Townhall 05/06/2015

There are a few relevant pages inserted roughly where they belong in the discussion. With permission from Vael.
Please +mail comments to staff. All comments from players will be inserted below the text of this log.

Logfile from RtA.

Prism says, "Do not feel as though you must address every question in your first comment, but please try to touch on each at some point during the discussion. We have a lot of time, so do not feel that you have to be abbreviated. :)

Ruby congeals thoughts: 1) Good-> I like how some gifts can be very encompassing. For the most part, a lot can be accomplished within the umbrella of a particular skill. Bad-> I don't like how additional gifts still cost whoppers if you have comparable or related skills (ie Mystic Weapons, crafter and Armor all cost 10 and there are no meal-deals if you get all three). But I understand /why/ it's that way, because if you had to factor in discounts it'd be a headache. And the apples and oranges effect.

Prism says, "Welcome. At the moment the room is OOC, so please feel free to chime in as you see fit. You can talk about any of the questions in whatever order you wish. Currently, we have had some commentary on the first one."

Prism says, "We are asking people to please let us know their thoughts on those three questions so that we can take player input into the next phase of the gift redesign. So, knowing what works and what does not is very important. :)"

Kincaid says, "So, answer the questions three?"

Prism says, "Please. :) In whatever order you wish."

Marlene hrms. (Been a bit preoccupied with certain things only Marl does that I'm sort of beta-testing, but workin with Zeph on those notions. *thinking.*) Hrm. One thought, …however things change or stay the same, it might be nice if newbies/guests could see some kind of notion of Gifts they could get. Maybe not everything but we get a lot of people seeming to want that to sort of get character concept ideas. :)

Prism nods, "Thank you, Marlene. :D"

Myrddyn says, "I'll second that."

Prism nods, "Thank you also."

Vael pages: Another massive gripe about this game btw, from the perspective of a relatively new player: The systems are SO hard to learn and there is NO way to study gifts during CG beyond actually fiddling with the sheet. There needs to be some way for new players to see what gifts do, what they REALLY do or else you're going to wind up with people who had to do what I did and compromise their design to suit code.

Myrddyn says, "Maybe we could get a gift wiki?"

Prism says, "Do any of you have any idea how you would like to see that? Oh, a gift wiki? What would you want to see included?""

Myrddyn says, "If it's visilbe to characters in-game, no reason not to toss it on a page."

Syeira nods, "I think that would be really helpful is to actually see in advance what a gift does before you go working toward getting it, ya.

Prism nods.

Vael says, "that would have actually been very helpful. I know personally I have gifts from CG that are fairly useless if I were to go the rout with this character I'd origionally planned."

Kynan says, "For a while now, I've been thinking that MUSHes should have all such text mirrored on a web site. A web client is a poor viewer compared to a browser"

Marlene hees. We've had a customer like that just the past couple of days, I know Prism knows. :) (I'm of similar temperament at times, :)) Hey, even a tree layout. Like Sye says but it could serve for both, if, say, a Wiki just gives a blurb, say, a point cost, and an idea what things take. :)

Ruby thinks a wiki of gifts that aren't crazy esoteric would be swell. With descriptions.

Lisette nodnodnodnods. "Gift trees. Costs and names. What the pre-requisites are. At least some idea of what's available out there. Blundering around in the dark is crippling for new players. The same for lores, since they're so inter-linked. Knowing what's out there, and what (and how) to get its pre-requisites would be hugely useful. Both for planning and RP. It's quite possible to *think* you're at the top of a Gift tree (say, skill-expertise in a given area) and discover a while later that you're not."

Syeira oohs, "And like since gifts are kindda vague what you can do with them, like an idea of what you can do with them a little bit more clear too, ya.

Marlene says, "Could even make anything crazy esoteric ahead, vague. Teaserey even. :)"

Syeira wants to know before she spends all these points and works on all these lores what exactly the gift does, not a one line blarb or a tease.

Marlene says, "Like, just so people know there's more, and some notion what it does. But I'm still thinking of the newbies."

Lisette has more than once been told "Oh, you should get Gift X" - which I can't see any information on at all, and therefore can't see how to work on getting there.

Syeira says, "That being said, question two. Yes, I think there are holes in them too, ya."

Marlene says, "As said newbies go, there's sort of a conventional thinking involved, from gaming, "If you want to do X, buy Skill X," …which can translate into plots being run that way, and the, err, difficulty, of setting difficulties if one does. :)"

Marlene says, "Especially at the start it's hard to tell just what you've got. :)"

Prism says, "Please let us know which trees have holes and / or what is missing from them. Both are more useful, but either is helpful. :)"

Syeira says, "Well if they don't want people to gear your rp toward getting a gift or such, then maybe a quest to determine or something. Just a way that with points being so hard to come by you aren't regretting spending a lot of them to get to a gift only to find out it doesn't do whatyou thought it did, ya"

Kynan says, "Some of the larger categories, like SKL and STY in particular because there's no "theme" to them might be sub-categorized, perhaps?"

Syeira says, "Wells the trees, like there are some things that are the same but different names. Sos one is a pre-req to a gift and the other doesn't apply sos you have to buy the one that does equal out to a pre-req"

Myrddyn says, "I think part of the problem, Prism, is you are asking people for opinions on a deck of cards as a whole, while each person can only see their own hand."

Ruby says, "Isn't that something that can happen during RP now? Seeking out someone that is particularly skilled in a discipline and engaging them?"

Prism nods, "True, Myrddyn. But, comments on their hand will help when we tear into the deck of cards. If someone says 'my experience of Skills is X' then when we look at Skills, we can use that. But, a good point. It is hard to see the holes without seeing the entire structure."

Prism nods, "Yes, Ruby, it can and should be happening." :)

Kynan says, "I'd say yes and no. Certainly, you could have an IC conversation, but gifts are inherently OOC to a large degree"

Kynan says, "But then you could have the OOC conversation on the side :)"

Lisette says, "People often don't even know that there's something to have a conversation about. ;)"

Syeira hmms, "I think that when you are looking at gift trees. I like the fact that each family has their own tree, but those trees got muddied. Like you can have some gifts that you should only be able to get with those families. The only one I seem to see that didn't get muddied at all on some level is the oberon gifts.

Prism says, "What do you mean by muddled, please?"

Syeira hmmms trying to find the words to explain, "I don't have any family gifts so like Myrddyn said hard for me to really see the big picture on it, but when I was trying to make up Sye. I was looking at tattoo and was given the impression that your char had to be totally about those, but then I was looking at some of the other gifts and they seemed so close in description as to be the same but one was a family only and one you didn't have to be in that family. If its a family gift then its family and you should have to be in that family to get it, ya.

Ruby disagrees and likes the fact that you aren't necessarily restricted from certain paths if the character could learn it.

Myrddyn says, "So for example, touched by death?"

Myrddyn says, "DEA-TD ?"

Prism says, "Can everyone see dea-td?"

Syeira shrugs, "Dunno. I've had Sye for a while so hard to remember back to cgen.

Carmichael can.

Llewella says, "You usually have to meet the requirements to buy it to see it, which would mean having mystical 4."

Prism says, "I can show it to you now so you can see if it is what you are talking about."

<OOC> Kaito says, "basicly so long as you don't have bld-fe you should see it at chargen o rif you have up-mystical/4"

Ryika says, "dea-td can be seen by those in chargen or those with mystical/4."

<OOC> Vael can

Myrddyn says, "Which opens up DEA-SP, if you don't have Feldane blood?"

Lisette has BLD-FE, so can't see what it does. ;) "But it does make a lot of sense to have non-Feldane necromancers out there, given the role of Feldanes in fighting them."

Carmichael says, "Aah, the death tree. That old cupcake."

Syeira doesn't deal with death stuffs, it creaps Sye out

Kaito says, "Yah you have to be either high mystical OR Feldane for a lot of it"

Kaito says, "Death magic is easier for Feldanes, lower prereq's"

Myrddyn says, "In my experience, you must have it planned out in detail if you're not a Feldane, you'll still be badly blocked and surprised later."

Myrddyn says, "If you don't take everthing in chargen."

Prism nods.

Kaito says, "Which I think is good for most of the family powers, if a family is good at something it doesn't necisarily mean no one else knows how to do it, but they don't have teachers or inate power or whatever so have to work harder at it."

Syeira says, "I guess what I'm sayin is following that, can you duplicate pattern or trumps, no. If I'm reading right, Feldanes are death mage fighters or something *creapy peoples* but shouldn't they have something in their aresonal that is only them, ya?"

Llewella nods, "Which isn't clear in cg, when you have to decide on bloodlines/families."

Syeira says, "Itd be like someone else being able to turn into dragons, ya"

Ruby says, "But is that necessarily a /bad/ thing? If Feldanes are the /best/ at it, they should have the potential to be better."

