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Analysis of Troubled Design: After Sundown
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Grek
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The base unit is probably a hit of vampire blood. Which is itself incredibly problematic: A Vampire and Werewolf tag team can accumulate vats of power points by having the Vampire drink from the Werewolf whenever the moon rises and have the Werewolf heal it up with Revive the Flesh. Suddenly noone in the group cares about their power schedule and is coked up on vampire blood constantly.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I thought it was kittens...

But more seriously, I'd be down with the syndicates seriously just using gold coins like in John Wick.
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Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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Lokathor
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Given how gold is "rare enough", has historical inertia behind it, and how many monsters are also super strong enough to be able to carry around huge hunks of it if they need to, it would do.

Monsters probably have more than one additional rare thing that they also trade in because it gets used up by evil magic on a regular basis. An Orphan's True Tears, or something.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

*Is now picturing a party of monsters kidnapping an orphan and keeping it in the basement to taunt about it's dead parents when they need more money*
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Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I guess I didn't finish posting that the "Secrets" AS resource pretty much is the Masquerade equivalent to the Mundane AS resource "Finances".

From that entry one can surmise that in the masquerade, a payment could be: a basket of kittens; a baby Behemoth's nest; a group of unregistered orphans; an Outworld Analogue for a historic Mundane object.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hence my remark about kittens.
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Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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Sakuya Izayoi
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The non-gold currency could be based on a monster's time, sort of like how a Magus can only extract so many vis as a season of lab work. Perhaps some of the craftier sorts of monsters, like Icarids, can create transferrable phylacteries, so many a month based on Edge rather than power schedule. Kittens, orphan tears, etc can be used to charge them, as per personal flavor, and then they get used in barter with monsters who need them to pull off their bigger rituals.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sakuya Izayoi wrote:
Perhaps some of the craftier sorts of monsters, like Icarids, can create transferrable phylacteries, so many a month based on Edge rather than power schedule.


The rest I can understand; and mostly agree with; but... I simply am having difficulty grokking this. I never was aware that Icarids are crafty (what makes that more likely? their powers I'm assuming?); I'm not sure on phylacteries being remotely necessary. If you have the right fortitude power, you can come back from the dead easier than any phylactery mechanics AS allows (the Elder power Ressurection is pretty much a liches phylactery & soul jar effect in one). I don't see why adding a new mechanic actually adds to the narrative; rather than clutter it up (outline a whole path of sorcery, that is sufficiently different from all existing sorceries; before considering adding a single sorcery at all).



As for Secrets; if you're going to add things to the list; thinking about where they fit in the overall rubric for Ratings values would be nice.

Actual orphans are Rating 2; so Orphan Tears, can't be worth more than Rating 1. Maybe even 0 (and thus more of a "dirt common" necessary for recipe/ritualistic reasons); than an actual item a PC pays Ratings for). Since a basket of kittens (or, a relic from a respected Elder; both are Rating 1) you're going to drown is more valuable than human orphan's tears. Now, from more powerful creatures it would be different, I could see stuff like Ifrit being maybe Rating 3-4; or from a Troll/Akuma being 2-3; but orphans tears may be too conceptually low level for AS' existing rating rubric.

After Sundown, for the most part, is an assumed madness/horror game; and being monsters is to be expected, not avoided. Orphans you're going to use in a blood sacrifice (&/or a hideout on the Dreamlands; both Rating 2); have to exist on the same scale as The Golden Apples of Discord, and Limbo's copy of the Fat Man (both Rating 6). When the bottom of the scale is "a basket of kittens" or "a relic from a respected Elder", at Rating 1 Secrets; I don't see how "orphan's tears" even registers are having any supernatural power sufficient enough to be considered a narrative important part of the existing economy.

I could see however, the wider supernatural economy running off of stuff that could be considered "producable" and/or "consumable.

Vampire's blood is... supernatual cocaine; because that's just what it is. "Red honey", as it were has a horribly cloying flavour, and makes you feel like you got some of your supernatural points back.

Yes, "supernatural points", because I'm sorry, but calling them Power Points (P.P.) seems a bit like an in joke or a put-on, on Frank's part. Especially coming from a guy someone who had the sense to label almost every repeated recall table in the game with actual word acronyms to aid w/ memorization (most of them are good; I can remember: ANSWER (ranges); 'Scored' (speed), 'Posit' (wounds) for example).
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I believe orphans are valuable primarily because you can take them to be slaves in Limbo, and it's easier or goes over better or something?

