Something That Sucks. How do we make it not suck?

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Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Mike Ventrella said:
As has been said before, if you get 100 Alliance players in the room, you'll get 100 different versions of what the rules should be, with rules that some people hate being absolutely loved by just as many on the other side. You'll never please everyone. Even I don't like all the rules we have.

So no matter what, there will always be people with suggestions that they are convinced will make the game better.

It's like playing D&D -- no two dungeon masters play them the same, even though the rules in the book are there. We all want to do our own version.
The idea that big rules changes would inherently please as many as it would anger, I think, is pretty flawed. Matt's statements revolve around creating groups whose entire purpose would be to manage data that could be appropriate for making modifications to positively benefit the game. Concern about consequences of change is an excellent reason to avoid blind change...but what's the issue with putting tools in your toolbox? :huh:
 

Talen

Adept
The core problem with Alliance (and it's cousins) won't change without serious intervention.

That is, it wasn't designed, at it's heart, to deal regularly with large numbers of higher-level characters, and it starts to break down around 15th-20th level or so. Well, it was- but that was by killing them off before they stayed there too long.

It works great up to then. After that, between the effective level-up of mass magic item production and the stacking effects of so much build on a character...things get overloaded. We're in a system where death is a slap on the wrist, the rate of characters perming drops off as a chapter gets more experienced characters (rather than risk increasing with level, it tends to -decrease- on average).

Give me a game where the first death is free, the second one hits a floor of 5% survival at 20th+, and start burying more PC's in the graveyard. The game will scale itself back down by high-level attrition and the "power gap" will become a far lesser problem.

Give me a game where they aren't afraid to obliterate magic items and rip rituals to bits, along with dropping the number of "damage by magic only" NPC's to needing nearly all silvered weapons instead. The game is full of economic inflation. Destroy more stuff and get the economy back to more coin and less magic item trade. There should be cases where PC's are afraid to pull out the magic, instead of magic being the be all and end all. When we have a system where people would fear an effect that destroyed all their magic items more than obliterating the character, something has gone very wrong.

My first event had ONE, count it ONE magic-to-hit monster in it. The BBEG lich that was the main baddy of the entire weekend. While I don't think we'll ever get back to that...having a system that requires a huge array of defenses, immunities, and what not on NPC's to provide a challenge to equally or more so blinged-out PC's tells me that the overwhelming pile of said magic bling is part of the problem, and that actively destroying parts of that pile on a regular basis is part of the solution.

Give me a game where the chapter runs multiple campaigns rather than one, where characters in one campaign cannot be run in the other unless a month of "travel time" occurs (in which case the character is unable to play in either game until they elapse), and a similar effect happens if the character travels out-of-chapter. It'd encourage people to play events with more, different characters rather than concentrating them all on a single one- along with concentrating all of their build and blankets on a single PC, also. Characters wouldn't have a massively accelerated gain from chapter-hopping, while ones that stuck to a single campaign would be unaffected. Likewise, with multiple campaigns you'd have people using multiple characters even at the same chapter over a given course of time- again, reducing the rate of gain and splitting extra build across multiple characters for a lower APL.

Honestly? It's the fear of destroying things that is a huge part of the "Why does this suck?", and the system that gets over that fear is the one that's going to take that step ahead. When NERO had it's latest convulsion of chapter losses (WAR and Cinci, plus North Coast), WAR went to Accelerant's rules system, Cinci is building their own from scratch, NC simply closed...and I see that as a sign that they not only thought the organization was bad, but the rules as well.

And Alliance isn't too far from it's pre-split roots.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
I didn't say we won't change. We've changed quite a bit over the years, and ARC is now looking at some major revamps to make the game easier and simpler to play without losing its flavor.

All I said was that no matter what we do, someone will bitch and complain. They'll complain if we leave it the way it is, and they'll complain if we change it. We will never please everyone.
 
So I agree with the point that we've grown beyond our bounds, and it'll take more than on major rules revision to fix the game (jumping straight to "Fixed" will never happen, it'd be too large of a change). Your post sort of highlights some of the "what you think are the problems aren't necessarily the actual problems" thing though (that is, how a lot of perceived problems are actually local issues, not national ones). For example:
Talen said:
My first event had ONE, count it ONE magic-to-hit monster in it.
Seattle's current campaign averages about 1 magic to hit monster, and I think Oregon's does too. "Magic to hit" has very rarely been a problem that I've ever encountered. Scaling/Creature card-wise, this isn't a problem for us.
Talen said:
Give me a game where the chapter runs multiple campaigns rather than one, where characters in one campaign cannot be run in the other unless a month of "travel time" occurs (in which case the character is unable to play in either game until they elapse), and a similar effect happens if the character travels out-of-chapter.
In the PNW, there are two chapters, so it's a month between games anyways. On top of that, a lot of people play different characters (or staff/NPC) in the other chapter. Geographically, this isn't a problem for us.

