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Trappings

 
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zarlor
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:44 pm    Post subject: Trappings Reply with quote

After working on converting some characters (their essence, if you will, NOT a direct conversion) from 4E to Savage Worlds as we swap things away from that horrid system we started on the idea of using trappings to heavily modify base Powers. And it got me thinking that we could really use a kind of balance chart for trappings just like we have in SWD in the "Making Races" section. I ran across Savage Arcanum and Savage Armory as a couple of pretty good examples of that Zadmar put together taking that concept on to other areas of Savage Worlds (namely for balancing Arcane Backgrounds and then for Weapons and Armor).

So what are some thoughts some of you might have for balancing out the trappings on a power?

For example, I'm interested in taking the "Boost/Lower Trait" power and turning into a "Shadowed Legion" type power. To get the feel of that power (the 4E original simply gives the PC the ability to grant their Stealth bonus to any other PC w/in 5 of them for 1 encounter, so about 10 minutes) I was thinking a way to do it would be to limit B/L Trait to only affect Stealth, to not be usable to Lower Trait and to not be usable on the caster. In exchange I was thinking of either reducing the PP cost and/or increasing the duration. But how do we determine some good approximate costs for these things?

What kinds of things fall into what categories of costs?

How about something like:

+2
Some decent boost in damage (+1d6?)
Doubling duration
Reduction of PP cost by 3

+1
Doubling Range
Increasing a Range Touch power to Ranged
Increasing AoE by 1 step (individual to Small Burst, Small to Med. or Med. to Large)
Minor damage boost (+1d4?)
Reduce PP cost by 1

-1
Halving Range
Decreasing a Ranged power to Touch
Limiting a power to affect the caster only
Minor damage reduction
Limiting what can be affected by it
Increase Rank requirement by one step
PP cost increase by 1

-2
Major damage reduction
PP cost increase by 3

Something like that, I'm thinking.

What do other folks think might be good to include in a list like this and at what +/- rankings should they be at?
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tigerguy786
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you proposing a system like the Race builder system?
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savage Armoury does also include suggestions for applying the same system to power trappings (on page 14), and includes examples that reproduce four of the trappings from SWD (pages 106-107):

Necromantic: Shards
* High Powered (+2)
* Low Penetration (-1)
* Low Penetration (-1)

Light: Beam
* Very High Penetration (+2)
* Very High Penetration (+2)
* Very Lower Powered (-4)

Fire/Heat: Armor Piercing
* High Penetration (+2)
* +1 PP (-2)

Electricity: Armor Piercing
* High Penetration (+2)
* +1 PP (-2)

I reverse engineered the Fire/Heat and Electricity trappings to calculate the value of +1 PP, and there's no reason why you couldn't do the same for other abilities.

For example, Acid: Burn reduces the die by one type and inflicts one die less damage on the caster's next action. Reducing the die by one type for a ranged attack is a -4 ability, so you could value "one die less damage on next action" as a +4 ability.

Similarly, Cold/Ice: Fatigue requires a Vigor roll to resist, but also halves the range. The range of Bolt is 12/24/48, which you could actually reproduce as an innate ability using the Natural Weapons edge with Extreme Range and Ammo. Halving the range would mean swapping Extreme Range for Short Range, so (at least for Bolt) you might argue that halving the range is a -3 ability. That would require making the Vigor roll to resist Fatigue a +3 ability, which happens to be the same price as an Edge - and in my opinion that ability is on-par with an Edge (in fact it's very similar to the "Venomous" Edge in my Supernaturalis cap-setting).

I actually consider the example trappings in SWD to be very well balanced, but it can be useful to price the individual abilities when designing completely new trappings, even if they're only used as a general guideline.
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zarlor
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tigerguy786 wrote:
Are you proposing a system like the Race builder system?


That's exactly what I'm proposing.

