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Author Topic: A Possible Setting for Burning Wheel  (Read 9134 times)
Lxndr
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2004, 12:12:58 PM »

Between a heavier-than-normal (or expected) workload today and, well, I don't know what, I'm experiencing a sort of writer's block on lifepaths for my various races sub-Settings.
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2004, 12:19:18 PM »

relax, you've done a lot already, don't push too hard.

i'm busy too, and i am going away this weekend. we can pick up next week and brainstorm.

-L
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Lxndr
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2004, 12:32:31 PM »

A break WOULD be nice.  Specially since I got the last session of my Fastlane game tomorrow.  :)  I need to remember breaks, and the taking of them...
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2004, 05:51:24 PM »

Quote
I'm curious now, though - if you had to rank these five races in terms of "most powerful" to "least powerful", how would you do it and why?

I'm glad you have asked that question. After carefull second read i noticed that some that racial traits are veery powerfull:

Vetal with Inscrutable
Tarrax with Earthsculpting

For me those two are game-breakers, first (if i understand correctly) lets you read minds of others, and second trait drills mas-sized holes in ground at yout natural speed!!! ARGHHH!!! (some thoughts for second one - did that tunnel have to be enforced in some way against collapsing or it just stays as it was digged?)

Ok without those two races ranks are as follows:

1) Khan
2) Deneri
3) Avalir

I think that other Tarrax trait Unerring Compass shuld have some requiements (maybe a little ritual involving getting your hands (yess those who dig tunnels like crazy :)) in contact with earth (submerging them into it), and then making perception roll (and different surfaces would have different OB for that).

Dro
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Lxndr
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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2004, 09:04:46 PM »

No, Inscrutable from Vetal is in part a RESULT of their twinlink (they can't root through EVERYONE'S head, but each Vetal lives in the head of their twin).  I guess I wasn't clear enough, but yeah, the comment there in Inscrutable is just the fact that the connection through the twinlink is constant - not that they can do that to anyone.

Between the twinlink, their Lifesense (which is what I thought was the most powerful part of 'em), and their extended age, Inscrutable is really a short way of saying "you can't really comprehend them, they think and experience the world in a way that you can't possibly imagine."  It's not a case of "ooh, look, I can peek into anyone's head."

As for Earthsculpting, it's half walking pace (not full walking pace), and only through natural soils and rocks -walls, floors, etc., still need tools to be worked.  Yeah, it makes them pretty good sappers, but they're based of "Dwarves", and aren't dwarves supposed to be good sappers?  On first blush, I'd say tunnel generally stays as it's dug, but I'm sure in unstable soil, it'll collapse fairly quickly.  I'm still working out the details as they apply in BW - in HERO, it was two inches of tunneling through DR 5.)  Not sure why it's a game-breaker, but maybe I'm missing something?

(Meanwhile, the Unerring Compass is constant - no ritual necessary - after all, all they can do is know where north is, which without a skill to take advantage of it, or knowledge of the area, or a MAP, is pretty useless, so I don't feel too bad about allowing them to know the direction of the north pole).

Finally:  Awww, poor Avalir, stuck at the bottom of the list.  At least nobody can accuse me of making my favorite race over-powered, but still, poor guys.  Though I'm not sure they're entirely underpowered - after all, only they and the Deneri, so far, have racial magic that gives access to Abstractions (Avalir through their song-magic).  So...

Anyway, thanks for the input.  With my comments on Earthsculpting (and more importantly, Inscrutable) I'm now interested to see if you re-rank anything.  ;)
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2004, 03:23:06 PM »

Nice that changes couple of things. And sorry i think that my personal preferences took me over (i prefer gritty dark fantasy stuff, and those races are surely developed with high magic/fantasy setting in mind) - once again sorry :)

Than let's go down to business:
(Updated ranking)

1) Khan (Forged in flames/Wildfire/Blowing Smoke)
2) Deneri (starchildren/night-magic/sixth sense) (They still have a big chance for place 1 - but i would like to decide after some thoughts on magic will be shared (abstract spell to create ether sphere around him and revitalize himself :)
3) Tarrax (but only when you allow earthsculpting only for digging thru earth - otherwise place 1)
4) Vetal (Brone of water/Sanguine) (water breathing is better than gliding imho)
5) Avalir (Eagle eyes/ Song-magic) (they would be higher what they would have ability for (even short) flights


Dro
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Lxndr
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2004, 08:31:30 PM »

Well, thanks to Burning Wheel, I can have gritty, dark, high magic.  All of those things can be true at once, and honestly, this setting was designed with high magic AND grit in mind.  Both CAN exist at once (heck, a world where everyone can cast spells is about as deadly as a world where everyone carries a gun... very gritty).