Myrddyn says, "I've seem minor duplication of patter and trump-like effects, but you tend to get weaker fragments of them"

Llewella says, "You can't duplicate pattern or trump but there are gifts close to the same. Llew does with mirrors what other's do with trumps."

Syeira didn't know that, "Sorry I'm only looking at it from my tiny window. One perspective."

Ryika says, "If you can make mirrors ping the back of people's heads, we should talk, Llew. ;)"

Kaito says, "Look at the JIN stuff, and there is at least one way to create a trump like comunication, same with DIV but you're very limjimted and have to work very hard."

Daedalus says, "Going to keep it short and sweet: And only from my perspective as Daede. As a Craftsman, the separation between Styles of Crafts such as Cibolan, Lyonesse, ext.. is troublesome in relation to Recipes. While being able to personalize recipes is cool? Assuming thats why the Recipe list is so long and imho all over the place with items. It would have been nice to see what route the Craft: Ghenesh style offered in Recipes for Items. Feel like I wasted points on unnecessary gifts trying to access recipes. - Aside from the Crafts. Gozar Blood line gifts or STM really needs adjustment. Being a great builder is wonderful but that is quickly accomplished and then it branches out in all directions. From building 0pt token Gargoyles. To Stone Skin. To Stone Singing. The only consistent is the Warding Circles. Would be nice to see more Golem like building from Gargoyles. Combining Stone Skin and stone song to opening quicker means of building or perhaps manipulation of Stone. Something akin to Earth magic but specifically stone and for building purposes."

Ryika finds it to be almost, but not quite trump. Just like shadow travel for us non bloods is almost, but not quite.

Daedalus thanks for the opportunity to share his mind. Look forward to reading over what every one has to say later on. Good night.

Daedalus has disconnected.

Ruby says, "He dropped the mic! :P"

Kaito says, "In my experience I've managed to tweak twist or otherwise poke the gift sets into something that fits my characters. Admitedly when I did I also got new gifts created to tie things together."

Llewella can leave messages in mirrors, can't do anything about an unanswered trump call. :)

Prism says, "This has been very helpful so far. Thank you all. Do keep talking as things occur to you. :)"

Syeira says, "See something specific to them, only, ya."

[Public] Prism says, "For those who just logged in, the second Townhall about Gifts and how they work is ongoing. Please come in and join the discussion."

Prism says, "Is there something that you wish would happen with the redesign? Either a 'redo this gift, please' or 'I'd like to see this new and cool branch in the tree'?"

Prism says, "Or whatever else you would like to share? :D"

Carmichael remembered a redundancy from earlier investigations, Prism. ARC-li requires you to have Lif-SL to get it and then in the flavour text of it 'opens up' LIF-SL as Arcanis Understand. So it opens a gift you already have, in order to get it in the first place. Just a minor thing tho'

<OOC> Vael says, "Actually I have a couple on the 'redo this gift' side, but they're probably fairly unused gifts as is."

Prism says, "Ah. Thank you, Carmichael. That is frustrating. I'll send myself a note about that."

Prism says, "That's fine, Vael. Feel free to let us know. What they are, how they should be done and why will help us as we look at other gifts."

Marlene ventures to guess that sometimes prereqs happen when staff approves something initially for a particular character on the grounds it makes sense for them, but would be a long way around to go for another. :)

Syeira says, "Personally, I'd like to see the artist gift line expanded, ya."

Prism says, "What would you hope to see, Syeira? Yes, Marlene, that is true. Staff are supposed to review those periodically and adjust, but that has not happened. It is going to be part of this redesign."

Carmichael says, "I had a thought though, of 'conferring immunity' gifts though. Elemental trees which I mentioned last townhall, I was very tired at the time. It might be very cool to see high ability of those trees being able to confer things to others for a scene. E.G. Friend to fire, for a firemaster, being something they can temporarily grant someone else. Like, oh, True Mastery: Can give the ability for a scene, take others along on their transit, etc and be substantially better at manipulation of that chosen element than any other (much like the TEN tree's ultimate, where you become substantially better at it than anyone else, unless they have a comparable gift) Or can invest tokens to create permanency of their element, being there for all the elements; Constant Wind, Permafrost, Unquenchable fire, etc.)"

Vael pages: Also.. something that I dont 100 understand is why Wind Strike is so bloody weak.. it gives no bonus and does nothing really in combat regardless of the fact that it is a combat ability.

Syeira says, "Umm, I like the gifts that are there now, but there is no advancement. There is no, hey you are top of the line master gifts. You know here is where all those that are artists but don't dedicate their main focus to it and then here are the Masters."

Marlene nods. Especially with paring back Gifts sometimes the prereqs for things are…Too picky-ish. And, well, the Crafting tree could use a lot more overlap, I suspect, (Or just going ahead and letting things explode there for quantity of recipes. :)

Vael says, "well, I've noticed that some gifts that take a great deal of effort/points/focus to get are pretty… well.. not worth the effort given what they do. A good example of this is NAT-EN (Entanglement). I spent a while being told it's useful and tried to learn it and realized when I WAS able to see what it does, that it's a pretty… useless."

Vael pages: -.- kinda hard to type anything when everything gets washed away before I can get my thoughts down. Also I get the feeling that I'm the only person besides maybe Marlene who thinks that the magic gifts outside of Arcasnis and pathi abilities need more oomph.. As it stands a pathi initiate could likely do things 100x more powerful than a master of an elemental art JUST because they're pathi.. which isn't right imho.

Vael pages: Well, I've mentioned entangle and Ice Mastery being extraordinarily unbalanced in the sense that they are next to useless. Magic in itself should not be weakened THIS much because it's not from a certain tree. I can see that Arcanis has the ability to create, destroy, control and change pretty much every element, thats ok in my book but I'd expect someone with a mastery over wind or ice (water) should be able to do SOMETHING other than the meager abilities they have now and if they aren't meager, they are limited beyond belief. — Win-WS is another good example. it might not take much to get, but it's got a very, VERY limited range and only packs the power of a punch.. half the times I've used it it hasn't done anything to affect the story at all, regardless of how I use it or when.

Myrddyn says, "I still say MAR-OR is a pig in a poke, maybe I'll change my mind if I come to understand the battle system, but right now, I have no use for it beyond color."

Prism nods.

Myrddyn says, "And the fact that DRD-RR is a dead end tree isn't great either."

Ryika wants to take crafting, cross shadow crafting, begman engineering, recipes and take it out back and shoot 'em all. /so/ expensive for what feels like very little return until the very end.

Syeira nods to Vael, "I think like Artist gifts the same. If its not a direct I hit you with a sword thing, the gift is under powered. Look at the one art gift.

Kaito says, "There are several trees that as a whole don't confer much in the way of power or abilities. Like ALH which is mostly good for some flavor but doesn't really DO much."

Ryika says, "ALH is delightfully flavourful, but yeah, rather useless."

Kaito says, "Or require a lot of work for small gains,I don't think the gifts are bad, but being able to know 'hey this is going to eat 50pts to get to bu tdoens't do much outside of flavor' is something that would"

Kaito says, "Be helpful"

Vael says, "Entanglement could actually be WORTH the effort by taking out one line in the description. "cannot be used in combination with NAT-BG". but that's just how I see it. There are a lot of gifts I've noticed that are like this. mastery abilities on elemental gifts as well. Hell, ICE-MA pretty much equates to 'you can conjure a snowball'.. That's a parlor trick, not a mastery."

Marlene can't see what Nat-EN does but it *sounds* useful. Kind of controlling terrain and all that, but no bonus, by the look of things. The trouble with things like that is they're kind of omni-cool until crucial times in plots when someone says, "OK, time to bang dice."

Llewella says, "Gla-wi"

Marlene actually got a lot of mileage out of that one, Llewlla. Somewhat more now. But even at base, it's …a light spell.

Syeira says, "I guess, you buy things like Art, and it would be nice if they could 'do' something significant. How many people actually go for a portrate? I mean the one, wasn't till Sye pointed out icly what it could do that people 'ah, wait, that is actually cool'"

Llewella says, "There are a lot of 0 point skills in pattern that do more than either of those, though."

Llewella says, "Which skews things again toward people who have blood of oberon."

Carmichael says, "Yeah, but that's because Pattern is the focus of the game."

Syeira says, "That's what I was saying about the family gifts."

Llewella says, "I thought everyone is 'awesome' was the focus of the game."

Llewella says, "If having a bloodbit is that important new players should know."

Prism says, "Everyone's awesome is the point of the game, yes."

Syeira says, "See if a family that specialized in X, was the best at X no matter if other gifts outside of the family did sorta similar, that family that specializes in X should be the best, ya"

Ryika says, "It may not have been the original intent, but yes. Being non-royal makes you a second class citizen. You're almost, but not quite, up to the same degree of awesome."

