Alpha v0.093 - Big QoL + New Guidelines™ and Stuff™


Foreword

This time around I'm actually awake to write down changes and a little foreword, so let's get started. Last patch was mostly me crunching for some minor changes after an important couple of playtests, but it was largely some minor cleanup stuff. 

This one's a bit more substantial when it comes to cleanup, because I took the time to revise some of the older concepts that I've been dragging along for a while, specially those that have seen complaints or feedback over my time playtesting it. Ideally, this kind of major concept cleanup should be slowing down to a complete stop, but you never know when something that you thought was okay didn't actually work out that well. Playtesting will continue from this point onwards like it always has, but now I'll have some new considerations in mind when running the game.

Also, I took the time to clean up a bit some of the new content added by the last update, and decided to add some new stuff as well, specially a handful of little things that have been drafts and notes for a long time and I never got the time to really implement.

Anyways, let's get to it.

Changelog

The Big One: Trade Points and Insight Points

  • Divided IP into Insight Points and Trade Points, and updated the Character Advancement and Purchasing Equipment section (alongside other mentions of IP as currency) to reflect this. 
  • You can now sell items for TP. 
  • Expanded the uses of IP as a more influential metacurrency. 
  • Removed Clan Points, and replaced them with a section on Clan Funds. 

Relatively speaking, Improvement Points and the way they were used are not actually that old. Their concept is old enough by now, but it was one of the later "main mechanics" I've been using. The idea originally was to make something vague and straightforward in the same vein as Karma in Shadowrun: Anarchy, since items are inherently tied to progression and I wanted something that could be used both as money and as experience. As time went on, however, the original visions of IP, character advancement, and item acquisition started drifting further and further away from one another and into completely different fields. Eventually, the concept of IP as a meta-currency that could serve both ends became something that the game did not support at all, with IP playing a very minor role in Advancement while playing a MAJOR role in trade, essentially becoming money that poofed into existence out of thin air.

Trade Points work exactly the same as Improvement Points did, but they are no longer a mixture of both aspects, but a clearly cut and dry representation of an abstract amount of tangible currency and trade goods, given as a reward and obtained through trade and physical acquisition. This makes things easier to design overall, and much easier to represent during play. This of course meant that you can now actually sell your items, although at a slightly reduced price on account of being used goods.

Insight Points are the experience part of the (old) IP, inheriting their name and being expanded in a more Fate/Hero Points style of usage, allowing you to reroll failed Tests and Stabilizing yourself during a Skirmish. They are otherwise gained in the same way as the old IP.

Clan Points simply didn't work anymore with the change of IP, but its concept remains with Funds: an expanded guideline on sharing money for the sake of the group rather than a new concept being introduced to the table.

Other Quality-of-Life Changes

  • Simplified Combat Styles to be more straightforward. 

Much like other things that were designed in the earlier days and eventually changed, Combat Styles were unnecessarily divided into three subcategories that actually confused the players quite a lot. Those used to actually serve a purpose, but ever since they were reworked and unified they were kinda... there. Now they're all one big thing, and it makes it very clear that you write it down yourself like any other Skill.

  • Added example portraits to Ancestries.

"I struggle to imagine how your races look because I don't have a picture of them at hand." - actual quote from playtester.

Well, it doesn't hurt to add even more art that doesn't belong to me, right? (Of course it hurts)

  • Increased damage from Hazards. 

I ran some numbers in my head, and the numbers were a bit low. Now THIS is a properly hazardous level of danger for hazards, and a little tweaking and rewording now puts your resistances and immunities at play.

  • Rearranged the Adversary creation rules to keep relevant information in the same chapter, and expanded Art of the Skirmish.

No need to keep them separate, and it gave me a bit of extra room to expand upon the concepts of the Skirmish guidelines on the Arbiter's chapter.

  • Increased the time it takes to learn Magic without a prior Practice.

The arbitrarily longer amount of time (it was actually Attunement all along) is now properly explained, and it takes 20 extra steps instead of 10. This only happens the first time you dabble into a Practice, making double chargen Paths stronger than ever, and placing a starting sorcerer at a good 40-ish days of game time to learn magic for the first time, unless you learn magic while away on Holiday.

New Content & Updates

  • Added Bounties & Contracts + Rewards to Chapter VIII. 

The concept behind this section has been around for a long while (it's been hidden in the arbiter section since its inception, actually), but I was never really able to write it down because it never really belonged in any particular place. The Companies & Clans chapter now gave me a perfect place to explain the nature behind Contracts and the things that could be gained as Rewards, and Trade Points made it even easier.

  • Added “Alchemizing Fuel” to Chapter VII.

Another concept that was gnawing my brain was that of being able to effectively craft Fuel if you ran out of it during an adventure. The basic elements (Embersap and Black Glass, though the original name was Ambersap), can be found in nature and can help you to recharge a spent Fuel Cell in two different ways, explained in its section. 

I like this section because it sheds a bit of light on the nature of Radiant Energy in a way I find really appropriate for the setting.

  • Tweaked the Tracking weapon trait, and added the Elemental trait. 

Told you Tracking was busted. Now it gives you advantage on further Called Shots, because that's a more appropriate use for a Tracking Shot: setting up the finishing hit.

Elemental was the simplest solution to a constant request from playtesters that never really had rules: being able to play a Spellcaster that enchants their weapon. This Trait allows Evokers, Arcanists and Theurges (or rather, spirits) to give their weapon an elemental enhancement for the duration of the Skirmish, at the cost of a Moderate Effect.

  • Added an expanded explanation of Magic Practices & learning magic, and cleaned up the formatting under each Practice. 
  • Added Decay to the list of Evoker Paths, and Warden to the list of Theurge Paths.

Practices and Paths were a bit confusing overall and needed a bit of an explanation. This change does just that, expanding a little bit on how they work, and also on the nature of Sorcerers as Casters and Ritualists, and a bit of insight on the things they do in general.

The Path of Decay is a way for players to play Evokers that play on themes of death and fungal growth, and complements the already established Path of Life by giving access to its opposite.

The Path of the Warden is a Theurge Path that specializes on the banishment of spirits rather than their summoning. I've wanted to add something like this for a long time, but the concepts behind it were wildly different to the way Theurgy currently worked, and eventually dropped the concept altogether.

But then

  • Updated the Character Sheet, and added the Clans & Companies Sheet. 

Trade Points needed to be separate from IP, and now that I needed to add a tangible resource to the main character sheet, I decided to also add Fuel to the sheet in case you need to track it for personal vehicles and whatnot.

The Clans & Companies Sheet is a way for the group to keep track of their identity, members, followers, standing with other groups, shared belongings (including clan funds) and their current contracts. Pretty useful stuff that I wanted to add before but never got around to it.

See you next time!

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