Jump to content



Photo

Your Players Want Ascension, You know it's Broken, How can you fix it?


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 GilboD

GilboD

    Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:39 PM

Simply put, my Players have their eyes on becoming Inquisitors, Primaris Psykers, Crusaders, and Vindicare Assassins. They have been reading and gearing themselves towards that goal ever since Rank 3.

They are Rank 5 currently.

Now beyond the obvious 'Don't run Ascension,' or 'Convince them not to play Ascension' arguments, I would like to know before hand what I can do to try and fix some of the glaring holes with Ascension I've read about on this forum with House Rules and I would like your suggestions and help.

I've read that the Vindicare Assassin and Primaris Psyker are loads of poor implementation of rules and that in general Ascension level characters become extremely powerful and mow down foes physically with ease.

Some suggestions I've thought of for these problems are:

1) Vindicare:

- Can't Dodge Hordes
- Can't Dodge or Use Special Abilities/Talents when in Armour above 7 Points that is not the Vindicare special armour

2) Primaris Psyker

- Can't Overbleed when Fettered, only when Unfettered or Pushing

Anything else I've missed from Ascension or good House Rules you have used as GM's in the past to make it workable?



#2 macd21

macd21

    Member

  • Members
  • 915 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:08 PM

For the VA, I'd just change his 'dodges = to AB" to one extra dodge.

For the PP I'd change how the psy system works - instead of using his WB as a modifier to things like how much damage a power does I'd use the number of Psy he chooses to roll to activate the power. This limits the impact he can have while using his abilities at fettered.



#3 Dok Martin

Dok Martin

    Member

  • Members
  • 133 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:02 PM

What macd21 said.

Also, as a GM Ascension means that your "monsters" have to get a bit smarter and more creative. Mercenaries and petty witches are no challenge anymore, and neither should they be. Don't make the same mistake that I keep making! Make your evil guys fight smart!

The Vindicare's many dodges will be of no use to his allies if he's just been dominated by a rogue psyker. They Primaris' powers will be of no use to him if he's just been successfully entangled by an exotic grapple weapon. And all the XP in the world won't save them if they were careless enough to walk into an elobarotely designed trap.

Ascension can be lotsa fun!



#4 GilboD

GilboD

    Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:57 AM

I think also the Primaris Psyker (and Psykers in general) should not be able to heal or negate the effects of Psychic Powers with other Psychic Powers.  The damage or Fatigue is considered "Resistant" or "Soul burning" so some of the infinite loop power combos aren't able to work.

I 100% agree Ascension can be awesome fun, I just want to make sure as a good GM that it stays fun and that the mechanics aren't broken so things like a planet being destroyed by a dedicated Primaris or an unkillable Vindicare walking into a chapter of Space Marines and laughing as he kills them all Dodging all their attacks forever doesn't happen.



#5 Radwraith

Radwraith

    Member

  • Members
  • 923 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:22 AM

All of the above are good suggestions. In addition; make sure you emphasize the fact that ascenscion characters are now part of a "wider" universe (Through the use of influence, political maneuvering etc.) The Inquisitor's power is near limitless in this field! (Especially if you use the "This one thing I ask" option in influence!) As to the Psyker: Consider useing the Black Crusade rules. There is a fairly simple conversion method listed in that book.



#6 GilboD

GilboD

    Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:58 AM

Does the Black Crusade conversion fix most of the issues with Psykers? Or just put them into a different form?



#7 Face Eater

Face Eater

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,367 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:49 AM

I'm interested in this myself. Although I've temporarily started a DW game in the meantime.

I'm hoping that psy rating rather than WP is the fix for psykers but there is no current psykers in my group so the Primaris isn't a problem.

I've got some fluff based problems with the Vindicare but i wouldn't completly disallow it a players wanted it, they are cool as f*** after all. Was thinking about two things to reign them in though firstly I was considering was stopping the vindicare using anything other than there basic gear except for mission specific items. Secondly (and possibly a bit harsh) I was going to make dodges beyond their normal reactions per turn having a cumulative -10 penalty.

