Rules revision general discussion thread.

*ARCHIVED* Sub-forum for the original West Marches Discord campaign

Moderator: etherial

Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:04 pm

I know that people are discussing rule changes due to the companion, and just rules changes in general on another channel, and wanted to get my 2 cents in before positions become solidified.

I was chatting with Fortesque the other day, and he mentioned that he did not like the current "thread item of your tier, with a 20% chance of if being one higher for 12 TIPs". He mentioned his idea that Novice items might start at 12 TIPs, Journeyman 16 TIP, Warden 20 TIPs, and Master 24 TIPs. I must say I am inclined towards something like that.
One of the nice things about Earthdawn thread items is that they are supposed to grow with the character. A character can get a Warden or even Master Item when a Novice, but he will almost certainly not be able to pull the final thread for it until he is well into Journeyman or Warden rank. But the way things are now, thread items do not grow with a character. There is an 80% chance a Novice will get a Novice Item and be able to pull all the ranks very soon. If he lucks into getting a Journeyman Item, he might have quite a number of adventures before he pulls a rank 6 thread, but this is a rare occurrence. Fortesque's idea would allow a Novice that wanted to to save up for a Warden Item that would grow with him to save up his TIPs for a more powerful item, even though the higher ranks would not be usable for quite some time.

Considering that Thane is just one circle away from Warden Tier, I feel I am very much arguing against my own self interest in supporting this. Thane already has a bunch of Novice and Journeyman items, and the understanding was that his item after his next one would automatically be Warden Tier for 12 TIPs, so arguing that I should have to spend 20 TIPs to get a warden item is a bad move right now, but I think it is a good idea. Maybe the existing high circle characters who already are almost at the Warden Tier could be grandfathered into the old system? But it seems to me that for newer characters currently at lower level, they might like the option to get TI at higher tier for more TIPs spent? Or maybe a better idea might be to keep using the existing thing, but say the tier goes up for each extra 4 TIPs you spend on tier.

How about we modify the Improving Tier chart to say that if you spend 0 TIPs, you have a 25% chance to receive an item one above your current Tier. If you spend 1 TIP you have a 50% chance. 2 = 75%, 3 = 100% chance of next Tier. 4 TIPs gets +1 Tier and 25% chance of a second Tier, Etc. So a Novice who spends 20 TIP, 12 base, and 8 on improving Tier would receive a Warden item, with a 25% chance of a master item. I like this Idea!

If you advance a tier with at least 12 TIP, your Tier for your next TI will be your prior Tier (this to prevent saving lots of TIP for the free tier advance - this allows us to get rid of the rule that no more than 20 TIP can be saved).

Also, I really hate the last column of the Random Thread Item table where you can spend TIP to still get a random thread item. It says that Usable by Race costs one TIP, Useful for Discipline costs two TIP, Useful for Build costs 3 tips, and specifying one power costs 4 TIPs. I think that all of those ought to be at least 2 TIPs cheaper. Specifically, I think that usable by Race and Useful for Discipline ought to be totally and completely free. Useful to Discipline I would define as something like 25% or less of the Talent boosts boost Talents that are not Discipline Talents or Talent Options for that Discipline . Specifying that it ought to be useful for your build ought to be ether free, or at most one TIP. And you probably ought to be able to specify a power for about 2 TIP per power (though perhaps keeping it so that if you have already spent 3 points specifying the exact item, the first power specified only costs one more TIP).

The existing rules seem to say that if somebody requests a 12 point thread item, the GM is supposed to roll some dice and announce that they found some ... Whatever. Maybe fern weave for the Warrior that already has plate mail, maybe a two handed sword for the windling spellcaster. It might be useless to the race, it might be useless to the discipline. Now I don't think that anybody else has yet received a useless thread item. I don't know if that is because nobody is requesting 12 point TI because they are afraid of getting something useless, or if Aegharan is simply being kind and not following the rules. But I don't think the rules ought to say what they currently do.

