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Modiphius > Mutant Chronicles Playtest Discussion (CLOSED)

Beta 9.5 Discussion

posted Jul 11, 2014 18:04:35 by ChrisBirch
Please post your views and queries of the final Beta test document here.
[Last edited Feb 10, 2016 00:04:54]
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656 replies
Pejay said Jul 11, 2014 19:57:42
I will need to go through it again to offer detailed feedback, but I thought that status shouldn't be a flat 1d6 roll. What about a 2d6 roll instead? This would make the 'spend Life Points to be Upper or Elite' choice more significant and more accurately represent a social 'pyramid'. The system could be weighted towards lower or upper working class characters. That way there won't be a 16% chance to join the 1%.

There were also some minor spelling mistakes I saw on my first sweep, just a couple of words with extra letters in. I assume they'll be cleared up in the next editing phase.
Nicholas Simpson said Jul 11, 2014 22:28:11
I want to throw out resounding support for a couple of things. I've only done a quick skim so far, but I LOVE how the spells are handled. It may be due to being a play test document, but I really like how firm and concrete the effects of each spell are. When it comes to the final book, I'd recommend for maximum usability/readability that you have two separate sections on effects, narrative and in-game. In-game just flat out says "affected characters gain the dazed condition" while narrative goes into "affected characters are plagued by terrifying visions of the deaths of loved ones, the failure of their dreams, and a thousand dying voices screaming that it's all the affected character/s's fault." Basically your spells right now look great for mechanical presentation and the next step is to make them really pop and stand out with cool narrative descriptions that the GM can use to make things distinct.

JaySun said Jul 11, 2014 22:55:57
Did I miss an e-mail? When did the invites go out for 9.5?
Nicholas Simpson said Jul 12, 2014 00:05:29
I think that's an interesting idea. I think it could possibly eliminate some of the pulpy fun of swinging between rich and poor pretty easily in character creation. Also, if we assume that each of the statuses are roughly equal, it feels a bit weird to make the low statuses be particularly rare.

I'd also note that the difference between Upper and Elite does not seem large enough to support being worth an entire other life point. Obviously they need to have different costs, as people would always pick elite over upper unless they really wanted training in the lifestyle skill over persuasion. On the other hand, if you make Elite TOO good, it messes up random rolling.

Here's an idea that bridges things a bit: have Unemployed Lower class on a roll of 1, employed on a roll of 2, working lower on 3 or 4, working middle on 5, and upper on 6. Elite can only be bought by spending two life points, and you can spend one life point to choose any other class. That creates a small amount of curve, gives a reason for elite to cost an extra life point, and also lets players have their choice of statuses (because we all know there may be a niche case where a player wants to have a lower class either for the attributes or for Roleplay purposes and it would be best for the game rules to go ahead and allow that).

An email went out today to Backers so it may have gone to your spam. If you're not a backer, I'm not sure if this beta went out to them.
ChrisBirch said Jul 12, 2014 09:34:57
@JaySun - invites went out to all Backers of the Kickstarter who have the core book in their pledge. If you're a backer send us an email and we'll hook you up. Please check spam and if you are a backer you may be one of a small group who have unsubscribed from Modiphius mailings so I'd need you to sign up again so the emails get through to you.

@SimpsonNicholas - thanks for the support! Yes there'll be lots of 'fluff' added to the rules once they're nailed down don't worry. Nice ideas on the lifepath status costs. Of course we want people to pick exactly the choice they want through the life path.

@Pejay - Thanks for the suggestion, yes this hasn't had an edit yet - no point until the document is ready.

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ChrisBirch said Jul 12, 2014 09:35:05
@JaySun - invites went out to all Backers of the Kickstarter who have the core book in their pledge. If you're a backer send us an email and we'll hook you up. Please check spam and if you are a backer you may be one of a small group who have unsubscribed from Modiphius mailings so I'd need you to sign up again so the emails get through to you.

@SimpsonNicholas - thanks for the support! Yes there'll be lots of 'fluff' added to the rules once they're nailed down don't worry. Nice ideas on the lifepath status costs. Of course we want people to pick exactly the choice they want through the life path.

@Pejay - Thanks for the suggestion, yes this hasn't had an edit yet - no point until the document is ready.

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Benn said Jul 12, 2014 20:18:38
@simpsonnicholas1 re: Elite over Upper. Class is an interesting issue as each corporation handles it differently. For the purposes of a simple structure that allows for Bauhaus Nobility to meet with Imperial Trenchers each rung needs to perform in very similar ways. Of course that doesnt mean that some options wont interact with others in an interesting way.