In general I'm of the opinion that the influence IS as big a bonus as being good in combat though, sure the rules as written are that a vindi are all but unkillable but they can still only kill one enemy per round (a few more in melee) where an inquisitor that usually roles up with a company of troops is going to mowing things down by the dozen. And if enemies are in that number then Vindi (although anybody who isn't in hard armour is paste) could be taking a dozen hits or more per turn.



#8 Sister Callidia

Sister Callidia

    Member

  • Members
  • 459 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 03:21 AM

The problem with the Vindicare is more then just his ability to dodge everything. They tried to recreate the tabletop VA with unnatural strengths and toughness etc. Such a character would be nice for a DW game, not for DH since he outclasses everybody. Before you use it, reduce him to a more mangeable levels.

Other problem cases include the Tech Priest who ultimately becomes an impenatrable fortress of doom. Most characters are a tad weak by comparison.

Personally I am not fond of the whole, look more peers syndrome for characters who are anything but social. For Most characters, those are the only talents they can learn. They tried to make everyone ia diplomat, make every character fullfill the same social role. Not much fun if you have some truly excellent social wonders in your team already. They get even better while your character gets a bit less worse in the same thing while seeing hardly any improvement in his or her original role.

Ascension, it can work but it requires a good GM and good players who are not into muchkinism, I like the idea, but it needs some serious rethinking here and there.

 



#9 Santiago

Santiago

    Veteran

  • Members
  • 1,528 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 03:52 AM

Vindicare Fix 1) Don't Allow it...
Vindicare Fix 2) After the initial raction are spend have him Dodge the rest at 1/3 Dodge, this will still leave him at 25 to 30% Dodge

Primaris Psyker Fix 1) Don't allow Lightning Arc
Primaris Psyker Fix 2) Have Lightning Arc work as Full Auto works...1 Hit per DoS on a Foucs Test



#10 GilboD

GilboD

    Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:23 AM

Sister Callidia said:

The problem with the Vindicare is more then just his ability to dodge everything. They tried to recreate the tabletop VA with unnatural strengths and toughness etc. Such a character would be nice for a DW game, not for DH since he outclasses everybody. Before you use it, reduce him to a more mangeable levels.

Other problem cases include the Tech Priest who ultimately becomes an impenatrable fortress of doom. Most characters are a tad weak by comparison.

Personally I am not fond of the whole, look more peers syndrome for characters who are anything but social. For Most characters, those are the only talents they can learn. They tried to make everyone ia diplomat, make every character fullfill the same social role. Not much fun if you have some truly excellent social wonders in your team already. They get even better while your character gets a bit less worse in the same thing while seeing hardly any improvement in his or her original role.

Ascension, it can work but it requires a good GM and good players who are not into muchkinism, I like the idea, but it needs some serious rethinking here and there.

 

 

Any suggestions though for how make him more manageable? He seems like a very killer assassin, and that's his role, so far I've only seen the Dodge tests being silly which makes him unkillable. The other classes are also very powerful and comparable to a DW game in combat strength, mostly because of versatility.

By rethinking here and there, what do you mean? Playing it more of a social game or tweaking Talents and things?



#11 Acernis Taine

Acernis Taine

    Member

  • Members
  • 48 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 10:52 AM

This is going to be a long post so bear with me.

My group was (and still is), very interested in playing Ascension and as GM I also saw great potential... but not so great implementing of that potential in the book, so over a long period I gradually, with input from my players, began implementing small and sometimes not so small changes to the careers and system as a whole, and am still in progress of fine-tuning these. I will note anything I can remember from memory.

Note: These are changes we are planning to use and I am not recommending that you use them, simply showing them so you can take what you want, if anything.

