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 Magic Changes in the New Year

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Maninblue



Posts : 41
Join date : 2012-05-29
Location : Lisbon, Portugal

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IC Name: Vaan
Spire: Auric Horizon
Archetype: Sentinel

PostSubject: Magic Changes in the New Year   Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:35 pm

As posted on the PD Forums -

"Andy (Raff) here again. As I mentioned on Friday, we’ve been having an extensive rules’n’reffing meeting this weekend in Preston with Nicholas Taylor and Graeme Jamieson. As promised, I’ve got a few tasters of things that are changing or being clarified over the next few weeks. As always, it’s only “official” when it goes up onto the wiki, but as of five o’clock this afternoon, these are areas of the rules we’re definitely looking at making changes to.

Obviously this isn’t everything – I have a muddled memory of an hour on radio channels that I mostly listened to music in my head for, and there were also some areas where the net-result of the discussion was “no, we think that’s fine.” We also came up with a few things (some more narrative options with personal resources, the possibility of using short videos for some scrying results) that with great regret we’re going to have to shelve in the “It’d be cool if …” file for development later.

On to the meat. The most obvious changes we’ve agreed on (and signed off on) are to do with magic and rituals.

Mage Staffs, Mage Armour and the Modern Battlemage
There are two magical skills – Wield Mage Staff and Wear Mage Armour – that cost 2 character points each to gain. We looked at these very closely, talked about how basic character points get spent, and what we were hoping to achieve in terms of those skills. At the moment, a character would have to spend seven points to be a battlefield magician – and would still only have one actual offensive spell for all those points.

We came to the conclusion that 4 character points was too much for the abilities that these skills gave a character (I kept being reminded of an Order of the Stick comment from Belkar about monks spending all their feats to be nearly as good without weapons as basic fighters were with weapons, but I’m a monster) .
So the first change we agreed on was that these two skills would be removed, and rolled into a single two-point skill called “Battlemage” that lets you wield a staff and wear mage armour. Characters who already have both Wield Mage Staff and Wear Mage Armour skill will get refunded two of their points, and anyone who could previously either Wield Mage Staff or Wear Mage Armour will be able to do both.

Also, “Battlemage” is a cool skill name.

Ref Net : Wave of the Future
We started the weekend with Matt showing off the Ref Net application he’s been slaving away on. When it’s finished, it’ll allow a referee to process rituals (and, ultimately, other ref jobs) using the on-the-field wifi, some software and a tablet. Once it’s complete, it’ll be able to automatically process things like skill ranks, potions, regios and crafted items to let refs deal with player rituals with the minimum of fuss.

Obviously, it’s mostly exciting for our refs – but I think players will see a knock-on effect in that their referees will be able to deal with queries and the results of their rituals quicker, and while becoming 78% less knackered, which I’m sure even Mister Ref would agree is a good thing. We even had a brief chat about the possibilities of making the tool available to refs at sanctioned events (apparently it works fine on modern smart phones), although obviously that’d require a bit more development from the Boss. Who wants to put some photographs up of it later on because he is endearingly pleased with it.

Sunrise Isn’t What It Used To Be
We then talked at length about a couple of related problems to do with ritual duration. We have two basic durations in the game at the moment “sunrise the next day” and “start of the next event” summarized as “day” and “season”. We initially picked these durations because it meant that all enchantments (and tonic effects) would wear off during time-out, which is obviously convenient in that there is no “grey area” about precisely when they end.

Unfortunately, the “day” duration has created problems.

The most obvious one is that, because the “day” duration enchantments are cheaper and easier to perform than the “season” duration enchantments, they are very popular with characters heading out to battle the enemies of the Empire. But because Time-In is at ten, and the first battle starts at eleven, this meant a flurry of magicians all trying to enchant their friends in the hour between Time In and the start of the first battle. This was running our refs ragged, reducing the fun for player ritualists and soldiers who end up queing at the regio (or what have you) instead of singing sad songs and putting on war-paint, and was causing the players of ritualists who were monstering the first battle to have to choose between using their rituals on their allies or turning up to monster the battle (and thus not being able to go on their own nations’ battle due to our reciprocal monstering expectation).

Worse (depending on where you stand), they’ve resulted in skewed play balance. The “day” duration rituals were designed and balanced on the assumption that they would be used once during their duration – that players wouldn’t be in a situation where they were going on a battle and a quest in the same day (for example). This has not turned out to be the case, and its caused a shift in game balance that negatively impacts the play balance of the whole ritual system.

