this provision is to preclude grinding and other means of powergaming without eliminating advancement or introducing randomness to ensure advancement is not guaranteed.

Players are asked not to overwrite their original builds since some plots may call for lower level characters.

Players have access to 10% in Expertise Points.  Expertise Points move from skill to skill, providing players with a small amount of versatility.  After a player rolls 3 skill checks that will not be used for skill advancement for whatever reason, a character may shift 2% in Expertise Points from any other skill or, if there are unassigned Expertise Points, the Expertise Point Pool to the skill just rolled.

Attributes and Abilities do not advance naturally.  Characters may gain Ability Points as rewards on plot completion.  Characters may gain no more than 5 Ability Points per plot and 60 points for a given character.

 

Relationships

Relationships formed outside of RP aren't free.  Players purchase relationships with NPCs in exchange for Relationship Points.  Characters start with 25 Relationship Points to spend on immediate family, extended family, friends, rivals, enemies, and contacts.  Ideally, relationships are meaningful and influence characters' lives in genuine RP rather than being relegated to backstory content.

  • 1 Faction Costs 12 Relationship Points
  • 1 Contact Costs 10 Relationship Points
  • 1 Spouse Costs 10 Relationship Points
  • 1 Friend Costs 8 Relationship Points
  • 1 Parent Costs 6 Relationship Points
  • 1 Sibling Costs 6 Relationship Points
  • 1 Child Costs 4 Relationship Points
  • 1 Pet Costs 3 Relationship Points
  • 1 Acquaintance Costs 2 Relationship Points
  • 1 Rival Costs 2 Relationship Points
  • 1 Enemy Costs 1 Relationship Point

Every relationship should shape a character.

Purchasing a faction relationship does not imply all faction members are your character's friends.  A faction relationship denotes that a character has knowledge of a faction's practices, is or was somehow linked to said faction, and, without complicating factors, is on good terms with some faction representatives.  Only NPC factions not controlled by other players are available through this system.

 

Minions

Characters can employ minions, but minions cannot roll skill checks unless said minions were attained as plot rewards.  Minions attained as plot rewards only have 300 Skill Points, 400 Attribute Points, and 50 Ability Points.  Contacts do not count as minions even though their services may be sold to PCs because they are neither salaried nor available to carry out a PCs orders without question.

 

Challenging Rolls

At times, characters may attempt challenging actions like shooting enemies while backflipping off of the roof of a burning building.  Normal skill checks are not appropriate for such actions.  Instead, a character's skill score is divided by 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, or some other number and rounded down to account for increased difficulty.  The result is the boundary between success and failure.  Recall that this system treats characters as flawed beings, and apply Challenging Rolls as the situation warrants.

 

Healing Over Time

Healing occurs over a set period of time.  Neither skills nor abilities provide instant healing.  Healing that completes in 10 minutes or less afflicts the target with penalties commensurate with the wound healed.  Such penalties may include vomiting, dizziness, exhaustion, fevers, chills, or other troublesome conditions.

 

Character Building

Building characters is a cyclic process.  Typically, players start with broad ideas on characters they want to play and stories they want to tell.  Backstories explain how a character developed and, ideally, shed light on a character's skills, attributes, and abilities.  Characters should be developed to the extent that they have beliefs, desires, foibles, opinions, and outright flaws.  These developments may also occur during character creation or through roleplay.  As such, character sheets are somewhat tentative and subject to revision on an as-needed basis.  Adapting sheets in attempts to powergame, however, is strongly discouraged.

Edited by The Alexandrian

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I know like V is a lot more freeform than many more rigorous rp sites are so I have not read your proposal in it's entirety just yet but I will tonight.  I wanna offer you some thoughts as a filthy casual type.

When I first arrived, I had a hard time grasping what "Mild Powers" actually meant, but at this point in the long time I have been here it makes some sense to me now.

I think bolstering character development with some sort of a concrete development system would work here.  (Keep it optional and I think most of the lovely folks here would be in agreement.  I'd be willing to try a full blow progression system.)

I was talking with some folks about PVP and it was only having that discussion with several cats (Meow hahah) that I understood in my simpleton sort of way what mild powers actually meant.  Like as a concept.  So once it all made sense the whole site totes became much easier for me to grasp and get into.  Your suggestion for a template to all this is a very interesting and promising one.

I can say I was on another site where there was a heavy almost overwhelming progression system that after the entire ten ish  years+ i was on there ultimately ruined the site for me.  Was too bogged down with lots of like red tape.