This game is different from a normal tabletop game. Here the GMs are handing out TI and saying "here is your Thread Item". The player does not really have a choice but to accept the TI as "his item". In a normal game, if the party runs across a TI (and I know all tables do this differently, but this is how most of the tables I have sat at have worked), The Item History guy takes it and IH's it for a few weeks, then the Research guy researches it next time the party is near a library, and we figure out what the first 4 or more powers are (the powers are reveled when research is done, you don't have to tie any threads to know the powers). If more than one character wants the item we work it out, but sometimes, especially if the item was not picked by the GM as being especially good for one character, but if the GM just used the item that was specified in the module, the situation arose where nobody wanted the item ("it looks like it is yet another elementalist staff that gives bonus to the elementalists melee attacks"). in which case it remains in the party treasury until ether somebody comes along and joins the campaign who wants it, or we can trade it for a TI that somebody actually wants.

The point is that in a normal campaign, the GM does not say "Here is your thread item, it is useless to you, but it is the only one you can have until everybody else has received another item. Too bad. Better luck next time". For a character to "claim" a thread item, it ought to be something that is least usable, and fairly useful as well.

Let me give some examples of what I consider to be reasonable TI requests, and how much I think it might be reasonable for them to cost.
#1 "Please give me a TI". Base cost 12 TIPs. A random base item is rolled, but some results are discarded until something appropriate comes up. It will be usable by race (no two handed swords to a windling), and both usable and useful by discipline (no spell matrixes to the Sky Raider, no more than one or two increases to talents not available to sky raiders and that sky raiders are not known for wanting). It might or might not however be useful to my build. A suit of armor is useful to a Skyraider,. A 2nd suit of armor could in theory sometimes be used (one at a time). but it is probably not very useful to the build. But it is at the very least usable. These last situations are where the distinction between usable by discipline (wind instruments can be usable by sky raiders, just not useful) Useful to discipline (which I think ought to cost 0), and useful to build (which I think ought to cost 1 TIP) are importaint. Example: Leadership is a TO to all sky raiders. Some have it, some do not. A bonus to Leadership is useful to Sky Raiders in general. Some But not useful to all Sky Raider builds unless asked for. There is a lot of judgement calls required from the GM on this issue, but the rules ought to be as clear as possible.
#2 "I am happy with my Weapons and Armor, I would not mind a shield upgrade, but just get me something useful". Base cost 12 TIPs, plus 1 for "useful to build", with some very general guidance as to what I consider useful or not. More weapons or armor would not be useful. A shield upgrade might be useful if it happens to be rolled. But almost all the powers ought to be something that Aegharan thinks might usefully compliment the character.
#3 "I want some magic boots of at least one tier higher, that increase my movement and give me the power to fly!" Base price 12, +3 for Worn/Utility/Boots, +4 for one tier higher, +1 for the fly ability and another +2 for at least one increase of movement (and a hint that I would be happy to get this power more than once), give a total of 22 TIP. It would probably be a fairly safe bet to skip the +2 for increased movement, since I spent 3 specifying that the item was boots, and most boots increase movement. But better safe than sorry.

I think that all of these combine into a reasonable system. Comments? Questions? Discussion?

Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:18 pm

Another issue, since the rules are under revision, there are some that I think ought to be fixed!

