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And in the [13th Age] there arose powerful Icons

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  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited June 2016
    Failing forward is a big part of indie RPGs, yes.

    admanb on
    ToxElvenshae
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    The political/social stuff feels lacking in binary resolution systems to me. It is one thing FFG deals with really well since you have three axis of resolution which gives more "textured" results than pass/fail.

    How to kit bash that into a d20 system is questionable. I do think I'd steal the "Hard Choice" concept and offer a PC who gets within [Some Number] of the DC but fails to accept a complication in order to resolve the check successfully. How big [Some Number] should be is undecided.

    I also realize I am violating sacred d20 rules here by using the d20 as a "how well" instead of "yes/no" but idgaf on that anymore.

    Binary resolution is still pretty standard in all but a few systems. Even indy darlings like Fate still have straight binary rolls. The difference with d20 is the range of values produced is wide enough that it turns every roll into a coin flip. Especially given the lack of narrative currency to goose up failures into successes at a cost.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Delduwath wrote: »
    This thread has inspired me to finally start reading through the 13th Age Core rule book (of which I bought a physical copy a year ago, and a digital copy via Bundle of Holding half a year ago). I just got to the part talking about using backgrounds for skill tests, and was kind of surprised by one bit of wisdom there, which they refer to as "Failing Forward". Failing a test in battle is one thing, and is generally fine, but failing one outside of battle (climbing a wall, picking a lock, etc etc) just means dragging out the game in a boring way; therefore, they suggest that a "failed" skill test could really mean "succeeded, but with complications". So, like, failing to impersonate a new dishwasher when sneaking into a castle could mean the guard lets you pass, but gets suspicious and tails you as you sneak about, that kind of thing.

    I thought that was a pretty novel way to look at things, but then I haven't really looked at any new RPGs in many years; maybe all the indies are filled to the brim with this kind of thinking.

    Anyway, the talk about the binary resolution system made me think of this. They account for the "succeed, but at a price" outcome right there in there rules, which I think is more than D&D has ever done for me.

    My understanding of "failing forward" is a bit different. It means that if you are going to make a check then the check result, success or failure, should change the scene enough that repeating the check is not an option.

    So it's not "pick the lock" it is "pick the lock before guards show up" or "pick the lock without a giant trap going off". If failing to pick the lock just leaves the character looking at a locked door and attempting to roll again then there is no reason to bother with the check.

    I actually think this runs a bit counter to what you were proposing which feels likes it removes the narrative weight of checks, where you will always succeed but with a complication. Either way though they are both better than "you fail, try again?"

    Oats
  • DelduwathDelduwath Registered User regular
    Yeah, I think you're right and I'm wrong. So never mind meeeeeeee!

  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    Yeah, you shouldn't even have a player roll a check to pick a lock if there isn't a potential consequence for failure.

    Failing forward is just about not grinding the story to a halt when a failure happens. It's really common sense but it takes time to learn.

    The 13A book has a couple really good examples. Party fails some checks to nimbly navigate ledges in the mountains while chasing a bad guy. Fail forward means instead of losing progress like falling down and having to try again, they keep progressing, take a little damage from short falls, etc., but an enemy below them just got woken up and is now following them, potentially coming into play.

    Or the guy who wants to make a check using his intelligence and knowledge about the cricket battle match or whatever to predict the winner. He fails the check, and the GM decides what that actually means is that he correctly predicts the winner of the match, but the failure is represented by an angry gang of gnomes who were handling the book and are pissed that people bet on the winner based on the player saying so.

    It's all about making failed checks drive the story forward with complications instead of grinding it to a halt.

    It also doesn't mean you never fail either. It just means if failure is going to grind the game to a boring halt, then turn that failure into something interesting instead of just "you failed and now sit there and figure out what to do next."

    Joshmvii on
  • DelduwathDelduwath Registered User regular
    I guess I misunderstood the intent because both of those examples are "you succeed - with complications", so I generalized it.

  • OatsOats Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    The check being "pick the lock before guards come" is failing forwards, or at least it serves the same end as failing forwards, as I understand it.

    From a theoretical stance, failure should be intertesting. If it's "welp, try again until you roll >X" that's stupid. Every time you pick up the dice it should be because there's a range of interesting possibilities and you've eschewed complete control.

