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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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Kratach said Jul 22, 2014 18:22:16
Played a few combat scenarios today. Here's my questions.
1. When does the parry/dodge action take place? The rules says it becomes an opposed roll against the attackers skill. This would mean the defender have to declare his response and spend DSP before the attack roll is made.
2. Can a NPC take serious or critical damage?
3. What happens when the GM rolls a natural 20?
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 22, 2014 19:35:33
Kratach:
1) This seems like the correct interpretation of the rule to me.
2) Check out the bestiary. There are three kinds of NPCs (Trooper, Elites, and Nemeses). The first two have a set wound value and no hit locations and just take all damage (including mental) to that value. Nemeses have the full complement of hit locations, serious and critical wounds
3) This isn't in the rules anywhere, so hopefully it needs to be clarified in the next draft.

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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 22, 2014 20:24:17
-General Note on Talents and Skill Substitutions: Given that a lot of talents are built around allowing this, the general rules should mention that skills may NOT be substituted for each other normally, or that doing so inflicts 2 difficulty or something like that.

-Another General Note: I suggested in an earlier post to not have restricted actions, and instead make them free. I still stand by this, but recognize that they do need some extra balancing against standard actions. I think that the simplest thing to do is make them add 1 to the difficulty of subsequent actions taken that turn. Simple enough!

-Other general Note: There is a LOT of rolling in the game. A single attack rolls to hit, rolls to dodge/parry, rolls damage, then rolls soak. This slows down things a good bit. Maybe have damage and attack be rolled simultaneously, allowing momentum to be traded for more damage if desired afterward? Same for attempts to dodge/soak. I STRONGLY recommend looking into this. Maybe have the steps be this.
1) Attacker Declares attack, defender declares if dodging
2) Attacker rolls his d20 pool, location die, AND his regular damage
2) (simultaneously) Defender rolls soak, and his response action if desired
3) Attacker may spend Momentum/DSP if attack was not dodged
4) Defender may spend any DSP/CP if desired

This same level of consolidation should be done for every roll.

-In addition, there should be a rule somewhere specifically mentioning timing for spending points. For my example it would say that all DSPs spent to gain a d20 are spent before the roll. All DSPs spent on damage or effects occur after a roll. Something like that.

-Lots of Talents and lots of the powers in the bestiary list skill tests that can be made to do different things, but don't say what kind of action they are. Needs clarification.

-Given that many NPCs cause diseases, I have to say that the disease rules are fairly confusing/complicated as written. That section could be rewritten a bit. Summing up:
Diseases have six factors:
Vector: How disease is communicated (airborne, ingested, touch)
Virulence: The difficulty of all tests on disease
Incubation: How long disease takes to begin effect
Interval: How often a test is made to resist disease
Symptoms: Listed for the disease
Type: Acute (disease is cured after X successes), Chronic (Disease goes in remission after X successes), Progressive (As chronic, but increase virulence by 1 for each failed test)

The GM spends a number of DSPs when the player comes in contact with a disease and the player tests Resistance against the Virulence to not acquire the disease. If the disease is acquired, the player tests against Virulence again after the Incubation period to prevent symptoms. The player repeats this test every Interval time period to ignore symptoms until he has succeeded enough times to cure the disease or put it into remission.

So, this is a fairly realistic depiction of diseases, but it seems against the fast-paced spirit of the game. I suggest the following changes. Get rid of the incubation time and have all disease symptoms take effect in the scene following infection or immediately for supernatural diseases. Get rid of Interval. Change the types. Acute diseases last for the length of one game session or one week, whichever comes first and require no further tests. Chronic diseases are tested for at the beginning of each game session or each week. A success ignores symptoms but the disease does not go into remission unless X momentum are scored. Progressive diseases can never go into remission. This simplifies things out, and ties them more to playing the game than simulating actual disease. Its also much less to keep track of.

