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Couple of Edge and Hindrance issues

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  • Couple of Edge and Hindrance issues

    SWADE v3.0 brings us very close to a near-perfect iteration of the system; there's a few points of contention and a couple of decisions that I'm not quite sold on (Grappling is almost there, while Suppressive Fire and free actions to ready weapons are the two big "maybe" points at my table) but almost everything else is spot on.

    With that said, there's a couple of Hindrances and Edges that just don't seem right to me. I wanna post this here first to see if I'm missing something that addresses these issues before I bring them up in the Feedback forums.

    Ugly: Ugly really doesn't seem like it's enough of a problem to me. A –1 to Persuasion Minor and a –2 Major is really lenient. Compare this to its opposite, Attractive: +1 to Persuasion/Performance, or +2 with Very Attractive. It stands to reason that if your looks can help you sway a crowd to your side, then looks should also make it harder if you have a face only a mother could love. I'm not really sure why this isn't the case, though, as every other Hindrance that provides a malus to a single (or two different) Skills subtract –2 from them; Clueless penalizes Common Knowledge and Notice at –2, Clumsy penalizes Stealth and Athletics. Mild Mannered is Minor and inflicts a –2 penalty to Intimidation. Even under the race creation rules, you have to take a –2 to a single Skill to be equivalent to a Minor Hindrance. So... why does Minor Ugly only inflict a –1 to Persuasion? I feel like this works much better as a –1/–2 to both Persuasion and Performance. Can any of you guys think of a good reason that this isn't the case?

    Mean: In the same vein as Ugly... why? A –1 to Persuasion just isn't that much at all; the Hindrance mentions that it's accompanied by roleplaying issues (ill-tempered, disagreeable, doesn't graciously accept rewards/favors, and troubles being kind), but I'm not quite sold on the idea that this makes up for the Hindrance inflicting a –1 penalty instead of –2. Anyone else feel like this is too mild when compared to the other Hindrances I listed above under Ugly, or do you think Mean is okay as written? If it's not okay, should it simply be a –2 to Persuasion rolls, or should it have a different negative social effect?

    Block: This one might be a mistake, but I wanted to list it anyways. Block was changed from its iteration in v2.1 (reduce Gang-Up bonus by –1) to its current effect (maximum Gang-Up bonus is reduced to +3). I feel like the original intent was to include both of those effects, and that's supported by the fact that the table effect still lists its original SWADE effect. Anyone else thinks this is just a typo?

    Two-Fisted: I know a lot of folks disagree with the split; I can see where some of its issues come into play, especially in pirate settings like 50 Fathoms. But my only current issue with it is that Two-Fisted doesn't cover thrown weapons—that's under Two-Gun Kid. I'll just quote my explanation of this point from another thread:
    Consider the classic dual-wielding rogue. Stabbing an enemy with one knife before chucking the other is a huge part of that trope, but with this change he would have to also be able to proficiently dual-wield flintlock pistols in order to perform that maneuver. It also means that any pirates that are good with flintlock pistols will also be trained in firing a pistol in one hand, then flinging a dagger (or maybe another pistol that was already fired) at a foe—so drawing a knife and pistol on your first round (shoot then throw), then the following round throwing the pistol, drawing two more pistols, and firing one of them with no MAP becomes a viable and efficient strategy. It's a weird kind of play that's encouraged by the Edge setup as-is.
    Anyone else have any thoughts on these particular issues? Do you think they're valid or no?
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  • #2
    I agree with you on Ugly, Mean, and Two-Fisted.

    Block's entry in the table looks like a typo.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mean & Ugly: I'm tempted to say they're weighing their penalties to Persuasion more heavily because Persuasion is a core skill, which everyone has. This would stand in opposition to, say, the -2 penalty to Intimidation (an optional skill) from Mild Mannered, which sits directly south of Mean on the page. But then I look at Clueless, see it's a major hindrance, and see it has a -2 penalty to two core skills. Both of them, Mean and Ugly, should be -2 penalties.