Carmichael says, "I think what she might mean, is that there's trees that can never be mastered: Like Skl, Phy, Sty, Pas, becuase they're not designed like that. But if you seek to master a tree, going with the same thing I said about elemental mastery, it should confer some specfically /better/ bonus than it usually does. Because you're the master of it. Maybe?"

Syeira says, "Just cuz Sye is a Royal, means the creepy dead folk should be the best at creepy dead stuffs."

Ryika, personally, is alright with this (usually), but I view it as an interesting RP challenge.

Marlene does think, Carm, some of the difficulty in magics that do much is partly cause it's Pathi territory. Believe me it hasn't been easy to work out something different.

Syeira shouldn't be able to buy book stuffs, and be as good as the book stuffs family. I should 'need' them. I shouldn't be as good as medical stuffs, I should 'need' the mandrakes. Sorry dunno what the other families do, ya

Carmichael nods to Marlene. "But Pathian magics have thier own problems. The difference is theirs is way, way more versatile than a hedgemage of any kind."

Marlene inadvertently made a character that for once would have worked out great in diceless with sorceries. (That system has trouble there. :) )

Syeira says, "When I read over like some of the ingame histories in the lore. Yes Oberon created Amber, but the line 'needed' the other families. That should be a goal in the revamp. The oberons, should need the non-oberons."

Kynan says, "Pathi magic started out as only being elemental magic (sans the hidden ones). But with the addition of things like Life and Dreams, is blurring those lines"

Marlene says, "Well, big topic. I didn't know how little was actually done on Marl's path when starting but that in particular is being worked on. A lot does have issues of 'no bonus when scene runner says 'Challenge 10,' …however cleverly you use stuff, no bonus. :)"

Prism nods.

Syeira says, "Just like if we have other golden circles, should 'need' the golden circle places."

Carmichael nods to Marlene at that. There are precious /few/ magical-style bonuses to anything, conferred.

Ryika just waves a royal at it. Seems to work! :)

Marlene says, "Which might be a more mechanics-type thing. That little cavalry charge ought to have worked better with a freaking flamethrower leading the way. ;)"

Carmichael snerks. "Depends on the royal."

Prism says, "So, it sounds like looking for 'equal' is not wanted as long as there is 'balance'? With each House contributing something special? Although I suspect that each of the siblings with ties to a House (like Brand to Pathi) will be better at their 'cool' than the Masters of the house. I'm not sure about that, but it makes sense."

Kynan says, "It was also brought up at the previous session how Arcanis itself has just one a-1 bonus. And even after spending a total of 125 points on magic-focused gifts, I only have two a-1 bonuses. Been wondering what other trees have that problem"

Syeira giggles at Ryika, "Shouldn't be like that though, ya. Like each golden circle should have their own special unique stuffs gift wise, same with families that the royals need, ya.

Ryika has a whole new conversation about GC shadows that dont have an elder 'patron' for lack of better term, but that's not gifts, so I'll leave it aside.

Ryika says, "But I agree utterly. Every House and Shadow should have its niche, something that makes people actually want it, seek it out, think its cool and awesome."

Carmichael says, "The thing with the GC though Sye, is that it is reflection of player desire, same as any of the trees and why one is neglected and another has so many things you want to boggle at it. Trees got added to and built upon because of desire. NOW we're looking at people taking them after this, because that one is underdone and this one has what I sort of want to get done. I'd love to see a ghenesi or a tanuki fighting style, for example. But there's one ghenesh player around who kinda lost the grip of the character and I don't know a single tanuki."

Marlene doesn't even know what a tanuki is. :)

Carmichael says, "Tanus native, Marls."

Carmichael says, "Could be Tanusi. Might well be. PEOPLE of Tanus! There."

Marlene says, "Ah, well, what were they, like central Africa?"

Prism says, "It is a good one to add to the Townhall list, Ryika. Thank you."

Carmichael says, "Nope."

Marlene says, "It only amplifies your point but I can't recall. :)"

Carmichael says, "Asian india. Legends of the maharaja, of hindu religion and pakistani stuff."

Syeira nods and would love to see a weapon style that was for gypsies

Syeira says, "No soft weapons style though unless you take weapons mastery and then you can't specialize from weapons mastery, ya"

Marlene says, "Well, remind me to consider an alt there, Carm. For now, it appears to be no one's problem. :)"

Ryika would love to have the lightside of my heritage not suck massively compared to the dark side. I mean, they already have cookies!

Syeira nods to Ryika, "Bad guys get more cool stuffs without any counters to it, ya

Carmichael nods to Ryika. "Alhambra should have the power to spin stories into gaes, make predictions from the stars, call the sands to order, make folks dance to the shadows by the firelight etc etc. Maybe even call the stars down, if they have to. Ghenesh should be all Rohan-like, with the ability to gate to places as a natural power. Tanus is archery and demon hunting and water magics. blahblah"

Syeira says, "See unique gifts that should be theirs and theirs alone. Make them awesome in their own way that royals can't touch, ya"

Marlene doesn't know, but speculates that the way people try to prevent the spheres from ever duplicating, it might actually make it harder to do each unique theme. (Particularly when it comes to magic.)

Syeira says, "You buy a heritage. Like 10 or something or 15, should have stuffs that is just for that expense"

Carmichael says, "Arguably, that's one of the reasons Ghenesh got squished, is because they had something that was dangerous in the extreme, with their moonriders etc, Sye ;D"

Ryika says, "To some degree.. we can. Kinda. If you go darkside. (anot bld-al, but bld-jn, because one barely popular shadow clearly needs /two/ bloodlines)"

Syeira shrugs, "Sos it was theirs. If you don't want it that the royals are special and the rest aren't 'as' special. Then give them something that is 'their's

Marlene ahs, now sees what you mean. Yeah, I've seen Jin peeps from Alhambra go tactical nuclear, :)

Syeira says, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely, ya?"

Ryika is delighted that alh darkside is awesome. I am sad that few of us are exclusively lightside cause it has no power.

Syeira says, "Few are lightside cuz it has no power, ya"

Ryika says, "But that starts to be a theme conundrum for me as propco, when the gifts skew us quite so dramatically in one direction."

Kynan says, "Dark sides generally bake better cookies, I've found :)"

Syeira doesn't have a prop, doesn't have any responsibilities, "Just everyone is suppose to be awesome in their own way. Sos give them their awesome

Ryika's awesome has nothing to do with my +sheet. There is no awesome on my +sheet. Lots of flavour, no awesome. (ergo, I wave royals at things.)

Lisette thinks your mirror-fu is awesome!

Marlene likes to think she does awesome things, sometimes challenges seem to mean, "You build a skillset and need to statmonkey anyway." "_

Ryika oohs! Point, Lisette. My mirrors are pretty awesome. (And I do think that gift tree is still pretty cool. Options, choices, not every mirror mage is the same, progression, and high levels can do pretty awesome things.)

Kynan says, "OK, I'm going to throw this out there as perhaps one crux of the gift issue we're talking about. Gifts serve two purposes, the 1st being how they play into resolution systems (+compare, +challenge, flagpole). But the second is in "narrative color" which in some ways is more awesome—I get to pose some pretty neat stuff at times. But the problem with that is 'soft'. It doesn't affect strict resolution, though a ST could incorporate it in if they desired too. But on the other hand, these effects can also be hard to deal with, because at some point, awesomeness has the ability to break plots."

Prism says, "There is a bbpost about challenges, by the way. An average challenge should be 5."

Ryika sputters. 5!?

Ryika has never seen a challenge of 5.

Prism nods. "That is why the bbpost was put up. I will find it later and ask people to read it."

Vael pages: and… thats another thing… there should be a RULE about challenges because I've NEVER been in any scene where a challenge got below 10.

<OOC> Mercier says, "My apologies lightside and darkside of what?"

Ryika says, "lightside and darkside of Alhambra."

Marlene says, "It's actually a bit tricky to figure stat levels, (I tried to not with marls, but yeah, there's pretty big incentive to monkey at least one stat, if not more. )"

Ryika makes a note to give the djinn followers red lightsabres.

Mercier will agree on the stats. There is a bloat when it comes to challenges and compares and the like.

Mercier holds tounge though, thats not what we're here to discuss.

Lisette chose stats to reflect what the descriptions on the wiki said they represented… and has found that they tend to leave me hopelessly weak, with or without a bit of aid from gifts. ;)

Marlene nods to Mercier. It's a factor about Gifts in play, though.

Ryika says, "No one wants to be average. Everything is 'like nothing else and terribly hard!', to build drama. But yeah.. that's a debate for another time."

Kynan says, "It's beyond the scope of this meeting's topics, but I've come to very much dislike stats in these games. Would rather it be skill-based like Fate"

Lisette says, "The bloat does have a bearing on Gifts, however: a bonus of +1 or +2 'matters' more if people are generally employing stats of 3-5; if characters only ever check stats that are at 10+, a +1 is less likely to be relevant."