The best advice I can offer you with regards to this is think of it like this: A progression system (I am someone who plays World of Warcraft for example VERY VERY religious like.) SHOULD be something well thought out, but elegant in design.  That can be something very interesting and rewarding of players (WOW way of thought) to get into for any game.  We all have to remember Valucre, like many other rpgs is a game...a very well thought out game...but still a game.

I will read your entire post tonight but I already saw an offspring system in your post that strangely reminded me of really old school rpgs.  And I was like, hey this cat is on to something here.  What I can suggest too, is refine the project and work it from there.  I'll add some more thoughts once I have completely read the entire proposal.  I think a well planned and thought out progression system can really help bolster activities that individual players can do on the site.  I know my own head canon I do progression very slowly so I try to get my character concrete like rewards out most of my threads.

I wanna see a more comprehensively thought out training system with regards to Solo Questing and like how powers at least get better for individual levels.  I want to give you props for what you have come up with Maybe we earn some sort of a Progression Points by complete threads? Thats a suggestion right there too AMAZING ideas so far though.

 

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@The Alexandrian

I occasionally talk about this but I usually lumps role players into two groups. Those that are playing a game and those that are writing a story. Obvious there is overlap and sometimes people transition from one group to the next based on their whims. What you've designed will appeal to the 'this ia game group' but only a small demographic within it.

The truth of the matter is that people wanted to roll for skill checks, they'd probably just play D&D. This is a very broad and generalized statement, I know. We already have people that heavily use dice, but the best I can tell they are a minority.

To quote someone who was complaining about D&D once, it doesn't make sense for someone with max proficiency to have the chance to fail a simple task multiple times because of a chance. And this damages the immersion. 

Beyond that, complexity creates a 'barrier' to entry. So if you are looking to develop something that will be used by a lot of people, you're going to need to simplify it. You have something around 10 minutes worth of casual reading, covering multiple subjects. A system that requires tracking of multiple stats, and some basic math. (I myself have been in discussion with Supernal and Veloci-Rapture about developing a progression system for a side game, so these are problems we've discussed concerning accessibility).

Beyond that, the character sheet needed to track all of this would be pretty robust.

The point isn't to discourage you but to bring your attention toward some issues you might run into while trying to implement the system.

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You've definitely put a lot of time and work into this! I appreciate your thoroughness!

I like that the system is D100-based; that allows for a lot of fine-tuning of characters.

I agree with @Praetorian that the initial complexity might be a little overwhelming; creating a first character in this system would require a significant time investment, and without a rule allowing for character respecs, every choice made during creation could be potentially a very high-stakes decision.

It seems like there is a built-in requirement for any thread using this system to be overseen by a GM or Storyteller, which might reduce the number of threads that are able to be run at any one time.

And, parallel to discussions I've had with @supernal and @Praetorian, the use of mana points for magic while not having an equally-well-defined system for physical combat/actions turns magic-based characters into "adventure luggage"; like carrying a siege weapon with limited ammo on the back of a donkey, you don't want to waste that ammo on bashing in the lock to open the first door. Magic-based characters will have limited options for 90% of the quest if they're hoping to be effective when it comes to the final challenge.

At the very best, it requires magic-based characters add an extra layer of long-term strategy into their decision-making process; will we have time to recover my mana points between now and another time when I might need them more? This helps make physical-based characters more useful all around, potentially to the point of completely eclipsing magic-based characters for overall utility and combat usefulness.

Edited by Veloci-Rapture
Clarity

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So yeah. 1 'mana' LOS teleportation seems legit. I'd need to expend like 4 mana to make a fireball, so I'm sure that's a fair exchange rate, even though one is clearly underlined by a 'No teleportation' idea baked into MP and clearly rewarded in this system; encouraged even.

 The idea also humors me that an elf in full plate, could sprint unpenalized at a full pace, but a mage has to actually exhaust something to do any magic. 

Like, why wouldn't you go full blown melee in this system? Doing otherwise would be dumb, and that's not even mentioning the tech and magic LIMITATIONS that already exist in area's. Made a mage? That sucks, cause we're low magic setting. But the braindead barbarian can get it done. Most powerful magic setting? Cool, too bad you're out of 'mana,' but the barbarian is still doing power squats while using his axe as a dumbbell between fits of cleaving enemies in half. I mean, come on, if you are putting an exhaustion on magic, put one on physical strain too.

 Those are just my thoughts, and I wouldn't use this system as is. I like the skill check premise, but I'd literally rather join a roll20 group if I wanted a full RPG experience. 

