Game Mechanics - Open Discussion (Round Two)

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RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
Game Mechanics - Open Discussion (Round Two)

This thread is for open discussion of the latest version of the Game Mechanics chapter, which will be posted up with the new playtest pack later tonight.

As always, we're looking for:
* Typos, bad grammar, and other mistakes
* Broken rules
* Confusing text
* General feedback on what you think!

We'll be posting some specific playtest questions soon.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
GAME MECHANICS CHANGE LOG

GAME MECHANICS CHANGE LOG (from previous version)

* Increased the Rushing the Job modifier to -20 per 25% timeframe reduction

* Added pool use option: +5 to one aptitude until next recharge or 24 hours

* Moved pool use to avoid an Infection Test from Insight to Moxie

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

swordchucks swordchucks's picture
June update

I don't have any serious comments on this version, though I did see a few things I had at least basic thoughts on. I do wonder about being able to move faster in high gravity, though (see below).

Dice Basics - This may well be pointless to mention, but the assumption seems to be that you'll be using only regular d10s for this. Percentile dice are super-common, in my experience, so it just struck me as odd that it was assumed you'd need to call out colors.

Ultimate Rule - I almost want to have this bit put in bold "Just make sure everyone in your gaming group is on board with the changes and having fun." since it's the fundamental part of "rule 0" that causes the most trouble.

Superior Results and Criticals - Does there need to be a note on what happens if you manage a critical that is also a superior result? The assumption seems to be that it's one or the other, but there are a few possible results that are both.

Taking Time - The header is odd. Could it be "Taking Extra Time" or "Taking Your Time"? "Taking Time" doesn't inherently convey the same idea.

Taking The Initiative - "Seizing the Initiative" might be a better heading. It's more forceful, and spending Vigor to go first is definitely forceful.

Delaying Actions - It seems like the first paragraph's third and fourth sentence would be more clearly stated as "If you delay, you can interrupt another character acting later in the Initiative order at any point during their turn." unless there's something rolled into this that I'm not seeing.

Movement In Different Gravities - I'm... unsure why you can move faster in high gravity. That doesn't seem intuitive.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Higher gravity gives more

Higher gravity gives more friction with the ground, allowing you to push off harder against it. Lunar gravity forces a really weird gait for similar reasons. It makes sense though it isn't really intuitive.

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
swordchucks wrote:

swordchucks wrote:

Movement In Different Gravities - I'm... unsure why you can move faster in high gravity. That doesn't seem intuitive.

This came up in the previous thread. Walking/running movement relies a lot on pushing against the ground. In lower g, it's harder to do. In higher g, it's easier. It's weird, yeah.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

Grim G Grim G's picture
On the subject of movement in

On the subject of movement in high/low gravity, it only mentions how it would work for walking or driving, things like snake and boat aren't even toughed upon. On that note, you may want to take pressure into account; can you imagine how long the rotors of a helicopter would have to be on Mars?

Also, in regards to Zero G, I think it's worth adding in a rule about speed stacking. For example, rushing adds to your movement, but unless you choose to stop, you will be moving at the same speed plus any extra speed you get from rushing again. Your current speed is used as a negative modifier and failure means you smack into something (see fall damage). I imagine most characters would crash before they reach terminal velocity.

IntrepidVector IntrepidVector's picture
Opposed tests?

I have this strong dislike of the way Opposed Tests work, and am wondering if I am alone in that. It just seems that skill does not have enough weight over luck in the event that both characters succeed and have to compare dice numbers.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
The skill gets a sort of soft

The skill gets a sort of soft bonus in the sense that the higher your skill is, the more numbers you count as succeeding on, and so the better odds your successful roll will be better than the other guys.

While still allowing even someone who's defaulting to hit the very best number they can get, and if you do worse than that 15 or 10 or whatever, you've simply had a really bad day.

But if both people get 60 on the die, only the person who actually has a 60 skill gets to win the test.

