Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Discussion on the Earthdawn game line, errata, and feedback not related to playing or GMing.
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etherial
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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by etherial » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:07 am

The Undying wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:08 am
Allowing it against natural armor gets prickly, IMHO. It won't come up too often, but this begs the question "How does it work against Obsidimen"? These Namegivers usually wear armor over their natural armor. Does that mean Spot Armor Flaw could be used against them TWICE? I'd say yes, if it works against natural armor, as the effective target is different - one their natural armor, one their worn armor. Obviously, both can have separate flaws. I agree, preventing it from use against natural armor seems unfortunate (this is really how Smog does down, after all), but saying "yes, except against Obsidimen" seems like fiddliness.
Huh?

I roll Spot Armor Flaw against an Obsidiman wearing Fernweave. I get 6 successes. I have +12 Damage against the Obsidiman for Rank Rounds.

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by The Undying » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:26 am

As I said, Obsidimen have natural armor. That is in addition to equipped armor. The question is, since they effectively have two armor and if Spot Armor Flaw is against the armor, can you use Spot Armor Flaw twice on the same Namegiver. Providing an example of how it can effectively be used once against their equipped armor doesn't really address the question. ;)

A big crux of the problem is "what is being targeted?" I'd argue the armor is being targeted, both given the name of the Talent and the fact that a higher armor MD overrides the Namegiver's MD (which is likely to happen, given low MD of most fight-y guys compared to Thread Item armor MD). Since the armor is the target, and not the Namegiver, the "a target cannot have more than one instance of an ability applied" doesn't count, you could do it twice: once on the Obsidiman's equipped armor, once on the Obsidiman's natural armor. The end result is that you'd get the benefit of Spot Armor Flaw twice on that Obsidiman.

Side note: There *used to be* a note *somewhere* that said "you cannot use Spot Armor Flaw against a creature without armor." I've long since forgotten where that was. Also, I can't remember if that was "without" or "not wearing," the latter being of the utmost important because one does not "wear" natural armor. Regardless, you obviously can't Spot Armor Flaw on, say, a Dwarf without armor (to include Blood Pebble), but if Spot Armor Flaw works on natural armor, than you can *ALWAYS* use Spot Armor Flaw against Obsidimen, even if they're buck nekkid.

I also have this vague recollection of something saying "you cannot use Spot Armor Flaw if you cannot see the armor," which makes total sense - kinda hard to spot a flaw when you can't see the armor. Usually, this isn't important, but there occasions where it could be, especially magicians (given their penchant for robes, pretty easy for a robe to cover almost every type of armor).

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by etherial » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:45 am

The Undying wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:26 am
As I said, Obsidimen have natural armor. That is in addition to equipped armor. The question is, since they effectively have two armor and if Spot Armor Flaw is against the armor, can you use Spot Armor Flaw twice on the same Namegiver. Providing an example of how it can effectively be used once against their equipped armor doesn't really address the question. ;)

A big crux of the problem is "what is being targeted?" I'd argue the armor is being targeted, both given the name of the Talent and the fact that a higher armor MD overrides the Namegiver's MD (which is likely to happen, given low MD of most fight-y guys compared to Thread Item armor MD). Since the armor is the target, and not the Namegiver, the "a target cannot have more than one instance of an ability applied" doesn't count, you could do it twice: once on the Obsidiman's equipped armor, once on the Obsidiman's natural armor. The end result is that you'd get the benefit of Spot Armor Flaw twice on that Obsidiman.
The Talent doesn't care if you get your armor from your Race, your Talents, your Equipment, your Spells, your Pattern Items, or some combination thereof. It doesn't even care what your Armor Rating is, let alone how it's computed. It's a direct damage buff.

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by The Undying » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:46 am

We may be talking past each other as you seem to be talking orthogonality. As far as I can tell, you aren't responding to my points and I'm not seeing where your points connect to mine.