 I probably sound like an ass, which isn't my intention. I don't think this system would solve any issues. You would just be making a number crunch meta-meta-game. That is, that things wouldn't be too far from how they actually are now. They'd be gated by manipulating numbers, and once manipulated with practice, abused (Like is already seen without numbers.)

Edited by Vaudevillian

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Thank you for your feedback.

21 hours ago, Praetorian said:

I occasionally talk about this but I usually lumps role players into two groups. Those that are playing a game and those that are writing a story. Obvious there is overlap and sometimes people transition from one group to the next based on their whims. What you've designed will appeal to the 'this ia game group' but only a small demographic within it.

The truth of the matter is that people wanted to roll for skill checks, they'd probably just play D&D. This is a very broad and generalized statement, I know. We already have people that heavily use dice, but the best I can tell they are a minority.

I openly admit that this system is an attempt to treat a symptom - impediments to fallibility in RP - rather than a cause, which is why I wasn't counting on this system being well-received.  That said, the cause, in my opinion, is the mentality of players when their characters participate in PvE, and I am unconvinced that there is a reliable way to address this cause.

With respect to PvE, I see a fair number of Kiryu Kazumas on this forum.

As it stands, this situation is understandable because NPCs and the environment generally pose no real threat to PCs outside of highly orchestrated plots.  On one hand, you have PCs flexing on deities, thousands of enemies, and, when the opportunity arises, each other.  On the other, you have gamemasters specifically restricting magic and tech availability in a bid to create low-powered settings.  The common thread is that players normally have little to no investment in NPC opposition and wish to promote their PCs.  Thus, PCs shred or, at the very least, underestimate NPCs if left to their own devices.  This conclusion is, in my opinion, well-supported - you need only examine threads focused on destruction without gamemaster-managed opposition to find evidence for my position.

My hypothesis is that the simplest way to make NPCs and the environment dangerous, truly dangerous, is to spice up RP with PC fallibility.  I would also like to make money and resources matter.  If there is a way to achieve these goal without implementing a D&D-esque ruleset, I am all for it.  If the proposed solution is creating a setting, I believe I will have to impose similar restrictions to achieve these results and that the amount of lore-generated may be longer than this ruleset and pose a similar barrier to entry, sans math.

21 hours ago, Praetorian said:

To quote someone who was complaining about D&D once, it doesn't make sense for someone with max proficiency to have the chance to fail a simple task multiple times because of a chance. And this damages the immersion.

I've never played The Burning Wheel, but I've listened to two campaigns and it is, at least mechanically, superior to D&D.  It allows players to influence rolls they deem important by spending meta-resources that are awarded for definitive RP, advancing the plot, etc.

I did not implement any anti-failure devices in this system because players already control the consequences of failures and successes.

21 hours ago, Praetorian said:

(I myself have been in discussion with Supernal and Veloci-Rapture about developing a progression system for a side game, so these are problems we've discussed concerning accessibility).

Very interesting.  I await the results with baited breath.

23 hours ago, Ganu_Candali said:

When I first arrived, I had a hard time grasping what "Mild Powers" actually meant, but at this point in the long time I have been here it makes some sense to me now.

I think bolstering character development with some sort of a concrete development system would work here.  (Keep it optional and I think most of the lovely folks here would be in agreement.  I'd be willing to try a full blow progression system.)

*Snip!*

The best advice I can offer you with regards to this is think of it like this: A progression system (I am someone who plays World of Warcraft for example VERY VERY religious like.) SHOULD be something well thought out, but elegant in design.  That can be something very interesting and rewarding of players (WOW way of thought) to get into for any game.  We all have to remember Valucre, like many other rpgs is a game...a very well thought out game...but still a game.

Through this effort, I have discovered it is challenging to create an elegant progression system.  I have observed players "mine" for artifacts and other power-ups before, so I am somewhat wary of sweetening progression.  There must be point where grinding for progression is too much effort for the reward, but I can't put my finger on that point.  I believe rewards should come naturally as a result of RP, not encourage powergaming,  Perhaps Veloci-Rapture, Praetorian, and supernal will find that target.

Mild Powers are still a mixed bag for me.  Utility powers appear nowhere near as limited as combat powers, and while I understand, on some level, the limits imposed on combat powers, utility powers are treated in such varied ways they're nearly a black box to me.

23 hours ago, Ganu_Candali said:

I can say I was on another site where there was a heavy almost overwhelming progression system that after the entire ten ish  years+ i was on there ultimately ruined the site for me.  Was too bogged down with lots of like red tape.

My hope is this system will be nowhere near as overwhelming as a full-blown RPG ruleset.  I want to leave room for interpretation and keep it relatively light.