The outcome of the discussion is that we’re changing the day duration from “until the next sunrise” to “until the end of the next battle, quest or skirmish”*

This will mean that ritualists will have more control over when they enchant their allies. It will make rituals easier to ref and improve pre-battle logistics for everyone; it’ll help make the planning of battles more in-character with less temptation to min-max the system trying to cram multiple battles, quests and skirmishes into the same day; give ritualists more flexible options and (vital in my opinion) restore the play balance of the ritual system to its original design intent.

We know it won’t be universally popular, but while some characters will feel penalized IC, we hope that the players will understand the need to maintain the balance of the ritual system. We know some ritualists with day duration rituals will want to change those rituals, and encourage them to contact profound decisions at the usual address.

The change will be familiar to anyone who plays ODC, as this is very similar to the way their Mysteries function. This lead to discussion of situations that, while dramatic, would not count as “battle, quest or skirmish” and how we’d communicate that to players. A purely diplomatic meeting with Jotun orcs will only bring an enchantment to an end if a fight breaks out, for example. I like to imagine it in terms of any scene you would expect The SyFy channel to play hard rock music over the top of brings your enchantment to an end. A simpler way of thinking of it is probably that coming *back* through the sentinel gate after fighting will end what were previously day-duration ritual enchantments..

Battlefield Casting
It’s apparently impossible to get a ref for a ritual on the battlefield. Yet at the same time a number of rituals, such as the powerful healing effect “Hands of Sacred Life”, are designed specifically to be cast during the kind of high-tension moments one encounters most often on battlefields.

With that in mind, it will no longer be necessary to get a referee to perform short duration instant effect rituals on the battlefield. After all, the players don’t need a referee to cast Heal on the battlefield, so it significantly reduces the value of a ritual designed to save lives if they have to play hunt the referee for even five minutes before they can unleash their healing power.

The expectation is that players who take advantage of this will still need to inform a referee after the battle that they performed the ritual, so it can be recorded and the number of times they’ve used their coven bond can be kept up-to-date. It also won’t apply to either rituals that require significant referee or plot feedback (such as various scrying effects) or those that create MASS effects (which require referees for purposes other than checking ritual ranks and mana).

The referees are working on a clear explanation of the new rules, and signposting which rituals are effected and which are not. The expectation is still that rituals cast on the main field will involve a referee regardless of their type.

What this should mean is that ritualists taking to the battlefield will be able to use the tools we designed for them to let them contribute in a meaningful way to the outcome of battles and skirmishes.

Storage Warriors and Bargain Hunters
We took some time out of a busy schedule going through various magic questions to revisit what is going on at Event One this year with the Bourse seats. Last year someone (it *definitely wasn’t me*) screwed up badly with the Bourse seat auctions. We want to make sure everything goes more smoothly this year.

The short version is that all the Bourse Seats are up for grabs at the next event *but* only the weirwood seats will be held for the full term. Everyone else is bidding on short-term seats. Ilium will be re-auctioned at Event Two, White Granite at Event Three and Mithril at Event Four (which is what should have happened at Event One last year). We’ll make sure to publicise this (repeatedly) well in advance so we avoid any misunderstandings.

As of this year, all auctions through the Bourse will be “open” – that is, an auctioneer will stand up in front of all the interested parties and they will openly bid money for the product being offered. We’re doing this not least because we think an open auction has more potential to create drama and interest in economic matters, but also because it is harder for us to screw up than a system of closed bids. People who “win” an auction will be expected to settle their accounts immediately after they win – again this will increase drama, reduce chance of error and discourage frivolous bids.

The two League positions will face open auction (among League citizens), but the other National Seats won't change. Characters with the appropriate personal resource will still have until a designated time to lodge their vote with a civil servant based on the voting power associated with their nation (which will be adjusted to the now-standard ’10 votes plus two per upgrade’ model used elsewhere).

