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Arcane Abilities
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OSIAdept
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i like the trappings system you are using now.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, new poster here. I've only very recently started using Savage Worlds, having previously played Tri-Stat, and "always on" customisable powers are one of the few things I miss (for dark fantasy monsters rather than superheroes). I was actually thinking of converting some of the powers from Mutants and Masterminds, which offers the same sort of options as Tri-Stat but for OGL d20 (which seems to be easier to convert to SW), but I wanted to see if anyone had already done something similar - that's how I stumbled across this thread. The approach discussed here seems slicker and more streamlined than what I had in mind, and I think it fits better with with whole "FFF" thing, but I hope you don't mind me sharing my thoughts.

I noticed that Adapted (underwater) is the same as the "aquatic" minor perk, while Low-Light Vision is the same as the "low-light vision" minor perk. The races section of the rulebook mentions that "Two minor perks, such as low light vision or +1 claws and bite, are also roughly equivalent to an Edge" - so those would effective be twice as expensive to buy this way.

But on the other hand, Natural Weapon gives a Str+d8 natural weapon, or multiple Str+d6 natural weapons, while the "natural weapons" minor perk gives only Str+d4.

Personally I think the trapping drawback is enough of a restriction - for example a werewolf only gets its low-light vision while in wolf form, and a magical ring of underwater adaption can be removed or destroyed, etc.

So I think I'd rather put the costs on-par with the minor perks. Then I could duplicate the "aquatic" and "low-light vision" abilities of a sea elf by spending my free Edge (for being human) on Arcane Background (Innate), and picking the Adapted (underwater) and Low-Light Vision options. The price for picking my abilities outside of a package would be -1 Charisma (for my Mutation trapping of gills and webbed feet), or perhaps -1 Vigor vs disease, poison and fatigue (due to the therapy of my Genetic Engineering trapping).

The problem is then you end up with half Edges, which is probably undesirable. But perhaps it could be handled through a Minor Features Edge that allows you to pick two minor features each time it's selected, from a list of options such as:

Natural weapons (Str+d4)*. May be purchased a second time for Str+6.
Natural Armour +1. May be purchased a second time for +2**.
Gliding. May be purchased twice to give true flight**.
Low-Light Vision*.
Thermal vision*.
Aquatic*.
Burrowing* (this seems a bit strong though, considering Burrow is a spell).

* Defined as a "Minor Ability" in the rulebook.
** Defined as a "Major Ability" in the rulebook.


I'm also curious as to how the hinderances work with the Shapeshifting alternate form. If I can buy "no hands" and it only impacts my alternate form, then that's not such a big deal as never having hands - after all, I can always transform back into human form if I need to pick something up or open a door.

I think I'd rather see some sort of mechanism whereby you could take hindrances that only apply to your alternate form, and the points would have to be spent on Edges that only help your alternate form. So for a werewolf I might pick hindrances like "No Hands", "Can't Talk", "Shreds Clothing" and "Forced Change (full moon)", and then use the points to buy "Natural Weapons", "Natural Armour (fur)", "Scent", etc. On the other hand, I'd want my "Vulnerability (silver)" and supernatural regeneration to apply to both forms.

Sadly my werewolf wouldn't be able to pick Regeneration as a novice, although I suppose he could take Healing instead, and describe it as only working on himself. Those doubled wound penalties would make healing difficult, but (Improved) Nerves of Steel would make it more viable, and would also fit the character concept quite well.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:
Hi, new poster here. I've only very recently started using Savage Worlds, having previously played Tri-Stat, and "always on" customisable powers are one of the few things I miss (for dark fantasy monsters rather than superheroes).

Monsters as player characters or as villains?
If you're using them as villains then you don't need any rules. Determine how the abilities work and apply them as appropriate to the monsters. Done.

If you want them for player characters, then you have to do a bit more to balance them. Keep in mind that this system is meant to balance normal human PCs against the arcane critters. So if everyone is playing a monster then there are no balance issues: pull out the Super Powers Companion, give everyone the power points for the given setting style, mention any banned powers, and let them go nuts.
If only some are playing monsters, then you need a system like this one.
Further, this wasn't balanced against the guidelines in the Fantasy Companion / Sci-Fi Toolkit Bestiary. Part of the reason seems to be because player characters can pick these up long after choosing a species - suddenly you're a human who only takes penalties from total darkness; that is a potent ability when no one else has it (you are now the king of night operations).

Good luck.
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:
Hi, new poster here. I've only very recently started using Savage Worlds, having previously played Tri-Stat, and "always on" customisable powers are one of the few things I miss (for dark fantasy monsters rather than superheroes).

