Four fixes for DCC

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AJClark
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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by AJClark » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:38 pm

oncelor wrote: I really don't like singling out characters and marking them for death.
you aren't singling him out.

He is making himself a target by wielding such powerful magics.

There is a difference.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by Skyscraper » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:03 pm

AJClark wrote:
oncelor wrote: I really don't like singling out characters and marking them for death.
you aren't singling him out.

He is making himself a target by wielding such powerful magics.

There is a difference.
I do not agree with you. The powers that he is attracting and that will be targetting him for being powerful, are controlled by the judge. So the player's PC is being singled out by the judge. Whether in the judge's mind this is a result of the "PC is making himself a target" or whether this is "the judge targetting this PC" simply relates to the level of abstraction of the game that you have.

Now I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to have in-game elements react to the PC's power. Might well make the game fun and interesting. But designing encounters or battles or curses that target the PC, is the judge singling out the PC. Might as well call a frog, a frog.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by cthulhudarren » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:31 am

oncelor wrote:
He's been killed in combat a couple times, but death in combat only seems to be a minor inconvenience: one of the clerics inevitably heals any fallen character within the 1 round / level limit, and the "Restore Vitality" spell removes any of the permanent damage. I am planning on addressing both these items with house-rules (negative HPs, ability damage from dying cannot be healed with "restore vitality.") Though I don't mind having monsters identify targets of particular threat, or for powerful characters to develop the attention of powerful rivals, I really don't like singling out characters and marking them for death.
I would look into this angle; the clerics' gods' probably don't appreciate being used to heal this nonbeliever. Is he paying appriate dues and sacrifices to the cleric's god? If he has been brought back from the dead multiple times already he should be profoundly in debt to the god or else the cleric is seriously sinning against his god.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by smathis » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:35 am

cthulhudarren wrote:
oncelor wrote:
He's been killed in combat a couple times, but death in combat only seems to be a minor inconvenience: one of the clerics inevitably heals any fallen character within the 1 round / level limit, and the "Restore Vitality" spell removes any of the permanent damage. I am planning on addressing both these items with house-rules (negative HPs, ability damage from dying cannot be healed with "restore vitality.") Though I don't mind having monsters identify targets of particular threat, or for powerful characters to develop the attention of powerful rivals, I really don't like singling out characters and marking them for death.
I would look into this angle; the clerics' gods' probably don't appreciate being used to heal this nonbeliever. Is he paying appriate dues and sacrifices to the cleric's god? If he has been brought back from the dead multiple times already he should be profoundly in debt to the god or else the cleric is seriously sinning against his god.
Lol. Brilliant.

Next time the cleric heals him, the god starts sending the cleric visions that he wants the cleric to convert the Wizard -- culminating in the deity flat out telling the cleric to do so. If the cleric refuses, turn the heat up on the party by increasing the cleric's disapproval and diminishing the efficacy of Lay on Hands.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by smathis » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:35 am

Double post?

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by IronWolf » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:06 am

Skyscraper wrote: I know some people will argue that the +10 healing color spray is not broken. Okay, call it what you will The very discussion on this thread is pretty revealing to me. People are going out of their way imagining ways to kill the character, retire it, steal his staff, or otherwise bend the story to accommodate that power. You can call it otherwise than broken if you feel the game works well with such a power, I won't argue with you. But the bottom line is: other classes, other characters, do not have access to this type of power; and the power requires the game to bend to it, otherwise the PLAYERS do not have fun playing the game. To me, that's broken.
I don't see it as people going out of their way. Actions have reactions. To me this is what makes the game fun and continues to put twists into my online campaign that have evolved as a result of character actions.

A wizard going about the land laying waste to things is *going* to draw the attention of one of the many powers more powerful than him. These powers are apt to either try to recruit the wizard to aide them in their pursuits (perhaps with difficult moral decisions) or attempt to stifle this wizard from being too great of a threat.

This is evident in various Appendix N sources. I am aware of at least one case of Fafhrd and Gray Mouser drawing attention of "patrons" and becoming targets of these "patrons" as they grew uncomfortable with their actions.

I don't think it is going out of the way for great power to go unnoticed. I think it builds verisimilitude into a campaign world to have character actions *causing* reactions within it. Especially in worlds where magic is not a trivial matter.

Wizards are definitely powerful, but their actions are tapping into potentially unknown and deadly sources of power. Magic is not without risk, sometimes the risk is drawing the ire of an otherworldly being.

