Redefining and Reviewing

Chazz

Artisan
First off I want to thank the Alliance for taking the first steps in making the game a better place. The board moderators are a solid beginning. It'll take time for them to find their place on what is and isn't necessary. Have patience with them folks. Its no small undertaking. But to maintain a professional appearance is long overdue.

Second, a HUGE shout out to Stephen Duetzman. His efforts will hopefully help us to grow and continue. So long as we the players allow him to. A word of advice Steve, there is no need for you to explain or apologize for yourself. Your actions will dictate your intentions to all of us.

Now I've been hearing a lot of hubub about a restructuring that may or may not be coming around. Frankly I know very little about it. That doesn't change my ability to know how far away from the dream it will lead us. The dream has never been about power and who has it. And going back to make changes because people were allowed to join the dream without making sure they were of like mind isn't going to change anything.

The dream, as was taught to me by the King of Dreamers, was to make a game available to all that was simple and easy to understand and play. Together. A friendly place where people of like mind could get on the same page and be all they can't be. A sober place, outdoors, to go and live in fantasy in order to escape the realities of life for a while. And to have fun while doing it. Together.

Now some may think this is some grand vision that can't be accomplished. Or that we are too far away to find it. Or that huge, sweeping changes need to happen before thats a possibility. I disagree wholeheartedly. We are a lot closer than we ever have been. But to get there we don't need to go back to fix mistakes. We need to go back to what worked. And make it work again.

What I am proposing is a not a restructuring of powers but a redefining of fundamentals. To bring clarity to the issues. To get all of us like minds on that same page so we can go play already.

RULES - MONSTERS - RITUALS - These are what it all boils down to. The things that we need to agree on and be able to understand quickly and easily so we can get onto the game.

RULES - I'd like to ask that the ARC be placed on the task of revising all of the rules. Now I know this sounds like a monumental task. Really its not. At this point most of it is all ready written. Its just a matter of ensuring its all cleaned up and easy for any layman to understand. Make sure the listing of all effects and deliveries is accurate. Remove redunancy. Remember that the goal of rules is to not define everything that can happen. Thats for the encounter heads and marshalls to do. Its to make it simple enough for anyone to pick up quick and understand. Oh and don't forget to add, right after the HOLD rule, that "A Marshall's call on the field is what stands regardless of what is written herein. Adjudications will happen after. Play the game" I'd say of all the tasks this one is the easiest.

MONSTERS - A team needs be formed to revise the entire Monster Database. It is horribly out of date. They need to expand it to include more base monsters, including instructions on how to rep them so that players traveling can easily identify them. This is not to say that Plot cannot create their own. Its to have less of a reason to do so. The conformity of monsters will allow players to not become confused on which black tabard, black face NPC they are looking at this time. It gives Plot less time spent on stats and more on the plot of why players are facing said creatures. Most importantly it needs to be distributed to every chapter. Allow a place for teams to create their own without writing over the base. Expand it to include monsters capable of challenging the higher level players we are seeing today. And work with rules so that all monster's abilities are included therein.

RITUALS - Otherwise known as the SEXY. Much like the Monster Database this is horribly out of date. One set of Alliance wide transferrable rituals needs to be put together with room made available for LCO specific rituals for Plot reasons. This includes accepted flaws and backlashes. Double check that all transferable rituals can be generated from the random scroll maker for treasure purposes. It should include any effect that cannot be aquired through Spells or Abilities. For instance the Rebirth effect from High Magic. This is to provide conformity and ease of understanding. Most importantly it needs to be given to every chapter. Most especially whenever an update is made.

Now we the players have to agree on some of this to make it all work. For instance, not everyone can memorize the level of detail that you may be able to. And thats ok. The point is to make it simple and easy so as to allow as many as possible to play with us. Its also to afford plot the ability to throw curveballs at us. Its in that I believe the current rules are written the way they are. To allow a little bend so that it all works. Let me give an example to show what I mean:

On a module once, my group faced off against some giant slugs. One of the members of said group happened to have a bottle of salt on them. We asked the marshal present if we could use the Alchemy skill to coat our blades in salt. To which he resounded in a "Hell Yes!" Then we proceeded to 50 Salt Slay said Slugs. Now by the rules this should have not been even remotely possible. But at the moment it was cool and fun for all. Later in the weekend we faced off against them again during a wave battle. We asked the same marshal if we could do it again. He replied with "Sorry, the air here is too dry, its not sticking to the blades." While there was a short "Awww" it didn't stop us from playing the game or make us start the bitch fest. It was fun. For all.

This is why I included the line in the RULES section about adding "The Marshalls call on the field stands regardless of what is written herein. Adjudications will happen after." Its up to us to allow this sort of variation to happen on the fly and to roll with it. The other side of it is to say that while intentions may have been spot on, something may go wrong with the execution of those intentions. Its up to us to trust our plot team enough that they will recognize this and not penalize us for it while we continue to play.