Ok, maybe someone already pointed you at Necessary Evil or Superheroes Companion, but if you still miss this info, those 2 products are PURE GOLD for a game style like the one you get used with (Tristat was one of my "old games", but that system miss a lot of useful rules, that I found in Savage).
Simply forget the "suprhero" word, and substitute "anime style".
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ValhallaGH wrote:
Monsters as player characters or as villains?

Both - potentially. The previous game I ran was a bit like a low-powered World of Darkness crossover setting, where the PCs and main NPCs were all supernatural creatures of some sort, solving mysteries that threatened exposing their existence. If I were to run that in Savage Worlds the standard Arcane Backgrounds would be perfectly fine for the sorcerers, the psychics and the "true faith" priests - but I'm not sure how I'd balance them against things like vampires, werewolves and demons, and I'd prefer not to bump up the overall PC power level.

I've only run one Savage Worlds game so far, and it's a Warhammer 40K setting - my group and I have played a lot of high fantasy and modern dark fantasy over the last decade, but never futuristic, and we fancied a complete change. However I did enjoy the modern dark fantasy setting, and would like to go back to it at some point, so this is the sort of thing I'm interested in. I could see myself using these ideas in Warhammer 40K for cybernetics as well, as I don't really like the idea of implants that only work for a few minutes at a time.

Thanks (both of you) for the suggestions though, I'll be sure to read up on them.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback! The more the merrier!

You bring up some really good points. I'll try to give my take.

I don't think you can compare racial ability features directly with edges, because many of the racial ability features are better than what you could get via edges and skill points. I think the assumption is that the GM creates races as a package and the lack of flexibility makes up for their added power; in other words, you might get some overpowered cheese (like Construct or Extra Limbs) but it would also come with stuff you don't care about (like a free skill you don't intend to use much, or Natural Weapons Str+d4 which is pretty worthless when anyone can pick a dagger off the shelf and have that same damage 95% of the time). I don't think allowing players to pick and choose any racial abilities they want is balanced for this reason.

In fact there are usually multiple ways to compare these edges. Just to take Low-Light Vision, it can be compared to:
- Racial trait for low-light or infravision (worth "half an edge")
- The darksight power
- Low-light goggles available as gear in some settings
So it's not as clear-cut as a system like Mutants & Masterminds where even the gear version would be point-cost balanced against the other versions. At some point when creating these edges I was just like, "eh that's close enough," and moved on to the next one.

I think it's part of the Savage Worlds philosophy that the game rules will never be precisely 100% balanced out-of-the-box because the specifics of each campaign and play group makes a big difference, so there's kind of a diminishing return on effort spent to make things exactly balanced.

That said, I am very interested in your feedback about specific edges. Low-Light Vision and Adapted(Aquatic) are now on my hit-list. (Actually Low-Light was on there already... I might combine it into an "enhanced senses" edge and take your advice about allowing two picks for that edge. M&M also handles senses this way and it seems to work OK. I'd prefer not to allow "half-edges" in general just because of the added rules complexity... if you hand a player a list of new edges they understand immediately, but a system of points and purchases requires more learning time. If you search the forums for "Arcane Enhancements" you will see an older version of this system which works similar to how you describe; a single edge called "New Enhancement" lets you take a new ability or increase one ability by 1 level. I ditched it because keeping everything edge-based is easier to understand.)

BTW, if you are an M&M fan, check out the Super-Powers Companion or Necessary Evil since they include a very robust and flexible system for super powers that may be more like what you are looking for. (Of course, the major caveats are it is a large new subsystem to learn, and not balanced against core characters.) Also, if you haven't seen the expanded racial ability rules in the Fantasy Companion, they are very useful too, and informed many of the Arcane Ability edges.


Regarding the werewolf, since the extra hindrances (in this case No Hands) only applies in wolf form, I'd assume that the bonus edge you get would also only apply in wolf form. That seems roughly balanced to me. The idea of taking even more hindrances beyond the normal 4 points' worth is interesting but it leads to balance issues. On the one hand, people using a racial package can often get effectively more than the usual hindrances -- although they are a package deal so you lose flexibility. On the other hand, should normal humans be allowed to pile on more than 4 points' worth of hindrances? Would we start to see PCs with so many hindrances that they are basket cases, but stats through the roof? I dunno.

