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Modiphius > Mutant Chronicles Playtest Discussion (CLOSED)
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Beta 5.0 Discussion

posted Feb 28, 2014 18:04:32 by ChrisBirch
Please post comments based on the 5.0 playtest document here thanks!
[Last edited Feb 10, 2016 00:20:11]
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77 replies
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emerica83 said Mar 02, 2014 17:14:22
I don't have a problem with using attributes as a base for skills. It is a cinematic game and I am counting on talents to be the thing that separates characters from each other.

I am more concerned how hordes will be handled. I really like the way the new WH40K RPG lets you group enemies and roll one time for attacks against PCs. As i see it this could be done by just adding D20s to the roll for each X amount of enemies.

Also some minor tweaks.
Page 9 in the example for success & focus, the text "Adam is now asked to make a asked to make a".
Page 47 under the section for impaired, theres a reference for being incapacitated but theres no further description of what that means.
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ChrisBirch said Mar 02, 2014 18:29:27
@Magnus - yes damage rolls of 3+ are ignored.

@Mattias - I'll let Jay answer on some points.

"Chronicle Points should not be allowed in use to recover Light Wounds. This is someting a PC/NPC should do using the proper skill, like First Aid. Wounds simply do not autoheal just because one wants it."

The light wounds reflect a measure of stress as much as actual scratches, that is why you can recover some of them.

"Dark Symmetry Points - Activating NPC's. If the creature has the "particulary powerful" ability this ability should be part of the creatures arsenal" - It's not meant to reflect if the Razide can do it, it's about pacing the action and adventure. During the scene the Razide likely is picking up cars are throwing them around. You will find through play that there is plenty of flow of action and reaction. Only certain very powerful abilities will be triggered by Dark Symmetry points. Picking up a car and throwing is not one of them don't worry!

@Jaysun
"5m? Seriously?" Yes don't worry weapons will get sorted they were a quick selection. Feel free to use more appropriate ranges. We'll post an update with amended details based on-going discussons.

"Similar thing with assault rifles: 50m? Your average Assault rifle is sighted for about 200m combat range, going up to 500m and more effective combat range. I would recommend using the 200m as effective range". As Above :-)

Now the basic beta system is outlined we'll be working more on the lifepath generation, talents, equipment etc as we monitor the playtest results. Jay should be along in a bit to comment on the attribute/skill discussion.
Thanks everyone for the feedback


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ChrisBirch said Mar 02, 2014 20:44:43
@Mattias here's some more thoughts re skill/attributes

- Are you aware there are currently 6 levels of Skill involved in the skill mechanic? This might easily be expanded based on testing.
- Talents further expand on the options to introduce further bonuses for the skilled
- The concept of attributes and skills are both abstractions.
- You can have all the points in Attributes you want but if you don't improve Skill Focus you will only ever get a handful of successes not the much wider range possible with training. Attributes are consistently mediocre. Skills are for the occasional masterpieces.

In terms of your examples people who want to become good climbers improve their knowledge of climbing and then through climbing improve their bodies.







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JaySun said Mar 02, 2014 23:58:18
I can't follow your argument about the lack of diversity, regarding character creation, when character creation isn't even in the playtest,yet. What we have is a rough outline of how you can use the various skills and talents to individualize characters for the playtest. It seems to me that criticizing a character creation process that isn't even there yet is hardly constructive.

About Joshua's skill problems: Why don't you just create the characters together with your test players? Find the character theme they wish to play, and then assign skills that seem reasonable and requires to make that theme work. It would save you a lot of "balancing headaches".

For now, what we have to test are the skill system and the combat rules, Added to that, we have the chronicle points and the dark symmetry pool. In my opinion it is unconstructive to argue about anything else at this point outside of the realm of constructive thought and input. Criticism should be left for the actual game elements, currently available to us.

Cheers,

Jason

-EDIT:-
On the discussion of attributes as skill base: With the curent probabilistic distribution of rolls, skill improvements actually have a rather large impact. While an attribute of 5 and an expertise of 3 mitght sound the same as an attribute of 8 and an expertise of 0, the math is actually quite different, if you consider the rest of the meachincs involved. Talen prerequistes, talent effect, focus rating, all of those impact the roll. I don't see attributes as overpowering at all and why should a sniper with coordination 9 not hit better than a sniper with coordination 5?
I played the previous generation of MC as well, and let's be honest here; the world and atmosphere was awesome, as was the character creation system (wich was a ripped an improved verion of Traveller's system). The rest of the rules was garbage. The combat system had no balance, the skill system was all over the place and it was far too easy to create character right out of the bat, that could not miss. Ever.
And as for Mystics with subpar combat skills? You got the best armor in the game, right from the start and a gehenna puker or an Eruptor did not even need a to-hit roll and a double avoid roll, not to get hit for a metric truck ton of damage.
It's nice to keep the fnd memories of our past systems, that we all loved and played, but let's not put the rosy glasses on.
[Last edited Mar 03, 2014 00:09:52]
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thenifoc said Mar 03, 2014 08:22:05
@Mattias: Could we please avoid turning this into a D&D edition war where complaints are phrased as "this is a boardgame now!!"? If there are rules you do not like please state what they are rather than resort to cheap shots.
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MattiasDavidsson said Mar 03, 2014 10:00:40
@thenifoc: I was not aware my feedback on the rules where a punch in your face. I am so sorry. I clearly stated what I do not like about the rules. It is all there. Read the post.