One issue is that Astral does cover a bit more conceptual space (Dreams and Weather and Nature) than Infernal or Necromantic magic. So if mighty rituals of vast power become a thing, they're going to tend to be disproportionately Astral. Technomancy presumably deals with electronics and covers villanous physicists, but you also want something for villainous physicians and villanous chemists to do.

I don't know what it does, but Internal Alchemy definitely wants to be a thing, especially if you are going to support Oriental Sorcery (Chandu) or even Mr. Hyde as a life choice. Given that it has something to do with eating mercury, it can go ahead and be infernal - and if you have villanous chemistry, it is also what you get. Tincture of Corruption? Tincture is a cool word.

Vicissitude was a train wreck (for one thing, the word actually means a worsening of circumstances), but some monsters definitely want to be able to capture you, and sculpt you into a chair or into someone else or whatever. That's too much quality body-horror to just leave lying on the ground in a vampire heartbreaker. Villanous doctors are already reanimating corpses as their primary thing with Path of Blood on the side, so it's fine for evil doctors to be Necromantic. Twisting the Flesh is a bit on-the-nose, but would certainly work.
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Sakuya Izayoi
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Judging__Eagle wrote:
Sakuya Izayoi wrote:
Perhaps some of the craftier sorts of monsters, like Icarids, can create transferrable phylacteries, so many a month based on Edge rather than power schedule.


The rest I can understand; and mostly agree with; but... I simply am having difficulty grokking this. I never was aware that Icarids are crafty (what makes that more likely? their powers I'm assuming?); I'm not sure on phylacteries being remotely necessary. If you have the right fortitude power, you can come back from the dead easier than any phylactery mechanics AS allows (the Elder power Ressurection is pretty much a liches phylactery & soul jar effect in one). I don't see why adding a new mechanic actually adds to the narrative; rather than clutter it up (outline a whole path of sorcery, that is sufficiently different from all existing sorceries; before considering adding a single sorcery at all).

"Perhaps some of the craftier sorts of monsters, like Icarids, can create transferrable phylacteries, so many a month based on Edge rather than power schedule."

Phylactery is a bad term in retrospect. I offer "fetish", "battery", or "ampule" as alternatives. The idea is to have a unit of raw supernatural mojo, or as you put it, producible and consumable Secrets. Soul jars (or scripture boxes) as described by the term "phylactery" are just one such example.

Icarids with an inclination towards Tony Stark schticks are just one example, I'd be equally inclined to make the production subsystem available to, say, a Troglodyte refining the Black Blood of the Earth into living metal. Anyone with an Artisan rating and some Edge should be a potential candidate for making their own Secrets given enough downtime.

Previous rambling explained, your point about Secrets and using the existing ratings for them is taken. It may be useful to put a value in gold coins on the Secrets ratings, or, more specifically, the logistics of transporting and securing that amount of gold.


Rating
Example

1
A handful of gold jewelry or doubloons, about 5 Troy ounces (1/3 pound) in weight. Smart traders will keep track of recent robberies, especially mcolose mcolat bent or broke mcole Vow, and increase mcoleir prices sharply if proffered gold from said incidents. Easily transported wimcolout supernatural strengmcol. You can keep it in a normal bank wimcolout attracting attention.

2
A briefcase containing 72 Troy ounces (5 pounds) of doubloons, kept in tubes for ease of counting. Rumor will spread quickly if you carry mcolis much gold around, and it is best kept in mcole hands of Syndicate muscle.

3
A lockbox containing 730 Troy ounces (50 pounds) of doubloons. Man portable, but Luminary strengmcol is a good idea if you want to carry it around while maintaining full combat mobility. Best if traded between two Syndicate agents who bomcol own a vault wimcol supernatural guards.

4
About 146,000 Troy ounces (10,000 pounds) of doubloons, denari, ryo, bullion, and whatever else you can scrounge up. Transportation might involve 10 half-ton pickup trucks, 3 U-Hauls, or a semi trailer can (theoretically) carry several Secrets 4 loads at once. Syndicates construct special vehicles with an armory loaded for every known supernatural weakness for transactions like these.