    One of the easier ways to make failure interesting is converting it to success with a cost. The rogue ends up forcing the lock; they're through the door but their lockpick is stuck in the door and it's only a matter of time. Anyone on guard duty (or casing the same place!) can easily follow them inside.

    EDIT: That also just means you can succeed differently.

    You don't pick the lock to the manor but some guards come to examine the noise. As they wander back to their posts, they vomit out some clue you had stashed inside (THE MACGUFFIN IS IN THE GRAVEYARD).

    You employ the Law of Conservation of Encounters and the guards inside the manor are now skeletons/zombies (and the big bad knows when their undead minions are destroyed).

    Oats on
    jdarksun
  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    Failing forward doesn't always mean success with a cost. Success with a cost suggests that you got what you wanted. Failing forward doesn't always mean you got what you wanted. A very simple example would be if you're doing a bad guy chase through the city.

    Without failing forward, failing the series of checks to catch the bad guy means you now are like whelp, he got away, and the action grinds to a halt and everybody sits there thinking about what to do next.

    Failing forward means the bad guy got away, some goons she employs attack you, and upon defeating them you get a clue about where he's headed to next. You did not succeed at what you wanted to do, but the GM didn't let the action grind to a halt due to skill check failures.

    Amigu
  • doomybeardoomybear Hi People Registered User regular
    So, failing forward can mean a lot of different things.

    what a happy day it is
  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    I just do what makes the story interesting. If a complete failure is interesting, then so be it.

    In my pbp game, 'Toskr, the druid squirrel, and his friends are going through a Dragon Nesting area in Drakkenhall, and he just failed his stealth check. So they are moving along, try to cross a big open field and a baby dragon (one that's about horse sized) grabs the squirrel by the tail. That's a complete failure, but it's still interesting.

    Stop worrying if you should fail forward or just fail. Just do what's interesting.

  • jdarksunjdarksun Scion of Chaos Registered User regular
    doomybear wrote: »
    So, failing forward can mean a lot of different things.
    It just means having failure not grind the session to a halt. People's interpretations of how to implement that differ.

    OatsToxJoshmviidoomybear
  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington Registered User regular
    Having a character creation session this morning. I already have a dwarf forged suit of armor paladin and a tiefling sorceress with connections/heritage with the Great Gold Wyrm, The Three, and her demonic tiefling heritage. No idea what the other three characters will be.

    It's gonna be a pretty standard fantasy first romp (probably just the adventure in the back of the book), but very soon it'll involve floating ruins and societies trapped in time.

    I think I'm looking forward to everyone's OUT the most.

    SrUxdlb.jpg
    ElvenshaeToxOats
  • astrobstrdastrobstrd So full of mercy... Registered User regular
    I've splurged a bit in the past month and picked up Eyes of the Stone Thief and High Magic Low Cunning. I haven't had a chance to dive into the second yet, but god damn does Eyes look like it will be a blast to run. There is so much to do and ideas for how to link it into your campaign that are giving me all kinds of inspiration. The only minor gripe I have with it so far is that when it highlights how Icon relationships can factor into scenes, it usually just kind of assumes that all your relationships are Positive.

    Is the Book of Loot a solid investment as well? I've really loved all the supplemental content they've released so far, and I'm looking forward to their newest splat book, even with 0 personal investment in HeroQuest.

    Grunt's Ghosts
  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    I have the Boot of Loot and it's pretty cool. It has magical items that are linked to an Icon in a way and gives rules that makes non-magical items more interesting. They have roll charts to help you figure out what kind of treasure you give out for people who like random, even charts for what kinds of coins you get (since there are a ton of them out there, like Drakes, and Towers, and Saints. They have some new "One-Use Items" that do some pretty cool stuff, like a Potion of Heroism that lets you take a level advancement for 5 minutes as long as it's not the same type of advance you already took. I think there are about 300+ items in the book, that are all pretty cool.

  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    Does being vulnerable to a certain type of damage just mean crit ranges are expanded to 18?

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  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    The vulnerable condition extends the crit range of attacks against that target by 2, but not necessarily to 18. If somebody already would crit on 18-20 because of some feature, they'd crit on 16-20 against a vulnerable target. But yeah, near as I can find being vulnerable to a damage type like younger dragons are just means +2 crit range when attacked by that damage type.

    Joshmvii on
    wildwoodToxdoomybear
  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    Nice. I'm running my second Roll20 game of 13th Age soon and there's gonna be some skeletons!