Dark Heresy/ Ascension changes as a whole

Firstly, use everything that Black Crusade changed (this includes the amalgamation of similar skills, new talents, the much better Unnatural Trait rules and Psychic Powers etc. except the Chaos worship things obviously), any other changes will be noted below.

Skills. We added the third (+30) upgrade to all skill and decided that it could be bought at 100 points more than the equivalent +20 for all classes. Secondly we split each of the Mastery Skills as we found that becoming an undisputed master just like that *snap* was a bit over the top. So instead of getting all those skills at +20 level each Mastery skill function more as a catalogue for which skills are available at that rank, so you can buy any of the skills included at any level (Trained, +10, +20 and +30) for an additional 100 points (so 100, 200, 300 and 400 respectably).

for example: In Forbidden Lore Mastery, the character can buy any Forbidden Lore at any level for 100 points for a trained, 200 points for +10, 300 points for +20 and 400 points for +30. Exactly as if their instead of Forbidden Lore Mastery in the rank there was simply listed all the Forbidden Lores with their respective modifiers at 100 points each.  

This serves to limit the Characters from becoming too good and gives them substantially more things to buy, and doing so more selectively. We considered the little problem with space on sheets a minor drawback. If the characters do gain enough skills to essentially having gained the Mastery Skills they can just write that on their sheets instead.

I made one specific change for the Reaction skills (Dodge, and in Black Crusade Parry as well), I changed these from Skills into actions, as such characters (and NPCs) can now no longer increase their chances at dodging or parrying by buying up in them. This has worked like a charm for both Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader as no enemy is impossibly hard to hit and Character are forced to play smarter and more carefully to avoid being killed.

Talents. Like skills we split the Paragon Talent into their individual components that could all be bought at that rank for their normal price (averaged from the Dark Heresy careers, with GM having the final word).

Traits. A few of the classes have access to the Unnatural Trait, in this case we adopted the Black Crusade system and said that every (x2) becomes (+2) etc. the few career what has access to other traits (such as Fear (1)) had those traits removed from their ranks.

Career Relevant Changes

We have opened all ranks within a career so characters are not restricted to buy anything particular at any particular time, like a lesser version of the system in Black Crusade. This has worked excellent so far.

Furthermore in our game each Throne agent is able to pick from any two relevant career paths (e.g. Our Inquisitor has access to the Inquisitor and Interrogator careers. Our warrior priest has access to the Hierophant and Crusader careers and out psyker has access to the Primaris Psyker and Desperado careers). This however is more a result of our particular style of play and I would not advise it unless the GM things it also suits his/her particular players.

The only two careers I made any significant changes to are the Vindicare Assassin and the Primaris Psyker.

Vindicare. in my game they are outlawed, not because they are too powerful but because to me it makes no sense what-so-ever that a Temple Assassin is part of a Inquisitorial cadre as a permanent addition. However I did make some changes. Firstly with the reduced Unnatural rules and the removal of the bonuses to Dodge the Vindicare are much less of a game breaker, the only remaining problem lies in the Temple Assassin Dodge, I have simply let it be but suggestions include, give him or her half his AB additional reactions instead of the full AB, or ignore the additional dodges and give him or her the equivalent of a force field with a Protection Rating of 35 that never overloads. When this is done the Vindicare is theoretically not that overpowered any more, note: I said theoretically as I have not tested that particular part.

Primaris Psyker. Firstly we have limited any PC psyker's maximum Psy-rating to 6 simply because near godly power are the domain of NPCs, otherwise will be so horribly broken that it won't be fun for anyone. Secondly we changed the Psychic Powers system to work more in alignment with the Black Crusade one.

Psychic Powers 

The full rules are found in black crusade but for a quick summery: a power is manifested by a rolling under the Psyker's Willpower score plus their Psy-Rating (PR) x5 (further modifiers to this test is noted below).

