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Everything posted by Maltry

  1. In regards to companions. I prefer the feeling that those traveling with my character have a life outside of that. A history and goals that exist independent of you, and that you can then help *them* with. Helping a companion sort out their own moral path, or accomplish their goals, is always what makes me most invested in them.
  2. Amusingly the Cullers are intended more as a villain or 'evil' organization for the standard protagonist to oppose. They're power-hungry sociopaths who believe in killing anyone who shows weakness. They're widespread only in the sense of covering a very large area, there just wouldn't be that many of them because if their activities became widely known they'd be among the most hated organizations around. Just because they believe they are doing society a favor doesn't actually mean that they are. And just because they hold to a code doesn't really make them awesome or virtuous. As far as their huge list of things they are supposed to be good at... *shrug* That's mostly just survival, sure those skills fit with their intentions, but are also all the things they need to survive for any length of time. I agree though, the Cullers are... meh. Mostly a random thing thrown together for fun as a potential source for an interesting antagonist. Mosaic have a larger storyline potential, though they are pretty close to a stereotype secret society.
  3. The Cullers Most often druids, but any person who acknwledges the natural order and survival of the fittest can become a Culler. Well perhaps not any person, as the cullers beleive that the most important factor in the long-term health and survival of a population is not strength of arms, but strength of spirit. Members of this sect strive continuously to improve the societies they live in. By day they try to promote order and cooperation among their people; organizing local militias, working to create a stroger sense of community, and teaching their fellows skills for survival. By night the Cullers stalk the paths and homes of their community, hunting for weakness. Traditionally a Culler driud picks a specific form for the culling, and other member of the sect choose a particular uniform or weapon. They assault their fellows anonomously, testing to see whether their new prey will fight or flee. It is not necessary for the prey to overcome the Culler, it is enough that they are willing to fight, in whatever fashion they have available. If the victim is willing to stand against their opponent, they have earned the right to live, and the Culler will leave to greet them as a brother or sister on the morrow. Fleeing from a Culler however (except in the case of laying traps or some other form of gurella warfare) is a death sentence. Because they must hunt and fight, Cullers must be skilled at stealth and combat. Because they must be pillars of their community, Cullers must likewise be charismatic or knowledgeable and wise. Killing a person from stealth defeats the purpose of the Cullers however, so they must always reveal themselves to thier prety before they attack, though preferably in a way that does not compromise their actual identity. This sect has no true organization, the function as a simple network of comrades, each taking a single community under their wing. The best Cullers can forge a community into a tightly knit society of brave souls who work together to drive the monster from their midst, the greatest triumph they could hope to acheive. Sometimes the organiztion attracts bad apples however, who assault and kill for no real purpose other than enjoyment. That is when their own ranks need a little culling. Because the organization is so spread out and diverse, few know about or acknowledge it's existence. If anything, the work of a Culler looks like the assault of a random sociopath. Character might be introduced to the group either by hunting the terror at night, or being recruited to aid the community by day, possibly both at the same time. Joining the organization might grant the character knowledge from Cullers in far off lands, and some subtle support or increased reputation with certain Druidic circles or harsh native tribes.
  4. This looks like a fun game Those with broken or fractures souls are not capable of the great feats that those with strong souls or whole souls are. Their spriits are weak, their goals and drives more limited that those with the strength to seek out great destinies. But, some few discovered the secret power in having a sundered soul. When groups of these people come together they are able to each offer a small portion of their soul's strength (little as that may be individually) to the working of ritual magic. Drawn together by a charismatic leader, more and more of those with fractured souls are joining Mosaic. Because Mosaic gains tangible power the more followers it has, it actively seeks to recruit new followers constantly. But, because that power can only be harnessed by the ones guiding these rituals it has a large number of blinds and 'false circles' of initiation that portray the organization only as a sort of exclusive social club or support group. Member progress through the ranks slowly, participating in rituals they beleive to be simply symbolic, with only the highest ranking members actually understanding the power at their disposal. The most ambitious of these members are looking for a way to permanently strip away the soul shards of their followers, making other fractures souls nothing but resources to be mined and then abandoned. Of course all of Mosaic's magics are a form of Necromancy as they center around soul manipulation, and are seen as blackest heresy by many. The nature of the soul-shard magic makes it easier for them to affect subtle but wide-ranging effects. Causing a drought or a plague of insects is easier than a fireball, stirring the hearts of an entire populace to discontent is simpler than moving a single person to blind rage. Therefore, Mosaic increases it's influence subtly, and has adapted to a life in the shadows with agents in many places all working to cary out large-scale plans. They work from the shadows, seeking to accrue influence slowly and steadily both in their homeland and beyond. If Mosaic's leaders really do discover a method of prying soul shards away from their owners, they could become one of the most powerful forces in the land. And only a handful of people even suspect they exist. Players may encounter Mosaic because strong souls are resistant to the group's power, and that makes them a threat to it's leaders who actively seek to suvert or destroy strong souls. They may also be introduced to the group as it's disciples seek to recruit them, or come into conflict with it's agents as Mosaic is constantly striving to increase it's power behind the scenes. Joining Mosaic might allow the character to ascend to positions of power more quickly, while earning the enmity of various groups and churches farther down the line. Possibly the characters are simply unable to use any of Mosaic's rituals because their own souls are not shattered. Or, maybe the nature of their strong soul allwas them to enact such rituals far more effectively that the group's current leaders, as they are able to more effectively direct thousands of soul shards all at once.