I think the things that would make the biggest difference are ways for people to remove their characters in a cool way and for limits to exist on power (level/gear/whatever. It doesn't have to be a hard cap even, just a really prohibitive soft cap). Basically, we want to maximize the number of people in the "useful bubble" and have people who are outside of that bubble (too low level) approach it very quickly or get ejected (too high level). (Ejected could mean killed, retired, driven into the land of free booze and cookies, whatever.)
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
I'd like to see deaths unable to be bought back, at all. *Hides from the thrown rocks and debris :funny: *

The reason I say this is that at the event I was at recently someone perm'd and I heard someone say it was the first "legit" (non-retiring, real black bead draw) they've seen in the four years they've been playing. From this non-planned PC life just cut short, a HUGE amount of wonder game building RP emerged. It makes me wonder just how many deaths our really high level players would have on their cards if death wasn't a specter you could keep mostly at bay with OOG actions? I know I don't plan on buying back any of my deaths, and look forward to RPing a dead body at my character's funeral. I look at what kind of RP would happen should I perm the next game and grin. It's my opinion, and I know I'm probably in the minority here, but a higher level of character perma-death would be nice.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
MaxIrons said:
I'd like to see deaths unable to be bought back, at all. *Hides from the thrown rocks and debris :funny: *

The reason I say this is that at the event I was at recently someone perm'd and I heard someone say it was the first "legit" (non-retiring, real black bead draw) they've seen in the four years they've been playing. From this non-planned PC life just cut short, a HUGE amount of wonder game building RP emerged. It makes me wonder just how many deaths our really high level players would have on their cards if death wasn't a specter you could keep mostly at bay with OOG actions? I know I don't plan on buying back any of my deaths, and look forward to RPing a dead body at my character's funeral. I look at what kind of RP would happen should I perm the next game and grin. It's my opinion, and I know I'm probably in the minority here, but a higher level of character perma-death would be nice.
Ehhh...deaths get so expensive to buyback after, like, two or three that I'm not sure I agree. Because if you're really willing to get your deaths back, that's a lot of stuff your chapter is going to get out of you for it. But I understand your point.
 

Tantarus

Squire
MaxIrons said:
I'd like to see deaths unable to be bought back, at all. *Hides from the thrown rocks and debris :funny: *

The reason I say this is that at the event I was at recently someone perm'd and I heard someone say it was the first "legit" (non-retiring, real black bead draw) they've seen in the four years they've been playing. From this non-planned PC life just cut short, a HUGE amount of wonder game building RP emerged. It makes me wonder just how many deaths our really high level players would have on their cards if death wasn't a specter you could keep mostly at bay with OOG actions? I know I don't plan on buying back any of my deaths, and look forward to RPing a dead body at my character's funeral. I look at what kind of RP would happen should I perm the next game and grin. It's my opinion, and I know I'm probably in the minority here, but a higher level of character perma-death would be nice.
Honestly Regenerate rituals, spirit bottles, and one shot dodges have a lot more to do with the lack of perms then then buying back deaths. That said yes perms are are rare these days, which is part of the issue with the game getting top heavy.
 

KyleSchmelz

Fighter
Talen said:
When NERO had it's latest convulsion of chapter losses (WAR and Cinci, plus North Coast), WAR went to Accelerant's rules system, Cinci is building their own from scratch, NC simply closed...and I see that as a sign that they not only thought the organization was bad, but the rules as well.
To be fair, all the Ohio NERO chapters quitting/getting kicked out of NERO had a lot more to do with butting heads and personality conflicts than the rules system. I don't know much about WAR's ownership, but I know the owners of NCN and NERO Cincinnati had more than a few problems with the owner of NERO for a long time leading up to this. (For reference, I used to play at all three of those chapters). Cinci's new game "CASTLE" derives a lot from NERO anyway, they're really not going that far. Sorry about the tangent.

Mike Ventrella said:
ARC is now looking at some major revamps to make the game easier and simpler to play without losing its flavor.
I almost hate to ask (more drama on the boards, hurray!), but is there any info out on what they're working on? I'm wondering more about their scope/design goals than specific rules changes, and I fully understand if it's too early to discuss or anything like that.
 

Tantarus

Squire
KyleSchmelz said:
Mike Ventrella said:
ARC is now looking at some major revamps to make the game easier and simpler to play without losing its flavor.
I almost hate to ask (more drama on the boards, hurray!), but is there any info out on what they're working on? I'm wondering more about their scope/design goals than specific rules changes, and I fully understand if it's too early to discuss or anything like that.
I would just love to know a general timeline? Like will they be in the 1.2 rulebook toward the end of the year?
 
