The Threadweaving tax

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
The Undying
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby The Undying » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:27 am

Interesting, etherial. Has kind of a "combat maneuver" feel to it.

This is, again, an interesting comparison to the revamped ED4 combat system. Extra threads are KIND OF like maneuvers for combat - it adds interesting variation essentially as a way to spend successes (since extra successes when Threadweaving weave extra threads). The benefit is that each of these effects only essentially require one success rather than two. The downside is that they require pre-declaration, and, again, require an extra turn via the Threadweaving tax.

So, while this doesn't address the particular problem, it *IS* an interesting mechanic: allow Spellcasting maneuvers, in which two successes on a Spellcasting roll can be converted to a single effect associated with an extra thread.

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Tattered Rags
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby Tattered Rags » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:46 am

etherial wrote:A houserule I sometimes used in previous editions, converted to ED4, would look like this:

A Magician may spend 2 Successes on a Thread Weaving Test to gain a Standard Action, usable only to Cast the Spell they were tying Threads for.


I was thinking of something similar. Perhaps the time required to weave additional threads (and only the additional ones) can be negated by extra successes. Something like, weaving additional threads can be turned into a Simple Action by using a number of extra successes equal to the number of additional threads to be woven. Any Threadweaving test made to weave required threads cannot be reduced in this manner. No more than 1 Threadweaving test per round.

Example: 2 additional threads on Earth Darts would require 4 successes (3 extra) to make Threadweaving a simple action.

Example 2: 2 Additional threads for 4 total on Blizzard Sphere still requires a standard action for any Threadweaving test to weave the 2 required threads.

This scales, but I'm not sure how well. I *think* it's a simpler implementation than the knacks, but definitely more complicated than a flat 2 successes for a spellcasting attempt.

The Undying
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby The Undying » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:46 pm

I like the approach, but I think this just suffers from a scaling problem.

Here are some rough numbers. Basic magician, ignoring thread items and group threads, likely has Perception Step 7 and Threadweaving Rank equal to Circle: TW=7+C. Base weaving difficulty of spells is Circle +4, with the standard 5 over being an extra success: S=C+4/9/14/19/24. Using just this information, a magician would achieve 1/2/3/4/5 successes on a Circle 1 spell at Discipline Circles 1/3/8/13/NEVER. Here's the information played out:

Spell Circle: Discipline Circle 1 success min/2 success min/3 success min/4 success min/5 success min
Circle 2 spell: 1/4/9/14/NEVER
Circle 4 spell: 1/6/11/NEVER/NEVER
Circle 6 spell: 3/8/13/NEVER/NEVER
Circle 8 spell: 5/10/15/NEVER/NEVER
Circle 10 spell: 7/12/NEVER/NEVER/NEVER
Circle 12 spell: 9/14/NEVER/NEVER/NEVER
Circle 14 spell: 11/NEVER/NEVER/NEVER/NEVER

Pretty much an magician would be receiving a few bonuses from threads somewhere. However, with JUST these numbers, that means that a we basically top the system out with a Circle 15 magician being able to cast a 0-thread Circle 3 spell with two extra threads in one turn if we go with the multiplier idea (i.e., # of successes equal to # of extra threads). The "2 success maneuver" idea is even less forgiving as it has a greater penalty on spells with a single extra thread. That feels underwhelming.

The Undying
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby The Undying » Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:08 pm

What about a simple strain-per-thread option, either as a house rule or a Knack?

We already have the base Rules As Written about extra thread limitations:
Novice = 1
Journeyman = 2
Warden = 3
Master = 4

What if we just said something like this...

Rushed Weave: Before performing a Threadweaving test, the magician can spend two (2) strain per outstanding thread required for the spell, up to the maximum number of extra threads permitted by the Circle in their Discipline. If the Threadweaving test achieves all outstanding threads required for the spell, the magician may cast the spell as though the Spellcasting test were a Simple Action. If the number of outstanding threads is greater than the number of extra threads weavable by the magician, this ability cannot be used.

