ED4 Preview #1

Discussion on the Earthdawn game line, errata, and feedback not related to playing or GMing.
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ED4 Preview #1

Postby Mataxes » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:34 pm

Josh Harrison --
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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Flowswithdrek » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:10 pm

Not having to look up the table every dice roll is certainly a bonus. The all or nothing approach with armour never really bothered me one way or another, but I know some people disliked it, and I’m all for amalgamating talents that more or less do the same thing.

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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Slimcreeper » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:16 pm

I am finding these changes to be acceptable. Proceed!

<read with the accent of your choice>

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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Kasbak » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:02 pm

Reduction of redundant Talents I definitely see as a good thing. Whether I'm playing or GMing, I'm the mechanics guy for the groups I'm in, and having to memorize less would be a definite bonus.

I'm going to reserve final judgement on the success table changes until I see it in action, along with the accompanying rules changes. I think it will need to be play tested to get the right balances, as I see the potential for some things to become very overpowered depending on how they are handled (Razor Orb, for example). I'm going to go ahead and say right now that for many of the rolls I often see, linear increments and bonuses of 5/+2 is not going to be enough of a split to keep things reasonable, unless it's expected to get like +20 bonuses to damage tests. An exponential increase between success levels is going to be necessary to keep things from getting totally crazy (though that still shouldn't be too hard to figure out).

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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Telarus_KSC » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:23 pm

Liking what I see so far. The flat 5 points per success level is an interesting choice. I know from running simulations that the step dice results all fall off with nice exponential curves, so you have that behavior in the dice themselves. The old Results were directly related to those probabilities, all based around Average.

Now, Average Difficulty is the Step number itself (as per the definition of "Step") and thus requires no lookup. Smart move then having a fast way to extrapolate on top of that number.

Hmm, actually, this now gives me a way to judge possible success levels beforehand, i.e. Phys Defense 10, Attack Step 15 will score a +2 Armor Defeat 50% of the time. Attack Step 20 will have +4 Damage 50% of the time.

What's the chance of the Attack Step 20 guy achieving one bonus success instead of two? Assuming the same dice as ED3/r that would be 94.16%. He he he.

Interesting. I may have to run this through AnyDice this weekend and check out both sides of the ranges...

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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Mataxes » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:46 pm

So... the success table thing. There's a lot of thinking that went into this one, and a bit of number-crunching -- more than I really wanted to go into with the blog post. Much like my old articles on the step system, stats geeks with devour it, other people are likely to glaze over.

(I'm not quite sure what you mean by "an exponential increase between success levels", so I'm not sure how to address it.)

Under ED1/ED2/ED3 the success table actually follows a pretty predictable pattern -- the break point for each result level against a given DN lines up with the chance of rolling certain results on that same step. Average: about 50%, Good: about 15%, Excellent: about 7%, Extraordinary: about 3% (see for more). While this is mathematically wonderful, the numbers don't really flow logically the way the step progression does.

Revised tried something a little bit different: basing the break points for the success levels on multiples of the DN (Good @ 1.5x, Excellent @ 2x, etc). The problem with this setup is that while it works pretty well for the lower DNs, it actually reduces the chance for higher success levels as your DNs/steps increase. The break points increase faster than your chance of rolling those higher results.

Now, going with straight +5 progression isn't ideal (because the system isn't truly linear), but it is closer to the existing progression in the system. Here's a comparison. In the following list, I have the DN, then the # of successes at each 5 point increment (so 1 to 4 successes on the new system) based on the original result table.

DN 6 / 11 / 16 / 21
ED3: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

DN 10 / 15 / 20 / 25
ED3: 1 / 1 / 3 / 4

DN 16 / 21 / 26 / 31
ED3: 1 / 1 / 2 / 3

DN 24 / 29 / 34 / 39
ED3: 1 / 1 / 2 / 3

Even with DNs in the mid-20s, the results with the new setup don't result in large numbers of extra successes (only one extra success on average). Assuming your steps are roughly keeping pace with your DNs, this looks pretty good, all things considered. You start getting two extra successes with the highest result levels against DNs above 30, not numbers that get thrown around with any regularity. (Step 8 Attribute + Rank 15 talent is only step 23 -- thread magic can increase that, but you're talking about serious focus and bonus-seeking in that case, with a character that is pretty close to the pinnacle of mortal achievement.)