I'd like people to perm more often (it seems like that was the intention of the game), but the issue we've got to face right now is people's attitudes towards dying at all. Every time I've seen someone die in the last few years there's always been talk of adjudications. (There haven't necessarily been adjudication requests every time, just talk, but the number of requests is still awfully high.) There are a lot of people that hold the belief that if their character dies that that's bad or that someone screwed up. Sure, occasionally rules things come up that would have significantly altered the outcome of a fight or someone didn't understand the rules or was cheating or something; good reasons for adjudications happen, but that's not the cause of most deaths. The attitude that because a module was hard enough to kill PCs or that PC choices led to actual consequences for their actions is regularly cause for accusations of player targeting or bad writing. I don't think I can count on both hands the number of people whose deaths have been adjudicated who shouldn't have been (and in many cases, didn't even request for them to be) simply because someone wasn't willing to say, "Sorry, characters die in this game. It's not like there were any serious consequences from it; it's freakin' impossible to actually kill someone and have it mean anything in this game." Some modules are hard. Some BBGs are scary. Some NPCs are smart. If PCs are killing NPCs all the time, why is it so hard to accept that the NPCs are people too, and occasionally competent enough to kill a PC?
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
I'm not the right guy to talk about how other people would argue about a death. My first death was by my own choice as an RP decision. My second was because PC planning for the attack was bad, real bad, IMHO. I watched Vishkin get Oblit last Oregon game and he earned every ounce of it. He singled out the BigBad and put a great big crosshair on his chest. His permadeath was AWESOME. Seriously, go look at the May Favorites and see how many of them relate to the fact that he died. The fallout from that totally unscripted event will resonate for quite some time.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
MaxIrons said:
I'm not the right guy to talk about how other people would argue about a death. My first death was by my own choice as an RP decision. My second was because PC planning for the attack was bad, real bad, IMHO. I watched Vishkin get Oblit last Oregon game and he earned every ounce of it. He singled out the BigBad and put a great big crosshair on his chest. His permadeath was AWESOME. Seriously, go look at the May Favorites and see how many of them relate to the fact that he died. The fallout from that totally unscripted event will resonate for quite some time.
Especially since that curse is still there.... :thumbsup:
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
obcidian_bandit said:
Nah, gypsy curse goes away when you res.
Damn. We'll have to sacrifice another one, then. Sucks, but whatcha gonna do? ;)
 

beboped

Rogue
Oregon Staff
Marshal
obcidian_bandit said:
The attitude that because a module was hard enough to kill PCs or that PC choices led to actual consequences for their actions is regularly cause for accusations of player targeting or bad writing. I don't think I can count on both hands the number of people whose deaths have been adjudicated who shouldn't have been (and in many cases, didn't even request for them to be) simply because someone wasn't willing to say, "Sorry, characters die in this game. It's not like there were any serious consequences from it; it's freakin' impossible to actually kill someone and have it mean anything in this game." Some modules are hard. Some BBGs are scary. Some NPCs are smart. If PCs are killing NPCs all the time, why is it so hard to accept that the NPCs are people too, and occasionally competent enough to kill a PC?
I want to second this sentiment. It seems like almost every time there is a death someone asks "Are you going to ask for adjudication on that?" There is a whole subculture of "death is something that never ever ever should happen" that I think is ultimately harmful to the game in general and new player's experience in specific.
 

Darkcrescent

Knight
Chicago Staff
Marshal
beboped said:
obcidian_bandit said:
The attitude that because a module was hard enough to kill PCs or that PC choices led to actual consequences for their actions is regularly cause for accusations of player targeting or bad writing. I don't think I can count on both hands the number of people whose deaths have been adjudicated who shouldn't have been (and in many cases, didn't even request for them to be) simply because someone wasn't willing to say, "Sorry, characters die in this game. It's not like there were any serious consequences from it; it's freakin' impossible to actually kill someone and have it mean anything in this game." Some modules are hard. Some BBGs are scary. Some NPCs are smart. If PCs are killing NPCs all the time, why is it so hard to accept that the NPCs are people too, and occasionally competent enough to kill a PC?
I want to second this sentiment. It seems like almost every time there is a death someone asks "Are you going to ask for adjudication on that?" There is a whole subculture of "death is something that never ever ever should happen" that I think is ultimately harmful to the game in general and new player's experience in specific.
For what it's worth, I strongly third this. I feel the lack of valid deaths does make it seem like you'll live forever, and really takes out the fear of dying. I've seen 1 perm so far, and the RP that came out of it reminded me why I really enjoy this game. I also feels it's the word of mouth of "oh, that'll be adjudicated" or "x variable happened, so it won't count" on top of people who had an adjudicated death telling people about their adjudicated death. If we didn't have so much talk of adjudication, it wouldn't be an issue; but over the last year it seems that's what has been commonplace.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I didn't even know adjudication was a thing until it was brought up on this thread. I'm sorta surprised it's a thing.
 

phedre

Squire
It's supposed to exist for cases where rules were broken and a death results. Things like an NPC who doesn't have permission to killing blow or ensure resurrection doing just that, or increasing his/her own power level without plot or rules authority. In my mind its a failsafe to make sure that a player can't be unfairly targeted or a victim of NPCs or staff who go outside the realm of acceptable behavior.
 

beboped

Rogue
Oregon Staff
Marshal
There are times when adjudication is appropriate, such as when a rule is broken in a way that leads to a death. Severely rhino hiding NPCs, or NPCs who call too many defenses or offenses. Even bad Marshal calls on the field could be justification. It's just that adjudication has been used on the flimsiest of rules excuses, and even in situations where there were no rules mistakes, just scaling choices that led to death.
 

SkollWolfrun

Squire
Oregon Staff
Did this get derailed into Death issues or is it part of the overall discussion?

Personally, making Death mean something means that when I pull things off IG, they feel that much more epic. I cheated Death and pulled off something.
 
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