[50F][FC] Racial Creation applied to 50F

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Timon
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[50F][FC] Racial Creation applied to 50F

#1 Postby Timon » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:03 pm

--moved from accidental posting in the official questions forum---

My savage son who has apparently memorized the Racial Creation Rules, which I don't have handy right now, (the rules, I mean, the son is right next to me) claims that Atani in 50F are under-powered.
His argument is (his forum account is not yet live):

They have a d6 starting Agility(+2), which is ''free'', but they need 2 points to increase their Vigor even during play with 2 leveling opportunities(-3) while their Gliding ability is a weakened version of fly(+2): they need the Flying skill to glide, can't easily climb up, have a chance of dropping like a stone and cannot fly at all without wind. Even if the Gliding ability was counted as equal to flying, it would still be a +2 ability, whereas the Vigor penalty is a -3 disadvantage, making the Atani under-powered.


Obviously the 50F book is much older than the Fantasy Companion, but it seems reasonable to apply the FC balance to 50F. If so, how to "bump up" the Atani? The other races seem more or less OK (according to the FC).

Thoughts?
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#2 Postby Zombi Bobb » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:37 am

Free d6 in Flying/Gliding.

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#3 Postby steelbrok » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:59 am

How do they compare to the High Martians in Savage 1889?

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#4 Postby Clint » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:09 am

Zombi Bobb wrote:Free d6 in Flying/Gliding.


They already get that; it's in the description of that ability (though it isn't noted in the original post).

Timon wrote:The other races seem more or less OK (according to the FC).


:-?

Not to be contrary, but I know there are other races in 50 Fathoms that don't balance out using the FC rules (at least a couple by design), and more "off" than the Atani for sure.
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#5 Postby Timon » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:17 pm

Contrary Clint? Perish the thought... I will do the research on the other races when I get back to my books (on holiday right now), but I am very intrigued by the "by design" comment, could you possibly expand on it?

It seems to imply that applying FC type racial creation to 50F would violate a design decision.
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#6 Postby JackMann » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:59 am

Apologies for the Necro Post, but I thought I'd go through the races, and then perhaps we could look for ways to balance them out.

As noted, the Atani have a +2 ability, a -3 ability, and glide, which I'd put at about +1. That puts them at a net +0 (or +1, if you want to count gliding the equal of flying).

I'm leery of upgrading them to full flight; the idea is more gliding, so let's keep that. Instead, let's give them either +1 parry (they're quick and nimble to avoid attacks) or +2 charisma (their free spirits make them easy company for other races).

Doreen. I'd put coup at about a +1 ability. Getting bennies is always nice, but the restrictions on the ability are kind of tough. If he gets the benny, he's definitely earned it. Racial enemy is a -1. This version of semi-aquatic gives most of the abilities of regular Aquatic. Call it +2.

I'd say on the whole they're pretty balanced. No need for a change.

Grael. Now, there's a large load of positives and negatives. -1 for All Thumbs. Blubber... Okay, call it +1 for the armor. +1 for the resist cold. We'll be generous and call it -1 for the vulnerability to heat. +1 total. -3 for Dumb. Semi-aquatic, we'll go ahead and call a +2. It's weaker than the doreen's version, but still stronger than the regular version, and we already gave them a -1 for a weaker version of heat vulnerability, so that kind of balances out. +2 for size. -1 for pace 4. +3 for strength.

Okay, so that puts us at +3. I'm loathe to add another ability to what's already a mechanical monstrosity, so let's go ahead and strike off a plus. I'd say go for the +1 armor from blubber. It still protects them from the cold, but weapons will go through it easily enough.

Humans are effectively +3 with the free d6 of masaquani in addition to their edge. However, that's there because of an unspoken disadvantage they have, insofar as the vast majority of inhabitants don't speak English, Spanish, or whatever their native language was. I'd put that as frankly neutral.