Remember that the Avalir wings can be used as a natural hang-glider, all you need is the Gliding skill... add that to their leaps, and I think they definitely have "short flight" capability.  (Leap up, glide down... leap up, glide down...)

Hrm.  I hadn't expected the Khan to be the highest ranking, but I guess I can see that perspective.  In some ways, though, they're the most limited, stuck in the physical.  Anyway, thanks for all your input.
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« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2004, 11:43:17 PM »

I have a different view on the matter than Dro. Let's do the tale of the tape:

1: Denerii. No contest.
2/3: Tarrax, Khan. It's a tie for me.
4: Vetal
5: Avalir.

Starting from the bottom up: Song magic and Gliding are cool, but not all that powerful. The Av's greatest strength is their utterly outrageous Perception maximum. They have the Perception potential of Gods.

Vetal seem to me fairly well-balanced and interesting, with the potential to be powerful. They are the only race out of your listing that doesn't have super duper inflated stats, but their blood magic/sanguine/craving tripych gives them an edge. I would like to see rough mechanics for sanguine and their immortality.

Khan and Tarrax both have the potential for game-breaking toughness. A smart player could easily make an unkillable character with either of these.

The stat max of 10 is really egregious. Do they have to have the potential to be Giant tough and Dragon strong? Are they THAT much better than men? Or should they just get a few more physical points in the making and maybe one stat boosted to 9 max? These questions lead me to the almighty game-breaking Denerii.

Sheesh! I think the writing is on the wall for these guys: Able to dump physical points into the mental pool  (I would have two gray 8s so fast your head would spin). Plus they get magic/abstraction (hence the high mentals) and they get the night-casting bonus. Who cares about physical points when you can magic up ANYTHING that you need with abstractions?

I am taking a bit of an extreme "powergamer" position here, I admit. Just trying to clearly unearth the flaws that I see (since I can't playtest them).

You've got a lot of good material here, a lot of potential. Let's see (brief) ideas on Craving and Rage, and perhaps rethink the power-level of these human offshoots. Remember, a little bonus goes a long way in BW.

-Luke
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Lxndr
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« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2004, 06:25:44 AM »

To address the races in order:

* With Avalir, my first urge, quite seriously, was to give them human racial bonuses, but say that their Perception was Gray at default.  But from what I've read in the book, that seemed even more overpowering than Perception B10 - which is "as perceptive as spiders are agile."  That's where I took my cue for most of my stats in fact - the Spiders and Wolves.  I didn't have my Character Burner here for a lot of this, so...

Also remember that their song magic IS a form of Abstractions - it's just mechanically more like Web Wyrding than Sorcery, a Training skill that adjuncts itself to Singing in this case.

* I like my Vetal, and I'm glad to see that, at the very least, they're relatively "balanced" and not too overpowerful.

* Hm.  I hadn't realized that both Tarrax and Khan have "Power and Forte can reach 10."  That's too similar.  And if you think that the tens are egregious, I'm willing to change them.  How bout Tarrax as follows:

Tarrax: Will 9, Agility 7, Speed 7, Forte 9, all else 8
Khan: All statistics at 8 (their other physical bonuses should be enough)

Is the only complaint the stat maxima?  In other words, do these tweaks help bring Khan and Tarrax down to less egregious levels?  Maybe bring them in line with the Vetal?

And now, the Denerii:

* So moving physical points into the mental pool is overpowered?  I can remove it.  But I really wanted to emphasize their mental vs. their physical prowess without requiring a different stat table.  Is max 10 vs. max 6 enough?  

* They get abstractions, yes.  But they add the strength of the local ether to their will INSTEAD OF using Sorcery as a skill.  The strength of the local ether dictates their ability.  I don't think I made that clear earlier, but that's what I meant.  

(And perhaps the strength of the local ether should replace Will instead of Sorcery...  if I chose that option, then ether-magic would be a Training skill based on Astrology, similar once again to Web-Wyrding.)

I'll post my basic write-ups on Cravings later.  I'm still working out how Rage should work, I just know it's gotta be there.
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« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2004, 07:41:37 AM »

Ah, good call: Why do Spiders have a max Agility of 10? Why do Trolls have a max Forte of 10?

Spiders have the potential to be the embodiment of Agility. Mythically this stands for me, since they are the "natural magical weavers." (and stay crunchy in milk).

Trolls, again, have the potential to be the embodiement of Toughness.

Whereas Elves and Dwarves simply have the potential to be better than Men -- but they still don't get that nod toward embodiment/perfection.