23 hours ago, Ganu_Candali said:

I wanna see a more comprehensively thought out training system with regards to Solo Questing and like how powers at least get better for individual levels.  I want to give you props for what you have come up with Maybe we earn some sort of a Progression Points by complete threads? Thats a suggestion right there too AMAZING ideas so far though.

I will meditate on this.

14 hours ago, Vaudevillian said:

 I probably sound like an ass, which isn't my intention. I don't think this system would solve any issues. You would just be making a number crunch meta-meta-game. That is, that things wouldn't be too far from how they actually are now. They'd be gated by manipulating numbers, and once manipulated with practice, abused (Like is already seen without numbers.)

Frankly, I find it disheartening when character sheets read like love letters with umpteen abilities and backstories that are more suitable for "end-game content."  Such characters are frequently too badass to fail or even feel fear.  I tend to fall into the "too badass" trap because I spend too much time thinking about how characters would fare in competitive PvP.  This is probably linked to learning about PvP in an adversarial environment where PvP was thoroughly weaponized, but I digress.

Without some sort of system - basic or complex - are survival plots even possible?  Most players want their characters to succeed, so their characters will succeed in the absence of a very active gamemaster.  It is almost mandatory that a very active gamemaster is excluded from playing a character.  At best, your PC becomes an NPC because you're already have the solution to puzzles, know the ideal solutions to problems, etc.  Even then, it is a gamemaster's job to inform players of the consequences of their actions, which, in my opinion, has significant drawbacks.

20 hours ago, Veloci-Rapture said:

It seems like there is a built-in requirement for any thread using this system to be overseen by a GM or Storyteller, which might reduce the number of threads that are able to be run at any one time.

The idea with checks in this system is to enable players to (1) take checks when they decide a check is appropriate, (2) choose their own consequences, and (3) continually move the plot forward without waiting on a dedicated gamemaster.  Checks are treated as paths that supply players with mini-prompts.

20 hours ago, Veloci-Rapture said:

And, parallel to discussions I've had with @supernal and @Praetorian, the use of mana points for magic while not having an equally-well-defined system for physical combat/actions turns magic-based characters into "adventure luggage"; like carrying a siege weapon with limited ammo on the back of a donkey, you don't want to waste that ammo on bashing in the lock to open the first door. Magic-based characters will have limited options for 90% of the quest if they're hoping to be effective when it comes to the final challenge.

At the very best, it requires magic-based characters add an extra layer of long-term strategy into their decision-making process; will we have time to recover my mana points between now and another time when I might need them more? This helps make physical-based characters more useful all around, potentially to the point of completely eclipsing magic-based characters for overall utility and combat usefulness.

14 hours ago, Vaudevillian said:

 The idea also humors me that an elf in full plate, could sprint unpenalized at a full pace, but a mage has to actually exhaust something to do any magic. 

Like, why wouldn't you go full blown melee in this system? Doing otherwise would be dumb, and that's not even mentioning the tech and magic LIMITATIONS that already exist in area's. Made a mage? That sucks, cause we're low magic setting. But the braindead barbarian can get it done. Most powerful magic setting? Cool, too bad you're out of 'mana,' but the barbarian is still doing power squats while using his axe as a dumbbell between fits of cleaving enemies in half. I mean, come on, if you are putting an exhaustion on magic, put one on physical strain too.

I suspect how we envision magic drastically differs.

To me, magic is a divine spark that allows characters to subvert natural laws.  Prometheus was tormented for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humanity.  Magic isn't fire; magic is so much more.  Magic should be limited.  It isn't mundane nor should it be treated as such.  If everyone can sit there and spam Goodberry, you don't need doctors or farmers.  If you can just Synaptic Static your foes to oblivion, Otto's Irresistible Dance folks for all eternity, and Geas everyone you meet, magic isn't magic.

The real power of magic lies in special effects and conditions.  It's much more versatile and powerful than a physical attack.  Sure, a barbarian can run up and thump something with a club.  A wizard can polymorph a giant demon into a snail in one action.

The issue is balance, not that characters need to expend points to cast magic.  Adjusting costs, magic regeneration timers, and the like addresses balance far better than stating that a knight can only, say, swing a sword twenty times before an arm pops off.

Despite all that, we habitually treat magic as though it is mundane on this forum.

20 hours ago, Metty said:

So can you earn more over time, points for every single thing?

As written, characters cannot earn more attribute points over time.  This is subject to change as I work on balancing the system.

20 hours ago, Veloci-Rapture said:

*Snip*

without a rule allowing for character respecs, every choice made during creation could be potentially a very high-stakes decision.