Each Degree of Success (DoS) equals one level of Overbleed on most powers. Range damage powers can be Psychic Bolt (Single Shot), Psychic Barrage (Semi-automatic) or Psychic Storm (Full-automatic), alternatively they can be Psychic Blast (psychic bolt with a Blast radius equal to the active PR).

When manifesting a power there is usually a modifier to the Focus Power Test, in black crusade this is noted in their description in Dark Heresy my players and I have come up with the following system: 

Each Minor psychic power gives a +10 to the test, each major psychic power gives a penalty to the test equal to the "tenth" digit in their Threshold (a Threshold 18 power would give a penalty of -10, a power with a threshold of 25 would give a -20 modifier etc.). Ascension Powers follows this but counts their Threshold as ten higher than as stated in the book (e.g. Lightning Arc with Threshold 16 becomes threshold 26 and as such gives a -20 penalty).

Any power that either deals an additional amount of damage equal to WB or a flat damage bonus (e.g. 1d10+10) instead deals an additional damage equal to the Psyker's active PR (1d10+PR). Also anywhere where it says WB is replaced with PR. And lastly any power that fires more than one shot or can affect additional targets instead becomes Psychic Barrage or Psychic Storm powers as relevant (e.g. Lightning-Arc would become a Psychic Storm).

Some of the powers (such as My Will Obeyed, Inferno, Lift, Barrier, Tempest and Stasis Shell) have also been changed in our game but I won't go into that now.

Well I think that was everything, If you can use anything feel free.



#12 macd21

macd21

    Member

  • Members
  • 915 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:40 PM

GilboD said:

 

Any suggestions though for how make him more manageable? He seems like a very killer assassin, and that's his role, so far I've only seen the Dodge tests being silly which makes him unkillable. The other classes are also very powerful and comparable to a DW game in combat strength, mostly because of versatility.

By rethinking here and there, what do you mean? Playing it more of a social game or tweaking Talents and things?

Reducing the VA's extra dodges to just one makes them much more reasonable. In addition you can use the BC rules for multiple attacks. This basically makes them work like ranged burst attacks - for example Swift Attack is one attack, with a number of hits = margin of success. To dodge all of them the VA needs to get an equal or better margin of success on his dodge, giving good melee NPCs a chance of hitting him.



#13 Decessor

Decessor

    Member

  • Members
  • 981 posts

Posted 03 March 2012 - 01:57 AM

I actually have little issue with the Vindicare as written...for a NPC. It does represent the background Vindicare quite well but it's horrifically powerful compared to most other ascension characters and doesn't make sense in background (except maybe for a high level Ordo Sicarius campaign). For my prior Ascension campaign, I made players an offer of taking a "sniper elite" class with a single extra reaction instead of the pile, none of the vindicare-only gear but easy access to underworld-themed talents. No-one took it so I can't comment on how it played out.

I'd replace Forbidden Lore Mastery with cheap access to Forbidden Lores that suit the character's background, Faction and Ordo. All Forbidden Lores is insane. There is information there that incredibly powerful groups have killed for ten thousand years to keep secret. Not a chance a sage suddenly knows all of it, but I've no problem with them becoming incredibly good at what they *should* have access to.

In an Ordo Malleus campaign with my Rank 10 Tech-Priest/Sage, the GM allowed me to take a modified Forbidden Lore Mastery. I got to pick five Forbidden Lores appropriate to the character and make those +20. The XP cost was 200 lower because the skill, while excellent is nowhere near as good as the broken original skill.

Definately replace WP bonus with Used Psy Rating in psychic powers. It makes primaris characters so much less broken.

There is something iffy about the sheer number of Peers. It comes across as lazy filler for the non-social characters. If the Ordo Malleus game my bookworm Tech-Priest/Sage was in had continued, he would have rapidly run out of new options that made sense for the character. He was *not* the talker of the party. Luckily tech-priest has quite a lot to buy, but that's relying on a prior class and not his supposed new focus in Ascension level.

