Spirit Forge - what's your opinion?

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
Talen said:
Auric said:
I can't think of any fantasy fiction where that has happened, can you?
Who says Alliance has to go by what others have gone by? Why can't the alliance create it's own special things, especially when the game depends on it's players so much to keep it alive. You want to keep your dedicated players playing, they bring new people to the game and support chapters so they can continue to run. When these players get bored with their skills but have dedicated years into their character development, they don't want to just give that all up and start new.

Even to reference a popular game right now, World of Warcraft allows you to change race/class. They have learned that people will just quit when they get bored, changing something like this might renew their fun and love for the game, and more importantly continue to play and support the game.

Matt
And at that point, it becomes a tool to min/max. WoW does have race/class changes, but that's because the skill and ability bases for both can and do often change radically- to the point where character builds really DO become unplayable. Thus, being able to respend points/race/class change.

Spirit Forge is kinda jarring. There's a plague killing the elves? Spirit Forge em into hoblings till the disease passes. Panterghasts hunting that innocent dwarf? No problem. Need a sudden mastery of the mystical arts? BAM, you're a super-scholar as the OP put it.

It's optimization in ritual form and it gets around a lot of things that IMHO, "a wizard did it" shouldn't solve. If anything, I think it should have more risks and invite visits from creatures of order and fate that don't appreciate you messing with your destiny.
The main point of this post and what a lot of people have agreed with is to...do what the player will have fun doing (as long at it doesn't hurt others). So if some one is against role playing, wants to be a stick jock and min/max so what. Let them. It doesn't hurt you. Let them have there fun. I understand that some people are against it and they have every right to voice there opinion just like every one else.

Forge already has a draw back that after the first one it adds a death to your card and you need to find teachers for all the skills you want. If some one is forging and they are against it then don't teach them and start a revolt, getting people to join your cause.

I'm sure that if there was a plague killing people that there would not be a huge flux of people race changing (I could understand plot giving one to the King but leaving the Duke to show some form of urgency).

As for the argument about it being "magic". What about every thing else in our game world? How does the mists work? How did all of a sudden we all get a forge? How are my magical items being held in these lands? How does the land bond work? How come, after more then 10 years of using this magical item, that now if some one else uses it they have to say the incant? There are explanations for all of them and the main point of it is that its magical (I understand that the "its magical" doesn't stop there).
 

markusdark

Knight
Dreamingfurther said:
markusdark said:
go tell all the owners to pound sand and run it the way you want it. :D
That sort of mindset will leave you with less and less owners who look for games that are willing to be flexible and not "control" how they want to run games.

It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government... except for all the others. ;)
Or it will result in a more structured game which be a much more fun game for everyone involved - not just for the owners. There's a reason the phrase "Too many chefs in the kitchen" was coined.

Although I was just kidding.

Oh, and the 'ruling' of this game is anything but a Democracy. Closest type is an Oligarchy.
 

Talen

Adept
RiddickDale said:
Talen,

That is an awesome idea. I'm sure your local plot team would accept (and likely pay you good gobbies) if you would write an encounter or series of encounters revolving around people spirit forging being "a cheat against fate" or whatever.

Stephen
*grins* Get me an Alliance chapter in northern VA and I'll start typing right away on that. :)

(The last time I played was at HQ, during a hiatus from LAIRE. The last time I played long-term under NERO-now-Alliance rules, the Ashbury Duke was -Alaric Dragonhart-.)

But give me a chapter that wants to run it and I'd help write it anyway...
 

Talen

Adept
jpariury said:
I agree, Avatar was stupid, and what's up with Peter Patrelli always respending his build? ;)
Wasn't that bad. First they bottled him in that flesh golem, then they made it a permament transfer...oh, and the previous attempt killed the person trying. :)

I would find infuriating, otoh, to be the author of any body of work, and have the contents be decided by popular vote. Its one of those things I can definitely sympathize with ya on.
Most LARPs, due to burnout or the sheer size of the undertaking are the child of an ever-changing series of "parents". Mr. Ventrella's just one of the eldest remaining, and in a sense the "grandparent" of a few other games via other systems built from it.
 

