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Supernaturalis: Cap-setting for monsters/demigods/etc

 
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:54 pm    Post subject: Supernaturalis: Cap-setting for monsters/demigods/etc Reply with quote

I've recently been working on a cap-setting for my group, and thought others might find it of interest. I mean "cap-setting" in the Primal Order sense; it's not a full setting in its own right, instead it's intended to be dropped on top of an existing setting.

It incorporates a number of ideas and house rules I've been playing with, including edges, hindrances, and a weapon creation system. But the meat of it lies in a new Arcane Background, which falls somewhere between NE/SPC and 77IM's Arcane Abilities. I wanted something that allowed extensive character customisation, but I wanted it to be on a similar power level to the FC, HC, 50F, SS, etc, so that I could pinch monsters and adventures from the various plot point campaigns I've been collecting.

Character creation isn't quite as FFF as I'd like, but it gives considerable freedom to design supernatural creatures, superheroes, demigods, aliens, etc, and once you've created your character, gameplay is as FFF as ever.

You can download it from here: Supernaturalis

Feel free to use any parts you like, and feedback is also welcome. As I said earlier it's really just intended for my own group, but I know a few other people have talked about running games with demigods and such, so maybe they can get a few ideas from it.
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PeteAtoms
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the weapon creation system was pretty interesting. The first weapon I tried to make was the SWD staff.

One thing I don't recall seeing was a way to assign a $$$ value to the customized weapons. I suppose the price is determined by whatever setting you are "capping".

But how would a 3 point weapon compare to a 2 point? Would a typically low-toughness weapon, customized to be tougher, cost a significant amount more?
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually tend to abstract cash, but I guess you could reduce or increase the cost of the weapon by assigning it a different number of ability points. A normal weapon has 2 points (the system was modelled on the race creation rules), but you could say something like 0=crude, 1=cheap, 2=normal, 3=expensive, 4=masterwork. In terms of price, perhaps $10 for crude, $50-100 for cheap, $200-300 for normal, $500-600 for expensive and $1000+ for masterwork.

If you try to reproduce weapons from SWD you'll find that some have points left over, while others cost too much. The staff is an example of a cheaper weapon:

+3: Strong Defence (+1 Parry)
+1: Two-Handed (Polearm: 1" Reach)
-2: Low Damage (d4)
-2: Carried

So in the example weapons tables, I gave it a couple more abilities to bring it up to 2 points:

+1: Bludgeoning (2 AP vs rigid armour)
+1: Tough (Toughness 12)

My main goal was to try and balance the weapons, to encourage diversity.



EDIT: In retrospect, it might be more consistent to leave the number of ability points at 2, set a base cost of $250, and introduce some additional Weapon Abilities:

+2: Crude: Weapon costs $10 to buy, and the repair price is quartered.

+1: Cheap: Weapon costs $100 to buy, and the repair price is halved.

-1: Expensive: Weapon costs $500 to buy, and the repair price is doubled.

-2: Masterwork: Weapon costs $1000 to buy, and the repair price is quadrupled.

The ability value could also be applied directly if you're using some sort of wealth system. Perhaps I should revise my wealth system and add it to Supernaturalis.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've updated the PDF to include costs for weapons. I've also made the index clickable and cleaned up a few cosmetic issues.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy cow, you have outdone yourself! This is like an entire game system.

I'll post more when I have time. On first glance-through, you get a benny for excellent use of Storn artwork. ;}

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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments, 77IM. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts after you've had a chance to look in more detail. I was expecting a lot of criticism, but this stony silence is even worse Razz

One thing I've been considering doing is incorporating the freeform magic idea I proposed in this thread. The Creative Duplication power does already provide something a bit like Super Sorcery in NE/SPC, but I think I could give it a bit of an Ars Magica feel by adding something like:

Quote:
Spontaneous Spellcaster

Requirements
: Creative Duplication

Instead of making a Duplication roll to prepare a power and another roll to use it, you can now choose to perform both actions simultaneously using just a single Duplication roll. For example you could roll Duplication (Heat) to give yourself Natural Weapon (fireball) and use the result of that same roll to determine if the fireball hits. Note that this decision must be made before making any rolls.

And:

Quote:
Magical Technique

Requirements
: Spontaneous Spellcaster

The Duplication skill doesn't benefit from the Supernatural Skill edge. However this edge allows you to gain similar benefits. Each time you select this skill, choose one technique from Creo (creation), Intellego (understanding), Muto (transformation), Perdo (destruction) and Rego (manipulation and movement). You gain a +1 bonus to all Duplication skills while using that technique, and your Wild Die increases by one step (to a maximum of d12). As with Preternatural skill, the bonuses from this edge do not stack with the skill bonuses from any other edges. This edge may be taken up to four times for each of the five techniques.