You earlier write: "I dislike the idea of dividing attributes by 3 before adding expertise. There seem to be no reason to keep the attributes at the level they are if expertise is to be increased. Instead just lower all attributes values, I would halve them, not divide by three, but that might be me, if you are going for a cinematic feel making characters that have a general competence is not a flaw IMO. As I said, halve the attributes and increase the ceiling for Expertise to compensate, all you loose is some granularity when it comes to calculating derived attributes, but I can live with that."

I understand that you do not agree with my idea, but had you read my entire post you would have noticed that I suggested that attributes where made to be used as a basic numerical value for skills, not that the value itself should be divided by three. This to make room for and not restricting gameplay to "I can never be good at shooting since my coordination is crap" and rather in junction with 1st and 2nd Ed of MC hounor the legacy of skills set how good you are, not your initial coordnitation.

To further clarify: My main issue with the rules as they are is that Attributes still govern far to much over how good you are at something. Since this is MC 3rd Ed I will compare it with MC 2nd and 1st Ed since it is an remake/reboot edition of said rules, universe, story and awesomeness. I do know 1st and 2nd Ed had serious issues with skills, weapons and armor, cloggy combat and a slower pace. I for one welcome the more cinematic take on combat. Fast combat is always welcomed since a roleplaying game is about characters, their strife and inherent skills, talents and persona. But reducing the characters to generic stats and using an narrow spread on skills cuts away a huge portion of the thing that made both 1st and 2nd Ed a success. The elaborate character creation, the diversity in skills, the possibility of feeling unique in a party of 6 other. The point is that the lower your values are, the more the like everyone will be.

As JaySun said: <snip> "While an attribute of 5 and an expertise of 3 mitght sound the same as an attribute of 8 and an expertise of 0, the math is actually quite different, if you consider the rest of the meachincs involved. Talen prerequistes, talent effect, focus rating, all of those impact the roll. I don't see attributes as overpowering at all and why should a sniper with coordination 9 not hit better than a sniper with coordination 5?" <snip>

The math is not overly diffrent. With an attribute of 5 it will not matter how much skill you get since the one with attribute of 10 will alwas be able to outsmart/shine/pun you in every test you ever want to make using that attribute. If you got 5, you can never compete with a 10. Ever. Anything you get in order to "repair" your lack of attribute, the other guy can take aswell and the gap will forever be there.

As JoshuaKlug said: "I'm prone to enjoying robust, skill-based systems rather than attribute-based systems (WEG D6 > D&D for example). I think my main group added about 20 potential skills for characters to choose from under the 1st edition MC. That said, I'll finally have my first opportunity to playtest, with other people, this coming Saturday, and will be able to stop theorizing and report actual findings"

I could not agree more. My favourite roleplaying games are the ones where I feel that my character has a stretch of development. Games like Chuthulu 6th Ed, Mutant Chronicles 2nd Ed, Neotech and Eon (swedish games). Just having 1-6 and some talents for skills just feels hindering, boxed in and yes "boardgame-like". I am aware that there are already plans for how to convert your MC character into Warzone. That in it self is utterly awesome, but to restrict character diversity and skill level/ranks to a static set of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the Roleplaye-version is not really a great move.

I rather much prefer a complex creation system where you get a robust character.

I love what you guys have done with the story, the combat rules and I am sure you have equally done the same for magic and the dark symmetry!
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thenifoc said Mar 03, 2014 10:26:03
@Mattias: They are not a punch in my face specifically, but saying that rules changes amount to "moving away from what defines roleplaying and into boardgame territory" is tantamount to calling this iteration of the rules "not a REAL RPG!!" or "BadWrongFun". It does not help the discussion and sounds like edition warring rethorics. I am not offended by it, I just don't see those comments as helpful and only exist to attack others opinions.

There are already several games out there with this, or even less, granularity. Fate, the new Mutant from Fria Ligan, Svavelvinter, Shadowrun etc. They are all RPGs and none of them resemble boardgames any more than Mutant Chronicles, most of them are also dicepool-based, which this iteration of MC is turning into. Just because you don't like something does not make it boardgamey. Looking at the games by Jay Little that I own, I am actually surprised that there is this much granularity.

