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Arcane Abilities
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77IM
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot to mention earlier, another goal of my system is to work hand-in-hand with the race creation rules. Those rules price abilities slightly differently (often cheaper, because you are stuck with the package deal). But if the traits you want for your race don't "fit" into a racial template, you could split some of them off into racial Edges that are based off of Arcane Ability Edges. JarJarMessiah's example of a baby dragon is perfect; the racial traits would be some claws and armor and firey breath, but then the flight and size increases would come from Arcane Ability Edges.

I put a note about this in the latest revision & also added an Extra Limb Edge.

-- 77IM
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JarJarMessiah
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I was thinking. My son's Panther Shpinx is supposed to be the divine offspring of a Goddess and a Human (He's really into Egyptian Mythology), so I am using the weakness hinderance of being suseptible to unholy powers (such as an evil priest with the unholy warrior edge). I was using the race creation rules from Slip Strieam, but with your current revisions, I am thinking the whole thing can be handled by the Arcane Abilities.
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

NATURAL WEAPON
Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background
Trappings: Claws, bite, retractable razor blades, hidden bone spurs.
You have a natural melee weapon that deals Str+d4, Str+d6, or Str+d8 damage (your choice), and are always considered armed. This damage is limited by your Strength die size as usual.
Special: You may take this Edge multiple times. Each time increases the damage dice by one size, to a maximum of d12.


Mmmm, what is that "damage choice"?
It's obvious all the players would choice the d8 version.
You should impose some kind of balancer, for the heavier versions. Some kind of "wanna bigger claws?? ok, d6 damage but -1 to all manipulation rolls" and "wanna huge claws? ok, d8 damage but -1 charisma and -2 manipulation". So you need some kind of "required hindrances" for the d6 and the d8 version.
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

However, I keep thinking that this system of yours is too much powerful.
Ok, you miss some kind of versatility, but gaining 2 armor, or flying, or attribute dices, almost "for free", without activation, during all the day... It's quite "priceless"!

I think that very very few players will go with "normal" powers in a campaign with other characters and enemies walking around "superpowered".
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Lance wrote:
However, I keep thinking that this system of yours is too much powerful....I think that very very few players will go with "normal" powers in a campaign with other characters and enemies walking around "superpowered".



I happen to agree with you, though I think there's something to this. It's basically combining the rules for racial advantages and disadvantages with the Edge system, which I find elegant, but it probably isn't good for everything. Monsters, aliens, the blessed, descendants of gods, robots, cyborgs, anime characters... There are a lot of character types I could imagine finding use for a system like this, but it can't take the place of spellcasting or psionics or other things that require some sort of conscious effort and/or activation. Every Arcane Edge Background must be balanced against the other in terms of reward and sacrifice. In addition, each Arcane Edge will need to be carefully balanced against the others as well. Those that can be improved should require multiple Edge expenditure or Rank increases or some sort of penalties/drawbacks.

I do like the system as a sort of "Racial Background Plus" method, but balance here is key.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Lance wrote:

NATURAL WEAPON
...
Mmmm, what is that "damage choice"?
It's obvious all the players would choice the d8 version.

Not the ones with Str d4 and Str d6!

This first level of this Edge does not really give the PCs damage. If you want damage, you can go to the store to pick up a rapier (Str+d4, Parry+1), short sword (Str+d6) or long sword (Str+d8). What this Edge does, is prevent you from being Disarmed. That's pretty nice, and worth an Edge in my opinion, but not overpowered.

The higher ranks (Str+d10 and Str+d12) are pretty powerful because they don't have any Parry penalty and are one-handed weapons. However, then you are burning multiple Edges to get that. And it seems that it's not any more powerful than Edges like Trademark Weapon or powers like smite. There are a lot of things you could do with 3 Edges to make your damage comparable to the guy with two Str+d12 arm-blades.

Lord Lance wrote:
However, I keep thinking that this system of yours is too much powerful.
Ok, you miss some kind of versatility, but gaining 2 armor, or flying, or attribute dices, almost "for free", without activation, during all the day... It's quite "priceless"!

I respect your instincts here because you have a lot of experience with the system. However, you may be underestimating the cost, Edges.

