Author Topic: Assorted questions  (Read 10376 times)

Offline nadia.skylark

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Assorted questions
« on: June 02, 2019, 04:20:16 PM »
Does dancing fall under Performance or Athletics?

Does cooking fall under Craftsmanship or something else?

Is giving someone a free tag on one of their aspects a reasonable benefit for a stunt? How often: once per scene or once per session?

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2019, 05:44:45 PM »
Does dancing fall under Performance or Athletics?
Performance, generally. I think though that there's a stunt to use Performance for dodging, so long as you do it acrobatically.

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Does cooking fall under Craftsmanship or something else?
I think the general consensus is Craftsmanship; but I could also see it under Survival or Performance (possibly needing a stunt).

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Is giving someone a free tag on one of their aspects a reasonable benefit for a stunt? How often: once per scene or once per session?
Seems unnecessary, honestly -- ideally, you should be getting a fair amount of compels and fate points. And if not, you get a Refresh between games often enough that you could just ditch the stunt and use the extra fate point.
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Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2019, 06:56:48 PM »
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Seems unnecessary, honestly -- ideally, you should be getting a fair amount of compels and fate points. And if not, you get a Refresh between games often enough that you could just ditch the stunt and use the extra fate point.

Okay, I phrased my question really badly--as in, I asked one question and somehow expected people to intuit that I was asking something else.

The situation is this: In Phoenix And Ashes, a book by Mercedes Lackey, the main character learns how to use her magic partly by having an entity walk her through the major arcana in her dreams. To pass from one card to the next, she has to both learn something about the elements and how they relate to people (the magic system in the world is elemental-based) and accept/learn something about herself.

I thought this would be a cool concept to use as the basis for all or part of the trials someone would have to undergo to graduate from apprentice to full wizard. I also thought that each trial ought to give the character a small bonus in certain situations, such that 22 of them were worth a relatively small number of refresh. What I need help with is how small each bonus should be, what some of the bonuses should be, and how many refresh the set should cost. I don't know why I thought I would get the answers to any of those by asking about stunts.

Here are the ideas I have so far:

The Questioning Fool: once per scene, you can have the gm tell you what the most relevant question to ask in your situation is, which your character then asks out loud.

Rose of the Empress: once per scene, when attacking with rapport or deceit, you get a free tag on one of your aspects.

Lantern of the Hermit: once per scene, when defending in a mental conflict, you get a free tag on one of your aspects.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2019, 07:21:45 PM »
22 individual bonuses seems like kind of a lot. You generally don't get 22 individual bonuses for a "relatively small amount of refresh." You'd get it for, probably, 22 refresh. Maybe 11-15, if you can double up on some of them like with Occultist (i.e., +1 bonus to a general thing, +2 to a specific thing within that general thing). But otherwise? This is a game where if you have a lot of different bonuses to a lot of different things, you have to pay for them.

And honestly, that post doesn't really change my original thought -- mechanically, it seems unnecessary. Just having an appropriate aspect you can invoke in those situations gets the job done. Remember that aspects are very flexible. "I'm a Wizard" can be invoked for anything from boosting a spell roll, to knowing about a monster, to boosting mental defense, to overcoming disease, to declaring that you know a demon, to declaring you know a way, and dozens of other ways.

On Questioning Fool, I'm kinda iffy about basically writing metagaming into the text of the game. It seems like the sort of thing you could just, like, do with your GM if both people are reasonable about it.
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Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2019, 07:28:08 PM »
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22 individual bonuses seems like kind of a lot. You generally don't get 22 individual bonuses for a "relatively small amount of refresh." You'd get it for, probably, 22 refresh. Maybe 11-15, if you can double up on some of them like with Occultist (i.e., +1 bonus to a general thing, +2 to a specific thing within that general thing). But otherwise? This is a game where if you have a lot of different bonuses to a lot of different things, you have to pay for them.

So I can't do something like have 4 individual bonuses that are so weak that they're collectively equal to 1 refresh, or something?

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And honestly, that post doesn't really change my original thought -- mechanically, it seems unnecessary. Just having an appropriate aspect you can invoke in those situations gets the job done. Remember that aspects are very flexible. "I'm a Wizard" can be invoked for anything from boosting a spell roll, to knowing about a monster, to boosting mental defense, to overcoming disease, to declaring that you know a demon, to declaring you know a way, and dozens of other ways.

Quite possibly.

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On Questioning Fool, I'm kinda iffy about basically writing metagaming into the text of the game. It seems like the sort of thing you could just, like, do with your GM if both people are reasonable about it.