Anyway, the trappings presented are only examples and are meant to be tweaked by the GM. In your case, I think you could combine Shapeshifting with Supernatural Heritage. The Supernatural Heritage lets you ignore rank requirements of edges (so you can start with Regeneration) and would give you the silver vulnerability. Then, Shapeshifting with No Hands and Natural Weapons for a net cost of zero. When you pick up new edges, you decide whether they work in both forms (increasing your Vulnerability) or just wolf form. That's how I'd do it anyway.

Also, you might check out the previous version of Alternate Form, which was a hindrance unto itself, which worked kind of like you suggest: You can take extra hindrances as part of the form, but edges gained from them can only be used in that form.


-- 77IM
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
Regarding the werewolf, since the extra hindrances (in this case No Hands) only applies in wolf form, I'd assume that the bonus edge you get would also only apply in wolf form. That seems roughly balanced to me. The idea of taking even more hindrances beyond the normal 4 points' worth is interesting but it leads to balance issues. On the one hand, people using a racial package can often get effectively more than the usual hindrances -- although they are a package deal so you lose flexibility. On the other hand, should normal humans be allowed to pile on more than 4 points' worth of hindrances? Would we start to see PCs with so many hindrances that they are basket cases, but stats through the roof? I dunno.

I agree, I wouldn't want that either. However Shapeshifting already grants Outsider and an additional 1 major or 2 minor hinderances, which I presume don't count towards your normal limit. I realise you don't get any points from those, but I think the fact that your alternate form has hinderances that only apply in that form lends itself very well to the idea of hinderances specifically built around Shapeshifting.

For example:

NAKED (Minor or Major)

Your alternate form is unable to wear clothing or armour. As a minor hinderance all of your equipment vanishes when you shapechange, and reappears when you change back. Any magical items, or objects that restrain you (such as handcuffs) or which are also connected to something (such as collar chained to the wall) don't vanish, and are instead treated in the same way as the major version of this hinderance.

As a major hinderance any clothing or armour worn prior to shapeshifting entangles you like a successfully cast Entangle spell (with modifiers based on the armour or clothing you're wearing), and you must make either a Strength roll to rip out of it or an Agility roll to slip free.

If your new form is larger than your normal one, you are not entangled. Instead, immediately after transforming you must roll your Strength against the Toughness of the strongest object restraining you. On a failure, you suffer a wound but still break free.


Or:

SHAPESHIFTING TRIGGER (Minor or Major)

Many shapeshifters are unable to fully control their transformations. As a minor hinderance, a certain event (such as the full moon, or someone making you angry) triggers your transformation, and you remain stuck in that form until it has gone away. You may attempt to resist the transformation by making a Spirit roll at -2. A successful roll will render you immune to that one particular trigger for the next minute. On a raise, you are able to resist continued exposure to the same trigger for an hour before needing to roll again.

As a major hinderance, the Spirit roll to resist the transformation is made at -4, and you also find it difficult to initiate the transformation yourself. You must make a normal Spirit roll (with no modifiers) in order to transform when there is no triggering event: On a failure, you gain one level of Fatigue, and on a critical failure you also suffer one wound. You do not need to make any roll to transform back.


On the subject of the Outsider hinderance, what happens if the player already has it? Or what if their alternate form doesn't really fit the "outsider" description (such as transforming into a dragon in a setting where dragons are treated with awe and respect). Perhaps just pick an alternative minor hinderance instead?

But there could also be other hinderances that only really apply to one form or the other. So rather than allowing players to add extra hinderances, maybe they could still be limited to 4 points (+3 for the alternate form), but with the option of picking different hinderances for each form? For example, perhaps Bruce is normally a Yellow Pacifist, but when you make him angry he rips off his clothes and shapechanges into a Large form with an Enhanced Attribute (Strength), dropping Yellow and Pacifist, and becoming a Mean Ugly Naked Outsider.

77IM wrote:
Anyway, the trappings presented are only examples and are meant to be tweaked by the GM. In your case, I think you could combine Shapeshifting with Supernatural Heritage. The Supernatural Heritage lets you ignore rank requirements of edges (so you can start with Regeneration) and would give you the silver vulnerability.


An observation about Supernatural Heritage: The bonus loses value as you gain rank, while the hinderance becomes worse. I'm not sure if that's intentional from a balance perspective, but it could get difficult to justify from a thematic perspective, because you can only pick each vulnerability twice - I suppose the alpha werewolf could add a vulnerability to wolfsbane, but after that I'd be out of ideas. In fiction, supernatural creatures often become less vulnerable to things as they gain power, such as ancient vampires being more resistant to sunlight than fledglings, etc.

77IM wrote:
Also, you might check out the previous version of Alternate Form, which was a hindrance unto itself, which worked kind of like you suggest: You can take extra hindrances as part of the form, but edges gained from them can only be used in that form.