Regarding the Attributes issue, I disagree. Keeping mechanics for the sake of legacy destroys innovation, and if one seeks to resemble any form of reality, as long as your coordination is crap you will never be a good shot. Skills help but Attributes are important to form the basis for those skills, and an intelligent person will always be a better scientist, simply because he is able to draw conclusions that the less intelligent might not. The current system puts too much emphasis on attributes, I'd prefer about a 50/50 split myself, but the old BRP-derived system makes attributes mostly irrelevant and a) is not a decent model of how "skills" and "attributes" interact, and b) makes even less sense in a cinematic game where characters are meant to be decently competent.

With Expertise now going to 6 I feel like they do a good job of modeling a cinematic universe, feels great. I still feel that the "surplus CP=XP" rule should go though. Even if you get 10XP per session, the player who saves up on CP will then advance 10% faster then the player who does not. It just seems like a recipe for disaster. If you want a more cinematic use out of CP, look at Declarations in Fate or Creative Editing in Adventure!.
[Last edited Mar 03, 2014 10:46:01]
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ChrisBirch said Mar 03, 2014 10:52:05
@thenifoc - actually the total of 3 levels of expertise and 3 levels of Focus is six levels of development. Talents will further broaden this. Playtesting may suggest we can increase the Expertise and Focus levels so who knows but there is plenty of room for growth

I for one am excited to look at the life path generation as it's something I'm keen to ensure surpasses what we had before in the 1st and 2nd Edition. Just wait...!
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thenifoc said Mar 03, 2014 11:05:22
@Chris: I see. I could see Expertise going to 5, no problem, I don't think it would wreck the system, as long as increasing it and attributes become increasingly expensive. I could also see Focus going to 5, or possibly lower but with talents that you could only buy, say, one of, that can increases one of Focus values to 5. It makes that skill something that defines your character. Another solution is to allow a Focus-talent that pushes you to 5 but only in a narrow scope within that skill, say "Climbing" for "Athletics", and allow you to buy only one of these for each skill.

I am curious about the Life Path, I don't generally like them, I feel that they help when you don't have an idea of what you want, but that they generally get in the way otherwise. As a collector and RPG-system nerd, I always like to see what a game does differently from my other games.
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JaySun said Mar 03, 2014 11:30:17
@MathiasDavidsson:

You worte:
"The math is not overly diffrent. With an attribute of 5 it will not matter how much skill you get since the one with attribute of 10 will alwas be able to outsmart/shine/pun you in every test you ever want to make using that attribute. If you got 5, you can never compete with a 10. Ever. Anything you get in order to "repair" your lack of attribute, the other guy can take aswell and the gap will forever be there. "

And what makes you think a Sniper suffering from palsy could ever be as good as a sniper with steady hands through sheer training alone, without overcoming the palsy first? So, on that account alone your argument is invalid. But let's not stick there and watch the other side of the argument as well: should an untrained Sniper with a coordination of 10 (very steady hands, never had a rifle in his hands before) be better than a trained sniper with coordination 5 (shaking hands)? Well, on the one hand, the untrained COR 10 shooter is not nescessarily better than the trained one, as he can only acieve a total of two successes without extra investment through chronicle points or increasing the dark symmetry pool and even then the trained shooter is at an advantage. Not only can he reach a base maximum of 4 success, no every chronicle point also adds two successes rather than just one. So the COR 5 shooter flat out beats the COR 10 shooter as soon as the extra resources come into play. And we haven't even considered Talents yet, which the untrained COR 10 Shooter has no access to.

No matter which way you look at it, the untrained COR 10 shooter ist a disadvantage over the trained COR 5 shooter, unless the COR 10 shooter invests in skill training, at which point we go back to my previous question, why should he NOT be better at shooting, if his hands are steady, while the COR 5 shooter's are not?

And that's just one skill excemple. We could easily extrapolate the very same scenario for every other skill out there, with an even larger impact on advanced skills.

@thenifoc:
I would be carefull not to go overboard on the expertise or focus levels. While an additional +1 might not sound like a big deal, keep in mind that the probability distribution follows a bell curve and changes near the end of the spectrum have a significantly larger impact than those near the center. A +5 might easily break the system as it is.