Edges are not cheap. Gaining armor is nice but if you want to do better than plate armor it requires 3 whole Edges. Flying is pretty cool but flying your Pace is a +2 racial trait; the Edge version only lets you go 4" (Climb 2"). You could take a couple Flight a couple more times if you want to get a speed of 12" (Climb 6") but in the mean time the Mage has bought the fly power and Power Points and Rapid Recharge so I think it balances out pretty closely.

The Attribute dice are the only ones I am still concerned about. It may break the trade-off system to allow gaining of Attribute dice. It may be up to the GM to limit these by Trapping, or maybe there should be some additional limitation or drawback to them...?

Lord Lance wrote:
I think that very very few players will go with "normal" powers in a campaign with other characters and enemies walking around "superpowered".

I kind of see what you mean. The armor power isn't as cool as just getting +2 armor all the time. But the things you can do with a 6pp bolt or the puppet power are still pretty compelling. So if you're already a mage with a big pile of Power Points picking up armor (which can be cast on an ally, stacks with mundane armor, and can go up to +4) is still worth an Edge too, for that character.

I am not trying to sound defensive, I just want to explain my reasoning so that people don't think I pulled these Edges out of thin air without consideration for how they compare to other Edges.

-- 77IM
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77IM
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now available in fancy-shmancy PDF:
http://www.wjs3.com/rpg/sw/Arcane%20Abilities.pdf

It's reorganized and reformatted to be easier to read, but the text is largely identical to what's above. It comes in at 7 pages; the Edges themselves are pages 2-4, and all the discussion about how to use them comes after.

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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:

This first level of this Edge does not really give the PCs damage. If you want damage, you can go to the store to pick up a rapier (Str+d4, Parry+1), short sword (Str+d6) or long sword (Str+dCool. What this Edge does, is prevent you from being Disarmed. That's pretty nice, and worth an Edge in my opinion, but not overpowered.

Maybe I explained in a bad way.

You say: "This first level of this Edge does not really give the PCs damage."

But I read:
"You have a natural melee weapon that deals Str+d4, Str+d6, or Str+d8 damage (your choice)"

So this power give me claws (example), and those claws could do damage Str+d8. Then the edge give me a natural weapon that DOES damages.

Finally, of course I choose the "d8" version (you wrote "your choice"). Why I should take the "Str+d4" version?
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77IM
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You would take the Str+d4 version because you only have a Str of d4 so taking the Str+d6 or Str+d8 is useless because damage is capped by your Strength. This is a normal rule for all melee weapons and is even mentioned in the Edge itself as a reminder.

Really, it is just a way of phrasing -- I could have just said Str+d8 and the damage automatically gets reduced by the damage cap. But I don't want weak characters to feel like they are being penalized.


I should have said, the first rank of Natural Weapon Edge does not increase the PCs melee damage, because they already have melee damage from the readily available melee weapons. So taking the Edge prevents Unarmed Defender consequences, but does not give them any more damage than they already have.

Imagine an Edge that let you move over rough terrain at your normal Pace. It wouldn't make you any faster, it would just remove a penalty in certain circumstances. Similarly, Natural Weapons are nice because they can't be dropped or disarmed. But with just one rank in the Edge, they're no better than purchased weapons, in terms of damage. (In fact they may be worse when you consider AP, bonus to Parry, etc.)


In fact, I think that for all of these Edges, taking just one rank is pretty balanced -- usually there is an existing Edge (or equipment) that is the equivalent. It's the stacking of Edges that might become overpowered. A one-handed melee weapon doing Str+d12 is pretty strong. Is requiring 3 Edges enough?

I'm not really sure. A campaign featuring non-human characters is going to have to deal with abilities beyond the normal range, though.

-- 77IM

PS. Why don't you have any signatures?
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the problem with taking the str +d4 version is, what happens when you raise your st?

saying that the natural wpn doesn str+d8 is fine, it's standard that bonus damage is limited by str.

that being said, I could see allolwing a PC to take a lower st in exchange for something else, parry bonus, reach, ap
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Clint
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
You would take the Str+d4 version because you only have a Str of d4 so taking the Str+d6 or Str+d8 is useless because damage is capped by your Strength. This is a normal rule for all melee weapons and is even mentioned in the Edge itself as a reminder.


Thing is, it isn't a rule necessarily applied to natural weapons, so even with the caveat in the description, I can see a bit of confusion.

Why not just use a rule like for racial natural weapons and allow for multiple attacks at the lower die type...