Notes on the Bestiary:
-Creating NPCs: I appreciate the advice on how to create NPCs, but I would really like for there to some more examples of human characters. Off the top of my head, criminals, security/police, soldiers, average citizens, high status citizens, bureacrats/politicos, manual laborers, skilled laborers (e.g. mechanics, scientists, etc.), and some others I'm missing. I think that these NPCs could mostly be templated as having completed a related education and a single career for troopers, adding the career a second time for elites, and having nemeses either do the same career a third time or be from iconic careers as a second career. I know that I could do this myself, but it would be nice for the book to have some templates I can quickly pull out in a fix.

-Troopers: Can troopers use momentum spends?

-Groups and Hordes: Do these count as one big unit for the purposes of being within reach/melee range? Does being engaged with one person in melee mean they cannot engage another? Maybe a rule about them being able to move to engage anyone in the same zone in a squad but not as a horde?

-Attacking Groups: The ability to target a squad commander should be listed with the other momentum spends. Who chooses whether to inflict a status to the entire group or to take out one member? What happens if this is used in conjunction with targeting a commander?

-Common Special Rules: I don't like having to refer back and forth for stat blocks. Can these abilities not be abbreviated some and put into creature stat blocks? Like so:
Braindead: Cannot make response actions. Immune to mind influence and mental damage.
Dark Presence: Add 1 DSP when creature enters scene. Detect with D1 Insight test.
Fast Healing (X): Regain X wounds at beginning of each turn.
Fear (X): Seeing creature causes Mental Trauma with Difficult (X).
Feed Upon Fear: Gain DSP every time character in medium range suffers mental damage.
Incorporeal (X): Ignore first X damage of any non-supernatural attack.
Inured: Ignore all effects of listed source.
Grasping: Spend 1+ DSP to grab target. Target must make Acrobatics/Athletics with difficulty equal to DSP spent to escape. Creature can only attack grabbed foe but gains +1 success on melee attacks against it.
Monstrous Creature: Add one difficulty to tests affected by being too large. Does not need to brace and treats 2H weapons as 1H. Can spend 1 DSP to add Knockdown to melee attacks.
Night Vision: Ignore effects of darkness
Personal Dark Symmetry (X): Has personal pool of X DSP
Slave to Symmetry (X): Can spend X momentum to gain 1 DSP
Supernatural Attribute (X): Add (X) successes to tests made with attribute. Add X[DS] damage to relevant attacks and increase all wounds by X for strength or physique.
Unliving: Immune to all environmental conditions, cannot be healed, unaffected by attacks that only affect living creatures.

-Dark Gifts for Creatures: I also hate having to look back and forth for spells. Give each creature 1 signature spell that is written out and X number of other spells the player can choose from, or something like that. The other option is to provide a separate PDF that can print out spells on cards. Honestly, anything that can be done to avoid having to do a bunch of flipping back and forth.

-Grasping: If a character succeeds the test to escape a grab, does his turn immediately end or does he have free/restricted actions left? What kind of action is the escape roll?

-Supernatural Ability: This should mention that it is denoted in stat block with (+X) where X is the rating of the ability.

-Witch Nepharite: The statblock for this says strength 12(+3) but it only has supernatural strength (1)

-The diseases listed here are fine, but disease rules should be listed in the health/wounds section.

-Corpse-flesh: for a horde or squad of cadavers, does 1 DSP ignore all damage inflicted at them even if it would normally exceed the wounds of the target and hit multiple kadavers?

-Scrambler: Can the scrambler only spend its "wounds" as DSP, or can it spend from the normal DSP pool?

-Enabler, Alluring Form: "Unless it has been wounded" Does wounding the Enabler make its disguise go away, meaning you don't have to test to recognize it?

-Enabler, Persuasive Pheromones: Given that this may be used against players, rather than having it gain a bonus to persuade them, have it add difficulty to the person attempting to act against it, even when wounded.

-General Comment: I don't have the ability to do a thorough playtest of monsters myself, but I'd like if there was some guide on creating challenging encounters, as well as ways to reduce or increase challenge mid-battle, particularly the former. Some possibilities are offering players DSP spends to retreat from a losing fight, and things like that. It would also help to have general guidelines on number of troopers/elites/nemeses to use per party member, and things like that.

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AndersÖhman said Jul 22, 2014 20:44:12
Hi!

