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Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

I can see that. It's still a while until I get to update that book, but I can see it restricted to only CRB powers, or even only to psionic disciplines avalible to command or mastermind strain zerg.

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~Leovaunt

May 5, 2017 at 12:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Shadow Chorus
Member
Posts: 77

There are some psionic powers that zerg seem to be unable to emulate, like pyrokinesis and the protoss psi-storms and feedback powers, so it seemed odd that they could take -any- power.

May 5, 2017 at 12:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

WarpingEther
Member
Posts: 11

(sorry for interrupting in) It might be that just they aren't convenient for the Swarm, like the fact that pyrokinesis may burn up creep(as well as being generally unreliable for serious combat). Or psi-storms disrupting zergling swarms (If i remember, kerrigan could use psi-storm in Brood War?) and feedback... probably that feedback ability involves a high understanding -and control- of psionic energy, and the zerg mostly use it by instinct. uh. That.

May 5, 2017 at 1:23 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Shadow Chorus
Member
Posts: 77

There is a question that's come up a couple of times, or rather a suggestion, that there should be a skill for more social perception, an empathy or insight roll. Also that there should probably be a use for science, or perhaps a skill of its own, that is for creating items from scratch. Weapons, armor, etc.

May 6, 2017 at 10:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

Shadow Chorus at May 6, 2017 at 10:15 PM

There is a question that's come up a couple of times, or rather a suggestion, that there should be a skill for more social perception, an empathy or insight roll. Also that there should probably be a use for science, or perhaps a skill of its own, that is for creating items from scratch. Weapons, armor, etc.

Two fold comment: 


~First Question: Probably. In system's conception, I tried to greatly condense the list of skills from other d20 systems. There are really two ways to do it right now: first is making a regular perception check (versus resolve, probably), the second is an individual using influence against your resolve to hide their social cues.


Adding a new skill into the game is not simple. First, it needs to do enough different things to not be able to fall under another skill, so the skill list doesn't get too large. Second, all skills have a number of talents that associate with them, and it would need a number of talents to attach themselves to the skill. Third, statistical entries would need to be redone, as well as character record sheets, to account to the new skill being added into the game.


 Now, adding in another subsection of the perception skill that details 'sense motive' type checks, that is very doable. I will look into doing that. I've been compiling a massive starcraft update the last month as I've worked on the protoss supplement. I look to see if I can add something like that in. Good call out. 


~Second Question: Already in the game, just hasn't been updated for 2nd edition. It uses the Science skill. See the 1st Edition Supplement 2: Advanced Terran Training Manual, page 53 and on. No idea how the system will be reworked in 2nd edition, you'll have to talk to Xhupi about that. 


I want there to be a system for protoss item creation, but haven't figured out how I want to do it, though. I want it to be thematically different, much less like scavenging. It won't be until Supplement 6, and will depend on how Supplement 2 comes out.


Great thoughts!

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~Leovaunt

May 6, 2017 at 10:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

Engineering, mechanical expertise, repairing objects, or anything involving working with hardware, mechanisms, and similar issues are all covered under the Science skill. Science is a very broad catagory that covers a great deal of things.


Animal Handling is covered under the influence skill, but I can see how that could be confusing. I will try to add a subsection detailing how influence works with animal handling.

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~Leovaunt

May 7, 2017 at 1:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Shadow Chorus
Member
Posts: 77

that would be nice, especially since thre's a line in the Influence skill that says the following: Influence cannot be used against creatures with animalistic intelligence, or anything with an intelligence of 0

May 11, 2017 at 2:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

Shadow Chorus at May 11, 2017 at 2:12 PM

that would be nice, especially since thre's a line in the Influence skill that says the following: Influence cannot be used against creatures with animalistic intelligence, or anything with an intelligence of 0

Fair enough.

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~Leovaunt

May 11, 2017 at 7:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

Those updated uses of skills are up. Animal handling is a function of the Survival skill, and now there is a Empathy function of the perception skill. 