The Silver Costs for Key Knowledge's table is completely whacked.
I have no idea where those numbers came from, but the numbers seem to have no bearing or reference in ether the rules or the setting, nor in the way we judge successes in anything else about downtime.
Lets start with the Item History costs.
In order to do an Item History, the person needs two things. They have to have a Step Number of at least the MD of the item, and they have to have a Rank in IH talent of at least the number of the Key Knowledge. It has been decided that since only the odd item ranks have test knowledge's, then only those count. So in order to obtain the Rank 5 Key Knowledge, you need to have Rank 3 IH. To get Rank 9 KK, you need Rank 5 IH.
So when you are hiring an NPC to do these things. I would assume that you are hiring the cheapest competent person who can reliably make the test. But the numbers come out really weird.
IH requires ether a Troubadour or a Weaponsmith working 1 hour per day for one week. PER is a primary attribute for each, so lets assume most NPC Troubadour's and Weaponsmiths have PER is step 7, or at least step 6. If PER is 7, and karma is used, a first circle adept can take the step and get a 12, enough to IH the first rank of a journeyman item. Since the Rank in IH is the limiting factor, you need an adept with Rank 2 to do the 2nd test to get the Rank 3 KK, and a Rank 3 adept to do the third test for the Rank 5 power. It is all very straightforward, since the target number does not go up, just the rank in the talent needed.
The weird thing about the table is the price! Elsewhere, we know (and use) that a Weaponsmith with Rank 1 in Forge Weapon will spend 8 hours a day for one week to put a forge on a weapon for 50 SP per week. Why in the world would he charge 75 SP (50% more) for 7 one hour days (87% less work)! Those prices are whacked!
The Rank 3 Weaponsmith will charge 150 SP for a full week of 8 hour days. Yet our IH table shows him charge 375 SP (150% more) for 87% less work. Silly!

Lets take the absolutely most pessimistic assumptions and work from there. If for some reason we want to assume that most NPC Prime attributes are 6, and that for some reason they never use karma on their tests, then it would take a rank 6 NPC to IH a journeyman item. In this case the limiting factor is not the Talent Rank, but the Talent step. Thus it takes an Adept with Rank 6 to do IH on the Rank 1 power, but also Rank 6 to do IH on the Rank 3 and 5 powers as well. Again a WS with a Rank 6 Talent is willing to work 8 hours per day for a Week for 300 SP. So one would think that they would be willing to dedicate 1 hour day for a week for about 1/8 of that. Lets round in the workers favor and call it 40 SP per week for one hour per day of a Rank 6 talent (The WS can still spend 8 hours forging, and pick up some extra coin doing an IH in the evening. A Troubadour can spend his afternoons doing IH and still have his evenings free for singing in the pubs). So based upon the price of hiring a WS to forge a weapon as a typical charge for a week of work, and translating that into the price for 7 hours of work, using the most pessimistic assumptions I can find, it works out to all three IH's on a journeyman item costing 40 SP each. The more reasonable assumptions are less, as they require only using an Adept with Rank 3 or less, not Rank 6. Yet the table as it currently stands says 75, 225, and 350 SP. This does not make any sense to me. The numbers are not even in a reasonable ballpark.

The Research costs part of that table is even more Whacked. It does not seem to bear any relation to how Research is explained in the book at all.
First off, it seems to start off with the ... questionable ... assumption that information about the many minor Novice Items in the world is all fairly general information that is all relatively easy to find. But information about Legendary Master items are obscure bits of information that nobody ever heard of or thought worth writing down. Shouldn't that be reversed? OK, I can see why for balance reasons you want to do it that way, but the numbers are still amazingly weird. Once again, you can hire a 10th circle weaponsmith for a whole week for just 500 SP per week. Why does hiring a researcher to find the Rank 9 test knowledge of a Master item cost 2250 SP? IE: enough to hire a 10 circle Adept for 4 and a half weeks? Or a nine 5th circle adepts to work in safety for one week? Or enough to hire four 4th circle adepts to risk their lives on a mission?

The Research process, as presented in the players guide, does not have the target number being the MD of the magic item, it lists a range of suggested target numbers ranging from 5 for general information to 11 for obscure information. It does not have it raising or being harder for higher ranks of key knowledge. The house rules do have the target number being the MD of the item, and I am fine with that. What I don't understand at all is why, having stated that the target number is the MD, the table has the price getting higher for every rank. You need to hire somebody who can hit the target number. To research a master Item you need to hire somebody who can take the step and hit a TN 16 to get the first rank knowledge. And hire somebody to hit the exact same TN for the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th rank knowledge's.
If the target number is not changing, why the heck are the prices changing? Each ranks price should be exactly the same! It makes absolutely no sense for the price to go up, if the task is no more difficult and no greater expertise is required! And it makes no sense for it to the last one to require enough silver to hire nine Rank 5 researchers.

