Is it too hard to spirit forge and/or race change?

James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
It came up on the thread about power disparity when MS argued that optimal builds would be more in demand if a level cap existed. A few people suggested that it should be easier for players to spirit forge or sell back certain skills.

Interestingly, I remember having a similar discussion around the time of the NERO INTNL / NERO Alliance split. INTNL started doing a thing, at least in Avendale, where you fed a dragon (mage?) 60 gold and he gave you a spirit forge or a race change.

I thought that was awesome. If a player would have more fun with different build, then we should help them have more fun.

Pretty sure one or more people told me to go back to INTNL because Alliance would never do that. Buying forges went against everything Alliance stood for.

I remember back then that Morganna, the Ashbury BBG dragon mage, used to throw spirit forges in combat.

Also a little bit after the split I remember playing in NH and making a bet with a fey. If I won I would get some riches. If I lost the fey would mess with my spirit. I lost. and the fey spirit forged me and picked my new class. I went from a fighter to a scholar. OK I always wanted to be a healer. No, you have to go celestial scholar. The fey will teach you r/w, read magic, and column. You have to spend all your build. You can buy racials but not sword and board (no wands back then so weaponless celestial scholars were laughed at).

So I became a celestial scholar (until the next rules overhaul when I went back to fighter). I got a forge on my card so the next one means taking a death. And I didn't even get to pick my class or my school of magic. Sounds like a raw deal?

Well it was. Except some people thought I had received a "free" spirit forge. Plot, they said, was obviously playing favorites to help out a friend. The chapter was cheating by giving out forges that didn't come from treasure policy.


Anyway, story time is over. What do you think? Should players have easier access to spirit forge and / or race change? Or should these rituals be super rare?
 

norman b

Squire
Marshal
I feel that spirit forge/race change shouldn't be super proliferative. That being said, it shouldn't take an act of plot. If someone wants to change either aspect, they have to get in line behind the players with the most money. And that sucks.

There are players who build their character and realize they didn't like having something but are stuck with it because they can't amass the wealth that the other players, who have been playing for much much longer have. I have seen higher level characters change their race and class (this being their second or third time for any combination of the two), but the only ones I have seen for a lower level character, was thrown as "dragon magic" (also resulting in a shatter spirit and a perm immediately following so it shouldn't count).

Is it too hard? Yes. Should it be easy? No. I wish there was a middle ground that could make it easier but make it not done every other year by some players. A stipulation that only one or the other in 5 years per character? Just an idea.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
A way to do it that would work, but ensure that a player has to really want to do it the hard way is that you can spend build to remove build from a card. Does your High Ogre feel that R/W was a dumb choice, they can spend 12 free build to remove R/W. The R/W skill is gone, the 12 points of build for R/W is gone, and the 12 points spent is gone. The player then has to play to make up those 24 build points from their current build total. Would require more work on the back end to make such a system work, but it could be done.
 

norman b

Squire
Marshal
A way to do it that would work, but ensure that a player has to really want to do it the hard way is that you can spend build to remove build from a card. Does your High Ogre feel that R/W was a dumb choice, they can spend 12 free build to remove R/W. The R/W skill is gone, the 12 points of build for R/W is gone, and the 12 points spent is gone. The player then has to play to make up those 24 build points from their current build total. Would require more work on the back end to make such a system work, but it could be done.
Penalizing players to remove them doesn't seem like a good move to me (my opinion). For High Ogres (using your example), who are not scholars so its not an essential skill, wouldnt probably take that until nearing level 10 in most cases. They would be giving up 8 games (less with monthlies) just to get the 24 build back. Not to mention it would be much longer at higher levels. I don't know if people would think that was worth it.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
I offer it as an option because the Spirit Forge set is such that at level 10, unless they fight every inch of the way for it and acquire it for themselves on their own mods, they don't have an option at all. The numbers could be changed, or even as was brought up before on the boards each event you can bank a small build removal pool. You get set back, but don't have to double pay as in my example. When you hit 12 free build, you can "free up" 12 build that's locked in skills by spending it. So you spend 12, R/W is removed, and you still have 12 free build. You are out the build that was spent on R/W but can now optimize your build/remove that read magic skill so you can race change to Biata.
 