Talen

Adept
Michiko said:
Fearless Leader said:
I write novels based on the world of Fortannis. No reader would accept it if I suddenly had my characters change race or skills. (I can't think of any fantasy fiction where that has happened, can you?)
To answer, though I know its already been addressed by others, the first example that comes to my mind is The Last Unicorn and the conflict it created made for a damn good story.

That being said, I totaly get where you're coming from Mike. My personal feeling is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Just because some people will "abuse" a system doesn't mean it shouldn't be available for anyone.
It's worth noting that most of those cases would have been the equivalent of a Plot-related event, rather than something a player would initiate. Oops, Lady Amalthea just turned from a unicorn (a most distinctly NPC creature) to a human! *poof*

Well, that just made costuming a lot easier on the poor NPC. :)

IMHO, Spirit Forges/race changes should never, ever be in the player's playground, but strictly a Plot thing. Someone wants to become a hobling? Well, there's this magic pie plate, and if you eat enough of what's baked with it you'll turn into one...that's spirit linked to an NPC baker who'll only bring out his "special recipe" to people he thinks are sufficiently hoblingish even if they're stuck in some other body.

Not "Here's the components and scroll, find a caster. BOOM, you're a hobling now."

Ditto with Spirit Forges. It's a big whomping smack in the face of the elemental forces of the universe- twisting Life, cheating Death, upsetting the natural Order and probably delighting Chaos as you mess with what would have been a completely different destiny. Some Thing With a Capital Name is bound to get annoyed with mortals meddling in things they really shouldn't, though certainly powerful forces be able to intervene. Heck, maybe the Forger or Changer IS pushing things towards primal Chaos each time they do the ritual...



tl;dr version: Forge/Race Change-It's best kept in the hands of Plot and really shouldn't be generally available on demand, IMHO.
 

markusdark

Knight
Talen said:
It's a big whomping smack in the face of the elemental forces of the universe- twisting Life, cheating Death, upsetting the natural Order ...
So I can also count you as one who is against buying back deaths with gobbies as well?
 

jpariury

Duke
Talen said:
Most LARPs, due to burnout or the sheer size of the undertaking are the child of an ever-changing series of "parents". Mr. Ventrella's just one of the eldest remaining, and in a sense the "grandparent" of a few other games via other systems built from it.
The Alliance rulebook, however, has Mike listed as the author. It's not "The Alliance Game, by the Alliance LARP Team" (as WoTC similarly labels their D&D 4th ed. Gift set, for instance).

Don't get me wrong. I dig the Alliance game (heck, I even dig spirit-forge) and appreciate the level of input that the people running the games, and even the participants, have in shaping the structure of the rules set. I also appreciate that the group effort of many of the key people is addressed in the Acknowledgements & Introduction section. I just think it would grate against my nerves to be listed as the author, and yet have to submit my entire body of work to be voted on piecemeal, and end up including content I felt was antithetical to my work. That's just how Mike rolls, so it's not really any of my business, I was just commenting more off-hand than anything else. :)
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
jpariury said:
Talen said:
Most LARPs, due to burnout or the sheer size of the undertaking are the child of an ever-changing series of "parents". Mr. Ventrella's just one of the eldest remaining, and in a sense the "grandparent" of a few other games via other systems built from it.
The Alliance rulebook, however, has Mike listed as the author. It's not "The Alliance Game, by the Alliance LARP Team" (as WoTC similarly labels their D&D 4th ed. Gift set, for instance).

Don't get me wrong. I dig the Alliance game (heck, I even dig spirit-forge) and appreciate the level of input that the people running the games, and even the participants, have in shaping the structure of the rules set. I also appreciate that the group effort of many of the key people is addressed in the Acknowledgements & Introduction section. I just think it would grate against my nerves to be listed as the author, and yet have to submit my entire body of work to be voted on piecemeal, and end up including content I felt was antithetical to my work. That's just how Mike rolls, so it's not really any of my business, I was just commenting more off-hand than anything else. :)
Well, I list myself as "author" because most of the words are mine. In the first paragraph of the introduction, I acknowledge that the book is a work of many people (as you said).