You have a natural weapon or weapons. You may chose to have one attack that does Str+d8 damage, or two attacks that do Str+d6, or you may have three attacks that do Str+d4. In the latter case, the character's extra attack cannot be used for any other purpose, and while not considered "offhand;" it is unaffected by the Two Fisted Edge. As natural weapons, the damages are not limited by the character's Strength.

This ability can be taken up to two more times to increase the damage die type by one for all attacks each time (d8 can be increased to d12, d6 to d10, and d4 to d8).


Heh, that may be entirely useless; I'm basing it off the discussion and actually haven't read the original. If it helps, great; if not, just ignore me. ;)
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77IM
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Clint! I did not know that about natural weapons exceeding Str, but it makes sense (monster stat blocks often say "Claws: Str+d8" or whatever, and who cares whether the guy's Str is higher than d8, it's just a monster).

I like your idea about multiple attacks -- I want to keep these Edges as close as possible to the race creation rules anyway. I might ditch the d4 version though just to cut down on wording.

-- 77IM
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feydras
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This looks like exactly what i'm looking for for the game i'm planning. I want to do the world of Solomon Kane + Pirates of the Caribbean with a little League of Extraordinary Gentlemen thrown in. I'm using the Sorcerer rules for magic from SK. I want to be able to allow a few strange races like fae blooded and were-wolf/bear but have them still balanced with the rulesets i'm using. I strongly prefer your always on system to spending power points to activate things like the racial abilities of the werewolf.

In looking at the latest pdf i have a question. Under the section New Arcane Backgrounds they all have Starting Power Points. Why? I thought the point was they didn't need them with this system.

So to create my werewolf would i need to buy New Arcane Background Monster and just not use the Starting Power Points or buy Core Arcane Background Monster (not listed i know) and then buy up each Arcane Ability Edge separately. My player is going to balk at the later as he buys the Edge but gets nothing but an ability to buy other Edges.

We are completely new to SW so please excuse any stupid questions.

Thanks!
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77IM
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad you like it!

The Arcane Backgrounds all get power points so that you can use powers with them. For example, a vampire might want puppet or a dragon might want a fire burst or a mutant might want acid spit (bolt). The assumption is that every Arcane Background can get both powers and abilities by spending the right Edges -- some just begin more "power-oriented" (like Magic) and others more "arcane ability-oriented" (like Monster) and some in between (like Artifact Bearer).

For a were-bear you'd probably get Arcane Background (Monster) which provides 1 free arcane ability, then Alternate Form Hindrance which provides enough points to buy another arcane ability. If the Alternate Form includes No Hands, that gets you another arcane ability -- and still you can take 2 more points worth of Hindrances if you want another one. So that's 4 abilities right at character creation.

If you have specific races in mind, you should definitely check out the race-creation rules in the Fantasy Companion. They are a little bit simpler, and more flexible/more powerful because they assume the GM is building the races up-front.

-- 77IM
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Professor Havoc
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm glad feydras bumped this too. I might have missed it otherwise. I haven't run SW yet, so you can take my opinion with a grain of salt, but it looks like it would work for some settings. I'm curious to see if there are any more updates from other play testers.

I like that it seems to play well with the core Arcane Backgrounds. I was looking for some "always-on" approaches to Powers or special abilities that didn't rely on bending the rules from NE or SPC. I think I could use some version of these rules for a TMNT game or a He-Man-inspired sword & planet game, especially because the Arcane Abilities will get along just fine alongside Magic and Weird Science.

I did have one puzzler for the author:

Between Big, Enhanced Armor, and Natural Armor there seem to be some clear winners and stinkers. Or perhaps my inexperience is working against me. As far as I can tell, Big is the winner (you can't do a called shot through Toughness and the extra load is an added bonus). Natural Armor is confusing to me. Your text specifically mentions that the +2 it grants will not stack with other armor but I don't think I've ever seen a rule like this anywhere in the SWEX (EDIT: Though I'm mostly wrong here. Page 42 of SWEX, while not calling out natural armor explicitly, pretty much closes the door on my confusion). Regardless of the stacking issue I think Enhanced Armor's +1 to worn/used armor (which presumably could be circumvented via called shots) the stinker. Don't get me wrong. I can see why you want/need to have the different Arcane Abilities; I just feel that since they are so closely related you may need to tweak their balance, provided my observations are correct.

I might be missing something, we might be using different terminology or maybe you want to consider swapping those bonuses with different Edges.

