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TOPIC: Low Levels
#1239
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 8  
Interesting discussion which i can't help myself from getting involved....

look back 20 years (or so) and the debate on HQ2 was "who is granted the title of Hero" - the referees and monsters got together at the end and discussed the merits of each player and some were granted Hero and others weren't (this was in the days where we had individual debriefs, each player getting told how they did on the event from the refs point of view). needless to say there were complaints and the outcome was that everyone got the title hero - I guess the debate Fraser refers to harks back to some people disagreeing with the fact that all you had to do was come along, hide in a bush (bushstalker) and still be given the title Hero. However the system was vastly different in those days and much more "competitive" with monsters doing their best to kill players etc.

the system has always had various things you could only gain by merit:
- full points for an event (this was ditched after I (amongst others) kicked up a stink after one famous debrief - "you know what we think of Snipe - here's your minimum points for the event" and for the record the reason was that I was a Grey mage but I didn't wear armour or stand in the front line with a sword and shield
- Sorcerer/High Priest you used to only get this if the powers that be thought you deserved it and there were wildly different ranks when people got granted the title
- Paladin - only if your roleplaying was impeccable would you get knighted
- Hero - the original Heroquests were very very bloody

more to follow - I will get to the point eventually
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#1240
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 8  
Only achieving things by merit gives a great sense of accomplishment to those that make the grade and much more appreciation of the thing that you've gained however for those who don't make the grade there is resentment and depression (in the worst cases) and the system has slowly moved in the direction that everyone is equal and all you need to do is attend to get title and power - obviously those that liked gaining things by merit alone feel this is a degradation in the system whereas those who don't like a merit based advancement - or those who don't care how advancement is done see no issues with the direction of the system.

Conversations I've had have compared the new direction to a computer game where hours invested (and therefore cash invested) = new cool powers

Does this make the system less enjoyable? I feel not, as Shaun says its to the benefit of the team if people within it can do cool things...

The title of Hero was pretty much the last thing to be done on merit alone and that was "merely" surviving a Heroquest (and not all Heroquests have been equal as is pointed out)

When I write a Heroquest its not the first thing i think of but its definitely one of the first things is to think "why will people be named Hero for this" and I think some HQs in the past that wasn't asked or even given much priority... In my mind a HQ is about achieving something significant on behalf of either the Valley or possibly even another tower and that this is a step above what happens on other events that year. I don't see an issue on having 3 events that do that in a year as long as we are able to write plot that achieves it.

Thats my 2p on Heroes & Heroquests
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#1241
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 8  
On balance of events - I have made my feelings clear on a number of occasions as the system has again slowly moved in a certain direction.

I feel that there is an excitement for new people that cannot be regained, the first time you meet a troll and are surprised that it gets up after you think you've killed it, the first time you are in a general panic caused by a ghoul running into the party etc.

I've always felt that a persons first encounter with Heroquest should be on a dedicated low level event, it shouldn't be as a monster, it shouldn't be with a points loan etc.

However in reality we are running a series of events that should very much be open to all, because as a business turning players away is just madness! This has led to points loans, guild assistance and other "artifical" balancers - lets face it the way we balance things now is far better than malleting the higher level players which is what we used to do in the past.

I have however raised the issue as discussed here, whats the motivation to start a new character when your not bored of your old one when there are a number of ways on not dying now (so many ways or regaining or getting res chances it seems)? and what motivation is there for you to play a character that is so far below everyone else? I feel that we will continue to see characters that turn up at their first ever mission but with 100's of points (from monstering etc) and the question is is this bad for the system?

I proposed a number of measures that could bring parity without resorting (as much) to guild assistance etc and guild assistance is all about protection - yes the low levels can stand against the same monsters but can they affect them?

more later.... on my measures that is
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#1242
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 26  
petesutton wrote:
- full points for an event (this was ditched after I (amongst others) kicked up a stink after one famous debrief - "you know what we think of Snipe - here's your minimum points for the event" and for the record the reason was that I was a Grey mage but I didn't wear armour or stand in the front line with a sword and shield
Everyone I've ever spoken to agrees that it was good that this subjective assessment is gone!

- Paladin - only if your roleplaying was impeccable would you get knighted
That is how it should be, IMO.

- Sorcerer/High Priest you used to only get this if the powers that be thought you deserved it and there were wildly different ranks when people got granted the title
I certainly don't think it should be a case of "I'm rank 64, now I get to buy my Level 9s".