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~Leovaunt

May 14, 2017 at 7:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Shadow Chorus
Member
Posts: 77

We had a conversation about primal zerg (and subsequently, regular zerg) as player characters and their power comparison to Terrans and Protoss. The problem herein lies: Protoss are a somewhat strong, but limited by the fact that they grow in a restricted fashion and have a smaller list of gear than Terrans. The incredible power of the Protoss gear needs to be toned down a bit to be more balanced, but that's easily manageable. We have, however, come to the conclusion that Primal Zerg as player characters might need an upper limit installed, as the things that are available for building zerg and primal zerg NPCs, if in the hands of a player character, make them insane. While there is an obvious logistical problem with a massive zerg player, the sheer power makes it appealing, and some GMs will try and make it work and end up probably ruining their campaign. I've established the rule that Fang, now Korlash, cannot grow larger than medium size to help limit that, but some of his powers are still insane, like the massive stealth bonus that Shadow provides which makes him essentially invisible, and the ability to essentially nullify the primary weakness he has in the fireborn evolution.

There may be a need to provide an upper evolution limit to what a player character can achieve, similar to the currently installed attribute and skill limits.

May 18, 2017 at 11:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

First: you said protoss gear is too strong and needs to be a bit more balanced. I am currently working on the protoss supplement so that is of immediate interest to me, but your statement is too vague to be helpful. What protoss gear needs to be rebalanced? Weapons? Implements? Armor? What aspect? How much? In what situation? I need more information to make any adjustments based on your comments.


Always keep in mind one major thing for your protoss and primal zerg characters: you don’t even have those races updated for the edition you are playing. Hopefully, protoss will be released in the month of June, if not sooner. When that happens, your player will probably need to make Coranix (Coronix?) over again. A lot is changing in the new edition. Weapons are being totally rebalanced, psionic powers are totally changing for protoss, and the classes are completely overhauled. A few changes for Coranix to keep in mind: he will now be able to get the ‘Void’ version of energy powers, he begins at level 1 with cloaking, and level 1 protoss start with about 3 times the gear you did before. For example, this is the starting gear table for psychic masters, which I believe Coronix is.


Psychic Master Starting Gear

Choice: Khaydarin Crystal OR Argus Crystal; Staff of Force OR Electro Rod and Strife Blade OR Psi Blade

Mandatory: Robe, Ilhan Crystal, Backpack, Protoss Medipack


This change was inspired directly by your feedback when you were making your characters.


Primal zerg is… complicated, to say the least. I haven’t decided how they will work in 2E, but I guarantee Fang will have to be remade from the ground up, not surprising. I have gotten a lot of good playtest feedback from your group and your podcasts already regarding Fang. I definitely see your point on the maximum evolution although that is TECHNICALLY already in the game.


Evolution: When the primal zerg levels up, it can spend its creature points to undergo evolution. This involves spending an 8 hour rest, in which the primal zerg enters a chrysalis. Once the rest is over, the primal zerg emerges from the shell with all of the evolutions it chose.


… Constructs cannot be consumed and void entities or protoss do not give their essence once consumed. A creature can only accumulate a number of creature points equal to 3 times their current level.


When you removed the need to spend evolution points on leveling up, and just allowed the chrysalis form every time Fang rested, the limit on evolution points spent technically went away. That’s a good example of how precarious the game balance is, and small changes can affect the overall meta.


Including a primal zerg in your party is something that should be decided between the entire group. Playing a primal zerg is not just like playing a dwarf or an elf; it’s a totally different game altogether. They don’t belong with every group of players. The group as a whole need to know what they are getting into by allowing a primal zerg player. I said from the beginning that primal zerg will be overwhelmingly powerful once they start to get up in levels.


That being said, I am NOT saying your point is invalid. However, what you are suggesting could be dangerous, because it is an ‘invisible wall’ type situation. Players might ask ‘primal zerg can grow to be big, mighty, and powerful, so why can’t I’? Are the primal zerg you are playing as naturally stunted? Do they not have the potential of the primal zerg? It places an arbitrary limit solely for game balance that counteracts the fluff. One of my points from the inception of this project was keeping to the lore.


In addition, there is other problems with putting the invisible ceiling on a primal zerg. Say that you do your current limitation and say Fang cannot get bigger than medium size. What happens in the level 10+ range when you start doing vehicle combat? Fang cannot control a vehicle themselves, and will be pretty powerless to stand against vehicles without having a large size to increase their damage and hit points. Then of course, their massive power does make them the best in personal combat once they get up there in level, but have some related limitations in logistics and accessibility, like you said.


By the way, what level is your party now? That might help me in context. I’ve been busy catching up on podcasts, but I assume you level up off screen, because I never hear any of that.


