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[#][F] Holden - 7/31/2013
WhammeWhamme wrote:
There IS the "embrace it" philosophy, and make it so that every character needs to either hit cap on "bad stuff" or be horribly and dramatically underpowered. This can work if there's a lot of stuff like "code of honour" or "feared warlord: people far and wide have heard of your name and know your description and will tend to avoid you as best they can", where the "flaw" is something that is actually kinda cool to have.


Actually, Changeling Eyes is a good example - if you WANT that to be the norm ("most Changelings have an otherworldly air"), then it's great, unless players/STs start going "that's cheesy, take one that's actually crippling". (and if nine out of ten changelings have Changeling Eyes, then suddenly being the guy who took something ELSE in that slot is actually an advantage...)


This isn't usually how WWolf has handled it, but I think it works well when you build the system accordingly (and make the list of bad stuff comprehensive).


Oh sure, there are a lot of games with good mechanized Flaws. FATE is probably the biggest example, but there's also Mutants & Masterminds 3, Nobilis 3, and the recently-canceled Marvel supers RPG. In all of the above cases, the core of the game was designed around the characters' flaws and foibles driving the engine, and in all of the above examples, this works quite well. EX3's engine isn't focused in that direction, though, it can't process that kind of design. It's built to do other things.

[#][F] Holden - 7/31/2013
WhammeWhamme wrote:
Holden wrote:
[quote=Hippokrene]That Holden is fine with having both BP and XP is fascinating, but it doesn't have much to do with whether flaws at character generation is a good thing or a bad thing.

Though, now that I think of it, after pages of the flaw horse being beaten, learning Holden's favorite flavor of slushee would be a nice change.

Carry on...


Cherry.



--


In the classic Flaws design, the idea is "it's neat for some characters to have serious flaws, foibles, and debilities. Normally, players don't like stacking the deck against themselves, because no matter how much we bang on about 'telling a story,' at the end of the day, it's still a game and people want to get ahead. So, to encourage people to make characters with interesting flaws, let's reward them for doing so!"

It's a solid enough idea, as early-middle game design goes. The problem is that historically, it doesn't work-- the player response most often isn't "You know, it would be really interesting to play a character in a wheelchair-- and the game will reward me for doing that!"

Instead, it's this: "Hey, there are extra points sitting over here on the flaw shelf. How many of them can I sneak out without messing up my character?"

I would say that 85% of people who have taken Flaws in a White Wolf game were motivated primarily by the desire for more bonus points (or XP, whichever), and tried to take Flaws with minimal impact to get there. Hell, even I do this-- I don't think I've ever made a character for Changeling: the Dreaming who didn't have the Changeling Eyes Flaw. (Your eyes are in some way striking and unusual even in your mortal guise, which might make you a little bit easier for hunters of the supernatural to spot! So, wait, I get to have cool violet or amber eyes on my character AND I get 2 extra points for it? Shit, sign me up.)



There IS the "embrace it" philosophy, and make it so that every character needs to either hit cap on "bad stuff" or be horribly and dramatically underpowered. This can work if there's a lot of stuff like "code of honour" or "feared warlord: people far and wide have heard of your name and know your description and will tend to avoid you as best they can", where the "flaw" is something that is actually kinda cool to have.


Actually, Changeling Eyes is a good example - if you WANT that to be the norm ("most Changelings have an otherworldly air"), then it's great, unless players/STs start going "that's cheesy, take one that's actually crippling". (and if nine out of ten changelings have Changeling Eyes, then suddenly being the guy who took something ELSE in that slot is actually an advantage...)


This isn't usually how WWolf has handled it, but I think it works well when you build the system accordingly (and make the list of bad stuff comprehensive).

Oh sure, there are a lot of games with good mechanized Flaws. FATE is probably the biggest example, but there's also Mutants & Masterminds 3, Nobilis 3, and the recently-canceled Marvel supers RPG. In all of the above cases, the core of the game was designed around the characters' flaws and foibles driving the engine, and in all of the above examples, this works quite well. EX3's engine isn't focused in that direction, though, it can't process that kind of design. It's built to do other things.