Feasible simple examples:
- Novice: 1 base thread spell + 0 extra threads (1+0); 0+1
- Journeyman: 2+0; 1+1; 0+2
- Warden: 3+0; 2+1; 1+2; 0+3
- Master: 4+0; 3+1; 2+2; 3+1; 4+0

Feasible complex example, Journeyman Adept casing a 5 thread spell:
- Turn 1: Threadweaving test with 3 successes (2 remain)
- Turn 2: Rushed Weave, 2 successes

What I like: Super simple, semi-expensive (2 strain/thread), some risk (declare before successes known), progressive (still supports a one-turn reduction for complex spells).

What I dislike: No LP cost (other Disciplines require LP investment as part of their growth), overly aggressive (Journeyman single-turn casting most spells right out of the gate; Warden single-turn casting all base spells and many extra thread spells single-turn), no scaling (Warden receives the same benefit for Warden-tier spells as Novice-tier spells).

The Undying
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby The Undying » Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:17 am

Was just looking back at the ED3 Player's Companion. Looks like the closest thing to being able to weave and cast at the same time is the Multt-Weaving Talent. Inexplicable, only Illusionists and Nethermancers got this, at 13th and 14th Circles respectively. Even for the era before ED4's focus on extra threads, it seems horrible that not all magicians got access to this. Now, with ED4's extra threads, I'm hoping at better sanctioned solution is waiting in the Player's Companion.

Slimcreeper
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby Slimcreeper » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:09 am

Taking a different approach, what about equipment? Perhaps the spellcaster could make a specialized spell matrix object that could store all of the given threads for a spell. The magician would weave them in advance, then could fire the spell with a simple spellcasting test. The object would need to be reloaded (all threads woven again) before it could be used in the same way again. So effectively only once per combat. The trick would be to make them costly in some way so that the magicians don't just load everything into objects. Naturally, there is the risk they could be stolen or something, but that's not really enough ... Maybe it could be an orichalcum-laced living crystal that acts as a focus for the woven threads, but ties to the existing spell matrix. It would not grant an extra matrix. Could make it a blood charm, even.

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Tattered Rags
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby Tattered Rags » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:59 pm

The Undying wrote:What about a simple strain-per-thread option, either as a house rule or a Knack?

*cut for space*


Why not only allow the rushed weaving on additional threads? This keeps the balance provided by required threads in place, and you would then only see this used when extra threads are wanted. That would negate some of the problems with single-turn casting of base spells.

Strain isn't a minimal cost for spellcasters, so don't be too against it. You could also throw in a penalty to the spellcasting test if you need a little more deterrence to overuse.

The Undying
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby The Undying » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:12 pm

Personally, I agree with you on the Strain cost, Rags - magicians don't have the skin to throw around like their counter parts. The issue starts to dissolve, though, with Group Threads for improved Durability or a universe where GMs allow multi-Discipline (which I personally believe should be allowed given a very strong character justification). With the Elemental aspects rolled into ED4 Warriors, Elementalist/Warrior or vice versa is more justifiable, making the Strain cost potentially less of an issue.

Anyways, that aside, the restriction to extra threads just seems messy to me the more I examine the problem. Can the spell ONLY be composed of extra threads (0-thread in any matrix or 1-thread in an Enhanced Matrix)? If you can mix and match, you run into a bookkeeping issue: the spell is 2-thread base with 3-extra, I only successfully wove one thread last time, meaning that's one more base thread, meaning I can't use the rush next turn.

Returning to the potential Multi-Discipline problem and looking at the Knacks from ED3, I continue to lean towards Knacks as a solution, potentially requiring additional successes. Even if you don't have a player min-maxing, it's possible a character could stumble into something like a Warrior/Elementalist, and with a base house rule allowing rushing, they could throw in some extremely warping spells single-turn (Flameweapon and Willow Shield come to mind). So, requiring heavy investment into the magician Discipline via Knack minimum ranks, and possible further requiring heavy investment into the magician's Threadweaving skills via extra successes, helps prevent this. Plus, ED3 seems to really like Good successes for Knacks.