While I am on the subject, what was the reasoning behind removing the role that researching TI play in generating adventure leads. Why not have it so that somebody can't just say, instead of spending time in the library, I want to go to some far off kear and look for the information there? And deeds! where are the deeds?

Anyway, I very strongly believe that the Silver Cost for Key Knowledge's table is whacked. The GMs ought to sit down and decide what is going on, what NPCs can do. How they do it. How good they are at doing it. How much they charge, etc. And then ether move to keep the prices internally consistent, or at least provide an explanation as to why they look so whacked. My 2 cents.

Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:39 pm

This is probably going to be a bit more controversial, but I want to toss it out there for discussion...
Failure of the Adventures primary goal will reduce the award from Hard to Medium, or Medium to Easy.
Should that include if the adventures choose to "fail"?
Specifically, I envision a day when some adventuring group once again gets hired by Fortune Fields, and instead of completing the mission to Fortune Fields specifications, just decides to murder the whole lot of them instead. Now I understand that on that happy day Fortune Fields will not be paying them their silver reward, but I would like to think that somebody would throw those hero's a small ticker tape parade.

In the meantime, I guess the watchword is "be careful what adventures you sign on for".

User avatar
Posts: 944
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:04 pm
Location: Berlin, Massachusetts

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by etherial » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:05 pm

ChrisDDickey wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:39 pm
Specifically, I envision a day when some adventuring group once again gets hired by Fortune Fields, and instead of completing the mission to Fortune Fields specifications, just decides to murder the whole lot of them instead. Now I understand that on that happy day Fortune Fields will not be paying them their silver reward, but I would like to think that somebody would throw those hero's a small ticker tape parade.
As Head GM, Imma go out on a limb and say "The Adventure you receive may not be precisely the adventure you signed up for".

Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:55 am

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by Fortesque » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:21 pm

etherial wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:05 pm
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:39 pm
Specifically, I envision a day when some adventuring group once again gets hired by Fortune Fields, and instead of completing the mission to Fortune Fields specifications, just decides to murder the whole lot of them instead. Now I understand that on that happy day Fortune Fields will not be paying them their silver reward, but I would like to think that somebody would throw those hero's a small ticker tape parade.
As Head GM, Imma go out on a limb and say "The Adventure you receive may not be precisely the adventure you signed up for".
I know that I've been writing some stories that flirt with this concept. It allows for character growth and an opportunity to define your character. Beyond that, I'm open to the players suggesting alternative endings to the adventure - maybe don't choose to fail; rather, create an alternative victory for the story.

Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:45 am

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by Fusilliban » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:01 pm

Re: adventure failure -

I know on that last one that my PC was 100% prepared to fail the adventure and get paid nothing, but also as a player I was committed to not preventing the other players from completing the mission-as-given, if they chose to do so. I would have been okay with an outcome in which my PC was deemed to have failed but everyone else went on to glory.

As it was, it seemed like *most* of the PCs were uninterested in completing the mission in the spirit it was given, so I didn't feel the need to make that clear. If I played that wrong - fellow players, I apologize! I don't think I did, though - I think we all had a good time, handwringing and employer-betraying included.

Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:43 am

The other day we had a long discussion on Discord text General channel on this topic, and I am going to sum up some of the positions that struck me as having widespread support. I don't know that any of these positions had universal support, but many of them seemed to have more than one person speak up in favor of them...