Ryika loves my flavourful gifts. They're what /makes/ a char, but it does feel like an expensive way to feel pretty useless in +compare/+challenge/crunchy plots.

Lisette nods to Ryika. "Some gifts are *vastly* less equal than others. Oddly enough, no one has ever taken me up on my "travel through shadow, but only via active battlefields" option of transit between worlds."

Mercier says, "I love using gifts for flare at how my character solves a problem."

Marlene nods. And sometimes Tier 2 Gifts do silly things like making a lot of otherwise-skilled Begmans more effective in battle with a brolly than a broadsword. :)

Ryika's mirrors are personal only. I can't take others with me.

Carmichael says, "I made use of the Path of Blood, actually Lisette :D But with regular shadow-travel. We did it through battlegrounds cos noone had the gift, but I think it's /way/ cool. So much plot potential for that."

Kynan says, "From experience at tracking results, a single '1' bonus seems to be equivalent to around +3 stat points, IIRC"

Ryika also thinks the blood stuff is creepy cool.

Lisette says, "Oh, it's *cool*. But no one interested in shadow-travel is ever likely to need to take me up on it. ;)"

Carmichael nods to Ryika with that one.

Mercier says, "This is an important point, Marl. Or mean that despite the focus on pugalism, you can't throw a punch using Bart without having Martial Arts."

Marlene says, "There's ways in which that's …kinda fair, but hard to Rp."

Ryika has already had my ranty hissy fit over 40 pts of BEG tree to get where the gifts dont declare that you suck. Consider it hissied again. ;)

Lisette giggles

Marlene didn't know Ry did BEG things. :)

Ruby has disconnected.

Ryika is perfectly capable of hissy fitting over things not on Ry's char sheet. :)

Marlene won't go into how expensive and useless it was to be a Begman not-any-sort-of-witch-at-all-really. ;) But solutions are in beta test. :)

Prism says, "Welcome. Please jump in anywhere."

Ryika tends to think that the tinkergnome comical explosions (tm) should be a character decision, not imposed upon all Begman Engineers for the first 35 pts of the tree.

Kaito says, "BEG is so much fun tho… even if you have to dedicate half your sheet to it just to not be silly."

Mercier says, "But, on topic what I love about gifts is when they inform the flavor of the RP or neato thing you're about to do. I use Lay of the Land and Disengaged far more as color then for bonuses. I have Bartitsu despite the fact that it will rarely ever provide a wits based character a bonus, because color! I would like to see such little color or pose abilities in more gifts, to help guide awesome RP."

Ryika says, "Fun as dessert, tiresome as dinner."

Kaito says, "I use stuff all the time and have it comicaly blow up or not work as expected but that's cause it's what I choose to be Begmany"

Prism nods.

Syeira says, "okay so I've had my say over that 'everyone' should have their own 'Wow' factor that is only theirs. That way they need the royals and the royals need them, and that Artists need to have a master level of stuffs that make people want to go see them and get stuffs from them. Maybe a gift that if they detail paint a place they can see a history of so far back replayed for them, or just something coollike that."

Marlene guesses it's not just with Begma that active Gifts may be cooler in concept than against the dice difficulties we actually face.

Julian says, "Sounds like a thing Chantris could probably do."

Lisette says, "Having knowledge of what is possible will also help people to actually know that they can / should seek it out in RP. ;)"

Lisette presently has precious little idea, OOC or IC, of what she *could* ask people to do, or how her own skills fit into the greater scheme of things.

Julian says, "it *would* be nice to *see* the gifts that are available. And read them. Some builds take OOC *years* to accomplish to buy a single gift, and if you're going to sink that kind of time into it, it would be nice to see what you're getting."

Syeira waves,"Had me say, gonna bounce, out, ya!

Marlene actually has an idea for artists. Far more often than not when it's important to scenes, they flub or nearl-succeed rolls and it just ends up a bummer, ….what if artists could make focus-invested tokens for bonuses?

Kaito says, "Yah, I think a better 'short desc' something to include if it creates tokens , or gives bonuses, or is color."

Marlene lets Prism hopefully get paged and catch up. :)

Kynan says, "You can see what a gift does mechanically by reading the Powerbits, and you can see these even if the text is hidden, but you have to know what they mean"

Kynan says, "For example, token-0, token-3, and token-6 mean it can create focus-invested tokens with at most that focus. bonus-tokens can be used in a compare/challenge for a one-time bonus, etc."

<OOC> Marlene was paging with Sye. Token bonuses help a lot, I understand, and artist types kind of get discouraged at blowing rolls. Anyone playing a real artist, that's their thing when it comes to performance/display. (And everyone's rooting for them anyway.)

Lisette says, "Doesn't help you to uncover gifts that you can't even see exist, however, Kynan. Nor can you figure out how to get those gifts, because you need to be able to see them to uncover their reqs."

Marlene says, "Maybe it'd help more broadly but some love for the artey types would be good and that seems like a way to do it. I mean, if someone rolls on a performance or art creation, they're usually doing a lot to make the scene for other players at least. :)"

Kynan says, "Yeah, the totally hidden gifts are a problem. My understanding is that many of them are locked down pretty tight, so might not be obtainable. A lot are feature-gifts, if I understand correctly"

Kynan eyes Julian for confirmation :)

Julian says, "I don't mind THOSE being locked down. I mean if you can't get it, if it's perfectly locked, then yeah. No need to see it."

Ryika says, "Even I have no issue with feature custom gifts being locked down."

Ryika says, "Hidden and custom and all the rest of it."

Carmichael would STILL love it if the actual trees full of feature gifts that noone can get, were invisible too. They sit there and teaaaaaaaaaaaaase XD

Julian says, "but there are also gifts that AREN'T locked down - that have paths to attain them that are merely Very Difficult - that you can't see until you've already invested the time (which may be considerable)."

Prism says, "Just to be honest and not lead people on, but it is unlikely that Helix will allow the visibility to be changed. Though as that is the most frequent comment in both Townhalls, maybe? We will certainly bring it up to her."

Julian says, "Pathians get to eyeball ARC-LI and wonder, forex :) It requires a *huge* amount of OOC time and play investment to get there."

Marlene guesses there's a purpose to hidden gifts, but there's the usefulness of a sense of mystery and then there's just plain getting it wrong with your own character. (Hence suggestions of a wiki tree that gives some info and at least says 'more' past certain points. From a PC's point of view there's no way of knowing, especially first-timers.

Prism nods, "Agreed, Marlene. I am just letting you all know where we stand."

Julian says, "it's pretty normal here for first timers to essentially screw up their first build, yes."

Martin bets it's already been brought up but I do notice that some trees have tons of 0 point gifts, and others… all 5 and get very expensive (Mirrors for example)

Julian says, "I'd be all for color gifts being 0-point and tied to lores."

Martin grees with Julian.

Ryika screwed up my second build. I'm determined to be different somehow.

Julian says, "if you're paying points for it, it should…matter more, you know?"

<OOC> Mercier would love to see some rewards for having high lores.

Mercier says, "As far as like a bonus gift."

Carmichael says, "There are some, Mercier."

Mercier believes most zeros are in pattern?

Marlene actually kind of wonders if there's a reason everything has to be round numbers, speaking of comparing one thing to another. We can't see under the game-system hood in some ways here. :)

Carmichael says, "Pattern, Nature, Mag that I know of, off the top of my head."

Ryika says, "There's zeros scattered all over the place. the entire REC tree is zero.. just has a swack of pre-reqs."

Marlene nods, though that's how recipes are kind of supposed to go. Has drawbacks. :)

Kynan says, "I've been giving color and gifts some thought, and one of the problems is that it's hard to differentiate in gifts. For example,
Pathi magic itself has almost no powerbits on the commands and terms, yet the effects can range from pure color (I pour myself a glass of water) to scene effects (I create a small pond)"

Ryika says, "REC and CRF have issues. A whole lot of 'I spent how many points on seemingly random gifts and lores, and I still cant craft a damnned thing!? <tableflip>' sort of issues."

Mercier says, "I think a few gifts that might allow for more token creation would be good (silly, I know, since like, thats every gift ever) but… it seems like if you can't craft, theres really no way to /pay back/ the person doing all the crafting."

Ryika says, "Favours owed. RP. Politics."

Mercier says, "Doesn't help when you're asking a friend for a sword. :P"

Julian says, "You can write tokens that don't have focus investment but some other sort. Essentially like IOUs, but with RP weight."

Ryika nods. Exactly Julian.

Carmichael owes a bunch of people.

Julian says, "Agreement of debt, essentially; promising to do what your character is capable of doing."

Mercier says, "Oh! Oh! I'd love to see the ability to collaborate on gifts."