A slight smell of ions....

swordchucks swordchucks's picture
High G movement

I don't take anyone's word for anything anymore, thanks Internet. Anyway, after some research, optimal walking speed does get faster. The optimal movement rate is a bit higher at high G, but it also has a negative effect on stability (such that the trials I was reading about at 1.5G required handrails for safety).

What's important about that research, though, is that it was very specific to walking where the parabolic motion of mass is key. Things like climbing, jumping, and even winged flight don't have the same considerations and I'm not sure it's a good idea to extend the speed boost to them. I can't imagine aquatic movement gets any easier, either.

It might be cleaner to simply have high gravity give a +10 / 0.2g modifier to the Athletics test used in Rushing and a -10 / 0.2g modifier to climbing, balance, etc.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
swordchucks wrote:I don't

swordchucks wrote:
I don't take anyone's word for anything anymore, thanks Internet. Anyway, after some research, optimal walking speed does get faster. The optimal movement rate is a bit higher at high G, but it also has a negative effect on stability (such that the trials I was reading about at 1.5G required handrails for safety).

What's important about that research, though, is that it was very specific to walking where the parabolic motion of mass is key. Things like climbing, jumping, and even winged flight don't have the same considerations and I'm not sure it's a good idea to extend the speed boost to them. I can't imagine aquatic movement gets any easier, either.

It might be cleaner to simply have high gravity give a +10 / 0.2g modifier to the Athletics test used in Rushing and a -10 / 0.2g modifier to climbing, balance, etc.

A bit more fiddly though. This is the sort of thing that can quickly lead into rules bloat if we're not careful how much we we do and don't add in. Your suggestion seems reasonable on it's own, but where else does Gravity come into play? Pilot checks? Do vector thrust systems become faster or slower in higher pressure atmospheres?

A slight smell of ions....

swordchucks swordchucks's picture
Fiddly bits

o11o1 wrote:
A bit more fiddly though.

Honestly, I'd rather just remove the movement speed adjustment for high gravity and assume that while people can move faster, in theory, that's tempered with the balance issues, making it a virtual wash.

My quibble is that the simple rule is only sort of applicable and gets more wrong than it does right.

ubik2 ubik2's picture
swordchucks wrote:Honestly, I

swordchucks wrote:
Honestly, I'd rather just remove the movement speed adjustment for high gravity and assume that while people can move faster, in theory, that's tempered with the balance issues, making it a virtual wash.

My quibble is that the simple rule is only sort of applicable and gets more wrong than it does right.


I agree that this is an area that doesn't need a special rule. Perhaps a blurb could stick around mentioning that lower gravity often slows you down, and higher gravity might speed you up, since it's not intuitive to most people.

Letting the GM just make up a modifier is probably more likely to be accurate when it seems like the normal movement rates shouldn't be used.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Perhaps a generalized table

Perhaps a generalized table of suggestions for how gravity would effect various methods of moving,

IE, the current rules for how land works, note that liquid motion doesn't really change (at least I don't think so, but I'm pretty tired right now and might not be thinking straight), and probably just examples of changes for common airborne environments or something.

There's a ton of places where how things move could really change (like how terminal velocity on Titan is low enough that fall damage should probably never happen), so if there's some rules for that going all the way would be better than just having a few IMO.

That said, I don't really care that much unless it makes a huge difference, and there's probably better things to do with those pages.

ubik2 ubik2's picture
Dice Mechanics

On opposed rolls, do people generally roll the defense if the attack roll fails? For example, if someone shoots you, but misses, do you still roll your Fray? It has some mechanical impact, since the defender can still get a critical success/failure, as well as superior results, but I imagine it isn't worth slowing down play for this. I'd guess that if you did use superior results, you would apply the Quality option for the +-10 to your next defense.

