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Accursed: Ophidians

 
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Zero Mostel
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:30 am    Post subject: Accursed: Ophidians Reply with quote

Caustic: Ophidians are constantly, but subtly
corroded on the inside by the toxins they wield. This
eating away at their innards wreaks havoc on their
nervous and immune systems. Ophidians also have
great difficulty keeping their internal temperatures in
check, and must constantly sun themselves to keep up
their health. Vigor requires two points per step to raise
during character generation and the character must
dedicate two Advances to raising Vigor during game play.

This makes no sense whatsoever. No animal on the face of the earth that wields venom is affected by its own venom. Also the delivery system would keep most of the venom OUT of their system.

If you wanted a hinderance that would be more reptilian, make it that they cannot eat cooked meat, or that they HAVE to eat only meat, preferably raw and alive.

These poor boys will never pass for human. I just think that their hindrances could have been thought out better.

BTW this is the SECOND time I have posted this. I don't know if it was deleted or the mail monster ate it.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ophidians aren't naturally evolved creatures, they're monstrous hybrids that have been twisted by dark magic. If you want to play the realism card, the fastest acting snake venom I've ever read about requires 2 minutes (20 rounds) to kill. Ophidian venom requires just a few seconds - who knows what sort of long-term impact that would have on the physiology of an expendable supersoldier created through magical experimentation?

But you can always think up justification for the crunch. The main reason for the ability is game balance - Ophidians have a lot of benefits, and those need to be balanced against drawbacks.
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Zero Mostel
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THree of my players wanted to play ophidians, then saw that particular drawback and changed their minds.

IMHO its over kill.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on my estimates, which you can read here, it's still the most powerful base race (i.e., before factoring in racial Edges) in the setting.

If it bothers you then you can just change the race. My suggestion would be to remove Caustic and Serpent Strike, and also remove the -2 penalty victims suffer when trying to resist their venom (you could always move that last benefit into another racial Edge - call it "Potent Venom" or something).
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Zero Mostel
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds good to me. As it was, it may be mathematically balanced, but the poetry was wrong. Crippled Killers are just no fun.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fluff is obviously a matter of personal taste, but mechanically speaking they're certainly not "crippled". As written, they're absolutely lethal in combat, and very difficult to catch by surprise.
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Zero Mostel
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But if no body wants to play them, all they can be is NPCs.

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of them. I plan on playing Accursed for the next four years coming this August. But so far, none of the players in my two groups wants to play them for the above reasons.

Sorry to step on your toes, I would assume that they are your personal favorite of all the beasties in the book by the way you reacted.

Anyway, I plan on asking a lot more questions as I learn about Morden. I love the world, it is rich and wonderful and lets GMs make it their own. The More supplements that come out the more I will buy.

Take care and God Bless.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zero Mostel wrote:
Sorry to step on your toes, I would assume that they are your personal favorite of all the beasties in the book by the way you reacted.

Favourite? No, I've no favourites, not even from among the three unofficial witchbreeds I've created.

However I am very interested in game balance, as should be clear from the link I posted earlier, and I strongly disagree with your suggestion that ophidians are "Crippled Killers".

Serpent Strike gives them First Strike, and as they can rely on Venomous Bite to make attacks, that leaves both hands free. The ophidian could wield a spear in one hand and a heavy shield in the other, and they'd receive a +3 bonus to Parry as well as reach. Reach + First Strike would allow them to use the attack and withdraw tactic, effectively gaining 2 attacks per round against most opponents who wished to attack them in melee combat. And because they'd be attacking with their bite, the victim wouldn't just be dealing with damage - they'd be dealing with poison (which can be upgraded to lethal - meaning the victim suffers two levels of Fatigue even if they get a raise on the Vigor roll, which is already being made at -2).

Double cost for Vigor is obviously a drawback, but it can be overcome in a number of ways. As a -3 racial ability, the character could actually raise their Vigor to d6 and they'd still be at an advantage (+1 attribute is worth a +2 racial ability, so they'd still be half an advance ahead). They could take Obese/Brawny or Berserk to raise their Toughness, or Liquid Courage to gain a temporary boost to Vigor, or Elan to improve their Soak rolls. And of course they could wear armour.

