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getting rid of the recharge times of action cards


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#1 Yepesnopes

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:08 AM

 I am a bit fed up with the concept of recharge rate /time, cool down or whatever name it has. From my point of view it is a concept that has no place in a pen and paper rpg (may be in a boardgame or a computer game). Therefore, I want to get rid of this part of the game mechanics but everything is so much entangled with this precise mechanics…has anybody succeeded in house ruling this?

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#2 Emirikol

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:38 PM

It really would be as simple as going down the list and updating two things in a spreadsheet:

1.  How many dice would be relevant if it could be used once per encounter, and how many if it could be used at-will?

2.  Can it be used once per encounter or at will? (or both categories)

 

I think it just involves sitting down and mentally calculating cost/benefit.  Personally, since I'm the GM, I don't really care and most players probably don't care either (unless you're a spellcaster with a boatload of spells or something).

 

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#3 Yepesnopes

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:15 PM

 Yes, may be I will spend some time on it as you say.

For the next game I am just going to allow to use the action cards at will and see which is the in-game effect.

For ongoing actions like some spells it can be a bit of a mess if the player cast twice the same spell, but I will try to look for a clean way to keep track of the duration time, may be 1D10 dice or so.

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#4 heptat

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

What about this:

  • Any action card that has a recharge of 2 (or less) can be used at will.
  • Parry, block and dodge (I'd be tempted to remove the ability restrictions on these too) can be used at will. However you can only parry one attack and block one attack per turn (that one is straight from GURPS).
  • Any action card with a recharge greater than 2 can be used once per encounter. However if you want to use one of these actions more than once, you must suffer fatigue (if it's based on a physical ability) or stress (if it's based on a mental ability) equal to the difference between the recharge value and 2.

Upside: removes recharge.

Downside: introduces a different type of fiddly tracking.

I like the idea of penalising with fatigue/stress.

The problem with coming up with house rules is, you can never really thoroughly playtest them. Mind you, as others have speculated, FFG don't seem to have playtested enough either…



#5 Ruskendrul

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 10:40 PM

How about:

 

If you use an ability with a recharge in a row (say 3) you get an extra 3 black dice to use that ability. The penalty stack for each time you use said ability.

Smash Face, recharge 3, use. Smash Face, use again with 3 more black dice. Smash Face, use again with 5 more black dice (3 minus 1 for recharge time plus 3) and so on…



#6 heptat

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:01 AM

Ruskendrul said:

How about:

 

If you use an ability with a recharge in a row (say 3) you get an extra 3 black dice to use that ability. The penalty stack for each time you use said ability.

Smash Face, recharge 3, use. Smash Face, use again with 3 more black dice. Smash Face, use again with 5 more black dice (3 minus 1 for recharge time plus 3) and so on…

But if you're using minus 1 for recharge time, aren't you then effectively tracking recharge again?

What about just 3 black dice (for recharge 3) every time you use it after the first?

Or 1 purple dice for each recharge value beyond 2?

One of the problems I realise, however, is that some results increase or reduce the recharge. What do you do then? Again, it results in you having to track recharge in some form or another.

It really seems that the solution is to rewrite every action - no thanks!

And all this ignores this issue of the "broken" core mechanic. If you're rolling 4 attribute (blue) dice vs 1 challenge (purple) die, your chance of success is very very high (too high in fact).

You know, I really want to make this system work with as little effort and as few changes as possible - but it seems like there are too many things wrong with it :(



#7 LordoftheMilk

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:17 AM

I think the recharge mechanic is fantastic.

No more duration counting, no more magic points, etc…

Also allows for heroic fighting styles and maneuvers.

A wonderful evolution.

 

And if you need more flwxibility, you can simply use the toolkit rules whereby you can reuse an action card while adding misfortune dice.

 



#8 heptat

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:33 PM

LordoftheMilk said:

I think the recharge mechanic is fantastic.

No more duration counting, no more magic points, etc…

Also allows for heroic fighting styles and maneuvers.

A wonderful evolution.

 

And if you need more flwxibility, you can simply use the toolkit rules whereby you can reuse an action card while adding misfortune dice.

 

That's cool, I'm glad you like it :) My players just found it a bit fiddly and we were always forgetting whether we'd taken the chit off or not…we lost count too easily (but you're right, we'd have the same problem with counting durations :D).



#9 Yepesnopes

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:09 PM

LordoftheMilk said:

I think the recharge mechanic is fantastic.

No more duration counting, no more magic points, etc…

Also allows for heroic fighting styles and maneuvers.

A wonderful evolution.

I have to agree only partially.

