[.11] Oregon | November 2-3 | Thoughts and musings

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I can confirm that Tantarus is one of a very small amount of older players (20+ years) in the Seattle chapter. I can also confirm that his oldness has helped cause some impassioned discussions between us. Something about lawns. :|
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
I was part of the Corrupted Fight on Saturday that was well, I felt was over scaled at first, we were way out numbered and were mostly lower level players to all the NPCs and mostly Highbie double hookers. It was super rough, and it felt that there were way too many defenses on the baddies and them not acknowledging calls (which were some of the new NPCs/new PCs double hooking/doing the not calling healed per the rules), and we were going down like freaking crazy, but we had healing and lives (we went before Rick and the Undead fight) which is probably why folks crashed, burned and went to bed for the Undead fight.
No anger on the crash and burn to bed, just... made things interesting because we didn't know until we were literally on the field. Much to learn there.
I want to parse out your statements about the first fight.

There were way too many defenses on the baddies.
- This leads into the scaling of PC cards coming out of monster camp. Especially in 2.0, since most defenses are PC abilities instead of ritual abilities, it's something to look out for. We learned that oddly, a 5th level PC card does not make an APL 5 bad guy, more like an APL 10 bad guy if I had to spitball it.

Not acknowledging calls.
- Hoo boy, this is true across the board. I've had it as a PC, and as an NPC. It's not even anyone's fault really, it's that if you chuck a packet and hit someone and they just don't register it, what are you going to do. Unofficially this game, what we did was treat it as a skill that did not resolve (missed attack) and it could be meditated back.

Not calling healed per the rules.
- There are two things to go over. The first is that I absolutely had to tell NPCs on the field that when someone asks "does it appear to heal you" you have to answer correctly. Otherwise, the Healed call was an LCO rule, which isn't being used during the play tests because the use of that call was specifically denied by the owners. I still think it's a better than the "does it appear to heal you" in most cases and will petition it to be reinstated as an LCO rule.
 

Naomi

Artisan
Additionally, I suspect that while your experience with running out of Life spells was because IG stressful situations can be fun, it only highlights to me that these situations will be common occurrences at our games, and characters will be forced to Rez purely because

1) They aren’t as popular as Player/Character B.

2) They’re new, so those “free resurrections” are going to be seen as less of a benefit for the difficulty curve and more of a “Let’s save Life spells” mechanic.

2) They’re low-level and seen as less valuable.

This is going to hurt new player retainment when it happens.
In big fights, there are a lot of occurrences where plot has set it up that the newbies and lower level characters will be the hero's of the fight or are needed specifically to solve a problem to win the battle. This makes the newbies needed and valuable. Sure, people are going to look out for their group, but I'm inclined to make sure newbies have a good time and even if I can't get to them on the field, I trust that others will. Plus, our newbies are awesome and they become popular fast. I think @Krystina F is correct and fostering a welcoming environment is important and not seeing lower level characters as less than is so important.

I disagree that this is going to hurt retention of newbies. I think it will change the way we manage resources/spell memorization. Sure, there might be a few more deaths, but that doesn't mean it will be new player deaths.

Being able to be a scholar with 55 armor and 69 body was hilarious (and super useful!)
That's awesome. Something I've noticed with the 2.0 playtest, a lot of people have stepped up their armour game and it's really making player costumes look even more fantastic than before. Are you starting to get a similar result?
 

Krystina F

Artisan
Oregon Staff
Not calling healed per the rules.
We did ask a few if it was healing them, and some were unsure how to answer, that we can chalk up to them being totally new players, so I'm totally not mad about that at all. But oh my gosh, can we totally petition that LCO rule back. It blooooooooows not having it.

And I'm not mad about them not doing it, as they were doing what they were supposed to do. I was just super frustrated by that whole fight because well, it's me lol. I don't blame plot, I don't blame you, I don't blame the players... it was definitely the situation and how it all meshed that made it frustrating. It was a damn good and damn tough fight for sure.

In terms of missing calls, there were a few that I definitely landed shots on repeatedly that I kept calling to the player about taking it and was repeatedly ignored. In my case it was arrows, so I couldn't meditate those back, and since I got no response I have no idea if they were acknowledged as hits. With the chaos of the fight and people going down, I felt it was more appropriate to pick people up than be nitpicking calls on arrows.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I think @Krystina F is correct and fostering a welcoming environment is important and not seeing lower level characters as less than is so important.

I disagree that this is going to hurt retention of newbies. I think it will change the way we manage resources/spell memorization. Sure, there might be a few more deaths, but that doesn't mean it will be new player deaths
I absolutely value new players (it’s not only my job, it’s something I take very personally), but as @Tantarus has stated, when you have 1 Life and you have to pick between a highbie and a lowbie while the BBG is still murdering people, you’re either picking the highbie to fight him or you’re picking the lowbie because...you want to be nice?