I did see that, but I prefer your current approach, because Alternate Form is cost-neutral - you could use it to pay off the Arcane Background for a net cost of nothing. Someone who didn't want to take their full quota of hinderances could use it as padding - if they never use it, no loss, but it could be loaded with a useful power like Armor, Boost or Healing.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:
On the subject of the Outsider hinderance, what happens if the player already has it? Or what if their alternate form doesn't really fit the "outsider" description (such as transforming into a dragon in a setting where dragons are treated with awe and respect). Perhaps just pick an alternative minor hinderance instead?

But there could also be other hinderances that only really apply to one form or the other. So rather than allowing players to add extra hinderances, maybe they could still be limited to 4 points (+3 for the alternate form), but with the option of picking different hinderances for each form? For example, perhaps Bruce is normally a Yellow Pacifist, but when you make him angry he rips off his clothes and shapechanges into a Large form with an Enhanced Attribute (Strength), dropping Yellow and Pacifist, and becoming a Mean Ugly Naked Outsider.
I am convinced! I'll be changing the wording on this trapping to something like, "Your alternate form can also have different hindrances than your normal form (but with the same point value). Plus, it must also two more points' worth of hindrances (to a maximum of 6), which only apply in your alternate form, and which you do not get any points for." That's a lot more flexible, I think. (The point of the extra hindrances is that without them, you could stay in your Alternate Form forever, meaning that the action required to switch forms was not a balancing factor.)

Zadmar wrote:
An observation about Supernatural Heritage: The bonus loses value as you gain rank, while the hinderance becomes worse. I'm not sure if that's intentional from a balance perspective, but it could get difficult to justify from a thematic perspective, because you can only pick each vulnerability twice - I suppose the alpha werewolf could add a vulnerability to wolfsbane, but after that I'd be out of ideas. In fiction, supernatural creatures often become less vulnerable to things as they gain power, such as ancient vampires being more resistant to sunlight than fledglings, etc.
That's an interesting take on the issue. I guess my thought was, as you become less human, you get the bad along with the good. For balance reasons, the all the drawbacks are "per edge" rather than a flat cost. Even ones that seem like a one-time cost like Artifact and Shapeshifter apply to all your edges at once. The Improved Trapping edge is meant to protect against this somewhat (it basically lets you get 3 edges for the price of 4, but with no trapping drawback on them).

But, I'm not sure about the rate of progression for the trappings that get worse directly per edge. Four edges is kind of a lot (that's a full rank's worth of nothing but arcane advancement), so racking up multiple Vulnerabilities will take a while. I'm also not sure it's balanced against penalties like those found in Genetic Engineering or Mutations. I suppose one could swap out other hindrances instead of Vulnerabilities but I would question the min-max potential. If I were the GM I would allow this on a case-by-case basis; certain Supernatural Heritages might have other weird "issues" beyond just Vulnerability. Maybe a short list of hindrances would be good; I can see Phobia being very appropriate for example.

Actually I wonder if there's some way to phrase your Shapeshifting Trigger into a more generic "Arcane Compulsion" hindrance? Something that prevents you from using your abilities and powers (or forces you to!) in certain situations... hmmm...

-- 77IM
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
On the other hand, should normal humans be allowed to pile on more than 4 points' worth of hindrances? Would we start to see PCs with so many hindrances that they are basket cases, but stats through the roof?


But I want to play a blind, mean-spirited, anemic, schizophrenic, quadriplegic outcast with post-traumatic stress disorder flashbacks and a serious addiction to crack cocaine who is wanted in 50 states by the FBI!
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
Actually I wonder if there's some way to phrase your Shapeshifting Trigger into a more generic "Arcane Compulsion" hindrance? Something that prevents you from using your abilities and powers (or forces you to!) in certain situations... hmmm...

I could see it working for Damaging Skin (a fire demon whose skin bursts into flames when his emotions get out of control) or possibly even Natural Weapon (a vampire whose fangs automatically extend when he's hungry), but unlike shapeshifting that wouldn't be much of a drawback in terms of game mechanics.

My gut feeling would be to add some comment like "If you don't have the Shapeshifting trapping, you must select 3 points of hindrances that apply while the trigger is active. You don't get hindrance points for them. Furthermore, any arcane Edges that can normally be activated or suppressed will automatically be activated by the trigger, and (if you have the major version of this flaw) require a Spirit roll to activate and maintain at other times."