That's it folks. I could go onto some nitty gritty details, like including the rules revision to define the speed of the game, but I trust that and the rest can be addressed should this be taken seriously. I know its a long read but your review of it will be greatly appreciated. And it will go a long way to getting us back on the track of playing nice together again.

For you and the game,

--Chazz
 
Welcome back to the boards, Chazz. The above I completely agree with and I appreciate the kind and courteous manner in which it was written.

Some spring cleaning might be just the project our beloved game could use to continue to prosper.

Collin
 

MKing

Scout
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Chazz this is why you my friend are The Man!!!
I agree with what you have said!!

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

--Matt K.
 

jpariury

Duke
This tidbit is just my opinion as a yutz: ARC, the owners and the writers have historically always tried to look at the rules to clean up and remove redundancy, etc. My personal opinion is that the issue there is primarily a function of the fragmented nature in which the rules are written and passed. I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that rules are best written and implemented by a voting committee.

This is an opinion as a plot-type AND as a yutz: There are only two stats sets I use directly from the monster DB - golems and dragons. The dragons seem reasonable to what I believe they should be (though, tbh, the dragons I've used are still tweaked from what they are in the db), and the golems because those are a PC-stat set now. I'm honestly not a fan of the other stat sets. I think it would be an awesome sign of local culture and flavor if goblins in Bobland have 5 body, high, squeaky voices, green skin, big ears and swing for 1, and goblins in Darkalonia have 80 body, grey stone skin, threshold 8, and swing for 9 death. I don't find that time spent writing monsters is time wasted. I'd rather go "I want monsters that look like X to have such-and-such flavor of fighting ability" than spend time pouring through the monster database looking for a creature that does what I want it to do and then have to shape my plot around that. I also believe that there are many methods of using the existent rules in interesting ways that perhaps I like as my local flavor but Polly over there doesn't like in his. For instance, Oregon has creatures that can't access certain stats unless specific conditions are met. There is an entire in-game culture and symbolism that is developed around that idea. Not only does that not exist in the db, even if it did I would have no desire to have to conform the story we're telling around to fit such a card. Monster cards, imo, are one of the last things I would ever want to have as a cookie-cutter resource.

This one is more yutzyness: Re: rituals - I would rather many of them (build duplication) were gotten rid of. I would also prefer that most of the big ones were moved to the Effects section of the rulebook (Oblit, Transform to X, etc.), and what others exist simply referred to in deliveries.

This one is an add-on and is entirely yutzy: I wish there were more rules that restricted and directed roleplay, so that more of the game could focus on roleplay over combat. I don't know of a good way to do that, though.
 
jpariury said:
This is an opinion as a plot-type AND as a yutz: There are only two stats sets I use directly from the monster DB - golems and dragons. The dragons seem reasonable to what I believe they should be (though, tbh, the dragons I've used are still tweaked from what they are in the db), and the golems because those are a PC-stat set now. I'm honestly not a fan of the other stat sets. I think it would be an awesome sign of local culture and flavor if goblins in Bobland have 5 body, high, squeaky voices, green skin, big ears and swing for 1, and goblins in Darkalonia have 80 body, grey stone skin, threshold 8, and swing for 9 death.
JP,

Totally agree with you on this point. It's a blast to see players start in Chicago, where goblins are not that dangerous if you're competent with a weapon, and just don't get outnumbered... and then go to the SoMN chapter. My first time there, I saw a goblin, and thought "oh, ok, no danger here...". Then the goblin opened up with his four column, and I got to learn where the Earth circle was. Yes, I rezzed, but the fun I had from the shock of what I saw - totally worth it.
 

Jim

Scholar
I absolutely agree that the monster database needs a clean up. I absolutely think there should be creatures that are the same wherever you go. That being said, I also absolutely think that each chapter should have all sorts of neat and interesting creatures that are unique to that chapter. I loved the Seattle beachcombers. I also loved that Crimson Fogs and Scarecrows were in the database and that they were able to become part of a plot I helped run several years ago.

I think we can standardize and update the monster database and still have/encourage unique, interesting monsters.

As with most suggestions I toss out/support, I'm willing to work towards the solution; if a group is set up to standardize/update the monster database, I'm more than happy to help.
 

Chazz

Artisan
JP, could you expand on what you mean for rituals? I agree mostly on any that is build duplicated. My intent is that all effects fall into times/, spells or rituals. I am not sure I understand what you mean for the others. Just to have them defined?

As for the rest, I will reply when its not 1/4 to 2am (EST) and I can type more intelligently.

--Chazz
 

Wraith

Newbie
Chazz, I am glad to see this here. Hope you get the support you need!
 

