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 STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)

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Garthanos
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:19 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
I heartily approve. I'll try to get additional monsters and an encounter building guide into the GM's Guide material at the end of the PDF sometime this week to make running at least some type of campaign with it possible.

My son sounds interested he likes the Lore.

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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:52 am

Awesome. Glad to hear he likes the Lore. While an interesting setting won’t save an abysmal system, an interesting setting can help a good system get noticed a lot more easily. Well that and art... art and layout makes a huge difference in how systems get perceived these days.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:45 am

Minor update for this Sunday and more a fluff tweak than anything else. While working on avatar-themed opponents for the GM's Guide I hit upon the idea that, if an Avatar followed the primal path it could essentially be in its own patron spirit (i.e. the power comes from within itself). I then made a slight expansion of the concept and added that Elves with the Potent Spark benefit who take the Astral Path could actually be their own astral patron (i.e. a lesser astral power).

This has zero impact on how anything plays mechanically; the rules state once you get your powers from the Astral or Primal sources they're yours to do with as you will. But from a fluff/RP point of view it opens up the design space a bit for avatars and elves (particularly the Archons) as the mechanical framework for non-Earthbound Primal and Astral Spirits. While its only going to be mentioned in the GM's Guide under the NPC-only Demonic Spellcasting Path, I think the same rule will apply for Malfeans (specifically thinking of the Cambions; the direct descendants of the demons whose connection to demonic power is strong enough that if they embrace their demonic nature they can be their own source of power).

Okay, back to work for me.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:50 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Minor update for this Sunday and more a fluff tweak than anything else. While working on avatar-themed opponents for the GM's Guide I hit upon the idea that, if an Avatar followed the primal path it could essentially be in its own patron spirit (i.e. the power comes from within itself). I then made a slight expansion of the concept and added that Elves with the Potent Spark benefit who take the Astral Path could actually be their own astral patron (i.e. a lesser astral power).

This has zero impact on how anything plays mechanically; the rules state once you get your powers from the Astral or Primal sources they're yours to do with as you will. But from a fluff/RP point of view it opens up the design space a bit for avatars and elves (particularly the Archons) as the mechanical framework for non-Earthbound Primal and Astral Spirits. While its only going to be mentioned in the GM's Guide under the NPC-only Demonic Spellcasting Path, I think the same rule will apply for Malfeans (specifically thinking of the Cambions; the direct descendants of the demons whose connection to demonic power is strong enough that if they embrace their demonic nature they can be their own source of power).

Okay, back to work for me.

I have thought in this sense for Paladins since way way back, at my tablewe rejected the oops you lost it bit fairly early back then... are you a champion who chooses to embody a god...or the embodiment of a god who never chose any of it or someone born of divine blood who has these boons because of it?

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:28 pm

Chris24601 wrote:


Heck, the PRINCESS BUILD is now its entire own class that gets better buffing than even the captain (at the cost of strong attacks of their own).


Think I missed this .... but from the one who coined the term Princess Build and arguably conceived it, that is ALL IN support for a strangely common but simultaneously fringe character .

My son is playing a 5e version of this actually so huzzah that one is entering into the flow.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:30 pm

Chris24601 wrote:

And while you currently can't make a berserker sidekick (because they don't get the strong/swift/berserker choice for balance reasons) I'll figure out a way to make it possible just because you had that concept and its awesome.

Gilgamesh had a beastman / tarzan archetype as a side kick. Arguably one of those Batman needs a robin significant ones.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:16 pm

So I don't know exactly what happened, but when this forum moved I couldn't find it for a while.  When it happened I went to google trying to find it to no avail.  Even started searching for Terror and Tactics itself thinking maybe Chris might put up his updates on another site, couldn't find it.  So I just started keeping an eye on ENworld hoping that Chris would start posting there.  Maybe I just gave up too quickly, maybe I put in the wrong search parameters, but whatever the cause I searched for this site yesterday and found it, so yay for that.  I had 6 pages to read through since I was last here, but I was just happy to have more to read and that this project looks to be moving along pretty well.