  5. Personally I would love to see pets with some personality and interaction, but from the perspective of developing the personalities of your own pets it seems relatively unlikely. If the player has any significant choice in the nature of their pets, even what species they are, that makes a large number of potential reactions to any given situation. So, either they would need to limit the scope of the pets that you can choose to something very small, or make the personality of your pets very generic. Clearly this applies only to the character's own class-related pets, companion pets or storyline pets can have fixed personalities and 'dialogue' without removing player choice. There's another potential problem I see with this in PE lore. With no form of resurrection, and the potential loss of a pet that is gained through a class ability writing dialogue/reactions for *any* given pet becomes extremely problematic in any but the most generic sense. We know from the most recent ( #36 ) update that wizards have familiars they can summon, who can die and then be resummoned after resting. Now if that familiar is a new familiar every time then the personality of the familiar would change, unless that character is so generic it's a 'fill in the blank' set of reactions. Depending on the lore you might work around this by saying that a familiar or even animal companion is a manifestation of the character's own soul, a sort of spirit totem or projection (similar to what Nonek mentioned, but in a more tangible sense). This could explain away the similarities in their reactions, and allow for the re-summoning of a 'dead' pet, it was simply dispersed. I could see that *possibly* being used to implement in depth interactions, with only a small amount of variance based on type. I won't be holding my breath though. In the end I agree with Umberlin, in an rpg of this type we will most likely see pets that function primarily (or solely) as walking game mechanics. Hopefully that at least will be effectively implemented and not hindering, anything past that would be icing on the cake.
  6. Yeah, the 'settings and entire worlds that players have never set foot in' is something I'm extremely familiar with. I used to have a folder, then it became two folders, then it was a box... you see where this is going. The funny thing is, I did this not only for settings, but character's in the few instances where I actually have a chance to play instead of running games. No worlds obviously, but grandiose plans and goals that could literally take years of real-world time (depending on game frequency). What I finally decided was that I boil down the concepts I want to run through, base what I *can* do around that, and view the rest of that material as time well spent enjoying the craft. Maybe players will never see it, but it was fun and interesting as all hell to write.
  7. Druids are always my first choice if there's shapeshifting involved. First, obviously, because I like shapeshifting. Second, because they often get portrayed as outsiders in many settings, and that sort of social distance makes a first play-through feel more appropriate to me. My character doesn't know anymore about mainstream society than I the player do. (A gross generalization that relies on playing to stereotype I know) If shapeshifting is not involved... any class that ends up being presented as largely isolated. Almost any of them have that possibility, but I'd probably favor barbarians or ciphers. Ciphers I think have a lot of potential to embody the 'internalized empowerment' ideal, and barbarians are just good clean fun.