Kynan says, "OOCly, I think a lot of gifts that make tokens that you can give away should be able to accept focus from another player. It must be hell trying to learn lores if you're a Trump artist :)"

Ryika says, "What gifts do you want to collaborate on?"

<OOC> Mercier says, "Err, crafting, rather."

Julian says, "wouldn't a general 'donate focus' option be sufficient?"

Mercier says, "A solution to the I need half my points in crafting gifts is if you let several characters pool focus and gifts together to create tokens that encompass the various gifts. For example, say Mercier wants a pocketwatch from Marlene, because patronage, but wants to tinker with that pocketwatch so it works in all shadows with SCA gifts himself."

Mercier says, "Err CSA."

Ryika says, "There really does hit a point where I'm running out of places to logically put focus, I'm at that point.. but before now, focus is /prime/ and I totally feel for Trump Artists."

Prism says, "Many of them can, Kynan. There is a way to donate focus. Though there are gifts that do not allow it."

Marlene does think generic craftey gifts could be helpful, appropriate to a discipline. They're *all* quirky and fancy and maybe a "This is a good sword" or "This is a good armour," or "This is very clever with the rest" recipes would be good or not. :)

Prism says, "Interesting idea, Mercier."

Kynan says, "Yeah, I know there are gifts that allow donations, but I get the impression that craftables are not one? I don't have any myself"

Martin nods you can donate focus to a crafter and they can use it to make an item.

Carmichael says, "You can?"

Martin nods.

Carmichael says, "How?"

Ryika should think the crf gifts are like that, Marlene.

Mercier says, "…. Yeah, how?"

Mercier says, "Yeah, Marlene. Just crafter allows you to make near zero point tokens of exquisite craftsmanship."

Kynan says, "Aren't those the ones with the donate powerbit? If so, there are only 4 I see"

Ryika says, "If you aren't using a REC for a fancy magic bit of kit, then CRF-whatever should cover 'I made a good normal sword/armour/etc'."

<OOC> Martin says, "+token/donate <points of Focus towards a donate-gift token> to <person> for example…"

Prism says, "Hmmm. Then it definitly needs a revamp."

Martin says, "sorry'"

Mercier says, "What needs a revamp?"

Martin says, "Then when you create the token you speicfy "Martin""

Martin says, "If martin gave you the focus"

Martin says, "Tha'ts why 'person' is in there +token/power <gifts> spending <person|points of Focus> in <title>=<text>"

Prism says, "The ability to pool focus."

Prism nods.

Kynan says, "The help says 'Some gifts create powered tokens using another person's Focus." I thought that was governed by the 'donate' powerbit, but I could be wrong. '+gifts/search donate' shows 4, if that's what it is"

Marlene says, "In practice, pooling focus is expensive in points against the occasional possibility of using that though it seems."

Vael pages: Thats… another thing to suggest. a 1-time use sort of thing for when people theroughly fuck themselves because they weren't allowed to study gifts cause I have a couple of them I wish I'd never taken due to how useless they are. a way to wipe a sheet (or at LEAST remove a few things) without having to entirely give up the things they've earned RP wise.

Vael says, "Odd thought but maybe it would be useful to have a sort of 'I fucked up' system that allows players to remove smaller gifts from their character sheet for a refund. 1 time sort of thing or once a year or what-have-you to make screwing up your sheet less depressing."

<OOC> Mercier says, "…. Yes Vael."

Llewella says, "The black emporium."

[Public] Prism says, "For those recently connected and interested in the discussion, please join us in Stage 3. We are holding the second Gift Revamp Townhall. We will be here for a while, yet."

Kynan says, "Not sure where folks are with points, but at 200+ it slows to 1 pt/8 weeks, so a useless 5 point gift taken at chargen is "worth" 40 weeks where I sit :)"

Mercier notes, thats one of his chief concerns when building a character, and one of the reasons I'm hesiitent to actually spend points. If I build the character wrong, or become aware of gifts that might be really cool later on… point accumulation is slow, and… once you spend your points, you're kinda stuck where your at. Sheet progression becomes very, very difficult, and that can make signifigant character development and changes (ones that rely on changing your sheet)… difficult? In theory? Some might have more experience with that.

Carmichael says, "I thought that only gifts that allow for the donate ability (like ARC-LI) allowed for donatable tokens like that, Martin."

Martin says, "I don't know. I just know the commands are there and what they mean."

Merrisol says, "We can test it right now. Martin, gimme all your focus!"

Martin punts Merrisol into the shallow end of the pool.

Carmichael says, "Ah, I think that's only for donatable gifts, seems to be. :/ - Which doesn't help regular crafters."

Kynan says, "I agree that there's a bit of a 'point paralysis' feeling when it comes to spending them. I've felt it too."

Prism says, "For those just joining us, please feel free to comment on the main 3 questions in the +setting. We do want to hear from you all."

Vael says, "I'm already looking at at least 3 gifts I would remove if given the chance and I'm not even at 200.. It would give newer players more of a chance to build the character they want rather than screwing up and getting frustrated because they took something they'll never really use."

Kynan says, "Maybe out of scope for the meeting, but I have the worst time deciding if I want to pull the trigger on increasing stats. Stats are kinda boring IMHO, but necessary if you want results."

Mercier thinks part of that /is/ the obstufication of gifts, that can cause paralysis, and just…. you have to read every gift to really get a plan together, if you're not planning on owning a gift tree.

Mercier shrugs. To build stats, and gifts, in a responsible, focused way, you need to know how the system works. None of us do completely, but if we just go by the scales on the wiki, I know this concept would be utterly unable to do /any/ challenge whatsoever.

Izett says, "I love the fact that you have such a diversity in the gifts. You can really tailor your character that way. I don't like that half of them just really have no teeth."

Kynan says, "Plus, sometimes in RP you might find yourself being given the opportunity to do something really unique, but would mean having to spend lots of points to do get those gifts, and not spending more on your old line of training could mean you wasted it all."

Marlene admits sometimes people even have to worry about effectiveness when they'd otherwise spend on character or even frivolity. (then again geese for household staff wouldn't be that fun if everyone did it. It's an eventual priority for my character, but when you just need to squeeze points… :) )

Marlene says, "(Or don't know if you might have to.)"

Izett says, "Oh and one gift I have I spend forever working on a quest packet to get it, and it does nothing."

Jhavid says, "So, has anyone dredged up how convoluted the prereqs are for a huge number of gifts? This goes along the lines of gift obfuscation. There's a pretty strict no refund policy and it makes gift planning difficult. On top of that, some of the prereqs are kind of out in the trees."

Carmichael thinks I might have said everything I need to this time around. I'm getting a bit spammed out, so I'm slipping out again.

Izett says, "Entangle gift isn't combinable, and doesn't really work fast enough. So for a plant witch of the feldane's, who would want to be one with how little they can actually do. You can't mass produce any potions, because the brewing isn't in line with the alchemy"

Marlene kinda wonders what might happen if quests shaved *points* off something, given they're…apparently really hard.

<OOC> Vael says, "Thank you Izzet, I was saying that earlier. n.n"

Vael says, "*izett"

<OOC> Vael says, "I spent weeks trying for Entanglement just to find out that it's a useless ability"

Kynan says, "I've never come across a 'point discount' packet/quest/etc. Most just satisfy a prereq, or give training focus"

Lisette nods to Jhavid. "It's complex, convoluted, and quite often impossible to even try to plan in advance - because you need to buy things in order to be able to find out what you will then need to buy to get to the gift someone else said you "should" have." ;) "And yeah: updated quests would be *really* welcome. I was sought by someone who needed to learn about mystical approaches he hadn't mastered… but as a mere Feldane blood-sorceror with war magic, I could offer him nothing. It was only set up to accept a very limited range of Gifts, and without necromancy I was useless to him."

Izett says, "I proposed entanglement. Its not utterly useless, but certainly lacking a considerable amount of the teeth I intended."

Kynan says, "Woah, that's a long ways back… I can page you Prism"

<OOC> Marlene nods to Vael, I have been throwing out some random ideas like odd-numbered point costs or quests making things cost less, no idea if they'd actually work. :)

Lisette waves out for sleep. :)

Izett says, "I guess that's the other thing. Nearly every Feldane plant mage gift, don't need to be a Feldane to get"

Jhavid says, "That's basically my line about convoluted prereqs. You have all these gifts that require 6 and 7s in lores that are like getting a root canal to qualify for, and some of them don't even make sense. For example you need UP-Covert/6 to qualify for FGT-OB. Now why does knowing about boltholes and disguises and forgery make me getting at fighting? Not to mention that one single person on this game can train UP-Covert/6. So if you aren't in good ICly with him, it's the second worst packet in the game. The worst being UP-Military/6."