See Character Building for rules on character respecs.  Basically, respecs are allowed as long as respecs aren't an attempt to powergame.

14 hours ago, Vaudevillian said:

So yeah. 1 'mana' LOS teleportation seems legit. I'd need to expend like 4 mana to make a fireball, so I'm sure that's a fair exchange rate, even though one is clearly underlined by a 'No teleportation' idea baked into MP and clearly rewarded in this system; encouraged even.

What is shadow-porting if not teleporting with extra steps?  The Magic Complexity Ladder implies shadow-porting is allowed.  This discovery confused me at first.  Obelus's puzzles, which aren't canon, also feature teleporting characters which I find odd because that power is indeed limited by Mild Powers.  Perhaps shadow-porting is allowed because entry and exit requirements are, presumably, specified.

Please avoid sarcasm in the future.  Sarcasm doesn't help with the whole sounding like an ass isn't my intent thing.

Edited by The Alexandrian

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26 minutes ago, The Alexandrian said:

What is shadow-porting if not teleporting with extra steps?  The Magic Complexity Ladder implies shadow-porting is allowed.  This discovery confused me at first.  Obelus's puzzles, which aren't canon, also feature teleporting characters which I find odd because that power is indeed limited by Mild Powers.  Perhaps shadow-porting is allowed because entry and exit requirements are, presumably, specified.

I think I can clarify this directly but would like to highlight the parts of documents already referred because I think that may be more informative to thought processes going forward

First, in the magical complexity ladder, it shadow-porting is part of a sentence which defines it as "accelerated travel". Teleportation, to me, is almost always instantaneous. At least to me the more limitations you add the more palatable the power becomes. In a document which indicates that the listed ability types are complex, accelerated travel is not first on the list, implying by design (at least to me) that this "form" of "shadow-porting" is more like "complicated accelerated travel" and less like "mild powers breaching teleportation"

That's my intention. Let me know if there's something in the document itself I could clarify to get this point across better or if it just took a shift in perspective and things are more or less fine as is

From mild powers:

"Examples of generally disallowed abilities (can be used for NPCs or collaborative story purposes)": Teleportation and other "instantaneous" abilities or actions "

"Obelus's puzzles, which aren't canon, also feature teleporting characters" - If something isn't canon it doesn't usually need to be held to the mild powers ruleset. That aside, teleportation in and of itself is only generally disallowed but explicitly called out as allowable for collaborative story purposes. A later paragraph in the same article goes on to explicitly say that things like "storyline" and "considerable amounts of work" can influence how strictly one needs to adhere to the ruleset.

That's my intention at any rate, which I'm happy to further clarify if it's required. I think confusion arising around this point comes from seeing it on the list without taking in the article as a whole

Side note - totally agree with removing sarcasm from any criticisms. Even when well-intention, given that we're communicating purely through text, it adds unnecessary noise to the signal

Edited by supernal

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I have played and enjoyed people's experimental RP systems. That being said, There's the anti-munch project and it's a superb checklist to ensure you're not being a complete jackass while allowing much leeway for a multitude of settings.

 

As a standalone in Alt, an interested group could make a game of it. To most roleplayers this would just be an unnecessarily high bar to entry compounded by how do you even calculate in the effort in character development already implemented? Alright Lillith, we on a new system now. Time to reroll your stats and gear at level one cuz it's the only way to be fair. Interesting, but impractical.

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3 minutes ago, Akiris said:

how do you even calculate in the effort in character development already implemented? Alright Lillith, we on a new system now. Time to reroll your stats and gear at level one cuz it's the only way to be fair. Interesting, but impractical.

This is a good point. I think the intent is to make a system attractive enough that people opt into it and do because it presents a more unified and satisfying game, in a similar way to how Ursa Madeum tightly regulates its tech and magic ceiling, drawing people in rather than requiring top-down reorganization. Alexandrian can course correct me here

That said, would retroactive calculations be allowed for already existing Senior characters or is the idea that everyone who opts in starts from scratch? If the retro-calc is allowed is that something that would be validated or that the system makes easy to spot attempts to shake down the vending machine?

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1 hour ago, The Alexandrian said:

I suspect how we envision magic drastically differs.

No, I don't think it does.

The problem is, I feel like you are confusing story magic (spark of life, subvert natural laws) with game magic (has a defined point cost and a specific spell list to pick from).

Magic-users in the system you've described might keep that story mystique, but they are game-wise useless for 9/10ths of a thread. They either use up their magic at the beginning of the thread, crippling themselves for the final conflict, or they save their magic for the last few posts, crippling themselves for the entire lead-up.  Meanwhile, no-magic characters can do cool flips and spins and stabbystabbies from post 1 to post 200 without having to ever take a break from the spotlight.

