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JonofPDX

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  1. JonofPDX

    save or fail

    Some great advice above. In general, I think those kind of "Save or Die" mechanics are...tough. They can take a lot of agency away from players and make a game feel kind of unfair when the dice take a turn for the worse. But they indisputably DO add incredible drama. And, if you're running in a fantastical setting, at least, there is always some possibility of brining a character back after a bad roll. But if you're going to use those type of mechanics, Genesys already offers an obvious way to implement it--triumph. Give the Basilisk some kind of Gaze ability that triggers an opposed role (say Discipline vs Discipline, though that would depend on the flavor you were going for) where the target would be staggered for a number of rounds equal to successes (and maybe inflict strain damage from advantages) or automatically petrified on a triumph. That being said, I think there are some things to consider there. First of all, the way Genesys is normally structured you, the GM, would be making the roll that could potentially kill or disable their character, and that might rub some players the wrong way. There are a couple ways you could solve this to get the player more involved. For one, you could literally just run it D&D style--roll for the Basilisk's ability as an attack rather than opposed roll and spend the triumph for the Petrify, but then let the player save against, say, a hard Resilience or Discipline test to see if the Petrification "takes". If you were going to go this route, though, I would probably still have the PC be strained and staggered so that they don't get off scott-free if they pass the petrification test. Or you could run it as, say, an average competitive test, Discipline vs Discipline/Resilience/Whatever. The Basilisk could then still spend a potential triumph for a petrification, but only if they win the overall test, giving the player more feeling of agency. Another point to consider, like @PurpleKittenofDeath mentions, is that I think 4e handled this kind of effect well. Rather than a single roll, you had to fail a certain number of times as the effect got worse and worse. So, for Genesys, I would model that as something like...the Basilisk uses its Gaze ability as an opposed test vs the applicable PC skill and, if they spend a triumph, activate the petrify. But then the PC is only stunned at first, suffering, say, 5 strain or wounds (depending on if you want to model this as an effect the PC's mind or body would be resisting) each round until they pass a hard test in the applicable skill (and shake off the petrification) or exceed their strain/wound threshold (at which point they would be petrified).
  2. This is great. For now I'm gonna stick with the "no skills" version you put together as I like having the flexibility in skill layout but thanks so much for your effort on both of these. And if you do get around to doing a "no skills" version for Terrinoth I will certainly be switching over. Way to go!
  3. JonofPDX

    Story Points to Start

    I understand the argument that the GM should use points so they cycle and players don’t feel the need to lock down the story point economy and deprive themselves and the story those inputs—that’s what I said I do. I’m saying I don’t see compelling ways to use them. And as for my examples, I wasn’t demonstrating the specific use of story points. I was saying I can do just as much or more without them. Adding previously non-existent reinforcements in the first example, adjusting known dice pool difficulties in the second and upgrading dice to represent the possibility of catastrophe from despair results in the third. But I’m not really understanding your reasoning regarding using story points for all unplanned circumstances—that seems like an incredible limitation to impose on a GM. This isn't a competitive experience, after all--the GM isn't against the players requiring some kind of balance. Like, the point of an encounter is its dramatic effect on the narrative, right? What that effect is can vary wildly. A breezy tear through a large group of fairly disposable minions is there to make the PCs feel powerful. A rapid series of difficult encounters rolling one to another are there to ratchet up the tension, degrade the PC’s resources and make them sweat. A desperate struggle against impossible odds is there to create stakes (someone could die) but also to create room for moments of real, hard-won pride when the players overcome the impossible. And the thing is—those aren’t always interchangeable. A village girl has been kidnapped by orcs. Gasp! Luckily our plucky band of adventurers have tracked them west, where they’ve encountered a group of orc sentries on the moors. Now, lets get real. These orc sentries are here to serve two functions in the narrative. One, to provide the PCs a greater understanding of the narrative (why was our girl kidnapped, who did the kidnapping, where are they, etc). And two, to break up the gameplay with a combat encounter. Function one seems simple enough. The players could stealth the orc party and overhear their conversations. Or interrogate a survivor after the fight. Perhaps find a letter on one of the bodies. Or track their footprints to another likely source of the same info. But…what about function 2? What if, once the combat begins, the dice go heavily against the players and it looks like someone might die (against nobody orcs on what you and the player both know is probably little more than a side-quest)? Or even if the PCs succeed, they’ve had to dip deeply into their resources to do so and you know things are going to get significantly harder from here? Especially if there’s a time element to your quest and they can’t just head back to town, replenish their resources and wait. Or, just as bad, what if it’s the end of the night in a session that hasn’t had any combat and your players are getting a little antsy? They take to the fight with gusto but it’s pretty quickly apparent that the PCs are gonna wipe these orcs out pretty quick without anything particularly interesting happening and then you’re gonna be done for the night with everyone feeling like there was no juice or drama to the games final (potentially) hours. The simple answer is to adjust the encounter on the fly to meet the needs of the game (call in the direowl). And while, obviously, you don’t want to do this too blatantly or often for fear of shattering the verisimilitude of the world—nobody’s arguing there aren’t limits to this, I will rarely actually fudge an encounter in a serious way, maybe once every few sessions—gamifying it so that you can only do it under certain circumstances (and telegraphing to players that your doing it by flipping a point) seems like it would not only handicap the GM’s ability to create compelling drama but also impact the players sense that the world is real and their actions have consequences. After all, when I fudge I have to follow the rules of the world and what I’ve previously stated. When I flip a point, the players know I’m making a change and all bets are off.
  4. JonofPDX