@Durnic got lucky. He didn’t have to make that decision.

But people will have to, and it’s going to suck for someone when they do.
 

Durnic

Squire
Owner
Oregon Staff
Marshal
@Durnic got lucky. He didn’t have to make that decision.
I actually already had when I spent my last two Lifes and didn't know another was on the field. About 10 seconds later I got lucky.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I actually already had when I spent my last two Lifes and didn't know another was on the field. About 10 seconds later I got lucky.
Ah, got it. I misunderstood the progression of events for that (I thought you applied the Life spells after the third was located, not prior).

Fair ‘nuff. Though that doesn’t alleviate my concerns in the slightest.
 

Tantarus

Squire
I have had to make this hard choice, once a death elemental when nuts on the town, there where a dozen dead people, I had 4 life spells. I had to step over pcs bodies while they looked at me oog hoping I would save them. I saved my friends. It was what it was. And in the future it will be that again. I agree it is not a great thing. And I hope 1 shot life items are common to help with this.

But it pays to make friends, be popular, be high level. That is just how it goes. It gives newer or low level players something to aspire too. There is nothing wrong with having goals and wanting to improve.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
But people will have to, and it’s going to suck for someone when they do.
I have to ask, though - in any game with limited resources, there will inevitably be a point when people run out of those resources. The only way to make it so this choice never has to be made is to have unlimited resources. Do you feel a game with limitless healing and/or Life spells would be better or worse than a 'limited resources' game? No matter how far you inflate the resources (first level Life spells/potions/items per day/what-have-you) there will either (a) be a point at which the same difficult choice needs to be made, or (b) be so many around that they're essentially unlimited resources, in which case what's the point in having them as resources in the first place?

-Bryan
 

Ruki

Scholar
I think making the hard choices is one of the best parts of the game. I should have become an Earth Caster to experience it some more lol.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I have to ask, though - in any game with limited resources, there will inevitably be a point when people run out of those resources. The only way to make it so this choice never has to be made is to have unlimited resources. Do you feel a game with limitless healing and/or Life spells would be better or worse than a 'limited resources' game? No matter how far you inflate the resources (first level Life spells/potions/items per day/what-have-you) there will either (a) be a point at which the same difficult choice needs to be made, or (b) be so many around that they're essentially unlimited resources, in which case what's the point in having them as resources in the first place?

-Bryan
Limitless? No. Nor have I ever argued for limitless restoratives.

What I have, however, argued against is the sole ability to fix death being relegated to a 9th level Earth-only Spell, making it inherently more important than Doom and Earth Storm. There are multiple sources of crowd-control, damage, and healing; there is a -single- fix to Dead.

And Earth Caster players will be the ones who will be expected to make it so that other people can have fun. This design enables that mindset.

Having a production-based life effect is considered game-ruining for some reason. And that’s super disappointing.
 

Feldor

Scholar
Limitless? No. Nor have I ever argued for limitless restoratives.

What I have, however, argued against is the sole ability to fix death being relegated to a 9th level Earth-only Spell, making it inherently more important than Doom and Earth Storm. There are multiple sources of crowd-control, damage, and healing; there is a -single- fix to Dead.

And Earth Caster players will be the ones who will be expected to make it so that other people can have fun. This design enables that mindset.

Having a production-based life effect is considered game-ruining for some reason. And that’s super disappointing.
I think its less considered game-ruining, and more that they are reluctant to make changes unless they believe it is necessary. And at the moment, they don't believe additional sources of life are necessary.

I do agree with you that I'd like to see something other than 9th list earth spells as the only restorative -- even if it stayed being an earth-only effect. (Personally, I'd love to see something 5th level-earth-ish or that was powered by channeling, with significant side effects or limitations so that life stayed strong; but something that lower level folks could have access to on lowbie mods.)

At the same time, part of the point of the playtests is for them to see what additional changes are necessary. And I'm pretty sure that if feedback shows this is needed or desirable, they'll come up with something.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Limitless? No. Nor have I ever argued for limitless restoratives.

What I have, however, argued against is the sole ability to fix death being relegated to a 9th level Earth-only Spell, making it inherently more important than Doom and Earth Storm. There are multiple sources of crowd-control, damage, and healing; there is a -single- fix to Dead.

And Earth Caster players will be the ones who will be expected to make it so that other people can have fun. This design enables that mindset.

Having a production-based life effect is considered game-ruining for some reason. And that’s super disappointing.
I think it's a tension between different ends of a spectrum on expectations. At one end is "All characters should expect to be able to get a Life effect quickly and easily if they die." At the other end is "The Life effect is a rare and powerful thing; characters should not generally expect to get a Life if they pass their Bleed Out count." Andy is closer to the latter end; you're closer to the former.