<OOC> Vael says, "hell, simply removing the 'cant be used with BG' thing from it would give it all the teeth it needs and deserves at the cost of it."

Kaito says, "Okay work ate me and it's time for me to drive home but a short little bit for me. Maybe a wiki tree or even in the gift trees, that gives a listing for something like 'Estimated focus/points cost to get to this gift' kind of thing?"

Marlene says, "The idea is that when you get that good at certain kinds of fighting, it's from the same sort of skillset."

Marlene says, "Or the same sorts of places as you get such a skillset."

Izett says, "I mean I think that is my biggest thing. When I did up a Feldane witch, none of the gifts had any teeth and every one I proposed they took the teeth out of. Then I started to realize, didn't need to waste my points on being a Feldane, could buy every single thing Feldane witches could do without being Feldane."

Jhavid says, "Marlene, literally 80 of that packet is disguises, burglary, lying to people, shifting blame, escape routes, boltholes and things like that. NONE of it is combat related."

Kaito says, "I mean I know that for some of the fighting styles, or advanced magics, you're looking at 100+ points and months of focus for the right lores and such."

Mercier sees the reasoning behind it. Its as much about style as anything else, but yeah, those packets are a beast to complete, and… unless you belong to some very specific communities in game, you kinda have to settle for the 4 tier 2 gifts that are based around the stats. A few more styles, or more gifts that don't rely on being blooded or in like flint with a faction would be great.

Izett says, "And plants vs Zombies, huge waste of time and does nothing."

Jhavid says, "PPL-MI requires you to be leader of the Hounds, Gulls or have 7 in a lore to have faceless minions. So the cops get faceless mooks real easy but criminals need 7 in a lore. But you can't get 7 in a lore without putting in about a year's work, maybe. This makes no sense. So the cops get faceless mooks that much easier than the criminals? You know, the guys who are already outnumbered here like 4 to 1."

Jhavid says, "And there are dozens of gifts with prereqs like this."

<OOC> Vael says, "That's actually the problem I've seen with MOST of my gifts.. I'm literally a nobody on this game ability wise right now due to the fact that all the skills I've taken have no teeth."

Martin does have one note to mention. "When the game first began, a lot of us who were here in the beginning were able to get 'custom' gifts created specifically for our characters but now if a person creates a pc it is hard for them to get anything that is unique and they have to use what's there or wait for a very long time. It makes it imo a little unfair to new pcs who want to have something unique. I think 0 point color gifts for people with uniqueness qualities would be nice. Maybe they could work up to them with focus and put it on the flagpole. Idk. You could get it in chargen or through rp…. just a rambling thought.

Mercier wants a shadowwalk gift where he can literally dissapear into a crowd. :P

Llewella says, "Some of the custom gifts don't make a lot of sense. Llewella has pas-ou (outsider) and aristocrat. She's perfectly at ease in a court, but an outsider. Littlefinger?"

Mercier says, "Simply because you have the lore doesn't mean you have to use it. :)"

Miriam, for the most part, doesn't mind things taking months to learn. Especially fight gifts. In the real world it takes years to master fighting skills. That's pretty short, by comparison. There being no reasonable (IC) PC to learn certain pre-req lores from is a big problem, though. Especially since writing/getting approved and then running quests often do a marvelous job at sucking the fun right out of the game.

Marlene does suppose fighting gifts tend to typecast people, really, now that someone mentioned it, btw. Then again a dedicated fighter might be in danger of just being omni-skilled at everything.

Mercier says, "Being a useful fighter costs few gifts compared to wanting to build begman stuff. :P"

Marlene winks. You should see what went into Marls. ;)

Kynan says, "You need to spend a minimum of 25 points to use an Arcanis spell in combat :)"

<OOC> Vael says, "and yet being an even mediocre mage without being pathi is pretty impossible."

Jhavid says, "Well we aren't real people. We're playing a game. I don't mind taking time but I also don't want to spend years learning how to fight. Aside from that, you have to take into account that our PCs have histories which I am assuming includes some of this learning. On top of that, normal human traits are well below your average Amberite. We're simply better and learn faster."

Martin wonders why we don't have an AIR and Water tree when there is a Fire and Wind Tree… come to thin kof it.

Martin says, "I mean…"

Marlene thinks, Jhavid, most of us just want to 'get it right,' …we're here for the RP. :

Mercier says, "Which is rough if you're playing a normal human Jhavid. Its…. not an easy concept to stick with."

Martin says, "I need more sleep."

Vael says, "we have ICE which really should be turned into Water.."

Prism says, "I do have a comment about that, Jhavid."

Kynan says, "Probably because no one at the start of the game wanted to play a non-pathi water or air mage, Martin"

Prism says, "If I can get it out before I am dropped /again/."

Martin says, "I think what I meant to say is Earth.:) Why don't we have an Earth tree. and Kynan I think my brain was like Yeah there are these elemental trees that are easier to get than pathi magic."

Vael says, "afk for a second. nature calls."

Prism says, "The sheet when you begin is intended to represent you as you are at the start of your adventure, all back skills and history accounted for."

Marlene says, "Well, that's some of what I'm beta-testing in one sphere's case, Kynan. Did take some effort from all concerned."

Prism says, "You learn as you move forward. All gifts and lores are to represent what you are learning now."

Ruby says, "We have to avoid having all the elements or the Avatar may appear."

Kynan says, "It looks like you can fight with 'weapons of fire' for 10 pts through the FIR tree"

Marlene says, "Kind of a prime example of 'OK, what does that mean if I buy the prereqs.' :)"

Jhavid says, "Marlene, I understand you may not have meant it that way but comments like "most of us are here for the RP" can be taken to mean that those of us who also want to build our sheets in specific ways are not here for the RP."

Marlene says, "I said I think most of us just want to get the character builds *right,* and all. :)"

Kynan says, "There are times when sheet construction doesn't matter. But there are other times when the ST running the scene are more strict and/or use the game systems (+challenge, etc). So in my mind, the sheet is important for those times."

Marlene nods to Kynan. Just so.

Vael says, "yeah.. I honestly there needs to be a major overhaul on a lot of things on this game cause as it stands, I came in only 2 or 3 weeks before they stopped allowing custom gifts and have been trying to make this character concept of mine work since then.. but honestly? I don't think I'm ever going to get the character I wanted this to be without completely starting over. -.-"

<OOC> Vael says, "*think"

Izett nods, "The color effects are nice, and certainly enough staff have helped me to create Izett as more than a seamstress. However, it is rather frustrating that nearly every gift she has that was suppose to be in line with Feldane is owned by pretty much anyone that wants the plant gifts, and most of them do not have any teeth or are static defense.

Kynan has played in SOOOO many RPG systems, some with mechanics that would curl your toes that understanding and playing with (sometimes against) the mechanics comes almost second nature :)

Jhavid says, "Well let's be honest here. This is primarily a PVP mush, at least that's my opinion. So sheets do matter. Now that said, PVP doesn't always mean beating someone up. Politics is PVP. Vying for resources is PVP. Gaining favor at the expense of someone else is pvp and these are all very prevalent themes on this game. So sheets do matter as much as RP and as much as intelligent play."

Marlene does think they only suspended the custom gifts while they pared back some of the others.

Vael says, "yeah.. as far as I'm aware, that still has not been lifted though"

Marlene says, "Having done that, they're now asking for suggestions, yes?"

Kynan says, "I think the original concepts centered around inter-player conflict. But that said, in my first years here, I'd say the majority of play was PvE"

Ruby says, "I think that's just your opinion Jhavid. Not the case."

Marlene does have to disagree there, too, J. I gather you have a contentious character, but… Not so much, I think,

Kynan says, "I'd even say the VAST majority. I've rolled exactly once on a +compare with a PC that wasn't a friendly duel, I think"

Mercier would disagree with that assessment, Jhavid. Most of my conflict has been PvE, and conflict with other players, I wouldn't call PvP. I'd call it good drama. :)

Jhavid says, "So you're saying politics is not a prevailing theme of an Amber mush Ruby? You're entitled to your opinion but I think a lot of people and Staff are going to heavily disagree."

Vael says, "my point is that I'm playing a character thats now bordering on depressing to play because 1) I've had to conpromise my concept over and over to suit gift restrictions and 2) because I've (in my entire time playing) only ever ONCE succeeded a freaking challenge."

Vael says, "*compromise"

Jhavid says, "Mercier, by definition any conflict against another player is PVP play. The fact that it is not lethal does not mean it's not player vs player."

Vael says, "and to add to that, I've NEVER succeeded in a compare, even against non-feature and non-vet characters."
Ruby says, "I'm saying out of the past year of RPing heavily on this site, this is not primarily a PVP Mush. +compares /against/ other PCs does not happen as much as PvE."

Mercier shakes his head. I see a conceptual difference between player versus player, and cooperative player conflict.