So, I'm starting to think something like this (changes in bold):

-----
Name: Advanced Threadweaving, Novice
Cost & Availability: Threadweaving 4, Magician-only
Strain: 1
Description: Immediately before a Spellcasting test, the Adept may make a Simple Action Threadweaving test. This test can achieve up to 1 (one) thread, and one extra success is required to power the Knack (i.e., extra success not used for a thread). If the declared number of threads are not completed after this test, or the extra success is not achieved to power the Knack, the spell is lost in a violent eruption of astral energy. All woven threads are lost, the magician forfeits their Standard Action, and the magician takes an 1 (one) Damage. This test can only be made for Novice-tier spells. This Knack must be purchased for each Threadweaving talent individually.
-----

The new extra success requirement serves two purposes: makes it much harder for non-dedicated magicians to pull off the Knack, and further increase cost to justify the ability to use it on base threads.

The Undying
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby The Undying » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:29 pm

Separate but related thought: with the use of extra successes for a variety of things in ED4 and the loss of distinction on Good/etc results, I think the ED4 Player's Companion is going to need a new system to indicate when extra successes are required strictly to power the Knack. Doing it each time within the Knack will be burdensome and wordy. I expect/hope for something like this: a new 'cost' header in each Knack description, similar to the 'Strain' header. That way, you only have to describe it once at the chapter intro. With, you'd end up with something like:

----Chapter Intro---
"Extra successes" refer to the number of extra successes that must be achieved in the Talent test in order to power the Knack. These extra successes cannot be used for any other purposes, such as extra threads on a Threadweaving test or extra Damage on a close/ranged combat test. Instead, these extra successes are a cost to use the knack. If the necessary number of extra successes are not achieved, then the use of the Knack fails, and depending on Knack, there may be adverse effects as described within the Knack. Any additional extra successes achieved beyond these minimum required can be spent as usual. Furthermore, if the Knack fails because the minimum number of extra successes are not achieved (e.g., 2 extra successes required but only one achieved), then any extra successes that did occur can be spent as usual for the test unless otherwise described in the Knack.
----End----
...
-----
Name: Advanced Threadweaving, Novice
Cost & Availability: Threadweaving 4, Magician-only
Strain: 1
Extra Successes: 1
Description: Immediately before a Spellcasting test, the Adept may make a Simple Action Threadweaving test. This test can achieve up to 1 (one) thread. If the declared number of threads are not completed after this test or the the Knack fails, the spell is lost in a violent eruption of astral energy. All woven threads are lost (including any achieved in this test), the magician forfeits their Standard Action, and the magician takes an 1 (one) Damage. This test can only be made for Novice-tier spells. This Knack must be purchased for each Threadweaving talent individually.
-----

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etherial
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Re: The Threadweaving tax

Postby etherial » Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:11 am

The Undying wrote:Separate but related thought: with the use of extra successes for a variety of things in ED4 and the loss of distinction on Good/etc results, I think the ED4 Player's Companion is going to need a new system to indicate when extra successes are required strictly to power the Knack. Doing it each time within the Knack will be burdensome and wordy. I expect/hope for something like this: a new 'cost' header in each Knack description, similar to the 'Strain' header. That way, you only have to describe it once at the chapter intro.


Are the Creature Maneuvers too burdensome and wordy?

FASA, on ED4252, wrote:Clip the Wing: The attacker may spend two additional successes from an Attack test to remove the creature’s ability to fly until the end of the next round. If the attack causes a Wound, the creature cannot fly until the Wound is healed. If the creature is in flight, it falls and suffers falling damage for half the distance fallen.


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