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Josh
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:30 am    Post subject: Winter 2018 Rulebook Preview Reply with quote

You can grab a PDF of the preview rulebook here. The title page appears to be a little messed up in the transition to PDF but a quick glance through makes the rest of the rulebook look ok. We are still in draft because at the very least Anna needs to update the race write-ups and I need to rewrite the character card section

The changelist is here. I'm not going to type it all out in this thread, though I will hit the biggest points below with a little commentary why we made those changes where further explanation seems like a good idea.

While changes are numerous, their magnitude doesn't reach the level of the last release. By and large almost every character should be fine as is, without needing to make major adjustments to characters (though characters invested in assassin will need to move a bit around). However changes are numerous, and its easy to miss stuff in the THREE pages of change list. So as mentioned we'll have a couple web sessions to walk folks through the changes if they want. Its also a great chance to ask questions/clarifications, though you are also certainly free to do so on the rules forum. Also, there are likely a ton of mistakes or areas that should be clarified in the rulebook proper. If you find areas that need workplease post them here.

So with all of that said, let's dive into some of the big changes. When we adopted the new rules framework a couple of years ago there was a massive effort to get the overall shape of things right, but we didn't delve into the minutae of each ability or area to the degree we wanted. Magic items and item enchantment were obvious areas we basically just ported into the new system rather than purpose building something that was familiar but designed specifically for the new rules system - that's what last March did, and that spiralled out to hit a ton of the overall magic/vala system.

We did a similar "just try to fit the old abilities into the new way of doing things" approach with Racial abilities, and you can see some of the inelegance of this with the abilities that require a minimum purchase of two uses - that was very much a hack to get an old ability to work ok. There are numerous other little and big examples of this (like us changing fear all the time). SO with that said, the following fairly big changes were made around racial abilities:

- you no longer need to buy any racial a minimum of two times

- We have introduced "Racial Traits". These are perks that every member of that race gets, and have no cost to acquire. Claws moves from a Racial ability to a Race Trait and no longer has a "per use" effect. Every race that previously had claws (and now also Dragoons, while in dragoon form or in the form of a race with claws) now gets them as a race trait and gets different racial ability as a replacement. Every race gets a race trait

- We did a fairly huge overhaul to MAEs. Argentum is now just a removal, not a resist. Most Monster MAEs are now either conversation or counted action (not packet/touch). Almost all MAEs are either one or five minutes. Fear is back, and is now a MAE. Mayhem got elevated to Goblin Primary. Moment of Clarity pauses the count, rather than lets it go by for a minute without effect. Resistance is no longer a racial ability. And so forth

- Renewal got a pretty substantial change. It was the only racial ability that could replace a while skill tree outright, which is why "too many gael'braugh" are a reoccurring topic of discussion.

- We added a new secondary called Provoke, moved fleetness (with some changes) to a secondary, changed Pelt to warborn and altered its mechanics, tweaked curse again, altered Strength (since the +5 is now a race trait), and touched many of the other racial abilities. It would be a good idea to just reread the racial section



Another place where we pushed the old system into the new format is the martial system. There has always been a very conscious distinction in approach between the martial system and the vala system. The vala system provides a huge amount of flexibility - you can use the bulk of your SP investiture in those skills to cast nothing but deaths one month, and the next month use it all to make ritual scrolls. BUT when you run out of vala (and then body, and then generous buddies with catalyst) you are done. The martial system has a very different feel - you always have base damage, so you never "run out" of the ability to do something, but the SP you spent on a martial ability is ONLY going to that ability. If you could do 15 wounding blows last month, absent changes to the character card, that's how many you do this month. You can't decide "I really wish those were staggers" and have them magically be staggers.

That philosophy isn't changing - whether we are right to have two different types of use mechanics within the major skill categories has room for lively debate, but personally I like the diversity it adds. I like that mages aren't just fighters with packets, but that they actually play rather differently despite the end effect on the target often being similar (and I'd argue that alchemists actually give us a third play style, which I'll get to below). HOWEVER, the two systems present some really challenges in balancing, since they aren't comparisons of the same type of fruit, or even comparisons between different types of fruit, but instead very distinct things. Still, there are some fairly undesirable aspects of play in the martial system - for example, there are months where investments in disarm are completely pointless because almost all enemies have claws (or packets). Using a top tier ability only to have it resisted or parried is disappointing - they are expensive (that assassinate just cost 7 SP), the prereqs mean you have fewer of them, and so forth (this is likely why there are many more cleaves than fatals on character cards), etc. Looking over at the magic system where there is both more flexibility, and in many cases ability costs are the same or cheaper, its hard to not be envious, base damage not withstanding. So we made the following changes:

- BONUS USES - For OFFENSIVE martial abilities (i.e. the strikes - not MP, MD, Riposte, etc.), the first couple of purchases of the ability will grant two uses instead of one. For the first tier of abilities (Wounding Blow, stagger, etc.), its the first five purchases. For second tier abilities its the first 3 purchases (lethal blow, destroy, etc.), and for the top tier its the first purchase. You do NOT have to use both uses at once - you just get more checkboxes on your character card.