5
...ownership of Uncle Scrooge's vault

6
...ownership of Fort Knox
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
I don't know what it does, but Internal Alchemy definitely wants to be a thing, especially if you are going to support Oriental Sorcery (Chandu) or even Mr. Hyde as a life choice. Given that it has something to do with eating mercury, it can go ahead and be infernal - and if you have villanous chemistry, it is also what you get. Tincture of Corruption? Tincture is a cool word.


Mechanically what makes an alchemist different than a witch or icarid
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

An alchemist is a witch or transhuman, it's just a particular schtick that some witches and transhumans want-to-have.

That schtick, in turn, implies that you can brew potions in your own body and meditate in order actually accomplish something. These are powers which Chandu wants to have, which the current palette of sorcery powers doesn't support. Now it's not at all clear what those powers would actually do so much as what the mechanism for using them would be - but Icarid doesn't have the right power list ( Fallen comes much closer, with a bunch of charisma powers and patience of the mountains.)

You could, in fact, argue that internal alchemy is just a special effect for patience of the mountains and doesn't do anything else - historically, it was the immortality without eating bit that people cared about - but that isn't genre-appropriate for the various horror story Oriental Sorcerers who have it.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sakuya Izayoi wrote:

Phylactery is a bad term in retrospect. I offer "fetish", "battery", or "ampule" as alternatives. The idea is to have a unit of raw supernatural mojo, or as you put it, producible and consumable Secrets. Soul jars (or scripture boxes) as described by the term "phylactery" are just one such example.

Icarids with an inclination towards Tony Stark schticks are just one example, I'd be equally inclined to make the production subsystem available to, say, a Troglodyte refining the Black Blood of the Earth into living metal. Anyone with an Artisan rating and some Edge should be a potential candidate for making their own Secrets given enough downtime.

Previous rambling explained, your point about Secrets and using the existing ratings for them is taken. It may be useful to put a value in gold coins on the Secrets ratings, or, more specifically, the logistics of transporting and securing that amount of gold.


Okay; so, basically Supernatural Point "batteries" of some kind. I can understand the sentiment, but I feel it's misplaced. AS's varied power schedules are meant to keep players off balance about their supernatural powers.

Honestly; if you're that concerned about your character being able to power up that easily ... it's not in the intended narrative timing of After Sundown. Iron Man has to sit down so that his Frankenstein powerheart can respin up its power. Captain America needs to inject more doses of Supersoldier serum. Spiderman, needs to hang outside at night. The Hulk needs Gamma radiation dosages. Basically; nothing that happens in superhero comic narrative timing; but does exist in horror comic narrative timing. After Sundown won't give the most heroic narratives, because it's not meant to simulate every type of narrative a player may want.



Putting a "gold" value on Secrets is the defining joke listed in how mortals misuse secrets in the first place. So, to literally try and put a "gold" value on Secrets is imagining that there is a mortal horse that can pull the haunted carriage in the first place. You can only buy Secrets with Secrets.

A better way to rate Secrets would be some sort of hard numbers on how many kittens in baskets (or relics from respected elders) it would take to be a Rating 6 secret, unfortunately:



Rating
Example

1
You have a basket of Q1 (4-8) Kittens; you have a (1) Relic from a respected Elder

2
You have a pallet of Q2 (12-24) Kittens in stacked animal carriers/cages; you have a handful or relics (2-4) from a respected Elder

3
You have a shipping container of Q3 (36-70) kittens in cages; You are obeyed by cat breeders in your city, they tithe you a pallet of Q2 (12-48) kittens every season; you have a crate (8-14) of relics from a respected Elder.

4
You are obeyed by cat breeders in your political region, they tithe you a basket of Q1 (4-8) kittens every week. You have a disposal quota of (1) relic from a respected Elder, you have one season to complete your task before your next disposal quota relic arrives.

5
You are liege to cat breeders around the world, you gain a shipping container of Q3 (36-70) kittens once a month. You must dispose of a handful (2-4) of relics before the following quota arrives from a respected Elder in the next month.

6
You are liege of cats; you may claim a pallet of Q2 (12-24) kittens no more than once a day. You manage the finds disposal unit for a respected Elders archaeological expedition in Limbo, and must dispose of a crate (8-14) relics every week.