I've already got a detailed list of how the different Duplication skills work in relation to each Primal Edge, but I still need to tidy it up and add it to the PDF. While I'm doing that I could also mention which magical technique/s are required and what sort of effect they have.
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Sean-Khan
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a brief look, it looks very, very promising and well done! Had to print it so I can read if off the screen Smile
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The PDF has been updated to include the Spontaneous Spellcaster and Magical Technique edges, as well as a Magic chapter for freeform spellcasting.

I've run three sessions now, and the players have all mentioned how much they like their characters - they have lots of cool flashy powers, but they're not particularly tough, so they can easily be challenged by regular monsters.

However I've noticed that they spend every single advance on new Primal Edges! I'm wondering if perhaps there should be some sort of limit, either based on rank (like attributes) or a fixed limit (eg no more than 10-20 Primal Edges). Or perhaps a staggered things, so they can't spend two advances in a row on Primal Edges.
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Sean-Khan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:
However I've noticed that they spend every single advance on new Primal Edges! I'm wondering if perhaps there should be some sort of limit, either based on rank (like attributes) or a fixed limit (eg no more than 10-20 Primal Edges). Or perhaps a staggered things, so they can't spend two advances in a row on Primal Edges.

1/rank sounds good. Perhaps you could make two or more setting rules for different types of games?
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean-Khan wrote:
1/rank sounds good. Perhaps you could make two or more setting rules for different types of games?

The thing is, I don't feel that the edges themselves are really that strong, you need quite a few of them to access the more powerful abilities. For example it requires 5 Primal Edges to get the same level of Invisibility as NE/SPC (which is a 5 PP power), and although you can reduce the cost through modifiers, all those restrictions can really hurt (probably even more than just taking a regular Arcane Background and the Invisibility power with the No Power Points rule).

After thinking over it for a while, I suspect it's just a case of the players wanting more cool abilities rather than the same old "normal" skills and edges they've been using in the last three SW campaigns. I guess it would be a bit like playing a mage and being given a huge list of brand new spells - even if they're balanced, the fact is that they're new toys, and you want to try them out, so you'd be taking a lot of New Power edges.

So for now I've gone with: No more than half of your advances earned after character creation may be spent on Primal Edges.

I've also elaborated a bit on Luck, it now requires the Competent Extra edge. A Competent Extra with Luck and Great Luck can (at the GM's discretion) spend one more advance to replace those edges with full Wild Card status. The idea is to provide a more granular transition from Extra to Wild Card for interesting NPCs. I guess that makes Wild Card the equivalent of 4 edges (a +8 racial ability), which sounds about right IMO.

Another thing I wasn't too happy about was that freeform spellcasters always had at least d6 in every technique (wild) die, so they were always at least reasonably competent in every technique. Therefore I've added the following sentence to the end of the Magical Technique edge: "This edge is free the first time you take it if you are weak in two techniques (they always use a d4 Wild Die) or incompetent in one technique (you cannot use it at all)". I've changed the requirement to just "Creative Duplication" as well, so it gives freeform spellcasters a way to specialise for free, which should encourage some diversity.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been considering making a couple of changes to Preternatural Skill, which currently looks like this:

Quote:
Preternatural Skill

Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Supernaturalis), appropriate skill at d8+

This edge is considered an instantiated power.

This power is always active. You gain a +1 bonus to any one skill except Duplication, and your Wild Die increases by one step (to a maximum of d12) when rolling that particular skill. This edge may be taken up to four times for each skill.

Note that the bonuses from Preternatural Skill do not stack with the skill bonuses from any other edges. If you have other edges such as Ace, Trademark weapon, Professional, Expert, etc, then you only apply the bonus from Preternatural Skill if it is higher than the total bonus granted by all other edges. Similarly, the Wild Die bonus from Master does not stack - you either use Master or this edge, whichever is higher.

The skill requirement is waived if this power is reversed (see Reflective Attack).


The d8 skill requirement was originally added to avoid the issue I ran into in my NE campaign, with the Super Sorcerer giving themselves whatever specialised skill they needed outside of combat. However I'm not sure if it's really necessary in this case - as Preternatural Skill can only be stacked a maximum of 4 times for each skill, there would still be a strong incentive for having the skill naturally as well.