I think what is being muddled here is your desire to have descriptively and idiomatically races with stat maximums vs starting stat pool points.

I think you might want to hold off on the quazy maximums until you decide how many points these guys are going to get as a base for starting. In this case, you are going to reflect that in the LP stat bonuses from individual cultural sets.

Just throwing in a few more stat point bonuses on the LPs (in the proper pool) will go a long way toward fleshing out and making individual these races.

-L
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Lxndr
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« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2004, 08:32:58 AM »

Hmm.  I think I see your point.  We'll see how it goes.
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
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Lxndr
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« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2004, 06:34:50 AM »

Assuming I use the same lifepaths and age charts (and yes, this should include the Borns as well, if possible), and assuming that attribute maxima shouldn't be tampered with as much as I have...

If I put the attribute maxima for all the races back to 8s, what are some other game-mechanic-related ways I can address the following flaws?  Here are my ideas:

Hollow Bones (From Avalir) - I could just keep "decrease Superficial Wound by 1 and increase Mortal Wound by 1" (which I did say before) and let everything else take care of itself.

Like a Rock (From Tarrax) - My current thought is to remove the "skin is like steel, subtract 1" from the Khan and give it to the Tarrax.

Forged in Flame - Remove the "skin is like steel, subtract 1", as I said above, but instead add 1 to the Superficial score, and allow Mortal Wounds to round up.

Frail (From Deneri) - I'm lost here.  I want the Deneri to be the most physically weak of the races, and I specifically want them to be able to choose to reduce their physical stature to increase their mental abilities.  Maybe I should say "can move from physical pool to mental pool at a 2:1 ratio"?  Or 3:1?

And now, my basic ideas for Craving:

* Vetal blood magic is a Training Skill that uses Craving as its root.  I like the paradox that as the addiction grows stronger, so does the control.  So effectively, blood mages use Craving + Will.  Each different species' blood has a different spell-type effect.
* All Vetal have a Craving of at least B1, and no matter what happens it can never go below B1.  Unlike Grief, Craving should be able to go down through certain actions, but never eliminated.  I'm not sure if it should start at B1, or start higher.  On the other hand, Craving has Ob1 through Ob10 tests for it, like Grief and Hatred and the like.
* Vetal get a point of Craving for each and every LP they take that doesn't count towards their aging.
* Certain LPs in the Vetal Sub-setting allow Craving to be reduced and/or kept stable without aging.
* If a Vetal has the blood magic Training Skill, his *final* starting Craving is doubled.  If he learns it in play, his CURRENT Craving is doubled.
* Craving might occasionally be rolled by a Vetal in a stressful situation infused with powerful blood, or a Vetal drinking unfamiliar blood - a successful roll might activate the effects of the blood uncontrolled.  If this does happen in play, Craving automatically goes up one.

Craving is meant to be like an addiction, but only a psychological one - Vetal don't go through physical withdrawal symptoms if they stop, but they still CRAVE.  I don't want to force player action, though, so this will work like any number of character traits - by rewarding Artha for playing to it.

Still not sure how Rage is going to work, but Rage isn't Hatred - Rage is pure, cleansing fire, not the twisted ugly nature of the Orc beliefs.

And finally, a random thought on the Denerii that occurred to me just this very moment:

"Perhaps their Ether-based magic should work like Faith instead of Abstraction, with Ether-strength replacing what their Faith score would be.  It'll help emphasize the difference between song and night.  Hmmm."
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« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2004, 07:51:42 AM »

By all means give your races color and varied stat maxes, just back em off a bit.

One 10 or one 9 is usually more than enough to differentiate them from other folks. And since these are all "races of men", then you don't want to get too wacky. Besides, you have to leave room on our tiny little scale for all the other critters that'll populate the world.

Let's look at a BW Elf for example. It is not uncommon to see an Elf with 32 stat points divided up like this: Per B6 Wi B6 | Ag B6 Sp B6 Po B4 Fo B4. (If you haven't actually sat down and burned an elf yet, I recommend it.) Without benefit of insane stat maxes, we already have a character that feels different in his core numbers. Elves get a 9 max Perception and that's it -- this is the only asset they have that is truly more exceptional than any one else. The source material pretty clearly states that they were no stronger, faster, tougher (and certainly not more willful!) than men or dwarves -- at least not at their core. 3000 yr old elves are a different story. Now Elves come to this point via the Stat chart i built for them and via their LPs. You indicated you want to use one stat chart (which is great!), so you just need to more heavily favor the LPs or give out straight up stat bonuses (+1 Mental point, +2 Physical points, etc) via traits during character burning.