[#][F] Holden - 7/30/2013
Hippokrene wrote:
That Holden is fine with having both BP and XP is fascinating, but it doesn't have much to do with whether flaws at character generation is a good thing or a bad thing.

Though, now that I think of it, after pages of the flaw horse being beaten, learning Holden's favorite flavor of slushee would be a nice change.

Carry on...


Cherry.



--


In the classic Flaws design, the idea is "it's neat for some characters to have serious flaws, foibles, and debilities. Normally, players don't like stacking the deck against themselves, because no matter how much we bang on about 'telling a story,' at the end of the day, it's still a game and people want to get ahead. So, to encourage people to make characters with interesting flaws, let's reward them for doing so!"

It's a solid enough idea, as early-middle game design goes. The problem is that historically, it doesn't work-- the player response most often isn't "You know, it would be really interesting to play a character in a wheelchair-- and the game will reward me for doing that!"

Instead, it's this: "Hey, there are extra points sitting over here on the flaw shelf. How many of them can I sneak out without messing up my character?"

I would say that 85% of people who have taken Flaws in a White Wolf game were motivated primarily by the desire for more bonus points (or XP, whichever), and tried to take Flaws with minimal impact to get there. Hell, even I do this-- I don't think I've ever made a character for Changeling: the Dreaming who didn't have the Changeling Eyes Flaw. (Your eyes are in some way striking and unusual even in your mortal guise, which might make you a little bit easier for hunters of the supernatural to spot! So, wait, I get to have cool violet or amber eyes on my character AND I get 2 extra points for it? Shit, sign me up.)

[#][F] Holden - 7/30/2013
LordWyrmsBane wrote:
Arrakiz wrote:
It sure does. But you have to understand that what your players were doing and you rewarding them for it, is actively discouraged by the system and people everywhere will notice this as the very first thing. I bet any money that 3e will not have a sidebar talking about awarding players more points for interesting backstory.

It can be done right, there could be rules for rewarding players for backstory wich would level them with others while giving them merits. I personally really like an idea that you could get merits for free if you can come up with a clever backstory that explains them and your GM approves it. But it's clear that Holden wants to go the opposite route and discourage players from getting things that they could get during the game. Which means encouraging players to start with clean sheet, high stats and little backstory.


With this post, you take the statement "I don't want to create a system which is abusable by some players to get an unfair advantage" to mean "I don't want to create a game which encourages people to make characters with interesting and evocative backgrounds." This seems to be your opinion on the matter, and not what Holden has said.

Arrakiz wrote:
And besides that, how exactly is the system of rewarding people for backstory different then any flaws system? I mean, this is exactly what flaws are trying to do. The fact that Holden didn't see any system that did it right does not mean it's not what it's trying to do. It simply makes it clear that it's not something Holden wants to do.

Some people do not pay attention to details like that, but game developers by definition have to pay tremendous attention to such details.


Personally, I reward characters for writing a backstory, even if nothing bad happens to them in it. The point of rewarding them for making a backstory is that it encourages a player to think about their character's particular life, and how their experiences have shaped them differently from the player.

Flaws only reward players for taking bad experiences in their character's lives. For backstories and flaws to be equivalent, all backstories must by definition be tragedies.

Arrakiz wrote:
Sorry, but you're wrong. If you develop contacts during the game you don't pay anything for them. Basically the merits cover backgrounds and more, but some of them can be developed duirng the game- like artifacts, contacts, familiar, cults. And there will most likely be merits that can be purchased only during chargen.


You have no way of knowing if any of the above statements are true in Exalted Third Edition, unless you are a developer or freelancer with access to the draft of the core rules.

Arrakiz wrote:
Don't you find it strange that Holden can simultanously hate on flaws for enforcing points mining and wrong behaviour... But at the same he's totally down with BP to XP division doing the exact same thing?

Holden clearly does not think that emphasizing certain behaviours during character creation is bad, he actually thinks it's a good dynamic. That dynamic stays where it was.