Muir

Fighter
If it was less punishing to retire a character and make a new one, I wouldn't see the need. As it stands, I would appreciate forges and race changes being, if nothing else, on the GS pick list for most chapters. That way people who decide due to later race packet changes or just a change of opinion over time, that they no longer want to play a certain race can get out of it without also starting over at level 1 in a game that already has level disparity problems.
 

KyleSchmelz

Fighter
I feel like Racial Transformation is fine as it is - thematically, I think it should be difficult to change your race.

I think the easiest fix to Spirit Forge would be to keep the ritual as is, but add some sort of non-catalyst Lesser Spirit Forge ritual that allows you to respend a certain amount of build. It could have a static build amount, a tiered build amount (higher difficulty and cost for more build) or work off a percentage of the character's build. The specifics aren't really the important part of it; I just feel that it would add the ability to make smaller changes to one's card without having to fight for the one Spirit Forge set that's gonna drop this year. I know of at least one SoMN player that's been looking for a Spirit Forge for a long time to make some relatively minor changes (she wants to get rid of a bunch of minor skills she doesn't ever use) but can't really afford one given their scarcity.
 

Kasuni

Squire
I feel like Racial Transformation is fine as it is - thematically, I think it should be difficult to change your race.

I think the easiest fix to Spirit Forge would be to keep the ritual as is, but add some sort of non-catalyst Lesser Spirit Forge ritual that allows you to respend a certain amount of build. It could have a static build amount, a tiered build amount (higher difficulty and cost for more build) or work off a percentage of the character's build. The specifics aren't really the important part of it; I just feel that it would add the ability to make smaller changes to one's card without having to fight for the one Spirit Forge set that's gonna drop this year. I know of at least one SoMN player that's been looking for a Spirit Forge for a long time to make some relatively minor changes (she wants to get rid of a bunch of minor skills she doesn't ever use) but can't really afford one given their scarcity.
I like the idea of something like this - maybe a ritual that allowed someone to un-learn a single skill. It would open up access to making changes.
 

B.Barber

Scholar
I feel like both are too good of a foundation for motivation, story, and character development to make easier.
 

Avaran

Baron
Is it too hard? Yes. Should it be easy? No. I wish there was a middle ground that could make it easier but make it not done every other year by some players. A stipulation that only one or the other in 5 years per character? Just an idea.
What about bringing back the original Spirit Forge penalty (free Forge the first time, each time after, you take a death on your card that you cannot buy back), and also apply it to Race Change, and then remove the catalyst requirement?

It keeps players from just forging or race changing "just because" by giving it a penalty that will, at some point, perm the character. But it also makes the first one free (some leeway). I'd also make it so if you have your two free deaths, you take a death and have to draw on the second transform or forge (no second and third freebies).
 
I haven't thought over a systematic approach to a "slow Spirit Forge" carefully, but I did come up with something similar in the past when thinking about Craftsman skills. Since Craftsman skills are purely role play only, I believe you should be able to change the craft of a single craftsman skill for every logistics period you PC (for convenience of Logistics Staff, changes can't be made during an event). Mechanically, nothing changes, but it lets your character change professions gradually over time.

I think something similar could be arranged for normal skills, but it would require a more robust system.

-MS
 

norman b

Squire
Marshal
What about bringing back the original Spirit Forge penalty (free Forge the first time, each time after, you take a death on your card that you cannot buy back), and also apply it to Race Change, and then remove the catalyst requirement?

It keeps players from just forging or race changing "just because" by giving it a penalty that will, at some point, perm the character. But it also makes the first one free (some leeway). I'd also make it so if you have your two free deaths, you take a death and have to draw on the second transform or forge (no second and third freebies).
It doesn't change the fact that higher level characters wont be gunning for the ritual and throwing all their money at it. Especially those who are regen/bottled. It will control the rate at which they are used repeatedly though. It's an interesting idea. :)
 

Tantarus

Squire
What about bringing back the original Spirit Forge penalty (free Forge the first time, each time after, you take a death on your card that you cannot buy back), and also apply it to Race Change, and then remove the catalyst requirement?
Strongly disagree! I have a death on my card from forging way back. And honestly it is pretty feel bad to die that way. I really feel like letting people do minor build fixing should be in the game. Hell from IG perspective it happens IRL all the time. You forget unused skills and gain new ones. People area walsy using customer service as a justification for all kinda stuff. I think it actually applies to build tinkering. Sometimes you buy skills and realize after it was a mistake or not as good as you thought. Luckly there are not that many "trap" build choices (Not as in trapping as in tricking a player into wasting their build on subpar skills) in our system. But Sometimes you buy something like Legerdemain thinking it will be super good and then realize you have used it once in a year. And then wish you could sell it back, because spiritforging to shift 10ish build is out of the question. Or such.