Not sure it needs to be covered, but in the ~1/2000 chance that both sides roll a tie that would be a critical success, I'm not sure how that's supposed to be resolved.

ubik2 ubik2's picture
Impact of gravity on movement types

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
note that liquid motion doesn't really change

For a boat, the displacement is the same (you weigh 2x as much, but so does the water you're displacing), so I think you're right about speed not really changing. For a submarine, you've got slightly denser fluids (not much for water), but if you have the power, you're also getting extra propulsion from that density, so again, no real change.

For wheeled/roller, you get better acceleration and handling in high gravity (not so good on terrain that you can damage, or on steep slopes), but top speed is limited by friction with the ground (which goes up) and with air (which stays the same if you still have the same pressure). You might use harder, less sticky tires, which decreases your handling, but also decreases the rolling resistance, in which case, you can probably go a little faster. Hover propulsion would require more energy to stay off the ground, but once you're off the ground, the air resistance is the same. Depending on how this is built, it's either like vectored thrust (slower), or unchanged.

For vectored thrust, more of your thrust is dedicated to providing lift, so I suspect this one is going to end up slower. This holds true for the rotorcraft and ionic propulsion as well. For an aerostat, you're in the same situation as the boats, where the speed is unchanged. It's hard to say for other microlights, like gliders, which rely on the environment for lift. If there's enough lift, they can go faster, since they get more energy out of their weight, but they usually don't have a lot of free lift to spare.

I suspect snakes would go faster in higher G, but I'm not really sure. Hoppers seem like they would be slower, since they have to spend more of their energy going up, so shorter hops, but at high G, they might just end up running like a walker (just as hopping is essentially what humans do at low G).

I've assumed everyone's adapted to the high G environment. Otherwise the aerostat will just fall, and the walker may not be strong enough (or have fast enough reflexes) to walk. Some of this isn't really fair (the walker needs more strength to walk at high G, and if built differently, could use that strength to be faster at standard G).

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Swims like a brick

IntrepidVector wrote:
I have this strong dislike of the way Opposed Tests work, and am wondering if I am alone in that. It just seems that skill does not have enough weight over luck in the event that both characters succeed and have to compare dice numbers.

It's a natural consequence of the linear distribution of d100 vs the bell distribution of dice pool systems. As someone who started in oWoD, it struck me as odd too, but through some one-shots and and in listening to "actual plays", it doesn't seem to work out so badly in execution: the lower "arc" of the non-existent bell curve is cut off by GM fiat, and the upper arc, when not bound by low skill, results in more dramatic and amazing outcomes.

swordchucks wrote:
Honestly, I'd rather just remove the movement speed adjustment for high gravity and assume that while people can move faster, in theory, that's tempered with the balance issues, making it a virtual wash.

There's a fair argument for this, in that humans evolved to move best at 1g, although transhuman adaptation mechanisms could overcome that barrier.

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
Perhaps a generalized table of suggestions for how gravity would effect various methods of moving,

A table would probably be the most concise way to put these all together, with a small lore/colour commentary blurb to flesh out the sci-fi feel.

ubik2 wrote:
Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
IE, the current rules for how land works, note that liquid motion doesn't really change
For a boat, the displacement is the same (you weigh 2x as much, but so does the water you're displacing), so I think you're right about speed not really changing.

Inertia would change though.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Inertia is based on pure mass

Inertia is based on pure mass, it's independent of gravity. Things in micro gravity have just as much inertia as full gravity.

A slight smell of ions....

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Apparently I can't brain

o11o1 wrote:
Inertia is based on pure mass

*facepalm* Of course.

(Swimming speed would go up for styles like the butterfly stroke, though.)