I find it reallly weird how Holden assaults one way of enforcing this dynamic while simultanously defending another form of the same thing.


The dynamic I referred to in my post was "flaws incentivize players to take the maximum points which have the least detriment." The dynamic you refer to her is "emphasizing certain behaviours during character creation is good." These are not equivalent statements.

Taking the two together, plus adding in what Holden said about bonus points, I get a very different picture emerging for me. What I hear Holden saying is

"Emphasizing certain behaviors during character creation is good, except where it encourages players to attempt to min max by taking minor detrimental effects in exchange for power boosts which may unbalance the game."

If you do not agree wih this statement, that is fine. However, it is highly unlikely that arguing with the developers will change the core rules. Instead, why not write up and propose an alternative system, for those who may want to use it? If you write up a good enough system, maybe it will catch the eye of the developers, and they will ask you to freelance for them to write the system into a supplement? That is ultimately how all the current developers and freelancers got their start.


A simpler statement would be, "I don't like design which encourages the player to engage the system with dishonest intent, or which encourages and rewards dumb stuff." (In most situations, 5/5/1 is both dumb and dishonest, since 1) 4/4/3 is a lot closer to what the player really wants and 2) How many people have you seen who are strong as an Olympic weightlifter but keel over in a light breeze?)

[#][F] Holden - 7/30/2013
LordWyrmsBane wrote:
Arrakiz wrote:
It sure does. But you have to understand that what your players were doing and you rewarding them for it, is actively discouraged by the system and people everywhere will notice this as the very first thing. I bet any money that 3e will not have a sidebar talking about awarding players more points for interesting backstory.

It can be done right, there could be rules for rewarding players for backstory wich would level them with others while giving them merits. I personally really like an idea that you could get merits for free if you can come up with a clever backstory that explains them and your GM approves it. But it's clear that Holden wants to go the opposite route and discourage players from getting things that they could get during the game. Which means encouraging players to start with clean sheet, high stats and little backstory.


With this post, you take the statement "I don't want to create a system which is abusable by some players to get an unfair advantage" to mean "I don't want to create a game which encourages people to make characters with interesting and evocative backgrounds." This seems to be your opinion on the matter, and not what Holden has said.

Arrakiz wrote:
And besides that, how exactly is the system of rewarding people for backstory different then any flaws system? I mean, this is exactly what flaws are trying to do. The fact that Holden didn't see any system that did it right does not mean it's not what it's trying to do. It simply makes it clear that it's not something Holden wants to do.

Some people do not pay attention to details like that, but game developers by definition have to pay tremendous attention to such details.


Personally, I reward characters for writing a backstory, even if nothing bad happens to them in it. The point of rewarding them for making a backstory is that it encourages a player to think about their character's particular life, and how their experiences have shaped them differently from the player.

Flaws only reward players for taking bad experiences in their character's lives. For backstories and flaws to be equivalent, all backstories must by definition be tragedies.

Arrakiz wrote:
Sorry, but you're wrong. If you develop contacts during the game you don't pay anything for them. Basically the merits cover backgrounds and more, but some of them can be developed duirng the game- like artifacts, contacts, familiar, cults. And there will most likely be merits that can be purchased only during chargen.


You have no way of knowing if any of the above statements are true in Exalted Third Edition, unless you are a developer or freelancer with access to the draft of the core rules.

Arrakiz wrote:
Don't you find it strange that Holden can simultanously hate on flaws for enforcing points mining and wrong behaviour... But at the same he's totally down with BP to XP division doing the exact same thing?

Holden clearly does not think that emphasizing certain behaviours during character creation is bad, he actually thinks it's a good dynamic. That dynamic stays where it was.

I find it reallly weird how Holden assaults one way of enforcing this dynamic while simultanously defending another form of the same thing.


The dynamic I referred to in my post was "flaws incentivize players to take the maximum points which have the least detriment." The dynamic you refer to her is "emphasizing certain behaviours during character creation is good." These are not equivalent statements.

