MCDM Update: The Power Roll

darjr

I crit!
excessive numbers of similar-but-different tables

I think this is a good point. In some circumstances I have a tolerance for a that, in others I do not.

Like DCC and spells vs lots and lots of little chunks of rules like feats.

I like the prior even if it can be more work but I dislike the latter even if we only have to deal with the ones at the table at game time.
 

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Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Basically, we're just talking about special ability writeups that are going to look pretty similar to Chronicles of Darkness (Critical Success, Success, Failure, Dramatic Failure), Pathfinder Second Edition (Critical Success, Success, Failure and Critical Failure) or Powered by the Apocalypse moves. This stuff does not seem particularly complicated to me.
 

Basically, we're just talking about special ability writeups that are going to look pretty similar to Chronicles of Darkness (Critical Success, Success, Failure, Dramatic Failure), Pathfinder Second Edition (Critical Success, Success, Failure and Critical Failure) or Powered by the Apocalypse moves. This stuff does not seem particularly complicated to me.
None of those work this way, so that seems like a strange set of comparisons.

PtbA games usually have a small, well-defined number of shared moves - some have none which aren't shared, others have a few, not potentially a dozen or more moves unique to each character. The ones which have more unique moves tend to be significantly clunkier and can approach "high crunch" levels of clunky-ness - looking at you, City of Mists. They also tend to have three clear different states, not three different numbers - i.e. fail, succeed-with-problems, succeed without problems.

Chronicles of Darkness' system doesn't really work like that either - it's just that if the margin of success is over 5 (deemed an "Exceptional Success"), you gain a beneficial condition (there's no hard list either - they suggest defaulting to Inspired but the DM can make it up on the fly). It's not a different state with different results beyond that bonus condition. You don't have to check or consult anything - you just know the 5 successes or more = bonus condition. Further, a Dramatic Failure is also a generic thing, where, if you have 0 dice in your pool, and have to roll anyway, and roll a 1 (a pretty rare situation), the DM gets to make up something bad that happens. There's nothing to memorize there. It's not comparable. These are generic rules rather than comparable to a table.

I'm less familiar with PF2E, but last time I looked over the rules, it seemed like those were generic states, not something that caused you to consult individualized tables.
 

I'm less familiar with PF2E, but last time I looked over the rules, it seemed like those were generic states, not something that caused you to consult individualized tables.
Each action has its own outcome table.

Intimidate
Critical Success The target gives you the information you seek or agrees to follow your directives so long as they aren't likely to harm the target in any way. The target continues to comply for an amount of time determined by the GM but not exceeding 1 day, at which point the target becomes unfriendly. However, the target is too scared of you to retaliate—at least in the short term.
Success As critical success, but once the target becomes unfriendly, they might decide to act against you—for example, by reporting you to the authorities or assisting your enemies.
Failure The target doesn't do what you say, and if they were not already unfriendly or hostile, they become unfriendly.
Critical Failure The target refuses to comply, becomes hostile if they weren't already, and is temporarily immune to your Coercion for at least 1 week.

(save vs) Flesh to Stone
Critical Success The target is unaffected.
Success The target is slowed 1 for 1 round.
Failure The target is slowed 1 and must attempt a Fortitude save at the end of each of its turns; this ongoing save has the incapacitation trait. On a failed save, the slowed condition increases by 1 (or 2 on a critical failure). A successful save reduces the slowed condition by 1. When a creature is unable to act due to the slowed condition from flesh to stone, the creature is permanently non-magically petrified. The spell ends if the creature is petrified or the slowed condition is removed.
Critical Failure As failure, but the target is initially slowed 2.

They're not on the level of PbtA moves, which tend to be a lot more inventive and often with a theme-reinforcing list of outcomes to pick from, but they are a solid comparison.
 
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Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
None of those work this way, so that seems like a strange set of comparisons.

PtbA games usually have a small, well-defined number of shared moves - some have none which aren't shared, others have a few, not potentially a dozen or more moves unique to each character. The ones which have more unique moves tend to be significantly clunkier and can approach "high crunch" levels of clunky-ness - looking at you, City of Mists. They also tend to have three clear different states, not three different numbers - i.e. fail, succeed-with-problems, succeed without problems.

Chronicles of Darkness' system doesn't really work like that either - it's just that if the margin of success is over 5 (deemed an "Exceptional Success"), you gain a beneficial condition (there's no hard list either - they suggest defaulting to Inspired but the DM can make it up on the fly). It's not a different state with different results beyond that bonus condition. You don't have to check or consult anything - you just know the 5 successes or more = bonus condition. Further, a Dramatic Failure is also a generic thing, where, if you have 0 dice in your pool, and have to roll anyway, and roll a 1 (a pretty rare situation), the DM gets to make up something bad that happens. There's nothing to memorize there. It's not comparable. These are generic rules rather than comparable to a table.

I'm less familiar with PF2E, but last time I looked over the rules, it seemed like those were generic states, not something that caused you to consult individualized tables.

I was comparing the special abilities available to each splat given we're also talking about special abilities here.

Here's an Embed from Demon - The Descent

Don’t I Know You?

Memory is a funny thing. The connections we make in our memories are often unconscious, but still very powerful. A person might be inclined to treat another with more kindness or deference than perhaps she deserves just because she reminds him of her uncle. That reminder might be visual, auditory, or olfactory (scent actually forms the strongest bonds of memory in the mammalian brain), but it makes the target predisposed to be favorable to the character. This Embed uses different systems based on whether the character is using the Social Maneuvering game mechanic (p. 314) or a simple Social action (for fast-talking, for instance).