My personal opinion is that the extreme overprevalence of per-day Magic Items during 1.2 and 1.3 swung the pendulum too far towards "everyone should expect to get a Life Spell if they reach the Dead state". I think there's a good medium between the two ends of the spectrum, but I do believe that it should be a little farther from the "expectation that everyone can easily get a Life spell every time they reach Dead" that there is in many or most 1.3 games currently. I don't think we should go back to when there was only one Life spell in town each day and if you died after that spell was used you went to res; at the same time, I don't think the game is better when there are more Life spells on a given mod (due to Magic Items) than there is healing spells.

The rules are written pretty clearly to encourage a "hierarchy" of character damage and recovery:

(1) Basic damage puts you to "bleeding out". Healing is fairly cheap and easy - both Alchemists and Earth casters can produce it, and anyone can carry and administer it.
(2) Many effects will "take out" a character, but the majority of those "take outs" just make it easier to put someone into "bleeding out".
(3) There are a few effects (Death in 1.3; Doom and Corrupt in 2.0; Killing Blow / bleeding out in both) that can put someone to Dead, but far, far fewer than things that put you down to "bleeding out". At the same time, just as it's harder to become Dead than it is Bleeding Out, it's intended to be harder to recover from Dead than Bleeding Out.

If we had to assign numbers, we expect someone to go to Bleeding Out maybe 10x as often as they are expected to go to Dead. In return, we expect it to be at least 10x easier to get someone up from Bleeding Out than it is from Dead.

In the last 5 or so years, I've been in many town fights and/or mods where those proportions are way out of the intended balance. It's not uncommon to have as many Life spells as there are Healing spells in memory in 1.3 - due to Healing not being available at every level for Earth casters, and due to how very very many Life spells are in items right now. That ratio is way out of whack, and has fostered an expectation that Life should be as easy and plentiful as healing. Because of this, fights have turned around and scaling has widely increased the quantities of straight-to-Dead effects (generally Death). This has an unpleasant side effect of making Bleeding Out one of the rarer ways to reach Dead, when it should be the primary way people reach Dead.

Or, to put it another way, when you have a 1:1 ratio of Healing to Life, you quickly see Plot putting out a 1:1 ratio of Damage to Death effects. In that environment, it makes perfect sense for them to do so.

2.0 attempts to "reset" the ratio between Healing and Life to something closer to the game's original intentions. Healing is cheap and plentiful, from being available at every level in spells to Channeling that's easy for almost any character to pick up compared to a significant Earth tree. At the same time, straight-to-Death effects have been hugely scaled back in the Monster DB. But we're left with a set of 1.3 expectations that runs counter to these intentions - and the best way to deal with those is to playtest, let Plot teams learn the new scaling guidelines, let the PCs learn how cheap and plentiful Healing is - and how bad Death is - and change those expectations over time.

So, to get back to the original point: In 2.0, you shouldn't need an "easier" source of Life, because people should be dying more from Bleeding Out than they do from straight-to-Death effects, and it should be much easier to recover from Bleeding Out than it is from Dead. The intent of this (which you may or may not agree with) is to make Earth casters more important and more "revered" (for lack of a better word), instead of being entirely replaceable through a handful of potions and/or magic items like they are now. Flex Casting and the Spell Swap Ritual are both in place to enable Earth casters to memorize things other than Healing without being unable to do so if they find the need to do so. Sorcerous Triage and post-death rituals like Sacrifice, Safe Passage, and Cheat Death are in place to allow characters to not take as severe an effect if they *do* die and there's not a Life around.

I do feel (and again, this is my personal opinion only) that making the Life effect more plentiful - via potions, Magic Items, or lowering its level - will lead us down the same path that 1.3 has gone to, where they are *too* plentiful for them to be meaningful. When a common response to "how do I fix this person?" is "Just kill them and Life them" because Life is so prevalant and cheap, something has gone horribly wrong with the entire system.

-Bryan
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I’m not going to disagree that the change to MIs isn’t a good change; it absolutely will be.

But I suspect that there’s going to be a lot of people who memorize Life spells over Doom/Earth Storm purely because

1) LSE is able to do a bunch of burst healing, even if it’s overall less than ES. So it’s a suitable alternative.

2) Because if someone popular resurrects and you threw a Doom? Someone will remember it, and they will blame you.

Earth casters have an assumed obligation. You think there will be more too many Life spells? I disagree. I think it’ll work out, because I think some E Casters would love to actually play offense for once. That means less mem’d Life, and more reliance on whatever the alternative would be.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
This I agree with, I would love to seem doom downshifted 1 level to avoid this issue.
I don’t think it would help terribly much. You’d be putting it in competition with Paralysis. While I suspect that this would result in more Doom mems, I think it would render Paralysis pretty much obsolete, except maybe to people who want a non-lethal option that isn’t Command.

