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Netheril : Age of Magic

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Messages - Aetrion

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Development Ideas - Feedback / Re: Implementing Epic Levels
« on: July 18, 2020, 01:50:59 pm »
I don't think permadeath is a meaningful counterbalance to epic levels. People who want to retire characters that get too powerful will do so without a rule, but when you try to enforce it on people who want to keep playing at best they build the most unkillable cheesy munchkin character to avoid it, and at worst just go play another game.

As far as I'm concerned epic levels shouldn't be tied to losing your character, it should be tied to being a character that substantially contributes to the RP on offer in the world. You can do that by playing out a story that ends with the retirement of your character, but you can also do that by being a guild leader, a mentor, an agitator, or any number of things that give other people RP prompts to work from and cool stories.

If a character puts themselves into situations where death is the likely result and the player laughs it off and treats it like it can't happen that's IMO an entirely different issue that shouldn't be tied to epic levels or any other mechanical reward. That's just bad roleplaying and should be handled in that context.

General Discussion / Re: Monster PCs as mercenaries
« on: January 21, 2019, 03:24:35 pm »
Really though, if a PCs first reaction to seeing a monster is to immediatelly murder it then how is that really different from this:

Quote from: Aetrion
can't be reasoned with because violence and cruelty against humanoids is something they have an undeniable urge to enact

It isn't.

That's exactly why my character doesn't do that.

General Discussion / Re: Monster PCs as mercenaries
« on: January 19, 2019, 07:51:57 pm »
Well, there is also the fact that without monster mercs I wouldn't have any fighters to team up with for quests.  ;D

General Discussion / Re: Monster PCs as mercenaries
« on: January 19, 2019, 03:08:03 am »
But most of the monsters are intelligent? They are just very evil.

The issue isn't intelligence. I'd say there are two general categories of evil: Evil beings who do harm in the pursuit of a goal, and evil beings who pursue the goal of doing harm. These are fundamentally different. Someone who's evil because they want money and don't care if they harm people to get it can be reasoned with, because you can create a situation where they can get more money if they don't hurt anyone. Laws can be written to constrain their ambitions to activities that are a net benefit to society. Someone who's actual goal is to harm people on the other hand can't be reasoned with. Any resources you give them will just be invested back into harming people. Any laws you write will only be obeyed to stay undetected while doing harm. If you set them loose on one of your enemies they will be a threat to you again the moment that enemy is defeated. There is no possible arrangement where everyone gets what they want.

The latter is the nature of evil deities, demons, devils, and IMO monsters in a campaign that's true to the setting.

General Discussion / Re: Monster PCs as mercenaries
« on: January 18, 2019, 03:52:32 pm »
I'm personally not a fan of monster-characters because it destroys the purity of good and evil in the game when you can have a friendly relationship with a monster and suddenly killing monsters becomes a moral gray area for any character who doesn't see violence as the first option for conflict resolution.  Not that moral ambiguity isn't interesting in some settings, but in D&D it's annoying if a DM starts making you feel bad for killing ogres.

The themes of racism and imperialism are already contained in the relationship between the Netherese and other humanoid races and barbarians, we don't need to make good adventurers second guess the morality of wiping out orcs.

The whole point of monsters should be that they are evil and can't be reasoned with because violence and cruelty against humanoids is something they have an undeniable urge to enact as a result of being pawns of evil deities that have no qualms about depriving their minions of free will.

Since monster characters are a thing and I'm strictly against taking anyone's character away I play the game the way it presents itself, and my character wouldn't kill someone just for being a certain creature if they can be talked to and reasoned with, but as a player I prefer if there is no moral quandary when it comes to killing monsters.

V2 Beta Feedback and Bugs / Re: The Spell Nerf/Buff please thread
« on: January 15, 2019, 07:41:36 pm »
The spell is either a trivial nuisance to those who are prepared, or a death sentence for anyone who doesn't recognize the signs of the spell. It has one or two rounded countless lower level players who were unlucky enough to be in the same area as something that casts it, often times some random thing in a DM event. It isn't fun to die to, and for the people who usually die to it (low level characters) it isn't a viable option because the potions of it are short lasting and/or expensive unless they're already a caster that can put it up. I'm tired of watching the casting animation go off, knowing that higher level folks will wade through it relatively unscathed while it murders characters who haven't built to stand it or don't have the buffs to deal with it.

Agreed, this spell is out of control powerful against characters that have no damage reduction of some kind. You should be getting hit once per round as per the pen & paper rules, not 10 times if you happen to be the only person in range.