Taking the two together, plus adding in what Holden said about bonus points, I get a very different picture emerging for me. What I hear Holden saying is

"Emphasizing certain behaviors during character creation is good, except where it encourages players to attempt to min max by taking minor detrimental effects in exchange for power boosts which may unbalance the game."

If you do not agree wih this statement, that is fine. However, it is highly unlikely that arguing with the developers will change the core rules. Instead, why not write up and propose an alternative system, for those who may want to use it? If you write up a good enough system, maybe it will catch the eye of the developers, and they will ask you to freelance for them to write the system into a supplement? That is ultimately how all the current developers and freelancers got their start.


A simpler statement would be, "I don't like design which encourages the player to engage the system with dishonest intent, or which encourages and rewards dumb stuff." (In most situations, 5/5/1 is both dumb and dishonest, since 1) 4/4/3 is a lot closer to what the player really wants and 2) How many people have you seen who are strong as an Olympic weightlifter but keep over in a light breeze?)

[#][F] Holden - 7/30/2013
I think if you can't have a story where an Exalt tricks a river into thinking it's flowing in the wrong direction, then something is wrong.

[#][F] RichT - 7/29/2013
http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/117396/The-Strix-Chronicle-Anthology

Available in digital PDF/ePub, physical PoD book, and combo versions.

We are like you. We live in your cities, we laugh at your jokes, we share your good times and your bad ones. We meet you in clubs and back alleys, at glamorous parties and dive bars. We need you, to sate our endless hunger. We are your Kindred.

They are the smoke and the darkness, things that could have been you or us, creatures of hunger that humanity stole the night from. They are the Strix.

This anthology chronicles our struggle, and unveils the schemes and atrocities of Kindred and Strix alike. It includes these stories as well as other tales of those whom even monsters fear:

- “Four Years, Old John”: Greg Stolze shows us how the two most powerful vampires in Chicago came together in the shadow of the Strix.

- “Second Chance”: Eddy Webb tells a story of trust and betrayal, as a vampire is raised to solve a savage
mystery.

- “Playing House”: Audrey Whitman reveals that the devil you know and the devil you don’t might be one and the same.

- “Watching”: Orrin Loria introduces us to the Sheriff, who sees everything. But there’s one person even the city’s most well-connected vampire may not suspect.

- “Lullay”: Joshua Alan Doetsch weaves the tale of a surrogate father and his very dangerous little girl. But what happens when a fairy tale beast comes knocking?

The digital edition includes PDF, Kindle (.mobi), and .epub versions of the book.

[#][F] Holden - 7/29/2013
Zironic wrote:
Holden wrote:
Zironic wrote:
Wouldn't it in many ways be more interesting and less gamy if the flaws and merits were coupled together?

For instance by buying wings you get drawbacks of not fitting into standard armor and worse balance on the ground or by having one eye and thus less depth perception, you get a bonus to mental tasks.


"Well, my sorcerer doesn't use Archery or Thrown anyway..."


In a system using that kind of flaws then that isn't a problem because that was the intent. The flaws are assumed to have a negligible impact on players gameplay and are there as flavour for the merits and make it so that it's not actually possible to stack every merit in the book.


The intent is that every kung-fu sorcerer will have one eye? Because if it's not going to hamper me, and will directly benefit me, at no cost, my God, why wouldn't I take it?

[#][F] John Mørke - 7/29/2013
Comics were cool. Fiction provides a much deeper immersion.

[#][F] Holden - 7/28/2013
Zironic wrote:
Wouldn't it in many ways be more interesting and less gamy if the flaws and merits were coupled together?

For instance by buying wings you get drawbacks of not fitting into standard armor and worse balance on the ground or by having one eye and thus less depth perception, you get a bonus to mental tasks.


"Well, my sorcerer doesn't use Archery or Thrown anyway..."

[#][F] The Demented One - 7/28/2013
I have...ambiguous memories of the Twilight Circle in my game using Unity of the Closed Fist to fuse with a storm serpent and a bunch of other spirits and single-handedly forcing the Mask of Winters into a retreat. That was pretty silly!