    Skeletons are under rated. I think I will be "magnanimous" -as the book suggests- and let blunt weapons do standard damage.

    Speaking of undead quirks. How cool is it that zombies automatically drop to 0 HP on a crit?

    Amigu on
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  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    4e did that with some undead, though it may have only been from radiant damage

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  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    It's a nice easy way to show how mooshy they are.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    FYI: I can't help but read the thread title in Mako's / the Great Aku's voice.

    omgbfz5lzi1s.png
    Steam: Elvenshae // PSN: Elvenshae // WotC: Elvenshae
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  • doomybeardoomybear Hi People Registered User regular
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    FYI: I can't help but read the thread title in Mako's / the Great Aku's voice.

    I hear it in Cate Blanchett's Galadriel voice.

    what a happy day it is
  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    I read everything in Morgan Freeman's voice.

    Endless_SerpentsElvenshaedoomybear
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    add
    I read everything in Morgan Freeman's voice.

    I can't tell you how much this very concept has changed my life.

    Grunt's Ghosts
  • astrobstrdastrobstrd So full of mercy... Registered User regular
    If anyone was on the fence about Eyes of the Stone Thief, the dungeon has a D&D 1E dungeon inside of it and the entire format of the book changes for a few pages to resemble Tomb of Horrors or some such adventure (it even lists "Treasure Type - H" when describing the loot and has in-line stats for monsters that are nearly indecipherable).

    AmiguElvenshaeAnialosCapfalcon
  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    Apparently they got a lot of complaints because DMs thought it was a print error!

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  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    Alright, I'm back with another question. The 13A core rulebook talks about monster roles. But I'm having an issue with how a couple of these roles are really different. So for a caster, archer, spoiler, that's pretty simple. A caster does their damage from range, maybe has some AOE. I don't think the book really explains how you should calculate the damage for a caster if they have an AOE spell, and seems to just kind of do an estimated average thing based on what its single target damage would be, but I can deal with that. An archer is just a ranged attacker, a spoiler has some ongoing damage and maybe a condition tied to their attacks, etc.

    But what is the difference between a trooper and a wrecker if the core stats of all level X monsters are the same? The book basically says wreckers do a bunch of damage, but by the book they should do the exact same damage as every other monster type.

  • wildwoodwildwood Registered User regular
    The one distinction that I can see between troopers and wreckers in the SRD is that troopers will primarily focus on doing HP damage. I would expect wreckers to be able to do more to characters in terms of inflicting statuses, or using extra mobility, that lets them get past the party's well-armored front line.

    Anialos
  • SaurfangSaurfang Registered User regular
    Hey folks, got a 13th Age question. How do you guys interpret a line in a statblock that says a power can target "1d3 nearby enemies in a group"? The first part is self explanatory, but I'm getting hung up on "in a group. "

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    Saurfang wrote: »
    Hey folks, got a 13th Age question. How do you guys interpret a line in a statblock that says a power can target "1d3 nearby enemies in a group"? The first part is self explanatory, but I'm getting hung up on "in a group. "

    Guard patrol? Group.

    Cart full of goblins? Group.

    Basically, if you can see one fireball spell hitting all of them, it's a group . Edge cases are left to the GM to decide.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
    JoshmviiAnialos
  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    wildwood wrote: »
    The one distinction that I can see between troopers and wreckers in the SRD is that troopers will primarily focus on doing HP damage. I would expect wreckers to be able to do more to characters in terms of inflicting statuses, or using extra mobility, that lets them get past the party's well-armored front line.

    But the spoiler is supposed to be the one who inflicts conditions. The way they describe wreckers just suggests that they sometimes work alone and that they "really bring the pain."

    Troops are the default monster type. They’re nothing super-special, aiming to hurt PCs via hit point damage.

    Wreckers really bring the pain. Sometimes they work alone. Enemy groups containing only wreckers will be very dangerous to the PCs.

    All the other monster types besides Wreckers are pretty clear about what they do. Leaders buff monsters, Archers shoot, Casters cast, Mooks are cannon fodder, and Troops do straight HP damage. But the description they give for Wreckers really doesn't make sense in the context of monsters that are all built on the same stats.

    Out of curiosity, I looked up the first Wrecker I could think of which is the Bulette. It's a level 5 Large Wrecker. Base stats for that are +10 to hit, 36 damage, 144 HP, 21 AC.