Here's the talent text (last line removed as it's about duration):

"The adept detects weaknesses in a character’s armor by making a Spot Armor Flaw test against the higher of the target’s or his armor’s Mystic Defense. If successful, the adept sees any flaws in the armor and gains a +2 bonus to his Damage tests against the target for each success scored on the Spot Armor Flaw test."

No one is talking about Armor Rating (although I add that in as a bonus question, now that you bring it up), and no one is disputing that the end result is a damage buff. So, let's put that aside and talk about the other things:

1) Does it require armor? I.e., can you use this to receive a damage bump on someone without armor of some kinda?

I would argue yes. We don't need to talk at all about where that armor comes from to tackle this question.

2) Does the armor have to be visible? I.e., if the Adept attempting to use Spot Armor Flaw cannot see the armor, can the talent be used against that creature?

I would argue armor must be visible. One cannot spot a flaw in armor one cannot see. Mostly, this comes down to (a) armor hidden below garments, and (b) completely spell based armor that can only be perceived Astrally. The first is likely more common that the second, especially with robes.

3) Does the talent work against non-equipped armor? Most specifically, natural armor?

This is really the heart of the original question. I'm personally fine with it either way, accept it leads us down a rabbit hole via the next question.

4) If something has stacked armor, can Spot Armor Flaw be used against the creature multiple times (once per armor)?

Your reply kinda sorta starts into this but doesn't really provide any meat. The Talent text itself is a bit at-odds, which is where the problem arises. That first line "a character's armor" is easy enough to read either way - "armor" as a global thing (because multiple types of armor are still, thanks to english fun, compositely "armor") and an individual thing. The problem is "the higher of the target’s or his armor’s Mystic Defense." This really suggests it's targeting A PIECE of armor, either the Chain mail the creature is wearing or it's natural armor (or, if we somehow got a spell involved that provides its own armor, that). If it's targeting the armor, then realistically, multiple instances could apply. My personal preference would be to ditch the latter offensive statement that leads to the confusion: it's versus the target's MD. Now, it's safer to just interpret the whole thing as "a creature gets armor, from any variety of sources, and I get to find a flaw in that composite thing to improve damage" rather than an implication that "since my test has ended up against the Thread Item armor's MD, the test is actually against the armor rather than the creature."

5) [Bonus question] Should Spot Armor Flaw provide a bonus that is more than the armor rating of the target?

This is likely too number fiddly for most, but I'd really argue no. The intent and flavor of the Talent is that it's found a chink in the armor. Therefore, there's no logical reason why the Talent should provide +6 damage bonus if the creature's armor only has a rating of 3.

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by etherial » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:21 am

The Undying wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:46 am
We may be talking past each other as you seem to be talking orthogonality. As far as I can tell, you aren't responding to my points and I'm not seeing where your points connect to mine.

Here's the talent text (last line removed as it's about duration):

"The adept detects weaknesses in a character’s armor by making a Spot Armor Flaw test against the higher of the target’s or his armor’s Mystic Defense. If successful, the adept sees any flaws in the armor and gains a +2 bonus to his Damage tests against the target for each success scored on the Spot Armor Flaw test."

1) Does it require armor? I.e., can you use this to receive a damage bump on someone without armor of some kinda?
2) Does the armor have to be visible? I.e., if the Adept attempting to use Spot Armor Flaw cannot see the armor, can the talent be used against that creature?
3) Does the talent work against non-equipped armor? Most specifically, natural armor?
4) If something has stacked armor, can Spot Armor Flaw be used against the creature multiple times (once per armor)?
5) [Bonus question] Should Spot Armor Flaw provide a bonus that is more than the armor rating of the target?
Yes, we are talking past each other. The Talent doesn't say to take any of those things into account and therefore it doesn't. Nor do I think anything would improve if it did because Combat has been redesigned so that Damage Buffs are how you combat Armored and Unarmored foes alike and this is a simple Damage Buff. If you prefer, the simplest solution is to replace the word "armor" with "defense" or "tactics" in the Talent Name and Effect Text.