Take an average Attribute of 8. Without expertise, that amounts to a base 40% success chance per die, or a 64% chance to get at least one success from the die roll.
Let's look at the other ranks of expertise:

-Rank 1: 45% base / 70% one
-Rank 2: 50% base / 75% one
-Rank 3: 55% base / 80% one

-Rank 4: 60% base / 84% one
-Rank 5: 65% base / 88% one

Now for the end of the spectrum, with an attribute of 12:

-Rank 0: 60% base / 84% one
-Rank 1: 65% base / 88% one
-Rank 2: 70% base / 91% one
-Rank 3: 75% base / 94% one

-Rank 4: 80% base / 96% one
-Rank 5: 85% base / 98% one

And that'#s not even considering expanding crit ramges from the current max of 15% to a potential new max of 25%.
While I can still see some wriggle room, the core mechanics are very tight and probably won't react well to further increase expertise levels beyond the current 3. It might take 4, but would soon push it to the point, where test accuracy becomes near infallibe.

Cheers,
Jason

*edited for typos*
[Last edited Mar 03, 2014 12:17:15]
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thenifoc said Mar 03, 2014 11:54:49
@Jason: I agree that one should be careful, I do think that attributes probably need to be lowered as well. However, having a maxed attribute and maxed expertise you probably SHOULD succeed at dif. 1 rolls about 98% of the time. I don't really see a problem with that in itself, the issue is rather what difficulty does to the success curve, i.e. how the exceptionally skilled does at difficult tasks.

Regarding Focus, I agree that they do add another layer of difficulty in calculating the odds, I don't agree that a low, even a very low, chance of failure automatically break the game. It does change the feel and the genre, but if they are going for cinematic, then getting away with crazy stuff if you are the best in the world is not really an issue.
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JaySun said Mar 03, 2014 12:14:35
The good thing about a beta test is that we can just try it out, see how it works out and then go from there =)
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thenifoc said Mar 03, 2014 12:38:18
@Jason: Absolutely. But speaking as a scientist, I do prefer to have statistics over anecdotes. Anecdotes are prone to confirmation bias and a whole slew of other problems when it comes to using them as points of data. Your collection of probabilities are great in that regard, and my comment on them was more of a difference of opinion regarding how that affects the setting and gameplay.

When modelling skills one has to take into account the feel of competency. I.e. does it feel like my character is competent when he has X in this skill. I will use a few different systems to illustrate possible problems, these are not the only problems nor are they objectively true in that they may not be percieved as problems by everyone, maybe in that particular system, maybe not ever.

In BRP for instance you could have a character that has 95% in a skill, the issue that makes his player feel like the character is not competent is that there is little difference between him rolling a 90 and rolling a 15. Also him rolling a 15 and another PC with a 20 in said skill and rolling a 15. Some versions try to solve this by calculating the difference between your skill and the roll in order to get some form of "success" value. The point is that having a higher value often feels useless unless you get more out of it as well. Momentum does this as well, and is important to take into account.

Looking at nWoD, now I am a huge nWoD fan, but the system is...lacking... The main issue is the feeling that competency doesn't matter in many cases outside combat. Since ever dice that rolls 8+ is a success (i.e. a 30% chance with one dice) and you only ever need one success to succeed, once you have 4-5 dice you start to feel like more doesn't matter. Since getting an exceptional success takes 5 successes getting that is just a lucky shot and not something you go for, and there are no other levels of success, well....

Being able to succeed at a normal dif1 roll with no other modifiers when you have peaked in your abilities, is IMO what is to be expected. One solution could be to have 3 levels of expertise and then "unlock" two more levels once the PCs are ready to step up to Action Hero level. Allowing GMs to keep it somewhat grounded until the campaign requires taking it somewhat over-the-top.
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KingYnnen said Mar 03, 2014 17:18:17
Hey All - it's Jay Little, lead game designer for MC3. Rather than post in this thread where there's a risk of having my comments lost amidst the rest of the ongoing discussion, I've started my own separate thread where I discuss the design philosophy and approach to hopefully provide some context for the new ruleset.

http://www.modiphius.com/forum.html#/20140303/mutant-chronicles-3rd-ed-design-philosophy-go-3726887/

I'll add more insights as the open Beta goes along and will try to answer some of the burning questions along the way. Due to time constraints -- and the hard work ahead to polish the game -- I won't be able to answer every question that pops up, so apologies in advance if I don't directly address all of your questions.

Cheers,

J
----

If life is a game... I need new dice.
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Ssatkan said Mar 04, 2014 07:44:50
Well, I don't think it's as bad as it sounds here. Resting so heavily on Attribute scores between 6 and 12 (mostly up to 10) means that everyone has a base chance to succeed a D1 task and that's not a bad thing. However you might think about raising the maximum skill level for starters to +4.
Right now, a roll with Attr 6, Focus 1-3 and Expertise +3 yields 6/5 successes on average, same as a roll with Attr 12, no Focus and no Expertise, so you can (as a starting character) bridge the Attribute Gap with skill levels (if only slightly) and even surpass an untrained character with Attribute 10, who has one success on average.
I like the 2d20s and especially the Focus idea.
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