  8. I guess I'll go in order of your arguments here Hormalakh. 1. You are still referencing two separate concepts as I mentioned before, and if we are indeed talking about game design theory your argument is internally inconsistent. I don't think anyone here is arguing that people shouldn't have a tutorial and then be able to access and expand on that knowledge to operate within the game. If done correctly that is the essence of keeping players informed and engaged. But you then go on to say that once people are informed of the basic concepts they should then be deprived of the knowledge of what is happening around and to them, It's like teaching someone to swim and then injecting them with anesthetic so they can't feel their limbs. Sure they know how, but have no context, no feedback from their actions. As far as punishing people who don't want to have that information, it's been made equally clear that Sawyer at the least has every intention of letting people who don't want the feedback to remove it. 2. Here I'm not sure which aspect you are talking about honestly. If it's about the idea of the end game 'point of no return' popup and save then I can see your argument to a certain extent, you missed the message so you aren't allowed to go back and finish all those quests you wanted. I see it, I just don't agree with it. Sure missing out on a bunch of game content is a penalty for not paying attention, but what's the point of that penalty? It's not there to make the experience more challenging or interesting, it's just a massive 'whoops, now I have to start over'. That's saving real live boredom, not in-game consequence. 3. I can think of a fair number of examples where tags don't tell you what the 'best' option is. The first is one Sawyer mentioned specifically in fallout 2, the empathy skill applied tags that allowed you to see your subjects response. Those tags did not define the choice you wanted, just gave you some context. Neverwinter Nights 2 (and MotB) had a fair number of conversation options based off stats that had no effect other than to alter your exact dialogue path, most notably wisdom. There were also instances of failing conversation checks and causing the outcome to be worse than it would have been otherwise, and you didn't know previous to picking the option whether you would pass or fail. Fallout New Vegas, especially Dead Money, had conversation options again where all you would get was a small amount more exposition, or some really minor benefit. And one of the best examples of how being too clever for your own good can come back and bite you in Dead Money passing a skill check with the companion Dean Domino would ensure that he turned hostile to you at the end of the game, you had proven yourself to be a rival through it's use. Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines also had several times where the special options were not necessarily the right ones, depending on you intended goals. Sometimes there were simple social gaffs, other times they would lock out dialogue or result in needless deaths (which might have been what you were going for but might not). I definitely think that the potential downsides of social manipulations have been largely played down, but they have been used, and with the stated express intention to play up that aspect of the game I expect them to be used even more here. I am well aware the these tags are a form of metagaming, which is precisely why I brought up the buff example. It's exactly the same kind of metagaming. Keeping you the player informed of what your character is doing. And I get that it breaks immersion for you, as I stated before it has exactly the opposite effect for me. Since we already know that they're working to include the lack of such tags and other type of information in Expert mode you already have the potential to do what you want. And your arguments seem to be directed toward pushing the game away from players having a choice in how they want to play. Edit: I apologize, on the first line I should have said that your argument reads as internally inconsistent to me, because I believe that theoretical knowledge of how the mechanics work, and being able to watch them work, is part of the same stream of information. Believe it or not I do understand where you're coming from with the 'teach it and then get out of the way once we have the tools', I just don't agree or find it fun is all.
  9. Just a couple of thoughts to chip in here. The first is that while good tutorials, setup, and a grasp of the basics are all very excellet things, the OP begins by invalidating Sawyer's point. I'm not a developer (except for a couple of home-grown table-top systems more for fun than general consumption), but I have been testing games for a couple/few years and I've supervised groups of testers. The basic reality is, even if people understand the system just fine (or extremely well through massive variant repitition) things can and will slip past. It's happened to me, happened to my testers, happened to my family and friends while just playing normally. Now, one side of this is just that it's another part of the game, you snooze you lose kinda thing, and that's fine for people that do want to play that way. Josh specifically addresses this by mentioning people who really will play as hard as they say they will. But honestly, I don't find it more interesting personally to penalize myself for accidentally chosing a different option than I intended, for missing a line or I'll admit it, even an entire block of text. And the longer and more interesting a game is, the more likely people are to make this kind of error. Yes, it's a challenge to make it through the game with the challenge of never making a wrong choice, never missing a trick, or facing the music. But, it's a challenge that really isn't enjoyable for some people. As a tabletop GM I don't allow people to change their words when they don't get the response they want, but I do allow it when it's obvious they just misunderstood the situation. Now you ask what happens when giving players a way to correct their absent minded mistakes makes the game a worse experience for other players, I think in the vast majority of instances this is a false dichotomy. Creating an auto-save at the point of no return doesn't compel players to use it, and in every instance that I'm aware of where the devs are trying to make these exceptions, they are putting in the options to *not* have those exceptions made for you. You don't ruin a game by putting in an easy or hard mode, you expand the breadth of people who are able to enjoy it, the same principle applies here. My second point is somewhat related to the first. At what point does the transparency of mechanics affect enjoyment? This needn't be about hand-holding, but simply about seeing what you are doing more precicely, and seeing the responsiveness of the world to your character. I'll use the converstation tag as my first example, and I'll state my bias up front, because I'm in favor of conversation tags both for source and context. Conversation tags are very simple things, all they do is state either why you