I don't have a lot to say game design wise.  Just wanted to say I love what your doing so far and look forward to buying a finished product.  Terrors and Tactics has more customizability in player options I've ever seen in a class based framework, without losing the inherent ease of use and balance it has over point buy.  Breaking down all the class powers into their component parts gets rid of the single biggest problem with making a 4th edition like game, updating, revising and renaming hundreds of individual powers.  The world building is interesting and different enough from all the available settings out there to make me want to add it to my favorites ( Eberron, Nentir Vale, and Dark Sun ), and the amount of work you're putting into mechanical balance and playtesting fills me with confidence this will be worth buying and playing.

Chris24601 wrote:
One other thing I've decided to push ahead with that swings T&T back in a slightly more 'narrative' direction is to shift XP into the optional rule category and make the default leveling system 'milestone' based. In practice it's what I've been using in virtually every level-based game I've run or played in for at least the last 15-20 years, so why am I trying to shoehorn in a system I'd never use?

Sacred Cows and because the XP budget is the single best encounter building tool I've seen in any game system. But there's no reason you can't use the latter without having the former and those reading this know how I feel about Sacred Cows (break out the BBQ).

So XP values are becoming CP (Challenge Point) values and are used for encounter-building, but default leveling will be milestone based (with GM guidelines and options) with converting CP to XP (or silver to XP or an accomplishment-based XP table; think Palladium Books) as optional rules for those looking for another feel.

Thanks for that, I always hated experience points in rpg's, and wondered why so many seem reluctant to axe them.  Even in video games I don't feel they add anything.  It makes you want to maximize your XP gains, leading to making decisions based not on what's best in the moment but what gets you that larger XP gain.  Exploring every nook and cranny of the world, talking to everyone and trying to complete every little task they might give you, getting into fights you could avoid just because your not rewarded XP for not fighting.  Sure, in a tabletop rpg these problems aren't as bad, but it still places that seed of an idea in players head making them think about XP unless they actively try not to ( Good players should, but the game should encourage good behavior in new players with the mechanics by RAW ).  So what do they give you that makes them worth it?  Nothing I say, sacred cow barbeque mmm MMM good!
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:45 pm

Hey all!

I’m still alive, but I had to go a bit radio silent because outside factors gave me an unexpected deadline on the whole Terrors & Tactics project.

Specifically, the guy who does my dayjob website did a bunch of research on what it would take to build a site for T&T with a blog, forums, properly secure storefront and PDF watermarking. Basically, I have until the end of September to finish up the GM’s Guide text (Player’s Guide text is done) so I can start to gear up for the Kickstarter (and cover the costs for the website).

If I fail to hit the deadline, I’m still going to have to pay my web guy for his research time, I just won’t get anything out of it.

So... I’ve been writing up a storm this past month and a half (and will be for the rest of this month) without free time for much else. But since I got the PM notification of a PM asking about how the project was going I figured I should give an update.

So, what’s up?

- Fetches (i.e. Shadow-based player species) are now in the Player’s Guide.

- Elves with the Potent Bloodline ability now have the option to select an Aspect instead, essentially allowing you to use the Elf species to create all manner of humanoid Astral servitors (wanna play a Succubus stuck in the Mortal World? Changeling plus Seductive Aspect is a solid way to do it... the list of D&D monsters you can’t play as in T&T just got even smaller; pretty much down to non-sapient beasts, undead and demons... and rules for the demon species plus the undead spellcasting path will be in the “custom opponents” section of the GM’s Guide).

- The “half-species” (i.e. half-elf, half-avatar, etc.) have been renamed as “bloodlines” (i.e. elven bloodline, avatar bloodline, etc.) since the traits can persist for several generations and a Mutant bloodline was added.