Scottbert Scottbert's picture
Thoughts while reading:

Thoughts while reading:
Game Mechanics
Is the '33 is one superior when succeeding and two when failing, and 66 is vice versa' thing too easy to mix up? Seems like it may be giving up some of the simplicity the roll-high-under-your-skill system gained.
Either don't reuse the word 'Moxie' or use it for Flex points. This is just going to trip people up.
Isn't it weird that you can't spend pool points to soften serious failures?
A task action of N*8 hours should not be written 'N days'. It should be written 'N*8 hours, interruptable'. This isn't D&D, everyone has varying amounts of sleep required, you can't assume an 8-hour 'workday' for plot/player tasks. Just writing the hour amount lets them decide how much time to spend on it each day, rather than making them do extra calculations.
Jumping distances -- 'Plus an additional amount per superior success' should specify said additional amount.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
How would a task action of "X

How would a task action of "X workshifts" sound to you?

A slight smell of ions....

Scottbert Scottbert's picture
o11o1 wrote:How would a task

o11o1 wrote:
How would a task action of "X workshifts" sound to you?

Unless the task is being handled by hypercorp slaves I hired, I can't think of any time that I would need to count time that way when working on a plot-important task. If it's plot-important, there's a high chance that I'd be willing to devote more than 8 hours a day to it if I HAVE the time, or that being in the middle of adventuring will severely limit my available time. Easier to just track by the hour in either case.
Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
I'm not sure all tasks can be

I'm not sure all tasks can be broken up like that. Some can be disastrous to stop in the middle (surgery, etc) while others have diminishing returns if you try to just power through it (psychotherapy, creative works, etc)

Proxy Bastion Proxy Bastion's picture
End States

One thing about EP 1st edition that left unsatisfied was unassigned or poorly addressed end states for dice rolls. When a player rolls a set of dice there are generally four states: success, fail, critical success, and critical fail. Two more states are added when superior success and failures are added. When opposed tests are included this leaves even more end states. The prime example being an attack that fails, but the Fray against that attack also fails. In many of these cases I've told the players to just wait to see if the attack succeeds or fails before Fraying to avoid this confusion. I recommend either finding more results for end states or reducing the number of end states for dice rolls.

GRAAK GRAAK's picture
IntrepidVector wrote:I have

IntrepidVector wrote:
I have this strong dislike of the way Opposed Tests work, and am wondering if I am alone in that. It just seems that skill does not have enough weight over luck in the event that both characters succeed and have to compare dice numbers.

I see your point but "I have become comfortably numb" about it. ;)

I'm afraid your concern is tied to the very core nature of D100 where every single result has the same probability to happen.

You would have to move away and change dice mechanic to solve that problem.
For example: dice pool mechanic (although they become quite unstable with more and more dice) or Fate based mechanic (where you roll a fixed number of dice to roll a number near your skill value, those dice give a bell shaped distribution around a given number).

eaton eaton's picture
The prime example being an

Quote:
The prime example being an attack that fails, but the Fray against that attack also fails.

This has never seemed weird to me. If someone shoots at me and I try to dodge, but stumble and fall instead… And they also whiff their shot? It's not like my stumble makes their bad shot a good one. I can see the problem with there being lots of possible end-states; D&D5e has a couple of opposed-roll style tests, like grappling of shoving, but EP has them for almost every combat action. The passive AC for defense does streamline things.

Proxy Bastion Proxy Bastion's picture
1d5

A simplification from 1st to 2nd I'd like to see is to change 1d10/2, rewritten as 1d5. It is a quicker and easier handle to use.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Proxy Bastion wrote:A

Proxy Bastion wrote:
A simplification from 1st to 2nd I'd like to see is to change 1d10/2, rewritten as 1d5. It is a quicker and easier handle to use.

I think the plan is to use 1d6 for those, on the basis that it's a lot easier to call for a die that actually exists in physical implementation than for one people have to still use a d10 and divide for.

Yes it means it has a slightly higher max, but not a lot higher anywhere that really breaks anything.

A slight smell of ions....

Proxy Bastion Proxy Bastion's picture
Motivations

Something I would like to see is a stronger connection between motivations and other mechanics. I love the potential they could have on a character and it seems a waste they don't have a more direct effect on the other mechanics. Motivations should be the reasons that a character pushes forward and continues the fight or what the character loses faith in as their resolve crumbles. Perhaps the motivations could have levels or degrees that build and erode with the passing of the campaign. I'd like to see them as a resource that the players can draw strength on, or something to sacrifice in order to save the day.