      Block: I'm of two minds about this. They already get a +1 to their Parry no matter what, so negating the first +1 of a gang-up bonus seems like double-dipping. (I've said so as much on the Facebook conversations about this same topic.) I'm worried it might be too strong if it does both. And against enough foes, the gang-up bonus will eventually still hit +4. I do like the idea of capping the bonus at +3, which enables the character to engage greater numbers of foes while exposing themselves to less risk, and I think it works well. It's possible they intended both effects to kick in, but then Block is even stronger than anyone thought. I know it seems a little weak to limit it to just the capping of the gang-up bonus to +3, but it's so situational it plays out like the Hardy ability. Or maybe Weapon Master, and it's +1 Parry and an extra die type of damage on a raise. Situational, but still quite useful.

      Two-Fisted: Considering how many throwable weapons are also perfectly viable melee weapons, I feel like this would be a good change. I think I get why it's currently structured as is, but now all I can think about is how I need two Edges for proper knife play but only one Edge to fire a pistol and chuck grenades like it's nobodies business. It's jarring, to say the least.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jounichi Agreed on Mean, though on Ugly I think splitting it as –1 to Persuasion/Performance, or –2 to both as a Major, is a good analogue when considering Attractive, and has precedence in the Tongue Tied Hindrance (a Major with a –1 to four different Skills).

        Re: Block (a ha, that was you!) I think the biggest thing to me considering Block and the Gang-Up bonus is comparing it to the Combat Sense Edge (which appeared in at least 3 official PEG products—SPC2, Flash Gordon, and Rifts), which halved the Gang-Up bonus enemies received, rounding down, and capped the Gang-Up bonus against the character at +2. It was a good, well-designed Edge, where it negated the second enemy's Gang-Up bonus (2 enemies have +0, 3 enemies have +1), as well as the fourth enemy's Gang-Up bonus (4 have +1, 5 have +2), and effectively capped the bonus at +2. It looks like PEG's intent here was to create a hybrid between the Parry bonus (worth +1), and half of the effect of Combat Sense (half an Edge, or +1). Just capping the Gang-Up bonus does kind of halve the effect, but it only ever comes into play if you're being swarmed by five or more enemies at once, negating the last character's Gang-Up contribution, rather than coming into play if you're being ganged-up on at all.

        I think the "double dip" is the only clean way to consistently see results from the secondary effect of Block (the "halved" effect of Combat Sense), where 3 enemies have a +1 bonus, 4 have a +2, and 5 or more have a +3. Compared to something like Weapon Master, where characters should generally be getting a raise around 1/5 or 1/6 attacks against an equally skilled opponent, or far more often against average mooks (d12 vs 6 Parry is getting a raise every 2/5 attacks in every combat they're armed). The double-dip also means that Block is something really worth buying for "tank" builds in lieu of simply increasing your Fighting, as it has a tangible benefit that comes up fairly frequently—less consistent in application than a higher chance to hit, but high enough that it's likely to happen a once or twice a session, and it really emphasizes that the character is a defensive fighter. If it only lowers the Gang-Up cap... well, I don't think I've ever seen anyone who ended up fighting more than 4 enemies in melee at once before, and I've only personally put myself in that position to try and Sweep them (I failed horribly too ). Just doesn't seem like a benefit tangible enough to actually see active more than a few times in a whole campaign.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by DoctorBoson View Post

          Ugly: Ugly really doesn't seem like it's enough of a problem to me. A –1 to Persuasion Minor and a –2 Major is really lenient. Compare this to its opposite, Attractive: +1 to Persuasion/Performance, or +2 with Very Attractive. It stands to reason that if your looks can help you sway a crowd to your side, then looks should also make it harder if you have a face only a mother could love.
          I think you're right that Ugly and Mean should both affect Performance as well as Persuasion. This would make them balance appropriately against the Attractive Edges (twice as much malus for a balanced cost benefit).

          Comment


          • #6
            I feel I should note something that is being overlooked in this discussion.

            Attractive is conditional.
            Originally posted by Attractive
            if the target is attracted to his or her general type (gender, sex, species, etc.).
            Ugly and Mean are not conditional. They are always in effect.

            I suspect that this is the balancing factor of the current design.
            I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

            Comment


            • DoctorBoson
              DoctorBoson commented
              Editing a comment
              That's fair, but even then you have a lot of other things that suggest that a flat, unconditional penalty to Skill use is only worth a Minor Hindrance if it's a –2 penalty. Again, look at stuff like Clueless or Mild Mannered. Both of those Hindrances just seem exceedingly weak to me.