Kynan says, "There's a reason I decided at the start to not play a royal, nor a House-member :)"

Jhavid says, "On that point from Vael, I am always willing to help people out with build suggestions. Just saying. Losing is one thing but I know it sucks to ALWAYS lose."

Prism says, "We are hoping that revamping the gift trees and system will help."

Marlene nods. Actually it's tough to feel out the margins there, Jhavid.

Jhavid says, "Maybe because you're playing a good guy for the most part Ruby? I play a criminal so I'm always at odds with someone."

Vael says, "… I don't have room to build this character any more.. ALL of my future points are dedicated to saving JUST the ONE aspect of this character I havent had to entirely change yet."

Mercier says, "It is. And I think a lot of us don't want to work the system to get what we want out of RP."

Kynan says, "I'm willing to share my advice on stat construction, as well as gift selection with an eye to winning compares/challenges, if anyone wants to hear it. Not here though"

Mercier says, "Not that your assistance isn't valued, Jhavid, but… we shouldn't need to be staring down builds to ensure we have the numbers to pass challenges, when so much of this game is based around free form RP."

Prism says, "Also, please remember that there is a bbpost about what average challenges /should/ be."

Jhavid says, "I agree Mercier. The other side of that argument is that you might as well build your sheets well since so much of this game is centered around free form RP. And to do that you need to have at least a cursory knowledge of what you're building into."

Kynan says, "The problem with challenges, to some extent, is the large dynamic range of what characters have for stats and bonuses. I would so blow away a 5 challenge every time :)"

Mercier says, "And thats a tough thing when we don't know the gears behind the +code, or when you're playing an independent character that isn't trying to strike for a particular house or tree. I wish there was a Begman tree for Begmanesque people that /aren't/ engineers. :P"

Marlene gets the impression a lot of issues boil down to …challenge difficulties and that people would like a little more knowledge as we go through character builds.

Izett says, "It isn't based on a focus for stats or +compares, however, there is a decided weight toward the gifts that are strictly combat."

Jhavid says, "My goal is to eliminate people feeling useless. It sucks when you actually do get into that one compare, you use 4 gifts to that guy's 1, dice favor you and he still whollops you for a consequence. I've been there too Mercier. It's not that you lost that sucks. It's that you feel like your sheet is now totally hopeless."

Izett nods in agreement with Jhavid,"All of my magics are that way.

Prism says, "While this discussion is actually super helpful, I would like to give people who came in lateish a chance to comment on the primary 3 questions in the +setting. Also, it will give everyone else a chance to regroup and bring forward other comments. Thanks."

Kynan says, "FYI, the ONLY gifts that matter in a compare/challenge are ones with a <something>-<number> powerbit, like a-1, broad-1."

Marlene had the idea for artists but maybe it'd work more generally if people could buy tokens to do their thing better for important rolls. I'm going to have to bow out soon, btw, just need rest. :)

Mercier says, "That was particularly demoralizing, yes. But, again, why I prefer player-cooperative conflict, rather then PvP. Building a conflict cooperatively, etc. When I was a wee MUSHer years ago, I started in a PvP arena that was Shadowrun Seattle. It was a non-consent game where people would get angry at you ICly because you forgot to use tabletalk, and you couldn't go into IC through OOC channels. Later on, I was playing an X-Men place, and someone kinda swatted me and went, "Its not about getting compitition, its aobut making a story." Or something of the sort. Never forgot it."

Prism says, "Thank you very much for coming, Marlene. Good commentary and helpful suggestions."

Marlene smiles. :) OK, I'll be hanging about, as often. Keep it light, folks. :)

Kynan says, "IMHO, this game is about in the middle with respect to game systems. WoD games are generally a LOT more 'crunchy'. And it's mostly consent-based too, unlike many. However, I think even though it's not highly mechanical, the gift system adds 'conceptual complexity'"

Mercier goes off topic. Another note on holes that need to be plugged might be some more resource or ppl tokens that don't revolve around having your own prop. Perhaps those could be zero point gifts you could get through focus investure. :P

Kynan says, "There is the concept of the 'effort token' IIRC"

Jhavid says, "Is access to certain types of skills limited by design? For example, getting into any kind of life magic is nigh impossible unless Pathi or Mandrake. Is this deliberate?"

<OOC> Mercier nods. It does kind such that you can't be a good doctor without being a Mandrake.

Vael says, "it seems to be, given that mandrake are healers and pathi are magic and anyone outside are screwed if they want to be either."

Miriam says, "I'd imagine that there are lots of mundane doctors. But the Houses have their 'things' that make them stand out. Mandrake's is 'life'."

Mercier says, "They challenge here would be to open up the ability to do stuff, while keeping the houses and GC cultures that are availalbe. Sure, no one else can be a doctor, but Mandrake's identity is based around healing. And knights. And being dragons. They're complicated."

Miriam likes the Houses having their stand-out areas.

Mercier thinks the houses should have their bully gifts for their specialties, but, if theres a gift called Master Physician… can't a doctor take it? :P

Kynan says, "Pathi has a certain 'signature' of magic. For example, we don't do necromancy (that I know of). Pathi is labeled as 'High Magic' though I couldn't really define that"

Ruby thinks it's only a 5 point gift investment LIF-SL and then you can spend for Doc gifts.

Vael says, "yes.. and all magic below 'high magic' are parlor tricks, literally."

Miriam says, "Mercier, the Gift LIF-MP isn't just medicine. It basically confers the 'Tough' gift to the person in their care."

Ruby says, "Non-Mandrakes that want to be healers that is."

Vael says, "Ice Mastery is almost literally the ability to conjure snowballs."

Mercier says, "Because I don't need a gift to say I know how to suture someone. But, I need a gift to like… do magic."

Mercier says, "I've heard that complaint a number of times anyway. Pathi kinda gets… magic. If you want to be a sorcerer from anywhere else, well shrug, shoulda been a Pathi."

Kynan says, "Mechanically, Pathi magic has single accessible compare/challenge bonus."

Jhavid says, "And weapons Vael. It would be nice if they would add in some snowstorm gifts or something."

Mercier says, "Which feels a little like saying I can't learn to use a sword unless I have Mandrake blood or something. :P"

Vael says, "Hell, the ice mastry ability ALONE should be a snowstorm ability.. it's a joke right now."

Ruby says, "Mercier, I think sometimes being able to do something is possible. But having a 'bonus' in certain situations is different."

Mercier feels a lot of his complaints are his fault though. Yammering on about how Mandrake gets this, or Pathi gets that is kinda hollow when I was like, "I'mma play a character with no ties, and clear reasons not to develop mechanical loyalties.

Vael says, "I just explained ice mastry to a non player btw and he fucking boggled."

Martin smiles at Mercier…. I know a certain Rebman….

Miriam can't see the text of Ice Mastery.

Martin thinks it mirrors Fire mostly.

<OOC> Vael says, "gimme a second"

Martin says, "But fire may have got more gifts because people were using it."

Vael says, "The character can create and shape ice for purposes beyond weaponry. They may create ice by the handful, and shape it or any existing ice like clay, even when ambient temperatures would not normally support it. Without concentration, though, the ice will melt in warm environments. In a colder environment, though, the master can create rings, walls, or other large constructs of ice."

<OOC> Mercier says, "Well, creating an ice wall, or ice spikes would be a useful trick. :P"

Prism says, "Very."

Miriam can see lots of uses for that.

Mercier peers at Martin, "Which Rebman would this be?"

Vael says, "it states that things can be built out of it, but by creating ice 'by the handful'"

Vael says, "so a wall would take weeks or a building.. months or even years."

Mercier says, "It could be clearer. I would read it as they may create ice by the handful, and can maniuplate ice in colder environments to be bigger constructs?"

Miriam doesn't see that as being all that much weaker than a lot of other 5 point gifts, to be honest.

Prism says, "I am making note of ice-ma and fire-ma for comparasson and rewrite, Vael. Valid point."

Kynan says, "I have to agree some of the volume descriptions are off. Pathi Earth can make pebbles, but water can make a pond. It's debatable if we can even do ice… I think so, but it's not stated explicitly"

<OOC> Mercier says, "So they can shape /existing/ ice as well, even in temperatures that wouldn't normally support it."

Prism says, "Right, Mercier."

Vael says, "Thank you.. cause really, by the handful literally means 'snowball in size'.. thats.. tiny. XD"

Prism says, "You are very welcome."

<OOC> Mercier says, "But hey, it does mean you can create an ice shiv pretty easy. :P"

Kynan says, "BTW, with ICE-WM, it would be between our stats if you fought me (well, as long as I didn't also use MAG-SB spellbreaker…)"

Kynan says, "I'd have an a-1 from battlemaster, and you an a-1 from ice warrior master that would essentially cancel out"
Mister enters stage left.