Kojak Kojak's picture
I've been using a mechanic in

I've been using a mechanic in my own campaign where when characters want to do something that goes against their motivations, they have to make a WILxX test to avoid taking 1d10/Y Stress. I think something along those lines could work well in 2E.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

Proxy Bastion Proxy Bastion's picture
Motivations

That is one method of course. I however want to see a mechanic is progressive rather than punitive. A mechanic where the players recognize there is enough benefit to remembering and using their motivations that they actively seek to employ them.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Maybe something about NPC

Maybe something about NPC Motivations and how they affect using social skills on them? Or having NPCs social at you?

A slight smell of ions....

Kojak Kojak's picture
Well, they get Rez for

Well, they get Rez for pursuing them. And I also do the converse; if they take an action I deem sufficiently within the bounds of their Motivation, I let them recover 1d10/X Stress on a successful WILxY.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

Voormas Voormas's picture
I don't think motivations

I don't think motivations need to be more integrated into the game mechanics, but I think having scenarios call out when something plays to (or against >:) a pre-gens motivations in a more explicit / less subtle way would do a lot of good in showing DMs "oh, this is something I should be thinking more about ahead of time for my own games"

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Punative = Counterproductive.

Kojak wrote:
Well, they get Rez for pursuing them. And I also do the converse; if they take an action I deem sufficiently within the bounds of their Motivation, I let them recover 1d10/X Stress on a successful WILxY.

Right, so I need to make my motivations as generic and uninteresting as possible. Got it!

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:Kojak

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
Kojak wrote:
Well, they get Rez for pursuing them. And I also do the converse; if they take an action I deem sufficiently within the bounds of their Motivation, I let them recover 1d10/X Stress on a successful WILxY.

Right, so I need to make my motivations as generic and uninteresting as possible. Got it!

My rule of thumb is, the more generic a motivation, the more impactful an action it needs to be to get a benefit. Someone with anti-hypercorp can just bomb an office building. Someone with "Do good" would need to save an entire habitat from certain destruction.

Kojak Kojak's picture
Yeah, I do the same thing.

Yeah, I do the same thing.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

o11o1 o11o1's picture
That seems like it can be

That seems like it can be vulnerable to "wishy-washiness" on the GM as to what does and does not count.

I would rather simply make players specify some more detail on their motivations if it felt too generic.

A slight smell of ions....

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
I agree with that. Seems to

I agree with that. Seems to "mother may I" the other way.

Proxy Bastion Proxy Bastion's picture
Motivations

One method I plan to test out is giving each motivation 5 bubbles on the character sheet. Pursuing motivations fillls them up. The players can then swap a certain number of bubbles for boons. One idea is to let them reduce stress damage they take by the number of bubbles they spend off a single motivation, the explaination being that they are steeling themselves for "the cause".

cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
Pool Refresh and Pacing

I was wondering what you think about current pool refresh design and pacing implications.

In the current system, players have about 5 - 10 pool points, and can regenerate about 7 (2x 3.5) more during a day.

These pools are extremely powerful, allowing players to ignore modifiers such as -120 (e.g., triple-rushing a very difficult task done with the worst possible assets), or refreshing major favors.

Even as a GM, I love the narrative control the pools grant the players, reducing dice and mechanics impact momentarily.

However, I think the current pool design is only really compatible with very fast-paced stories, and the slower the story gets, the more imbalanced they become.

For example yesterday, during one in-game hour, our players escaped from a space ship and had a lot of combat, hacking and infiltration going on. The average scene time frame was 5-10 minutes, and the pool design worked perfectly. They had to take conscious decisions what was important to them, and when to use pools to drive the story forward.