The second sentence is missleading, I hope you see it. We do counting, and a lot of it! We have recharge tokens, for recharge time, for power and for favour (these two last ones are magic points)….and more. But honestly, this part of the mechanics did not bother me, we had a huge table, we had plenty of tokens and my players (after some games), remembered to remove/add tokens when it was needed.

As for your third and fourth sentences, there I agree totally. One of the reasons I bought the game was that it gave me the impression that due to action cards, finally there was an RPG where not only the spellcasters characters would have some tricks, but also non spellcasters.

Then, the main problem I have is indeed the recharge mechanic itself. While it does a good job in terms of game balance, it does it at expenses of one thing that for me is vital for an RPG; a consistent "simulationist" reason behind it. The book makes an attempt to justify it, but it is plainly weak and non consistent. I know that for many people (most ones in these forums) that is not important, but for me this is an annoying thorn. If I would be playing Advanced Hero Quest or Warhammer Quest, it would  not bother me, but in case of an RPG…I demand more.

May be you can follow it better with an example. Let's suppose that our rpg system is one that for the sake of game balance between close combat and ranged combat allows arrows to be fired through walls. I guess, most of us will say, "Come one! you cannot fire through walls, you cannot see the target and the arrow cannot just go through the wall"! Then let's suppouse that the book justifies this rule by saying "In the fantasy world of warhammer anything can happen". Well, that is how I feel with the recharge mechanics.

An RPG has many ingredients (and specially this one). Fatigue, stress, wounds, chaos stars, banes, black dice, fortune dice… In my opinion they just picked up the easy (and lazy) way to balance the use of actions: restrict the frequency you can use the by putting cooling down times.

Why you can do a basic melee attack each round, but you cannot parry or use your double strike each round? Well, in my opinion the only real reason is pure mechanics balance.

I redid all the melee action cards with recharge time zero, tweaking here and there when I thought it was needed. I will post them here for people if anyone wants to give them a look. As for reactions, I have to check, but I think I limited them to 3 reactions per round.

Cheers,

Yepes


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#10 Mexorlon

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:19 AM

Yepesnopes said:

 

I redid all the melee action cards with recharge time zero, tweaking here and there when I thought it was needed. I will post them here for people if anyone wants to give them a look. As for reactions, I have to check, but I think I limited them to 3 reactions per round.

Cheers,

Yepes

 

Sounds very interresting, have you thought about making harder/different prerequisites. 

 



#11 Yepesnopes

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:56 AM

Mexorlon said:

Yepesnopes said:

I redid all the melee action cards with recharge time zero, tweaking here and there when I thought it was needed. I will post them here for people if anyone wants to give them a look. As for reactions, I have to check, but I think I limited them to 3 reactions per round.

Cheers,

Yepes

 

Sounds very interresting, have you thought about making harder/different prerequisites. 

For some cards that is indeed what I did.


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#12 neilgfoster

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:11 AM

I haven't really thought this through, so this suggestion may be pants, but how about replacing recharge with fatigue/stress? ie. Instead of placing recharge on an action card, a character takes an equivalent amount of fatigue/stress equal to the recharge value of the card.

This strikes me as being a little more 'simulationist'. The more crazy actions a character tries to perform, the quicker they become fatigued/stressed/strained, representing the huge effort they are putting into performing their heroic actions.

Of course, this means that characters will rack up fatigue/stress very very quickly, so this would need to be mitigated somehow. Perhaps at the end of each turn a character may remove one fatigue and one stress equal to their rank. Basing the amount that may be removed on Rank means that as characters progress, they will be able to perform more heroic actions more often as they recover fatigue/stress more quickly.

This still relies on players remembering to automatically remove fatigue/stress from their character at the end of a turn, but it seems easier to remember to remove one set of tokens rather than a set of tokens from each recharging card.

As I said though, I haven't tried this so it could restrict players way too much.


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#13 Yepesnopes

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:19 AM

neilgfoster said:

I haven't really thought this through, so this suggestion may be pants, but how about replacing recharge with fatigue/stress? ie. Instead of placing recharge on an action card, a character takes an equivalent amount of fatigue/stress equal to the recharge value of the card.

This strikes me as being a little more 'simulationist'. The more crazy actions a character tries to perform, the quicker they become fatigued/stressed/strained, representing the huge effort they are putting into performing their heroic actions.

Of course, this means that characters will rack up fatigue/stress very very quickly, so this would need to be mitigated somehow. Perhaps at the end of each turn a character may remove one fatigue and one stress equal to their rank. Basing the amount that may be removed on Rank means that as characters progress, they will be able to perform more heroic actions more often as they recover fatigue/stress more quickly.

This still relies on players remembering to automatically remove fatigue/stress from their character at the end of a turn, but it seems easier to remember to remove one set of tokens rather than a set of tokens from each recharging card.