When I go back to redone primal zerg later this year, I will look at retuning the evolution system and particular the power level of many of the evolutions, scaling them back as needed. I promise that. Until then, as a fellow game designer, I would like to hear some of your thoughts on the questions I have posed regarding this dilemma.


Great discussion. 

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~Leovaunt

May 19, 2017 at 1:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Shadow Chorus
Member
Posts: 77

In regards to gear, Koranix has been using the psi spear and disintegration rod as his primary weapons as of late, and the comparison to the Long rifle that Osvald uses, for instance, is a little frightening when both weapons do either almost as much or more damage and have more penetration and abilities at tier one than Osvald's tier 2 long rifle with scope. I suspect the 2nd edition protoss book will see to most of this, but a the moment the single protoss' Psi Spear is almost on par with an Ultralisk's Kaiser blades, minus the cleave, and the Disintegration rod packs more punch than any sniper rifle the Terrans could bring to bear.


As far as Fang is concerned, he still does have to level up to evolve, we've only shortened that to immediate upon evolution rather than requiring an eight hour chrysalis every level up. He's also got the chrysalis evolution which means that once per week he can evolve between levels, but so far he's only been able to do that twice. And i would argue that 'this is too powerful for a player character, this evolution is for NPCs only' is a valid argument to be made mechanically for primal zerg evolution limits, which you could potentially couch in the explanation that the truly terrifying primal zerg are far beyond level 30 or are uniquely specialized in a way that a typical player primal zerg could not be.

And they certainly can evolve anti-vehicle capability if they need to. Even a medium-sized primal can evolve kaiser blades and acid spores, both of which will do impressive damage to vehicles even as a medium creature. The size bonuses provide such a massive increase in general capability, however, that it brings them completely out of scale with anyone else in the party.


This is of course just our examination with Korlash and the rest of this group, and all of us are still learning this system in and out. But we had a conversation about how by Level 6 or 7 (We are currently level 5), Korlash could be simultaneously immune to fire, more capable of ripping through armor, and huge sized for incredible health and durability. Given one week for a normal chrysalis, he could also have juggernaut armor to put him on par armor wise with our power-armored individuals.

May 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219


Yeah, a long rifle would not be able to stand up against a disintegration rod, though they are very different types of weapons, IE actual sniper-class weapons are far more accurate than a disintegration rod. You compare aiming with a tier 1 gauss sniper rifle versus a disintegration rod, the sniper rifle has several times the range and 4 more points of accuracy. Disintegration rod’s statistics are about right for what I’m wanting, but overall this tells me is that the disintegration rod is too accessible right now. Level 5 character’s definitely shouldn’t have one already, especially if they also have a psi spear and armor, which means the honor system/ honor costs need reworking. Possibly also reducing the charges that implements have so they need to be reloaded more often in order to balance them. I will look into that. Thanks for the insight.


I have a tendency to overbuff protoss weapons, simply because protoss weapons should just be more advanced than terran weapons so it’s hard to make them thematic and balanced. On top of that, protoss are generally more combat focused than terrans. So it’s something I’m looking at.


The playtest on Korlash is interesting, because a lot of the evolutions you have, you have way earlier than I was expecting. This might be because the cross-edition gameplay, as level 5 2nd edition characters have ROUGHLY about as much experience as level 2-3 1st edition characters. The scaling built into the primal zerg class mechanics, such as evolution limits per level and how often you can evolve, were designed around the 20 level scale, slow level up system. Now that it is a fast, 30 level scale, Korlash is functioning at an evolution scale HIGHER than his actual level, around level 7-10, because he is getting evolutions that he shouldn’t qualify for yet because the limit per level is as if it was 1E, not 2E. Therefore, he is scaling very fast as far as mutations go.


But that’s all stuff to work on when I get to that. Once I finish the Protoss supplement, I’m thinking about doing a mini player supplement that has the race design for tal’darim, purifiers, and primal zerg in 2E, so people can go ahead and include those in the game at 2E rules.


It was never intended so much that medium-sized zerg could get Kaiser blades, and certainly not acid bomb or acid spores. I think the solution to all that is set a size-limit on those natural weapons, like huge-sized for example, so only larger zerg-biomorphs can support the massive natural weapons. I definitely did not want primal zerg to be able to get juggernaut armor below level 15. All that is more I will look into.