Later on they arrived on Olympus. There, they wanted to investigate a connection related to that space ship. The average scene time was 1/2 day, with lots of discussions and networking in between. Here, they basically had max pools all the time. They could ignore insane negative modifiers repeatedly, and basically succeed and / or prepare any way they wanted to, pretty much all the time.

I don't have any good suggestion how to address this (except tying pool refresh to something non-time based), but would like to know how other groups are handling this perceived imbalance.

In other words, am I missing something, and how do I tell exciting stories on time scales larger than a few hours that still involves rolls and / or the chance for failure?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Tests don't necessarilly have a right answer...

cpt.crush wrote:
These pools are extremely powerful, allowing players to ignore modifiers such as -120 (e.g., triple-rushing a very difficult task done with the worst possible assets), or refreshing major favors.

--Snip--

Later on they arrived on Olympus. There, they wanted to investigate a connection related to that space ship. The average scene time was 1/2 day, with lots of discussions and networking in between. Here, they basically had max pools all the time. They could ignore insane negative modifiers repeatedly, and basically succeed and / or prepare any way they wanted to, pretty much all the time.

I don't have any good suggestion how to address this (except tying pool refresh to something non-time based), but would like to know how other groups are handling this perceived imbalance.

First, I'm pretty sure that Pool effects are applied after modifiers are determined, so they can only be used to ignore the -60 at most, and ignoring penalties will never allow them to roll above their base value.
I'll also use this opportunity to push my personal rule that the caps for Bonuses and Penalties should be calculated independently, so they should never be getting a penalty greater than -60 at all.

Refreshing favours IS powerful, but they remain subject to all other limitations such as finding a provider and acquisition time.

The second thing to consider is that all actions on longer timescales are Task Actions, which precludes most other actions including both types of Recharge. Whilst the default is that you can interrupt a task action and resume it later, you can always say this isn't the case.
Preventing the players from refreshing their pools also makes thematic sense, as they would be using their pools during this period, just off camera.

Beyond this, the simplest thing is to remember that what 'success' on the test means is entirely up to you, and success can always come at a cost.

For example, if your player is making a Task Action to make contact with a Gang or Criminal Syndicate, simple success might mean they want the PCs dead, or the PCs can make contact but it will be massively expensive, or they have to perform a heist to gain their trust.
Superior/critical successes could affect this if you so desire, but if they've already used their Pool Spend for the test then what happens is out of their hands.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ubik2 ubik2's picture
This pool refresh issue is a

This pool refresh issue is a common problem in game design. In D&D it manifests as the 15 minute adventuring day (players go to the dungeon, dump all their spells on one encounter, then go back to town and sleep so they have a full pool for the next encounter).

As a house rule, if you feel like it's being overdone, you may want to only allow refresh when they've moved to the next step. In this case, it sounds like they're doing legwork. Until they're done with the legwork, their pools don't refresh. As soon as they go to the next step, their pools are full again.

For the more typical case, where there is time pressure, the daily refresh is probably a good solution, but it does break down when there's no pressure.

Arguably, when there's no pressure, players should be succeeding on everything anyhow. The story doesn't move on if they can't figure out the next step. If it's breaking verisimilitude, though, it's probably a good idea to house rule it.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
I don't actually think EP has

I don't actually think EP has much of a problem with a 5 minute adventuring day, as EP missions almost always have serious time limits which make taking a good sleep something you often can't afford.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Trappedinwikipedia wrote:I

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
I don't actually think EP has much of a problem with a 5 minute adventuring day, as EP missions almost always have serious time limits which make taking a good sleep something you often can't afford.

That strikes me less as "not a problem" but as something that's really "a problem with a known workaround in terms of the adventure design".

A slight smell of ions....

cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
Thanks for all your feedback!

Thanks for all your feedback!