There's nothing to stop a GM from placing additional financial hurdles in the way of an elite meeting with the middle class. In certain circles this is know as "idiot tax" and these hurdles could become more dramatic should said elite find himself in a dark alley with the underclass. No matter what status you are there are situations where it is a disadvantage. The GM has DSPs to make use of these situations.

"Won't somebody call a constable?"


Everyone's welcome in the pit!

Nicholas Simpson said Jul 13, 2014 14:17:15

From what I can tell, it sounds like you're saying that the extra income of elite status is balanced out by the social difficulties they have working with other classes. I have a couple thoughts on that.

First, my concern is not about the elite status being overpowered, but rather underpowered for costing two life points as opposed to 1 life point for upper class. I don't think that the single extra point of assets is worth an entire other life point. In essence, I'd be worried about there being an "optimal" choice. I know that players will always find ways to bend and break systems, but it's better to catch things now when the rules are being made rather than ignore them.

Second, I understand that you're suggesting that a rules imbalance can be covered by narrative/story consequences. I disagree with this, as most narrative consequences tend to not really be a negative consequence at all (eg it just puts more story focus on one character) and they rely on the GM to fit them into the story. I'd prefer having some kind of hard mechanical balance.


Another thing, as I think about it, is that even restricting Elite status to only be available for purchase rather than rolling still doesn't give a player incentive to buy it other than Roleplay reasons. Maybe have it only be available for purchase and also allow the player to acquire restricted items more easily or even select a second house/background when applying for purchases to represent family connections.
Benn said Jul 13, 2014 16:00:41
On it costing 2 life points I concur. 1 extra point of assets is nice but its not critical to play. Its only when there are actual consequences of selection that points should be charged and even then it should be solidly balanced.

As to narrative penalties vs rule penalties that just makes it seem that you'd want social disparities to be more hard coded into the ruleset. If thats the case other than asset and career availability how would you see the elite social class gaining said benefit?

I'm just curious to see how you'd upgrade Elite to be worth the 2.


Everyone's welcome in the pit!

ChrisBirch said Jul 13, 2014 19:12:58
@SimpsonNicholas - it does give you more purchasing power - effectively a bonus 1d6 worth of potential. Also the scale of clothing and vehicles you have is suddenly a scale above and that will some impact on social encounters
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 13, 2014 22:50:07
@Chris and @Benn
It does give an extra amount of purchasing power and social clout, yes, but that is a linear increase from the preceding status. Upper status is worth up to 4 points more than the preceding classes, and thus costs one life point. Elite status is only worth 1 point more than upper class, but costs an entire extra life point. Also, to clarify an earlier point, there is no option to spend a life point for any status lower than the upper class. I think it would help to allow players to spend 1 point for upper class or lower, add an extra to the elite class, and make that cost 2 points. The extra could be something like allowing elite class to ignore 1 DSI when rolling assets, treat all items as legal, or increase the "hit" range for the asset dice rolled.

Also, I'm going through the whole document and will be adding some thoughts and questions for each chapter as I come across them.

Chapter 4
-given that threat/critical failure is the chance of something bad occurring and difficulty is just the chance of not succeeding, what about adding a rule for allowing the GM to increase the threat rating in lieu of the difficult rating? On that note, I'm a big fan of the idea of "failing forward," which is the idea that a failed roll always leads to something interesting rather than just failure. How about a rule stating that if a player fails a roll he may still succeed in his action, but the GM can in turn have something bad happen to the player/s? I know that I can obviously just do this on my own, but I think it would be helpful to codify this advice for GMs who may not realize that's an option.

-the table listing example difficult ratings on page 13 is a little unclear. It lists shooting a stationary target at medium range as 2 difficulty but 3 difficulty is shooting a moving target at long range. What about a stationary target at long range or a moving one at medium range?

-Can a player pay dark symmetry to gain extra d20s only before rolling, or also after? Is there any difference in cost?

-the list on how to modify difficulty is fairly vague. It suggests adding one difficulty per two factor or for one extreme factors. It would help to have some of the extreme factors listed (heavy darkness, range bands?)

-are there any limits to voluntarily failing for a chronicle point or could a player do this several times in succession? I know common sense should rule the day, but there's nothing in the rules saying a player couldn't keep failing at a low/no-danger task or just purposefully miss each shot in an easy combat.

-can the characters assisting a roll purchase extra d20s for themselves?