Suggested Stat Max/Mins:
Avalir: Perception B9
Vetal: 8s
Tarrax: Forte B9 / Spd B6
Khan: Power B9 / (and perhaps a weakness)
Deneri: Per + Will of B9 / All physical at B5 (by dropping this below starting max and forcing all physical roots to 2 (rather than 3), you are severely encouraging the life of the mind!)

Craving: This sounds very good. Oddly enough, I have been working on a mechanic very similar to what you describe! I am going to post it's mechanics later this week. I'll be sure to give you credit for inspiration/co-authorship.

Is there a penalty for taking Craving too far? I ask because "doubling" craving at any time is going to get right out whacky. Perhaps +2 Craving for the Blood Magic Tr?

The other traits are good:

You do have Avalir and Khan with the Tough trait. Why do the delicate Avalir have to encroach on the Khan turf?

The "decrease Superficial tolerance by 1" is a heavy weakness, but perhaps it is appropriate. This alone can balance out a lot of the bonuses you've give the Av.

Skin like Steel (Scaley Skin) is a rockin trait. Very useful, very powerful. Will create a distinct feel for these guys in play.

Let Frail be reflected in the stat maxes. Don't allow the passing of points between pools just yet.


Let's talk about magic again:
Av have Songs -- each spell is a separate skill with it's own exponent and ability. How does abstraction work into this.

Deneri have Sorcery -- The skill is a master key to unlock a potentially unlimited set of abilities. Deneri cast with Will + Ether or Sorcery + Ether (I vote for the latter) and are sorely limited by their Forte max. (Perhaps they can divide Ether dice between casting and resisting). Do Deneri have set spells or is it all abstraction?


That said, I really really like the Deneri. I think they are your most original creation and that they have a lot of potential. (and I can't help but see them as bat-men. If I had my druthers -- and I do not -- I would combine Av and Deneri to make a weird ether sucking, gliding, pale and frail manbat race. ::sigh:: so cool!)

good job, i smell pdf publication...

-L
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Lxndr
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« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2004, 08:05:40 AM »

Statistics:  Hmm.  I like your stat mins as stated and was somewhat toying with something along those lines.  Not sure what a weakness for Khans would be.  Per and Will both max at B7?

Craving: I'm still toying with the notion.  And yes, there should be some punishments for going too far... I'm just not exactly sure what the punishments should be.  Perhaps die penalties for going without the craving?  Something like this:

Craving at B5: -1D to all actions when denied at least one dose a day

And you're right that doubling could get very, very wacky.  Maybe +3.

Traits:  Avalir are weak (lower Superficial) but still hardy (higher Mortal).  Khan are just plain hardy (higher superficial, and Mortal rounds up).  I think they'd different enough to not encroach, especially with the smaller superficial.

Songs - Avalir have song-magic.  Lower-cased s.  They have a single Training Skill with the skill Singing as its root, that they can use like a Great Spider uses Web-Wyrding.  And they learn Abstractions as melodies and harmonies.  It's color, really.  And it's all Abstraction.

Deneri - If I go with the original method, it's also all Abstraction.  But with Avalir having Abstraction as well (and I don't want to give them Elf-like Songs), in retrospect this feels too close, mechanically.  Which is why I'm seriously thinking of re-casting it to use the Faith mechanics - in this scenario, Deneri would call upon the Ether to have it to what they want, using the Ether's power in the place of a Faith score.

This also removes Tax from the Deneri's racial magic, which is something that didn't sit right with me anyway - they're frail beings, and I wanted their manipulation of the ether to not threaten their frail-ity.

I'll admit, I'm really tempted to pdf this in the long run.  I'm glad to have your tacit approval on that idea.  :)  Yay for the idea of mini-supplements!
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
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« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2004, 08:18:54 AM »

Brass tacks, brass tacks, brass tacks! This is why i stressed doing lists rather than descriptions. All your beautiful prose distracts me!
;)

Av magic: Sing skill + Will (as Sorcery) to create Abstractions. How are facets/earned learned? Do they start with distilled spells/songs. (Need to come up with another name for their songs so old man designer doesn't keep getting confused.)

Den magic: Either Will/Skill + Ether or Ether (as Faith?). Hrm, being solely dependent on the elements for your power sounds a little too arbitrary. How about a rated attribute (like Faith/Grief/Hate) called Night.

Bonuses/penalties apply to the rolls:
Twilight +1D
Night +2D
Midnight +3D
Sunrise --
Day -2D
Midday -3D

Casting from great height: +1D
Casting underground: -1D

If the Deneri get night magic outside of the Wheel of Magic, would you still keep the Night facet?

Are you going to get fired from your job for posting all this?
;)
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