are given a conversation option, or specify what that conversation option really means. In many games they are an 'I win' option, which has been specifically stated is something the devs want to avoid. So what do they do? They provide extra information, extra content, or a minor advantage based on the abilities and experiences of your character. I for one find it extremely satisfying to see an tag on a conversation option because it reinfoces the idea that my character matters. I'm not a cardboard cutout, but rather who I am plays a role in what I can do. Not only that, but it provides more feedback when these tags cause an unexpected response. If I take that Int option and it causes a backlash then maybe I wasn't nearly as clever as I thought I was, or I realize that I came across as condescending. Now, some conversation options can be fairly obvious in their source, but many are not. Not to the player that is, but barring some exceptions involving self-awareness, arrogance, etc. a *character* should know the source of their own words in a in-world sense. Not, 'my [blank] score tells me so' but rather 'Hah! I totally just had this cool thought' or 'Hey... guns/swords/wagons don't work that way.' It increases immersion for me to see the impact all these things make. An alternate version of tags is to clarify their meaning, such as tags that mark truth or lies, differentiate the [menacing] "Your shop is full of valuable things, are you sure their safe from all the theives roaming the streets at night?" threat from the [concerned] "Your shop is full of valuable things, are you sure their safe from all the theives roaming the streets at night?" offer of help. If I want to help the merchant, noting is more immersion-breaking that having my character outright threaten him instead. Having to guess at the source and meaning of your character's words might be interesting to some people, but to me it's just boring, it makes the game more bland rather than less, and reduces the overal feel of responsiveness. We can apply this same principle to buffs, perhaps not directly to the example Sawyer gave but as a general hypothetical. If you were to remove all buff icons in the game, that would certainly make it more challenging. You would have to time your buffs, watch for subtle visual cues, read all the combat text for listed modifiers if available, or some other means of knowing when to recast them. That also might be fun for some people, but again it would subtract from the game for me. In short, I think that there are many different issues in play here, covering both potential player failure as well as preferred gamestyle. Teaching people well is a good answer to some of them, but it doesn't invalidate their design decisions, and isn't a template for making all players enjoy playing the same way.
  10. I'll put my personal vote behind including both aspects of crafting in the game. Creating mundane or relatively commonplace items allows you to invest points in a skill that can save you money, and frustration from inability to find what you want or need for your characters. If you can craft and modify relatively simple items from relatively common materials, that's some good utility potentially worth investing points in. If you want to craft a sword of legendary power, you should have to obtain legendary ingredients, thus making your forging of a new weapon a potential quest in and of itself. On the other hand you could potentially as a non-crafter obtain that same legendary ingredient to a skilled craftsmaster who can create a single type of item from it. I think that would provide a way for crafters to feel the skill was worth investing in long-term, while not depriving non-crafter any truly significat portion of the game experience. I think in 3.5 my favorite 'hack' was to make the rare ingredient rule compulsory rather than optional for complex creations, no you don't have to spend xp on it, but you do have to complete these quests to obtain these rare reagents. Win-win for players and DM.
  11. I think it might be worth noting that as general as any class in PE might have the potential to be, in character development there should (and we can assume will be) a balance within each individual class. Especially in party based games that tradeoff is usually intended to be between damage, mitigation, healing, and utility. Now, this doesn't always pan out in practice, but if we look at it from that perspective making classes more well rounded is no less balanced that making them focused. Each individual character will still need to choose how much they focus on any one area. In the example of a group in which all characters are able to tank with a single healer, it would follow that while that party might be feasible it would minimize damage output and thus discourage many players from such one-sided and focused parties. And before it comes up, yes I know that 'healing' as we know it in previous games has been altered, but there have been clear indications of stamina healing during fights and no indication that there will not be damage mitigating abilities that can be applied to others, which would also constitute 'healing' in this context. When you get right down to it, the system that's being proposed need not be that much different than previous games. Take a bunch of multi-classed characters, or take a bunch of single-class and single-purpose characters. It only increases our ability to prioritize the RP parts of character creation and selection. Of *course* this assumes that the devs work out the balance as well as possible, but doesn't the gameplay of every game we ever see produced?
  12. It honestly sounds to me as though the intention for the reputation-stlye system is not to invalidate the idea of converstation checks, but rather to increase the reactivity and and complex nature of these interactions. If you possess a diplomacy skill in a tabletop game, only a GM's influence states that your character must actually be diplomatic in order to use it. By making the system reactive to a character's actions and choices in the game requires that the character put their money where their mouth is. You can't be diplomatic if you've never been diplomatic in your life, and if you consistently choose to be violent and intimidating at every turn you will be unpracticed and unprepared when you suddenly decide that *this* time you want to change your ways. It isn't invalidating character development, it's a way to encourage people to develop characters instead of dotting up paper dolls. Not only that, but 'reputation' system implies a lot more reactivity in the world, with groups you have already affected. Something good GM's are already doing in your table-top games through the application of modifiers. There are many-many factors that can affect any given interaction, why not have a system that can take all of them more effectively into account than those simple skills? The only real speech skills I don't see being more effectively replaced by this kind of reactive system is an empathy or detect lie equivalent. Abilities based around your perceptions rather than your interactions.