On the other hand, that Wild Die boost would make up for a low die. Perhaps there should instead be some limitation such as "You must have at least d6 in the skill to benefit from the increased Wild Die"? That would also help offset things like Dynamic Flexibility (particularly in combination with Jack-of-All-Trades), while still allowing the player a high chance of success against a normal TN.

The benefit of allowing this for Creative Duplication (freeform magic) is that skills can be used to represent certain spells - such as Lockpicking for a "knock" spell, Tracking for a "seeking" spell, etc. So I think it would be nice to make it available to unskilled characters.


The second change regards the Duplication skills. Preternatural Skill cannot currently be taken for Duplication, you need to take Magical Technique instead - this decision relates to the freeform magic system, as I described earlier in the thread. However it strikes me that the two edges (Preternatural Skill and Magical Technique) could also stack with each other, as long as they didn't exceed the +4 bonus.

For example someone could take Preternatural Skill (Duplication: Heat) and Magical Technique (Creo) twice each, giving them a +4 bonus for creating fireballs (Creo+Heat), +2 for creating snowballs (Creo+Water), +2 for deflecting fireballs (Rego+Heat) and +0 for deflecting snowballs (Rego+Water). If they took both the Duplication skill and Magical Technique four times each, the bonus would still only be +4. This would hopefully create more diversity among spellcasters.

There are ten Duplication skills and only five Magical Techniques, however Preternatural Skill is an instantiated power, meaning you can give each its own modifiers. So if you were creating a private investigator called Harry, who also happened to be the only wizard in the phone book, you might decide to give him a blasting rod (Device) with Preternatural Skill (Duplication: Heat) and a staff (Device) with Preternatural Skill (Duplication: Wind) - he'd still be able to cast spells without them, but he'd be better with the appropriate focus item.
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Zadmar: impressive work. I'm in other non SW projects these times, so I'll read carefully your file in the future, but I can feel lot of potential.
PS: I absolutely LOVE your way to code the weapons etc. with a standard formula, very well done.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've updated the PDF. There are a few minor changes (such as to Preternature Skill), but mostly I've just cleaned up the presentation.

Someone asked me how certain superpowers could be represented - I thought I'd post the answers here as well, as it can give some insight into the flexibility of the Primal Edges. The system should be able to handle most abilities, so if you can think of anything I've missed I'd be interested to hear about it!

Shapechanging into a swarm

Although it might sound counter-intuitive, you can actually shapechange into a swarm using Natural Weapon (see the werespider archetype for an example). I did consider adding swarms as an option for Alternate Form, but as they're handled so differently in combat, it didn't seem to fit quite right. It also seems to follow a natural progression as a Natural Weapon edge.

For example Natural Weapon might represent a swarm of stinging insects that you direct at one opponent, and with Burst Attack they could attack several people at once. Add Persistent and they'd hang around afterwards, and with Animated you could even move them around (a bit like the Whirlwind power in NE). With Aura the swarm would surround and follow you (much like the damage field power from the core rules). Melding just takes it that one step further, and causes you to meld with the swarm.

Leaping

Leaping, Teleport and Flight all allow you to transport yourself from one location to another. Teleport has the advantage of allowing you to move through solid objects, while Flight allows you to remain in midair between movements.

Thus for leaping you could just take Special Movement (Teleport) with the Limitation "cannot teleport through solid objects", or Special Movement (Flight) with the Limitation "must start and end each movement on a solid surface".

Duplication

Duplication (splitting into multiple copies of yourself) can be done with Summon Henchmen, simply by saying they look the same as you. If you want them to have your powers as well, you'd need to use Reflective Power, perhaps with Conditional (only works on henchmen).

For Agent Smith style duplication, use Rapid Recruitment.

Creation

There's no explicit Primal Edge for creating things out of thin air, although the Conjurer edge can handle simple items. However you could create raw matter using Natural Weapon with Barrier, then use Telekinetic Precision to rapidly fashion it into new shapes. Other affects could be handled through Solid Illusion.

Summoning

You can't directly summon animals, but you can take Supernatural Sense (Mystic) with Improved Mystic Senses for sensing animals within Spirit miles, and then Mind Control with Ranged Control and Animal Control for controlling them. With Mystic Communication and Long-Range Communication you could then order them to come to you.

Summoning creatures out of thin air could be done with Summon Henchmen, while Special Movement (Teleport) and Reflective Power could be used to summon people to you.

Freeform shapechanging

Freeform shapechanging is possible by taking Alternate Form along with Dynamic Power and Dynamic Flexibility - this effectively gives you an unlimited number of Alternate Forms. The Skin-Walker edge is also worth taking if you wish to shapechange into animals.