- Cantrips got a rework to make them a bit less overtly D&D based (ex. Mage Hand became Telekinesis, Prestidigitation became Spellcraft). Likewise, a new “advanced” primal utility was added based on opponent design work called “Adapt Environment.” This is a largely role playing ability available starting at level 6 which causes changes in the surrounding landscape based on your other primal utilities if you reside in one place for an extended period of time (mechanically it begins when you rest for at least six hours per day in the same location for a week and grows with additional time to a size based on your Focus score, though it starts to fade if you leave the area for more than 24 hours). So if you’re playing a dragon or unicorn or other fantastic avatar-based creature (or just a character with a lot of primal utilities) and make a place your home, aspects of your nature will start to occur in the surrounding area. Plants become especially lush and harvests abundant if you have plant spirit, people start having prophetic dreams if you have Ancestor spirit, hot springs and steam vents start to appear with fire spirit, etc.

- The Action format got normalized with that used by opponents; Name (action type): Trigger / Check / Hit or Effect (Miss). The key evolution in design here was the realization that “Range” is actually just a trigger condition for being able to use an action. This allowed for a much more consistent presentation of action information across the entire game.

- (EoE) durations got replaced with ‘real time’ durations (typically 1 minute/10 rounds for combat abilities and 10 minutes for less combat focused abilities) due to how (EoE) was interacting with some abilities (ex. the improved flight abilities that allowed its use as minor or free action until the end of the encounter).

- The opponent layout was normalized and how to read the entries got included in the section on Beasts & Tack.

- The Opponents section of the GM’s Guide is expanding by the day. 170 are complete with fluff text (finished unicorns, sphinxes and sprites today) another 24 are being formatted and there’s about a dozen or more outstanding to complete the list. The full “Reading an Opponent Statistic Block” section is complete, including opponent specific keywords.

- The “Creating Custom Opponents” section needs polish, but is mechanically sound. There are two versions; ‘quick-and-dirty’ that gives you all the mechanical targets based on the opponent’s level and type and ‘detailed’ that allows you to build an opponent by converting a character built using the Player’s Guide into a standard, elite or champion tier opponent. The “How to Create NPCs” section also fits in here and is mostly done except that the ‘detailed’ custom opponents rules need to replace the old ‘combat NPC’ rules I had written a while back.

- Trap mechanics are mostly working, but I’m still fiddling with their exact CP values based on test feedback.

- The “How to GM” advice section is the least developed. The mechanical bits like Encounter Building guidelines, treasure and optional rules are all there, but the basic advice of things like “plotted vs. sandbox” campaigns, things to avoid, etc. are what I most need to get moving on (they’re the least needed by the people actually doing my testing, but the most needed by new players/GMs who pick up the books.

- Due to space and time considerations my default setting map shrunk a bit to just the Blackspire adventure hub and its immediate neighbors. It looks like my first supplement might not be “The Blood Wastes of Bestia”, but the full Old Praetoria region (i.e. Blackspire and El-Phara with Ironhold, Riverhold, Emberfalls, Winterhaven, etc. added) instead. Maybe it’ll even get further subdivided into “Adventure Hubs” with Ironhold and Riverhold each getting their own supplements. I’ll worry about that once the core books are done.

* * * *

I’ll try to keep watching this thread throughout the rest of the month, but my replies will necessarily be limited until I get past this writing deadline.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:13 am

Thanks for the update.  Deadlines can be a bit of a double edged sword.  There's always the fear that a rushed project won't be as good as you want it to be.  But sometimes having a set deadline can be a motivating factor that leads to some of your best work.  Either way it's stressful as hell so keep your attention on your work, no need to worry about here.  Good luck!  I look forward to seeing your website.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:37 am

The funny thing is it's a deadline I ended up putting on myself, but now has real consequences. I'm the one who told the web guy that I needed about 60 days (first week of October) to wrap up writing the GM's Guide.