If Curses were all shifted down? Yeah, that would be more helpful.
 

Muir

Fighter
I think it's a tension between different ends of a spectrum on expectations. At one end is "All characters should expect to be able to get a Life effect quickly and easily if they die." At the other end is "The Life effect is a rare and powerful thing; characters should not generally expect to get a Life if they pass their Bleed Out count." Andy is closer to the latter end; you're closer to the former.

My personal opinion is that the extreme overprevalence of per-day Magic Items during 1.2 and 1.3 swung the pendulum too far towards "everyone should expect to get a Life Spell if they reach the Dead state". I think there's a good medium between the two ends of the spectrum, but I do believe that it should be a little farther from the "expectation that everyone can easily get a Life spell every time they reach Dead" that there is in many or most 1.3 games currently. I don't think we should go back to when there was only one Life spell in town each day and if you died after that spell was used you went to res; at the same time, I don't think the game is better when there are more Life spells on a given mod (due to Magic Items) than there is healing spells.

The rules are written pretty clearly to encourage a "hierarchy" of character damage and recovery:

(1) Basic damage puts you to "bleeding out". Healing is fairly cheap and easy - both Alchemists and Earth casters can produce it, and anyone can carry and administer it.
(2) Many effects will "take out" a character, but the majority of those "take outs" just make it easier to put someone into "bleeding out".
(3) There are a few effects (Death in 1.3; Doom and Corrupt in 2.0; Killing Blow / bleeding out in both) that can put someone to Dead, but far, far fewer than things that put you down to "bleeding out". At the same time, just as it's harder to become Dead than it is Bleeding Out, it's intended to be harder to recover from Dead than Bleeding Out.

If we had to assign numbers, we expect someone to go to Bleeding Out maybe 10x as often as they are expected to go to Dead. In return, we expect it to be at least 10x easier to get someone up from Bleeding Out than it is from Dead.

In the last 5 or so years, I've been in many town fights and/or mods where those proportions are way out of the intended balance. It's not uncommon to have as many Life spells as there are Healing spells in memory in 1.3 - due to Healing not being available at every level for Earth casters, and due to how very very many Life spells are in items right now. That ratio is way out of whack, and has fostered an expectation that Life should be as easy and plentiful as healing. Because of this, fights have turned around and scaling has widely increased the quantities of straight-to-Dead effects (generally Death). This has an unpleasant side effect of making Bleeding Out one of the rarer ways to reach Dead, when it should be the primary way people reach Dead.

Or, to put it another way, when you have a 1:1 ratio of Healing to Life, you quickly see Plot putting out a 1:1 ratio of Damage to Death effects. In that environment, it makes perfect sense for them to do so.

2.0 attempts to "reset" the ratio between Healing and Life to something closer to the game's original intentions. Healing is cheap and plentiful, from being available at every level in spells to Channeling that's easy for almost any character to pick up compared to a significant Earth tree. At the same time, straight-to-Death effects have been hugely scaled back in the Monster DB. But we're left with a set of 1.3 expectations that runs counter to these intentions - and the best way to deal with those is to playtest, let Plot teams learn the new scaling guidelines, let the PCs learn how cheap and plentiful Healing is - and how bad Death is - and change those expectations over time.

So, to get back to the original point: In 2.0, you shouldn't need an "easier" source of Life, because people should be dying more from Bleeding Out than they do from straight-to-Death effects, and it should be much easier to recover from Bleeding Out than it is from Dead. The intent of this (which you may or may not agree with) is to make Earth casters more important and more "revered" (for lack of a better word), instead of being entirely replaceable through a handful of potions and/or magic items like they are now. Flex Casting and the Spell Swap Ritual are both in place to enable Earth casters to memorize things other than Healing without being unable to do so if they find the need to do so. Sorcerous Triage and post-death rituals like Sacrifice, Safe Passage, and Cheat Death are in place to allow characters to not take as severe an effect if they *do* die and there's not a Life around.

I do feel (and again, this is my personal opinion only) that making the Life effect more plentiful - via potions, Magic Items, or lowering its level - will lead us down the same path that 1.3 has gone to, where they are *too* plentiful for them to be meaningful. When a common response to "how do I fix this person?" is "Just kill them and Life them" because Life is so prevalant and cheap, something has gone horribly wrong with the entire system.

-Bryan
Earth casters being replaceable with expensive production is good. Every other class in the game is already replaceable, and even the big Celestial things that aren't scrollable have lower level alternatives that are. Life is the only outlier that is a binary pass/fail and can be needed as result of a count running out.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Take binding away from earth and move curses around a bit, will make both schools more unique and fix the 9th level earth issue.
I’ve actually had the same thought! I would want us to have Slow as a level 1 Curse (which I think would be totally doable). I wouldn’t mind giving up Binding to Celestial-exclusive. :)
 
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