Meditate/ 20 Skill

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Thom
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Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Thom » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:40 pm

So, with HoP looking at moving towards an event every two months format, I would like to talk about Meditate as an ability, and specifically its cost. The first big impact I could see coming out of the new Event format is the lack of new characters. If we assume that we're only going to run one low-level/starting character event a year, I really think that starting a new character is going to become much more difficult unless you happen to have a backlog of boons.

Even starting a 10 skill character on, say, a 60 skill event is likely to be a huge struggle since the current trend is playing high end characters on an Avatar spend who sort of steal thunder... Now I'm not complaining about these points, honest, I'm just trying to suggest what I think the outcomes of the new system will be.

So how can we remedy the situation (that doesn't technically exist at the moment, but prevention is better than a cure, right?)? Well, as I understand it, I think there are two viable options. There are probably more, but these are the two I've looked at in some detail:

Characters Start at 20 Skill

Stealing an idea from Labby (who relatively recently abolished the 1st-3rd level system), all starting characters now start at 20 skill, rather than 10. This already happens at NotLD and doesn't seem to have too much of an adverse effect. The reason I think this works is that on a day adventure (which will become almost obsolete) 1/maybe 2 circles of magic or 1 hit per, 1 strength 1 weapon prof etc. etc. can get you by fine. On an extended length event, a good race/class combo warrior can just about work if you're layered in armour and have a dedicated repairer/ healer. A High Mage is stuck on 2 circles of magic (impractical without essence regen) or 1 circle of magic and med +supplementary skill.
A 20 skill start up would allow casters to have something to do- 2 circles of magic and med lets you bolt or comm or whatever when you need to, while not making you on par with other 30+skill casters. Essentially it makes you not useless.
A key advantage of this idea is that it would have almost no effect on rules changes and wouldn't require skill rewrites on the database, whereas:

Characters gain Meditation for Free

As previously stated, being a caster without Med is a risk/reward strategy for day events, but it cannot practically work during extended events without the caster feeling completely useless. A trade off would be giving all characters Med for free so that a high mage/celebrant can get 2 circles of magic and med while a mage/celebrant/druid/I suppose ranger can get 1 circle of magic and med while still having a bit of skill left over for soul points or whatever.
The advantage of this idea is that boons still give a high reward to players and opens up new spends for new characters, without having 40% of their skill soaked up on a necessary but boring skill.
The disadvantages of this idea is it requires work on the system database, and work on every character that's bought meditate. It also does not buff warrior/scout types any where near as much as it buffs caster types, although with the advantage of stacking armour, is this a bad thing? (Sword vs Sorcery debate territory here, something I'd rather not go into)


So thoughts?

Dom
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Dom » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:57 pm

This is not to be taken as a 'NO' but hear me out on some of points.

Events are written (or should be) very differently to day adventures. People often run out of essence on a day adventure which is fight followed by puzzel followed by 3 fights followed by trap. At CP for example a starting mage might have 5 spells to last them the day. But they do it because its a free roaming game where you dont need to cast to survive. It does depend on who you are but i feel that people should be able to survive as 10 skill or so on a max 30 or possibly a max 60 with a little clever reffing and hard skills.

also did you see we ran a saga at 10 skill?
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:15 pm

An interesting idea (starting on more skill). Something to think about certainly. Becoming an event system will have its teething problems (not being able to find/afford sites is the current one). I'm hoping to run 5 events next year: March, May, Saga, October, NotNLD. Of those 4 events, one being under 30 would be my aim, one being under 120 and the others unrestricted. Subject to change as always. The only thing I wonder is whether, if you start on 20, the thresholds should be changed otherwise you hit heroic immediately. Also, I enjoyed running Saga at 10 skill...not something to do every event but it worked. To never have anyone on 10 skill again would be sad.

Free med is something Will, Pete and I have been talking about along with it taking longer to regain your essence because at events there's a lot more time you can spend meditating.
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Thom
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Thom » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:29 pm

Dom wrote:
also did you see we ran a saga at 10 skill?


Yeah, which is actually where the ideas came from (sorry I wasn't making myself clear). Basically because I couldn't commit to a week-long event due to several reasons (and I'm sure there are other people who couldn't go to Saga but wanted to) I'm in the position of having to wait up to a year for the next low-skill event. I get that it would be a bit harsh to moan about there not being enough Low-Skill events having just missed one, so I thought about how to address the issue. It was only a suggestion to be honest, and I do understand all the other points made by you guys. I actually enjoy the lower end of HoP more than the higher end, I just feel there needs to be something to let players start new characters more than once/ twice a year.

Looking at a new character spend I'm working on, a character I was hoping to play on the September/October event, and remembering the amount of Elemental Storms and AOE damage, plus the odd wandering monster on the last few events I've played, It's looking like I'll be cowering not just in the back lines, but inside the house with a Ward around me (!)