I'll have more as I go through the documents. I want to add that I generally like what I'm seeing, but just want to throw in a few things that I think could be clarified/changed.
ChrisBirch said Jul 13, 2014 23:44:10
Thanks to Andreas Björ we've added a form-fillable version of the character sheet to the Playtest download folder :-)

Thanks Nicholas keep them coming!
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 14, 2014 15:37:41
Chapter Seven: Gaining and Spending Momentim

-this may already be addressed by the More Momentum options at the end of the chapter, but it could help for noncombat usage of rolls to to list possible momentum buys for each of the skills in the skill chapter. Time scale is also mentioned (weeks. Days, hours, minutes) which is something else that could be elaborated on for skills.

-how will the new called shot work when rolling the special hit location die from q-workshop? Maybe called shot could just allow hit location rerolls and you choose which you use?

-increasing penetration with momentum seems superfluous when you could just increase damage at the same cost. maybe damage increases should cost more or increasing penetration increases more?

Chapter Ten: Combat Basics
-can actions be made in any order? Or do you have to take a standard action last? if it's in any order, there may need to be a rule about free actions being restricted by common sense. Also, if they can be made in any order, it would mean a turn needs to be planned out in advance if a restricted action is taken as any free actions taken to begun with would mean restricted actions are no longer allowed.

-adjust stance (and a few other actions) is still using meters. I understand the appeal of this, but I don't think it would do any harm to just allow adjust stance to move you around anywhere within the zone you're at (ie close range). I can tell you from experience that when a question comes up of "is this place within a two meters or is it four meters?" I and most GMs are going to just treat it abstractly.

-restricted actions feel weird that they prohibit free actions. It seems weird that someone couldn't drop something AND reload in the same turn given that if they're dual wielding they'd have to drop an item from one hand to reload. Same foes for other combinations, like speaking and moving, dropping prone and recovering (which you have to do for being on fire) and others. I think it would work better to just allow infinite (non-repeating) free actions, one restricted action, and one standard action.

-movement mentions meter cost being doubled in difficult terrain. I assume this is an artifact of the previous rules using more concrete movement?

-engaging an enemy requires you to make an attack on them. Why not just allow engagement by moving against someone at close range? For example, if I want to block someone, I can just step in their way and menace them without necessarily hitting them with anything. This would also distinguish the move action as a choice between 1) moving into an adjacent zone, 2) if there difficult terrain requiring a move action to move within a zone and a test to move out of the zone 3) engage an enemy in close range.

-the standard action rules mention spending a chronicle point instead of a DSP to take multiple standard actions/retake the same standard action. Is there a rule somewhere else about spending DSPs to take extra actions/taking extra actions but not the same one twice In a row? This is under Chronicle Points, page 30.

-coup de grace mentions meters. Can this be replaced with just within the same zone?

-the exploit weakness action mentions that stealth tests can be used as successful exploit weakness actions. Does this mean that a successful test would allow you take the action for free? Also, given that the rules mention knocking someone out, could there be a rule about making some kind of opposed test with the follow up attack that allows you to not deal damage but just knock someone out?

-does taking a ready action end the turn?

-retaliate seems very weak when used by powerful monsters/characters. Once you have 2 armor on, you effectively never need to use a withdraw action.

-response actions seem pretty weak. Having to pay a DSP, only being allowed once, AND having to roll makes them seem like a bad prospect. What about allowing players to gain multiple response actions in a combat round? Maybe restrict them to 3 times per round and restrict the GM to one one response action per creature (but allow single creatures to use more than one of those response actions). This would reflect the game's fast and furious nature better and allow the characters to feel more like badasses.

-covering fire is a response action but response actions are said to each have a trigger. What is the trigger for covering fire?

-defend other uses meters again. Why not just make it within close range/the same zone

-defend other mentions making a check like you would a dodge roll or parry roll, which are opposed tests. However, it also lists these as being 2 difficulty. Which is it? Also, if players we're allows to make multiple response rolls, I assume that this action would not allow them to parry/dodge the attack they're defending someone from?

-what happens with ties on dodge/parry rolls? The rules say to continue the action into the next round, but this doesn't really make a lot of sense, as that is effectively the same as dodging the attack.

-under movement in page 35 it mentions that sprinting adds difficulty to a subsequent attack roll, but the sprint action does not mention this added difficulty.