The website always used to state to gain this position, you had to undertake a task on behalf of your guild, which I agree with. (Why should you be a spokesman for them if you've never done anything for them?) And the opportunity to do this should be made available at the appropriate point(s).

It should also be harder to gain this status in certain guilds. I have (OOC) never had a problem with the fact that the Red School don't want a drow among their ranks. (Obviously IC I may differ ) Other examples, you shouldn't expect elevation in the Wolfhold Hunters without good reason. Promotions in Wolfhold should be tough to obtain full stop. Generally this is the case anyway tho.

My 5p (in line with general inflation these days)
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#1244
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 5  
As this post has changed direction to discussing hero status, I can only assume that everyone in the club must completely agree with me that there should be some opportunity for no-status adventuring!

I don't think multiple hero abilities spoil the game. Most abilities actually benefit others around the hero, or just make them more fun to play by removing some rule-barriers that slow them down. We just have to trust the refs on this one.

Many old hero characters disapear from the system as players stop playing or hardly play, so the number of active heroes will not exactly explode

I like the idea of one naming ceremony for heroes a year. How about at the final adventure weekend of the year when the Valley has had time to take stock of their achievements. Those who did 3 heroquests just get named hero, just like those that went on one. Everyone still gets their hero abilities at the beginning of each HQ though.

To get rid of the 'I'm a triple hero' cock-waving, why not only be named hero once in your lifetime. Once your inducted into the club, thats it. Any further HQs you go on are for pride, and you can list your achievements if thats your thing, though I still think you should get an ability.

3 Final suggestions:

1) On reaching triple hero the valley values your services so much it immediately rewards you with a desk and the title of guild administrator and a mountain of paperwork prevents your character from ever leaving the tower again.

2) On reaching triple hero your character is appointed ambassador to the hidden 'chequered tower' and is never seen again

3) Your character is deemed too dangerous to the status quo to live. A shadowsfall contract is put out, you are assassinated / rezzed / assassinated / rezzed etc until all of your 8 monster-credit rez chances are gone
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#1250
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 8  
So for balancers you have to consider what the biggest differences are between High & Low levels and which ones cause "problems" (by problem here I mean that the difference between low & high requires a workaround (some of these require laaarge changes in the system, which is holistic so that a change in one area often means changing lots of other things)-

AC & other immunities, resources (life, power & slots)

AC - yes this causes problems

other immunities - mostly character individual based or character type and therefore mostly fine

resources - life causes problems I'd argue that power & slots do not, only issue is that low party members may feel less useful than high party members but usefulness to the team is an arbitary concept - is the person who doesn't take an active part in fights but works out the plot & translates scrolls more or less useful than a person who only hits things and doesn't contribute (or even interferes with) plot discussions and scroll translations?

possible workarounds (as an addition to/lessening of the need for guild assistance):

Everyone takes effect from all damage to a minimum amount (Single) - this means that you do not need to artificially modify the damage - Goblins can run in doing Double and everyone in the party is equally affected, high levels still have more life than low levels so can take more damage - we already sort of have this with bruising damage but at 1 point and the possibility of becoming immune its not really a balancing mechanism

ACs are reduced/clarified (AC is listed as 1-5 and reduces all damage by 1-5 ranks down to a minimum of Single)-

Non-metal AC is AC1 - drops damage by 1 rank (i.e. reduces Double to Single, Triple to Double etc)
Metal AC is AC2 - drops damage 2 ranks
There is no "unarmoured" dexterity, dexterity can be used with non-metal or metal armour but is limited to AC1 (taking non-metal to AC2 & metal to AC3) unless you have a special skill from the Scouts guild (for dexterity "mastery" & "enhanced mastery" with additional dex which can only be used with non-metal armour but still take the minimum damage of Single)

Physical AC provided by spells & invocations cannot be better than metal armour but of course there are spells & invocations that give +1AC

There are no "armour masteries" and no "superior" armour making it much more difficult to get armour class, toughened skin is removed from the system

So for AC there is still a difference in level but as this happens over a longer period (character career wise) combined with minimum damage causes less of an issue - then combined with the other point that needs a workaround (life) brings more parity between low & high

Life - my suggestion is to reduce max limit (possibly to 150 which is about 3 Mortal Wounds and about 40 blows (at single) as opposed to 201 which is 4 mortal wounds or about 50 blows or even - and I can hear the screams now - 120 which the 3rd mortal wound kills you and 30 blows) and increase the starting life (to possibly 48 - 1 mortal wound & 12 blows) making the difference between high & low a lot less

all of which I can imagine will be unpopular but consider that the system was designed with the idea that there would be (to a great extent) different events for different levels and the system has now be changed to accomodate anyone on any event I think we do need to reflect this in the rules also there has always been a resistance to change in the player base but eventually rule changes but usually (not always by any stretch) such changes have benefitted the system

I also seem to be contradicting the "make low levels stronger not high levels weaker" but think that we need to move both levels towards the middle whilst still allowing for character progression (you still get to increase damage, spell slots, power, casting rank etc etc)

However as I said it does require a big change in the system (especially the AC one - would have to change all spells & invocations that grant AC...