Edit: Honestly; this list is probably underpowered. . Higher Rating cats could very well be tigers to be ritually sacrificed; or ritually skinned and preserved to create new Ocelotol-Bagheera.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DrPraetor wrote:
One issue is that Astral does cover a bit more conceptual space (Dreams and Weather and Nature) than Infernal or Necromantic magic. So if mighty rituals of vast power become a thing, they're going to tend to be disproportionately Astral.


This is definitely a potential to watch out for. Now to an extent the list of Mighty Rituals of Vast Power just has whatever it has on it, so for the examples in the book you can have a totally balanced set of rituals even if your three categories are "time" "space" and "things having to do with pies" just by writing up an equal number of useful entries for each category. But yes, the moment you start encouraging people to write their own, the essentially limited nature of pastry related magic will hold it back. It's like how Fighters can be a lot more balanced with Wizards in card games or board games where the movelists are fixed.

Now one thing that can be done to help a little bit is moving Secrets of the Earth into Umbral Magic from Astral Magic. Give Mictlan the entire "things from under the ground" shtick, with all the mole men and giant worms that implies. I wasn't reall happy with the way Measure of Flesh was working out, and I think the whole Penanggalan thing can probably make more sense as just a Path of Blood deal for our resident incoming Umbral Vampires. Doing that does require a new Astral path that is in the slightly reduced portfolio of Astral now that it's "only" Water/Wind/Wood and no longer contains Earth element as well (or stay down to 1 new path per power source, which I suppose is also an option). But that sort of thing is rarely difficult. The key is to have the discipline to not create something something broken like "Time Magic" or whatever. My inclination is to take the Nightmare effects out of Sands of Morpheus and make a whole magic path out of Nightmares. I think the world can survive Sleep based Save or Lose effects and Fear based Save or Lose effects being in different Astral paths.

That gives a portfolio list of:

MagicPortfolio
AstralSky
Water
Animals
Plants
Dreams
InfernalFire
Reflections
Bugs
UmbralDeath
Earth
Shadow
Cold


Now obviously Astral is still the "biggest." But it's not necessarily "better" because Death and Reflections can just be arbitrarily important.

-Frank
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So the biggest part of the project as far as design goes is the transition between an expectation of getting skill bonuses from disciplines and getting non-numeric passive bonuses. It provides obvious benefits as far as reducing trap options and silently sweeps a couple of broken builds under the rug and makes chargen simpler - so I think it's obviously the way forward. But it does change the underlying assumptions of how dicepools work and what it means to roll 4 hits in an opposed test and all that shit. I think I'm basically OK with the version I have now where stats are higher and skills come in 3 discreet 2 die increments, and people mostly roll about 16 dice in the area of their expertise unless they are strength monsters.

But it also produces a big development issue. Specifically it means that there needs to be passive benefits written up for 28 Disciplines, and only a handful of them can be simple dicepool bonuses. Writing up 21 Mighty Rituals of Vast Power isn't all that difficult (especially as many of them can just be conversions of Elder powers from first edition like Victory of Typhon). But making the passive benefit of Tangle of Arachne and Play of Shadows be roughly balanced and also somewhat comparable to the straight soak bonus you still get from Fortitude is a bit more of a challenge.

-Frank
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Lokathor
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Cut all the passive benefits. All of them. Anything that's genuinely cool enough to be a passive benefit can just be a power in that discipline.

Also, perhaps be careful on that dice total you're aiming for because 16 sounds kinda high. My gaming table has a lot of dice and all, but it certainly doesn't have enough d6 for every player to have 16 of them without people having to share. Skills are 2/4/6, Stats are 1-6(?) Where's the extra 4-6 points coming from?
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lokathor wrote:
Cut all the passive benefits. All of them. Anything that's genuinely cool enough to be a passive benefit can just be a power in that discipline.


That is certainly a possibility. the biggest knockdown effect of that would be that the basic expectation that Kin have soak boosts that you can negate with bane materials would be tabled. Armored in Life is not going to be on the power list of every single character, and any kind of caster is pretty likely to skip out on the strength boosting enchantments. So your typical Mummy or Fallen is going to give zero shits what your weapons are made of.

Now that seems like it could be OK. You care about stabbing Vampires with wood and Werewolves with silver, but your typical Wizard or mad scientist is basically just a dude.