General Discussion / Re: Monster PCs as mercenaries
« on: January 15, 2019, 07:35:31 pm »
Why do we even have monster races in the game if they are effectively unplayable because nobody is allowed to associate with them and there is a huge fight every time there is a quest?

I feel like they should be no more objectionable than mages openly trying to become liches.

General Discussion / Re: Loot Economy
« on: January 11, 2019, 04:26:33 pm »
I think a big thing that we could do to make Netheril a bit more balanced without having to just allow any form of loot would be to include some uses a day items like potions for mundane characters. I'm thinking like in 2.5 where there were potions that simply couldn't be consumed by any but the hardiest people, and as a result they were class locked to fighters.

These kinds of items could be used to essentially introduce a range of special abilities to characters that right now lack a lot of utility. Let rogues set dangerous traps once a day without having to pay for it. Let fighters down a concentrated healing potion that other characters just can't handle once a day. Have some weapon coatings like Alchemist's fire that are significantly more powerful. The biggest reason why magic is overpowered isn't that people have 9th level spells, but simply the fact that the game treats mundane items like low level trash, when it shouldn't. Give fighters, rogues etc. things like grenades, weapon oils, caltrops, traps and potions that aren't cantrip level garbage and can be use daily and we're good. Just assume instead of spending 8 hours memorizing spells these characters can spend 8 hours sourcing or building those things.

General Discussion / Re: Gold Economy
« on: January 11, 2019, 04:03:17 pm »
I think the biggest issue with gold in games is simply when there is nothing to save up for. In a regular session of D&D people will eventually have 100,000+ Gold in their name, and the reason they aren't using it to buy a Bag of Holding full of healing potions is because they might want to buy a Manual of Gainful Exercise, or  any other number of extremely expensive items a high level character might want that represent the payoff for dozens of successful adventures.

So, as far as I'm concerned there just need to be things to purchase that make saving gold worthwhile and a lot of the issue resolves itself. This could even apply to when GMs hand out top end loot, in that it doesn't always come in ready to use, but may be found in a damaged state that requires large sums of gold to become usable, or maybe it's rare to find finished items in general, and rare reagents that can be forged into items with a significant gold investment are much more common.

Those kinds of systems would IMO do a lot make people want to save potions and wands rather than treat gold as a mana pool that never tops out.

General Discussion / Re: Loot Economy
« on: January 09, 2019, 06:53:53 pm »
I largely agree with what you're saying here, but I feel like one of the fundamental issues on Netheril is that having some kind of weakness on your character is actually a huge liability. Not having immunity to mind affecting spells or death effects means straight up that you're one failed save away from getting killed, and that's exactly why items that grant you immunity from those things or trying to have a substantial save to everything are highly desirable if you can't simply create those effects at will. This is another giant advantage to Wizards, Paladins and Clerics who can just give themselves immunity to a lot of the most destructive effects in the game without needing expensive potions.

Another big thing is that any mundane character without magic items can't keep pace with spellcasters at high levels. They may have a significant advantage at low levels being able to just dish it out with nothing but a weapon, but when you're hitting the point where people are casting 8th and 9th level spells you better have the right items to counter those with. There is just a really insane advantage for spellcasters in games where magic items are essentially absent, and also, let's face it, the mere fact that fights tend to be very predictable stand up affairs against AI opponents where you can buff up and cast a dozen defensive spells ahead of time eliminates the biggest weakness of mages, which is getting sneak attacked when they aren't expecting it.

The way I see it +1 items should come relatively quickly to new characters, it's that first little upgrade you get to your character that makes you feel like you're getting somewhere. +2 Items should be expected as standard equipment for characters hitting level 15, so you should be able to earn them somewhere between 10 and 15. Level 3 items being DM loot or exceptions that happen in the gravy stages of character development is fine with me as well.

General Discussion / Re: An in game bank.
« on: January 09, 2019, 03:58:29 pm »
I don't see any positive in introducing another tedious and inconvenient thing you have to do to the game, like having to take your gold to a bank and having them charge you for it.

Why not a bank that stores a few items for you, so you don't have to always carry around everything you own? That would actually make the game better for people.

V2 Beta Feedback and Bugs / Re: The death penalty destroys fun.
« on: January 09, 2019, 03:49:39 pm »
None of that constitutes a good argument for why the death penalty should be XP. Ok, you want people to be careful, I agree, but there are tons of things that make people be careful that don't completely ruin the fun of the game. Also the vast majority of death's I've suffered weren't because I was being reckless, but happened over trivial mistakes or not knowing every enemy in the game and all their abilities because I haven't played it for years.

