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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 55 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [TSoY] Curses and necromancy  (Read 4592 times)
Troels
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Posts: 77


« on: October 18, 2007, 02:03:02 AM »

Hi

A question and an idea I'm rather proud of.

Question: Here's an idea for a Secret: Cursing. It's sort of Blessing in reverse. The idea is, you make an ability check (Sway, I'm inclined to say, but arguments might be made for Pray, too) and your success level becomes a pool of penalty dice that you can use against a specific target. In order to activate it, you have to get in your target's face and curse them with ill luck ("may you have ill luck", "a pox on you and all you do", "may your @$$ itch and your arms be too short"). In any case, the pool of badness can be negated on a die-for-die basis with Blessing.

What I can't decide is whether to make it cheap and resisted, which will make it a conflict action, or expensive and unresisted. I was thinking something like 1 vigor for the cheapie, 1 each vigor and instinct for the expensive version. But how would they tend to work in play? My actual TSoY experience is one session of play...

The very nice (I think) idea is for Qek-style spirit magic. In Walosi magic, most rituals are tied to a specific ability, which will have the effect of different Walosi having much the same set of abilities. My idea is to tie each ability-requiring ritual (contact, spectral form, binding, severance, zamani control) to two different abilities, from different pools, but well spread across the landscape. Thusly:

Ritual of Contact: Pray (V) or Music (I)

Ritual of Spectral form: Create (I) or Story-tell (R)

Ritual of Severance: Duelling (V) or Etiquette (R) -Etiquette, for beating people up by invoking obscure occult rules.

Ritual of Zamani Control: Sway (I) or Orate (R)

Between the various combinations, you get quite varied necromancers, who aren't tied exclusively to any one pool.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2007, 03:11:48 AM »

Troels,

Both of these are super-nice. As for Cursing, I tend towards resisted, but I'm not sure why, and that may just be built-in gamer-think.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2007, 10:18:10 AM »

Penalty dice are more rare, and therefore more effective, than bonus dice. They should be priced to reflect that. Usually both parties in an important conflict will have bonus dice or at least normal distributions. If one is in the positives while the other is negative, the strong initial curve of bonus/penalty dice is benefited from twice by the character who has the upper hand.
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Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Troels
Member

Posts: 77


« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2007, 03:43:34 AM »

Thanks, Clinton!

Eero, interesting point about bonuses/penalties and the middle of the "bell". So, what would an unresisted curse, for, say, three penalty dice (I'm assuming level 3 success) actually be worth in pool points. 2? 3? 4?

I would be uninclined to price a resisted curse at more than 2, at most. Hmm. Looking at in-game consequences. Anyone (without immediate access to blessings) can be clobbered by an unresisted curse. A resisted curse will tend to be harder on men-of-action (m/k) types who have put their juice in Endure and React.

Oh, and another possibility occurs to me: If curses are resisted, and thus make up an element of a conflict, you can state curse effects as stakes, above and beyond the mere mechanics of penalty dice. Which I like! But getting nitty-gritty, how would it work in BDTP? I presume that it would make sense to pay the pool price just once, and then you can use it in conflict.
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2007, 12:02:37 AM »

I don't put a firm and general price on the ability to utilize both ends of the bell curve. Its value is perhaps 1.5 ability levels or so in most conflicts, so something in that ball-park is equitable. However, the appropriate price should be determined by the player when he decides whether he wants to get or use a given Secret - if he doesn't, then it's too expensive. The different resources a player can use to pay for things in TSoY are not on the same gauge with each other, so they can't be compared.

In this particular case, if I wanted to have both the Secret of Blessing and Secret of Cursing, I'd probably do it by having the first be a prerequisite for the second, but both costing the same in Pool. Alternatively I could imagine the first being free of Pool costs, while the second costs one Pool, assuming that the Ability they use is not very useful otherwise. (I'm thinking of the Blessing secret in the book, which uses Pray and creates a blessing pool for a specific purpose.) Speaking of a simpler Secret that just gave you penalty dice to one conflict, no strings attached... I'd price it at 2+ (number of dice) points from the Pool in question. X points for there being X of these dice, one for them being penalty dice and one for breaking the Pool spend ceiling. If you just wanted three penalty dice, fixed, then you could have them for 4 points due to the inflexibility.

As for resisted vs. unresisted, in my games all checks can be resisted, so there is no difference. Something like a cursing check can only be resisted with the appropriate knowhow, of course, but it is not a property of the cursing Secret most of the time, but rather a property of the resisting party. So I wouldn't specify whether the check is resisted in the Secret itself at all. Or if I would, then I'd specify a passive Ability that would be used for the resist. In this case the Secret would also definitely be cheaper, because you'd get around 2-3 points less per check than you'd get unresisted.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Troels
Member

Posts: 77


« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2007, 07:21:23 AM »

Hmm. I think I'll start play with the necromancy, but without a Secret of Cursing. Then I can bring it to the table when I have more experience with actual (err, in-game mechanical) conflicts. Anyway you can curse the Hell out of people by sending ghosts to haunt them.
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lucky
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2007, 01:31:37 AM »

Troels,

Both of these are super-nice. As for Cursing, I tend towards resisted, but I'm not sure why, and that may just be built-in gamer-think.
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