Ophidians are already one of the best racial choices for a melee character, and when I finally get around to running Accursed I may end up nerfing them slightly. Your suggestion of removing their sole combat-oriented drawback, and replacing it with a raw meat diet, is one that I strongly, strongly disagree with. They've got 7 points of racial ability dedicated to combat, they need something to balance that out.
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Zero Mostel
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:


Serpent Strike gives them First Strike, and as they can rely on Venomous Bite to make attacks, that leaves both hands free. The ophidian could wield a spear in one hand and a heavy shield in the other, and they'd receive a +3 bonus to Parry as well as reach. Reach + First Strike would allow them to use the attack and withdraw tactic, effectively gaining 2 attacks per round against most opponents who wished to attack them in melee combat. And because they'd be attacking with their bite, the victim wouldn't just be dealing with damage - they'd be dealing with poison (which can be upgraded to lethal - meaning the victim suffers two levels of Fatigue even if they get a raise on the Vigor roll, which is already being made at -2).

Double cost for Vigor is obviously a drawback, but it can be overcome in a number of ways. As a -3 racial ability, the character could actually raise their Vigor to d6 and they'd still be at an advantage (+1 attribute is worth a +2 racial ability, so they'd still be half an advance ahead). They could take Obese/Brawny or Berserk to raise their Toughness, or Liquid Courage to gain a temporary boost to Vigor, or Elan to improve their Soak rolls. And of course they could wear armour.

Ophidians are already one of the best racial choices for a melee character, and when I finally get around to running Accursed I may end up nerfing them slightly. Your suggestion of removing their sole combat-oriented drawback, and replacing it with a raw meat diet, is one that I strongly, strongly disagree with. They've got 7 points of racial ability dedicated to combat, they need something to balance that out.



7 Points starting out in combat edges to begin with just seems too much. Then trying to balance them out makes them less than appealing.

But I am not here to argue. I said my peace and you have more than explained yours. I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree. When I run my game, I am going to have to tweak them to make them PCs that are playable. Either that or not have them as PCs, which is looking to be more the case, because no one wants to run them.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand why "trying to balance them out makes them less than appealing". If you simply strip away their drawbacks then obviously it'll make them more appealing, but then nobody will want to play any of the other races.

If your players all want to play ophidians then I guess there's no harm in making them the best race. But if you want all the races to be equally appealing, you should try and keep them balanced with each other - and that means giving them drawbacks to offset their bonuses.

You said your players wanted to play ophidians until they saw the drawbacks. Could it be that they only wanted to play ophidians because they thought they were the "best" race? And then when they saw the Vigor penalty, they realised that ophidians were actually much more closely balanced with the other races, and therefore they decided to pick different races instead?
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Vaslov
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Zero,

I can see how some players would be reluctant to take on a Vigor impaired race. My own players are avoiding Golem's like the plague as they don't want to deal with the Agility cap. Personally I don't have a problem with caps on any of the stats, but I do get the argument that it prevents some builds and concepts from working out. Your players want to be able play a (more) beefy snakeman and you want to enable it. Kudos. How are you thinking about making that happen rules wise?

In framing my own alternate witchbreed where I start from is instead of removing the version baselined in the rules books is I make my version a cousin of it. That way I can keep any published materials as is, cause I'm lazy like that.

The minimalistic approach could be taken right from the race building rules in the core rulebook. Instead of a cap require two point per step to raise Vigor.

Another approach could be to reconceptualize the breed. When I think of a high vigor snake man the image in my mind is D&D Yuan Ti Abominations. Perhaps a completely different build using that as it's core could work here.

Would love to hear what ideas you have.

Vaslov
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vaslov wrote:
The minimalistic approach could be taken right from the race building rules in the core rulebook. Instead of a cap require two point per step to raise Vigor.

That's how it works already. Ophidian's don't have a Vigor cap, it costs double to raise.
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Vaslov
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for pointing that out Zadmar. Looks like I was typing a bit too fast this morning. So the group isn't keen on having to spend two points per vigor point. Hmm. I'm not sure I'd go with something simply role-playing like "eats a lot of meat". 3 points is a lot of ground to make up.

Personally I love the caustic racial. I've put an Ophidian npc well on the north side of Cairn Kainen. He has to stay near the fire of his home and is very vested in making sure the flame stays safe. Maybe keep that piece of the flavor around as it does have some nice role playing opportunities. That's one point.

If they are so hot blooded for combat maybe go with something like a spirit check at the start of combat or they are stuck with wild attacks only until they get a role. I'd probably say that's a 2 points. I'm not a fan of that as it forces spirit build for the wrong reason. That could be balanced out with a racial edge at veteran that allows them avoid the check. Figure out another minor hindrance of some sort? Not a fan of where this is going. I'll leave it here in case it gives you an idea.

What about moving the poison into racial edges? Using and making the bite more effective seems like a great way to head down the acceptance track via edge selection. Speaking of the acceptance track you might want to point out the full acceptance track power to your players. That heal once a day is pretty amazing. On the defiance track caustic fades away.
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