 



#14 Sister Callidia

Sister Callidia

    Member

  • Members
  • 459 posts

Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:43 AM

GilboD said:

Any suggestions though for how make him more manageable? He seems like a very killer assassin, and that's his role, so far I've only seen the Dodge tests being silly which makes him unkillable. The other classes are also very powerful and comparable to a DW game in combat strength, mostly because of versatility.

By rethinking here and there, what do you mean? Playing it more of a social game or tweaking Talents and things?

Ok lets talk again about the VA. For some strange reason, he gets both unnatural Strength and Unnatural Toughness. Only the Magos gets those as well and he is a cyberzombie. None of the other combat classes gets those. I see no reason why a sniper would suddenly have the strength of a space marine. He is overpowered compared to the other classes (with possible exception being the Magos and the Psyker.

So if you want to include him, i would do at least three things. Make his special ability 1 extra Dodge and scrap the Unnatural Strength/Toughness. Also take a good look at his gear, it looks to be to good to be true.

Ascension is supposed to be more of a social game. There is no inquisitor who points you into a direction with the orders to kill. You need to find them yourself and wellthe killing part, you can make other people do that. As I said earlier, most of characters are pushed into that direction but it is not much fun if you have a no social character to begin with. To be honest, i do not see how to remedy this easily. The tweaking of gameplay will have to be done by you and your players as you go I am affaid.



#15 Decessor

Decessor

    Member

  • Members
  • 981 posts

Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:32 PM

The problem as I see it isn't that the Vindicare ruleset badly represents the background assassin. Temple assassins *are* that deadly if not more so. They get individually crafted masterpieces of weapons and wargear specific to their temple, they receive years of training under the deadliest tutors and incredibly expensive augmentations for strength and speed. If space marines are mass-produced supersoldiers, temple assassins are hand-crafted masterpieces of death. They are sent to deal with impossible targets, such as space marine chapter masters.

The problem is that they shouldn't be in Ascension as a PC class. A character that can take on squads of space marines and is expected to win in background is far too powerful for Ascension, which is very roughly equivalent to space marine level. If a player wants a sniper character, I'd advise them to look into storm trooper or modify the Vindicare.

As for the social angle, not every character concept fits into "savvy social power broker". Inquisitors have sages and combat experts on their staff for a reason and it's not to win people over with charming personality. The scale of the game does lend itself to political maneouvering but that can be covered by gathering the right information to aid the inquisitor's power play, quiet assassinations or glorious public assaults on heretics. Perhaps easier access to new talents via elite advances? A quick fix doesn't seem obvious for sure.



#16 BrotherSurge

BrotherSurge

    Member

  • Members
  • 34 posts

Posted 03 March 2012 - 08:59 PM

I think the Vindicares as represented in Ascension are ok, and playable. This isn't acolyte-level we're talking about here, but Ascension. The players get to try out being Inquisitors and their cadres, so there's nothing like "too powerful" for Ascension.

 

That said, the Temple Assassin trait that Vindicares get needs to be slightly nerfed. At the very least, don't take Unnatural Agility into account. Also, you might have to specify exactly which situations are completely undodgeable, even for a Vindicare.

 

The magos also represents something of a conundrum, when you consider his ability to soak. It is possible to push a tech-priest's toughness bonus up to 5-7 through ranks 1-8, and add the toughness bonus of the machinator array as well. Later in Ascension, you get to pick Unnatural Toughness, which brings your Tougness bonus to 10-14 somewhere (or even higher, if you keep stacking Toughness). Add Dragonscale armor, for an AP of 8, Armorer trait for another +2AP, and the Flesh is Weak for another 4 points of armor, and your soaking ability will soar. You'll also get to pick sound constitution 9 times in ranks 1-8, and another six times in Ascension. This will give you a soaking ability of  some 14 TB + 14 AP and 25-27 hp. In comparison, a Rhino APC has an armor of 24 and a structural integrity (hp) of 25.