In the Character Creation Full Document it says on page 1 that "Intelligence is a key factor when determining how many
free ranks of Expertise training a new character has to spend on any skills of his choice during
character creation.".

Where do you get to use these "free ranks of Expertise"? How many ranks are we talking about? Is it equal to Intelligence or is it a derivative?

And it's the same relation between Mental Strength and Focus. Can someone please explain how this is supposed to work?
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 22, 2014 22:36:23
Rules on Investigation and Social Encounters:
By my understanding, a large part of running games in Mutant Chronicles will revolve around investigation. The genre of horror that the setting seems to borrow from the most is based around people trying to solve the mystery of what's going on, only to wind up in over their heads. As it stands, mutant chronicles has a pretty decent system set up for combat and action. Basic skill resolution seems to work pretty well, aside from needing some clarification on how to spend momentum. However, investigation and social encounters don't currently have any kind of support. If possible, I would really like to see some structure for running investigations (finding clues, using them to solve a mystery, etc.) that allow players over the course of a game session to have a set number of encounters, each one of them providing a clue or clues, and in turn using those clues to either find different encounters or to reach solutions. It would be awesome if the core rules could provide the GM with a solid way to structure a game session around this, with specific rules on how to give out clues, how to help players use the clues, and so on. All of this would of course need to be in the framework of the horror setting, meaning that the discovery of clues would get players progressively more and more in over their heads.

For social encounters, it would be nice to see something more than just the basic "roll to persuade and get what you want on a success." Rules for establishing NPC motivations and desires (such as how they react to different social approaches), basic modifiers based on their opinions about the PCs, rules for what kind of clue they give and how much help/harm they provide with it, rules for the NPCs lying to PCs, and things like that. Maybe even making a sort of "social combat" using social actions to attack NPCs mental wounds/wounds and defeating them allowing the players to get what they want from the enemy. Something of this nature could be cool to add.

I'm also willing to elaborate on my own ideas for implementing these kind of systems, if anyone would like.
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Benn said Jul 23, 2014 07:15:00
@AndersÖhman looks like a scrap of an earlier draft might have been left in the document. This will be edited out.
@Kratach
Parry responses get made after attack rolls are made but before damage is rolled. This will be clairified
When the GM rolls a natural 20, nothing happens as per RAW. As a GM you have the mandate to interpret NPC failures as you see fit.
@simpsonnicholas1 I'm working on momentum guidance now feel free to email me your thoughts directly.

Benn
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Everyone's welcome in the pit!

Benn
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rickardwaern said Jul 23, 2014 11:21:57
However, investigation and social encounters don't currently have any kind of support. If possible, I would really like to see some structure for running investigations (finding clues, using them to solve a mystery, etc.) that allow players over the course of a game session to have a set number of encounters, each one of them providing a clue or clues, and in turn using those clues to either find different encounters or to reach solutions. It would be awesome if the core rules could provide the GM with a solid way to structure a game session around this, with specific rules on how to give out clues, how to help players use the clues, and so on. All of this would of course need to be in the framework of the horror setting, meaning that the discovery of clues would get players progressively more and more in over their heads.

For social encounters, it would be nice to see something more than just the basic "roll to persuade and get what you want on a success." Rules for establishing NPC motivations and desires (such as how they react to different social approaches), basic modifiers based on their opinions about the PCs, rules for what kind of clue they give and how much help/harm they provide with it, rules for the NPCs lying to PCs, and things like that. Maybe even making a sort of "social combat" using social actions to attack NPCs mental wounds/wounds and defeating them allowing the players to get what they want from the enemy. Something of this nature could be cool to add.


@Nicholas
I feel I need some clarifications here. Do you mean that clues would have a mechanic effect in the game, such as "when players discover clue A, it gives them information about site C", or are you refering to a system for GMs in how they can structure their sessions? If it is the former, I have a problem with it.

It seems to me like this sort of system would allow players to solve mysteries without drawing their own conclusions, and make for a lot more game than role-playing. Half the fun with mysteries, in my opinion, is to see what the players do with the information they find, as well as how they go about finding it. Often I will actually change what I have originally intended when players come up with an interesting theory, or an interesting or entertaining way of investigating. I prefer a semi-structured approach to being a GM where the players, without knowing it, have an effect on what has transpired and what is to come.

