Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

If it doesn't fit into a category above, then inscribe it here, O Mighty One...

Moderators: DJ LaBoss, finarvyn, michaelcurtis, Harley Stroh

Post Reply
Hamakto
Mighty-Thewed Reaver
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:50 am
Location: West Suburbs of Chicago

Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

Post by Hamakto »

I would like to start this out with the following statement:

Code: Select all

I know what I am asking is opening a prior can of worms.  But I feel that it is still worth bringing up because of how unbalancing Thief Luck can be.
That being said... :)

I think that thief chances for success should be moved back to percentages for pure mechanic reasons. Not because of legacy, not because of cool factor, but to keep the systems different.

Let me explain why I am asking for this. There has been some confusion about this on the boards on what can a luck value be utilized for. People wanted to add it to rolls beyond the scope of what luck was intended to be. It is not as important when it was a +1 per point of luck, but when a thief gets to add a class die of luck it becomes very critical on what sort of rolls it can be used for.

There has been some discussion on adding MDoA's type abilities to other classes. There are workable ways to do that, until you get to the thief luck mechanic. Thieves can blow the power curve on combat, saving throws and most any of the d20 mechanics that exist.

So how do we prevent confusion and limit the effectiveness of thieves?

------------------------------------
Option one: Keep same mechanics but limit them
------------------------------------
At a very minimum, remove the class die from thief class. Make the luck modifier a straight d4 no matter what the class level of the thief. They also have to decide ahead of time how many luck points to burn, not roll... roll again... roll again... type affair.

------------------------------------
Option two: Temporary vs permanent
------------------------------------
Keep the class die for anything related to thief skills (could include saving throws vs trap that was triggered on a failed pick lock check). Using luck this way is a temporary train.

Using Luck for anything not related to class skills is a 1 luck = +1 on the roll like other classes. This use of luck is permanent like other classes.

------------------------------------
Option three: Change of mechanics
------------------------------------
1. Convert thief skill checks back to percentages.
2. If a thief burns luck for a thief skill check, he rolls a d20 (or 2d10) and adds that % to their skill check. This is temporary loss and is regained at 1 point per level per day.
3. When burning luck for a non thief skill check, a thief uses luck just like any other class (1 point = +1). This is permanent burn.

Since the % system is different, it keeps everything separate in a players mind on how luck is utilized . But it is a departure from the d20 mechanic and high is not always better in a % system. :)



Right now as written, thieves can be the best at about everything for short periods of time. It is also going to cause issues with any sort of cross class functions that might be brought up now or in the future supplements of the game.

These are just random ideas, but I think it needs to be revisited and potentially torn apart on the discussion board.
Andy
Blood Kings
2007 & 2008 DCC Tourney Champion
smathis
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:52 pm

Re: Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

Post by smathis »

I think Luck should be removed from the Attributes. It should be more of a Hero Point mechanic that Thieves and Halflings are just really good at capitalizing on.

It's a weird Attribute. That doesn't work like any of the other attributes. And because it's an attribute, Thieves and Halflings have a ton of (essentially) renewable Hero Points at their disposal.

I think Luck would be better if there was a good deal less of it (like 6 points or less) and the sixth attribute was something more traditional. Not necessarily Wisdom but something else that worked like all the other attributes.
User avatar
geordie racer
Mighty-Thewed Reaver
Posts: 376
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:13 am
Location: Newcastle, England

Re: Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

Post by geordie racer »

Option Two is awful - in play you would end up having to define how a thief operates - by having to rule what is or isn't a thief skill you're narrowing the skill set to the Thief Skills (in capitals) and hamstringing audacious acts of improvisation. You constrain Cugel in a way that people would not accept for wizards or warriors.

'I leap across to the other rooftop'
'not strictly a thief skill'
'b-but rooftops are my speciality?!'
Sean Wills
bholmes4
Mighty-Thewed Reaver
Posts: 379
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:53 am

Re: Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

Post by bholmes4 »

Hamakto wrote: ------------------------------------
Option one: Keep same mechanics but limit them
------------------------------------
At a very minimum, remove the class die from thief class. Make the luck modifier a straight d4 no matter what the class level of the thief. They also have to decide ahead of time how many luck points to burn, not roll... roll again... roll again... type affair.

.......

Right now as written, thieves can be the best at about everything for short periods of time. It is also going to cause issues with any sort of cross class functions that might be brought up now or in the future supplements of the game.
First off great post because this has been bugging me but I have kind of given up hope that something this big would ever be changed at this point. Instead I have started to focus on "fixing" things myself for my own campaign.

Of those options, option one is the best one. I still think the whole, luck as an attribute thing doesn't work though.
smathis wrote:I think Luck should be removed from the Attributes. It should be more of a Hero Point mechanic that Thieves and Halflings are just really good at capitalizing on.

It's a weird Attribute. That doesn't work like any of the other attributes. And because it's an attribute, Thieves and Halflings have a ton of (essentially) renewable Hero Points at their disposal.

I think Luck would be better if there was a good deal less of it (like 6 points or less) and the sixth attribute was something more traditional. Not necessarily Wisdom but something else that worked like all the other attributes.
Definitely agree. I have come to the conclusion that DCC can't possibly be my system of choice because things like the Luck system are just too broken. Instead I am going back to B/X D&D and adding some of DCCs better ideas. What you wrote here is basically what I am doing. Luck is gone as an attribute and Personality has been split back to Charisma and Wisdom (which is more a measure of your spirit/connection to the universe but I am reluctant to call it "spirit" at this time).