In answer to the OP yes there needs to be a way to fix build that is more accessible. Minor spirit forge, once a year sell back, Gobbied Spirit forge, whatever, something would be nice.


As for race changing. I am a bit less sold this needs to be a think. I think it should be more then 2 per year per chapter, But not unlimited. I think it should be more a plot thing. Work for it IG with NPCs of the target race or something, Then getting adopted into that race and they cast it. Or something like that.
 

Simon

Adept
In an uncapped game they are fine as being rare. In a capped game they need to be far more plentiful

Joe S.
The few, the proud, the limitless
 

Inaryn

Knight
Honestly, I've often wondered why Spirit Forge hasn't been reworked already to something tiered like destroy magic was. Something that will let you cast it at a lower difficulty to remove a skill or three, but the max re-write is a higher difficulty WITH the catalyst.

Base diff (9) base comps (4) - allows the removal of 1 skill
+5 diff, +2 reagents - allows removal of 2 skills
+10 diff, +4 reagents - allows removal of 3 skills
+15 diff, +6 reagents, +catalyst - allows complete re-write of skills
 

Lurin

Duke
Too cheap, 1 Reagent and difficulty per point, drop the catalyst 1 diff per 2 build ^.^.

The above is partly in jest, but I'm a big fan of not treating our world like a game you can respec easily/often so I like that Spirit forge is rare-ish (although it drives me nuts to see it happen quick/easy from plot)

That said, a lower version that does a subset of skills could be a great addition. Call it memory wipe and have it tier to 5/10/15/20 points, or even % of skills that just get refunded (basically unlearned)
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Anyway, story time is over. What do you think? Should players have easier access to spirit forge and / or race change? Or should these rituals be super rare?
I feel that all rituals should be openly available and expensive. I think scrolls/cats are too easily "scooped up" in the chaos of combat. But that's my opinion, so eh.

I feel RT/SF are primarily customer service rituals, however. I don't believe they add any power to a character that the character couldn't have had already (if they'd just made different choices "growing up,"). So I feel they should be more easily available.
 
I believe that the ritual solution is the wrong solution. It is a Have vs. Have Not solution, and the game already has too many of those. Having thought on this for 24 hours, I would recommend making a change that allows players to "slide" build after every PC'd game.

The inspiration for this idea is the current rule that allows a player to completely respend their build after their first game ever. Accordingly, my suggestion is this:

After a weekend, a player can remove up to 15 build worth of skills, turning it back into unspent build. New skills can then be bought (following all applicable teaching rules) with that build and with any other free build (including build gained that weekend).
[The actual value is 7.5 build a day, so that faire days and long weekends can also be accommodated]

How this plays out: Early in a character's career, a character can completely switch build expenditures quickly (2-3 events). But this probably won't come up much since most PCs don't start considering a Spirit Forge until roughly level 10. At level 10, it would take 7 events (slightly more than a year for the average chapter) to fully transition to a new skill set. In the mean time, the character would be somewhat hampered by a transitioning build (though the fluid class system that is already in place would help with this).

Also, because it is a transition, the change would seem more natural in-game. Imagine a level 10 fighter transitioning to caster. The fighter starts swinging 8s. After the first weekend, the fighter swings 7s and learns to cast a single 1st level spell (and can now read and write). After the second weekend, the fighter swings 6s and can cast a small pyramid. After the second weekend, the fighter swings 5s and cast cast a slightly bigger pyramid. Around weekend four (it might have happened last weekend, I didn't do the math), fluid classing kicks in and the fighter is now a templar with roughly even sword skills and castings skills. Over the next three weekends, the character loses all weapon skills and ends up with a 4 column and a little high magic.

It is very organic and not too abrupt (except at low levels where it isn't a big deal that it is abrupt). Also, keep in mind that the character is still gaining build after every event, so the character is actually gaining about 18 or so build worth of casting skills each event rather than 15.

Just to be clear, I would still keep Spirit Forge in the game, allowing players to spend massive amounts of resources to make the change instantly rather than at a slow burn.

-MS
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I basically like everything about Mike's post.
 
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