I understand that it probably looks like I'm just trying to make my character better, but I do think that it's going to become an issue in the future.

Another suggestion I'd make would be to boost on events over x amount of skill, and not award any skill at the end of the event. In fact, I do like that idea more. I know it's been done in the past so it's not completely alien to the club....

Anyway, more thoughts?

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Ben
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:58 pm

The issue I have always had with boosting is that it means the person who is boosted doesn't lose anything if they die whereas the person who had developed their character from scratch has.

We're being careful with storms (and indeed all damage calls): we've listened to everyone's issues with them and now we'll use them sparingly.

Also, now we're becoming an event system and everyone has to travel, everyone needs to look at monstering. I know some people prefer to play or simply don't want to monster. I know people feel that if they're going to give up a weekend then they'll only do so if they can play. I really need everyone to look at that attitude because we NEED monsters and we NEED experienced roleplayers and fighters on the crew to make it good for the players. Remember that you get boons for monstering and can therefore create a character with more skill.

However, I think people are too hung up on skill levels really.
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Thom
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Thom » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:13 pm

Ben wrote:The issue I have always had with boosting is that it means the person who is boosted doesn't lose anything if they die whereas the person who had developed their character from scratch has.

We're being careful with storms (and indeed all damage calls): we've listened to everyone's issues with them and now we'll use them sparingly.

Also, now we're becoming an event system and everyone has to travel, everyone needs to look at monstering. I know some people prefer to play or simply don't want to monster. I know people feel that if they're going to give up a weekend then they'll only do so if they can play. I really need everyone to look at that attitude because we NEED monsters and we NEED experienced roleplayers and fighters on the crew to make it good for the players. Remember that you get boons for monstering and can therefore create a character with more skill.

However, I think people are too hung up on skill levels really.


Fair enough, makes sense.

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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Ross » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:58 am

Hello

Having just played the 10 skill saga, I really don't see there being a massive issue with playing lower level characters, you just have to work with the other players, get shields of who can give them, get power off people with some free make friends with the life caster he can booster you to help you stay alive that little bit easier. it actually makes for a more interactive game where people have to work with each other to overcome things.

Ben
Regarding the monstering issue with weekend events the the best way I have seen this at a small game where they have "patrols" this is where players go on "patrol" and come and monster for a slot, in the system I play it is broken down into 3 patrol groups going on patrol twice over the weekend, the 6 patrols being 1 friday night, 3 over saturday and 2 sunday. If players don't want to go on patrol they can pay extra to have a play only ticket. There is a certain amount of skill in making sure you don't cripple the players by having all the healers/tanks/etc in one group but it works really well. If for plot some one needs to not go on patrol then the swap or don't go as long as the ref is happy there is a good reason that might disrupt the event,
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Peter Levy
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Peter Levy » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:51 pm

Thresholds
a Legendary threshold event is one that any character 119 skill or below may play. that implies that there shouldn't be a problem with playing a 10 skill character on it... A 10 skill warrior can stand his ground all day among a party full of repairs (provided the player is good enough with a shield...). A 10 skill high mage may struggle more, but will still have things to offer. At all times, it is a roleplay game, not just a numbers game. while i'd created a character who was probably a bit too powerful for a 10-skill saga, i spent most of the week just talking to things; a reasonable amount of skill with a parry-stick helps for fights...

Med
here's what i said in the ben-will-peter discussion a while ago, (which was rather more about people getting too much power back too fast at higher levels):

'Personally, I've not found many situations where I've not burnt all my essence in a day. We rarely have time in a day for people to sit around and recover much. I may be the exception... Failing to successfully annihilate something is very essence-draining.'
I want to say everyone can meditate back essence for free, but it must be stationary, silent, proper meditation. Then the Meditate ability becomes an Active Meditation. But,
I'd rather not force players to take half an hour out of the day just to recover a teeny bit. I also want to say 'be better at using your essence', but that may be seen as criticism, or hypocrisy.
Another suggestion that was made was to link the essence return from med to your academic mod...

Boosting/Down-statting
I've never turned down requests from players to start at a higher level (20/30), if they feel it will make the game more fun. I'm really not a fan of the 60-skill 'version' of a monstrously powerful character. i don't think i got it right at Piddling, but i'd like there to be a proper IC mechanism preventing harder characters being their full selves... Saga this year was perfect for that: this thing kills everyone with more than 15 essence, have fun with it.
If we're running an event at 0-119 skill, and most people want to play new characters, the writing will reflect that. the one or two 100 skill characters will no doubt have their shining moments, but the event will become lower-level-flavoured. don't feel like a 10 skill character is guaranteed to die; don't feel like a 10 skill character will be coddled.

Monsters
yep. those are good. the more of those, and the fewer ambulances, the better! i don't think ross's suggestion would work massively well for us. (until we have 60+ players each time). much as it may be possible to run a weekend with just rachel, it would be dreadfully unfair...