    Bulette is +12 to hit with 2 attacks totalling 30 damage. But if it hits with both claws, it's next turn it can attack with a +14 to hit bite that does 45 damage and also does 22 on a miss. Plus it has 22 AC and 170 HP.

    So basically to make a wrecker(at least this one), they just took the baseline stats for a level 5 large monster, bumped it's to hit up, gave it slightly lower than baseline damage per round until it hits twice in one turn(which it probably will with the higher + to hit), then it gets to do a good chunk more damage than normal, including miss damage on the big bite. And the AC and HP are a bit higher than baseline too.

    Almost just feels like their idea of a wrecker is just to take the baseline stats you'd give a trooper, make it even stronger(but leave it the same level for encounter balance purposes), maybe give it some miss damage or maybe a conditional big damage attack like the Bulette's bite.

    I dunno, still seems a bit of an odd choice, since it kind of goes against "all monsters of the same level basically have the same stats," but whatever. I'll probably just save wrecker types for large/huge foes, maybe even use a huge one as a solo monster here and there if I think it's interesting to do so.

    After GMing 5E for as long as I have, 13A's monster/encounter rules are still a breath of fresh air even if they do have some stuff like this in there that doesn't seem consistent.

    Joshmvii on
  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    Saurfang wrote: »
    Hey folks, got a 13th Age question. How do you guys interpret a line in a statblock that says a power can target "1d3 nearby enemies in a group"? The first part is self explanatory, but I'm getting hung up on "in a group. "

    Like Optimus Zed said, it's basically a GM fiat thing, just letting you know that the enemies must be nearby and also "grouped together." You can compare that with dragon's breath where it can hit XdY enemies nearby but doesn't require them to be grouped, the dragon just whips its head around breathing on whomever(that's how the book describes it).

  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    edited June 2016
    I'll do some research on Wrecker vs Trooper tomorrow. Compare some stat lines and see what if any conclusions I can draw. Also I'll see if there's any dev notes either way

    e: initial (skimming) research seems to show that Wreckers are intended to have higher damage output, whether through multi-attacks, dealing more damage overall, higher hit rates, or a combination.

    Tox on
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  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    From my experience of deploying wreckers:

    -The wrecker deals high damage but is squishy
    -The troop is more balanced

    If you only deploy wreckers you'll have a very swingy battle. The party might wipe the floor with the wreckers, or they might inflict big amounts of damage on a party member.

    In my case the party cleaned the wreckers up really quickly. To the point that they didn't even have a chance to really play their moves.

    This observation is also reflected in one of the core rule books - maybe the monster book.

    As for how this plays out when you're creating your own wreckers.... I'm not sure. Maybe they botched it a bit. Generally good troops have some skills that make them a bit stickier than the wreckers.

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  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    Yeah, I totally get what a wrecker is supposed to do. It's just, the 13A core rulebook basically says "regardless of monster role monsters start with the same stats, they just attack differently and have different special abilities," which makes perfect sense for the trooper who fights in melee, the archer who shoots, the spoiler who adds conditions on, the blocker who gets a special ability to intercept people, etc.

    It just doesn't make sense if the wrecker is a "squishier higher damage" version of a trooper, which it seems to be.

    I am actually glad those types of monsters are in the book, I just want to understand how I'm supposed to build a wrecker when the book tells me "these are the stats for a level 5 monster," but doesn't tell me how much tougher to make a wrecker without overdoing it or just making it a higher level monster.

    Maybe the bestiary has more info that I haven't yet read, or maybe the core rulebook has something I've missed, I just thought I'd get some takes from people who have more knowledge on the system than me to see if I missed something glaring.

    At least right now it seems like the wrecker is the one you give some miss damage or a stronger than normal conditional attack, telegraph that it's kind of a berserker type enemy, and then let it loose, I just want to do the best I can at understanding how to build them since I always end up custom creating a lot of monsters for fun.

    Joshmvii on
  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    You start with those stats. Then you adjust them. The guys have some guides they found worked:
    Level-Based Monster-Stat Adjustments:
    If you want to add a full level to a monster:
    . . . and you only want to boost its attack: Give the monster a +6 attack boost.
    . . . and you only want to boost AC: Give the monster a +6 AC boost.
    . . . and you only want to increase the monster’s hit points: Double the monster’s hit points.
    . . . and you only want to increase the damage the monster deals: Add a second attack or ongoing damage.
    . . . and you only want to increase every stat: Add +1 to attack, +1 to all defenses, multiply its damage output by 1.25, and multiply its hit points by 1.25.