I have also found that warriors can do some really cool stuff with their Mighty Deed Die which just gets easier and easier to successfully use as the die increases. The thieve's backstab ability gets downright encounter changing as they increase in levels as well. The thief in our online campaign rarely misses on his backstab attempt and his crit die just keeps getting better and better. In mid-level games I've watched halflings become rolling balls of death and drop a foe with lucky rolls in one round.
Skyscraper wrote: You can propose an heroic retirement, e.g. you will play an in-game contest where he needs to confront enemies in a test to become head of the wizard order. I.e. make him fight his way out of the campaign.
I do like this as a possible option!
Skyscraper wrote: I do not agree with you. The powers that he is attracting and that will be targetting him for being powerful, are controlled by the judge. So the player's PC is being singled out by the judge. Whether in the judge's mind this is a result of the "PC is making himself a target" or whether this is "the judge targetting this PC" simply relates to the level of abstraction of the game that you have.
All things that aren't the characters are controlled by the judge. With the above in mind anytime the Judge does anything to the characters the judge is targetting them.

I think a judge needs to think about the actions his group is taking and objectively think about how the world around them reacts. Sometimes the event wouldn't be known, so nothing happens. Other times the event is known or noticed and a possible reaction will come. Let the world live and breathe. Let the world change and react to the characters.

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Skyscraper
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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by Skyscraper » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:21 am

I agree with pretty much everything you say Ironwolf. I however would like to distinguish or emphasize what I'm saying. Because it's one thing to say that we can play along with a broken mechanic (again, we can call it otherwise if we want to), and it's another to say we want to play with one.

Firstly, there is a difference between a party laying waste to things, because that's what the story is telling; and one PC having a power greater than any other that the other PCs have access to, usable every round, and this power allowing the PC to lay waste to things pretty much systematically (unless you design encounters around it). In the former, everyone is having a substantially equivalent impact on the game, or if they're not, they at least have access to resources to allow them to shine in a way that will be fun for them. In the latter, that one PC has a mechanical advantage, period.

I'm all for game-world reactions to PC actions, I'm sure everyone here understands that. I've been DM-ing for over 30 years, and I'm well aware that this is an important ingredient for a game to work well. However, when one mechanic is being abused, and the judge reacts by sending hit squads to assassinate the abusing-PC, then the game changes. Do the hit squads succeed? If not, sending them is pretty useless. You're simply allowing the PC to use his super-power to yet again shine while others don't. If the hit squad succeeds, well you've singled out the PC and killed him off. You can call that action-reaction, but tell that to the player who has his PC killed off essentially because of that power. If not for it, he probably could have continued to play his beloved PC without hindrance. In either case, I don't see this as desirable.

Also, perhaps as a group, we don't want the game's story to be about people targetting this one player's PC and trying to annihilate him. In fact, rarely is the game about one PC. Usually, individual story components that pertain to a single PC and not the others, are relatively low key, as opposed to common goals that interest everyone. That allows the game to remain interesting for all, most of the time. This includes the judge who might not want to design fights with blind undead (man, what an eloquent example, that), but also the players who want to stop the BBEG from controlling the world, not be minions to the super-powerful PC.

Then, there is how much space the PC takes up during fights, compared to others. (If the game is low on battles, this is of lesser importance.) If every time there is a fight, this PC manages to do most of the work by himself, for example by blinding or making unconscious half of the enemies, then again I don't see this as desirable.

What I get from the +10 healing color spray situation, is that this PC essentially has a win button that he can press everytime there is a fight. You can argue that there is always a way to work that into the game and arrange the story around it, as we would any other story feature or action that a PC takes; while I agree that it is possible, I think that there are some things I'd rather not play with, and this includes win buttons. Likewise, I don't like players that push spells or other mechanical features into extreme unintended uses to try to transform an otherwise mundane or casual spell or ability into a thing of destruction. That simply doesn't jive with me. There are some things, including player attitudes and game mechanics, that I'd rather simply not have at my table so that we may get on with the story without having to always have to return to this one person's attitude or game mechanic and having to deal with it. I'd rather spend my time doing something else in the game.

When is something just "too much"? Well, like the saying goes, this is like porn: you know it when you see it. When people at the table roll their eyes, say "alright, win the fight for us", or generally when one or more players aren't having fun because of it, you know you need to think about what to do about it.