Talen

Adept
jpariury said:
This is an opinion as a plot-type AND as a yutz: There are only two stats sets I use directly from the monster DB - golems and dragons. The dragons seem reasonable to what I believe they should be (though, tbh, the dragons I've used are still tweaked from what they are in the db), and the golems because those are a PC-stat set now. I'm honestly not a fan of the other stat sets. I think it would be an awesome sign of local culture and flavor if goblins in Bobland have 5 body, high, squeaky voices, green skin, big ears and swing for 1, and goblins in Darkalonia have 80 body, grey stone skin, threshold 8, and swing for 9 death. I don't find that time spent writing monsters is time wasted. I'd rather go "I want monsters that look like X to have such-and-such flavor of fighting ability" than spend time pouring through the monster database looking for a creature that does what I want it to do and then have to shape my plot around that. I also believe that there are many methods of using the existent rules in interesting ways that perhaps I like as my local flavor but Polly over there doesn't like in his. For instance, Oregon has creatures that can't access certain stats unless specific conditions are met. There is an entire in-game culture and symbolism that is developed around that idea. Not only does that not exist in the db, even if it did I would have no desire to have to conform the story we're telling around to fit such a card. Monster cards, imo, are one of the last things I would ever want to have as a cookie-cutter resource.
On the other hand, you can still have those monster cards put into the database so that if other games want/need to use them, they can. If nothing else, it means your idea might well help other chapters and vice versa.

So if a Bobland module hook refers to "grey goblins terrorizing the walled keep", someone with enough monster lore can go "Hey, a pack of Darkalonian goblins must have migrated through the mists! We should kill them before they start breeding and destroy half the world..."
 

Wraith

Newbie
Might be cool, but isn't one of the reasons we have the Mists as an in-game element to prevent invasion plots?
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
Wraith said:
Might be cool, but isn't one of the reasons we have the Mists as an in-game element to prevent invasion plots?
It is indeed -- so that we don't have players transferring in and saying "Plus I brought my NPC army with me." :thumbsup:
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Wraith said:
Might be cool, but isn't one of the reasons we have the Mists as an in-game element to prevent invasion plots?
Fearless Leader said:
It is indeed -- so that we don't have players transferring in and saying "Plus I brought my NPC army with me." :thumbsup:

The mist mechanic allows plot teams to control what comes into their game and what stays out from a plot standpoint. Examples being NPCs, PC controlled NPC resources (like armies, siege weapons, etc), and Monsters.

The mists serve as a plot device to help chapters stay distinct, but there is no reason why consenting plot teams cannot allow their armies/monsters to spread to each others chapters.
 

jpariury

Duke
Chazz said:
JP, could you expand on what you mean for rituals? I agree mostly on any that is build duplicated. My intent is that all effects fall into times/, spells or rituals. I am not sure I understand what you mean for the others. Just to have them defined?
As the rulebook currently exists, there are effects that are listed in the effects section (Charm), in the skills section (Eviscerate), and in the ritual section (Transform to X). They should all, imho, be in the Effects section. The other sections would then simply reference what conditions must be met in order to utilize the call. The rules for deliveries might need some expansions and some clean-up. For instance, Shatter is an Effect described in the Effects section - "renders one shield-sized object or smaller useless and no longer usable for play in any way". Then you have a Delivery entry called "Weaponstrike", which states "this is an attack delivered by a weapon which must follow all rules for successfully striking an opponent with a weapon (can't be blocked, stopped by Magic Armor, Parry, etc.)". Then, in the skills section, you'd have the martial skill Shatterstrike: "A character with this skill may deliver one Weaponstrike Shatter per day per purchase of this skill. Characters may purchase one shatterstrike for every set of three Profs or Backstabs they have. Profs and Backstabs may not be mixed to meet this requirement. In order to use the skill, the player must announce "Prepare to Die" before attempting the Shatterstrike. Similarly, you'd have the effect "Obliterate" listed in the Effects section (go to the Earth circle, take three deaths on your card). Then you have the Delivery "Arcane". Then you have the Ritual section description (At the end of casting, primary caster may deliver one Arcane Obliterate by touch to the target designated in the casting). (The language here is rough, and just intended to outline what I mean).

tl;dr: The Effects section should tell you what stuff does. The Deliveries section should tell you how it does it. The Skills and Rituals sections should tell you what you need in order to do stuff in specific ways.

Part of the issue is that the rulebook also intermixes deliveries with effects in the Effects section. For instance, Love Potion #9, as the effect is written, is described as only being a potion. This has a couple issues: 1 - it's an alchemy, not a potion. 2 - why shouldn't the effect be deliverable in other forms? Vampire Charm has similar issues, as a second example.