-the entry on falling seems kind of complicated and and the math for it seems wonky. Damage is listed as 1+ds2 per 3 meters and a 10 meter fall is listed as 3+9ds. Shouldn't it be 3+6ds (without taking into account how to round up,or down for meters). There are also rules on adjusting the fall and so on. This honestly seems too granular for the system, especially compared to the entries for suffocating or being in a vacuum. Why not just divide falls into Light/Heavy with light falls causing X amount of damage and heavy falls causing X*2 amount of damage? Allow the acrobatics roll to be attempts to slow or mitigate the fall in order to reduce damage by 1 and spend momentum 5omreduce it further or determine hit location. This keeps the GM from having to do extra math on the fly I'm addition to guessing at how many meters down something is, and allow players to do action movie jumps out of windows and so on without killing themselves.

Nicholas Simpson said Jul 14, 2014 17:50:51
Chapter 11: Damage, Wounds, and Healing
-in the example on oages 37 and 38, there are some minor errors. The example says brand rolls 3 base damage dice when he should roll 4 and his base damage is later listed as 5 rather than 4.

-I'll need to play test it a but armor seems fairly low. Average damage for weapons ranges from 2-6, with maximum damage being 5 for the lightest gun and 18 for the biggest. Seems like a lucky hit will destroy armor, but I'll have to see. Still, an armor of 1 is almost never going to negate all wounds. Is this intended?

-light and heavy cover also seem to be pretty weak, providing an average of 1 and 2 or from 0-4 and 0-8 soak. Does being behind cover also make it harder to shoot your character? If so, is there a difference between light and heavy?

-does armor piercing count against both armor and cover, or just against one? Does armor piercing negate soak for the purpose of calculating if cover is destroyed?

-it seems pretty much impossible to destroy cover, even with explosives. That 10 damage + soak threshold is way too high. No weapon on average will damage cover; a heavy machine has to get very lucky in order to damage wooden cover.

-does the first serious wound suffered causing one dread occur only during fights, or during other times? If you already have a serious wound and suffer another one in a fight, does it cause another dread?

-if a character suffers more wounds than his physique, causing a critical, does the critical apply to the same location?

-on the critical imjury chart, it says you can aggravate injuries by spending momentum. How much momentum? How many times can this be used? Also, won't most players have already spent all of their momentum by the time damage has been rolled?

-how do aggravated injuries work? Do you just roll again on the critical injury chart or do you take the same result again?

-how long do the effects of the injuries last?

-for the bleeding out injury, what counts as "treatment" in order to stop the bleeding?

-what happens when the same injury occurs twice, either through aggravation or additional critical injuries? Do effects get added, doubled/tripled, or what? What about effects that don't have numbers associated with them?

-the critically injured status on page 43 does not list being staggered, but the one on page 48 does. Which is correct?

-do critically injured characters have to spend a chronicle point AND a DSP to take a response action?

-how often can first aid be used on a target? Does it require special equipment? How long does it take?

-can the medicine skill treat light wounds? Can you choose which kind of wound to heal first? How long does it take?

-can you choose which wounds to heal first when resting?

-how do you heal critical injury effects? Do you need to track which critical wound/s they're assigned to? If several critical wounds were suffered at once, leading to a single effect, do you need to heal all of those wounds before the effect goes away? Will there be something to aid in keeping track of this?

Chapter 12: weapons, equipment, and gear
-the ranged weapons entry mentions penalties for going up twice the range or more than twice it. This should be changed to reflect the abstract range bands now.

Chapter 13: Status Effects
-what is "the Burning 1 quality (fire spreads)" mentioned on page 48. The only other mention of a burning quality says that it just causes the burning status effect for a number of rounds equal to DSIs and deals damage equal to the rating. There's nothing about the fire spreading. This seems confusing/superfluous to give the damage a quality like this.

-is the chronicle point cost to perform a response when staggered in addition to the DSP or replacing it?

-can a terrified character choose to stay close to his fear, or does he have to use his actions moving away?

-how do you determine what rank rattled is?

Chapter 14: Mental Strain and Madness
-if you suffer 5+ points AND have no health left, do you roll for two mental traumas?

-I got confused reading this whether the above required a willpower roll or just automatically caused madness

-the text says if a character rolls a critical failure or in dread range that it causes 1 mental damage for each such result. It also says if a character fails a trauma test AND suffers mental assault damage, the damage caused from rolling results in Dread Range add to the damage caused by the mental assault. These seem to contradict each other with the first saying that extra damage is caused by any critical failure and the second saying that extra damage is caused only by the Dread Range result AND failing the trauma test AND taking damage from the mental assault. Very confusing.