In games I've played in the last few years, I have had none of these situations occur. This is not frequent (both in terms of player attitude or game mechanic), at least not for me. But I've experience it a few times before, and I simply would rather do away with it if eveyone agrees, and go on to play a game without that irritating factor.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by cjoepar » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:27 am

I see a lot of contrived ideas to deal with the color spraying wizard. But like the Onceler, Skyscraper (and maybe some others I'm missing) are saying, when you have to direct game design and game play time to specifically deal with just one character all the time, whether that's altering the saving throws for monsters or creating situation after situation where his powers are neutralized, you have a balance problem. It is what it is, guys. You don't change the fact that an imbalance exists in that party by just adopting the opinion that the Onceler hasn't tried hard enough, or been creative enough in dealing with it within the game mechanics.

But I also don't know that I would go so far as to say that the system is broken because of it. It's a rare occurrence that you get this kind of a situation, and I've seen similar things happen in other rpg systems. Sometimes you just have to step outside the game and say hey, it's time to move on to using characters that are balanced because ultimately this one character is ruining the fun for several people. I think most players would be on board with that and though they might groan a little, they would see the point and go along with it. Now if the player running this guy is the kind that's always trying to build some killer combination, because he approaches rpg's like a Magic the Gathering game, well that's a different problem.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by beermotor » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:44 am

My only complaint is y'all keep saying "balance" as if it is some talisman against evil. Rock/paper/scissors is balanced. DCC isn't and wasn't even meant to be. Real life isn't balanced either. That's why I think for all its gonzoness, DCC has more realism than, say, a more methodically balanced game like D&D 4e. Too much balance is a terrible thing and makes everything the same, and boring. I want my players to seek out advantage, to seek to become powerful and unbalanced. Then I can crush their tiny little dreams. :twisted:

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by Raven_Crowking » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:21 am

beermotor wrote:My only complaint is y'all keep saying "balance" as if it is some talisman against evil. Rock/paper/scissors is balanced. DCC isn't and wasn't even meant to be. Real life isn't balanced either. That's why I think for all its gonzoness, DCC has more realism than, say, a more methodically balanced game like D&D 4e. Too much balance is a terrible thing and makes everything the same, and boring. I want my players to seek out advantage, to seek to become powerful and unbalanced. Then I can crush their tiny little dreams. :twisted:
+3d24.

Avoiding using powerful magic when it isn't needed is all over the Appendix N literature, and largely because it draws attention to oneself. Hell, in LotR Gandalf is worried about so little an act as lighting a fire lest the Fellowship's enemies learn thereby that "Gandalf is here!"

Any discussion of the rules as written must include Luck changes for wielding powerful forces, because that is part of the RAW. The judge having supernatural beings and other wizards target a character who uses arcane forces indiscriminately is no more the judge targeting the PC than is if a warrior being hunted by the duke if he goes around slaying the duke's men. Both are the natural consequences of actions within a genre-appropriate setting. Wizards are jealous bastards. Also, magic is not reliable in DCC. A table of knock-on effects in a given adventure area can do wonders......

The goal should not be, IMHO, to nerf the character, but rather to give the character interesting choices. Awareness that a particular spell or combo won't defeat this particular monster is a good thing. If your PC Warrior only uses Mighty Deeds to blind opponents, facing opponents that are already blind, or that have hundreds of eyes, requires creativity on the part of the player. Knowing that there might be a price for spamming a particular spell likewise; Jack Vance gives us some idea of what a rival wizard might do to learn a particular spell.

And sometimes it might be the PCs putting the screws to an indiscriminate rival. In fact, give them a chance to do so, and then use their actions as a guide for the levels to which NPCs might go.

Finally, if none of the above appeals to you, consider raising the other PCs to the wizard's power level, instead of lowering him to theirs. Then pitch at their new level, with opponents that are appropriate for them all. One simple way to accomplish this is to give less XP to the unchallenged wizard.