The whole powergaming aspect is by far the lamest thing about this server from my perspective. There is a huge difference between wanting to make bad characters and breeze through the game regardless and wanting some reasonable semblance of a Pen and Paper session of D&D instead of this purely mechanics driven formulaic bore of simply having to know all the monsters and all the fights so you can just be immune to whatever they dish out. Sure, you can know this game so well that nothing actually poses a danger to you, but how is that still an exciting adventure? Expecting the server to be only for people who like playing that way is drastically limiting the audience for no good reason.

V2 Beta Feedback and Bugs / Re: The death penalty destroys fun.
« on: January 08, 2019, 09:07:46 pm »
Well, the idea of a system where you can perma-die wouldn't be that it's supposed to kill off tons of characters, it's supposed to make people treat getting downed as an RP reason to take it easy for a while. The system should basically "forgive" dying once, because dying once can happen for stupid and unpredictable reasons. Dying twice in a row on the other hand means you were courting disaster or had made some serious enemies. Whether that disaster is permadeath or a significant XP penalty or whatever doesn't really matter. I just think the game should be lenient when you die to something stupid and just say "Ok, I'll treat this as an RP cue and withdraw my character to a safe area for the time being", but it should be dangerous when you double down and push further.

I tend to be one of those players who like to just build a single character and transition that character to some kind of institution or mentor when he gets older rather than retiring it and starting over, so I'm really not necessarily in favor of perma-death being all that easy.

V2 Beta Feedback and Bugs / Re: The death penalty destroys fun.
« on: January 07, 2019, 04:02:34 pm »
I have gotten XP back a couple times, but I caught myself yesterday trying to think of any reason this was a bug to get an XP refund and I realized that that didn't make the system any better, it just temped me into lying to DMs about why my character died. I've played out the scenario a dozen times in my head and ultimately I died because I made a mistake. It was a tiny mistake that shouldn't cause that much destruction, but everything still came down to just that one thing. I did get a partial refund from Gmork, but even that kind of makes me think it isn't a good system because someone who just took the loss and moved on wouldn't have gotten XP back, I got vocal about it and that translated into a significant benefit to my character. While I appreciate that a lot, I'm not convinced refunds will ever be fair. They encourage people to call every death a bug, and benefit people who raise a stink instead of just moving on.

V2 Beta Feedback and Bugs / Re: The death penalty destroys fun.
« on: January 06, 2019, 11:56:57 pm »
The XP penalty has been a mainstay in most role playing systems (not just nwn, but most tabletop games) because it serves to provide a consequence players fear. While the system of having a permadeath period is interesting, I would be more mad to lose my full character I have put hours, weeks, even months into because I got killed twice in a row. I come from a server where the XP penalty is more severe, and can say that while it can be frustrating to lose levels, it comes with many opportunities.

XP penalties may be commonplace, but games where the amount of XP you can gain is bottlenecked by server resets and events are not commonplace at all.

Saying that it isn't severe is also just wrong. I lost over a weeks worth of progress over a tiny mistake, with no way to work harder to get it back, it's just a kick in the balls that serves no purpose unless you think people quitting the server is somehow a good thing.

What does the XP penalty actually contribute to the game? Name an actual benefit it provides. Saying it's always been this way or it could be worse aren't arguments for why something this fun destroying should exist. Deleveling yourself to gain access to quests again also isn't a benefit, and if it was something people wanted to do it should be accomplished through the player tool, not repeated suicides.

People can already only progress upward, because anyone who doesn't progress upward simply quits the game. There is a reason why the server's population is entirely comprised of level 15+ characters and people trying to get there. There will never be a population of happy mid level players who are content just struggling to stay in place. Any attempt to create that simply drives people away with absolutely no benefit to the server.

Reality is simply this: The XP penalty drives people away from the game and provides nothing to the people who thrive in spite of it unless they care more about feeling superior to those who aren't having fun with this system than about having a healthy server population.

It doesn't produce fear. It just makes you roll your eyes, knowing that there's nothing you can do to regain lost progress if you've already run the quests, or if you're level 15+.

Yea, that's exactly my issue with it. Even if all quests were open, especially as a new player who doesn't know every quest, and being stuck in the mid levels where everyone has either quit or moved beyond being allowed to quest with you there is no way to produce 6500 XP back after you've lost it, you have to wait for events and server resets for at least a week to make that back.

I have a few hundred hours of game time in the various Dark Souls games, so I'm perfectly fine with hard games and death panalties, but I want failure to be a learning experience, and I want failure to be a catalyst for renewed effort. The XP penalty provides none of that. It's just a shitty legacy system that drives down player numbers.

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