Now, obviously, when you are rolling high steps against low DNs, you are going to be getting more successes with the new system than the old. But I don't really see that as a problem -- why shouldn't somebody who is particularly skilled (or talented) do really well on an easy task? Why are they even making a test if the so clearly outclass the challenge? (The +20 bonus mentioned means ten extra successes, beating the target number by 50. I don't expect that to be a regular occurrence.)

As I said in my post -- I think easier on-the-fly calculations is worth the trade-off for statistical robustness, even looking at the upper ranges available to PCs. If the change strikes anybody as particularly problematic, I see a couple of easy house rule fixes. You can use the original success table, or simply cap the maximum number of successes at 4 (which the original system effectively did)

Edit to add: And I would be interested to see what other people's number crunching comes up with, so feel free to share.
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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Kasbak » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:54 am

I was mostly making commentary on how high the die rolls go in the groups I personally deal with. I know at least one true dice whisperer (on a step 12, he generally averaged around 40), and most of the rest have poured a lot of effort into bumping up our most used abilities very high (myself included). I probably should have separated the last to sentences to make it clearer that they were intended for personal encounters that differ from the norm. Now, of course putting that kind of effort in is naturally going to result in higher numbers, and the benefits for that work should be rewarded. It does mean, however, that ridiculously high results are going to be a regular occurrence, much more so with a more linear chart.

Now, for the chart comparison, also bear in mind that I use EDC, and that is the number set I'm used to dealing with. If the relationship is different for ED3, I wouldn't have the basis for comparison there.

Exponential wasn't the right phrasing for what I intended (I didn't have numbers in front of me at the time to figure out the actual relationship). What I meant is that the difference between success levels in that chart go up the higher the DN is. At a DN of 7, the average increase between successes is about the predicted 5 (the differences for varying successes at the same DN do float a bit). At 14 DN, the increase is about 6. At 21 DN, it's about 7, and so on. Point being, it gets harder to do better the higher the initial test is (which I think makes real world sense). The difference is subtle, but over the course of the chart it does make an impact.

A lower benefit per success level could even it out. Getting +4 for an Excellent versus defeating the potentially higher armor value may balance out the fact that getting an Excellent will be easier. Play testing will give a better indication of which direction the scale needs to move, if at all. As I noted, I'm going to reserve judgement for the scale as a whole until that point.

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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby zayven » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:08 am

I like the elimination of redundant talents. No, wait, I LOVE the elimination of redundant talents.

The set success level progression doesn't bother me and sounds easier to manage on the fly. Then again I don't get too hung up on the math of RPG systems. It doesn't really bother me if players are getting a few extra successes over the course of a game at higher circles.

I'm torn on the armor defeating hits, though. That was always such a big thing for players to accomplish and something that they lived in fear of happening to them. It also helped to alleviate the "rock 'em, sock 'em robots" slog that ED's combat can sometimes devolve into. But on the other hand, it injected a bit too much randomness into the combat. I've seen fights were people are just chipping away at each other and waiting for somebody to score an armor defeating hit. In a way, I feel like it covered up some of the problems with combat pacing. If it's going away, I think that you should also consider "retuning" the combat system in some way.

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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Slimcreeper » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:50 am

Everyone has had a combat in ED that they wished would just end. Moral rules and mook rules help. Armor-defeating hits can create a quick game-changer that can keep things exciting. Normally just doing damage isn't. I'd like to see wounds do more - options to stun, blind, harry, even knock out, not just knock down.

Maybe the +5/success thing could be used to determine the result of a wound instead of this roll vs difference+3 three thing. It's always bugged me that yet another roll was needed after attack, various defenses, and damage.

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Re: ED4 Preview #1

Postby Sethariel » Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:15 pm

Some loose thoughts...

I really like "combining redundant talents". That's a continuation of changes made by EDC and ED3.

Don't know what to think about changes with Success Levels. It changes a lot for characters with lower Steps. Makes harder for them to do something spectacular, even by chance.

I definitelly don't know what to think about the change with Armor-Defeating Hits.

It might work for lower Circle Adepts and lower DNs, but what about fighting those Horrors and other beasts with 20+ Armor?

There is also the thing with Archers who usually have lower Damage-Dealing capability, and making Armor-Defeating Hits may be their best "weapon". Getting a +2/4/6/8 Damage bonus against an opponent with 20+ Armor isn't that much, and might lengthten battles (just like fighting with beasts that have too much Hit Points in D&D).

Aaand there is also this "Yeah!" effect on players when they roll Armor-Defeating attacks. It makes the game more exciting. But I understand that might not work with every gaming group.


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