- We reduced the effectiveness of some of the top tier abilities but ALSO made them cheaper. Fatal does 400 instead of 500. Assassinate is now an instant death effect instead of instant spirit effect. BUT both are 5 SP instead of 6 and 7. Lethal blow and annihilate are also a bit cheaper

- Shank is gone. Everyone called it shiv anyway. Waylay is now a mid tier skill and costs 5 SP, and takes two staggers to get. Stagger is 3 SP again. BUT unconsciousness is now harder to cure (applies to hypnos too) - it either takes a racial, panacea, or the mid tier physician skill to wake someone up. Also on the topic of assassin, daylight is now a first tier skill, cripple now feeds into a new skill lacerate (a triple tap cripple - a cripple tap if you will) which in turn can be used as a prereq for assassinate. Oh, and coup de gras is now 1 sp

- Duelist got a pretty substantial overhaul. Since Disarm/Break was SOOO dependent on the types of NPCs sent out (as opposed to most other strikes, that work most of the time), they have been combined into a single skill "Flourish" that lets you choose to either do a disarm or a break. It acts as a prereq for all of the other duelist skills. Duelist is now the +5 skill, so its a bit easier to get (but cost increased). There is a new skill "Grand flourish" that lets you do any combination of 3 break/disarms. It doesn't feed into any other skill BUT GM Duelist has had some changes where Grand Flourish is applicable. GM Duelist lets you do a Finesse Disarm/Break but its Grand Flourish rather than flourish that feeds it. GM Duelist also lets you burn two flourishes to do a "Fluid Movement" - basically it resists a use of disarm/break against the melee weapon of the character and grants 5 minutes of immunity to subsequent attempts (i.e. a duelist is fairly resistant to other duelists)

- The martial artist tree got built out a bit. People with claws can buy Martial Artist, and the damage applies to claws. There are two skills - Iron Fist and Adamantine fist (until we come up with better names - John was going to do this but then didn't). Iron fist resists a break against claws/fists and grants five minutes immunity. Adamantine fist does the same, but also grants +5 damage with claws/fists for those five minutes



And now alchemists - arguably the third system of combat at game. We made the following changes:

- Vitriol, black solaris, hypnos, Innoculate, Argentum and Panacea all had their effects AND costs tweaked to lesser or greater extents

- Erasure and Indelible ink are gone. Screw those guys

- Reactives got the new compounds Ghost Dust, Alkahest, Faerrum, and Stasis. It now has as many compounds as poisons

- All of the "does 100 max body to creature x" will affect intangibles of that type

- We have added the idea of discipline focusing. When a character buys philosopher they can choose to either be a generalist, where they get 25 tags for every 20 of a compound they make, OR they can specify one of the three disciplines, and get 15 tags for every 10 of a specific compound in that discipline. THey can still batch produce the other two disciplines, but get 35 for 30. Focusing not only grants more tags (you get 30 for every 20 of that discipline) but opens up bigger compounds to batch production. It's not really feasible to batch produce holy water when you have to make 20 of them, but a philosopher has enough production to make 10 (and get 15). The down side is that it moves compounds in the other disciplines they could batch at 20 out of reach, because they don't have the production for 30



Oh, also, we renamed Gypsies




Anyway, there are a ton of other changes, major and minor, but this post is already large enough
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Crocodile
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With all of the changes happening, and plotteams switching, what are we able to change about our characters? Can we change race? Learn changed or new skills? Unlearn skills?
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Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Details details

You can generally do any of those things. Modifications to existing characters isn't terribly time consuming (though given the number of folks, please restrict to characters you intend to play in Jan). Its the full rewrites with item exchanges that take a good chunk of time

I'll post the full details either later tonight or tomorrow (though I'll cover them in the session tonight)
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Josh
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preview 2, with most of the flaws people have pointed out in the rules forum is available for download. The change list has also been updated. The handful of things that had appreciable changes mechanically have been called out in red in the change list


Could everyone who posted on the rules forum call out if I missed the thing you pointed out? I *think* I got them all, but I'm typically interrupted frequently while making changes so I may have missed something
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