I also list myself as author to help promote the game. I didn't put my name on the cover until we started splitting from NERO International, and I figured if I put my name on there it would help establish continuity since many people know I was one of the founders of NERO.

It's also a good selling point, because some people will remember me from the Dragon article I wrote all those years ago, and some may know me from my novels and find out about the game if they search my name on Amazon or google.

I guess I'm saying that I hope no one thinks my ego is that huge that I am pretending I did this all by myself. (Well, it IS huge, but I'm honest.)

As for letting chapters vote on the rules, mostly that is because (a) I think it's a good idea to get views from other chapters and not have one chapter dominate; (b) it helps establish us as an Alliance, working together, instead of as a top-down business model where you have to follow orders even if you hate them; (c) it encourages chapters to join, knowing they can influence the game.

Sometimes indeed I would like to just be able to say "Here are the rules, deal with it" but I think there would be a lot more problems under that situation.
 

Talen

Adept
markusdark said:
Talen said:
It's a big whomping smack in the face of the elemental forces of the universe- twisting Life, cheating Death, upsetting the natural Order ...
So I can also count you as one who is against buying back deaths with gobbies as well?
Yes, you certainly can.
 

Pantzike

Scout
Talen said:
IMHO, Spirit Forges/race changes should never, ever be in the player's playground, but strictly a Plot thing. Someone wants to become a hobling? Well, there's this magic pie plate, and if you eat enough of what's baked with it you'll turn into one...that's spirit linked to an NPC baker who'll only bring out his "special recipe" to people he thinks are sufficiently hoblingish even if they're stuck in some other body.

Not "Here's the components and scroll, find a caster. BOOM, you're a hobling now."

Ditto with Spirit Forges. It's a big whomping smack in the face of the elemental forces of the universe- twisting Life, cheating Death, upsetting the natural Order and probably delighting Chaos as you mess with what would have been a completely different destiny. Some Thing With a Capital Name is bound to get annoyed with mortals meddling in things they really shouldn't, though certainly powerful forces be able to intervene. Heck, maybe the Forger or Changer IS pushing things towards primal Chaos each time they do the ritual...

tl;dr version: Forge/Race Change-It's best kept in the hands of Plot and really shouldn't be generally available on demand, IMHO.
I, on the other hand see Race Change / Spirit Forge as some of the most ultimate and wizardy things one can do. A ritualist so powerful that they can change the physical race of an individual. A wizard so adept at their skill that with the proper components and catalysts can change the very nature of what skills an individual can perform. It's one of the few pc attainable rituals that I feel is "up there" into the the most powerful fantasy rituals. "A wizard did it" doesn't have to be a lame excuse, it can be the goal of a player, to be that wizard who can do it.

That being said, race change specifically I feel has plenty of roots in fantasy and I'm glad it's available as a story telling device. I know it's been instrumental in the development of my primary character.

Spirit forge also has alot of good story telling potential behind it.


But my main opinion is this... I view Race Change / Spirit forge the same way I view many aspects of the game. All because I may like or dislike certain plot lines or plot devices, doesn't mean others don't really really enjoy them. To each their own. As Steve said earlier, go write your ideas (pro or anti), into plot submissions, and submit it to a sympathetic chapter as they may appreciate the ideas.
 

phedre

Squire
Pantzike said:
But my main opinion is this... I view Race Change / Spirit forge the same way I view many aspects of the game. All because I may like or dislike certain plot lines or plot devices, doesn't mean others don't really really enjoy them. To each their own. As Steve said earlier, go write your ideas (pro or anti), into plot submissions, and submit it to a sympathetic chapter as they may appreciate the ideas.
QFT
 

Talen

Adept
Pantzike said:
I, on the other hand see Race Change / Spirit Forge as some of the most ultimate and wizardy things one can do. A ritualist so powerful that they can change the physical race of an individual. A wizard so adept at their skill that with the proper components and catalysts can change the very nature of what skills an individual can perform. It's one of the few pc attainable rituals that I feel is "up there" into the the most powerful fantasy rituals. "A wizard did it" doesn't have to be a lame excuse, it can be the goal of a player, to be that wizard who can do it.