    Story Points to Start

    To be honest, I still don't 100% get what to do with Story Points as a GM. Like...if I need to make an encounter more difficult I can just make it more difficult, no? I can add more enemies: "The orcish wild-man blows a thready hoot from a bone-wrought horn. And from the skies above another hoot answers, this one warm-blooded and booming, as a Direowl swoops down into the clearing." I can improve existing, known-quantity dice pools: "You don't recognize the auto-injector until it's too late, already falling from the shaking trooper's hands as his skin flushes and his muscles seem to tense and bulge through his uniform." I can add or increase the possibility of catastrophy by upgrading dice: "You feel the surface beneath your feet tremble as your mag-boots struggle to maintain their grip on the hull as capital-class laser fire tears apart the ships around you in silent explosions. You remember the captain's words--repair the antenna and get back inside, every extra minute is inviting disaster--all checks out here are upgraded by 1." In practice I've just been using them to throw in setback die here and there just to get them back into the players hands so they can use them in interesting ways. I'm already pretty empowered to change whatever's needed to keep the tension and drama where it needs to be for the story.
  5. JonofPDX

    Grapple rules?

    Thanks for the suggestion I like that as it works within the existing system framework for structured combat encounters. Basically just giving brawl attacks Ensnare 1. Might modify it so the target can break free based on Athletics, Brawl or Coordination, though. That might be too broad, though, especially as I already split Brawl into Brawl (Br) and Brawl (Ag) to differentiate, say, Bruisers from Ninjas.
  6. JonofPDX

    Realms of Terrinoth Shipping!!!!

    I don't have my copy yet but I think the only new races are cat-folk and gnomes with variants for all the races (sans humans). From what I understand, none are explicitly good or evil. It would probably be fairly easy to take an NPC villain and extrapolate a race from their, though. I imagine that they will at least have some undead stated out for the Mistlands as that area is the setting's undead-Mordor allegory. For that matter, I would imagine there are probably stats for things like goblins as well. And we already have Beastmen and Ogres from the Core book. Anyone who has it, though, feel free to correct me here.
  7. JonofPDX

    Grapple rules?

    Hey guys. Had a question come up at the table last night regarding how grappling would work and couldn't find an answer in the book. I see on page 67 where it says that it would be some form of brawl check, but it doesn't seem to give any specifics anywhere that I can see about how that would work. Unless I'm blind, which is very possible. I ended up just having the PC, as an action, do an opposed Brawl check vs the opponent's Brawl, Athletics or Coordination (whichever was higher) with the consequence that a successfully grappled (N)PC could not use maneuvers or actions where they would need full movement until they spent an action to do another opposed test to escape (Again, Brawl, Athletics or Coordination vs the grappler's Brawl). This worked out okay but was wondering if anyone knows where the actual rules are for grapple, if there are any?
  8. JonofPDX

    Skills weirdness in Genesys

    As someone coming from a system that had a TON of skill bloat, I kinda feel the OP here. Reading through the Genesys skills I’m always simultaneously really happy that Genesys pairs down some of the ridiculous granularity of some systems…right up until I run up against something like Mechanics or Knowledge (probably the biggest offenders) where they’re so broad you could simultaneously run an oxcart and an FTL-enabled space missile through them at the same time. Which is…problematic, to say the least, as I want characters to feel distinct and special and those skills are so common and universal in their application. The solution I came up with (with my admittedly limited experience with the system—only played a few games) was making players tell me where they learned each of their skills and trying to make a determination from there whether a given application of a skill made sense. But then giving players a chance to augment those defined parameters with story points. So, for instance, I have a character in my fantasy game that’s kind of a Ranger/Explorer type. Part of their backstory was that they learned their skills from their father, who made a living as a guide to groups traveling through the wilderness. It made sense, then, that part of that training was use of a longbow (the character’s primary weapon) and, in turn, proficiency in the Ranged (Heavy) skill. But when this same character got their hands on a comparatively rare dwarven, breach-loading rifle that they would have realistically never even seen let alone been trained in, I ruled that they couldn’t use their Ranged (Heavy) skill to operate it because it was so different than the longbows and similar weapons they were proficient in. Rather, it would be a straight, unskilled Agility test. However, wanting to give the player some agency, I said that the rifle was similar enough to crossbows that they had at least some experience with that I would allow them to spend a story point to treat all tests with the rifle in a given encounter as if they were trained in its use (as opposed to a single upgrade on a single test). Furthermore, I gave the player a one-time opportunity, right then, to spend 3 story points to permanently amend their backstory to include an anecdote on how they were trained in dwarven rifles and so allow them to use such weapons as they would any tool they were proficient in. That worked out well for us and the whole table was engaged. 3 story points were the players’ entire pool at the time. But that gun was better than what they had and an investment in the future. They would always get the story points back, after all, and this was a one-time opportunity. And the player had fun coming up with a story to tell the table about how as a kid he had helped his father act as a guide to a party of dwarven big game hunters that had taken a liking to him and shown him how to shoot. I see no reason why a similar system wouldn’t work for any of those broad skills, with the GM assigning a one-time story point cost based on how “off-label” the use is for the character’s backstory. I would probably keep it as a “now or never” decision for the players, though, so it feels like a special moment and not something they can just change their mind on later. And it's also a great use for story points, which I think are hard for some people (myself very much included) to get their head around using in ways that are more creative than simply upgrading dice but also aren't broken ("of course I packed the thermonuclear detonator!").
  9. JonofPDX