Inflatable body

For this rather odd ability I'd probably use Alternate Form, then create various other powers Linked to it (such as Stretchy and Squashy, Special Movement, etc).

Matter transformation

Matter transformation isn't handled explicitly, as I'm worried about players turning lead into gold. However you could in theory do it with Alternate Form and Reflective Power, as that would literally let you transform any object into any other object (including the material type).
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After Shadowdragon made some comments about the Absorption power in the SPC, I realised that the Absorption edge in Supernaturalis was also very specific in the bonuses it gave (Healing, Growth, or Preternatural Strength, Toughness or Agility) - so I've updated it to be more generic.

Anyway, I've been thinking again about an earlier comment:

Sean-Khan wrote:
Perhaps you could make two or more setting rules for different types of games?

Although it's far from an exact science, I generally consider 1 PP in NE/SPC to be worth roughly 1 advance, and that's what I used for balancing my Primal Edges. Each rank (i.e., every 4 advances) a NE/SPC super can take the Power Points edge, giving them another 5 PP for the price of 1 advance. Therefore they're effectively getting about 8 advances per rank instead of 4. They also start with 10PP, or 15PP with Super Karma - and Arcane Background (Super Powers) is a freebie.

Therefore I'm thinking of proposing the following:

Using Supernaturalis in a NE campaign

The Supernaturalis begin with 10 Primal Edges instead of 3, but cannot spend any of their starting advances on additional Primal Edges. If you're using the Super Karma setting rule for supers, then Achilles' heel now gives the Supernaturalis 5 extra Primal Edges (instead of 1 advance) in return for one Major or two Minor hindrances. The Supernaturalis can no longer spend experience points on Primal Edges directly, but every time they spend experience points on an advance they also get 1 free Primal Edge as well (with a maximum of 25 Primal Edges gained after character creation).

Note: Both types of character will have access to the same range of abilities, but the Supernaturalis won't be able to match the raw power of a specialised NE super. They can be more versatile, however, due to their more granular abilities and extensive range of modifiers.

Using Supernaturalis in a regular campaign

Ignore the Supernaturalis, Eternal Soul, Touched by Fate and Achilles' heel setting rules. Arcane Background (Supernaturalis) is no longer free, it now costs an advance. It still gives you three Primal Edges, but one of them must be Dynamic Power, no more than one of the other two may be a Preternatural Endowment, and you must also take two negative modifiers (either both on the same Primal Edge, or split between two Primal Edges). These two modifiers are not counted towards the value of the Primal Edge/s, nor do they grant free Primal Edges as compensation. You cannot spend more than one advance per rank on Primal Edges, although you may buy the Primal Edge for Novice rank during character creation if you wish.

Note: These characters can still be quite powerful, particularly at Novice rank, so GM discretion may be required. This approach can be used by players wishing to design their own race (pick human and use your free racial edge to buy the Arcane Background). It can also be used by players wanting freeform magic-users.

Using Primal Edges as racial abilities

Primal Edges are generally treated as a +2 racial abilities, although certain Primal Edges might be worth +3 or +1 in settings where they are particularly valuable or worthless. You can also use zero-sum Primal Edges (where the value of the Primal Edge is cancelled out through negative modifiers) as +1 racial abilities.

Note: This approach is intended for GMs to build new races. If the player wishes to design their own race, they should use Arcane Background (Supernaturalis) instead.



On a vaguely related note, I guess you could also have:

Using normal characters in a NE campaign

You begin with 11 free advances during character creation, or 15 if the Super Karma setting rule is being used. When you're awarded experience points, the number you receive is always doubled (so you'll have twice as many advances at the supers, and gain ranks twice as fast).

Note: Another alternative is to take Arcane Background (Super Powers) and just spend all your PPs on the Super Attribute, Super Edge and Super Skill powers. However that would prevent you from taking another Arcane Background.
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Rexus
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar,

I'm curious if you consider an Arcane Background as a 'regular edge' as described by the Preternatural Edge:

"You may add a regular edge as if it were a
Primal Edge, although you must still meet
the requirements..."

It's seems to exceed the intent.

However, it would be a potent combination.

What do you think?
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well going by the RAW, "Unless an Edge specifically says otherwise, it may only be selected once" - so you wouldn't be able to take Arcane Background twice, and only characters with Arcane Background (Supernaturalis) can take Primal Edges. So it wouldn't normally be possible.
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Rexus
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!

Of course! I should have known.

As I've worked my way through this, I've become engaged with the intended depth of powers a Supernaturalis character has available to them.

I've very much enjoyed going through this document.

Great work!
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