Just some thoughts.
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by Skyscraper » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:44 am

cjoepar wrote: But I also don't know that I would go so far as to say that the system is broken because of it. It's a rare occurrence that you get this kind of a situation, and I've seen similar things happen in other rpg systems. Sometimes you just have to step outside the game and say hey, it's time to move on to using characters that are balanced because ultimately this one character is ruining the fun for several people. I think most players would be on board with that and though they might groan a little, they would see the point and go along with it. Now if the player running this guy is the kind that's always trying to build some killer combination, because he approaches rpg's like a Magic the Gathering game, well that's a different problem.
As you understand, I agree, but to be clear, I'm not saying that DCC is broken. Just one combination (the +10 healing color spray), according to the judge's description of his game. DCC brings in great things, I honestly love the system, for many different reasons too.
beermotor wrote:My only complaint is y'all keep saying "balance" as if it is some talisman against evil. Rock/paper/scissors is balanced. DCC isn't and wasn't even meant to be. Real life isn't balanced either. That's why I think for all its gonzoness, DCC has more realism than, say, a more methodically balanced game like D&D 4e. Too much balance is a terrible thing and makes everything the same, and boring. I want my players to seek out advantage, to seek to become powerful and unbalanced. Then I can crush their tiny little dreams. :twisted:
See, I have no particular taste to set up a table leading to my vengeance against the players. I assume you don't either and are only using this as somewhat of a colorful statement. To me, the game is not about me vs. them. I want cool cooperative storytelling and that everyone have fun together. If a mechanic gets in the way and we can't find a way to work around it, we remove it. Since this is a last resort and a rare occurrence, I have no problem doing it, in DCC or in any other game. And even the best games, when they get the chance to go through post-issuance balancing, will rehandle certain aspects. Nothing wrong with recognizing that.

Balance, in itself, is not a goal, nor a hindrance. I do not mind the wizard being able to achieve things that the warrior cannot. But like anything, our judgement should intervene. Battles can be an important part of the game and if a game mechanic allows one PC to win all battles, then either:

1) you let it be and let him win all battles (not a good solution according to everyone here, so I won't discuss this one)
2) you remove the abusive mechanic and get on with the game (my proposed solution)
3) you deal with the abusive mechanic by removing the character or otherwise forcing him to stop using it in-game (the solution put forth by (most?) posters in this thread, including you, if I understand correctly). Honestly, this is essentially equivalent to #2, but with a story arc associated to it. And this is where I don't like the solution: it forces the story arc around the abusive mechanic to achieve the same result anyway.

By the way, removing one extreme game mechanic is not equivalent to seaking a perfect balance. I agree with the entire approach of not seaking a perfect balance etc... As I mention earlier, it's a question of whether you wish to spend game time around that, or not.
Raven_Crowking wrote:
Avoiding using powerful magic when it isn't needed is all over the Appendix N literature, and largely because it draws attention to oneself. Hell, in LotR Gandalf is worried about so little an act as lighting a fire lest the Fellowship's enemies learn thereby that "Gandalf is here!"
This is the most persuasive argument I get from this thread. But to get there, Gandalf probably had to experience it first. He used his powers many times, and after being hit by hit squads, he came to the conclusion that he musn't. Thus: time of the game spent on dealing with it.
other stuff from RC
The rest again pertains to options of how to bend the story around the mechanic. It's not that I cannot think about ways to do it in game. Again: I don't like that this mechanic be the decisive factor in what the game will be about; and that in waiting for it to be dealt with, the entire group needs to suffer through it.

It's not the same thing as the warrior slaying the duke's men in my mind. Slaying the duke's men is, firstly, most probably a group decision. (If not, then it's another question.) While using the superpower is working towards the group's goals (presumably), but using one particularly powerful means to achieve that group goal, that allows you to outclass everyone else. And then the judge deciding that using superpowers is a sin according to XYZ Power from Beyond and the wizard should be dealt with.

The example of the warrior always blinding opponents is interesting, but of limited applicability. You can simply say "hey, think about other ways that your deed can be used to similar impact". Whereas the wizard with the +10 healing color spray doesn't have another power of similar impact. Nor does anyone else. (And, honestly, one blinded opponent is not like 5 blinded opponents and 5 healed allies, is it?)

Anyway, I get form this thread that many of you like to handle this type of situaiton in-game, which is fine of course. This is simply not my preferred way to handle the rare, clearly overpowerful power combo.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by cjoepar » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:21 am

DCC is definitely a game designed around the Wizard class. Yeah, that's my favorite part about it, too. Having wizards who are meddling with unleashing great power, but at the risk of warping their sanity and bodies, and losing their eternal souls in the process is a fantastic impetus. And I don't think anyone would say that it's good to try to change that aspect of the game. But sometimes, that kind of system is going to produce this kind of phenomenon. For me, by making the risk of corruption directly proportional to the amount of spellburn used has balanced things nicely in my group. For others, they might not like that approach or they may have players that find ways around that, too.
beermotor wrote:My only complaint is y'all keep saying "balance" as if it is some talisman against evil. Rock/paper/scissors is balanced. DCC isn't and wasn't even meant to be. Real life isn't balanced either. That's why I think for all its gonzoness, DCC has more realism than, say, a more methodically balanced game like D&D 4e. Too much balance is a terrible thing and makes everything the same, and boring. I want my players to seek out advantage, to seek to become powerful and unbalanced. Then I can crush their tiny little dreams. :twisted:
Well, I don't think anyone is saying they want an rpg to somehow be balanced like a game of chess. You're absolutely right, a certain degree of imbalance is completely unavoidable and, in fact, desirable.