Luck will remain for halflings and thieves and probably rollable as a birth augur for everyone (ie. Luck of the halfling: receive a d4 luck point that can be used once each day, receive +3 luck points if you are a thief or halfling). For thieves and halfling you will likely start with 3 luck (d4 each) and max out at high levels, possibly around 6 at d8 or something like that.
geordie racer wrote:Option Two is awful
Agreed.
User avatar
abk108
Mighty-Thewed Reaver
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:28 am

Re: Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

Post by abk108 »

geordie racer wrote:Option Two is awful - in play you would end up having to define how a thief operates - by having to rule what is or isn't a thief skill you're narrowing the skill set to the Thief Skills (in capitals) and hamstringing audacious acts of improvisation. You constrain Cugel in a way that people would not accept for wizards or warriors.

'I leap across to the other rooftop'
'not strictly a thief skill'
'b-but rooftops are my speciality?!'
I disagree, of the three Option 2 is the one i like more. Or something along those lines:

a Thief burning luck on an Ability Check based on Agility or Intelligence (or Personality? *) can get +1d4; if burning luck on an Ability Check based on Strength or Stamina he simply adds +1 per point.

This keeps the thief from
  • becoming a melee boss-killing machine (because rulewise you can't backstab with ranged weapons) since melee attack is based on Strength
  • resisting any poison, disease, death ray (against which luck shouldn't count) since they're based on Stamina
  • Lifting gates and bashing doors better than a warrior (how can you be lucky at powerlifting? O.o )
  • i bet there are others but this would solve the thief stealing the spotlight in combat and killing bosses in 1 shot
* having 3 abilities in which the "Luck die" of a thief apply might be a little too much, if compared to only 2 abilities in which it doesn't apply (but, still he gets a +1). Maybe, choosing 2 of those 3 abilities (AGI, INT, PER) in which to apply the "Luck die" might help, also helping to differentiate thieves from one another (this could also help a thief overcome a weak score in those abilities, at least sometimes)
Author of Arcanix RPG - fantasy medieval d6 system
learn more :
http://arcanixrpg.webs.com
smathis
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:52 pm

Re: Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

Post by smathis »

bholmes4 wrote:Definitely agree. I have come to the conclusion that DCC can't possibly be my system of choice because things like the Luck system are just too broken. Instead I am going back to B/X D&D and adding some of DCCs better ideas. What you wrote here is basically what I am doing. Luck is gone as an attribute and Personality has been split back to Charisma and Wisdom (which is more a measure of your spirit/connection to the universe but I am reluctant to call it "spirit" at this time).

Luck will remain for halflings and thieves and probably rollable as a birth augur for everyone (ie. Luck of the halfling: receive a d4 luck point that can be used once each day, receive +3 luck points if you are a thief or halfling). For thieves and halfling you will likely start with 3 luck (d4 each) and max out at high levels, possibly around 6 at d8 or something like that.
I like these ideas better than any presented thus far. I'm really "head in the sand" when it comes to Luck. I recognize its finer points of breakage. And see it as a pretty core problem. But I'm not sharpening the pitchfork and lighting the torches because I don't think it's something that's on the block to get fixed.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it in my games. The thing I'm writing does a pretty good job of band-aiding some of the issues with DCC in its current form. But it's in a genre-appropriate way that isn't viable for a lot of traditional fantasy campaigns.

And Luck is like that cut on the inside of my mouth that I can't stop tonguing.

Eww.

It's like this genre breaking thing that both wants to be an attribute AND wants to be a pool of Hero/Drama/Plot Points. But doesn't serve well as any of those. So I'm not sure what to make of it. But I think it would be better served as a more traditional Hero/Drama Point pool.

Suffice to say, Luck is NOT an attribute. And shouldn't be an attribute. But it will remain an attribute. And I have to figure out some way to make it "work" in the confines of my own game and product. Sometimes I really want things to change in DCC so I won't have to remove myself from my inertial slack.

:?
smathis
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:52 pm

Re: Thieves, Luck and DCC RPG

Post by smathis »

So here's where my head is now in regards to Luck. Note, I've been pondering it for a while and what I'm putting together features different classes from the core. It's an entirely different genre, really. So it has its own thing going.

First, I think there needs to be a better payout for permanent burn. +1, before the roll, doesn't cut it, IMO. I'm thinking more of +1d4 allowed after the roll. And potentially a few other (expanded) uses for Luck, similar to how some other non-D&D games treat the whole Drama/Plot/Hero Point. Essentially it becomes the primary stat for the Zeppos out there.

Second, I think the rate at which Halflings and Thieves recover Luck is ridiculous. Everyone else has to burn Luck permanently while Halflings and Thieves recover 1-10 EVERY NIGHT. I'm not a Balance Hound but even I coughed up half my beer there. I'm all for encouraging people to use them some Luck but that's a little crazy. I'm more likely to rule that Halflings and Thieves recover Luck at a per adventure or per level rate.

But to offset the gimping here, Thieves and Halflings need something a little better. Personally, I think Halflings are already kinda there with their ability to donate Luck to others. Maybe expanding their use of Luck to allow for a few unique ally buffs would be appropriate. Thieves just need a better die than the d4. Or maybe the ability to add their "Luck" die to the d4.

Third, I plan to support DCC's current saving throw system. But the classes in my book will offer a variant approach to Saves that will tie Luck to an actual Saving Throw. Let's do our best to make Luck really count as an attribute. Right now it's kind of the critical hit attribute.

And all the talk of Halflings and Thieves in this post is just me rambling a bit. There is a class I'm putting together that sort of hands out Luck like the Halfling does. But I don't think there's one that has the Luck die like the Thief. Still, it would be nice to offer some sort of "compatibility" appendix that says... "hey, if you want to dimensional vortex DCC characters here, these are the changes that need to be made to make them 'work' in this setting".
Post Reply

Return to “DCC RPG General”