Some Questions

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Jaracove
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Some Questions

Post by Jaracove » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:44 am

Is there a problem with the sequential way difficulty numbers increase, are they a bit wonky in places?

For those experienced with the system, are the rules about magical 'threads' and how they work with magic items contradictory in places?

Did the new edition address the issue with not enough creatures to fight at certain higher levels? I can't remember the actual levels, sorry, but I do remember complaints about there being a lack of creatures at certain levels to challenge pcs.

When is the supplement coming out that allows magic users to choose spells beyond 8th circle? I heard those spells are not included in the companion book.

Thanks all.

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etherial
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Re: Some Questions

Post by etherial » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:40 pm

Jaracove wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:44 am
Is there a problem with the sequential way difficulty numbers increase, are they a bit wonky in places?
There are a couple of places where things get weird. Consider spells:
Weaving Difficulty: 4+Circle
Reattune Difficulty: 9+Circle

Learning Difficulty: 5+Circle
Dispel Difficulty: 10+Circle
Sensing Difficulty: 15+Circle

There's an obvious pattern here with what appears to be an Off-By-One error somewhere in the design.

Another problem that we're experiencing at Journeyman and Warden Circles is Grappling.

At Third Circle:
A Bear grapples the Wizard. The Wizard must roll a 10 on their d8 Strength (an 11% chance) to escape and can take no other action. Otherwise the Wizard takes Step 17 Damage.

At Sixth Circle:
A Norikot grapples the Wizard. The Wizard must roll a 14 on their d8 Strength (a 5% chance) to escape and can take no other action. Otherwise the Wizard takes Step 18 Damage and then gets attacked 2 more times (4 more time if any of them caused the Wizard to be Knocked Down).
Jaracove wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:44 am
Did the new edition address the issue with not enough creatures to fight at certain higher levels? I can't remember the actual levels, sorry, but I do remember complaints about there being a lack of creatures at certain levels to challenge pcs.
The new Masks system gives guidelines for adding or subtracting as much as 2 Circles from any Critter, so that's less of a problem.

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Mataxes
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Re: Some Questions

Post by Mataxes » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:42 pm

Jaracove wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:44 am
Is there a problem with the sequential way difficulty numbers increase, are they a bit wonky in places?
As Etherial mentions, things can get a bit weird as you advance in the tiers and the "default" difficulty for stuff can outstrip the capabilities of characters outside their expertise. This is especially notable with grappling, because... well.. grappling. (*shudder*)

Aside from things like that, the wonkiness mostly shows up at a couple places in the Step Dice progression, where the chances of success against specific difficulty numbers can do unexpected things as you move up/down a Step. (The most blatant example is going from Step 7 to Step 8.) The new dice progression modifies it somewhat, but it's impossible to really eliminate all of them without completely shifting to a new mechanic.
For those experienced with the system, are the rules about magical 'threads' and how they work with magic items contradictory in places?
Not that I'm aware of offhand. (I'm not completely sure what you're referring to, though, so more detail would help me give you a better answer.)
Did the new edition address the issue with not enough creatures to fight at certain higher levels? I can't remember the actual levels, sorry, but I do remember complaints about there being a lack of creatures at certain levels to challenge pcs.
Yes. In addition to the Masks system Etherial mentioned, the Companion includes a lot of mid-to-upper Journeyman along with Master and Warden tier creatures.
When is the supplement coming out that allows magic users to choose spells beyond 8th circle? I heard those spells are not included in the companion book.
I'm hoping to see that done within the next year. Right now Morgan is focusing on the mechanics for the "Mystic Paths" book (which includes new and reworked Disciplines). "Arcane Mysteries 4e" (working title) is the next one on his plate.
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Jaracove
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Re: Some Questions

Post by Jaracove » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:25 pm

Thank you for the feedback

Which would you say is the most problematic? For me, the dice step progression sounds it. It doesn’t break the game but is it a problem during play? Is it obvious?

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etherial
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Re: Some Questions

Post by etherial » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:14 pm

Jaracove wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:25 pm
Thank you for the feedback

Which would you say is the most problematic? For me, the dice step progression sounds it. It doesn’t break the game but is it a problem during play? Is it obvious?
There is a noticeable uptick in varability when you hit Step 19. To the point where I'd rather take a +2 Bonus to the result rather than the Step. I've looked at trying to wait until 4 dice for adding the D20, but there's just no good place to do it.

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Mataxes
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Re: Some Questions

Post by Mataxes » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:55 pm

Jaracove wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:25 pm
Thank you for the feedback

Which would you say is the most problematic? For me, the dice step progression sounds it. It doesn’t break the game but is it a problem during play? Is it obvious?
I don't think it's a problem during play.

As for how "obvious" it is depends on what you're looking at. If you do the math or run simulations of thousands of die rolls, there is a statistical difference. It's not huge, but it's there. (And based mainly on the raw mechanics of how results are determined -- as I said, there are some aspects you can't get away from without completely rebuilding the system or moving to a new mechanic entirely, each of which has their own benefits and drawbacks.)

One thing to keep in mind is that the human brain is notoriously selective and pattern-seeking. A person's anecdotal experience with the system is going to recall certain events and exclude others -- intentionally or not. Those experiences may not actually be borne out by the actual statistical underpinnings.

If you are interested at all in digging into the math involved, I wrote an article years back analyzing the original (ED1) Step system and pointing out some of the issues (and the conclusions I drew from it). You can find it over at my personal website -- http://www.loremerchant.com/articles/

The revisions to the system over the various editions have tried to reduce the system hiccups (to varying degrees of success, in my mind). But there's no way to really eliminate them.
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Jaracove
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Re: Some Questions

Post by Jaracove » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:49 pm

To be honest, my eyes glazed over when I read your article Mataxes. Me and maths don't get on :)

Is the discrepancy negligible, really not worth worrying over? Put it this way, do we know how Earthdawn's dice quirks compare with Savage Worlds' dice quirks? I'm not bothered those at all as they really are negligible.

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Mataxes
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Re: Some Questions

Post by Mataxes » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:24 pm

Understanding that I haven't really dug into the underlying probabilities, I think the difference is about the same. I know the basics of Savage Worlds, and they have a similar kind of stepped-die system with rerolls. This can do odd things with certain DNs depending on what you're rolling.

So if those kind of hiccups don't bother you, Earthdawn's system shouldn't give you any problems.
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Jaracove
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Re: Some Questions

Post by Jaracove » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:28 pm

It's still niggling at me... :/

Got to love an obsessive personality! :mrgreen:

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Re: Some Questions

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:34 pm

It niggles me less than a D20 system where the roll pretty quickly becomes subordinate to the modifier. I think 5th DnD is better about that, but I still prefer the Step system. And it niggles me less than the entire Shadowrun system (despite the fact that I listen to two AP Shadowrun podcasts pretty religiously!)

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