    Here are other adjustments Jonathan has experimented with, modifying a monster’s stats but keeping its current level.
    Scrapper—Sharp but thin: +3 to attack, 70% of normal hp
    Offensive—Soft but strong: +3 to attack, –3 to all defenses
    Oaf—Tough and clumsy: –3 to attack, +3 to AC
    Defensive—Tough but weak: +3 to AC, 70% of normal hp
    Lunk—Big and squishy: –3 to all defenses, +40% hp boost
    Brittle—Tough but thin: +3 to AC, 70% of normal hp

  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    Yeah, but all of those things are their recommendations for on the fly monster adjustments. The Bulette doesn't fit any of that for example, because compared to the base stats of a large level 5 monster, it has more HP, more + to hit, and more damage.

    The Bulette should by the book make sense pre-adjustments, and it doesn't. It kind of seems like for Wreckers their design is just "make it tougher than its level but don't increase its level," which is honestly kind of odd. They could've just left out that role and said "If you want a harder monster that will wreck people, use a higher level monster."

    It's just inconsistent, but it's not like 13th Age claims to be fully consistent and math-balanced or anything like that. It just stuck out to me, because outside of the Wrecker, the monsters all make sense. They have this much HP, this much damage, and they just deal it from different ranges, add conditions, block you from reaching enemies, etc.

    The Wrecker seems to be outside the rest of the monster math that's given. I'm not criticizing it or anything either, I don't care, I am just interested in understanding the game design behind it. Maybe i'll try to see if I can reach the designers on twitter or something and see what they have to say about it.

  • SaurfangSaurfang Registered User regular
    I'm currently reading 13 True Ways, and man am I digging the 13 different takes on devils presented in the book. It's like Heinsoo and Tweet have taken a prism and are refracting idea of "supernatural lawful villains" into a delightful evil rainbow. Personal favorites include devils as the incarnation of corporate consumerism and devils as corrupt cops.

    Amigu
  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    Yes, looking at the Bulette (large lvl 5 wrecker) vs the Ettin (large lvl 5 trooper) I do see what you mean. The Bulette actually has higher HP and AC than the Ettin in addition to having a more powerful attack. So the idea of "squishy but high damage relative to troop" doesn't actually hold up for the Bulette. It's just a plain nastier enemy than an equivalent troop!

    I don't really have time to sift through the other equivalent monsters and see if that's a pattern that holds true. But if it is, then it feels like wreckers are more just "Monsters that are going to give your party a hard time" and troops are just categorically weaker. Maybe the blocker is the monster it should be being compared to. The gelatinous cube (large lvl 5 blocker) for example does have about 30% more HP than the bulette (although a lower AC :/ )

    But building on what Grunt's Ghost said...

    Scrapper—Sharp but thin: +3 to attack, 70% of normal hp

    Would be one way to give something that "high damage but squishy" flavour. Especially if you add a nasty standard attack.

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  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    Yep. I do believe that when the book says "regardless of roles monsters have basically the same stats" they forgot to exclude Wreckers, and then when the book says "Wreckers bring the pain, a group of all wreckers could be dangerous to your party" what they meant was "Wreckers are basically higher level monsters without increasing the level. We included some of them because it's fun to throw things at the party that are deadlier than most monsters even of the same level, but just know that they're stronger than equivalent level monsters of other roles."

    Which is perfectly fine, and while i would love to know if there was any math to how much stronger they are in general compared to other equivalent level monsters, I can deal with it if not.

  • JoshmviiJoshmvii Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    Okay, so Jonathan Tweet replied to my tweet. Heh. He confirmed what I thought about Wreckers, which is they basically break the monster math to be tougher and should be fearsome.

    He said "Wreckers are monsters that make players cry, usually with specials that shut down PCs. Bumping stats a little also helps. And begin monster design by completing this sentence: "Players will hate and fear this monster because..."

    When I decided to leave 5E for 13A part of it was because I wanted to get away from this kind of stuff for a system with a bit better balance, but I love 13th Age so much that I can't bring myself to care. At least now I understand what they were going for, and that wreckers are just a bit different from the rest of the monster roles.

    He replied again to suggest that the monsters in 13 True Ways and the Bestiary are more well-designed and are better examples of what the design should look like.

    Joshmvii on
    Amigu
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