Kehana. They've got the full aquatic ability, so that's +2, balanced out by the -2 from dehydration. They have a slightly worse version of Habit (minor), but the effect is -2 charisma, which is a -1 ability. Racial enemy gives them -1. Their natural weapons are at a +1 (two sets, but they can still only make the normal number of attacks).

Net result is -1, so they're one of the ones Clint mentioned as being more unbalanced. One possibility that springs to mind is giving them poison to their natural attacks. That seems to fit into the image of cruel, vicious fish-men. Add in low-light vision (to help them spy things in the deep waters), and they should balance out nicely.

Kraken get both aquatic and dehydration, just like the Kehana, for a net 0. Natural Talent is +2. Another race that balances out nicely. No change here.

Masaquani just have Iconic. They effectively get a starting attribute of d6, which is +2. The fact that it's their only ability, for good or ill, makes up for the fact that they can put it wherever they like. Again, a well-balanced race.

Red Men next. -1 for All Thumbs. -2 for Clueless. -3 for Dumb. -1 for Outsider. +2 for Strong. +2 for Tough. And I'd say +2 for Tough as Nails. Yes, it's a legendary edge, and a free seasoned edge is +3. However, the effect is +1 toughness, which is a +2 ability. Frankly, getting it through Tough As Nails is worse than just a flat +1 to toughness, since it means they can't take the edge when they hit legendary. That puts them at -1 total.

Okay, so, we need to give them +3. Okay, so first, let's trim down the abilities they do get. Lessen Dumb to the -2 version. They're still at a disadvantage in the smarts field, but it doesn't hit them quite as bad. Tough as Nails simply becomes +1 toughness, no reference to the feat. No change to the net total, but they need every advantage they can get. Now, let's increase their Tough ability to the +3 version. Grael already have the "Really, absurdly strong" field covered, so let's make the Red Men the toughest sons-of-bitches on the seas. They're billed as being almost feral, so let's give them keen senses (hearing). That puts them at +2.

Scurrilans next. Pincers... It's a natural weapon, so +1. Two extra limbs, which would normally be +4. However, they inflict MAP on themselves. Call it +3. -1 because the pincers aren't capable of fine dexterity, for a total of +3. -1 for the charisma penalty. Keen Mind... Let's call it +1. +2 to knowledge rolls is nothing to sneeze at, but it's fairly limited in scope. Shell I'd say is roughly equivalent to +2 armor all over, with the caveat that it doesn't stack with regular armor. Call it +1. Telescopic eyes are roughly neutral (some nice bonuses, but those eyes are vulnerable).

So, +4 total. Hoo boy. Well, let's look at this. First off, let's look at what scurrilans actually look like. They're not humanoid. Not even close. Of all the races, they're most different. So, they're not going to be able to slip on just any armor. Any armor they wear has to be specially fitted to scurrilans. That's at least -1 right there. You can fold it into Shell to keep the stat block from being too monstrous. Next, let's look at their pincers. They have four useable limbs. However, two of those have no real manual dexterity, and the other two are very small. They're not going to be wielding weapons with the pincers. Give them a penalty to damage with melee weapons wielded with their small claws. Possibly limit them; they don't rally have the leverage to use, say, a warhammer with those claws. They're also not going to be able to use most two-handed ranged weapons. Longbow won't work well, and they probably won't be able to take the recoil from a blunderbuss or a musket. Call that a -1. That should bring them in line.

So, thoughts? Have I over-or-undervalued anything? Are any of the suggested changes too much, changing the flavor of the races too greatly?

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#7 Postby Clint » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:03 am

Missed this before, thankfully JackMann bumped the thread.

Timon wrote:...but I am very intrigued by the "by design" comment, could you possibly expand on it?

It seems to imply that applying FC type racial creation to 50F would violate a design decision.


The underlying issue is thinking of those values for abilities as unchanging absolutes. Most specifically not applying the most important factor of all, the world/setting they will be used in.

A few quick examples...

Dehydration is worth -2... in a world covered in 50 Fathoms of water? No, it really isn't worth that much. Doesn't mean it's a -1 either; it's just not -2 for sure.