I will consider having some type of restriction on primal zerg PCs about their scaling, mainly based on size and what not. That will affect other things if I institute the system where various evolutions are restricted based on size and possibly other factors. The restriction might also vary based if it is a non-heroic, heroic, extreme, or epic heroic character. All things I will consider once I redo primal zerg.

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~Leovaunt

May 19, 2017 at 3:37 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

The big question is, overall, are you ENJOYING the game?

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~Leovaunt

May 19, 2017 at 4:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Shadow Chorus
Member
Posts: 77

Oh, absolutely, everyone seems to be enjoying the game, it's just that this is the point of playtesting; to give feedback and help improve the system.

In regards to currency, I'll note this for you. Everyone was given a significant amount of credits to help gear up in preparation for the power level of the fights to come, and Koranix was given an equivalent amount of honor (based on my calculations and the idea that 4 honor appears to be worth about 250 credits) to what one individual terran would have received given an even split. Both parties have spent a significant amount and retained a good deal as well, but Koranix seems to have been able to make much more use out of his currency than the Terrans have been able to.


As to Protoss/Terran gear balance, I would put this point forward: Terrans are practically defined by their gear, moreso than the other races. Protoss having a class to provide further bonuses, to me, implies that their gear does not need to be significantly more powerful than a Terran's. As far as the flavor of protoss tech versus terran tech: Protoss might be significantly more advanced than Terrans, but they aren't quite as efficient at destruction typically. Terrans are the ones that have created tactical nukes, the mighty Yamato cannon, and a variety of deadly destructive weapons to help them keep the edge. Protoss equipment appears largely to be more esoteric, often having a purpose that is more than simply military. Many protoss combat machines are repurposed from more mundane things, such as the Reaver, which was repurposed from a civilian manufacturing robot. Their technology may be overall more advanced, but the destructive potential they carry is very much based on the skill of the wielder, whereas Terrans have mastered the art of mass-producing kill machines that anyone could use.


I'd argue the flavorful balance is that Terran equipment should be more straightforwardly deadly than Protoss equipment; more damage, more rending and penetration, but Protoss equipment should have more of the unique abilities; the psi weapon origins, the ability to recharge implements without ammunition, perhaps a better power rating so that the damage grows faster with the skill of the wielder rather than starting with a higher base damage.

Imagine for instance the logical comparison of a Zealot to a Marine. The thing that makes a Zealot dangerous in comparison to a Marine is the skill that he has as a Templar warrior. Break them down as equals and the Zealot is a dude with a pair of punch daggers made of plasma running at a dude who is spraying shards of metal down range at an insane velocity. Were they of equal skill, I'd argue the Marine should have the equipment edge in that situation, with perhaps the exception of the fact that Zealots have plasma shielding.


The other thing that came up was the power of the fireborn evolution: We're pretty unanimous in the idea that immunity to a type of damage is not a good thing. For istance, Rachel, our Firebat, uses primarily flamethrowers as her weapon. Anything with the fireborn trait is completely immune to her attacks, and completely shuts out her style of character. Any single ability that completely shuts down a popular and fun playstyle is ultimately un-fun in itself, and probably shouldn't be quite that strong, and -definitely- shouldn't be accessible by players.

May 20, 2017 at 12:04 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

I will relook at everything today, and look at rebalancing protoss weapons. For now, let's try a change on fireborn. Instead of being immune to all energy damage, change it to being immune to the Flames and Energy Damage weapon traits.

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~Leovaunt

May 20, 2017 at 11:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Shadow Chorus
Member
Posts: 77

Taskforce Echo has just ended this past Thursday, VOD should be going up on youtube sometime over the next week. The actual Roleplaying part of the episode was a little short, but it began with three of the players and myself doing a review of our experience with the playtest with full feedback of impressions, likes, dislikes, and changes we would make. It was a fun wild ride and we may return to the story in the future.

August 6, 2017 at 6:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Leovaunt
Site Owner
Posts: 219

Awesome! I hope the ending is suitably dramatic. Thanks for playing!


While we have not always agreed on our approach to improving the Starcraft RPG, I thank you for your continued feedback on making the game the best it can be. It has been invaluable in updating the game’s usability, balance, and correcting proofreading issues. I hope you all enjoyed my game, and come back to play it again in the future as well as continue to provide feedback. We are only making things better and have big plans for the future!


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~Leovaunt

August 6, 2017 at 1:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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