Creations

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alex_greene
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Creations

Postby alex_greene » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:42 pm

I thought I'd make a first draft of my latest article, Creations: Made To Serve, available to the board here for scrutiny and feedback.

Creations covers a variety of artificial servitors: familiars, homunculi, animated humanoid automata, animates, Golems of clay and stone and brass, Galateas and hapless Creatures made of body parts and born to new and awful life in thunderstorms lying on a cold table, Creations has it all.

Creations on 4shared
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Prime_Evil
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Re: Creations

Postby Prime_Evil » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:58 pm

Very nice work. I was wondering about ways to handle familiars in the game just the other day. This fits my needs perfectly.
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:08 pm

I hope you enjoy the familiar creations rules. They are a radical departure from the usual familiar creation rules which are a legacy from RuneQuest.

The rest ... well, I really hope you enjoy the others too. Let me know if you have any favourites.

This is only the first draft. If you spot spelling mistakes or whatever, let me know so I can correct them.
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Re: Creations

Postby Bifford » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:22 am

Any chance of putting this on Google Docs so I don't have to sign up for the site to download that?

Please and thank you :)

Sam
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Re: Creations

Postby rust » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:22 am

Thank you very much, this is most useful for my current
campaign. :)

The only problem I see is a potential conflict between the
Enchantment Condition "Always On" and the need of any
matrix to "refresh" for a certain amount of time after each
use (e.g. Arms of Legend, pages 141 and 142).

Does the "Always On" condition eliminate the need for a
matrix to "refresh" and therefore make it possible to en-
chant items which function without interruption for any
amount of time ?
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:52 am

rust wrote:Thank you very much, this is most useful for my current campaign. :)

The only problem I see is a potential conflict between the Enchantment Condition "Always On" and the need of any matrix to "refresh" for a certain amount of time after each use (e.g. Arms of Legend, pages 141 and 142).

Does the "Always On" condition eliminate the need for a matrix to "refresh" and therefore make it possible to enchant items which function without interruption for any amount of time ?
The "always on" condition actually appears as a default for enchantments in the Vikings of Legend sourcebook, so in your setting as a Condition it can supersede the default "refresh" setting, or it can be the default setting only for animates and Golems (because it is necessary), a condition that appears nowhere else.

I broached the idea of the "Always On" setting in an older thread about Homunculi - round about the time I got the inspiration for the idea of writing this article.
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Simulacrum
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Re: Creations

Postby Simulacrum » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:43 am

Nicely presented with some good stuff in there Alex
alex_greene wrote:I hope you enjoy the familiar creations rules. They are a radical departure from the usual familiar creation rules which are a legacy from RuneQuest.
Legend is, in its entirety, a legacy from RuneQuest - so there's no particular merit in erasing or escaping the legacy, only in going new places with it. You've used the key element in the legacy RQ rules, which is the need to give an incomplete creature a complete set of stats (adding variable INT and CHA)

The only published familiar rules for Legend I am aware of are in Age of Treason, so are these the 'usual' ones? However your rules sweep up/provide alternatives for fetches as well which are in the Spirit Magic rules.

To make some comment:

On first read I like the variety of familiars you have captured in your doc - it's liberating and creative. OTOH I'm concerned about how you are calibrating the 'factors' being applied to build them.

As a basic design note, adding together two skills and dividing by 10 (rather than using one) is a departure from a tried/expected legend mechanic to arrive at a measure of Magnitude or Intensity. While I know that mechanic can demand some hard thinking about how to scale effects to a range that typically spans 3-12, simply doubling it up so you can expect a range of 6-18 and some serious NPCs racking up to 30+ creates its own.

For example, under your system a half decent magician will be able to add 10D6 or more to their familiar's stats. So let's say he uses a hound. 2D6 is more than enough to add to INT (just 1D6 will make the INT variable, job done), why does he need more than a couple of dice of CHA, it's a dog? - hence 6D6 or 36 points are left to uber-boost the rest of his stats.