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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Luke » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:50 pm

From my perspective the key to enjoying your playing experience is having a defined role int he party and then successfully fulfilling that role. The role can be functional or disfunctional, your role may be to PVP all day, or it might be to heal everyone. For me the best times at HoP have been the ''WAAAARRRRYYYYYNNNNNN''s. This is just because I know I'm needed, people see a problem and they think ''Luke will deal with that, we need him around''. It was the same on the recent event, if there's a demon, get the Serkanian.

I think what we are sort of trying to grasp at Thom, though forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, is that the disparity between skill levels which an event system naturally encourages leads to characters being outshone by their god-tier counterparts. No-one wants to play a ten skill dedicated healer that is completely inefficient and useless compared to the 250 skill sorcerer who learnt it by the way side. Despite you identifying what role you wanted (healer) and role playing incredibly (you read some medieval medical journals), got the right costume (you went and got a healers kit good job!), people will still ignore you because you can't flagrantly waste a bajillion essence on a total heal.

Now I understand the response of 'tough shit' and to an extent your ability to perform a role and better, to have that role accepted or put upon you, is determined by your out of character charisma and popularity/competence. Some players will almost always be put into leadership roles (Stevie) and plot leaders (Phil) and a massive kudos to these players for not showboating and taking advantage.

BUT

I think it is still an issue which needs addressing, or at least thinking about, if we are running an event based system then I think reffing needs to be a REALLY tight ship. I mean, briefs submitted weeks in advance, different tiers of refs, commited planning. This doesn't have to impose on the great ad-lib work our incredible refs do. But I do think that if we are going to keep the game with such a huge potential for disparity in skill ranges then there has to be a check in place to ensure we are catering for everyone and not just aiming for the middle - which overchallenges new characters and under challenges god-tiers.

Am I making any sense?!
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Ben
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:29 pm

Now I understand the response of 'tough shit'


I hope no one's taken that as the response.

I understand the issue but I can't see a solution that everyone will be happy with.

What I would suggest is that if you find yourself a low skill character outshone by a high skill one, try to learn from them IC (even better if you organise it before). Go out as their squire, apprentice, padawan whatever. If you can't make the low level event and want to start a character on a higher one then it may not be ideal but it will only be one event.

Perhaps...low level characters gain skills during events and high level ones don't?
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Huw
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Huw » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:19 pm

Seems that the problem isn't with what skill you start with but a character's skill level vs those around him.
I never saw the problem with boosting people's skill for events (so that everyone at any given event is within 20 skill of each other) and then taking their skill down after the event. Or downstatting characters for the same effect.

But...this is always going to be an issue in a system with this type of growth in power. "Tough shit" isn't how I'd put it - but to really change anything would be a fundamental rewriting of the system.


Suggestion: Cap characters at a certain skill level. You can't go above 120, 200, (pick a number), skill for any one character. Playing said character will net the player boons or IC prestige or cake, the ability to respend skill or whatever.. This might make the disparity between characters smaller and also prevents characters like Quayle having to play down their abilities in the name of game balance.
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Buchatar » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:09 am

Perhaps...low level characters gain skills during events and high level ones don't?


This could be quite an exciting thing to pursue, as it would actually promote the idea of lower characters pairing as squires / students and reinforce a reason to be present in a suitably dangerous location.
Also, people won't be turned off playing those lower skill characters!
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Phil.Priest » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:40 am

Skill weighting.

For every threshold under the "cap" that the charter playing on is, they gain +X% skill.

E.g. Pyro the Fire Mage is 10 skill on a max 119 event, so is 2 threaholds under the cap, Pyro gains +20% skill/essence award for the weekend. Making an award of 20 skill 24.

Reverse the same for those over the cap - therefore if your playing Uber-Knight of 340 skill on a Heroic he'd gain 30% less skill.

Possibly use the same mechanic for new characters starting on higher events, they start at 10 +X% (depending on the event threshold).

Both encourages people to ignore the cap somewhat as they will get more/less at the end of the weekend, but want to RP anyway and encourages people to play appropriate level characters...

Not an immediate fix, but could work?


Note:
(1) Normal: 1-29 skill
(2) Heroic: 30-59
(3) Legendary: 60-119
(4) Epic: 120-299
(5) Ultra: 300+
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Luke » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:34 am

The more I think about this, the more I come to the following conclusion.

Remove caps, just let everyone play what they want, ask people to confirm their characters beforehand, write adventures tailored specifically for the party mix.

I am aware this is basically a reversal of my previous thought...
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Re: Meditate/ 20 Skill

Postby Peter Levy » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:45 am

Luke wrote:The more I think about this, the more I come to the following conclusion.

Remove caps, just let everyone play what they want, ask people to confirm their characters beforehand, write adventures tailored specifically for the party mix.

I am aware this is basically a reversal of my previous thought...

i'm inclined to agree.


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