A lot of people spoke up in favor of more flexibility in one form or another. The current system is you spend somewhere between 12 and 16 TIP, and can spend up to 4 of them specifying ether a higher tier or what sort of item you get, or a power. A lot of people would like even more flexibility. A large number of suggestions were put forth. Among them were...
  1. Allow the saving of more than 20 TIPs and the spending of more than 16.
  2. Allow the spending of more TIPs to guarantee one or more tier improvement. I would think that 4 to 6 TIPs per Tier might be appropriate. This would probably best be done by expanding the current chart where we spend TIPS to to expand the chance to advance a tier such that at some point we have a greater than 100% chance of going up a tier, and are purchasing a chance of going up a 2nd tier. But like I said, we would need to specify some specific TIP costs.
  3. Allow the upgrading of existing Thread Items. IE: spend X TIPs, and discover that your previously Novice item is now a Journeyman item and has two more ranks available. This should probably be more expensive that buying a tier improvement at the start would have been, but less expensive than a separate thread item would be. My own personal opinion is that somewhere between 8 and 12 TIPs might buy that upgrade. You might also spend a bit more to specify another power at the new ranks.
  4. Allow players to actually select published TI. Pay a certain number of TIPs and then say "I want Bracers of Obsidiman Strength" or "Seven League Boots". What would be appropriate TIP prices? Would it matter if it was described as being "common" or unique?
  5. Several people spoke in favor of integrating TIPs and enchanting in some way. IE: rather than spend TIPs to get magic items and also have the ability to follow the enchanting practices exactly as in the book to get more and different items, integrate the two, ether so that you can spend TIPs in aid of enchanting, or utilize the fact that you have enchanting ability to give you a bonus to how you can spend TIPs, perhaps the ability to more fully specify the powers at a lessor TIPs cost. I don't think any really detailed proposals were put forth, but I would be very interested to see somebody attempt to work out some proposed rules and post them here for discussion.
So among possible topics for further discussion is ... Which of these do we want to pursue, and how much should they cost?

Topics that were mentioned that nobody followed up on include...
  • The book mentions that matrix objects are sometimes found in the market. We have no mechanism for somebody just buying one with silver. Should we?

Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:03 am

And by the way, other than Enchanting, does anybody have any comments, questions, or concerns about anything else in the Companion?

Does anybody have any issues with incorporating any additions to Disciplines or Talents to the game? Talent Knacks in general? Any specific Talent Knacks? Thread Items? Creatures? Masks?
Should all the optional rules be incorporated to our game as stated? Should the Alternate Approach to Chain Casting be used?

Translating what it says on page 76 and 77 of the companion, should we say that in Westmarches, learning a knack costs the LP and SP listed (same as a Novice Talent of the required Rank and 50 SP times the required rank)?
How much downtime should it take to learn knacks? Maybe you can learn one Knack combined with the downtime of circle training? Since it only takes 4 hours per day, if doing nothing but learning knacks, maybe you can learn up to 2 knacks in one week? There is room for tweaking here.

Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:28 am

As for enchanting...

As I stated previously. I did't really see the "enchant it yourself" options as expressed in the companion working out very well for PCs.
Yes an NPC can spend a year or two in the lab and figure out a really cool pattern, then make a dozen per month to sell. But the creation of one-off unique items seems to me to be too unwieldy, expensive, and requires too much downtime for any but the most keen PC enchanter. How many PC alchemists do we have in the game? Are ANY of them capable of making anything other than the 3 most simple potions? No matter how keen they are, when do they hope to be able to do more? And how much will it cost them?
Others might have a different take on the subject than I do.
[edit done later. I stand corrected. I am surprised to find that Novice and Journeyman Thread Items are reasonable to do as the rules stand.]

Here is a brief summary as I understand it (and I freely admit I might be wrong on multiple details). This is a summary of how enchanting stands strictly in the book. I would be interested in seeing (somebody else) propose a way for enchanting and our TIPs system to be merged. The sidebar on page 119 says "gamemasters, feel free to throw these out and come up with something else". Anyway, below is (loosely) how it works in the book.