Anyway, I think it's a great document and I'm looking forward to hearing how others have used it and what their experiences were like.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thanks for the insightful analysis!

I've been troubled about Big for some time although for other reasons. (I think Natural Armor and Enhanced Armor are pretty closely balanced, and are only a problem if you stack them to high values.) Big is problematic because it does a lot (Toughness, carrying capacity), it implies a lot else (a Big creature should have high Strength and be able to wield larger weapons, right?), and it has these annoying breakpoints where, at Size 4, you suddenly acquire the Large Hindrance.

I've considered breaking it down into Large and Huge edges. For example, Large would give +4 Toughness/-2 Attack and -2 Defense. That "should" be balanced because it means you will be missing a lot & getting hit a lot; someone making called shots to the vitals can basically translate your ability directly into a -2 Attack/+2 Defense. However, this sort of "extreme" toughness trade-off might be broken in the hands of a PC, especially in the hands of less intelligent foes.

How does this sound for a preliminary revision:

BIG
Requirements: Novice+, Strength d8+, Arcane Background
Trappings: Half-giant, bear DNA.
You gain +2 size. (Each point of size gives you +1 to Toughness and doubles your carrying capacity.) However, you suffer a -1 penalty to all attack rolls, and anyone attacking you gets a +1 bonus.
Special: You may take this Edge once per rank. Each time, the Strength requirement is increased by 1 step; the size bonus increases by 2; and the penalties increase by 1.


This means that Big is still a good edge but is no longer unequivocally better than the other Toughness edges. It also becomes easier to reach bigger sizes without burning all your edges on it.

-- 77IM
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77IM
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other day I had a brilliant brainstorm for how to streamline & balance this system.

Something about this thread got me thinking: one way to balance super-human edges is with additional drawbacks, such as costing $$$ for cyberware. So, how about, instead of Arcane Background requirements, the arcane abilities simply had drawbacks of that sort? It would be explained as part of the trappings, and there'd be a lot of leeway for the GM to figure out what is balanced and appropriate to the setting. This is similar to the power trapping rules, where any trapping that makes the power better than usual also comes with a drawback. The difference is that arcane ability edges are always better than normal edges, so they require trapping drawbacks right off the bat. With this idea I was able to eliminate a whole page of fluff text and AB edges, so now there's just a list of example trappings.

Full details available in the Updated PDF: http://www.wjs3.com/rpg/sw/Arcane%20Abilities.pdf

-- 77IM
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wanderingmystic
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

your updated pdf is excellent, it now feels more FFF and less cumbersome.

I am thinking about using your Arcane Ability to represent harrowed, vampires and werewolf in my Deadlands game. If I was still running Rippers then I would be utilizing them to represent ripper tech modifications.

The Innate Arcane Background seems to step on the toes of the Super Powers Arcane Background and is weaker. Compare 20 PP but you must buy ranks in an individual skill for each power you want vs 5 PP but you just use your base ability, this feels to weak maybe more like 10 pp but i could just be crazy.

I like the idea of having a cost applied to cyborgs but I would make the initial cost 1000 and drop the maintenance to only 25-50. Repair cost after damage staying at 100 or maybe even more. A character who was actually a cyborg by the time they were seasoned might have 4+ arcane abilities for a cost of 400 per month to upkeep feels a little costly but given the fact that they would more than likely have the rich edge it might be fine.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad you like it! If you test it at all please let us know how it goes. Feel free to tweak out the cyborg prices (and let us know how that goes) or any other trapping drawbacks. In particular, I think Harrowed in Deadlands already have something of a trapping drawback built-in, right? Like a demon possesses them gradually or something? So these edges might translate directly into Harrowed edges without need for a trapping drawback.

The Innate arcane background is almost exactly the same as a racial power in the race creator which is a +2 ability (equivalent to an edge). Mechanically, it's kind of the opposite of Super Powers. Both give 1 power and no explicit drawbacks. But Super Powers really sucks up a lot of skill points (and if you want more than 1 power, it really just sucks) giving it a high up-front cost but for tremendous benefit. Innate uses no skill points at all, giving it a cheap up-front cost but more long-term flexibility since you can add new powers just fine. So I don't know if it's balanced but it was "close enough" to put in there. This way you can take Enhanced Edge (Innate) and give your cyborg an embedded rocket launcher.

-- 77IM
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any update here?
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