When to add karma

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MetalBoar
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:32 am

When to add karma

Post by MetalBoar » Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:09 am

Quick rules interpretation question:

I was reading the examples of "actual play" for 1879 the other day and noticed that it at least implies and may explicitly use examples in which the players choose whether to use karma after seeing the results of the base, karma-less, die roll. With Earthdawn, my group has always played that you have to commit to using karma before rolling for the test and I was wondering if this is not what the RAW intend. I have skimmed my ED3 and ED4 books on the subject and I didn't see anything that clarifies this one way or the other. I do not own the 1879 rules yet so I haven't been able to look at them to see how the rules are presented there but seeing as it uses the Step System I guess I would kind of expect something like this to work the same way.

So, have we been doing karma wrong for years? Is this specific to 1879 and has no relevance for Earthdawn? Did I misinterpret what I read in the "actual play" example(s) on the 1879 page on the FASA site? Something else?

Thanks!

ChrisDDickey
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Re: When to add karma

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:13 am

Earthdawn and 1879 share the step system, and several other things, but there are some significant rule differences. This is one.

Earthdawn specifically says (somewhere) that karma must be declared before the roll, and rolled with it.

1879 specifically allows the player to roll the dice, see the roll (but might or might not have any information on what their target number was), and then decide whether they want to add a karma dice after the roll. I might add that another difference is that 1879 brought back the earlier editions practice of having karma cost Adventure Points (Legend Points), so karma is a bit more of a precious resource in 1879 since you don't get it back for free the next day.

MetalBoar
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:32 am

Re: When to add karma

Post by MetalBoar » Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:09 am

Earthdawn specifically says (somewhere) that karma must be declared before the roll, and rolled with it.
Well that's sure what I remembered but then I couldn't find it!

Thanks for the answer!

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Mataxes
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Re: When to add karma

Post by Mataxes » Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:36 am

I just took a look through the ED4 Player's Guide (searchable PDFs are a joy).

It turns out there might not be a single, specific statement about when the decision to spend karma must be made.

Here's the closest to it: ED4 Player's Guide, page 373, under "Resolve Actions"
Once the Initiative order has been determined, the characters declare the specific talents, skills, or spells they intend to use and whether they plan to spend Karma on any actions.
Emphasis mine. This would strongly indicate the player declares whether to use karma at the same time they declare what they are using to resolve their action.

I went back to ED1 (which would have set the standard the subsequent editions would have followed), and it says on page 94 of the ED1 book:
To use Karma for a talent, roll the character's Karma dice at the same time you roll the dice for the Talent Test.
(This same direction about rolling the karma dice at the same time you roll the talent dice is repeated a couple of times on page 95 as well, when talking about "Karma Required Talents" and "Discipline Talents".)

Rolling it at the same time means you must decide before you make the roll.
Josh Harrison - josh@fasagames.com
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MetalBoar
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:32 am

Re: When to add karma

Post by MetalBoar » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:29 pm

Thanks Mataxes!

Yep, searchable PDF's are great. I thought about checking my 1st edition book, but then I'd have to go dig it out of a box. I've got 4th edition in electronic format and both 3rd and 4th in dead tree format on my book shelf. I started by doing a search on the PDF's and then moved to skimming my 3rd edition books. Somehow I missed the entry on pg. 373. None the less it's good to know we hadn't been misinterpreting this for the last decade!

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