Likewise I'm puzzled why the Animates and Golems start out with a base level of stats prior to enchantment - unless this is simply to make sure that hen factors are spent on them the right final number is going to be arrived at when it would not if they started from 0.

By the way - you advise vetoing T-Rex familiars? I'd let 'em try. You've provided that a natural creature has to be caged/rendered helpless...that' a quest in itself, could be great fun. And try taking it into town with you. Sounds like fun...
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:05 am

I was going to post them to BRP Central so everyone here can share, but BRP Central got hacked last week and it might be weeks before it can come back again.

I've thought about Dropbox, but truth is I want one, maybe two ports of call for my articles. That way, when I update my stuff I don't have to go to too many places at one time.

Until BRP Central comes back, PM me with your email address and I can send you the document.

Also, suggestions for rule changes are welcome because I already want to expand the document to include sample familiars, golems and the like - even, perhaps, a story seed or two. Vengeful Creatures taking it out on their creator's descendants, a prideful Galatea heading for a fall, an inherited familiar ...
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:54 pm

You do make some very good points there. The idea of making a creature complete appeared as early as the Avalon Hill RQ3 Magic Book. Nothing in Legend until your rules in AoT.

Thanks, also, for the vote of confidence in my familiars. I drew upon historical accounts of familiars and used them as my inspiration.

I thought about the way the factors are applied, and I would not have written those rules that way unless there'd been a precedent for it - in Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic, where the Grimoire and Manipulation skills were pooled together. In my case, it's the surplus Intensity factors left after basic creation that are added to the Manipulation factors.

Those extra factors which turn out surplus to building characteristics could be used to purchase innate abilities for your familiar. And anything left after that is wasted.

Also, not all magicians are half-decent. There might be a magician short on Manipulation and Grimoire who can barely scrape up more than seven or eight factors for use with his familiar.

The absurd amount of factors can also allow for an inherited familiar, experienced and more powerful than one freshly drawn from its netherplane and still naive in the ways of mortal men.

Animates and Golems start with the basic stats they do because, face it, they can be absurdly unbalanced in any encounter. Untiring, remorseless, relentless, but if you lure an Animate into a magical null zone it'll wind down, and if you can locate a Golem's heart and destroy it you can kill it instantly.

And as I'm writing this I'm watching a movie, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, where they have not only faced a homunculus, but right now they are fighting a wooden Animate, brought to life and manipulated by Tom Baker's bad guy sorcerer.

Edit: And right now, there's the iconic scene with the stop-motion dancing Kali statue animate with the six limbs.

If that is not a good sign, I don't know what is.
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Simulacrum
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Re: Creations

Postby Simulacrum » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:00 pm

alex_greene wrote: thought about the way the factors are applied, and I would not have written those rules that way unless there'd been a precedent for it - in Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic, where the Grimoire and Manipulation skills were pooled together.
Sorry, Alex I missed that - where is it?

My point is still the likely range of possible outcomes. In Legend RAW a sorcerer is likely to have a Manipulation of 50-60% even at chargen. OK, so the Grimoire with the relevant spells in may not be part of his tradition, so a new skill when he acquires it at basic (25%+, assume 30% or more for a character with appropriate INT for a sorcerer). So really - for a Sorcerer character, 8 'Factors' is pretty much the minimum.
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Re: Creations

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:22 pm

Simulacrum wrote:
alex_greene wrote: thought about the way the factors are applied, and I would not have written those rules that way unless there'd been a precedent for it - in Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic, where the Grimoire and Manipulation skills were pooled together.
Sorry, Alex I missed that - where is it?
This is the way that Concert Casting works as per the table at the bottom of p.65 in Blood Magic, but I don't recall it being used elsewhere.