-the perplexed condition on the madness table says you recover after one successful test rather than the three tests listed on page 48

- the rattled condition on the madness table does not mention suffering dread; the rattled condition on page 48 says you suffer one dread if it occurs. Also, how do you determine what rank the rattled condition is?

-a difficulty penalty is listed for mental health treatment that is not face to face. This is a personal note, but I've actually trained in psychology and done research on this very topic and voice/video therapy has been shown to not be any worse than in-person.

-what happens when you max out dread points?

-dread seems to recover VERY slowly, unless chronicle points are used. It can also be inflicted on characters very easily, and sometimes without even needing a roll. Do you think it could stand to have higher recovery rates?

Chapter 15: The Dark Symmetry Pool
-on page 58, what is the difference between acting during and acting before a players turn work? What would acting during another players turn look like? Does "acting" count as taking a full turn?
[Last edited Jul 14, 2014 18:24:08]
Nicholas Simpson said Jul 14, 2014 19:03:24
Chapter 16: Corruption and Falling to Darkness
-I was honestly pretty confused by the two types of corruption presented. One of them seems to be about just damaging/destroying items and the other is about causing the items to go haywire/channeling evil. Do both of these occur at the same time? Is it one or the other? How do you know when to use them? Does there really need to be a system for damaging items when there's another one for causing them to go haywire?

-on page 61 a "High roll with symmetry dice" is mentioned. What is this?

-are the successes listed under corruption meant to be the net corruption scored after the item soaks with its reliability?

-under corruption effects, there is an effect listed as 1 success that allows you to increase durations of effects. Do you buy this with successes using them like momentum? Can you buy it multiple times?

Chapter 17: Gifts of the dark symmetry
-How does a character get more gifts?

-when using gifts, does threat increase from 20 for each one difficulty? (Eg is difficulty one a threat of 20 or a threat of 19-20)

-are touch attacks avoided using dodge or parry? Can defend another be used?

-can ranged gifts be dodged? Do you apply cover to the ones that cause damage?

-sense weaves of power: what exactly is perceived? Just binary whether or not so,some is a user, does it show what powers they have, etc.?

-is the user included in those affected by symmetry burst?

-why does the void chill bleed effect only increase damage by ds1 per momentum spent rather than the standard ds2/1 damage of every other power?

-does dark ward increase soak by 2/3 or by 1/2 based on difficulty? Does it also make attacks targeting him increase difficulty by 2/3 or by 1/2? Why can't it be rolled at 1+ difficulty rather than only 2 or 3?

-does dimensional flensing roll damage separately for everyone or just one damage roll applied to everyone?

-how much does the bleed effect of swift portal increase difficulty by?

-does harrowing of the void make an attack roll or just deal straight damage?

-if a power that ends at the end of combat or at the end of an hour, does the end of any combat within an hour end the effect?

-how much DS does the bleed effect of distorted armor add to cover? Does this follow the user or stay in one spot?

-distorted armor seems really powerful, given how it stacks with armor, covers the entire body, and can double the effects or more of most armors.

-what does increasing the difficulty of vile cloud do?

-how long does the psychotic certainty bleed effect last?

-ow long does lunacy cause someone to be perplexed?

-dream transfer mentions causing harm in dreams but doesn't have rules for it. Maybe a bleed effect of causing damage ignoring soak?

-How long does distil horror summon the creature for and does it obey anyone?

-does the bleed effect familiarity breeds contempt move with the user?

-does the bleed effect babel curse require a test to be made for any communication attempt?

-how does snare the unwilling mind work in combat? Does the target become an ally, stop trying to hurt the user, or what?

-does the user of muddle the memory gain knowledge of all memories of the target from the last half hour? Does this have any specific combat effects or just narrative?

-how would pluck mind work in combat? It says to make an opposed test but lists a difficulty; which is it?

-the bleed effect fever seems very weak and easily overcome

-the disease sidebar should be in the injury chapter

-if you succeed at your first exposure test, do you not catch the disease?

-do the intervals refer to EACH minute/hour/day/week? Eg a test for a days interval would be made once every day?

-see sickness also seems pretty weak and situational. Maybe it could show a persons weaknesses in immunity and give a bonus to other rolls?

-does using control sickness require the user to know what sickness the target has, or does it suddenly cause him to know upon its use?

-does Blackfoot spew increase damage by one for every difficulty or DS by 1 for every difficulty?

On another Note:
-on further thought, I'm not a big fan of failing a roll for difficult terrain causing a character to not be able to move. This is kind of anticlimactic. I think it would be better to have it inflict damage or add dark symmetry or add a difficulty to his next action rather than just stopping movement.
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