Mercier thinks its kinda silly that Combat Mage provides no combat bonus. :P

Vael says, "Thank you btw, prism. n.n"

Zephyr says, "Prism has stepped afk for a moment. you are stuck with me. ;)"

Zephyr says, "do carry on. honest. ;)"

Kynan says, "As for what magic-wielding non-pathi backgrounds are allowable, that's above my pay grade :)"

Izett says, "I like the fact that staff is willing to work with you to develop gift lines that work well with your char, and assist in changing and adapting to help with things. However, as I think has been said or maybe it hasn't. There is not an equal level of work vs result on various gifts. For example, there was a vast amount of work and rp necessary to get Plants vs. Zombies, its a zero point gift but requires a packet to acquire it. Once you get it though you realize that if someone has cast a blight, does nothing to the blight if it is still activity tended. Additionally if Feldanes are to be the combatants against Necromancers, there is no specific gifts for that. You have to revert to phsyical combat to kill and then undo their blight or whatever they've done."

Prism returns, "Thank you all for coming. For those just arriving, please feel free to comment on the questions in the setting or join the current conversation."

Miriam says, "Can't any gift be considered magic? I consider Miriam a mage. She has wind-related powers, among others."

Jhavid says, "Someone mentioned not getting much bang for a 5 pt gift. I say how much bang for cost should be weighed against how many prereq gifts you have to buy that you also aren't getting any bang for. In this example the ICE tree is rather lackluster. So getting a lot for 5 pts shouldn't be a big deal when you're already spending 20 more points and not getting a lot."

Mercier is gonna have to go because RiffTrax Live! But… it might be a good idea to get some volunteers and assign them gifts to review. Even in a town hall like this, theres so much gift work to be done, so many to be reviewed, that crowdsourcing might be a fine idea. :)

Kynan says, "I've noticed some gifts that explicitly say they can't be used against another player, or something controlled by another player, etc. I don't really understand why it's not left to negotiation and maybe a +compare"

Prism says, "Thank you for coming, Mercier. Very much appreciated."

Kynan says, "ARC-CA has one of those stipulations too"

Izett says, "Well it was also pointed out to me that if Izett used blessing of growth on the crops to gain a double yield it would depleat the soil, however, say one is using create ice or something would not affect the environment?"

Martin says, "I don't have anything more useful to say but thank you for having this! Let me know if I can help. Later all.:)"

Kynan says, "BTW, to attack with Ice via Arcanis the same way that ICE-WM allows would cost 55 points"

Jhavid says, "Yes but having a Pathi PC you get other useful stuff along the way."

Kynan says, "But you would have a LOT of color possibilities, so it's not strictly equivalent"

Jhavid says, "But yes, one on one for all their magics a guy with a bow can murder a Pathi mage. That's why Custos."

Vael pages: can I see what Gale and Squall does? Cause… unless it's something massive I dont think you should have to be a SPECIAL god type (thunderer) to access it.

Prism nods.

Kynan says, "Right. The color of the attack magic has no mechanical effect. The only bonus would be if you had battlemaster. Of course, a weapon-wielder probably has their own bonuses"

Vael pages: …. that should not require both Wind Strike AND Thunderer. either-or. maybe.. but not both. that's… -.- actually that's reinforcing what I was saying earlier about higher scale gifts being weak as all hell.

Vael pages: if you guys redo it, can I please assist? Part of Vael's origional concept was for wind to be a MAIN thing for him to manipulate.

Prism says, "No problem."

Izett says, "okay holes in the gift trees: I'm not sure what is ment by holes?"

Vael pages: n.n if it means fixing the few wonky parts of a game I've grown to love, I'll always do what I can. n.n

Kynan says, "Missing abilities, I believe"

Kynan says, "Or missing concepts from a theme in general"

Izett says, "Oh, thank you. I don't know that I've really noticed any holes per say. I think Mercury has pretty much helped me patch up any holes in the Feldane witch line. Expensive, and combining some things. I think there is a lack of back story in the witches of the Feldane line, and certainly their gifts have no teeth. Any teeth I proposed was taken out before the gift was approved. So not really sure overall I've had to try to fill in how they play into things."

Prism grins.

Amethyst puts in her two cents. I love that gifts can be so individual, and that we can propose new gift ideas. I think there might need to be training classes on how to propose new gifts, because it confuses me.

Prism says, "Good idea, Amy. Thank you."

Izett says, "I think also that when you look at the Feldane critter gift, its a magical creature. Yes it has a minor ability of being able to see across the line to the land of the dead, but unlike magical weapons they have no bonus to attacks. Additionally if you have npc gaurds or something that attack they still go off your characters combat stats, so you have a char that has no personal combat skills with combat skills to represent their guards or forces."

Amethyst dislikes that it's so hard to figure out if something already exists, and that there is no dragon breath weapon gift - though it is sorta possible to make one, based on existing gifts. I think there are holes in the gift trees, and inequalities, but I think that might be because trees aren't generally created all at once, or suggested by the same players, over 7-8 years, I can understand that. There's lots of info on the wiki, but it's really dense and difficult to understand, at least to me. I'm probably just repeating what others have already said.

Izett says, "As to question three, I think in the line of families there should be elders. I mean you have them in any family."

Amethyst ohs. drg succeeds with the progression idea. the whole learning to be a dragon with gifts leading up to drg-df is fun. I don't know that there's much progression in lif or nat, or some of the general trees particularly.

Amethyst blinks. Elders? As gifts?

Miriam didn't follow that, either?

Prism says, "I missed that. Elders aren't giftable. :D Oh. Oh. I see."

Izett says, "With the growth of gifts, more specifically family gifts. Should be like elder gifts. The progression into more advanced abilities with the gifts for like elders of a family."

Prism says, "Do you mean, Izett, that there could be a gift that allows a character to have had a significant ancester?"

Izett nods to Prism, "Could have that, especially with say Feldanes. However, was more thinking the advanced level of family only gifts that they are like the elders of a family. Would solve some of the problems of say a new player in a family, a guidiance, someone who is more advanced along the path of that gift line.

Prism nods.

Izett says, "Just like, say, you have I guess Celeste would be a good example. She's been around for a good long time. Elder level gifts, in comparison to the newer members just entering the game."

Zephyr ahas. Thank you, Izett. That's a neat thought. Are there other neat ideas?

Izett says, "The other thing that was bantered around back and forth was the joining of characters in magic. Like a coven like effect."

Prism says, "Hmmm. Yeah, that is interesting. :)"

Prism says, "Aroo? Oh, like the question of pooling focus earlier?"

Prism says, "Pooling magical energy or whatever?"

Izett isn't sure of what was discussed earlier on the pooling of focus, "I just mean like a group ritual to create a bigger effect.

Prism says, "Ah, sorry. Yes. I see what you mean."

Izett says, "Like pathi's. Get three together and they are all working together on one effect, bigger effect of that spell"

Izett says, "or Feldane witches"

Izett says, "Also a calling of the ancestors gift would be neat."

Kynan says, "I've mentioned before that I like a lot of the mechanics of the Fate RPG. One thing I think would be nice is to use a concept it has, where a character can succeed at placing an aspect on a scene or an opponent that *other* characters can use as a bonus"

Izett says, "Just think it would be cool watching the reactions in Amber when a Feldane calls the ancestors and you've a bunch of ghosts walking toward a families home."

Izett nods to Kynan, "Ya that's a cool idea. I mean you have a Feldane, and just because I know Feldanes better than anything else, you have a Feldane witch in the background performing a ritual, now all your death Feldanes getting a bonus.

Kynan says, "I think such things would add a lot to coop play"

Izett says, "Would certainly give a reason that you want chars along that say, may not be really combat oriented per say, along."

Jhavid says, "Chaos has a gift like that. Where all the people with X gift get a bonus to attacks equal to all the other people radiating the same gift."

Izett nods, "And a gift to counter blights. Now I thought plant vs. Zombies was it, but it doesn't really do anything at all.

Jhavid says, "It was really devastating when the mush was more populated and we had about 8 or 9 really active Chaos PCs"

Izett nods, "Would give reason to draw your family closer. You may not get along icly with everyone, but accepting that and working toward a common goal would be a reason for them to draw together.

Jhavid says, "anway, I got an early day tomorrow, night folks"

Prism says, "Thank you for coming, Jhavid. We very much appreciate your thoughts on the issues at hand."

Prism says, "Anyone have anything to add?"

Izett shakes her head, "No, just glad to be able to get out the frustration on the lack of teeth in the Feldane witch gifts, and thank you for the chance to express my thoughts. Time for me to sleep now though.

Prism says, "Okay. With no other comments, I am going to close out this Townhall. Thank you all for coming. If you think of anything to add, please let us know. We will post the log on the player wiki so people can comment on it."

Prism says, "Sleep well. Thank you for coming."

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