Serious RPers who would be willing to gimp themselves for the vast majority of a story arc for narrative, character-building purposes are exactly the people who will also run screaming from a system this granular and complicated. Serious game-players may make such a character for a lark, but are for all intents and purposes unwilling to create a sub-optimal character who is sidelined and overshadowed right up until the final page of a 12 page thread.

AT BEST what you'd end up with is people making characters with cool "non-magical" abilities that are functionally identical to magic ones, just to avoid the handicap while still having the benefit of ethereal flair.

AT WORST you end up with fully half your system never being touched by the players because it's clearly not optimal, possibly even non-viable, when compared to the other half.

IN THE MIDDLE, you'll end up with character builds approaching homogeneity as people slowly figure out the the most optimal way of combining physical and magical abilities, and the only differences between them will be cosmetic. "Jack is a nice guy with a sword and some magic." "Bill is a dick with a sword and some magic." "Janet is a snooty woman with a sword and some magic."

Additionally, if you try to fix this by saying that non-magic characters are limited to "I swing" or "I thrust", you won't solve the problem of magic characters still being useless for most of the story; you'll just introduce an element of boredom to punish people who build optimally.

And I keep using words like "optimal" to emphasize that every attempt to create a set of rules, no matter how complicated, creates a meta as a byproduct. The people who will be the most interested in a number-crunchy game system are also going to be the people who make it their part-time job to crunch those numbers to come up with the best, most efficient, most powerful distributions. It's unavoidable. Even someone as anti-min-max as me can see that if I try to build a wizard, almost all of my participation in a thread is going to be through dialogue because when confrontation starts, I need to find a bush to hide behind unless I'm totally sure this confrontation will be the best use of my limited abilities in this thread. If I'm wrong, I may as well just turn around and walk home.

This is also my problem with most magic classes in D&D, too; the difference, however, is that magic classes in D&D eventually get access to ACTUALLY awesome spells like Meteor Swarm and Power Word: Kill. They're still artillery being carted around like luggage through most of the adventuring day, but when they unload, they REALLY get to unload. Even if you're not building a DD Nuke wizard, the utility spells and buffs become equally amazing.

I'm not seeing that kind of progression here, and that's probably because you can't have a meteor swarm or a killword in this kind of environment. With everything being limited to mild powers, putting a cost on magical mild powers but leaving non-magical mild powers as freebies creates an insurmountable divide in both usefulness and narrative participation.

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Illusory Images - 30 Points to Acquire

Illusory Sounds - 30 Points to Acquire

Clairvoyance - 30 Points to Acquire

That's 90 points to be silent, invisible, and capable of wallbanging with an AMR (Or any other weapon) with all of zero warning until you're gone and someone finds the body. Traverse could add mobility for 10 or Pocket Space (5) plus Party tricks (5) just gives you an absurd amount of utility for their value. Or drop clairvoyance And take illusory smells and textures and practically not exist because you can take your victims head off without them realizing it's bouncing on the floor.

META confirmed.

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17 hours ago, Akiris said:

Illusory Images - 30 Points to Acquire

Illusory Sounds - 30 Points to Acquire

Clairvoyance - 30 Points to Acquire

That's 90 points to be silent, invisible, and capable of wallbanging with an AMR (Or any other weapon) with all of zero warning until you're gone and someone finds the body. Traverse could add mobility for 10 or Pocket Space (5) plus Party tricks (5) just gives you an absurd amount of utility for their value. Or drop clairvoyance And take illusory smells and textures and practically not exist because you can take your victims head off without them realizing it's bouncing on the floor.

META confirmed.

Shush, you, I'm arguing magic is underpowered. 😄

I guess it depends on the mana recovery system, which I'm having trouble finding, and what kind of duration these effects have. If the duration is "as long as I damn well please" then yeah, I was wrong, magic meta confirmed. If the duration is "X posts", then I'm right: this is really powerful, exactly once in a thread (assuming the mana pool regeneration is "between threads" rather than "x time period passing inside the thread").

I'd be tempted, in the latter case, to make a pixie illusionist who just rides in the Fighter's backpack for the whole thread hitting his 140 words per post in each round by commenting on the Fighter's pack-organization style until we get to the last boss.

Edit: Actually, I'm now obsessed with creating a pixie illusionist character just in general. That'd be sweet.