[#][F] Holden - 7/27/2013
Arrakiz wrote:
Holden wrote:
Arrakiz wrote:
Well I guess that means we have something in common.


Yeah, that must be why I just rolled out what are widely considered the best set of Gifts Werewolf: the Apocalypse ever had. Blind luck.

Quote:
In my experience oWoD failed at three major points- in making a balanced character creation system, making balanced system that was comprehensive and fun to use and in that it punished specific behaviour rather then rewarding ithe opposite.


That's generalized enough that it doesn't really mean anything. It also doesn't touch on anything that was wrong with the system, as opposed to being a mater of taste.

Well sure I can go into details, so can you and so can anyone, because this is old news. We can examine how terribly overuseful Dexterity was, or how skills were put into the same set but were by no means equaly useful or important. We can talk about how the dice caps melted, how charms were awkwardly designed for the system, how social mechanics was terribly scewed and we can talk about Great Curse and other punishment mechanics designed seemingly simply to drain your fun from playing the game.


Okay, so this very emphatically proves you don't know what you're talking about. The problems of EX2 are enormously dissimilar to the problems of the oWoD system. Also half of those were, again, subjective with a side-order of ill-informed.

Quote:
It all boild down to the simple dact that you personally don't like bennies-for-flaws as a part of the system.


No, Duchess, it boils down to the fact that I've watched how different permutations of flaws-for-permanent-benefits warps player behavior around them. I think they're fun, but I think I have never seen them actually perform the way they're supposed to.

[#][F] Holden - 7/27/2013
Veritas1980 wrote:
Holden, is there anything to prevent a beastman from exalting? Solar/Lunar? Assuming, of course, the beastman in question has the requisite destiny background.


The requisite what background? Never heard of it. Also, what are backgrounds? :D

Beastmen can Exalt, same as any other human.

[#][F] Holden - 7/27/2013
Arrakiz wrote:
Well I guess that means we have something in common.


Yeah, that must be why I just rolled out what are widely considered the best set of Gifts Werewolf: the Apocalypse ever had. Blind luck.

Quote:
In my experience oWoD failed at three major points- in making a balanced character creation system, making balanced system that was comprehensive and fun to use and in that it punished specific behaviour rather then rewarding ithe opposite.


That's generalized enough that it doesn't really mean anything. It also doesn't touch on anything that was wrong with the system, as opposed to being a mater of taste.

[#][F] Holden - 7/27/2013
Arrakiz wrote:
It's that even the maximum 10 XP you can get for flaws isn't possibly capable of breaking the game, because it takes much more then 10 XP to be really better then somebody else.

You can argue that there are flaws there that can be mined for extra XP. That is true. But the thing is- in that game it doesn't matter. Even if you do mine the system for bonus XP, it won't break the game. Compare that to Exalted, where a single BP is a ridiculous difference in competence. It shouldn't be. And if it wasn't then flaws could grant bonus BPs without fear of breaking the game.

Holden argues that flaws are bad because people would be mining them for XP. I argue that in a well designed system that avails nothing. Even if you mine the system for bonus XP, the maximum amount of mechanical benefit shouldn't be capable of destroying the balance. If the balance was so feeble as to allow this, then the system was bad from the start.


That's your argument, not mine. I don't care if characters start off at a mild power disparity. I care that permanent benefits offer incentives to perverse and abusive behavior when engaging the system. If you are going to play a blind character, it should be because you wanted to play a blind swordsman, not because it gave you those extra points. My experience has been that 95% of the time, when someone takes Flaws on a character in a permanent-benefits system, it's because they want the benefits, not because they think the Flaw would be fun to roleplay; usually they're trying to pick up Flaws with minimal impact, or Flaw whose impact they can fully mitigate through other means (such as Charms or artifacts).

Quote:
oWoD is a great example of this in action- the system itself is so fragile that it breakes apart the moment people start to abuse it. It's not the fault of the general concept of flaws system, flaws could work very well if only they were actually compatible with the system.


With respect, I don't think you know anything about the oWoD system, or where it falls apart, or why.