Help with thread item design

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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cz1234
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Help with thread item design

Postby cz1234 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:58 pm

In my campaign I don't really push the rituals of advancement between every circle (outside of requiring training) but from novice to journeyman their masters gave each player a mission.

For the warrior he had to participate in a tournament, the scout has to find the name of the first born from the leader of a reclusive group of elves in the Servos Jungle, elementalist was tasked with investigating a peculiar kaer. An elementalist that decided he preferred the company of elemental spirits to others and could ride out the scourge alone.

The plan is to have horror tainted elementals (like stormwraith but across all the elements), a horror that is tainting the elementals. Free the elementals and gain their blessing.

Since it is a kaer by an elementalist I figure there must be at least one interesting thread item.

My general idea is an elemental lockbox. Basically the box when opened has five small compartments, each about the right size to hold an elemental coin.

I was thinking the lower ranks would give bonuses to summon, elemental tongues, elemental hold as long as the appropriate elemental coin was present in the box. Later ranks maybe bonus to spellcasting for appropriate element.

I think the idea is interesting but maybe a bit bland. The next thought was that at a higher rank for 1 strain the box absorbs the appropriate coin and confers a much higher bonus. Sort of interesting, kind of a desperate spell charm effect but the SP costs would make it rarely used so I'm guessing the bonus would have to be pretty high to make it worthwhile.

Trying to think of more interesting higher rank effects. Maybe a bound spirit? A deed to bind a spirit to the box perhaps?

Overall I'm shooting for Warden level item. I'd like it to be more interesting than just a bunch of bonuses but I'm concerned about accidentally making something far more powerful than it should be.

Help?

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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby Tattered Rags » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:34 pm

Not sure on what it should confer, but there is a lot of potential for deeds with collecting the coins, taking them places (like dipping the fire coin into Death's Sea, burying the wood coin in the Blood Wood, etc.).

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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby LouProsperi » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:11 pm

Hello,

What if instead of conferring a bonus of some sort, the box does something?

For example, what if as long as the box contains an elemental coin of a particular type (and it can only hold 1 of each), it allows the elementalist to create/conjure kernels of that true element x times per day (based on rank).


Take Care,

Lou Prosperi

cz1234
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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby cz1234 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:13 pm


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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby Tattered Rags » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:32 pm

First, what does the player want? Work on it with him/her, get some ideas, and maybe adjust or add to them?

Perhaps a spell matrix that advances up from a Standard to Enhanced and then maybe Armored if that doesn't get too powerful with other abilities. It can also provide bonuses to spellcasting and to the effect test of an Elementalist spell held in it based on coin(s) inside, or it can add some new aspect to spells based on which coins are inside.

What about "elemental grenades". Perhaps each rank provides a new or improved power to two of the coins in the box. 1(?) Strain, a Standard Action, and a successful Threadweaving Test replaces each used coin per success. Every morning at sunrise the 5 coins are automatically recreated. Note that you cannot, in the same round, create new coins and then use them. Also note all uses require a Standard Action (even placing them on the tongue).

Elemental Lockbox (working title)
Thread Rank 1: Standard Spell Matrix

Thread Rank 2: Air coin power - Air Cushion, can be used to push people apart (knockdown), cushion a fall, etc. If used to cushion a fall, treat the fall as Thread Rank * 100 yards less than it actually was. You can't control your fall, so Wind Catcher is still useful. Alternatively, make it times 50 yards if this overshadows Wind Catcher too much. Effect is instantaneous, so don't be too quick to use it if you're falling!
Fire coin power - Flame Lozenge, place coin on tongue and it dissolves, granting a +5 to Fire Heal talent (even granting its use if the Adept doesn't have the Talent normally) and providing a +5 Physical and Mystic Armor vs. Fire. Additionally, if the use of the Fire Heal Talent fails, damage sustained is halved. Effect lasts for 3 rounds. Only those with Threads attached to the Lockbox can use an elemental Lozenge.

Thread Rank 3: Water coin power - Soothing Balm, area effect heal aid on allies only. Also excellent aftershave. Grants instant recovery test with +3 bonus. Effect is instantaneous.
Earth coin power - Earth Pillar, like a weaker version of Earth Wall, duration in minutes instead of hours, less armor, lower death rating, etc.

Thread Rank 4: Wood Coin power - Bark Lozenge, place coin on tongue and it dissolves, granting +3 Mystic Armor, and +5 Physical and Mystic Armor vs Wood (does not stack with the earlier +3). It also grants +2 to Spellcasting Tests. Effect lasts for 3 rounds. Only those with Threads attached to the Lockbox can use an elemental Lozenge.
Air & Fire coins are thrown together - Fire Bomb, weak(ish) fireball-like effect with knockdown instead of partial blindness. Allies are safe (they only feel a rush of warm air pass by them). Effect is instantaneous.

Thread Rank 5: Enhanced Spell Matrix
Earth & Wood coins are thrown together - Fertile Soil, particularly nasty area effect as it turns the targets into fertile soil, making plants sprout from their skin. Test against Mystic Armor, of course. Painful, with a lovely aroma. Plants stay put even after the duration ends, but they won't grow back if plucked out. Ground also sprouts plants, so it's kind of a nice thing to do if no people are standing there. Does Step X damage every round for 3 rounds, and targets are Harried for those rounds. Plants remain on skin and produce a noxious odor, granting a -2 to Charisma-based tests until plucked, which is easy, just takes time. Oddly enough, the flowers and such that sprout from the ground smell lovely. Unlike the people-plants, they whither and die within a few days, though, unless the conditions are favorable or someone tends to them.