(Which raises the question - can you use Concert Casting to create a really powerful construct? Also, can you use Concert Casting to bind a very powerful familiar - such as the T-Rex mentioned previously - or must the whole ritual be performed by a single caster?)
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Re: Creations

Postby Simulacrum » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:55 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:This is the way that Concert Casting works as per the table at the bottom of p.65 in Blood Magic, but I don't recall it being used elsewhere.
OK - get that. But a completely different job is being done there. It's the total skill pool (capped by combined Concert skill) available to the Concert casting leader who can choose how much of that skill pool to allocate to each skill. There's no set of key secondary numbers (e.g. skill/10) being derived from the combination of two skills.

In the end I'm just asking two questions - is the mechanic Alex puts forward properly calibrated to reflect how things work in actual play; and is it creating another underlying subsystem rather than use what is already there in Legend to a new purpose. I'm happy to admit they are two questions it's very easy to not care about.
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:07 pm

Actually, you can use the rules to create absurdly powerful familiars in terms of characteristics - but I envisaged surplus factors being used to buy added features from Monsters of Legend not inherent to the creature.

And multiple casters could pool their factors, but the familiar will only be loyal to the leader of the concert casting / summoning.

The rules discourage the creation of big T Rex familiars because this is Legend, not Pokemon. Though they can be made absurdly overpowered if you wish - but just imagine trying to keep your pet familiar T Rex fed. Think of the monthly upkeep costs, not to mention the usual; screams, people pointing, men with spears, night soil collectors complaining about all the extra work you're throwing at them, ordinary people whose pets go missing ... "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE MY BLUFFY IS? THAT'S HIS COLLAR AND LEASH DANGLING FROM YOUR MONSTER'S TEETH!"
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Re: Creations

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:09 am

alex_greene wrote:Actually, you can use the rules to create absurdly powerful familiars in terms of characteristics - but I envisaged surplus factors being used to buy added features from Monsters of Legend not inherent to the creature.

And multiple casters could pool their factors, but the familiar will only be loyal to the leader of the concert casting / summoning.

The rules discourage the creation of big T Rex familiars because this is Legend, not Pokemon. Though they can be made absurdly overpowered if you wish - but just imagine trying to keep your pet familiar T Rex fed. Think of the monthly upkeep costs, not to mention the usual; screams, people pointing, men with spears, night soil collectors complaining about all the extra work you're throwing at them, ordinary people whose pets go missing ... "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE MY BLUFFY IS? THAT'S HIS COLLAR AND LEASH DANGLING FROM YOUR MONSTER'S TEETH!"
I would be tempted to cap the number of factors that a caster can sink into characteristics - if the total number of factors available to "build" the familiar is equal to one-tenth of the caster's Grimoire + Manipulation or Summon + Manipulation, I'd state that the character can only a number of factors equal to spend factors equal one-tenth of their Manipulation skill on characteristics. This doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of abuse, but it does stop things from getting too silly.

You might allow the caster to spend surplus factors to make his familiar summonable - this works well for infernal familiars and spirits forced into animal form. This would allow the sorcerer to spend a CA to snap his fingers and make the familiar appear out of thin air (possibly with a burst of hellfire and brimstone).

You might also consider adding an ability that allows the caster to heal himself using the familiar's hit points (and vice versa) as this seems to be a common power of familiars in folktales and fantasy literature.
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:12 am

Prime_Evil wrote:
alex_greene wrote:Actually, you can use the rules to create absurdly powerful familiars in terms of characteristics - but I envisaged surplus factors being used to buy added features from Monsters of Legend not inherent to the creature.

And multiple casters could pool their factors, but the familiar will only be loyal to the leader of the concert casting / summoning.