That being said, race change specifically I feel has plenty of roots in fantasy and I'm glad it's available as a story telling device. I know it's been instrumental in the development of my primary character.

Spirit forge also has alot of good story telling potential behind it.
Exactly. The at-will ability to fundamentally alter the very heart and soul and essence of a creature, limited only by the knowledge of the player and capable of bypassing the natural laws of the world entirely.

If something came along and prepared to simultaneously obliterate every single hobling in a chapter's world completely to perm-death, the race could be saved by a a PC using formal magic. Elven race drops below the point of survival due to a wasting curse that consumed their fertility? Find some friendly fast-breeding humans and prepare to teach them the long view of life as you ritual yourself some new pointy-eared companions. Going to lose your scavenger friend to old age? De-fur their demise and make them human like you. Heck, forget lichdom mister necromancer. Transform yourself into an elf (or dark elf if you prefer the dark side of life) and enjoy centuries of long life and relative youth without the annoying rotting problem.

Yes, transformation is a staple of fantasy- but it's never done lightly, and there's -always- a price. To me, that's not something that most PC-available formal magic expresses properly, and shouldn't be something that's regularly available to PC's. Doable? Yes, but require help and opportunity from the local Plot folks in order to perform it.

Ditto Spirit Forge- or at the least, make the non-OOG (ie medical) Forges chew up part of the person in question in the process. Rather than being a 100% build recovery, make it consume build as part of the process- leaving the newly remade person weaker than before. Flawing the ritual could make that cost worse, or better.

They're the most potent forms of magic a player reasonably can expect to wield. Power should have it's price.

But my main opinion is this... I view Race Change / Spirit forge the same way I view many aspects of the game. All because I may like or dislike certain plot lines or plot devices, doesn't mean others don't really really enjoy them. To each their own. As Steve said earlier, go write your ideas (pro or anti), into plot submissions, and submit it to a sympathetic chapter as they may appreciate the ideas.
The reason I look at something like this as not an "each their own" situation is that transformational effects like these cross chapters. Chapter X says "Biata are an NPC race only in this area, no Race Change components go out, we don't want to have people getting around certain things in-game.". Player from X goes to chapter Y, gets legitimately turned into a biata, proceeds to come back and throw everything out of kilter as he's able to access the mystic Hoot-Hoot Gate and start a prophecy about the coming of the Great Griffins three years ahead of what Plot had planned. Oops.

Chapter Y has virtually no Celestial magic, as it's set in a barbarian plains settlement where the knowledge and use of powerful "sky magic" is regarded as dangerous and the first sign of the Death of the Land, an elemental terror awakening. They don't have Spirit Forge components or high-level Celestial spells going out for much the same reason as X doesn't have Race Change ones- they're going to be introduced as part of a neato-cool-awesome story.

A MWE from Chapter Y visits X, ends up changing from a powerful Earth scholar to a Celestial one with the handy teachers around and returns to make magic items with his new 10 ranks of Celestial formals and starts tossing Dragon's Breath around like candy while teaching his friends to join in.

Plot proceeds to toss out the year's worth of writing that would have introduced the secretive Shamans of the Clouds as their chapter's "Mage's Guild", as the MWE has already set up his own shop and is happily charging guild fees instead. Instead, it's time to wake up the Death that would have been the big Plot thing for the end of the year...
 

Pantzike

Scout
Your chapter X sounds like it should be a closed chapter as ANY biata passing through the mists brings problems, not just race changed ones.

Likewise with chapter Y. Any celestialist setting up shop upends that one too... forging has nothing to do with it.