Personally, another section I think could be cleaned up are the defense responses. IMO, there should be no need for there to be 5 different versions of "Nunh-Unh" (Cloak, Shield, Dodge, Evade, Resist.... though there are probably a few more... like Parry). One call would suffice (let's say "Stopped"), and each set of skills or abilities that allow you to use that call would be outlined in their description (i.e. Resist Magic would have the description "This smart defense allows the character to nullify one attack delivered by the Magic delivery or an incant, calling "Stopped"). In my ideal world, we'd move away from having a myriad of calls that all mean effectively the same thing (it didn't work, it bounced back at you, etc.), but are distinguished in order to encourage peer-policing, and move more to "Trust that the player is doing it right".

Talen said:
On the other hand, you can still have those monster cards put into the database so that if other games want/need to use them, they can. If nothing else, it means your idea might well help other chapters and vice versa.
IMO, that's a function better served by plot teams sharing information via the group boards than by inclusion in the monster database. Again, I don't want to dig through the database either looking for a monster that suits the stat-card needs of my story and then having to run a plot around that monster, and I don't want to have to sort through nine versions of "Black Pudding" looking for the one that closest achieves the stat-line I'm looking for. It is faster (for me, at least), to simply create a new monster card that is what I want it to be and has the stats I want them to have.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
RiddickDale said:
Wraith said:
Might be cool, but isn't one of the reasons we have the Mists as an in-game element to prevent invasion plots?
Fearless Leader said:
It is indeed -- so that we don't have players transferring in and saying "Plus I brought my NPC army with me." :thumbsup:

The mist mechanic allows plot teams to control what comes into their game and what stays out from a plot standpoint. Examples being NPCs, PC controlled NPC resources (like armies, siege weapons, etc), and Monsters.

The mists serve as a plot device to help chapters stay distinct, but there is no reason why consenting plot teams cannot allow their armies/monsters to spread to each others chapters.
Indeed. My example had to do with players -- for instance, a PC Baron with an off-stage army.
 

elliotbay

Knight
Marshal
jpariury said:
tl;dr: The Effects section should tell you what stuff does. The Deliveries section should tell you how it does it. The Skills and Rituals sections should tell you what you need in order to do stuff in specific ways.
I completely agree, especially since there are nationally-recognized ways to receive ritual effects though a manner other than rituals (eg dragon magic), and not all ritual effects are completely defined in the ritual section.
 
I'm still formulating a response to the thread as a whole, but I wanted to throw in here that I would give up on many changes I would like to see if it meant that the ritual rules would be posted in full in the rule book, and changes listed in the official errata, to be found easily and comprehensively on the website. <breath> Ritual casting is a day-to-day occurance in multiple chapters at this point. The secrecy surrounding the ritual rules causes no end of misinformation to infect both new and old players with ignorance of the rules. I simply cannot see why it continues to be done this way, particularly because of the problems associated with replacing scrolls with a change in the wording.
 

jpariury

Duke
I have a hard time harshing on the current edition of the ritual stuff. I don't know of many "secrets" surrounding the ritual casting rules, and to be honest, the past two editions have taken great strides to include more about them, which is a far better situation than three editions ago or more.

I think that if there is a section of the rules that can vary not just from chapter-to-chapter but instance-to-instance (such as the flaws and backlashes found on the scrolls), it shouldn't be included in the rulebook. I do think perhaps including the difficulty or range of difficulties for individual rituals would be good, because A - it is expected to be consistent in every instance of the ritual, and B - it lets players know what they need to strive for in order to be able to use the ritual (much as players know what they need in order to be able to cast Death as a spell, for instance).
 

elliotbay

Knight
Marshal
The casting rules seem fully defined, but the effects are not. There's no need to list all possible backlashes, but the effects are standard, and sometimes affect more people than those present for the casting. A 'D' on a door means the same thing everywhere, but what if a living being finds itself rifted inside? I think I know the answer to that, but it's not in the rule book. Reverse Life Force has a lot of implications and rules, and it's easy to forget when you've been playing for a long time that there's no way for a player to know these without having read a scroll of it. After being hit with "I call upon the power of the dragon to transform to greater skeletal undead: undead skeletal champion", will being beaten down and lifed within 5 minutes bring you back? How about resurrection?

I don't particularly mind that difficulty ranges are secret, although the points that JP made are valid, but I do care when PCs can be subjected to effects which have rules such that they have no way of knowing, even with perfect memory, what affects them in what way. Putting all effects in the effects section would help with that.
 

Wraith

Newbie
I think the most common one is :

"What happens when I'm hit with Destroy Formal Magic? What are the appropriate defenses? What is the default target, if none is named?"

I hate Secret Rules.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
How many Destroy Formal Magics are being thrown?

I mean... I've been playing actively on the East Coast for about 7 years now and I have only seen 2 thrown and one was at a Mercury Golem.

I'm not advocating secret rules or denying that these effects should be in the rulebook. But, is this significant enough of a problem to "HATE" it?

Stephen
 
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