It doesn't seem that different from the Exposition and Knowledge Dumping trapping of Scholarship, except that it happens when the player wants it to rather than when the gm wants it to, and it can get the character in trouble.

Offline g33k

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 08:17:11 PM »
Okay, I phrased my question really badly--as in, I asked one question and somehow expected people to intuit that I was asking something else.

The situation is this: In Phoenix And Ashes, a book by Mercedes Lackey, the main character learns how to use her magic partly by having an entity walk her through the major arcana in her dreams. To pass from one card to the next, she has to both learn something about the elements and how they relate to people (the magic system in the world is elemental-based) and accept/learn something about herself.

I thought this would be a cool concept to use as the basis for all or part of the trials someone would have to undergo to graduate from apprentice to full wizard. I also thought that each trial ought to give the character a small bonus in certain situations, such that 22 of them were worth a relatively small number of refresh. What I need help with is how small each bonus should be, what some of the bonuses should be, and how many refresh the set should cost. I don't know why I thought I would get the answers to any of those by asking about stunts.

Here are the ideas I have so far:

The Questioning Fool: once per scene, you can have the gm tell you what the most relevant question to ask in your situation is, which your character then asks out loud.

Rose of the Empress: once per scene, when attacking with rapport or deceit, you get a free tag on one of your aspects.

Lantern of the Hermit: once per scene, when defending in a mental conflict, you get a free tag on one of your aspects.

Not every work of fiction is equally well represented by every RPG.  Lackey's Elemental Masters series isn't particularly well-suited to DFRPG (although a different tuning of the Fate rules seems likely to be a nice EM fit!).

We're really looking at 1 refresh being the "quanta," the unit of construction, of DFRPG powers.  1/22 of a quantum step is... largely outside the scale of the rules.

All that being said... I kind of think I see a way to do what you are asking.  Rather than try to build these as incremental powers that add up to "X" amount of power, focus on them as "lessons learned."  22 of them...

You get one of these "teaching dreams" and you now have a couple of tags "pending" -- there is a +1 tag that you need to use in some meaningful-to-the-lesson way (in your waking life); if you squander it in some shallow or trivial fashion, you will have a variation of the same dream, and need to do it right the next time.  There is also a -1 tag (or a +1 for a foe/rival) that will be used against you, or that you will have to overcome; again, this will be somehow relevant to the lesson.  2 of the Major Arcana per dream, one positive & one negative.  Once you've successfully "learned" the lessons of both (expended both tags AND done whatever narrative fulfillment is "learning the lesson"), you get a new dream, with 2 different tags on the new lesson(s). 

And THEN -- after wisely using/experiencing those 22 tags -- you get your power-up.

It isn't terribly DFRPG-ish in flavor, but it works within the rules AFAICS.
 
« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 08:18:50 PM by g33k »

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2019, 09:11:16 PM »
So I can't do something like have 4 individual bonuses that are so weak that they're collectively equal to 1 refresh, or something?
The smallest "bonus" available tends to be a +1 to something. A reliable +1 to a given type of rule is the basic description of a stunt, and a stunt is -1 refresh.

Ergo, I would posit that if it's making enough of a difference to be called a bonus, it's probably worth -1 refresh at least.

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It doesn't seem that different from the Exposition and Knowledge Dumping trapping of Scholarship, except that it happens when the player wants it to rather than when the gm wants it to, and it can get the character in trouble.
Honestly as a GM, I'd allow it stunt or not. My first couple groups were full of people who hadn't read the books, so having to nudge them here and there along the lines of, "BTW, what I just said sounds /super/ unusual to you," or "Nah, that's standard, what you should really be noting is ..." is pretty standard.
Compels solve everything!

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Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2019, 10:50:20 PM »
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We're really looking at 1 refresh being the "quanta," the unit of construction, of DFRPG powers.  1/22 of a quantum step is... largely outside the scale of the rules.

All that being said... I kind of think I see a way to do what you are asking.  Rather than try to build these as incremental powers that add up to "X" amount of power, focus on them as "lessons learned."  22 of them...

You get one of these "teaching dreams" and you now have a couple of tags "pending" -- there is a +1 tag that you need to use in some meaningful-to-the-lesson way (in your waking life); if you squander it in some shallow or trivial fashion, you will have a variation of the same dream, and need to do it right the next time.  There is also a -1 tag (or a +1 for a foe/rival) that will be used against you, or that you will have to overcome; again, this will be somehow relevant to the lesson.  2 of the Major Arcana per dream, one positive & one negative.  Once you've successfully "learned" the lessons of both (expended both tags AND done whatever narrative fulfillment is "learning the lesson"), you get a new dream, with 2 different tags on the new lesson(s). 