I don't see your concerns as valid... you don't like the idea of cosmic powers in my ritualist. Yet we both could play the same chapter and enjoy our own aspects of the game. I see that as a win for the game.

You did hit one nail on the head. Chapters who ban such things only encourage people to attend chapters where there is no ban to accomplish their character goals.

Talen said:
Pantzike said:
I, on the other hand see Race Change / Spirit Forge as some of the most ultimate and wizardy things one can do. A ritualist so powerful that they can change the physical race of an individual. A wizard so adept at their skill that with the proper components and catalysts can change the very nature of what skills an individual can perform. It's one of the few pc attainable rituals that I feel is "up there" into the the most powerful fantasy rituals. "A wizard did it" doesn't have to be a lame excuse, it can be the goal of a player, to be that wizard who can do it.

That being said, race change specifically I feel has plenty of roots in fantasy and I'm glad it's available as a story telling device. I know it's been instrumental in the development of my primary character.

Spirit forge also has alot of good story telling potential behind it.
Exactly. The at-will ability to fundamentally alter the very heart and soul and essence of a creature, limited only by the knowledge of the player and capable of bypassing the natural laws of the world entirely.

If something came along and prepared to simultaneously obliterate every single hobling in a chapter's world completely to perm-death, the race could be saved by a a PC using formal magic. Elven race drops below the point of survival due to a wasting curse that consumed their fertility? Find some friendly fast-breeding humans and prepare to teach them the long view of life as you ritual yourself some new pointy-eared companions. Going to lose your scavenger friend to old age? De-fur their demise and make them human like you. Heck, forget lichdom mister necromancer. Transform yourself into an elf (or dark elf if you prefer the dark side of life) and enjoy centuries of long life and relative youth without the annoying rotting problem.

Yes, transformation is a staple of fantasy- but it's never done lightly, and there's -always- a price. To me, that's not something that most PC-available formal magic expresses properly, and shouldn't be something that's regularly available to PC's. Doable? Yes, but require help and opportunity from the local Plot folks in order to perform it.

Ditto Spirit Forge- or at the least, make the non-OOG (ie medical) Forges chew up part of the person in question in the process. Rather than being a 100% build recovery, make it consume build as part of the process- leaving the newly remade person weaker than before. Flawing the ritual could make that cost worse, or better.

They're the most potent forms of magic a player reasonably can expect to wield. Power should have it's price.

But my main opinion is this... I view Race Change / Spirit forge the same way I view many aspects of the game. All because I may like or dislike certain plot lines or plot devices, doesn't mean others don't really really enjoy them. To each their own. As Steve said earlier, go write your ideas (pro or anti), into plot submissions, and submit it to a sympathetic chapter as they may appreciate the ideas.
The reason I look at something like this as not an "each their own" situation is that transformational effects like these cross chapters. Chapter X says "Biata are an NPC race only in this area, no Race Change components go out, we don't want to have people getting around certain things in-game.". Player from X goes to chapter Y, gets legitimately turned into a biata, proceeds to come back and throw everything out of kilter as he's able to access the mystic Hoot-Hoot Gate and start a prophecy about the coming of the Great Griffins three years ahead of what Plot had planned. Oops.

Chapter Y has virtually no Celestial magic, as it's set in a barbarian plains settlement where the knowledge and use of powerful "sky magic" is regarded as dangerous and the first sign of the Death of the Land, an elemental terror awakening. They don't have Spirit Forge components or high-level Celestial spells going out for much the same reason as X doesn't have Race Change ones- they're going to be introduced as part of a neato-cool-awesome story.

A MWE from Chapter Y visits X, ends up changing from a powerful Earth scholar to a Celestial one with the handy teachers around and returns to make magic items with his new 10 ranks of Celestial formals and starts tossing Dragon's Breath around like candy while teaching his friends to join in.

Plot proceeds to toss out the year's worth of writing that would have introduced the secretive Shamans of the Clouds as their chapter's "Mage's Guild", as the MWE has already set up his own shop and is happily charging guild fees instead. Instead, it's time to wake up the Death that would have been the big Plot thing for the end of the year...
 
