Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

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Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby MacGrein » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:34 pm

Hye! I'm currently working in my house rules and reading to some "Letter & Letter another RPG", I started to enjoy a mechanic about ability/test bonuses.
In an ability test, you roll 3d6 plus any eventual bonus and +2 (if applicable focus).
Everything is about Chance (dice) + Static Bonuses (+x).

What if a bonus give you +1d6 on the roll, but you won't be using this result, you're going to gather all dice and discard the worst. 3d6 + 1d6 --> 4d6 but you throws away the worst and get 3 dice results plus a static number bonus.

Instead of a Focus give +2, it could give this extra die (+1d6).
I think it's cooler than just add +2 if you have the Focus...

Also, you could use for negative purposes.
A "penalty" gives you +1d6 too, but then you discard the better result!
You could even lose your Dragon Die and roll no SP, even you succeeded on the test!

This could be used by curse/hex spells or special powers, like Stun or Confusion.

What do you think?
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Loswaith » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:55 pm

The major issue I see with that is it will significantly increase stunt occurance, as people could choose the lesser value (that still succeeds) that would give them the stunt.

You alos have the factor of which die them becomes the dragon die too.

If thats not an issue It could work, and I'd realy have to see it in play to determine if anything further was creating issues.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby shonuff » Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:42 am

I think the Dragon Die should still be the Dragon Die, so instead of 2d6+1d6 like we have now, it would be 3d6 (minus worst) + 1d6. It might work for the second focus increase.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby MacGrein » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:12 am

Hmm, let's see...

The Focus Die (a good name?) is a normal die, like the 2d6.
The Dragon Die is the "red" 1d6.

So in a test, we have 2d6 + 1d6 (red)
In a focus test, we have 3d6 + 1d6 (red), but we discard the lower die, except the Red 1d6 (Dragon Die).
You cannot choose what die to discard, only the non-red die.

This keeps the Dragon Die in the result, but gives some chance to get better results.

Example:
You roll agains TN 15 and have Ability +2 and Focus applicable.
You roll 4d6 and get: 2 + 4 + 4 + 6
Yu discard the "2" and ends up with 14 (equal numbers = Stunt = 6 SP) +2 from Ability
Total: 16 against 15, a success and a good stunt!

If you have TN 10, Ability +2 and Focus.
You roll 4d6: 4 + 4 + 2 + 1
You discard the lesser non-red result: "2".
You get 9 (1 SP) +2 (ability) = 11, success and 1 SP.
Even the Dragon Die (red) being the worst, you cannot discard it, instead, you discard the other worst die.

----------

Shonuff explained right!
----------
Okay, this seems a bit heavy... only in the numbers, in the practice, it would happen normally... even so...

I could change to the mechanic included in some Talents I'm naturally changing: the Roll again-thing.

Option 1 wrote:A Focus allows you to roll again any unwanting die, keeping the second roll.

I liked it cause I use a system of any fail test with "1" results in dice, is a Critical Failure, with Bad Consequences.
The focci this way would help to change any "1" in a failed test, or help changing the worst result.
Say you roll agains TN 14 and get 6 + 6 + 1 (13), roll again "1" and get "2" or "3" or "4", whatever. I'd say the Focus really helped!
Even more, when changing the Dragon Die.

Option 2 wrote:A Focus allows you to roll again all the dice, keeping the second roll.

A All-or-Nothing move, avoids bad rolls, but you never know what's going to happen then. I personally thinks it would slow too much...
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby si1vergecko » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:35 pm

A simple way to determine which one is the dragon die is if you are going to be dropping one of the die then just roll two sets of two die that are difference color giving you a dragon die no matter what.

Or keep the dragon die and just drop the lowest that is not the dragon die.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby MacGrein » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:44 am

I playtested it and get two things:

1. roll one die again (usable to get better Stunt Points).
2. roll all the test again (like that Talent-thing).

AGE system is good at low levels, but not so at higher levels.
In most situations, a Level 2 player has +3 on tests, if not more.
On level 10, this player can have about +7 on his most important rolls.

This is fault of the 3d6 system.
However, a Level-less addon would make for greater results!
I think I saw something here...
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Vaelorn » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:09 am

MacGrein wrote:In most situations, a Level 2 player has +3 on tests, if not more.
On level 10, this player can have about +7 on his most important rolls.


True. But if this is becoming a problem remember that it's all relative. If the player characters are hitting too often there are some things you can do:

- increase the monsters Defense
- give the monsters an environmental advantage - fighting at night is at -2 but the monsters can see in the dark
- introduce more challenges that can't be solved by fighting alone - make them use different ability tests that aren't in their strongest areas

I'm sure there are more!
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby MacGrein » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:43 am

Yeah, I know it's all about micromanagement, but I already did somethings:
- Reduced the bonus ability scores (+1 at triple levels >> 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, etc)
- New mechanic with Foci (the "roll again" method)
- stronger NPCs¹
- non-combat situations (negotiating with demons and a mercenary troop)
- Seducing a Drug-like dealer (lyrium enhanced herbs)
- avoiding a Mob (Dales Curse adventure)

But still.... there's something not fully working on higher levels.
Well, we're playing now a group of 4 (chasind gipsy rogue, dalish archer mage, saarebas angry fugitive and highborn hermaphrodite dwarf) levels 3.
Things are working fine until now, for the higher score is +3 for the mages and 3d6+5 Damage for the Dwarf (twohanded flail), and there are only one damage spell with us.