 

So the magos needs to be tweaked, in my opinion, at least slightly, to be believable.

 

However, my biggest gripe isn't the overpowered careers, but rather the careers that fall short in comparison. Crusader is the worst example of this. His Ascended traits are forgettable, as there's even a talent that allows you to mimick his ability to shield a friend. The iconic suppression shield is nice, but seems paltry compared to the Vindicare's ability to dodge, and the magos ability to soak. Worst, though, is his complete lack of talents of influence. Apart from rank 16, the only talents of influence you get is peer, good reputation, rival and enemy talents. Granted, the crusader isn't supposed to be a career with a big social skill set, but other classes (like death cult assassin and vindicare), who beat the crusader in the race for best set of combat skills, also get more talents of influence. This needs to be amended, to provide players of the crusader and the stormtrooper (who also gets shafted in the Influence talent area) with some more leeway in their play.



#17 macd21

macd21

    Member

  • Members
  • 915 posts

Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:35 PM

BrotherSurge said:

I think the Vindicares as represented in Ascension are ok, and playable. This isn't acolyte-level we're talking about here, but Ascension. The players get to try out being Inquisitors and their cadres, so there's nothing like "too powerful" for Ascension.

No, there's very much a point where characters are 'too powerful' for Ascension and that's when they break the math. With about 14 dodges at over 100% the VA has reached that point. It's also not represenative of what their actual power level should be. While VA's should indeed be powerful, they aren't supposed to be totally immune to all attacks from a Greater Daemon of Khorne, for example.



#18 BrotherSurge

BrotherSurge

    Member

  • Members
  • 34 posts

Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:09 AM

macd21 said:

 

No, there's very much a point where characters are 'too powerful' for Ascension and that's when they break the math. With about 14 dodges at over 100% the VA has reached that point. It's also not represenative of what their actual power level should be. While VA's should indeed be powerful, they aren't supposed to be totally immune to all attacks from a Greater Daemon of Khorne, for example.

 

Indeed. Which is why I suggest that you nerf their Temple Assassin trait. There have been some very good suggestions above. What I meant is that I don't think Vindicares are too powerful fluff-wise.



#19 Niqvah

Niqvah

    Member

  • Members
  • 222 posts

Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:11 PM

Another suggestion for fixing the Vindicare's power came from our group's assassin (soon to be a Vindicare): make the ability the same as the Desperado's one dodge per game that counts as a 01 on the dice.

For psykers, the fixes may need to be a little more tailored to the player. For example, with my Ascension-level psyker (now an Inquisitor rather than a Primaris, but still...) we found Force Barrage to be broken since the number of bolts and their damage are both dependant on Willpower, which I now have at Unnatural. The fix was to make it operate like a full-auto weapon (thus greatly reducing the number of hits).

It may require some time looking through the abilities your psyker has and thinking how to tone them down to something like what other players could do with physical weapons (e.g. a heavy bolter). Your ideas for overbleed sound good, too.

Honestly, we've had a lot of fun with our current Ascension game and haven't had any problems (bar the above). Providing your players are reasonable and open to some toning-down of certain abilities, I think it should continue being an enjoyable experience for all.

I'm looking forward to playing a Judge opposite a Vindicare. I'll be able to do all sorts of social/command-based things he can't, while he'll be better in combat. Games are far more than just killing things, and the Vindicare will take a back seat in many situations, allowing other characters to shine.



#20 Umbranus

Umbranus

    Member

  • Members
  • 394 posts

Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:12 AM

My suggestion for balancing (repairing) ascension is as simple as it is effective at solving it's problems:

Just do not allow your players unnatural attributes.

 

All careers are super balanced without them and nobody breaks the math.
It's only with unnatural traits that things get out of hand.

If the other careers don't get unnaturals eben the crappy stormtrooper regains his place in the team.






© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS