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Peer Talents, Ascension and Crummy Fellowship


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#1 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 11:03 AM

When our current investigation ends in a session or two, our group will be Ascending to throne agent status.

I've been reviewing the rules and advances for the various classes and

When we first started our game, I rolled up a Moritat assassin. My initial Fellowship was 27 which dropped to 22 due to taking the Moritat package. Sometime over the course of our adventures, I suffered some strange event (something from one of the published adventures? I'm not sure…) where the GM gave me some resistances to psychic phenomena but further reduced my followship by 10.

I'm now sitting pretty with an epic Fellowship of 12.

I don't actually care that my Fellowship is so low and I've even adapted that into my character's personality in a way that's fun to play and which everybody around the table seems to enjoy. The issue is with adapting to the specific nature of the Ascended game.

It seems to me that much of the appeal and fun of the Ascension game lies in the use of Influence and with the many Peer talents which make up at least half of the progression tables and which are meant to illustrate the complex web of alliances which a throne agent develops (or ruins) in the course of their careers.  Unofficially, I've already cultivated several alliances with various groups (particularly with the Ecclesiarchy and the Sororitas, but a few others as well). I'd like that to be reflected on my character sheet but with such a low Fellowship, I'll have to spend 4 750 XP before I could be allowed to purchase any Peer talents at all.

I'm thinking of asking my GM for special dispensation to purchase the (relevant) talents anyhow, even if I don't technically qualify for them, or negotiating some sort of smaller settlement to raise my Fellowship to 30.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks.
 



#2 Darth Smeg

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:29 PM

Macharias the Mendicant said:

Any other suggestions?

Yeah, drop Ascension.

I know that's not very helpful, but when our group reached this point, we concluded (after having ascended our Psyker & Tech Priest, and looking at the Assassin) that it was broken, beyond our inclinations to repair. The tech-priest had the same problem as you (I know about the Int-substitution), but the point was, he was simply not geared towards people-interaction at all, and now Peer talents was all there was.

In the end we scrapped it, and I simply ruled that as Throne agents, they may now purchase advances from all branches of their class tree. It's a stop-gap, and we're nearing the point where the DH system will no longer support us, but that's another story.

To be more helpful, I guess a house rule along the Magos' may be workable? The reasoning for the Magos rule was that he uses his Scientific abilities to make his connections, rather than wining&dining. Hence Int rather than Fel.

Well, if your Moritat uses Strength & Honour to win his allies respect, rather than being a social fellow, perhaps letting him substitute Strength or WS? In the end it has the same effect, letting you buy Talents you don't qualify for. But it has grounding in rules, and might seem more fair to your other players than simply waiving the requirement.


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#3 breez

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 01:05 AM

If you did put in the effort from a roleplay point of view, then you should be able to have a peer(Sororitas etc.), despite your low fellowship.

With such a low fellowship, you just should not be able to buy *any* peer, like some of the other career tracks can.

 



#4 LC1984

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 04:19 AM

My GM and myself came to nearly the same conclusion with Ascension. It only achieved some things, nearly everybody gets sooner or later fearless, sooner or later most of the characters use the same skill advances (thanks to the masterys), sooner or later you only buy social talents.

But we came to our own conclusion, rebuilding Ascension to the needs of our group. Our group likes skill and diversity, so we didn't have a problem with giving the characters more skills and talents to work with. We assured, that no character could use everything on an equal level (so no dodge, church, etc. for the techpriest for example; not everyone getting access to every weapon mastery etc.). Several of the underpowered classes (Judge, Desperado, Sage) got unique talents to strengthen their role or to increase their fields of expertise. On the other hand the talents for the techpriest were redone too, so that these brought a sufficient increase in capability, without increasing the already broken endurance, that a techpriest can already get.

 

So you can work with Ascension, if you take your time to rebuild it to your groups preferences.



#5 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:53 AM

For the time being the GM is fine with me just buying up the Peer talents that make sense, which is good.

Yeah, unless I've spent some in-game time building up those relationships, I don't feel that I should be able to just spend some Xp and write: "Peer (Arbites)" or whatever to my character sheet. I can accept a little of "I did this on my down time" but even if my Fellowship was 60, it seems to make much more sense to have these Peer talents as plot or game-dependant than tied to the XP progression tables the way they are. While it is certainly likely that a generic assassin will be more lilely to have underworld contacts than Astartes contacts, the tables break down for these types of talent especially.

The players I play with are not really the type to think that giving someone special permission to buy a Talent or a Skill that makes sense is unfair. After all, that type of thing works to everybody's advantage in the end and all of our character concepts are different enough not to step on eachother's toes too much. ("You want Master Chirgeon because you feel your Moritat training makes you intimately familiar with the human body? Sounds good to me." "Your psyker wants to buy Exotic Weapon (Needle Rifle) because you found one during your travels and there's no good reason a human being with time and means couldn't learn to use it? Go for it.")

As I look over the different options for our characters, I'm realising what LC1984 has pointed out: after a few ranks, everybody starts to look the same because everybody can eventually buy everything and has accumulated enough experience to do it. The individual feel of the specialities seems to get lost somewhere along the way and the only way to "fix" it is to give characters a few 'bonus' abilities that only they can have. But they get them at Rank 9 which kind of defeats the purpose of having something to strive towards in terms of character improvement.