Dice Pool: Manipulation + Subterfuge – Resolve
Action: Instant

Roll Results

  • Dramatic Failure: The demon reminds the target of someone, but not someone he looks upon positively. If the character is using Social Maneuvering, the impression immediately becomes hostile. If the character is using a simple Social action, the player applies a –5 penalty to the roll.
  • Failure: No effect. The character must charm the target on her own merits. The demon can attempt to use this Embed again; apply a cumulative –1 penalty to each successive attempt within the same scene.
  • Success: The demon reminds the target of someone in his past, someone with whom the target has a positive association. The target doesn’t mistake the demon for the person and in fact might not even conscious make the connection, “she reminds me of my first girlfriend.” If the character is using the Social Maneuvering system, the impression level immediately improves one step and the player can make a roll to open Doors. If the character is using a Social action, the player adds three dice to the attempt.
  • Exceptional Success: As above, but the demon also gains an intuitive understanding of who she reminds the target of and the nature of the memory. In game terms (in addition to whatever information the Storyteller wishes to give the player), the character gains the Informed Condition with regards to the target (p. 309).

Here's a Discipline power from Vampire - The Requiem:

Confidant ••

The vampire doesn’t have to shout to be heard, and in a crowd that he’s already Awed, sometimes speaking quietly is the best way to get attention. With little more than a soft voice and a knowing look, the vampire brings someone new into the fold and becomes her trusted confidant.

Cost: None
Requirement: The vampire must use Awe on the victim.
Dice Pool: Presence + Empathy + Majesty vs. Resolve + Blood Potency
Action: Contested; resistance is reflexive

Roll Results
  • Dramatic Failure: The vampire slips up, letting some of what he wants the victim to feel leak back into himself. He’s affected by the Swooning Condition (p. 306) for the victim.
  • Failure: The victim doesn’t feel that she’s worthy of joining the vampire’s inner circle just yet.
  • Success: The vampire successfully charms his victim. She gains the Charmed Condition (p. 301).
  • Exceptional Success: It’s incredibly hard to resist the force of the vampire’s personality. The victim’s Charmed Condition lasts for nights, rather than hours.

Also, not that it particularly matters, but Dramatic Failures happen when you roll one on a chance die (the single die you roll if your dice pool would be 0 or less) or you opt to take the beat on a normal failure.
 
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They're not on the level of PbtA moves, which tend to be a lot more inventive and often with a theme-reinforcing list of outcomes to pick from, but they are a solid comparison.
They are, and that's a problem - because that's exactly and precisely the kind of thing that slows a game to crawl.

Especially when it's not a just a bunch of generic actions, but every single character having their own various sets of tables, which must be either memorized (something we all know most players are effectively incapable of of), or consulted every single time.

PF2E is not quick-running or agile game, as much as The Rules Lawyer might offer helpful suggestions to desperately try and speed it up to maybe 1/3rd of the speed of 5E.

It's not an impossible problem, but people pretending it's no problem at all are, to my mind, being extremely silly and engaging in a kind of denialism that's just not long-term helpful because in the end, the game will be played, and any flaws it has unveiled. Refusing to anticipate those flaws merely means people will be more annoyed with them, not less.

I was comparing the special abilities available to each splat given we're also talking about special abilities here.
I see, that makes more sense - but unless Chronicles plays very different from the oWoD, nWoD or the modern oWoD (not sure what that's called), you're not using those at anywhere near the rate you're using powers in a vaguely 4E-style tactical RPG, where you might well use 3+ in a single round, and you'll certainly be using 1-2 absolutely every round.

And it's that slowdown that is the primary concern for me. It's what killed 4E for my group - at lower levels, 4E was highly playable, but as you got much past 11 (out of 30 instead of 20), the complexity of abilities, the number of abilities and how much stuff you need to check on/consult/use really, really piled up, and gradually took a game from running faster then 3.XE to running even slower than that (which was not a good place to be).

Maybe it'll somehow be fine if it's presented well enough but I am pretty skeptical and I think that skepticism is legit given the history of stuff like this.
 

They are, and that's a problem - because that's exactly and precisely the kind of thing that slows a game to crawl.
That's my worry, yes. Even my complex boardgames all the time group doesn't want to reference 20+ separate tables, even if they all have the same structure (and even if they are sort of fine with hundreds of individual DnD spells, which boggles my mind).

One solution would be to have PbtA-ish 7 core moves, and your special abilities influence those (like Dhampir Life-Drain Bite activating on a Major Success on a Melee move).

at lower levels, 4E was highly playable, but as you got much past 11 (out of 30 instead of 20), the complexity of abilities, the number of abilities and how much stuff you need to check on/consult/use really, really piled up
Yeah, we experienced that in earlier levels already, because even ignoring the pages and pages of feats and modifiers, there is just an overload of atwill/encounter/daily/utility/item powers, and you were replacing some of them constantly for higher-level ones. It really could have benefited from from less 'more is more' mentality.
 
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Watched Matt's video on this. I'm intrigued. It's an interesting idea.
Yeah I think, on reflection, this is basically the right way to go, they just need to it right. Like, don't screw up it. Because charts are a really easy thing to get lost in - and Matt knows that, but he's so spicy I could see him and his team getting lost in it anyway.

That said, what I do trust him on is that he will deliver a good system that works. It might be a bit heavier than I'd hoped, and I feel very certain that it's going to be like a year later than they'd planned, at this point, and I'm really skeptical we'll see the promised non-Patreon playtest this year, because the one thing I don't trust Matt on is understanding that non-Patrons are actually valid customers who have paid him a relatively large amount of money - I don't think that's really entered into his Jack Black-character-esque mental landscape yet. I do think it will eventually when people start getting actually mad with him on KS/Backerkit (I forget which this was) when we hit December and he's laughingly say "No playtest yet!" and suddenly surprised that people aren't laughing with him.
 

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