¹ - two level 3 rogues and a Shadow NPC (lyrium addicted/turncoat) invaded a Fort, fighting a Paladin and a dozen of armored Guards, almost dying on the process, but they managed to infiltrate and wreak havoc there. The Paladin died two times, for someone recovered him... XD
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Loswaith » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:24 pm

I think the big part of it not working so well at higher levels is that most TN seem to be set up for green characters. ie Those with little 'skill'.

I did try at one point using a base defence of 12 + dexterity (instead of the 10+ dexterity), this kinda worked in that allot more misses happend by the less skilled, while didnt much effect those that were highly skilled anyway (though this effects both players and opponents, so I set up some defencive focuses that I've yet to actually get to play testing).

Eventually though PCs will get to a point that they hit that +7 or higher bonus mark unless you have some kind of hard cap on the stats, or more importantly have some good incentives to diversify the stat increases more.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby shonuff » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:09 am

Loswaith wrote:Eventually though PCs will get to a point that they hit that +7 or higher bonus mark unless you have some kind of hard cap on the stats, or more importantly have some good incentives to diversify the stat increases more.


Improved focus + a 4-stat, and there it is. It's not even relying on min-maxing -- I'd be more suprised by a PC who didn't get a +7.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Vaelorn » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:36 am

shonuff wrote:
Loswaith wrote:Eventually though PCs will get to a point that they hit that +7 or higher bonus mark unless you have some kind of hard cap on the stats, or more importantly have some good incentives to diversify the stat increases more.


Improved focus + a 4-stat, and there it is. It's not even relying on min-maxing -- I'd be more suprised by a PC who didn't get a +7.


You could also treat a focus a bit like a skill rank. So a focus would initially only give +1 to an ability check. You could then take it again to get +2. Then the third increase could still be allowed only after level 10 (as now). This might limit the problem to some degree.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby MacGrein » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:26 am

Good one Vaelorn.

Focus - Level Required
+1 - - - Level 1
+2 - - - Level 5
+3 - - - Level 10

Everytime you get a Focus, you increase it, if you have the required level.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby MacGrein » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:32 am

As for Loswaith, that seems interesting.
For experienced characters (bonus +6^) this doesn't makes so difference, but for novice PCs (bonus +1/+3), it's a huge gap.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Vaelorn » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:11 pm

MacGrein wrote:Good one Vaelorn.

Focus - Level Required
+1 - - - Level 1
+2 - - - Level 5
+3 - - - Level 10

Everytime you get a Focus, you increase it, if you have the required level.


Yeah, that's a nice progression! I could certainly go with that.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby shonuff » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:31 pm

I don't know... +1 doesn't seem to be a large enough difference between trained and untrained, IMO. Also, I think that there are too few foci given to have three tiers. Especially with only a +1 benefit -- it reminds me of upper fighter levels in early D&Ds: go up a level and all you get is one less THAC0 and 3 HP.

That's not to say that the numbers won't cause problems. It's just that with a level system, I like to see definitive progression. Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Zapp » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:24 am

I have changed things around in my campaign.

The goal wasn't perhaps primarily to "keep down" bonuses, but my change definitely have accomplished this along the way. There are, with very few exceptions, no ability score higher than 4 among my player's characters.

What I have done is to make players buy ability increases with experience points.

The cost to increase an ability is set to 100 x (the new score), minimum 200 XP.

This means, that for the same cost (700 xp) needed to raise Strength from 6 to 7, you could instead increase, say, all three of Perception (from -2 to -1), Dexterity (from 2 to 3) and Willpower (from 1 to 2).

Meaning that you tend to get more well-rounded characters. And more to the point: there is a definite drawback to focussing everything on just your two best stats; and very high stats (up toward around 10) is exactly what's breaking the system.

Of course, my change is not for everyone.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby shonuff » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:30 am

That system would work -- it works in other games. However, I think it's too much of a deviation from RAW to be an easy fix because you're tossing out levels completely.

I wonder if instead what would happen if you started the base scores 2 pts lower? Using pt-buy, everyone would start at -2 instead of 0. Or using the random rolls, a 3 would result in a -4 and an 18 would be a 2. You would have to lower specialization/talent prereqs of course.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Zapp » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:47 am

Well, the starting power level is fine, I think. It is at levels 6+ or thereabouts the system is coming apart at the seams.

You could keep levels, but drop the auto-increase each level (and the primary/secondary thing). Instead you get XP, only used to increase stats. Say the new level x 100 XP each time you gain a level. This would ensure you could afford a six in your favorite stat at level 6; a seven at level 7 and so on... but it would also tempt you to instead build a well-rounded character.

And if you really want to keep a lid on things, how about handing out only (your new level) x 50 XP? You'd be hard pressed to push a single stat that way - instead of getting that increase every other level; you could get a sweet raise each time you level up just by looking beyond your Warrior's Strength, Rogue's Dex or Mage's Magic...
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby shonuff » Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:16 pm

That would work fine. However, the issue with your method is that while slowing down advancement works to salvage the end-game, the act of advancement is why many of us game. We want to see our PCs go from puny kitchen help to uber demi-gods.

Your method I think would have to be playtested to check the balance between challenge and advancement.
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby Zapp » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:13 pm

shonuff wrote:That would work fine. However, the issue with your method is that while slowing down advancement works to salvage the end-game, the act of advancement is why many of us game. We want to see our PCs go from puny kitchen help to uber demi-gods.

Well, you can't really both "salvage the end-game" and become an "uber demi-god" in the same game... Sorry but I can't help you there! :wink: >:D
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby shonuff » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:41 am

True, but DA kind of falls apart in the late early game...
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Re: Focus - New Ways to Handle (House Rule)

Postby MacGrein » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:32 am

This XP-currency-like is great!
I've managed to work something like that for Talents, but I couldn't think about Ability Scores.
I'll try those stuff!
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