Then if I had a vampire with Supernatural Heritage (vulnerable to sunlight) and I wanted him to become more brutal when hungry, I would add Arcane Compulsion (minor), then specify that he gets Outsider and Bloodthirsty if he fails his roll. His retractable fangs would automatically extend when it was time to feed, but he'd have difficulty getting them out just to open a beer bottle for a friend.

For actively blocking powers, I think it'd be easier to have a separate hindrance, because it really works the other way around. Then I could even have both - my vampire's fangs would come out when he's hungry, but he'd lose his low-light vision and regeneration when on holy ground.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Updated PDF: http://www.wjs3.com/rpg/sw/Arcane%20Abilities.pdf

Incorporates a lot of feedback from Zadmar, making Shapeshifting and Supernatural Heritage a little more flexible. Also, as an experiment, I combined all the sensory edges into a single Keen Senses edge, that allows you to take multiple types. I think that works a little better; now your beast-hybrid-super-soldier can have both low-light vision and scent with a single edge.

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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
Also, as an experiment, I combined all the sensory edges into a single Keen Senses edge, that allows you to take multiple types. I think that works a little better; now your beast-hybrid-super-soldier can have both low-light vision and scent with a single edge.

Very nice - I think I'd add echolocation and X-ray vision as well, though, both as double picks.

I was also wondering if flight could be made a bit more varied, but having scribbled down my thoughts I'm not so sure about it any more. On the one hand, my idea seems a bit complex...but on the other hand, it's still just one edge, and I imagine most people would have a certain type of flight in mind when picking it:

FLIGHT

This edge allows you to glide with a Pace of 4", as long as you're not carrying more than your Load Limit. You use the vehicle Turning Template to make turns, and must fly at least 1" each round or you will fall. You lose altitude equal to half the distance you fly, and must therefore launch yourself from a height unless you have some other means of gaining altitude. Flight can be quite tiring - make a Vigor roll for each hour spent in the air, with a -2 penalty for each hour after the first, and failure inflicting Fatigue. Coffee or other stimulants add +2 to the roll. You can remove the penalties and Fatigue by resting for an hour.

Flight comes in a variety of different forms, and this edge also covers methods of movement that aren't technically flight at all. You may choose up to five flight advantages, but must also select the same number of flight disadvantages. You may also pick this edge multiple times, in which case you may either buy one of the advantages, or add 4" to your flight Pace.

The flight advantages are as follows:

    Agile: You are particularly graceful in the air, and no longer use the vehicle Turning Template for movement.
    Fast: Your flying Pace increases by 4", and you may also use the run action while flying.
    Hover: You may choose to move 0" without falling, and may also choose how much altitude you lose when moving (up to the normal maximum). This allows you to glide without losing altitude, and even hover in place.
    Climb: You are able to gain altitude with a Climb rate of up to half your flying Pace.
    Tireless: You no longer need to make Vigor rolls to resist Fatigue from flying.
    Powerful: You are able to carry up to 4 times your Full Load while flying, although the encumbrance penalty is applied to your flying Pace.
The flight disadvantages are as follows:

    Run-up: You need a run-up to launch yourself into the air. This requires moving at least 5" in a straight line, although this can also include the first 5" of a fall.
    Vulnerable: Perhaps you have frail wings, or a jetpack that can be easily damaged. Whatever it is, your method of flight is particularly vulnerable, and a called shot at -2 will render you unable to fly. It requires d6 hours to repair or heal before you can fly again.
    Levitate: You are only able to move vertically, and for obvious reasons no longer fall if you move 0". If you have Climb then you can rise up into the air, otherwise you can only float downwards.
    Skimmer: Your flight only works at ground level, and no longer allows you to glide from up high, although you do reduce falling damage by d6, and may add 1" to your jumping distance. If you have Hover then you can float around like a hovercraft, avoiding terrain penalties.
    Bulky: Your method of flight hinders you when you're on the ground. When walking instead of flying, your Pace is reduced by 2 and you roll d4 for running (as if you were Lame, except only applied to walking). You may take this disadvantage twice, in which case you cannot walk at all, only fly. If you also have Run-up, you will probably need help to get back into the air.
    Trail: Your flight leaves behind distinctive evidence of your passage. This could be strands of webbing dangling from buildings, smashed pavement from the location you launched yourself, a thick plume of smoke trailing behind your rockets, an ice slide, or something else.
    Conditional: Your flight relies on conditions that, while common, aren't always available. This should be discussed with the GM, but examples include swinging from webs or vines in a campaign where the terrain occasionally prohibits such activity, or refueling with a substance that requires effort to obtain.
    Concentration: Flying doesn't come naturally to you. You must use an action to fly, and take the normal -2 MAP if you wish to do something else at the same time.
Some examples:

Winged humanoid: Fast, Climb, Powerful, Run-up, Vulnerable, Bulky.