Zadmar,
Savage Armory talks about using the system for the trappings on damage powers, all in a great way, but I think it misses out on all of the rest of the powers. In the example above what about taking a non-damaging power, like Boost/Lower Trait. How much would be an appropriate balance for disallowing the Reverse of the power? In other words making it only a Boost Trait power? Would that be a -1 value? -2? What about increasing the duration? Would doubling the duration be a +2 value, or +3? Neither of those really fit into the Penetration levels discussed. How do we rate either of those things on the overall scale?

I think you have a great list, but it's focused on weapons so maybe all that we'd need is to simply expand it to include other forms of enhancements and limitations on powers, such as duration and PP costs or changing the Rank requirements for a Power. Some of those things, then, that are not directly involved in damage/combat.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it would be very difficult to create a generic system that applied to all powers, but you could simulate a lot of things through Mystic Edge, Major Hindrance and Minor Hindrance.

I'd treat the modifiers from Supernaturalis (page 59) as Major Hindrances, or Minor Hindrances if their impact isn't too severe. Restricting the usage of Boost/Lower could be done using the Limitation modifier.

The "Power Mod" Edges from Agents of Oblivion (pages 27-28) would also be very useful, although they don't include duration (because AoO doesn't use PP). But I guess I'd probably price double duration as an Edge.
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farik
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the reason it's hard to make a generic trapping adjustment chart is that trappings are usually very dependent on the setting and the arcane background.

For instance I might throw some limiting trappings on powers for a expansive arcane background but throw some beneficial trappings on an arcane background with a shorter power list.

Let alone the value of a "Water" trapping in a desert setting versus an aquatic one.
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zarlor
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

farik wrote:
the reason it's hard to make a generic trapping adjustment chart is that trappings are usually very dependent on the setting and the arcane background.

For instance I might throw some limiting trappings on powers for a expansive arcane background but throw some beneficial trappings on an arcane background with a shorter power list.

Let alone the value of a "Water" trapping in a desert setting versus an aquatic one.


True, but there are some things common across the board no matter the setting. Things like range, PP costs, damage, Limiting a "Reversible" power to only have one of two possible effects, number of targets affected or area of effect.

I still think it is quite possible to make a chart of those kinds of things, at least, and begin to assign some set of numbers to them in order to work out how each of those can be modified at what levels to balance each other out.

Things like some kind of "water" trapping is almost too setting specific to fit the table anyway and the AB is only relevant if you are limiting powers to certain ABs. That needs to be handled by your ABs, not necessarily by simply balancing Powers. In other words all of that is fine and dandy when trying to cover some specific kinds of settings but generically Powers are balanced against each other by various other factors in SWD, such as their PP costs, damage, effects generated, Rank pre-requisites and so on. In that sense I think I'm most interested in that inter-operable balance between and within a power assuming a typically generic SWD setting. Anything setting specific can be worked out based on that setting if we at least have good guidelines to begin with, I would think.
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farik
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand what you're going for but I thinks it's a bit of a false premise or at least a misnomer.

You mention a "generic" savage world. But there really isn't such a thing. Even in the SWD they put the qualifier the following powers would be available in "most" games.

So I believe your conceived table could be useful to one or even multiple settings and could be a great tool but I'd warn against thinking of it as universal or even generic.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

farik wrote:
the reason it's hard to make a generic trapping adjustment chart is that trappings are usually very dependent on the setting and the arcane background.

Although I agree with what you're saying, I think the same argument could be made about races - yet the race creation rules are still a superb set of guidelines for anyone wishing to design their own races. The GM just needs to tweak the prices if an ability is particularly strong or weak in a certain setting, but it's still useful to have a default ability value as a point of reference.
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SavageGamerGirl
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came up with a system similar to this a little while ago.

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=31490

Feel free to mine it and its resulting conversation for ideas! Very Happy
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zarlor
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 with Zadmar's response! Exactly that Races are a great guideline and I think that's all we're really looking for. And thus why Zadmar's guides are pretty useful in their own right.

@SavageGamerGirl: Apparently my search-fu is failing me. That's pretty much just what I was looking for. Time to move any further discussion into that thread. Thanks!
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thudthwacker
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really love your power alteration system, SGG. Really great work.
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