The Skills Mastery seems particularly broken the more i think about it: 500 XP buys you +20 to all of the skills in the group? That's not so bad for some groups with three skills (like the Investigation group) but it's insane for skill groups like Forbidden Lore! (I believe you shouldn't be able to buy Forbidden Lore except for individually; that knowledge is supposed to be hard to come by, after all!)

Worse, it raises the question: if I'm paying the full 500 XP for Althletic Mastery but I've already spent some precious XP on buildling some of the skills up but not others, shouldn't I be able to get some XP back or somehow reduce the cost of Mastery? (Obviously, if most of my skills are at +20, I understand I can buy the missing skills if it's cheaper but it often isn't.) It seems to make more sense to either: allows players the ability to increase a skill to +30 to represents how badass they've become at it, or make it a Talent which gives you some sort of bonus to using all the skills in the group (maybe a flat +10 or a free extra degree of success on any rolls in the group if you're trained or are Basic skills.)

I hear what you're saying Darth Smeg: I can see some of the problems. But we do want to give it a whirl. But it's plain that some things will need to be changed to make this more enjoyable.I'm thinking of proposing the following provisional changes to our group:

. All Skill Mastery Skills on the character progression tables are replaced by the ability to increase a skill already at +20, to +30. Basically, any skill that is part of the mastery group can be selected. Each purchase costs 200 XP. If characters have not trained a skill in the group up to +20, they can instead choose to increase their training in one of the group skills by +10 (up to +20) at a cost of 100 XP per skill advancement.

. Alternately, a character which is at least trained in all of the skills in a mastery group can instead by a new ability called Mastery which grants the character a free extra degree of success on any successful roll using the skills in the group. This has the listed cost as per the advancement table.

. Peer Talents can be purchased as they appear on the advancement tables. Alternately, a character can purchase the peer talent for any group the GM feels is appropriate based on the campaign or character development at a base cost of 500 XP. With the GM's approval, the Fellowship requirement should be waived as necessary.Guidelines for Good Reputations should follow similar rules.

. Other Ascension talents should be available as per the advancement table. Some can be made available to the characters earlier if desired (and approved by the GM) by increasing the XP as GM judges approriate.

. I'm a little less certain about how to deal with Paragon talents. If you already have all of the talents in the group, then you should just follow the guidelines in Ascension. But should you be able to buy them flat out even if you haven't even invested any XP in buying any of the included Talents before? I donèt feel that makes sense. Maybe the rule should be: a character can opt to by any of the talents which are part of the Paragon group at a cost of 200 XP each, if they do not have it listed as less costly as part of their pre-Ascension carrer advancement paths (This works for some but not all of the Talent groups, though.) Once  character has all of the Talents in the goroup, they replace them with the paragon Talent entry from Ascension instead.

 Thoughts?



#6 LC1984

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 11:33 AM

Some of the talents are really bonkers, because they shut down completely some parts of the rules (Fear -> Soul of Stone), even for careers that never got Fearless to start with. Best way to handle this is some inspiration, red tape and an good explanation from the GM.

My GM just threw several talents completely out of the window.

The best career is still Inquisitor, that career only misses two masteries of the whole bunch. As we saw that, we didn't know what to say. Because why does an Inquisitor need a Sage, a Techpriest, a Desperado, a Judge, if these careers do not bring unique skills into the game, that the Inquisitor needs? And one of the most glaring mistakes, Forbidden Lore Mastery gives +20 Black Library/AM/Inquisition, which is insane IMHO. With such talent, why should anyone ever choose to play a Sage?

For Mastery, maybe take a look at Only War, it's pretty close to your idea and handling of mastery.

For Paragon talents, rework them. Some are only a summary of the single talents and some are an upgrade in their usability. There are so many things, that could instead be used, for example:

Voice of the Omnissiah, we split that talent into two parts, one still named "The Voice of the Omnissiah" (Feedback Screech, Rite of Awe/Fear), the other "Voice from Beyond" (Mimic/Disturbing Voice). Now the latter part allows to imitate Xenos-language and a better outcome of Intimidation/Interrogation, while the former now reinforces the capability of its predecessors (more range or lower range but higher intensity).

That treatment was given to most of the talents, which in the opinion of our playgroup was really necessary.



#7 IdOfEntity

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 01:04 AM

Wow, Smeg.  That's a really simple yet elegant solution that I can present to my group.  They're not far off from rank 8, and one happens to be an assassin.  I may just say to hell with the Ascension Careers.

Did you allow your group to have access to the Ascension Armoury?



#8 Darth Smeg

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 02:52 AM

Yeah, within reason. We're using the things that we DO like, and the Influence system is one of those.

We've already been using gear from the Rogue Trader books, where appropriate and with GMs approval, so including Ascension gear was not a problem. (no one is getting any Exitus gear anyway :))


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You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on

 

My House Rules for using Only War (and more) for Dark Heresy games


#9 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 06:05 AM

I still can't wrap my head around the inequality between the Skill Mastery groups. And the messed-up logic of making Mastery cost the same regardless of how much XP you've already invested in the relevant skills. I can l;ive with super-power so long as it's balanced super-power.

Sorry. Done venting now.

Hmmm. I had assumed that once you reached Ascension ranks you automatically had access to any of the advances for your Career, meaning all of the branches. (I remember reading something to that effect in the book but I don't have it with me to check right now.)

 

GM says he wants to run it as-is (more or less) for now and see how it goes… So I guess we'll experience the FUBAR first-hand before any decisions are made. (So happy none of us are even remotely interested in Exitus gear and Vindicare Assassin stuff at least.)

 






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