So then what about Aquatic. Based on the same theory, it's probably not just a +2 ability on an actual water world.

Then since mentioned, look at something that might not seem to be affected by the setting, Atani gliding. Weaker than Flight in general? I don't know if I agree there, but again consider the environment and effects of the ability.

Flight typically is only going to allow vertical movement over terrain a character could have covered normally using his basic Pace. But in 50 Fathoms, we again have the limitation of the water which requires Swimming to traverse and then at a limitation. Gliding ignores all that, and it keeps you out of the water where the sharks and sea worms and bloodfish and other nasties are.

So the setting itself is a big factor to consider in how the abilities interact with the world.

Another factor to keep in mind in race creation is stacking. Negative abilities that affect the same basic "concept" of the character are not as debilitating as ones that affect multiple different factors. The opposite can hold true for positive abilities, where if they "stack" in concept they can be more effective.

Perfect example are the Red Men. Most of their negatives are pretty much related to their intelligence (dumb, clueless, and all thumbs for Repair at least). While their postives all stack to make them a highly effective melee tank. Sure, it's possible to not play a Red Man that way (much like you could not play a Kraken mage), but for balance, it simply can't be ignored that playing to type results in a much more effective character.

Ultimately, the race creation rules are good guidelines, but like I said, they aren't really absolutes, just a good starting point before considering other influences as well.
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#8 Postby fanchergw » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:37 am

Clint wrote:Flight typically is only going to allow vertical movement over terrain a character could have covered normally using his basic Pace. But in 50 Fathoms, we again have the limitation of the water which requires Swimming to traverse and then at a limitation. Gliding ignores all that, and it keeps you out of the water where the sharks and sea worms and bloodfish and other nasties are.

Hi Clint,

I'm very confused by your first sentence here. Are you saying that Flight somehow magically doesn't work over water, or that a flying person / creature cannot ascend or descend over water? What about other rough terrain, such as steep cliffs or unpassable swamps?

It has always been my understanding that Flight was basically unlimited, i.e. the flyer can go anywhere and are not bound by the difficulties of terrain. On the other hand, gliders are normallly limited in their ability to ascend by their dependence on updrafts. Is this not the case here?

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#9 Postby Kristian Serrano » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:01 am

Clint, I think you might have just partially answered my question here: http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=35666

I'm still curious about any additional designer insight regarding the Construct ability you might be willing to share.

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#10 Postby Clint » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:17 pm

fanchergw wrote:
Clint wrote:Flight typically is only going to allow vertical movement over terrain a character could have covered normally using his basic Pace. But in 50 Fathoms, we again have the limitation of the water which requires Swimming to traverse and then at a limitation. Gliding ignores all that, and it keeps you out of the water where the sharks and sea worms and bloodfish and other nasties are.


I'm very confused by your first sentence here. Are you saying that Flight somehow magically doesn't work over water, or that a flying person / creature cannot ascend or descend over water? What about other rough terrain, such as steep cliffs or unpassable swamps?

It has always been my understanding that Flight was basically unlimited, i.e. the flyer can go anywhere and are not bound by the difficulties of terrain. On the other hand, gliders are normallly limited in their ability to ascend by their dependence on updrafts. Is this not the case here?


Well, first off, to clarify, the Atani aren't exactly dependent on updrafts to ascend; they just need any wind to glide and a raise on their skill roll to gain altitude.

Otherwise, yeah, a flier can do all those things, but in most settings, flight will typically be going vertical over terrain the character could have crossed anyway. Even if it's Difficult Terrain, the character could still cross it without requiring a special skill (like Swimming) to do so.

The point I was making is that in 50 Fathoms, that is not the "typical" use anymore. The fact the world is covered in water and so much action takes place on ships means a significant portion of the terrain is no longer traversable through an innate ability freely granted to every character.

That makes any flying ability more powerful in the setting (regardless of whether it's full Flight or Gliding like the Atani).
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