And THEN -- after wisely using/experiencing those 22 tags -- you get your power-up.

That's a good idea. I hadn't thought of the positive/negative thing, and that would be a really good way to tie the dream lessons/tests to real life. I was thinking of a kind of "pay half the cost before-hand and half the cost after" thing for the price, similar to what we're told happens with Harry getting hellfire, where he pays one refresh for it at the end of Death Masks, but only has limited access to it until after Blood Rites, when he pays the other refresh. That way, the character could have access only to those powers for which she's passed the dream test/lesson for.

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The smallest "bonus" available tends to be a +1 to something. A reliable +1 to a given type of rule is the basic description of a stunt, and a stunt is -1 refresh.

Ergo, I would posit that if it's making enough of a difference to be called a bonus, it's probably worth -1 refresh at least.

What about the once per scene or once per session thing?

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Honestly as a GM, I'd allow it stunt or not. My first couple groups were full of people who hadn't read the books, so having to nudge them here and there along the lines of, "BTW, what I just said sounds /super/ unusual to you," or "Nah, that's standard, what you should really be noting is ..." is pretty standard.

Yeah, I suppose it's more of a narrative thing.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2019, 11:43:30 PM »
What about the once per scene or once per session thing?
A reliable +2 or a reroll is ... basically exactly what a fate point is for. So, yeah, roughly equivalent to a stunt.

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Yeah, I suppose it's more of a narrative thing.
The stunt is worded about asking the GM. What is the narrative reasoning behind it? Is she getting guidance from some deity or other sponsor?
Compels solve everything!

http://blur.by/1KgqJg6 My first book: "Brothers of the Curled Isles"

Quote from: Cozarkian
Not every word JB rights is a conspiracy. Sometimes, he's just telling a story.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_T_mld7Acnm-0FVUiaKDPA The C-Team Podcast

Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2019, 04:56:19 AM »
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A reliable +2 or a reroll is ... basically exactly what a fate point is for. So, yeah, roughly equivalent to a stunt.

Yeah, but most stunts provide a +1 or +2 every time a situation comes up, not just once. The "on my toes" stunt gives a +2 every time you're determining initiative. Likewise for every other stunt I've seen.

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The stunt is worded about asking the GM. What is the narrative reasoning behind it? Is she getting guidance from some deity or other sponsor?

It's based on the idea that the perfect fool asks the right questions, because they're coming at things without preconceptions or biases--they ask the questions it's never occurred to anyone else to ask. The best example that I can think of is in a Harry Potter fanfic (can't remember the name right now) where they're dealing with horcruxes. Harry, Hermione, and a bunch of other smart people are researching how to destroy horcruxes, which have been around since the time of ancient Egypt. Ron, not being very good at research, wanders in at some point and asks "so if horcruxes have been around since ancient Egypt, why aren't we hip-deep in ancient Egyptian wizards?" This question was so basic that it never occurred to any of the smart people to ask it, and it led to the discovery that horcruxes don't work.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2019, 02:09:43 PM »
Yeah, but most stunts provide a +1 or +2 every time a situation comes up, not just once. The "on my toes" stunt gives a +2 every time you're determining initiative. Likewise for every other stunt I've seen.
You might be overestimating how often is "every time."

For instance, how often a scene do you think you're going to be determining initiative? Hell, I can't think of any games I've been in or run where we've started more than one combat in a session.

Plus, a free tag isn't just a +2. It's a reroll, which could be a much higher swing, or a tag for effect, which could be just about anything.

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It's based on the idea that the perfect fool asks the right questions, because they're coming at things without preconceptions or biases--they ask the questions it's never occurred to anyone else to ask. The best example that I can think of is in a Harry Potter fanfic (can't remember the name right now) where they're dealing with horcruxes. Harry, Hermione, and a bunch of other smart people are researching how to destroy horcruxes, which have been around since the time of ancient Egypt. Ron, not being very good at research, wanders in at some point and asks "so if horcruxes have been around since ancient Egypt, why aren't we hip-deep in ancient Egyptian wizards?" This question was so basic that it never occurred to any of the smart people to ask it, and it led to the discovery that horcruxes don't work.
OK. I think my thing is that while most stunts by necessity refer to rolls and game mechanics, it's typically more about what the characters are capable of than the players.

How about something like: "No Such Thing As A Dumb Question: Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and sometimes coming at a problem completely ignorant without any prior assumptions is just what's needed. If you roll a -2 or lower in Lore, you may spend a fate point to turn it into an automatic success."