    Career-specific talent trees?

    Hey all. So, I'm new to Genesys (and the Narrative Dice System generally, never played SW). But there was a lot of interest in it from me and my players as a possible replacement for the abysmal Palladium ruleset for a new Rifts campaign I'm preping to run. Most of the conversion actually seems fairly simple (especially as I'm not trying to recreate the Palladium mechanics, just the feel and setting). But I'm having a little bit of a sticking point with OCC and RCC (class, basically) special abilities. Cutting them would rob a lot of the...well, Rifts-ness of the whole conversion. But adding them would give the PCs a lot more starting abilities and powers than a traditional Genesys character. And part of our problem with Rifts was always that characters were too front-loaded and never seemed to grow much. My solution was to create a separate talent tree for each class (kinda like the career trees from SW) and plot (or break apart) the OCC special abilities along the trees. Maybe start each character with a free tier-one OCC talent. Then players would get to choose whether they wanted to invent their exp into the "general" talent tree or their OCC-specific talent tree. This seemed like a fairly workable (if perhaps a bit cludgy) solution, but as I haven't played the game I wanted to make sure splitting the talent tree this way wouldn't potentially hurt the exp economy. I could also just ditch the trees and make the OCC abilities talents that could simply be bought and stuck into the existing talent tree. It would give the players more freedom and keep them from having to track two sheets of talents. But it could also lead to characters cherry-picking only a few of their better traditional class skills. Which doesn't sit right with me but...I can't put my finger on exactly why it doesn't so it could just be my bias. Anybody have any thoughts?
  10. As a big Game of Thrones fan I'm actually quite excited about this (though I wish they used artwork rather than show stills--would look way more classy). But I am worried that the limited number of Houses (that most people care about) might limit this games expansion long before the devs are out of interesting ideas and mechanisms. After all, howerver cool a House Redwyne or House Royce faction could be...I don't think the average consumer would care about them. Now, they could solve this by doing sub-factions of the main Houses but then we could have two or three versions of the same characters running around... Then again, this looks like it may be geared more towards the casual market ala GoT: The Card Game (the TV-art edition) that was a stripped down, mass-market focused product more for the Target, Barns and Noble set.
  11. FFG is on a kick right now of slimming down and streamlining a lot of their games and I imagine that's what's going to happen here. Same game with a more popular theme, with the mechanics just parsed down a little and eveything just tightened up a bit.
  12. JonofPDX

    app with old version?

    I've always found the idea of Mansions to be amazing, but as the lone "hardcore" gamer in a group of mostly casuals and significant others, the semi-coop nature makes it really hard to get to the table. Either I have to hold back a lot to keep from smoking the investigators as Keeper or I have to coach the Keeper on how best to kill us as an Investigator. So from that standpoint, I'm super excited to see a fully Coop version. But...I hope the Conversion kit has some way to play the game in a Semi-Coop mode. It may not have worked out for my group but in the right hands it's a really fun back and forth.
  13. Nah, man, come on! This is an FFG property. They're going with Kevan Brighting. It will be the Shoggoth Parable.
  14. ^ What they said ^ If you buy a physical expansion you will not have to pay any additional money to have that product "activated" in the app. Honestly, you probably won't even have to enter any kind of code. I imagine the app will be updated automatically with each new expansion and it will just be a matter of selecting which expansions you will be playing with in that game. After all, you couldn't really cheat and add expansions you had not purchased as it would require cards and components that you didn't have. It could even add some of the benefits of the expansions to your games as a marketing tool to get you interested in buying more products in the line. Only reason I see them locking physical expansion content behind a code is if they're worried about people proxying components.... This will likely be the end of the Print One Demand expansions, however, as they will just sell you that content through the app.
  15. JonofPDX

    Monster Miniatures

    I think all the 2E monsters and Investigators will be miniatures. The "Conversion Kit" likely comes with chits or tokens for some/all of the 1E monsters so that they can be used by those who do not own 1E. Otherwise non 1E players would be kinda pissed off that they paid for "Conversion" components for a game they do not own and can no longer buy.
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