No Sympathy for Crowd Control
One thing that came up that we were a bit surprised about, and that isn’t a rules change as such but I thought was worth mentioning here, is that there seems to be a misconception among some players that the Entangle, Repel and even Shatter spells cause “feedback” to the casters. This seems to be a hangover from the original playtests where we experimented with what “feedback” does. In fact, only the Venom, Paralyse and Weakness spells have this effect (they strike both the caster and the target in equal measure) but it turns out we’ve not been clear enough about this and it’s lead to some confusion. Hopefully one of our winged monkeys will unleash a savagely to-the-point clarification for these spells in the coming week.

So In Summary ...
We did some work. We made some changes, many of them around magic***.

Some of the changes have wide implication but (hopefully) a big chunk of the player base will be entirely unaffected. We think they’ll make the game better, and we’re going to be putting them onto the wiki as clearly as possible in the coming week then probably e-mailing people about them and otherwise making a big song-and-dance. I hope this long, rambling, slightly half-asleep post has given you some idea of our reasons for doing things (which often gets left out of the actual rules update).

We also did some work this afternoon on some interesting titles and positions we’d never got round to finalising, but I’ll talk more about them when I’ve finished writing them up**.

#rafframblesaboutempire, #theothersideofthehedge, #canyousayruneforgesandtheotherdeanmikey?, #ineedatleasttworhymesfordawnishsummercamp, #hopefullynoneoftheplayersknowwhereIlive


* The next clause is either “or until the end of the event” or “until the start of the next PD event” but I’ll be buggered if I can remember which. The erudite and clean-in-his-personal-habits Nicholas Taylor sez "Pretty sure it'll be "or until just before the start of the next PD Empire event"; that's how the season ones work, and we've changed "day" to "one battle within the next season", I think."
** Mostly I am being coy so I’ve got something to talk about on Friday when my next “#theothersideofthehedge” post is due. I got to earn my freddos somehow
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Maninblue



Posts : 41
Join date : 2012-05-29
Location : Lisbon, Portugal

Character sheet
IC Name: Vaan
Spire: Auric Horizon
Archetype: Sentinel

PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:47 pm

tl:dr
Mage Staff and Mage Armour are overcosted - now combined into "Battlemage". Anyone with one of the above will get the new skill free, anyone with both will get the new skill and a 2-character point refund. (Looking at you Zendrik)

PD Refs will now have tablets to help them process ritual results quicker and in situ.

"One Day" duration buffs now last until the end of your next skirmish or battle - so can be cast the night before.

Some rituals will be self-reffable for Battlefield use - you only need to hunt a ref down after the action dies down.

We are reminded that that the Entangle, Repel and even Shatter spells do not cause “feedback” to the casters. - That's only for Venom, Weakness and Paralyse.

Also,
They're going to do the Bourse properly this time - public bidding and positions staggered by materials: Weirwood is for the whole year, Illium will be re-auctioned at Event Two, White Granite at Event Three and Mithril at Event Four.
Re-auctions will all be for the year duration and the Legacy will be done the same as before.
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Camillius

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PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:51 pm

Thanks for posting this one Dave. Lots of useful info to know in there.

A 2 character point refund is nice too. Maybe we'll see a few more battlemage types appearing in future reincarnations...

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Thor Odinson



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Spire: HAMMER
Archetype: HAMMER

PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:00 pm

I have mage armour... So that means I can wave a magic staff around too.. Sweet Smile

I like how this has been focused on logistics, should make stuff a lot smoother.
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Camillius

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PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:51 am

The concept of Thor going into battle with a staff is a scary one. Although.. first we'd have to get Thor to go into battle...

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Acrozatarim



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PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:26 pm

Much bigger changes are on their way too, albeit not to the ritual or magical skill rules. Keep an eye on the wiki over the next day or so for Conclave changes.
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Maninblue



Posts : 41
Join date : 2012-05-29
Location : Lisbon, Portugal

Character sheet
IC Name: Vaan
Spire: Auric Horizon
Archetype: Sentinel

PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:20 pm

Raff has teased that the changes will go live later today.

Any word on whether the Urizen-Equivalent-of-the-Dean position is being brought forward?
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Acrozatarim



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PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:41 pm

I asked Matt P about the potential new research position (the much-muttered-of Urizen Dean) and he said that it will happen, and hopefully soon. No idea if soon in that context means E1 this year or not.
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Acrozatarim



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PostSubject: Re: Magic Changes in the New Year   Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:55 pm

And the new Conclave changes are live on the wiki, although some links still need to be tidied up.

It's basically a total overhaul of every element of the Conclave. Big changes.
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