But what we're talking about in this thread is a situation where people are getting bored and their enjoyment of the game is eroding because one character has chanced upon an artifact-like power. Yeah, it would be great if the player recognizes that he is stealing away his friends' enjoyment of the gaming sessions, and on his own started showing restraint with it's use, somehow working up his own story for it. But I think we're talking about a situation where the character is just jumping to this solution all the time. That's a degree of imbalance where you need to do something about it to get everyone back to a more level playing field so everyone has more or less the same opportunity to enjoy themselves, Judge included.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by beermotor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:54 am

cjoepar wrote:For me, by making the risk of corruption directly proportional to the amount of spellburn used has balanced things nicely in my group. For others, they might not like that approach or they may have players that find ways around that, too.

I missed this, where did you suggest doing this? Sounds great to me. Do you make them roll for corruption like clerics have to on the disapproval table, Xd4 where X = disapproval? So X spellburn = Xdy on the Spellburn table? Maybe make Y = Wizard level or spell level, such that more powerful casters or more powerful effects create more problems for the caster.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by cjoepar » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:15 am

beermotor wrote:
cjoepar wrote:For me, by making the risk of corruption directly proportional to the amount of spellburn used has balanced things nicely in my group. For others, they might not like that approach or they may have players that find ways around that, too.
I missed this, where did you suggest doing this? Sounds great to me. Do you make them roll for corruption like clerics have to on the disapproval table, Xd4 where X = disapproval? So X spellburn = Xdy on the Spellburn table? Maybe make Y = Wizard level or spell level, such that more powerful casters or more powerful effects create more problems for the caster.
Somewhere further up the thread:
cjoepar wrote:I have adopted a system of increasing the chances of corruption as more points are sunk into spellburn, with each point of spellburn adding an additional 5% chance of corruption. So using 9 points of spellburn would increase the chance of corruption to 50%. Any roll of a natural "1" results in 2 corruption rolls when spellburn is used. It is possible to successfully cast the spell and still suffer corruption and anytime the character sinks 19 or more points into spellburn, they will automatically suffer corruption.
I have also revamped the corruption tables. I prefer a Cthulhu-esque atmosphere about magic in my campaigns. As in the idea that toying with these things causes the wizard to risk madness, more so than some physical deformity (many of which are relatively harmless in the existing tables). Most of my corruption table results are things that slowly drive the wizard insane. I also like the idea that I don't use tables that are in the book, so my players literally don't know what could happen if they try to unleash magical energies that are beyond their means.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by beermotor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:18 am

Interesting, so you just roll a straight % check? Also, do you pick which corruption table based on the spell information?

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by cjoepar » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:28 am

Well, I just increase the number when a corruption would occur when the player rolls his spellcheck. So if they use 4 points of spellburn, they will suffer corruption (or possibly misfire) on a roll of 1-5 when they make their spellcheck. If they use 9 points of spellburn, they suffer corruption (or possibly misfire) on a 1-10.

I use the same results in the existing spell tables for the level of corruption or likelihood of misfire, yes. And I only have them suffer patron taint on patron spells.
Last edited by cjoepar on Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by cthulhudarren » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:32 am

cjoepar wrote: I have also revamped the corruption tables. I prefer a Cthulhu-esque atmosphere about magic in my campaigns. As in the idea that toying with these things causes the wizard to risk madness, more so than some physical deformity (many of which are relatively harmless in the existing tables). Most of my corruption table results are things that slowly drive the wizard insane. I also like the idea that I don't use tables that are in the book, so my players literally don't know what could happen if they try to unleash magical energies that are beyond their means.
Would you care to share? :twisted:

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by cjoepar » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:35 am

I can organize it and post it in a separate thread, if you like. It's several printed pages of tables and I know how it all works, so I would need to write up some notes, but I'd be happy to share if people are interested. Give me a day or two.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by beermotor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:06 am

cjoepar wrote:Well, I just increase the number when a corruption would occur when the player rolls his spellcheck. So if they use 4 points of spellburn, they will suffer corruption (or possibly misfire) on a roll of 1-5 when they make their spellcheck. If they use 9 points of spellburn, they suffer corruption (or possibly misfire) on a 1-10.