As I said though, I haven't tried this so it could restrict players way too much.

It may work for some actions. You will need to adjust it for actions with the Ongoing trait, since they are meant to last long time and therfore they have large recharge times.

The problem of modifing core mechanics is that there is always something else. For example, in that case, the amount of manoeuvres PC will be able to do will be insane, since they recover fatigue faster due to the implementation of a mitigating effect for fatigue /stress. Similarli the Insanity submechanic may be affected.

I am not saying is a bad idea, but my experience trying to modify this core mechanic has taught me that is a tricky mechanic to change.

Cheers,

Yepes


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#14 neilgfoster

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:23 AM

Good point! I hadn't considered the side-effects on things like maneouvers


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#15 gruntl

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:27 PM

heptat said:

What about this:

  • Any action card that has a recharge of 2 (or less) can be used at will.
  • Parry, block and dodge (I'd be tempted to remove the ability restrictions on these too) can be used at will. However you can only parry one attack and block one attack per turn (that one is straight from GURPS).
  • Any action card with a recharge greater than 2 can be used once per encounter. However if you want to use one of these actions more than once, you must suffer fatigue (if it's based on a physical ability) or stress (if it's based on a mental ability) equal to the difference between the recharge value and 2.

Upside: removes recharge.

Downside: introduces a different type of fiddly tracking.

I like the idea of penalising with fatigue/stress.

The problem with coming up with house rules is, you can never really thoroughly playtest them. Mind you, as others have speculated, FFG don't seem to have playtested enough either…

I think ideas 1 and 3 are perfectly fine, you won't hurt the mechanics that much with them. For 2, I think you need to make it cost more to use the active defenses, otherwise they will just not be active any longer (but instead something the characters use every turn). I posted my ideas in another thread on this subject some time ago. For the active defenses I suggested that you can use them at will (though a max of one of each per turn), but that each one you use will add one misfortune on your next action.

As Yepesnopes point out, you will also have to deal with Ongoing effects. The simplest way is just to let them last until the encounter end or rally phase, I think that should work.

I disagree that the core mechanic is broken. If 4 ability dice vs 1 challenge has a too high success rate for your liking then make sure the pool doesn't look like that. You as GM have that power. Use the ACE pool also defensively (this cannot be stated too many times). Aggression dice can be spent to add misfortune to player attacks. Make sure that your NPCs use active defenses, and that the more powerful ones have access to improved defenses or other defensive actions. The most powerful enemies even add extra purple dice when targeted. If you want things to be harder for the PCs it's a simple fix to just add 1 or 2 to the defense of all enemies. Finally, even a success may come at a price, make sure to use the banes and chaos stars (and don't use  the pre-printed results al the time, sometimes it's more fun to just improvise).



#16 Jericho

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:54 AM

I try to use the rules as written as much as possible, to give the design a chance to shine.

Regarding high success probabilities in Combat, I had the same impression at first, when I was only considering the basic purple + defense.

That is an error.

Creatures and NPCs must absolutely use the Active Defense action cards as much as possible. I even give the Improved versions to combat worthy opponents.

 

Which brings me to recharge…

I run a game with rank 4 PCs. The players like the cards, the recharge and whatnot.

Behind my screen, during a typical scrap, I'll have four creature/NPC cards + around 12 action cards (Active defenses + creature actions). I printed out the basic action cards and put them on my screen, since they are all recharge zero.

Now I must admit, I do not use recharge behind my screen, nor do I use Power or Favour. I take into account recharge values and wing it. I'm usually able to remember if a creature has used it's special action last turn or not and decide if it  can use it again.

I FIND THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO USE THIS SYSTEM if you want your creatures/npcs to be fully skilled and fleshed out. They need actions. Recharge on twelve cards for 4 types of creatures is just not feasible if you GM with pace and rythm in mind.

Oh, and lastly, I use ACE as if they represent special talents or abilities these creatures have. I don't use it to represent skills. That means that Expertise will be used in a way similar to Once A Session career abilities and Aggression and Cunning represent creature talents.

As I consider that most creatures  should have some skills related to their race or careers, I rule on the fly if they are skilled or not in a particular skill, if I think they are, I give them 1 rank of training.

Most of the time, in combat, only Weapon Skill, Resilience, Discipline, Coordination and Athletics will be of value. Trained Knights might have WS, Res. and Disc. for example. I just go with what feels right.

 

Last comment about recharge and everything. I never check if people are doing things right. If they forget to remove a token, so be it. If they realize one turn later that they forgot to remove a token last turn, I let them remove 2 that turn. I trust my players, and frankly, I don't care about lost tokens. 

I find the design goal of the recharge ratings is only to cater to some kind of balance and to keep the game varied and moving along in a fun way. If you use this tool as such, without getting to anal about it, it can work.