To clarify my point, I'm concerned how EP needs "plot reasons" to fix "game mechanics". Since D&D was mentioned, let me contrast them:

In D&D most things players can do (e.g., spells) are confined to one day. Casting a spell, or acquiring an item, are mostly "closed" transactions:

The benefits accrued either drain existing resources (e.g., gold), or vanish after one day. Even in the "5 Minute Adventurer Day", players are merely reset to their original strength.

In other words, resting for 14 days will mostly have the same net effect as resting for 1 day, except for unrelated story telling reasons.

Eclipse Phase, in contrast, features day-spanning "task actions", the concept of "waiting longer to improve odds", and "open looped" resource acquisition.

The longer the wait, the more you get. Mechanically there is a very strong incentive for players "not to act", to increase their chances later. And the longer they wait, the more powerful they become.

In particular crossing the "rest boundary" amplifies these effects.

To summarize, in D&D the player's character sheet gives an accurate depiction of the player's peak performance and capabilities on any given day. In EP the player's characters seem more like seeds in "Seed AIs", if given accidentally too much time.

So GMs constantly have to come up with time restrictions and reasons to not let them become these all-succeeding, reaper-wearing overlords.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:So GMs constantly have

Quote:
So GMs constantly have to come up with time restrictions and reasons to not let them become these all-succeeding, reaper-wearing overlords.

I think I'm still confused — this issue is a pretty standard part of most tabletop RPGs. Moxie, Fate Points, spell slots, n-times-per-day class and racial abilities, once-per-day magical weapons, Numenera XP, nanohive refresh times, and so on are all similar mechanisms that force players to make tactical choices about the use of limited abilities and resources.

This is particularly relevant because EP1 completely ignores that in most cases; stats are stats and speed is speed and bonuses are bonuses and other than particularly rare and expensive ammunition, what you have today you'll have tomorrow. One of the primary benefits of the EP2 point pools is a "soft limit" on some of the most powerful abilities like multiple actions per combat round.

If you give EP players a fabber and infinite time, yeah, they'll make a fleet of Warbots and take over Extropia. If you give D&D players infinite time, they'll use downtime to make overpowered enchanted weapons and murder a god. Generally, though, there's some external pressure: a curse, an outbreak, a Jovian plot, or demonic subterfuge. Playing "Long term investment banker, the game" won't eliminate those dangers.

In terms of using the point pools to bypass negative modifiers on social/networking stuff, my EP1 players used moxie+extra time+cooperation that way quite often if I gave them time without pressure. Maybe the point pools just make the need for constraints more obvious? In a post-scarcity setting, it always seemed to me that with enough patience most problems *could* be overcome. Even in the real world, stuff like protecting a server from determined and patient hackers is very hard. The protection for a critical piece of tech infrastructure isn't a single very difficult roll (that can be bypassed by taking lots of time and ignoring negative modifiers), but layered defenses and the need for physical access in addition to digital.

cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
eaton wrote:Quote:So GMs

eaton wrote:
Quote:
So GMs constantly have to come up with time restrictions and reasons to not let them become these all-succeeding, reaper-wearing overlords.

I think I'm still confused — this issue is a pretty standard part of most tabletop RPGs. Moxie, Fate Points, spell slots, n-times-per-day class and racial abilities, once-per-day magical weapons, Numenera XP, nanohive refresh times

The essence of my point is:

In D&D, becoming more powerful than what's written on character sheet requires game play (e.g., spell slots). Even buying stuff is limited by gold.

Getting richer requires game play, getting "more successful" is not really possible. There is a mechanical incentive for players to be well-rested, but not to stall longer than 1 day. In return, there is no **mechanical** incentive for GMs to increase pacing.

Numenera XP is the same thing. These XP were earned, after a few re-rolls, they are gone. Getting richer requires game play, being more successful is an active trade of resources (XP vs. success). Getting more of these requires game play. Like in D&D, the only mechanical incentive for players to wait is to refresh pools.

Eclipse Phase: What's written on your character sheet doesn't really matter if time is not a factor. Want to get really fancy stuff? Just boost Favors and wait. Only have Infosec 40 but still need to hack that super-secure system? Just wait (+60) and negate negative modifiers (ok, oversimplifying EP hacking a bit).