For social encounters, I am more supportive - I too find that social situations are often neglected by the rules. While I dislike the idea of "social combat" as I think it adds an unnecessary layer of complexity as well as indicating that social situations in the game are conflicts, I do support a more detailed system of NPC motivations, opinions of PCs, and effects of success/failure in social interactions.
[Last edited Jul 23, 2014 13:01:15]
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AndersÖhman said Jul 23, 2014 18:18:20
@Benn
Ok, thanks.
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Sebastian Fredenberg said Jul 24, 2014 08:28:17
I agree with Rickard regarding the investigation part and clues. I prefer adventures where there is a mystery to be solved, which should be done by adding together pieces of information that the players gain. Roleplaying games tare highly social so that information should be "real", something that conclusions can be drawn from. The opposite, which I don't think has a place in rpgs, would be like Arkham Horror where you gather generic "clue tokens" and when you have enough you can solve the mystery/conflict.
Not sure if that was the suggestion for the investigation support, but if it was then I'm obviously not a fan :)
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JakeBernstein said Jul 24, 2014 17:20:54
Yea, I think some of these new age meta-mechanics take the RP out of RPG and leave you with just a game. I would absolutely abhor a system that used "clue tokens" instead of real roleplaying and problem solving by the players.
-Apoc527
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Benn said Jul 24, 2014 17:58:12
Ok then, Question for the whanau.

Research.

A simple mechanic I've suggested to Chris is the following.

When a Character uses a skill to perform research (whether in a library or a lab) They make a skill test modified by the assistance they get in the lab and can ask one question of the GM about the topic at hand. 1 Momentum per question (yes this can be used like 20 questions) 2 momentum to ask for advice on a question to ask (3 if you want it answered as well)

Time is based around 1 hour (momentum can reduce) Additional tests take longer (based on original time, momentum cant reduce)

Gms would answer broad questions in broad fashion and narrow questions in narrow fashion.

eg if a player went to the library to research the brand Toyota, A 2 momentum spend could turn this into a 1 rd "what's the toyota brand" which would be answered "its a successful car company brand from Japan". The character could then spend an hour (and spend any resource cost for assistance) roll another 2 momentum and ask "Is Toyota connected to Mishima" recieve the answer "No, It failed in the founding years of Mishima" and then ask, "Are there any living heirs to the Toyota Brand" and be told "So long has past since the fall of Toyota it is likely there are many living heirs. Any heirs would likely be affiliated with Capitol."

Now the question is do people feel that this Q&A style system is too "Clue tokens"? Are there any other issues (Other than relying on a GM to be a GM)

Note that this is for research and not character interaction.

bENN
_______________________________

Everyone's welcome in the pit!

Benn
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JakeBernstein said Jul 24, 2014 18:32:46
@Benn

Why so complex? Why do you need so many meta-mechanics for this? I also think this is going about research backwards. It's not "make a skill check and then ask questions of the GM" it's "ask my questions of the GM, and the GM tells me what to roll to find the answers." You can use similar time reduction mechanics, but you don't need to have any kind of weird meta-mechanics for the number of questions or scope of question that the GM can answer.

It ought to go like this:

Player 1: "I want to know what 'Toyota' means."
GM: "Ok, that's reasonably simple. That's a D1 research task. Roll Skill X with a base time of 2 hours."
Player 1: <rolls> "Woo hoo! I got 3 success, so 2 momentum."
GM: "Ok, each momentum reduces time spent by 25%, so you accomplish your research in 1 hour. Toyota is..."

-Apoc527
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rickardwaern said Jul 24, 2014 19:18:10
@Benn

My thoughts are close to Jakes. He raises the point that this is going about research backwards, and I want to really back him up there. In my opinion, the role of the GM is to (normally) decide when the players need or should roll dice. The rules should take this into consideration.

I will also say that I think this approach could create an unhealthy focus on "clues" to find and research and hampers player creativity on solving problems. I can well see this creating situations where players will think "where to find the next clue" rather than "how can we solve the situation we are in".