Alchemy is used to make potions.
Spellcasters and Weaponsmiths become able to create other things at ranks 4 or 5. If you want to make a magic sword, you need to have weaponcrafting at a moderate rank. If you want to make a magic carpet, you need carpet weaving at a moderate rank. Same for everything else.
Spellcasters and Weaponsmiths become able to design enchanting patterns at about rank 8.

Before you can make anything, you need to obtain an enchanting pattern and learn it. Learning it can be hand-waved away, as if you study it long enough, it could be assumed you will eventually manage to learn it. Obtaining it is done in one of three ways: (a) Buying (or being given) it. (b) Finding one in a long abandoned lab. (c) designing it yourself.

Options (a2) and (b) are up to the GM to gift as adventure rewards, however the market values are far above standard adventure rewards. As for buying it, the suggested starting price for the pattern to make common healing potions starts at 3000 SP or more. This 3000 SP investment allows NPCs to make as many healing potions as they want for 150 SP, and sell them for 300 SP. There is a Common Pattern that exists for Common Thread Items. Somebody somewhere is churning out dozens of pairs of Espagra Boots per year. Generally speaking the common patterns for thread items are not for sale, and if they were, it would really only be worthwhile buying it if you were going to set up a shop and make and sell dozens per year.

Generally speaking, adventurer enchanting is limited to (b) happen to find the pattern for exactly what you want in a long forgotten library bearing in mind that the MARKET value for such a recipe is probably many times standard adventure rewards, or (c) design it yourself. You can't design it yourself until you have smith weaving or patterncraft at 8th circle.

Lets examine making a Custom Pattern yourself in more detail.
As I understand it. You can't create a Design pattern unless you are a spellcaster or a Smith with Patterncraft/Smith Weaving rank 8. For this example lets assume the crafter is Circle 9, Rank 9, and has a step of 16. Adding karma allows him to "take a step" of 20.
This allows them to design a Novice Item Pattern in less than 2 weeks, a Journeyman item Pattern in 4 weeks, and a Warden Item in 12 Weeks. Wardens can't design Master items. Now that I look at the numbers, I find my first impressions were wrong. Custom Novice and Journeyman items are quite do-able. Warden item Patterns, while theoretically possible, I think are unreasonably too time-consuming until one becomes a Master unless the enchanter has managed to find lots of plus's for their enchanting skill. Also, I suppose it would be possible under our house rules for two enchanters to adventure together, and each could get some plus's to their enchanting tests for a while. So I am surprised to find that it is all doable!

Enchanting it is also reasonable. 3 weeks or so will do most Journeyman items.

So it looks like to make most custom Novice Items requires 1.25 weeks to design, and 1 3/7th weeks to build. Which is still solidly short of 3 weeks of downtime. And you get exactly what (novice item) you want.
For journeyman items. 4 weeks to make a pattern, and 3 weeks to craft it. 7 weeks is a lot, but you get exactly what you want.
Warden Items (for a 9th circle Warden working alone to do) Requires 8 weeks to design, but unless he can somehow reduce the EDN of the Item down, or raise his Enchanting skill Up, he can't enchant the Item by himself. If he could it would take about 6 weeks.
The final step in the process of enchanting a thread item severs a small piece of a Namegiver’s pattern to provide the thread item with its True Pattern. This causes each participating enchanter to suffer a Wound, which cannot be healed for a year and a day. Another Namegiver may take the Wound in one (or more) of the enchanters’ place if their blood is incorporated into the item.
So who is going to take the wounds? The enchanters? The person who ordered the TI? Buy a slave? Advertise on craigslist?