There is a large mechanical incentive for players to stall. In return, there is a large incentive for GMs to prevent that from happening for the sake of balance. There is no real way the GM can prevent that from happening mechanically.

Unattended players, living on Mars, could basically declare: I'll just wait for 1 year and have every non-restricted item, implant, drug, that's written in any book, more so than any human living there ever realistically could. Facing an extremely difficult task, with just a bit of professional training and time, they basically succeed where all their in-world peers might fail over and over again.

Hence, the GM has to introduce "story reasons" to address a mechanical point.

What I am asking is: Do we want to accept that all missions in EP should be fast paced and / or rendering players demi-gods in waiting?

If that is a design decision, well ok, mission accomplished. If not, my point is the current mechanics get a bit in the way of telling slow stories while keeping overall mechanical balance as "pretended by" the character sheet.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
I think by their nature most

I think by their nature most things players do should be fast-paced. What situation could the players be going into where waiting won't result in people dying, potential x-risks getting out, information being lost, someone else grabbing the goods first, or other such time-limited task? What exciting thing could the players do that also can endlessly be put off for another day?

eaton eaton's picture
Well, I can see longer-term

Well, I can see longer-term stuff, especially if you're running a campaign that focuses on something other than Firewall X-Risk hunting. My players camped out on Whiskey Station, became the resident firewall server, and set up a pawn shop/salvage business.

In theory they could burn time to call in favors, ignore penalties, and get everything they want for free. In reality, they ran into resource availability, competition, and long timeframes for complicated stuff. They wanted to design new blueprints, for example, and that took weeks-to-months.

This definitely has me thinking about how assorted point pools can be exploited in these situations, but I just don't see it as any more broken than D&D's downtime mechanics, which allow players to make gold by using their skills, manufacture magical items, build castles, raise armies, and so on. The assumption, I think, is that it's up to the GM to ensure the rest of the world doesn't stand still while they're doing that. Threats still emerge, competitors try to prevent them from succeeding, etc. It's just a different kind of game at that point and has to be managed differently.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
So nice of the Demons to wait for you to get ready...

cpt.crush wrote:
There is a large mechanical incentive for players to stall. In return, there is a large incentive for GMs to prevent that from happening for the sake of balance. There is no real way the GM can prevent that from happening mechanically.

Unattended players, living on Mars, could basically declare: I'll just wait for 1 year and have every non-restricted item, implant, drug, that's written in any book, more so than any human living there ever realistically could. Facing an extremely difficult task, with just a bit of professional training and time, they basically succeed where all their in-world peers might fail over and over again.

Sure, your player can absolutely choose to play "Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Adventure".
And then they make a new character, specifically the one who's actually taking part in the game.
Regardless of whether you're using the Firewall framing device or not, scenarios are by definition unusual occurrences with implicit time limitations; if it can be ignored indefinitely with no consequence then it isn't suitable plot material.

This doesn't mean that everything has to be hectic Round-To-Round action, but there is always a cost to taking more time: for example, taking more time in an Investigative scenario means more time for evidence to be obscured or perpetrators to escape.

Basic rule - the longer the Players delay, the more difficult their challenges should become: the Thieves cover their Tracks, the Villain assassinates his opponents, the Infection digs deeper, the Monsters evolve and mutate....

Sure PCs can decide to stay home and become ReaperSwarms... and then [|<#GATE/*KEY>|] tears open the sky above Mars, unleashing The WaILiNg dEVoUREr and bringing forth the Great Flensing.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
I'm kind of reminded of a

I'm kind of reminded of a Deadlands game playthrough I listened to where the players took 5 months to get to their destination, not feeling rushed at all, and the end result was instead of taking care of a little problem they had to deal with a manifested god that killed most of the party.

Time is valuable. Even if it's not immediately obvious why.

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