  13. I am also all for a world that reacts to your character's background and appearance. In PE we already know that they are implementing social stigmas such as racial and class tensions. Hopefully we well see some of the effects of that applied to our own characters as well as the backstory. In addition it seems likely that group reputations can, and quite likely will, fill the social role of a perceived morality. I wouldn't mind seeing some npc reaction to character appearance in terms of gear, which seems like it would be a relatively simple system to implement. Beyond that however, I personally dont' see any need for a complex system to track appearance or any other quirk that might influence inital/superficial impressions of the character. Something the equivalent of the fallout trait system, or a more flexible version of the Arcanum background system could produce exactly the effects you are talking about without turning it into another exercise in gaming stats, while leaving out the potentially derailing kinds of background questions you describe. I think making a detailed character concept and playing to that is amazing, I think that when character's react to that concept is incredibly immersive. As has been noted on this thread though, detailed and leading background questions can't (and in my experience most often won't) really represent what your character would do. At best they are caricatures designed to come as close as possible to as wide a group as possible. The appearance example specifically could be broken down into two traits. Attractive/Ugly, and Pampered/Grizzled. If neither trait is specified your character is average, otherwise they each function as a single switch with no need for hidden stat systems and/or rolls. As you say they all have their upsides and downsides, and are simple to activate without any immersion-breaking, inappropriate storyline baggage.
  14. Since it has been heavily implied that we cannot know for sure the role of souls or gods in the setting (or at least the general populace must rely on unsubstantiated beliefs), religions that play on that uncertainty would seem to fit very well. The Maze of Dusk, also known as the Shadow Path, is a deity shrouded in uncertainty. Normally only encountered as a place rather than any, more anthropomorphic, form, the few times it or an avatar of it does appear in humanoid form that shape is a reflection of the deepest desires of the observer. Always shrouded in shadow or mist, with a dreamlike quality that leaves witnesses grasping to retain their memories of the encounter. Far more commonly the deity manifests it's presence in the shape of a maze or labyrinth that appears when the light is dim, in thick fog or the twilight hours. Wild and dangerous, sometimes the Shadow Path appears as a side corridor of some lost dungeon, or a hedge maze of rose bushes that have become massively overgrown. Sometimes the Maze of Dusk appears in dreams or visions, but always it looks both inviting and foreboding, lush but dangerous. Followers of the Maze of Dusk claim that walking it's twisting byways will strengthen the soul, allowing it to better survive what waits after death, and protecting it from outside tampering. There might be some truth to this, as those who claim to have done so either possess strong souls, or are proven to be lying. However, many who enter never emerge, and those who do refuse to tell what occurs within. Walkers of the Shadow Path cannot have their souls bound through necromancy, whether they emerge or not. Something believers point to as proof of divine protection, while enemies of the religion state that the simplest explanation for not being able to find something is that it simply doesn't exist anymore... Fallow the Binder is a businessman at heart, always depicted as a merchant or lender, with a thin gold manacle held or clasped around one wrist. Offering her followers safety against the ravages of the underworld in a rather unique way. According to her clergy, after a person dies their souls pass into horrendous torment. This is the reason why so few strong souls exist anymore, because they are all slowly failing under the lash or burning in hellfire. The memories of these events are so traumatic that no soul can recall them, which is why a soul might feel a connection from a past life, but no such insight into what occurs after death. Exactly what causes this torment varies from place to place, some temples claim that the other gods are attempting to break down souls to use as fuel or food, other state that it is an implacable, unknowable force that is simply seeking to dissolve the universe whole and only inside a living body is a soul safe. In one particularly memorable instance the temples of Fallow in two warring states each said that powerful mages from the other state were working terrible magics to flay the souls of their enemies. Likewise the priests provide equally differing and improbable ways for souls to survive the afterlife intact. Pure asceticism, uninhibited indulgence, bathing in the blood of a thousand innocents, purging one's continent of all vaguely defined iniquity. For the average person they say, the only real way to protect oneself from the winnowing is to have one's soul bound to the earth, and only Fallow and her clergy are willing or able to do this. Other examples might include a warrior god that demands followers of other gods be slaughtered in her name, that she might punish the souls of the unfaithful. Or a nature deity that claims those with fractured souls are some of the most sacred, because they are pieced together of the fragments of his subject plants and animals, newly minted. The god of thieves, who claims that if he is paid enough he will chain the souls of old worshipers to your own, granting the favored worshiper nine lives. Even the forging god, who states that any soul may become a strong soul, through a life lived true to oneself and enduring the tribulations of the world. (Endure. In enduring, grow strong.)
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