Thread Rank 6: Water & Air coins are thrown together - Maelstrom, creates a storm that harries everyone, makes ranged attacks from inside virtually impossible, and does a small amount of damage each round TO EVERYONE. Sorry, friends.
Earth & Fire coins are thrown together - Sticky Flames, like Greek Fire or Napalm, covers everyone (yes, everyone) in the area of effect in liquid fire that burns for 5 rounds.

Thread Rank 7: Water & Wood coins are thrown together - Poison Darts, something like a mix between the Venemous Fury spell and Shattering Stone. It should probably do less damage than Shattering Stone, but otherwise would be the same. Add on top of it some poison effect, though definitely not as powerful as Venomous Fury.
[s]Earth, Air, & Fire coins are thrown together - Summons a band of elemental spirits who play rock music[/s]
Orichalcum Coin - All 5 coins must be present in the box. With box closed, Standard Action, Threadweaving Test and 1 Strain and the coins, and their slots, disappear to be replaced by a single slot and 1 coin made of Orichalcum. This test is identical to creating new coins, only extra successes yield nothing. When the Orichalcum Coin is used, the 5 spots for the original coins reappear, empty and waiting. Throwing this coin does something snazzy. Not sure what, but probably simultaneously damages enemies AND debuffs them while healing friends AND buffing them. Or something. Maybe just damage enemies and heal friends. Or debuff enemies and buff friends. Honestly, I'm tapped out of ideas. Damage effects would be instant, while de/buffing would last 5 rounds. The Orichalcum coin is replaced with the 5 elemental coins at the next sunrise when the box refreshes. Use it or lose it! To revert it back to the original 5 before sunrise requires a normal Action as if you were trying to create 1 Elemental coin (Standard Action, Threadweaving, 1 Strain).

Thread Rank 8: (If three powers isn't too many, Armored Matrix?)
Orichalcum Lozenge - The Orichalcum Coin gains a new power. Place coin on tongue and it dissolves. Gain +5 to all Elementalism spell effects for 5 rounds. Only those with Threads attached to the Lockbox can use an elemental Lozenge.
Orichalcum Bomb - An Orichalcum Coin must be present in the box. Kind of a nuclear option: huge, powerful magical effect that requires you to throw the box, sacrificing it to take out Verjigorm or something. In addition to the effect, the spell contained in the Matrix activates as though all threads were already woven and a WIL of 8 (if necessary). Also, spend 1 Strain, +1 Strain for every Thread still needed to be woven to the stored spell. The player may choose not to pay the extra Strain, but then the stored spell does not activate. The effect is that portals to all five elemental planes open, causing the targets to be pulled and shredded, as they are simultaneously exposed to the full brunt of the planes' power and fury. It's an area of effect, and your friends better move out of the way. It should probably be Step Y (5) damage, rolling it 5 times, one for each element. Duration of the contained spell is as the spell normally. Duration of the Portal to the Five Elemental Hells lasts 3 rounds, and deals the Step Y (5) damage each round.

That needs a lot of work, but I had fun thinking through it. I'd replace anything that just doesn't sound fun or interesting first. Second, I'd adjust the bonuses, effects, and durations to something more balanced. With my lack of experience, I can't readily do that.

edit: added "An Orichalcum Coin must be present in the box" to Orichalcum Bomb. Added strain cost per thread needed to the Orichalcum Bomb, too.
Last edited by Tattered Rags on Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby Tattered Rags » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:17 am

Oversight: the coins dissolve with no effect if outside the box for more than a minute, and only one coin of each type, or one orichalcum coin, can exist at a time. No removing a coin and then making another just to have a bunch to throw.

Edit: a further limitation to consider is that no coin can be recreated while its effects are still in effect. Doing so cancels the ongoing effect (e.g.: earth pillars disappear). The plants from fertile soil still remain, but their damage and harried effects would end.

Edit 2: I'd also rule that only those with threads attached can open the box or use the coins. Handing coins to someone else will instantly trigger the effect or dissolve the coin (for Lozenges). Not a big deal for the water coin. Bad idea to hand someone pairs or all 5 coins. Handing over the air coin would be funny, though, especially if it's to some bandit king taking you prisoner.

Edit 3: ugh, something I didn't think to say, but maybe should have, the higher spell matrices replace the ones earlier.

Edit 4: looks like the design guide in the GMG recommends Enhanced Spell Matrix at Thread Rank 7. Move things around accordingly, and definitely no Armored Matrix.

cz1234
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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby cz1234 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:42 pm

I like it. It kind of flips my original idea of adding coins to it by generating coins.

The sneaky effect of handing a coin over to someone unaware is also kind of cool. Could actually have a higher rank key knowledge around how the elementalist did that at some point.

I think I'd tweak it a bit to maybe give a passive bonus while the coin is inside and make recharging the coin a bit more time consuming. Kind of a trade off between passive bonus and something interesting but losing the passive until recharge which will likely be out of combat. Maybe that is too punishing.

I also really like the idea of a nuclear option, not likely to every be used but an extremely interesting choice to be used at a climatic moment. Have them find the box with the orichalcum coin still inside but dissipates as soon as the box is open, maybe they'll eventually put together the fact that the elementalist was about to use the nuclear option but didn't have a chance.

I know the two things the player would like are a matrix and some interesting effects and I think this does both really well. After I tweak it up I'll post what I end up with for some final feedback.

Thanks!

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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby Tattered Rags » Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:10 pm

Glad I had an idea you liked. After looking over the GMG thread items and creation guide, I've determined its kind of OP. But upping the recharge investment would help. I'd make them pay 1 strain per coin instead of 1 strain. Adding a delay to it would help. Definitely need to move the enhanced matrix.

I look forward to your tweaked version!

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Re: Help with thread item design

Postby Tattered Rags » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:14 pm



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