Edited by Veloci-Rapture

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On 5/23/2020 at 2:15 PM, supernal said:

At least to me the more limitations you add the more palatable the power becomes. In a document which indicates that the listed ability types are complex, accelerated travel is not first on the list, implying by design (at least to me) that this "form" of "shadow-porting" is more like "complicated accelerated travel" and less like "mild powers breaching teleportation"

 

*Snip!*

That aside, teleportation in and of itself is only generally disallowed but explicitly called out as allowable for collaborative story purposes. A later paragraph in the same article goes on to explicitly say that things like "storyline" and "considerable amounts of work" can influence how strictly one needs to adhere to the ruleset.

I probably find the term "shadow-porting" a tad confusing because I once RPed with a player whose character had an ability referred to as shadow-porting.  It was shadow-themed teleportation.  The portmanteau also lends itself to that interpretation.

For some reason, I tend to forget that there are exceptions to Mild Powers.  I'm not certain that a percentile-based ruleset could account for those exceptions.

On 5/23/2020 at 2:43 PM, Akiris said:

That being said, There's the anti-munch project and it's a superb checklist to ensure you're not being a complete jackass while allowing much leeway for a multitude of settings.

 

As a standalone in Alt, an interested group could make a game of it. To most roleplayers this would just be an unnecessarily high bar to entry compounded by how do you even calculate in the effort in character development already implemented? Alright Lillith, we on a new system now. Time to reroll your stats and gear at level one cuz it's the only way to be fair. Interesting, but impractical.

I'll have to read that project sometime.

Again, I don't expect this system to catch on.  My goal is to make NPCs and the environment dangerous and complicate plots with PC fallibility, which isn't something I see very often.  I'm interested in other ways of bringing these about without designing and managing, maybe even micro-managing, a highly orchestrated setting, but I haven't come up with anything on that front just yet.

On 5/23/2020 at 2:49 PM, supernal said:

This is a good point. I think the intent is to make a system attractive enough that people opt into it and do because it presents a more unified and satisfying game, in a similar way to how Ursa Madeum tightly regulates its tech and magic ceiling, drawing people in rather than requiring top-down reorganization. Alexandrian can course correct me here

Pretty much.

The big picture is that I want to run a survival setting, and I want to prevent players from steamrolling NPCs, casually disregarding danger, and being so versatile they can sidestep any mundane obstacle.  A specific concern of mine is that I'd identify a problem, say famine, as a motivation for characters to do such-and-such and in lieu of doing such-and-such, players would exploit PC abilities to solve the problem in, like, three posts.  The most direct approach to this problem would be scaling the problem up so no amount of magic could solve it, but how far is far enough?

Political intrigue is in vogue on this forum, but I've realized political characters have infinite resources unless there's a story-reason for them not to have infinite resources.  I don't believe there is much left for me there since I've sold my main characters as warmongers and infinite resources give rise to perpetual conflict.  For example, I no longer believe my characters can engage the Enrele except through a plague, invasions of privacy, or violating Mild Powers via massive rituals even though the quantity of Enrele is by no means infinite.  In the majority of cases, I no longer believe my characters can do anything that negatively impacts politically-important characters because they have infinite resources.  I also believe that my characters are severely overpowered and that there is no easy fix because a great many PvP-capable characters are severely overpowered and I'll hamstring my characters by weakening them without more tangible limits on powers.  I also believe that combat with NPCs is not meaningful without some sort of guidelines on how NPCs fight and how strong they are relative to PCs because without guidelines, PCs will always win.

23 hours ago, Veloci-Rapture said:

Magic-users in the system you've described might keep that story mystique, but they are game-wise useless for 9/10ths of a thread. They either use up their magic at the beginning of the thread, crippling themselves for the final conflict, or they save their magic for the last few posts, crippling themselves for the entire lead-up.  Meanwhile, no-magic characters can do cool flips and spins and stabbystabbies from post 1 to post 200 without having to ever take a break from the spotlight.

Serious RPers who would be willing to gimp themselves for the vast majority of a story arc for narrative, character-building purposes are exactly the people who will also run screaming from a system this granular and complicated. Serious game-players may make such a character for a lark, but are for all intents and purposes unwilling to create a sub-optimal character who is sidelined and overshadowed right up until the final page of a 12 page thread.

AT BEST what you'd end up with is people making characters with cool "non-magical" abilities that are functionally identical to magic ones, just to avoid the handicap while still having the benefit of ethereal flair.

AT WORST you end up with fully half your system never being touched by the players because it's clearly not optimal, possibly even non-viable, when compared to the other half.