I use the same results in the existing spell tables for the level of corruption or likelihood of misfire, yes. And I only have them suffer patron taint on patron spells.
Sweet. That's a nice and intuitive alteration. I'd like to see your tables, too.

Maybe this would make a good CRAWL! submission!?!?!?!? Please make it so. :-)

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by Raven_Crowking » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:02 am

A couple of quick notes:

First off, I can see how the Color Spray + Healing mercurial could get to be a problem, although I am not at all certain, if the caster is using two spells per round, one on 1d20 and one on 1d16, why corruption and/or misfire hasn't caught up with him yet. Does he never accidentally blind himself or his party members? The odds would seem to be against such fantastic luck....?

As for the healing, I am assuming that the character's foes are also gaining the benefit aka "Breath of life. Casting this spell imbues the caster and those around him with beneficial energies. All within 15’ of the caster (both friend and foe) are healed 1d6 points of damage for every level of the spell (i.e., a level 3 spell heals 3d6 damage)." Does that never cause consternation for the characters, as the foes they have damaged are now healed? And is it always possible to keep the party within so tight a radius? In my games, the PCs tend to spread out in order to better deal with their foes and avoid area effects. Of course, that 2d6 per round is going to encourage the PCs to clump......

I get that some people do not want to have to tailor individual encounters to "defeat" killer combos (even if those combos only occur by freak chance). The game as written seems to encourage arcs based on the needs of individual characters, but that is not the same thing as designing encounters to nerf particular characters.

I guess I don't have enough information to get any more specific here, but area effects that spread the party out, time-based reasons to try to cut across a location so as to force movement, monsters that are immune to particular types of attacks (or all attacks!), traps, and other hazards are found throughout the DCC modules, both the GG ones and 3pp ones, and they are not there simply to nerf specific combos. Likewise creatures or effects that target ability scores. +1d6 hp is nice, but it won't stop you from drowning. After all, the party on Page 11 is grouped together, and that doesn't seem to be making the encounter too easy for them.

You can always bend the rules to meet the needs of your game - indeed, you should! - but I have found the Spellburn table and the effects of rolling a "1" to be powerful limitations on magic in the game. This is not to say that anyone is "doing it wrong" or that my way is better, or anything like that. Nor have I had to deal with this particular combo. I'll be running an 8th level game of Colossus, Arise! starting tonight, though, and I'll be more than happy to indicate how that went. Our group will probably take 3-4 weekly sessions to complete the module.

Anecdote about the Spellburn table: In an online game, I had an elf decide to Spellburn the hell out of Patron Bond. After all, what could go wrong, right? The result was, "The wizard develops a bleeding sore that will not heal until he pays back the aid of the power that assisted him." Suddenly, the character has to go out and adventure to pay a debt before the spellburn has healed. Another result offers a similar problem: "The wizard swears an oath to a minor demi-god, who aids him in his time of need but curses him with weakness until the oath is fulfilled." There is, effectively, a 1 in 12 chance that using a massive amount of spellburn will result in your attempting to perform some task to begin the healing process. This is a serious hazard, IME, of using spellburn indiscriminately.
Skyscraper wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:
Avoiding using powerful magic when it isn't needed is all over the Appendix N literature, and largely because it draws attention to oneself. Hell, in LotR Gandalf is worried about so little an act as lighting a fire lest the Fellowship's enemies learn thereby that "Gandalf is here!"
This is the most persuasive argument I get from this thread. But to get there, Gandalf probably had to experience it first. He used his powers many times, and after being hit by hit squads, he came to the conclusion that he musn't. Thus: time of the game spent on dealing with it.
I can't disagree here.....time in the game must be spent dealing with the consequences of actions in order to make those consequences occur (or have real meaning) within the context of the game. Personally, I would imagine more in-game time would end up being spent looking for new spells or dealing with clerical disapproval.