Thoughts (and flames...)

Pete
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#1254
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 8  
I certainly don't think it should be a case of "I'm rank 64, now I get to buy my Level 9s". - and the other points Sarah raises

whilst I agree on the sentiment the reality has to be different however we have said that all promotions will happen in-character on adventure weekends - so if you want to get sorcerer you'd better play an adventure weekend

In the past there were sound in-character reasons for not promoting certain people in certain guilds, reasons that were explained to those people but some people were still upset that they couldn't get the position that they thought they deserved out of character and thought that an exception should be made for them....
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#1255
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 8  
"assume that everyone in the club must completely agree with me that there should be some opportunity for no-status adventuring!"

The ONLY way to achieve this is to get enough people with no status to sign up for one event...
so whoever signs up gets on the event and if they have lots of status etc when everyone else doesn't - so what...
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#1257
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 22  
Interesting thoughts I can't resist responding;

There are no "armour masteries" and no "superior" armour making it much more difficult to get armour class,

I'd argue the exact opposite. The only difference between Warriors and Combat Priests (half orcs usually) physical AC is typcailly the Armoured Dex and Armour Masteries and toughened skin. If Metal Armour is AC2 and anyone can strap on a set and there is only 1 rank of Dex (which will be more expensive for the priests I expect but presumably still obtainable) then I would broadly expect AC's to be the same for everyone. Until the priest gets hold of his +1 AC invocation of course at which point the warrior has to come begging

It's not only the spells and invocations that grant AC that would need looking at it would be the spells and invocations that do damage. How would bolts interact with skins/Dex/AC in general or cause mortals for that matter?

I am intrigued but wary, one of the things I like about HQ is complex system of which AC is a good example simplying it to this level would change the nature of the system to the point that it might be no longer recognisable.

I agree something has to be done to ensure that mixed rank dungeons can be run but homogonising the ranks so that they are all pretty similar seems to be counter-intuitive. "Come and play and develop a powerful character over the course of years" is a very different system model to "come and develop a character who will be slightly more durable over the course of the next few years"

I like the concept of some sort of "through" damage regardless of you AC (and this is coming from someone who has immensely enjoyed getting to the point that most of the party struggle to wake him up while asleep on certain missions!) but I feel it could be implemented by removing toughened skin mastery (replace it with another +1 physical perhaps) and changing the brusing rules to be 1 damage per rank if your AC would protect you to more than that point (this does mean that Quartz actually becomes scarier "base" damage as it will do a minimum of 6 not 4!)

My theory is this. The issue comes when you have high levels and low levels mixing it up together. In that case chances are fairly high that the low levels will have skins/protections running (whether guild assisted or party assisted, Gravey certainly wouldn't let trainees run around with a skin if he was around!) meaning that they are likely to be hitting AC10+ anyway meaning triple would be a reasonable amount of damage to throw in rather than single. High levels take 3 points of damage low levels take roughly the same, it's damn close to the 4 pts (from single) you want to see without having to over-haul the entire system.

Obviously the above needs work as I just came up with it while eating a sandwhich so I've not worked out all the comparative tables!

Shaun
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#1259
Re:Low Levels 8 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 12  
I think that restructuring the combat system would be an excellant solution, if the problem were big enough to merit such a big change. But I don't think it is.

Certainly we should run more than just one adventure weekend before deciding on such a vast change - the consequences of which are almost certainly going to be impossible to anticipate.

A much easier adjustment might be to start on 200 points, because by that level there shouldn't be any one-hit take outs, which I think are maybe the biggest problem with balancing.

Generally keep low-levels and high levels seperate, run a dedicated low level once or twice a year, allow pre-spend for those that need it, and I think we'd be all good.

One other thing, it might help balance things in the long run if players well below average rank on a particular adventure got more points and those significantly higher got less?
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