Not sure how balanced that is; it might need a lower threshold, or a once-a-scenario rider.
Compels solve everything!

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Not every word JB rights is a conspiracy. Sometimes, he's just telling a story.

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Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2019, 02:23:54 PM »
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You might be overestimating how often is "every time."

For instance, how often a scene do you think you're going to be determining initiative? Hell, I can't think of any games I've been in or run where we've started more than one combat in a session.

Yeah, but if you're doing social combat, you're probably going to be attacking with rapport/deceit a bunch of times, and if you're doing mental combat, you're probably going to be defending a bunch of times. So a stunt would be objectively better.

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Plus, a free tag isn't just a +2. It's a reroll, which could be a much higher swing, or a tag for effect, which could be just about anything.

So what about a +1 bonus instead? That's worse than what a normal stunt would give you, even if you could use it every time the situation came up.

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How about something like: "No Such Thing As A Dumb Question: Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and sometimes coming at a problem completely ignorant without any prior assumptions is just what's needed. If you roll a -2 or lower in Lore, you may spend a fate point to turn it into an automatic success."

Not sure how balanced that is; it might need a lower threshold, or a once-a-scenario rider.

It's meant to reflect the character having learned to look at things with an open mind despite knowing a bunch about them. The reason it was a question was because it was meant to reflect the character realizing what they really needed to be investigating/researching--they might still not be able to find information on it, but they know what information they should look for.

I like the once-a-scenario thing, though.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2019, 02:46:26 PM »
Yeah, but if you're doing social combat, you're probably going to be attacking with rapport/deceit a bunch of times, and if you're doing mental combat, you're probably going to be defending a bunch of times. So a stunt would be objectively better.
Not necessarily. Any kind of attacking stunt tops out at +1, and any stunt cannot apply to every usage of a given skill, or a given trapping -- all of them have limits that keep them to particular situations. (i.e., a stunt might be "+1 to Rapport when attacking in social combat against a friend" but couldn't just be "+1 to Rapport when attacking in social combat.")

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So what about a +1 bonus instead? That's worse than what a normal stunt would give you, even if you could use it every time the situation came up.
Again, not necessarily. A +2 is the max a stunt can give, in limited situations; broader stunts give +1, but it's still not for every situation.

Just, generally speaking, if you're getting a +1 on anything, it's because you spent refresh on it. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch in Dresden.

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It's meant to reflect the character having learned to look at things with an open mind despite knowing a bunch about them. The reason it was a question was because it was meant to reflect the character realizing what they really needed to be investigating/researching--they might still not be able to find information on it, but they know what information they should look for.

I like the once-a-scenario thing, though.
I think maybe you're getting too granular about it -- what you're describing -- "character realizes what they need to look into" -- is, basically, one way to interpret a successful Lore roll. Or heck, I could see it as a successful Lore roll that the GM complicates with a compel ("OK, you rolled a 6, but it doesn't make sense for you to know this based on your aspects; here's a fate point, you have a solid idea of what you need to look into, but you'll have to spend some time researching") or a negotiated failed roll ("OK, you rolled only a 3, and you needed a 5, so instead of a failure, I'm going to put it a couple steps up the time chart -- you know what you need to look into, but you're going to need a trip to the library to figure it out.")
Compels solve everything!

http://blur.by/1KgqJg6 My first book: "Brothers of the Curled Isles"

Quote from: Cozarkian
Not every word JB rights is a conspiracy. Sometimes, he's just telling a story.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_T_mld7Acnm-0FVUiaKDPA The C-Team Podcast

Offline Taran

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2019, 01:00:33 AM »
Regarding  The ‘asking  The right question’ power, why not re-skin Guide My Hand?

@Mr.  death: asking the right question is, essentially, the fortuitous arrival trapping of the power.  And its other benefits seem in line with what nadia  wants.

Probably covers the dreams and quests too. 

As far as dreams go, Cassandra’s Tears creates an aspect that guides you to an objective.   It can be invoked to push the story in a direction or compelled to push it similarly in a direction at an inconvenient time.  So reskin it to push you towards wisdom and learning instead of Disaster(which is the hat Cassandra’s Tears was based on.  You’d have to change the ‘people don’t believe you’ part of it. 
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 01:02:25 AM by Taran »

Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Assorted questions
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2019, 07:16:27 PM »
Has anyone used the Ordo Torca from Paranet Papers as antagonists? I'm trying to decide whether to involve them at some point, and I was wondering what other people have done with them.