In general, I feel that as long as skill resolution works fine, there is little need for extra rules. Ultimately, we are facing a philosophical discussion on whether to make the rules more "game" or not.

In essence, my stance on this can be summarized by saying that I think these rules add an unnecessary layer of complexity while moving the process of solving problems from players interacting with the GM and the world to skill checks.
[Last edited Jul 24, 2014 19:19:48]
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JakeBernstein said Jul 24, 2014 19:27:39
I back up rickard backing up me. :-) I think his point about skill resolution working fine is an important one. You have a very powerful, very clever core mechanic in MC3. The skill system actually is my favorite thing about it and I think it comes together very well. The momentum mechanic is also excellent--it's a neat name for what many games (including simulationist ones) call Margin of Success. And it works the way you'd expect. One thing I would ask is that you provide enough framework for the skill resolution mechanics--it's important to have clear guidance for time spent and the effects of momentum on timing or effect. Maybe each skill (since there aren't many) has some various uses described with base time, just like Mongoose Traveller does.

I would PERSONALLY like to see more skills in this edition--the original game at least broke Science down into Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, but I am also not opposed to leaving it more abstract. I just tend to like more skills rather than too few, but I can always add more and tweak the chargen to compensate. (I'd probably just add specialties.)
-Apoc527
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 24, 2014 19:43:02
@Benn and Jake

I really like this mechanic! Like Jake, I think it needs a bit of tweaking, but it has a lot of promise. I think that like Jake said, you should have some sort of question you start with. This may just be "what is general information about Toyota" or it could be "who designed this model of Toyota?" This way, on a success, you always get one thing answered. Momentum spent to ask extra questions can represent your character taking the time to find extra information as he researches the main topic (this is how research generally works in reality, so this feels intuitive to me as someone who has conducted it).

I also think that this doesn't have to be limited to library or lab work. Have it be the same mechanic used for checking a crime scene, trawling for rumors, or other things. Basically allow this to be a way in which the GM can "fast forward" parts of an investigation that don't have encounters tied to them. You could have players looking for different things while checking a crime scene with each of them rolling for a different question. The GM can say that their character could not find an answer to a question and allow them to ask another. I think this would be a great way to do investigations.

For the spending of momentum to ask a question versus getting a hint, I think that this could be structured as the GM giving a clue if the roll is successful as well as some information about it. If the roll is unsuccessful, a clue is found with no information (that way one failed roll doesn't hold up everything). One momentum gets a question. Two momentum gets another hard clue, if one is available. This way players can choose to Roleplay out investigation (and it's cheaper to do so!) or they can just power through with skills.

As far as the time factor goes, I like it well enough, but I've been thinking that just having time doesn't fit the theme enough. Sometimes it doesn't matter how long a character takes to do something. Sometimes they want to do so,etching that is thematically appropriate and cool, but it would take too long for the investigation. Rather than just having this "time" resource, how about creating something like "Threat"? Threat could represent a lot of things. Maybe it's how suspicious people are getting. Maybe it's risking going crazy from looking too deeply. Maybe it's its a general sense of unease or dread. Threat should be something measurable though, such as suffering dread, gaining penalties to rolls, adding DSPs, or, of course, time. Allow players to pay momentum to reduce the threat suffered during an investigation. Hell, maybe even have the GM make a little physical tracker (hidden from players of course!) with events in it that mark when to inflict a penalty (yes I'm taking this idea from warhammer third edition fantasy Roleplay). The GM is of course free to ignore this, but it does help him keep track and add some GMing mechanics.

Overall, yes, I like the general idea of using questions/clues as the results of an investigation. This can of course be ignored by some GMs but I really like the hard mechanics of it in addition to how it still requires players to do their own thinking. I would emphasize three things: 1) broaden the scope to include multiple investigating actions, with the caveat that it's the GMs choice to use these rules if he chooses 2) have basic success give a clue and clarification, momentum be extra questions or reduced threat, failure give a clue but not context 3) rather than just time have something like threat that can represent many things threatening players as they investigate.
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