IN THE MIDDLE, you'll end up with character builds approaching homogeneity as people slowly figure out the the most optimal way of combining physical and magical abilities, and the only differences between them will be cosmetic. "Jack is a nice guy with a sword and some magic." "Bill is a dick with a sword and some magic." "Janet is a snooty woman with a sword and some magic."

*Snip!*

This is also my problem with most magic classes in D&D, too; the difference, however, is that magic classes in D&D eventually get access to ACTUALLY awesome spells like Meteor Swarm and Power Word: Kill. They're still artillery being carted around like luggage through most of the adventuring day, but when they unload, they REALLY get to unload. Even if you're not building a DD Nuke wizard, the utility spells and buffs become equally amazing.

20 hours ago, Akiris said:

Illusory Images - 30 Points to Acquire

Illusory Sounds - 30 Points to Acquire

Clairvoyance - 30 Points to Acquire

That's 90 points to be silent, invisible, and capable of wallbanging with an AMR (Or any other weapon) with all of zero warning until you're gone and someone finds the body. Traverse could add mobility for 10 or Pocket Space (5) plus Party tricks (5) just gives you an absurd amount of utility for their value. Or drop clairvoyance And take illusory smells and textures and practically not exist because you can take your victims head off without them realizing it's bouncing on the floor.

META confirmed.

3 hours ago, Veloci-Rapture said:

Shush, you, I'm arguing magic is underpowered. 😄

I guess it depends on the mana recovery system, which I'm having trouble finding, and what kind of duration these effects have. If the duration is "as long as I damn well please" then yeah, I was wrong, magic meta confirmed. If the duration is "X posts", then I'm right: this is really powerful, exactly once in a thread (assuming the mana pool regeneration is "between threads" rather than "x time period passing inside the thread").

I'd be tempted, in the latter case, to make a pixie illusionist who just rides in the Fighter's backpack for the whole thread hitting his 140 words per post in each round by commenting on the Fighter's pack-organization style until we get to the last boss.

First of all, characters in this system would pay for ridiculous melee stunts with halved, quartered, or otherwise complicated skill checks.  Abilities, on the other hand, are guaranteed hits unless Abjured.

Ultimately, your complaints revolve around treating magic as a weapon.  If you want to treat magic as a normal weapon, why not just add a weapon skill for it?  My only stipulations are that such magic would be fueled by reagents so casters would have to count ammo as though they were using bows and arrows and would target one thing per attack.

I wholeheartedly disagree with you about magic in D&D.

The Rogue is easily the most powerful class in D&D.  The Wizard is easily the second most powerful class in D&D.  Heck, it is optimal to play a Circle of the Moon Druid as a caster rather than a beast for most levels because their beast forms are only good early game, at level 10-11 when you unlock Elementals, and at level 18-20.

If all you want to do when you're playing a Wizard in D&D is dish out damage, you're not playing the Wizard to its full potential.  The Wizard has amazing versatility and can approach problems in ways Fighters and Barbarians just can't.  Casters are damage-dealers and controllers.  If you neglect control, you're neglecting your role.

Moreover, Power Word Kill is an underwhelming spell.  It only kills things that have less than 100 hitpoints, which is far too little for the Spell Slot you're casting it with.  You want to take out the big bad?  Polymorph + Bag of Holding.  You want to be an amazing scout?  Arcane Eye.  You want to absolutely cripple several enemies?  Slow.  You want to torture your DM?  Wish.  And if you cast Haste, everyone else will love you.

To top it off, while you're pulling off all of your shenanigans, the Champion Fighter in the corner is just running up to enemies and declaring "I attack."  Enjoy your expanded crit range, Mr. Half-Elf; I'm forcing the big bad to dance for ten rounds.

Warlocks.  Very potent with invocations.  Druids.  The best healers in the game and solid controllers.  Sorcerers.  Twinspell is an awesome class ability.  And that psychic class from Unearthed Arcana: MENTAL.  Most broken class they ever entertained.

If your party isn't half-dead and short resting after almost every battle, the DM is pulling punches.  If the party is short resting and you burn through spells like a madman, just go Warlock.

Also, what sort of campaigns are you playing where you get access to 9th level magic?  Published campaigns pretty much never get there.

 

The magic system is difficult to balance.  Honestly, all of the cost-based systems are difficult to balance.  I might try imposing "softer" limits.  Whatever the case, that combination is certainly potent.

 

Magic points regen daily.  No duration is specified because this is not meant to be a comprehensive ruleset, and my hope is players won't try to min-max everything.  The point is to prevent players from creating characters with a massive list of abilities because those characters usually have the right tool for the job because they're carrying nearly every tool in their utility belts.

Edited by The Alexandrian

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