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Mark Lundequist
Mark Lundequist's picture
Death spiral issue
wounds

I have noticed this for sometime but never really got to writing about it and am surprised no one has brought this up.  The death spiral seems to be a stagnant pattern for every character regardless of trait or skill level, yet in the quick start pdf, some characters had much "longer paths".

Since I have a copy of a blank character sheet from a few months back showing 8 circles with each dramatic star, I am thinking of making a house rule to show those with higher strength or resolve may get more "hit points" with these extra circles.  To me the way the "official" spiral looks like everone is getting the same wound amounts until they are incapacitated. 

Just something I have noticed,

Mark

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BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

They are. In the QS, I believe you got X wounds per stage based on your Resolve. When the final rules rolled out, they just gave everyone 4 wounds per stage.

Doctor
Doctor's picture

I liked the old rules: they provided an incentive to purchase somewhat under-utilized stats.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
The game grants two advantages for getting hurt. Stretching the wound track may not be to everyone's benefit.
Joachim Deneuve...
Joachim Deneuve du Surlign's picture

Which was presumably why you could skip the extra wounds to gain the DW at the same time as everyone else.

NeoTanuki
NeoTanuki's picture

I was thinking about Death Spirals recently as well. To me, it makes sense that if someone wants to do the "Big, Strong, Unskilled Brawler" archetype, one should be able to take more damage than smaller, more fragile characters.

While there are a couple of Advantages that help with this, I think rewarding characters who put more into Brawn and Resolve with more durability makes more sense. And in MMORPG terms, it gives a player the option of a 'tank' who doesn't do overwhelming damage in combat (that seems to be more the province of Duelists) but who can tie up Brute Squads by absorbing hits from them and distracting them from attacking other players.

What do you think of this variant of 1st Edition as a possible alternative house rule: A Player calculates each level of a Death Spiral as [Brawn+Resolve] in Wounds before taking a Dramatic Wound. So, for example:

A character with 2 Brawn and 2 Resolve (Average stats) can take 4 wounds before suffering a Dramatic Wound (same as official rules);

A character with 3 Brawn, 2 Resolve (or vice-versa)=5 Wounds before suffering a Dramatic Wound

A very physical or willpower-focused character (4 Brawn, 3 Resolve, or vice-versa)=7 Wounds before suffering a Dramatic Wound

Min-maxed, (say 5 Brawn, 3 Resolve) this would give you a possible maximum of 8 Wounds before suffering a Dramatic Wound. Because of the way Traits are set up in Character Creation, I think this is the max a character could reach using this House Rule.

As I said, this is just an untested idea. I'm not sure whether if it would make a character too powerful or not, especially combined with certain advantages. Min-maxing this would be very powerful, but I think the character would be really limited on most social rolls and athletic rolls involving Finesse (which would make sense for this type of character, I suppose). Such a character would still be very vulnerable to firearms, however. What do other people think? 

EDIT: My math was off...under the character creation rules, 7 wounds+1 Dramatic Wound/level would be the maximum a starting player could reach with this house rule (5 in one Trait, 2 in another). Sorry about that.

 

Doctor
Doctor's picture

I suppose my issue is a basic design one. I am a Dieter Rams guy, and by that I mean I believe in his 10 principals for good design, the last of which is “good design is as little design as possible.” Similarly, I’ve referenced Chechov’s gun once or twice on this forum, but the principal can be applied to mechanics: if you put a stat on a character sheet, you need to use it, otherwise you’re lying to the audience.

So why do we have Brawn? Here are some things Brawn doesn’t do. It doesn’t make you punch any harder. It doesn’t let you wield a big weapon no one else can. It doesn’t make you a better grappler than an agile boxer. It doesn’t limit or allow anything. So, why is it there? Do we really need a stat that basically covers only lifting? Sure, Brawn can be used with Sailing to climb up some rope, or Athletics, but could I, as a GM really tell a player “nope, can’t make that pool with Finesse, got to be Brawn” without feeling a little silly?