            • ValhallaGH
              ValhallaGH commented
              Editing a comment
              DoctorBoson The value of modifiers to a skill is dependent upon the skill in question. Fighting modifiers are clearly more valued than Common Knowledge modifiers, for example.

              I'm not actually defending the current design, just pointing out that this discussion has been ignoring a relevant fact.

            • DoctorBoson
              DoctorBoson commented
              Editing a comment
              ValhallaGH You're right, and that's something to consider. But Persuasion doesn't seem like one of those that's consistently considered "more valuable" from a penalty standpoint. Look at something like Tongue-Tied, which is a Major Hindrance that, instead of inflicting a –2 penalty to two Skills, it inflicts a –1 penalty to four. What's even funnier is that Ugly, literally the next Hindrance, only inflicts a –2 penalty to Persuasion as a Major Hindrance. So... apparently a –1 to Intimidation, Performance, and Taunt are equal to an additional –1 to Persuasion? At best its inconsistent.

              Another notable point is that Mean and Ugly both qualify a character for the Menacing Hindrance. Even taking roleplaying factors and conditionality (or lack thereof) into account, those downsides have the upside of giving characters access to another Edge; even without that I'd argue that they just aren't strong enough drawbacks on their own that a –1 to Persuasion brings the Hindrances up to snuff.

          • #7
            I've taken my issues from the original post and brought them to the Feedback forum as part of my "Big List" series of posts there. At this post you'll find links to the other posts in the series so far.
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            • #8
              Two points regarding Ugly & Mean:

              One: Hindrances don't need to be entirely mechanical; indeed, many Hindrances have NO mechanical effect (e.g. Impulsive, Heroic). Ugly & Mean both have qualitative/role-playing possibilities in addition to their mechanical penalties. An Ugly character should get picked on or shunned in a variety of situations (even if they attempt no active Persuasion rolls), a Mean character should be roleplaying their meanness proactively, etc. Something like Clumsy or Clueless with a stronger mechanical penalty might have some roleplaying elements as well, but they aren't generally things that make other people actively dislike you.

              Two: With the addition of Social Combat rules, Persuasion may have been given the "combat skill" treatment and modifiers restricted to +1/-1 per step, like many Combat Edges. I think ValhallaGH alluded to this in his comment above. (There aren't any Hindrances that lower Fighting/Shooting rolls for comparison, though; Clumsy would be the closest thing, lowering Athletics.)

              I don't know if those are "good enough" reasons for the way they are, but that's what comes to my mind.

              Comment


              • Soulliard
                Soulliard commented
                Editing a comment
                Those are reasonable points, but it's worth mentioning that the Social Combat rules also existed in the previous edition, when there were plenty of minor edges that gave a -2 penalty to Persuasion (and the old versions of the edges never seemed unfair to me).

              • Deskepticon
                Deskepticon commented
                Editing a comment
                I would agree with you regarding Ugly; there's plenty of room for a GM to impose the Hindrance there... but Mean is different since there's nothing forcing a player to act out in any particular way. Ergo, there's less room for imposition, so a higher mechanical drawback seems appropriate.
                Last edited by Deskepticon; 01-07-2019, 10:26 AM.

            • #9
              What about Doubting Thomas losing its -2 penalty to Fear checks? I think it was fine as it was in SWD, it had interpretative and mechanical value.

              Comment


              • DoctorBoson
                DoctorBoson commented
                Editing a comment
                I think it's okay as it is in SWADE; if you want a penalty to Fear rolls then you can take Yellow instead, but Doubting Thomas feels like it works really well in its current simplified form. Plus, the Major version will still probably inflict a Sanity penalty in horror settings!

              • Buzzerker
                Buzzerker commented
                Editing a comment
                Well, Yellow is different because it also gives a -2 penalty to resisting Intimidation...but yeah, they're pretty similar.

                Sanity penalty on horror settings? I hope so, seems likely.
                Last edited by Buzzerker; 01-07-2019, 03:42 PM.
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