As for Weaponsmiths needing to have made their own weapon by 5th circle to be able to apply karma to the damage.
I personally (but I am not a GM in this campaign) think it would be reasonable for a Weaponsmith advancing to Journeyman to, as part of his Journeyman initiation, be taught (after paying the LP and SP costs of it) the "Craft True Pattern" Knack, and also be taught one of the enchanting patterns for a journeyman Thread Item weapon, after swearing that this pattern will only be used for his own personal weapons, or taught to other Journeyman Weaponsmiths he initiates to the tier, and that he will never sell such a sword. As soon as the WS spends the three weeks of downtime required to enchant it... He has his sword/axe/warhammer. This is not a custom pattern, but a common pattern, so he does not get to pick the powers himself, but has to pick one package from one of a short list.

So like I said, now somebody ought to figure out what any of this has to do with our TIP system and if it can be integrated at all.
One idea would be that you can trade TIPs for ether design successes, enchanting successes, or weeks of enchanting downtime.

Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Rules revision general discussion thread.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:36 pm

Questors of Westmarches.

The Questors book was published last weekend. I don't think it is going to require 3 months of contemplation to decide how to incorporate into the campaign. We could take the 3 months if required, but the few issues it raises could probably be decided at the same time as the companion. The issues might be complex, but there are very few of them!

Shall the book be incorporated into the Westmarches campaign?
It seems to me that the only issues that need to be addressed are Devotion Point awards, Devotion Point totals, Quests, and Falling out of Favor with your Passion.

Quests seems like the easiest topic to address. In order to advance "tiers" as a Questor, you need to perform a quest for your passion. It seems clear that this needs to be a special mission, proposed by the questors player, and approved and arranged by the GM as a Quest. The only question in my mind is if a single adventure is enough, or whether the norm should be that a plot thread of 2 or more linked adventures is required. Discussion?

Devotion Point awards and totals:
For those who have not yet read the book, or choose not to. All you really need to know is that Devotion Points (DP) are now a bit like Karma. You have a pool of devotion points, and you spend them to add an extra dice to certain tests. Unlike 4th edition karma, it does not refresh every day. Spending an hour per day communing with your passion (basically prayer) will get you 1 to 3 points per day. Questors are supposed to do frequent Acts of Devotion (AoD) to earn additional DP. For example healing somebody is a minor Act of Devotion for questors of Garlen and will gain them one DP. These additional DP are awarded by the GM.

The standard in Westmarches is that awards are fixed. Every successful Circle X mission is worth Y LP and Z SP. It does not matter how rapacious the characters did or did not act, the award remains unchanged. This has resulted in an campaign with unprecedented high levels of sanity and low levels of wanton pillaging by the supposed good guys. This is good. But the DP system is meant to reward good role-playing.

I see several possible approaches here. One is to pretty much ignore AoD as an accounting method, and get all DP awards automatically, like LP and SP are. I don't really favor this.
Another possibility is to have GMs make DP awards as per the Questors book. I favor this. It's not how we do LP or SP, but I think it works for DP.

A related subject is DP totals and downtime. Our campaign is fairly unique in that it is assumed that there are always exactly 2 weeks between missions (except when there are three weeks of downtime between missions). A questor who communes with their passion every day during those 14 or 21 days will get 1 to 3 (depending upon tier) DP per day. Should we just add that many DP during downtime? One can spend a week of downtime to perform a major AoD to your passion for an additional +5 DP (up to the DP pool max of course) (I would favor this). Or should we just assume the DP pool starts at max with every mission? (this would be more in line with how we are doing everything else, but I do not favor this approach). Of course if we are just starting out with DP pools automatically maxed out at the start of every mission, then DP awards at the end of missions becomes moot.

Last is the topic of falling out of Favor with your Passion. This is done by frequently ignoring opportunities to perform AoD, and actively working against the Passions Ideals. This falls under the topic of "long term effects", and is also probably a decision that should not be made independently by any one GM. But it would be nice if a GM (or all GMs in council) had some sort of carrot and/or stick.


Other than the above issues, I don't see anything in the book that could not be implemented with few problems.