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by The Undying » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:54 am

You are incorrect. I've enumerated how these things appear to be stated in the Talent - you are welcome to disagree. Also, there's a [unfortunate] fine line in ED between flavor text and system text. If a spell says "you throw a rock," then you throw a rock; if you can't throw a rock, you can't cast the spell. One would expect similarly that a Talent called "Spot Armor Flaw" with the text "detects weakness in a character's armor" has similar meaning (a la, they must have armor, you must be able to visibly evaluate it). You may disagree, but that doesn't mean you are right Rules As Written. My questions are an attempt to clarify the intent for the text as written.

If you chose to ignore the text as-written, hey, more power to you, play your way! :) Ignoring that the Talent specifically focuses on armor, though, basically turns this into "Generic Damage Bonus #52: roll to determine bonus," which I very sincerely doubt is the intent. Otherwise, it would just be something like "Empower Strike: test against target MD to receive +2 bonus per success for a number of rounds equal to Rank."

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by The Undying » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:15 am

Did a quick search on the old forum. The relevant thread gets really dark really fast, so I'm not going to link to it for the sake of everyone's sanity. :)

Here's the relevant text from Panda:
Here is how the talent is intended to work:

It grants a bonus to damage regardless of if the target is wearing armor. It does not work with effect tests.
Fairly disappointing to me, but there you have it. It is, indeed, "Empower Strike: test against target MD to receive +2 bonus per success for a number of rounds equal to Rank." One older edition's version did work by reducing Physical Armor, thereby limiting its use against low armor or unarmored opponents, but that is neither here nor there, we are in ED4, let ED4 be ED4. :)

I would personally recommend some official clarification on this since the title and some of the text feels like it very needlessly suggests something not intended, thereby leading to these questions (asked on both the old and current forum).

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by etherial » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:02 pm

The Undying wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:15 am
I would personally recommend some official clarification on this since the title and some of the text feels like it very needlessly suggests something not intended, thereby leading to these questions (asked on both the old and current forum).
I feel like this happens a lot. You say "Power X needs to tell me what to do in Circumstance Y" without ever really considering the possibility that the Developers did not consider Y important enough to design, playtest, and devote page space to create special rules dealing with Circumstance Y that players and GMs will then have to remember exists and then either memorize or look up every time Circumstance Y might possibly occur. Power X tells you exactly what to do in Circumstance Y - the same thing you do in every other Circumstance.

Spot Armor Flaw was probably intended specifically to allow Archers to shoot Dragons in the weak point in their hide. The possibility that it lets them bypass plate mail was probably considered a fringe benefit at the time. I get that you like rules that deal with fiddly situations, but I think the most straightforward reading here is that the Developers thought the old rules proved too fiddly so the cornercases were simply elided in the new edition. I think there can be nothing more official than "the new edition is worded differently", which sends a pretty clear signal to me that the Developers considered and rejected special rules that deal with special circumstances.

Would it break the game if Power X handled Circumstance Y no differently than Circumstance Z?

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by The Undying » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:32 pm

I feel like your veering into unproductive non-discussion here, so probably best to call it an end. "Spot Armor Flaw" has nothing to do with spotting nor with armor, it exists to gives a flat Damage bonus regardless of situation. That is confusing to me, it's confusing to others as has been made evident on the forums, but we've got good clarification. I stand by my recommendation that clarification in the FAQ is probably a good idea (that clarification being "whether the target has armor, or if that are is visible, has no impact on use of this power"), The Powers That Be are free to do with that what they will. Not really sure there's anything more at this point to talk to.

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Re: Collective Issues with the Earthdawn 4e Game System/Engine

Post by Lys » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:19 pm

In 3rd Edition Spot Armour Flaw decreased the number of successes required to score an Armour-Defeating Hit. However the original 1st Edition version is a straight damage adder that works fine against naked softbodies. Don't remember offhand if Classic works more like 1st or 3d in this case. So ED4 is going back to the roots here, and frankly the game is better for it since it makes the Talent fairly straightforward. Though it probably should have been named Spot Weak Point or something like that, it's not a big deal.

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