For me, this is a feature, not a bug. If it is a bug for you, rather than a feature, you are right to change it.
other stuff from RC
The rest again pertains to options of how to bend the story around the mechanic. It's not that I cannot think about ways to do it in game. Again: I don't like that this mechanic be the decisive factor in what the game will be about; and that in waiting for it to be dealt with, the entire group needs to suffer through it.
Again, clerical disapproval springs immediately to mind as an example where DCC goes out of its way to bend the story around the mechanic. That is the nature of the beast as it is written. "Quest For It" is a strong injunction to bend the story in order to gain a desired mechanical benefit. I don't think of this as a flaw, but I do encourage you to change the game however you like to make it suit your needs.
It's not the same thing as the warrior slaying the duke's men in my mind. Slaying the duke's men is, firstly, most probably a group decision. (If not, then it's another question.) While using the superpower is working towards the group's goals (presumably), but using one particularly powerful means to achieve that group goal, that allows you to outclass everyone else. And then the judge deciding that using superpowers is a sin according to XYZ Power from Beyond and the wizard should be dealt with.
IME, the warrior slaying the duke's men is not always a group decision, nor is the thief's attempt to burgle the Lord Mayor's house. In DCC, the cleric may be sent on a mission to heal the ill whether the party likes it or no.
The example of the warrior always blinding opponents is interesting, but of limited applicability. You can simply say "hey, think about other ways that your deed can be used to similar impact". Whereas the wizard with the +10 healing color spray doesn't have another power of similar impact. Nor does anyone else. (And, honestly, one blinded opponent is not like 5 blinded opponents and 5 healed allies, is it?)
My point, though, is that the impact of that +10 healing color spray should not always be the greatest impact available to the group as a whole...or even to the wizard. The problem, from my POV, is not that the wizard is overly powerful, but that meaningful decision-making doesn't occur when the optimal solution is always the same. I assume that a 6th level warrior with his +6 Initiative bonus is going to go before the wizard lots of times, sometimes defeating foes before a spell passes the wizard's lips. I assume that the thief will have a chance to sneak and deal with traps or locks. I assume that the cleric's ability to Turn the Unholy, Lay Hands (because even with "heal spray", the group must deal with things like poison, disease, and broken bones), and cast divine spells will be of importance. Banish has proved particularly effective for one cleric in our group, for example, but that does not mean that banish becomes the solution to all problems.

I do think that "And then the judge deciding that using superpowers is a sin according to XYZ Power from Beyond and the wizard should be dealt with" is a misrepresentation of position. The judge, in determining the reactions of the world to the actions of the characters, should in all cases make those determinations based upon genre expectations and rational extrapolations. What those expectations are can be found throughout the Appendix N stories, and they can also be found in the rule book. This is not capriciousness on the part of the judge, this is not out-of-the-blue punishment, this is the world responding as it should (and as it does in Appendix N literature).

The sooner genre expectations are communicated in-game, the less time one has to spend on dealing with the consequences of indiscriminate magic use. A good early example is the band of fire in Sailors on the Starless Sea - you are told immediately that others will come after it if they learn the PCs have it.

One blinded opponent is like 5 blinded opponents and 5 healed allies in one important respect - if that is always the optimal solution, that is always what will happen. I want the warrior to be able to blind opponents, but I do not want the warrior to always choose that option. I don't have to discuss it with the warrior's player, because I use a wide variety of encounters, many of which have circumstances that make blinding sub-optimal (or impossible) and others which include options that are clearly superior to blinding.

Likewise, even if I ran nothing but DCC modules (GG and 3pp), and/or converted modules from AD&D 1e, 3e, and 4e, there would be sufficient reasons not to merely clump together, and not to use healing color spray as the option of choice. We don't know what other options the 6th level wizard in question has, so we can't determine how this applies to him specifically, but I can say that I have run enough adventures with this system where that would not be an optimal choice (without designing any against that specific choice) that while I see why the combo is powerful, I still don't see why this is making the wizard so overwhelming in the vast majority of situations. I can certainly see the advantages of using the combo, but I can see the downside, too. I can think of low-level adventures, even, where there would be little advantage gained, if any, from having the wizard along unless he had other tricks up his sleeve.

(So much for a short post. Sorry.)
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by Skyscraper » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:31 pm

The points of view that differ from mine are interesting in that they bring forth something I perhaps would deal with more off-handedly: the possibility of reacting to even those very (super)powerful items or powers.

What I'm realizing is that I have an expectation, that I suspect is shared by the friends with whom I play(ed), many of them at least, that if a PC gains a power or item and then the DM sends stuff after the PC to steal the item or kill the PC (or otherwise punish him), it's kind of bad manner (to take the online gaming expression). It's like: look, if you're going to put a piece of cake before me, and then remove it after only one bite, why did you give it to me in the first place? Don't tease me!