It seems like a questions of whether or not you are trusting your players. In most cases it seems silly to me NOT to trust the players. They aren't the pawns of plot and players trust plot implicitly every time they hand over money and come into the IG world. Why can't the players that have worked hard and been around for a while have VERY big powers?

And along the same lines as what Craig said those seem like ideas that would only make sense in a closed chapter anyways. Generally I hope people will use plot devices that are a little bit more travel friendly if they want to make an Alliance game in the first place.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
Dreamingfurther said:
It seems like a questions of whether or not you are trusting your players. In most cases it seems silly to me NOT to trust the players. They aren't the pawns of plot and players trust plot implicitly every time they hand over money and come into the IG world. Why can't the players that have worked hard and been around for a while have VERY big powers?

And along the same lines as what Craig said those seem like ideas that would only make sense in a closed chapter anyways. Generally I hope people will use plot devices that are a little bit more travel friendly if they want to make an Alliance game in the first place.

No, no... it's not about trusting players (at least not for me). It's about what kind of game world we like to see.

Look at it this way: If players really wanted to introduce guns into the game and use packets to represent the bullets and so on, and I disagree with that, it's not because I don't trust the players to play fairly. It's because that doesn't fit the image of the game I would like.
 

Alavatar

Baron
Fearless Leader said:
Look at it this way: If players really wanted to introduce guns into the game and use packets to represent the bullets and so on, and I disagree with that, it's not because I don't trust the players to play fairly. It's because that doesn't fit the image of the game I would like.
Haha! Wands immediately popped into my mind when I read this. It made me giggle. :)

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to add anything to this thread. Any meaning derived from this post is purely coincidental.
 
Fearless Leader said:
Dreamingfurther said:
It seems like a questions of whether or not you are trusting your players. In most cases it seems silly to me NOT to trust the players. They aren't the pawns of plot and players trust plot implicitly every time they hand over money and come into the IG world. Why can't the players that have worked hard and been around for a while have VERY big powers?

And along the same lines as what Craig said those seem like ideas that would only make sense in a closed chapter anyways. Generally I hope people will use plot devices that are a little bit more travel friendly if they want to make an Alliance game in the first place.

No, no... it's not about trusting players (at least not for me). It's about what kind of game world we like to see.

Look at it this way: If players really wanted to introduce guns into the game and use packets to represent the bullets and so on, and I disagree with that, it's not because I don't trust the players to play fairly. It's because that doesn't fit the image of the game I would like.
I think I understand your point here Mike, but to me it seems like drawing a comparison between players wanting Spirit Forges and Race Changes to players wanting IG guns is a bit of a stretch.

I think what your trying to say is that you don't see Race Change/Spirit Forge as affects you want to be part of the world. Is this right? However I think ultimately because Spirit Forge and Race Change are fairly justifiable pieces of magic I think this just leaves disagreement about how much magic is "appropriate". To me this seems like a much more relative conversation than equating SF/RC to guns. Because there is not really an objective standard by which to claim one vision of the world (with a given level of magic) is "better" than another. Since its all fantasy and all fictional anyways.
 

Agahi

Scout
I think it's diffrent than simply the kind of game world you may want to see. Things like pcs being more powerful, or having access to powerful rits/skills for instance is only a game world issue as long as npcs also cannot do it. Once npcs have access its in the game world at that point, and not allowing pcs access is just hard to justify ig (and an issue of trusting players). Guns for instance are a game world issue, unless npcs start randomly appearing with pistols, pcs see every event, but can never have. Though I should say, a fake gun activate magic storm ect item is not so far fetched.
 

markusdark

Knight
You would need to dissect the magic system we currently have to decide what is appropriate levels and what isn't. IMO, firearms would be a much more plausable IG "item" than a Race change or Spirit forge. What with alchemy, explosive traps, strengthened items, etc. You could much more easily create a firearm than forcing someone's entire being into a new set of skills or even a new set of skin.
 
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