But you're right, it is motivating. The opponent section is done but for reformatting some entries and a few additions I think make sense. I'm taking the Adapt Environment concept from the avatars and applying it to demons and undead... the presence of large numbers or a very strong undead creature will start to corrupt the land around it, days will more often be overcast, chill breezes will rustle the dead leaves clinging to withered trees, etc.

I'm also adding rules on demonic possession to the demon section (basically, the one possessed has to allow the demon in, but the demon worshipers aren't above torturing victims until they break and say yes to make the pain stop). Its basically the flip side of the Primal Path in that, there the primal spirits enter a willing person, but they work with that person and never subvert their free will (i.e. symbiosis). The demons still need the person to be willing initially, but once inside they take over and crush the person beneath their immortal will (i.e. parasitism).

True demons need an anchor to manifest in the material world. That anchor is either a spell (meaning they only manifest until the spell ends), an object (the classic genie in a lamp) or a person (their preferred method). Primal spirits technically do too, but because they're part of the natural order instead of cast out or exiled, their anchors are whatever natural object or force they are meant to guide and protect.

I also solved one of my trap/hazard pricing issues with the realization that hazards, being obvious, are an equal threat to both sides (since both can potentially use it to their advantage) they don't need a challenge point cost at all, just a level (to judge the degree of danger a hazard poses to the PCs and/or opponents) and guidelines to leave enough non-hazard territory in the encounter area to keep the fight from turning into a slog.

That's all for now. Back to work for me.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:03 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Hey all!

I’m still alive, but I had to go a bit radio silent because outside factors gave me an unexpected deadline on the whole Terrors & Tactics project.

I noticed the radio silence here

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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:24 am

Brief update under the "Its never too late to correct a problem if it comes up."

Something (I can't even remember what specifically at this point, its been a busy week) got me thinking about expectations vs. worst possible scenario and the numbers for PCs.

The short version is that I was basing my PC math on certain expectations that were more assumed than outright stated; that players would select an extra attack specialization once per tier (thus gaining the extra 'encounter attack' damage) and damage focus for their most used weapon (bumping damage per hit by 1-4 points over baseline).

But I've realized there's a problem in that assumption; That's HALF of the eight specializations a typical PC gets over their career and the other specialization options all have two-three ranks to them. This wouldn't be a problem if the effect on the math were minimal, just a choice of options.

But I sat down and ran the actual numbers. A PC using what I'd call 'default optimization' (two extra attacks and damage focus) deals about 50% more damage than one who skips the "obvious" choices for more thematic choices (ex. aeromancy or terramancy). Indeed, the autohit "energy missile" that deals Focus+level damage for a Maledictor outpaces the thematic character's primary attacks by 25%.

In other words... Extra Attack and Damage Focus are essentially FEAT TAXES. Worse they add up to HALF your available specializations just to break even with a Slayer's minor action attack (which, to be fair, was balanced around dealing as much damage as a basic weapon attack).

So I just did what 4E should have done; I built the Extra Attack (at levels 7 and 12) and Damage Focus (at level 2 for all, 7 and 12 for skilled since they're more likely to use multiple weapons than a spellcaster is to use multiple implements) into the archetypes so that every character reaches the default math. You can still take the utilities (Extra Attack only once for a total of four), but Extra Attack only bumps the average damage over a combat up by 5-10% IF the fight lasts longer than the expected length (at typical length you'll run out of opponents before you can use a fourth attack focus benefit) and once you have a Specialization bonus to damage, all extra Damage Focus selections do is increase the number of weapons/implements it applies to).

And I left the number of specializations gained alone; at eight. This gives you enough for two full specialization trees (basic, expert, master) and one at expert level (or a full multiclass specialization or mastery of a weapon or two or whatever other aspect you want) or four trees at expert level WITHOUT having to sacrifice your combat ability by not taking the "feat taxes."

So with that out of the way, back to the demons (literally; I'm wrapping up the demon entries today).
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