So we’ve got this stat, and it doesn’t do much. The decision here should always be “do we cut it or make it do something?” Brawn seems like something that should matter; it is dramatically and cinematically distinguishable from Finesse and it conjures up all the right images when attached to a character. So what do we make it do? We can’t make it affect damage without gutting the whole combat system. If the skill isn’t going to get a whole lot of play actively without some Advantages, maybe there should be a passive use for them… and that’s where I think the initial Death Spiral mechanic came from.   

Resolve has the same problem: without a well-articulated conditions system, Resolve is not going to see much action outside the occasional test of wills. I can’t think of many situations where a character would declare a Resolve based Risk; they exist, but I would be shocked if they exist in statistically significant amounts.

I think these two are under-utilized Attributes are in real danger of becoming window dressing on the character sheet and Brawn is almost certainly a dump stat for all but a very, very, very specialized range of fighting concepts.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Tec Goblin
Tec Goblin's picture
I think Brawn DOES help you doing more damage with a big weapon. You can easily build an Eisen duelist or a pugilist with high Brawn. And everybody in the game feels the difference from a high-Finesse character.
Of course it's a 'Brawn OR Finesse'. It makes no sense to have both at high levels.
But I agree with you about Resolve. This trait is almost useless. 75% of the situations are easy enough for the characters to not test their Resolve, and there are extremely few situations which can be answered ONLY with Resolve.
Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

What Brawn does is help you get more raises but the same can be said for the other traits. More raises could translate into more damage like you said but that does not necessarily mean it is only damage but also more actions, more opportunities, etcetera.

I think what Doctor meant is that besides that pool of raises, Brawn should do something more. The problem I see with this is that if Brawn is changed then the other traits must be changed as well to reflect it. If the damage system is modified and overall reduced then Brawn could very well give points of damage or, if giving free damage points is too much then we can consider the possibility of throwing dice for damage based on Brawn (that would also mean throwing dice for other stats in certain situations too) even though it may slow the game a bit.

pd: By the way. I remember reading it on the quickstarter rules and previous versions of the corebook but I cannot find anything about Brawn used for heavy weapons anymore. I think it was edited out unless I'm blind which may as well be the case xd. If it was edited out then any trait could be used for damage if the player can make a convincing argument about it, being Resolve the hardest one. This means every trait is as important as the next one...

Andrés Stein
Andrés Stein's picture

Hi there, noob aboard.

My reading of skills is more like descriptions of a person in numeric form. And while they translate to the world in the form of raises, the means for each one to be enabled to be translated into the world is having the world (via GM) to find scenes and ways to have the players shine or use said things. I also like to think that the players have the prerrogative to make choices on how and why they use such and such traits and skills.

All things are important if you as GM let them be important. All things are important if you as Character make them be important.

Edit: Also, concerning the Death spiral which brought us here. It being 4 wounds per DW makes them being dramatic and allow you to shine and combat odds in a more even way. If you get to take 7 wounds to fill your 1st DW, that shiny bonus won't ever come, and the smaller fragile players will get those earlier and shine more. Yes, you live more, but you're not dramatic and flashy and awesome. Nobody roots for the invincible hero that barely has a scratch after killing a Kraken.

Lord_Nabu
Lord_Nabu's picture

I always found that one of the really cool things about 1st ed. was the attempt to make all stats combat usefull, it didn't entirely work, but I always found it commendable. 

Mark Lundequist
Mark Lundequist's picture

As I am catching up on my forum reading, have "resolve # = x hits per level" would easily fit the 8pts max.

If you have Resolve 2, you would have the minimum 4 "O" & 1 star per level.  Resolve 3 = 5 "O", Resolve 4 = 6 "O", and so forth

If you have the max Resolve 5, you would have 7 "O", but with Legendary trait score of 6 would max out to 8 "O" 1 star each level.

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