Maybe that expectation, as you mention RC, can be changed to something else. Or maybe most people don't have that expectation deeply rooted and I'm imagining things. I've dealt with this kind of situation rarely (in-game, I once had an NPC steal a powerful magic mirror from the PCs, and it went down well), honestly, because I fear upsetting the players. Maybe I underestimate them, simply.

I'll continue thinking about this.
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Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:20 pm

Sky, I hear you about the piece of cake thing. If something is handed out, don't turn around and nerf it. Makes sense.

But if some confluence of random die results leads to a party with a nuclear bomb in it's back pocket, that's not so much a case of handing out a piece of cake, as finding one in a very unlikely, remote place. But only enough for one.

I'd hope everyone at the table would be willing to go, "Wow. What a crazy result! Let's see how that plays out and tweak as needed..."

That tweak could be just deciding to make mechanical changes directly, or it could be dealt with in the narrative. Personally, I'd prefer the latter, whether I was GM or player, but both work, and should be an option that everyone can accept. I'm not in the camp that'd say playing an RPG is all about adhering to the rules and damn the consequences.

No rules I've ever seen could cover all contingencies. If they did, the possible contingencies are too few for the game to be fun for very long.
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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by oncelor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:11 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:A couple of quick notes:
First off, I can see how the Color Spray + Healing mercurial could get to be a problem, although I am not at all certain, if the caster is using two spells per round, one on 1d20 and one on 1d16, why corruption and/or misfire hasn't caught up with him yet. Does he never accidentally blind himself or his party members? The odds would seem to be against such fantastic luck....?
There has been misfire and corruption: He blinded himself for one round once. His skin turned a bluish-rainbow color. His hair turned purple. The spell was delayed by a turn one time. He lost one point of Personality from patron taint (which he didn't really care about).

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by oncelor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:14 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:A couple of quick notes:
As for the healing, I am assuming that the character's foes are also gaining the benefit aka "Breath of life. Casting this spell imbues the caster and those around him with beneficial energies. All within 15’ of the caster (both friend and foe) are healed 1d6 points of damage for every level of the spell (i.e., a level 3 spell heals 3d6 damage)." Does that never cause consternation for the characters, as the foes they have damaged are now healed? And is it always possible to keep the party within so tight a radius? In my games, the PCs tend to spread out in order to better deal with their foes and avoid area effects. Of course, that 2d6 per round is going to encourage the PCs to clump......
The foes also get the healing when they're in range, but the wizard can usually position himself to affect a minimum number of foes.

The real power of the healing is in stopping fallen foes from dying. He's better at this than the 5th level cleric.

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Re: Four fixes for DCC

Post by oncelor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:09 pm

cjoepar wrote:I see a lot of contrived ideas to deal with the color spraying wizard. But like the Onceler, Skyscraper (and maybe some others I'm missing) are saying, when you have to direct game design and game play time to specifically deal with just one character all the time, whether that's altering the saving throws for monsters or creating situation after situation where his powers are neutralized, you have a balance problem. It is what it is, guys. You don't change the fact that an imbalance exists in that party by just adopting the opinion that the Onceler hasn't tried hard enough, or been creative enough in dealing with it within the game mechanics.
I think we were all in agreement that the +10 "Color Spray" isn't balanced with the sorts of powers that average 5th level characters have. I think we also all agree that it needs to be addressed in some way, that the campaign oughtn't go on allowing one character to dominate and trivialize most every combat.

I think the difference of opinion is to whether this imbalance ought to be addressed by tweaking the rules or by targeting the powerful character in some way. I don't enjoy targeting characters like this. My experience with DMs who have targeted characters has been miserable. My tastes run more toward tweaking the rules. "Let the rules bend to you not the other way around" (page 314, DCC RPG Core Book). I do think I'll introduce some game event as a rationale for tweaking the rules however, and there have been nice suggestions on this thread for ways to do that.

.... Now if the player running this guy is the kind that's always trying to build some killer combination, because he approaches rpg's like a Magic the Gathering game, well that's a different problem.
One of the things I appreciate about the DCC system is that it doesn't seem to allow players to build killer-combos deliberately. Anyway, Idris the Welsh Wizard isn't run by a power-gamer. All he did is get lucky rolling an 18 INT and use spellburn to get a good result on the "wizard staff" spell.

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