In a future version, they could find a way to turn the card sideways if it recharges, for example. That would only give a recharge rating of 2, but maybe dividing all actions in two categories (recharge 0 or recharge 2) would streamline the game nicely. Then tokens would be used only for delaying effects, ongoing effects and such.


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The time of change has come!

#17 stanmons

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:07 AM

Most of cards take 2+ rounds to recharge and majority of combat is done in 1-3 rounds (at least you'd hope them to be as the longer combat usually does not mean more fun but only more real-life exhaustion).

This would suggest the following simplification:

  • Each special action can be used once per encounter (exhausting it by tapping it)
  • Each basic action card can be used as many times as needed
  • Each card relying on recharge tokens as game mechanic for duration will last the whole encounter
  • Each card relying on recharge tokes as game mechanic for power will have the full power the whole encounter

Simply and not game breaking by any means.

"Too powerful" cards could be either discarded altogether (hey, you are GM afterall!) or simply ramp up the odds and give each player one super-card for them to to have their own speciality.



#18 stanmons

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:49 AM

I have this in my house rules, page 5. http://db.tt/aWjASN2

 



#19 Boehm

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:35 AM

Hmm dont forget there are a number of ways to remove recharge counters - ei. many actionscards like the shield fighting style or leadership actions, warning shoot etc has a big part of thier attractiveness being the ability to recharge other actions - ei. typically reaction actions. Likewise several talents and conditions modify the recharge rate by either letting u remove an extra token or adding extra tokens to your actions.

While I agree that the whole token game can get a bit fiddly, I dont really see how u can do away with it without redoing a lot of actions, talents etc. at the same time … as I see it its just really part of the core mechanic. A mechanic I actually like (though it IS fiddly) … since the usage of recharge altering effects can really have a big impact on your playstyle. 



#20 dvang

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:21 AM

One of the main points/reasons for the recharge mechanic is to encourage (even to actually force) a diversity in actions that a PC can take on a turn. With recharge, all but the most basic actions cannot be taken two rounds in a row.  Consider that removing the recharge mechanic will allow a PC to use Rapid Fire every round, or Trollfeller Strike, or Double Attack, or Immobilizing shot, or Sniper shot, or any number of other powerful combat abilities. Every Single Round.

A player will have little incentive to purchase multiple actions. One powerful ranged and one powerful melee is all the actions that they really need in that case. It way overpowers the PC, and makes purchasing more actions (and a diverse number of actions) less necessary.  It also affects the mechanic of the DELAY on the conservative dice.  One of the options for the GM is to increase the recharge on an action card when a PC rolls a Delay symbol. Very handy to make the PC have to use a different action, or prevent the use of a defensive card.

Add in that there are abilities, talents, spells, and actions that reduce recharge, plus players can use Fortune points to reduce recharge.

IMO any attempt to eliminate rechage needs to address these points adequately.

If you must eliminate recharge, I would err on the side of making actions more difficult. Simply put, I would suggest something like this:

Using an action "taps" it. An action is unusable while tapped. In order to "untap" an action, the PC must suffer Fatigue/Stress (depending on whether it is a physical or mental action) to untap it, with a value equal to the recharge value on the card.  There is no new recharge bonus each round. Characters can always spend a turn to Assess the Situation during combat to restore some fatigue/stress.  This has the added benefit of essentially adding another turn delay for using multiple high-cost abilities, as well as making Assess The Situation a more useful (and more used) action overall.

Yes, most powerful combat actions have a recharge cost of 3, meaning they can essentially be used twice in a row. However, the PC does run the risk of gaining additional fatigue/stress during combat from other things (like fear)  which might put them over their Threshold if they take the risk.

As another option, use a mechanic similar to spellcasting. Each PC has "combat points", similar to Favor or Power, equal to their relevant stat (or highest stat of ST/AG).  Using an action costs a number of these points equal to the recharge of the action. These points have "equilibrium", and will replenish one point per round like Power/Favor. Since there is no "channel power" or "curry favor", powerful actions will naturally be resticted in how often they can be used. You could also allow a character to suffer fatigue for additional "combat points" on a one for one basis, for example, simulating a heroic/extra effort to perform an expensive action that the character doesn't currently have points for.

Personally, I think that I like the second option … but it is something else that needs to be tracked (in a sense) as it is another pool, so is still a little fiddly.

As a last option, any action with a recharge of more than 1 is only usable once per encounter, although you could allow one or more action to be refreshed (ie- useable again) during a rally step. This is the simplest option, with the least tracking required. It is a bit harsh on actions, however. Again, though, I would err on the side of being more restictive than less and risking unbalancing the game by allowing powerful combat actions being used too often.






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