Scientist with a jetpack: Fast, Hover, Climb, Powerful, Vulnerable, Bulky, Trail, Concentration.

Spiderman: Fast, Climb, Powerful, Run-up, Trail (webbing), Conditional (buildings).

Iceman: Fast, Climb, Run-up, Trail (ice slide).

Product Identity big-floating-ball-with-eyes: Agile, Hover, Tireless, Skimmer, Bulky (twice)

Hoverboard: Fast, Hover, Vulnerable, Skimmer

Featherfall: Fast, Levitate

Overly complex, or do you think it might work?
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77IM
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that's creepy, I came up with a similar system for True20 a few years ago: http://www.true20.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1917 (And who's there telling me to make it more FFF? None other than Lord Lance! It's a small world, these RPG internet forums.)


Yours is much more detailed, and maybe would fit better with the Super-Powers Companion rules. When I design flying races, I often include limitations like these (such as the Vigor check to avoid fatigue, and minimum forward speeds), but for players picking Flight as a power, I think most of the time they just want to fly. I do like how you were able to build Spider Man and Iceman's unique travel forms using these rules.

I think I'd scale yours back first by having the basic flight be the most typical sort, rather than gliding, and then phrase things more in terms of limitations than advantages. Most notably, using the vehicle turning template is a pain in the @#$%, so I'd definitely make that a drawback rather than part of the base power. Also the combat round is 6 seconds and during that time most creatures and many vehicles can do a full turn. And I guess it seems weird to me that base Flight can't actually fly, only glide.

One way to measure a rule is, if a player sees these terms will they know instantly what they mean? Things like "Hover" and "Tireless" and "Conditional," yes they will (although they then need to realize that other types of flight can't hover and need to make Fatigue checks). But things like "Powerful" and "Agile" and "Vulnerable" they might need to look up. In practice, people often don't want to slow the game down to look stuff up, or else they think they know but they're doing it wrong ("I thought Vulnerable meant everybody got +2 to attack him while flying?"). So that level of detail is often better to just omit, or to lump into a more verbose category. For example, "Conditional (Jet back can be damaged with a called shot at -2, Toughness 6, takes 1d6 hours to repair)," it's wordier on a character sheet than just saying "Vulnerable" but it is less to look up. And really, so very few characters will have it that it makes more sense to just note it for those characters.

-- 77IM
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to necro the thread, but it was suggested I check out Necessary Evil, and I've now run several sessions of it. I like it a lot, but I also like the ideas discussed here, and once my NE plot point campaign is finished I'm considering running a fantasy campaign again. I'd like to have PCs with unusual powers, but I want them balanced against the SWEX rather than running everything as supers.

I've noticed that quite a few of 77IM's Arcane Ability edges seem to be similar to 1 PP worth of NE powers. For example Wall Walker (1) vs the Wall Crawling edge, Super Attribute (1) vs the Enhanced Attribute edge, Reach (+1 modifier) vs the Reach edge, and so on. This isn't always the case, and obviously you couldn't just do a blanket conversion of all the powers, but I reckon it would make a good starting point for adding further edges.

For example Telekinesis is 2 PP per level, has Strength d10 + 1 die step per level. So how about a Telekinesis edge that has a base Strength of d6, but you can increase that by 1 step by taking the edge again, up to a maximum of d12 (using 4 edges and giving the same benefit as 4 PP). Perhaps you could also take a More Range edge up to twice, increasing the range by 6" each time (the same as the +12" +2 PP modifier).

Likewise you've got Swinging which costs 3 PP and has a range of 12" (or 24" to snag a falling victim). So once again you could break this into 3 edges each giving a range of 4" (and 8" for snagging someone). The +1 PP Strong Line modifier could be another edge.

Some of the powers would be more difficult to break down - for example Mind Reading. But if Ensnare has a +2 PP modifier to replace its touch attack with a 12" ranged attack, then perhaps you could also argue that downgrading Mind Reading's 12" range to a touch-based ability is worth -2? Or if you feel it should only be worth -1, you could combine it with the unofficial -1 emotion-only modifier, perhaps have something like:

Psychic Link: You can read a target's emotions on an opposed Smarts roll, although this automatically causes fatigue, and requires physical contact. If you take this edge a second time, you only need to be within 12" to read someone's emotions. If you take the edge a third time you can now read surface thoughts instead of emotions.

You could even convert Switchable into an edge, allowing players to select a group of three arcane edges and then choose three alternative edges. The Device modifier should probably be ignored, in my opinion, as it's already factored into the arcane ability trappings.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
(And who's there telling me to make it more FFF? None other than Lord Lance! It's a small world, these RPG internet forums.)

LOL! Hell yeah!!!!

About Zadmar "adjectives" (tags?) useful to modify Fly, I think those adjective should be Savage Worlds "trappings". So they shouldn't have attached rules. Simply, when in the game you have "Fast" flying, you can plead the Master for a +1 bonus vs. another flying non-fast creature. Or, when you are flying, dodging crumbling pillars, you could ask for +1 bonus, if you have "Agile" Fly... and so on. About the negative adjectives, you could take -1 (maybe more) when they come in play, and get a Bennie for cool roleplaying.

^^ FFF, isn't it?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I uploaded a new version. Can you find the differences???

OK I'll tell you. Aside from minor formatting wording changes I made three updates of substance:
- Immunity uses a new rule which I am quite proud of. Basically, the thing you are Immune to can still Shaken you, but can never cause any effect worse than that. If it would make you wounded, entangled, prone, asleep, banished, whatever, you can choose to become Shaken instead. Seems quicker and better balanced than the massive bonuses from before.
- Innate Power is no longer an independent edge; it's now an Arcane Ability edge. This means that in order to get it you must have a trapping drawback. I did this because it was too strong otherwise, and because the other way led to the awkward construction of taking the Enhanced Edge (Arcane Background (Innate Power)) edge.
- I removed Improved Trapping, the only other non-arcane edge. This simplifies the document. And I really didn't see the point to that edge, and it's hard to balance it against the trapping drawbacks.

-- 77IM
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
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.

Necro again, sorry. I've been working on my own superpower system, and came across the same problem with size. Given two characters with d6 across the board, one of them with Big (or Large as it's called in your latest revision), my combat simulator gave the following results:

Large won 3179 fights, Normal won 6821. Average number of rounds per fight: 9.

That -1 to attack (and +1 to people attacking you) is pretty rough. In fact, power-wise it's significantly worse than Small, which is a Major hindrance.

However if you give the character +2 steps to Strength as well, the edge becomes a bit more effective:

Large won 4027 fights, Normal won 5973. Average number of rounds per fight: 8.

And if both fighters start using wild attack, the large guy suddenly pulls ahead:

Large won 5526 fights, Normal won 4474. Average number of rounds per fight: 3.

But to keep it fair, we should also give the other guy an advance as well. Let's increase his Strength by one step:

Large won 4993 fights, Normal won 5007. Average number of rounds per fight: 3.

Give the first guy another size increase (so he's got +4 Strength and Toughness, -2 to attack and +2 to attacks made against him) and the second guy another +1 Strength:

Large won 5010 fights, Normal won 4990. Average number of rounds per fight: 3.

So in the end that's the approach I went for. Each time you take the edge you gain +2 size, which gives you +2 Toughness and +2 steps to Strength, but also gives you -1 to your attacks and gives your opponents +1 to hit you. The big guy will always be at a disadvantage if he doesn't wild attack though, which (in combination with taking up 2x2" at Large and 3x3" at Huge) is going to make him really vulnerable to groups of attackers.

The same problem applies the other way around as well. As it stands, your Tiny edge is actually by far the most powerful of all your Arcane Abilities:

Tiny won 8416 fights, Normal won 1584. Average number of rounds per fight: 5.

I'd suggest giving it the opposite bonuses and penalties to Large, instead.


By the way, how did you format your document into columns? Did you do it manually?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's really interesting. Intuitively, I always felt that attack/damage/parry/toughness were roughly equal in value in a typical case, which is how Large ended up the way it is (-1 to attack and -1 to "defense" == +2 to Toughness). But since then I've been wondering if maybe damage and toughness are really just not as important as attack and defense, and your numbers seem to bear that out.

What do you recommend for Tiny? I'd suggest a Strength reduction, but that doesn't help with things like ranged attacks or the bolt power. I guess Tiny character could have half range on all ranged attacks? Or, what if this were two edges; each providing -1 Toughness and +1 to attack/defense? Some sort of weapon-size and armor penalty is appropriate but I don't know how to phrase it.

I am curious what you come up with for your custom system; please keep us posted!

-- 77IM
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

77IM wrote:
That's really interesting. Intuitively, I always felt that attack/damage/parry/toughness were roughly equal in value in a typical case, which is how Large ended up the way it is (-1 to attack and -1 to "defense" == +2 to Toughness). But since then I've been wondering if maybe damage and toughness are really just not as important as attack and defense, and your numbers seem to bear that out.

Generally speaking, +2 defence is worth about +3 toughness. Actually the existing edges do match that fairly closely:

1) Block, Improved Block, Dodge, Improved Dodge.

vs

2) Brawny, Tough as Nails, Improved Tough as Nails.

Note that while (1) requires an extra edge, it also includes +2 to Agility rolls for avoiding area effect attacks, which IMO is nearly decent enough to be an edge in its own right.

77IM wrote:
What do you recommend for Tiny? I'd suggest a Strength reduction, but that doesn't help with things like ranged attacks or the bolt power. I guess Tiny character could have half range on all ranged attacks? Or, what if this were two edges; each providing -1 Toughness and +1 to attack/defense? Some sort of weapon-size and armor penalty is appropriate but I don't know how to phrase it.

What you could do is say that Tiny characters suffer -2 to all Strength and damage rolls, including ranged attacks (representing their smaller scale weapons). As their Strength die would remain the same, it would remove the incentive for having d4 Strength. A Tiny character with d8 Strength could even use a longsword, but it would be a tiny longsword - they'd inflict 2d8-2 damage (but still inflict +d6 on a raise or +4 for a headshot, and their attack bonus would improve their chances of raises and called shots).

It would also save you messing around with their carrying capacity, as you could just rule that all their gear is scaled to their size, and that anything sized for a normal person weighs 4 times as much.

Adding that penalty on top of the existing Tiny edge, so that you had -2 Toughness, -2 to Strength and damage rolls, +2 to attacks and -2 to attacks made against you, gives the following:

Tiny won 7307 fights, Normal won 2693. Average number of rounds per fight: 7.

But to balance the advances, let's give the other guy +1 Strength, and upgrade his shortsword to a longsword:

Tiny won 6734 fights, Normal won 3266. Average number of rounds per fight: 7.

And now they both wild attack:

Tiny won 5083 fights, Normal won 4917. Average number of rounds per fight: 3.

Tiny gets a bigger advantage as you improve the Fighting skill of the two characters though. Here's with d10:

Tiny won 5684 fights, Normal won 4316. Average number of rounds per fight: 3.

However if you feel that's too strong, you could always go with your idea of splitting it into two edges, each giving half the bonus and penalty. The other character could then make up the difference with a combat edge or something.

I'd also have a think about the impact of area effect attacks, as these aren't going to suffer a penalty against Tiny opponents. You might want to rule that the Toughness penalty doesn't apply against cone and burst templates, or else just give them an armour bonus to offset the penalty.

77IM wrote:
I am curious what you come up with for your custom system; please keep us posted!

My Growth edge gives +2 Size, which increases Toughness by +2 and Strength by 2 steps. I've also just changed it to apply +2 damage to non-thrown projectile weapons that are scaled to the character's size, unless they use a Cone or Burst template. The edge can be taken up to four times.

For Shrink I'm thinking of going for the solution I mentioned above: You get -1 Size, which gives you -1 Toughness and -1 to all Strength and damage rolls. Once again the edge can be taken up to four times.

That'll give me 9 possible size categories (I won't treat the Small hindrance as -1 Size): -4, -3, -2, -1, 0-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, and 8+. The difference between your size category and that of your opponent will be used to determine the attack/defence modifier, so that a mosquito (Size -4) would get +8 to attack a dragon (Size 8), while the dragon would suffer -8 to attack the mosquito (unless it used its breath weapon). I'll also use the difference for Notice vs Stealth rolls.

I've currently got Gargantuan as a Legendary edge that requires 4xGrowth, as it seems to be more of a Monstrous Ability than a size category.

Anyway, let's compare the two extremes (note that the names ONLY represent sizes, they're basic d6 characters aside from that):

Mosquito won 6548 fights, Dragon won 3452. Average number of rounds per fight: 20.

With wild attack:

Mosquito won 4005 fights, Dragon won 5995. Average number of rounds per fight: 8.

With Mosquito exclusively using head shots:

Mosquito won 6863 fights, Dragon won 3137. Average number of rounds per fight: 6.

Give them both +3 armour:

Mosquito won 5049 fights, Dragon won 4951. Average number of rounds per fight: 8.

I could keep applying various modifiers that benefited one or the other, but my gut feeling is that the two are reasonably well balanced on average.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raise Thread!!
Well Done!!
Just read this thread, and I think this idea would work for Dragonmarks for an Eberron conversion. The Dragonmarks themselves would be the trappings. I'll have to think some on this to fit them all with the different houses. It has some potential anyway.
Thanks!
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