The rules discourage the creation of big T Rex familiars because this is Legend, not Pokemon. Though they can be made absurdly overpowered if you wish - but just imagine trying to keep your pet familiar T Rex fed. Think of the monthly upkeep costs, not to mention the usual; screams, people pointing, men with spears, night soil collectors complaining about all the extra work you're throwing at them, ordinary people whose pets go missing ... "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE MY BLUFFY IS? THAT'S HIS COLLAR AND LEASH DANGLING FROM YOUR MONSTER'S TEETH!"
I would be tempted to cap the number of factors that a caster can sink into characteristics - if the total number of factors available to "build" the familiar is equal to one-tenth of the caster's Grimoire + Manipulation or Summon + Manipulation, I'd state that the character can only a number of factors equal to spend factors equal one-tenth of their Manipulation skill on characteristics. This doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of abuse, but it does stop things from getting too silly.

You might allow the caster to spend surplus factors to make his familiar summonable - this works well for infernal familiars and spirits forced into animal form. This would allow the sorcerer to spend a CA to snap his fingers and make the familiar appear out of thin air (possibly with a burst of hellfire and brimstone).

You might also consider adding an ability that allows the caster to heal himself using the familiar's hit points (and vice versa) as this seems to be a common power of familiars in folktales and fantasy literature.
Two suggestions have now come my way - one: cap the number of factors available on characteristics to the limit of one's Manipulation, as stated above; two, ramp up the cost of buying +3, +1d6 and +6, and also two factors, or even three factors, to purchase each feature or ability.

I believe I can combine those into a seamless mechanic.
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Re: Creations

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:16 am

alex_greene wrote:Two suggestions have now come my way - one: cap the number of factors available on characteristics to the limit of one's Manipulation, as stated above; two, ramp up the cost of buying +3, +1d6 and +6, and also two factors, or even three factors, to purchase each feature or ability.

I believe I can combine those into a seamless mechanic.
I'm looking forward to seeing it :)

Does this mean that you will be uploading a new draft?
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:40 am

I've reworked the factors spread -

One factor buys a +3 to the characteristic die roll. Two factors buys a +1d6 or a +6.

I've also thrown in additional features with which to tempt the player, such as a healing factor which allows the familiar to heal its wounded owner, and the ability to buy extra skill points.

There's also a recommendation that the player put in no more than between half and 75% of available factors into characteristics, leaving some free to buy the other tasty little tidbits I've given them to choose from.

So even a half decent mage with a goodly wodge of factors to play with can still blow the lot and only get a familiar with 1d6+6 or 2d6 in its characteristics, no ubersized housecats the size of ponies but a goodly spread of features and abilities. Speed, extra skills and knowledge (say your imp familiar only has a low INT, say 9, but features are spent on Skill Points - which are piled into Lore and Culture. You have an idiot savant imp that possesses vast amounts of information on a given topic, such as Poisons or a given cult or sorcerous faction. Accurate knowledge that the character couldn't possibly know, but which had to have come from somewhere ...)

And while I did recommend that players think twice about creating a T Rex or wyvern familiar, the sidebar did not specifically out and out forbid it. Just that the players and Games Master think hard about how such creations would be game changing.

Such as the awful knowledge that a T Rex familiar with low INT and high CHA would effectively be Barney ...
Last edited by alex_greene on Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Creations

Postby alex_greene » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:14 pm

The latest draft - Version 1.0.3 - is now available.

This supersedes previous versions, contains emendations and corrections, and vastly improves on the familiars section - which now includes the possibility of concert casting.
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Re: Creations

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:59 pm

alex_greene wrote:Such as the awful knowledge that a T Rex familiar with low INT and high CHA would effectively be Barney ...
Please...you just gave me a bad mental image - Elric versus a renegade sorcerer from Pan Tang with Barney as his familiar!

The new draft looks like a huge improvement. It might be worth adding a sidebar to the the "Other Uses for Factors" that explicitly notes the design philosophy behind the system. It's worth pointing out that in folklore, familiars often possess supernatural abilities such as Dark Sight.
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Re: Creations

Postby mwsasser » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:01 am

Bifford wrote:Any chance of putting this on Google Docs so I don't have to sign up for the site to download that?

Please and thank you :)
Ditto... I'm tired of signing up for 20 different sites just to download something.

What about putting it on the BRP site?

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