Quote:
Also, perhaps be careful on that dice total you're aiming for because 16 sounds kinda high. My gaming table has a lot of dice and all, but it certainly doesn't have enough d6 for every player to have 16 of them without people having to share. Skills are 2/4/6, Stats are 1-6(?) Where's the extra 4-6 points coming from?


Stats are starting at 4 instead of 1 so to leave room for weaker creatures.

-Frank
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Larger base attribute pools giving room for smaller creatures like cats that can't outwrestle 5-year olds, will allow for something like a bird to be harmful to Origin Story/Black Forest characters, while preventing every cockatoo and macaw from being deadly to bystanders (without being part of a Swarm).

Getting rid of passive bonuses; and making them into tiered powers sounds like a really great idea. Players sometimes forget to apply them to the appropriate dicepools; or use their passives b/c they're not a discrete power they thought about writing down. Also, there doesn't need to be a lack of stackable Fortitude bonuses; there could simply be a Basic and an Advanced Fortitude power that makes soaking damage more efficient (it might not even be bonus dice for relevant pools; it could be something radical like "you are more efficient at [Fortitude], you may buy up to your Health in Hits against Health tests; at a rate of 3 dice per hit. If you are wearing armour [2 dice per hit?]").
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Kaelik
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"People forgot to write their passive bonuses onto their sheet, but they will totally remember to write active abilities and then use them."

You live in a weird universe.

The reason you might want to get rid of passive bonuses is because they are too good and contribute to RNG pushing, not because people forget to add them to their sheet but would remember to buy hits at a different rate.
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Mord
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Now one thing that can be done to help a little bit is moving Secrets of the Earth into Umbral Magic from Astral Magic. Give Mictlan the entire "things from under the ground" shtick, with all the mole men and giant worms that implies.


There's plenty of mythic precedent for this change. Hades was lord of the Underworld and had association with dead people and precious metals. One of his alternate Greek names/titles, "Plouton," became his Roman name "Pluto;" both of these are related to the Greek for "wealth," from which we get the English "plutocracy" and others. Thumb Yellow
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Outright gold centric Plutonic magic could easily be Umbral's seventh path. That works. Alchemical transformation and all that.

If I go forward with the "no passives" deal, that means that the passive strength boost would go directly into the Vigor power for Clout. That is, Vigor would be "a small boost to Strength all the time and you can buy more strength with Power points." That seems eminently reasonable, but of course it does mean that Bane weapons become pretty unimportant unless more generally they are allowed to cut down Enchantments put up by the creatures they are banes for. So as a Fairy sorcerer, your enchantments can be destroyed by beating them (or you) with an iron bar.

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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, on reflection, I think that's the way you have to go.

I was going to offer a counter-proposal, that these bonus abilities you got for different discipline levels wouldn't have to be passive. This would've made it a lot easier to come up with 50 or so such abilities.

But unfortunately, that still results in a system where you are dis-incentivized to take multiple abilities from the same discipline tier; and that's bad. Taking both Attract+Repel should not be in some sense a worse deal than taking Attract+Revive the Flesh or Repel+Patience of the Mountains.

That said, there are a few powers which really want to be qualitative bigger piles of dice. Dracula has the strength of 20 men; furthermore he is supernaturally-charming which really does want to be a bigger pile of dice on socialize tests.
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Whipstitch
Prince


Joined: 29 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm not convinced it truly hurts anything if Clout is an exception to the usual rule and still gives some passive Strength per discipline rank. Unlike with other attributes you have already committed to allowing dice pool inflation via Giant Size and War Form. By taking the freebie point from away from Clinging you're not really fixing the RNG, you're just preventing people from shoring up a dump stat or being a smidge stronger than mundos in a world where werewolves can still bench press a hyundai.
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Last edited by Whipstitch on Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DrPraetor
Knight-Baron


Joined: 02 Apr 2009
Posts: 780

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Instead of having it be per rank, it should be per power. Otherwise, anyone taking both Vigor and Clinging will feel (justifiably) cheated.

So if you really just want to push your strength off the RNG, you take Vigor, Clinging, Devastation and... what would be the second advanced clout power? Earth Quake? Burrowing? Flesh of Marble? Flight? Telekinesis? War Form?

and you get a +4 to strength for taking all 4.
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Chaosium rules are made of unicorn pubic hair and cancer. --AncientH
When you talk, all I can hear is "DunningKruger" over and over again like you were a god damn Pokemon. --Frank
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