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Old 01-13-2019, 06:34 PM   #1
TippetsTX
 
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Default TFT Powers - Mystic Monk portfolio

Going forward, I'll be presenting additional Power portfolios in their own threads. As a reminder, Powers are a new XP-based character option that I will be playtesting over the coming months as part of my Ptolus campaign.

http://forums.sjgames.com/showpost.p...7&postcount=24

Prefacing notes: While I really like the following Powers thematically, I'm not quite as satisfied with the mechanics or confident that the power-levels are appropriately balanced. Part of the issue, I believe, lies with UC talents these Powers are intended to enhance but there are also likely errors in my own design assumptions. Feedback is appreciated.


Mystic Monk (Path of the Five Elements) Portfolio
Prerequisites: See below

Passed down for centuries, the Path of the Five Elements is a tradition of secret martial art techniques taught by a handful of monastic orders on Cidri. Each Power represents a martial stance that the character can adopt during combat. The character must state which stance they are using and only one stance may be active at any given time. The stance can be maintained as long as character remains in combat, but there is a limit on the total number of times any stance may be activated in a day. This limit is based on the character's ST; divide by 3 rounded down (for example, a character with a ST equal to 9, 10 or 11 may use any combination of these Powers a total of 3 times per day). The character may switch stances at any time and switching from one stance to another requires 1 turn.

Unlike other Powers, these abilities will not manifest upon the expenditure of XP alone; they must be taught. The character must seek out a Master that will train them in the various techniques of the ‘Path’ or more likely several different Masters.

It is not uncommon for the various masteries to be associated with mystical tattoos or runes applied to the character's body. Whether these markings are merely symbolic or actually serve as the magical foci or source for these Powers is up to the GM.


Tier 1 - Master of Water (500 XP)
Prerequisites: Unarmed Combat II

The character gains the ability to use the Defend option while unarmed (if they can't do-so already) and may Dodge even when engaged. All melee or HTH attacks made against them will subtract 1 point from the opponent’s DX roll per Power tier they have acquired in this portfolio (i.e. melee attacks against a character who has achieved the tier 3 ability ‘Master of Fire’ are made at -3 DX). This benefit will stack with the UC Evade ability.

This stance also improves the character's Throw ability. By redirecting their opponent's momentum, the character may throw them up to two hexes away from their current position.

Tier 2 - Master of Earth (1000 XP)
Prerequisites: Toughness (at least one level)

While in this stance the character's hardened flesh stops 1 hit per Power tier (i.e. 2 hits initially) and stone-like fists and feet add 1 to unarmed Punch and Kick attacks per Power tier. Both bonuses stack with the character's current UC benefits as well as with other sources like Toughness and Stone Flesh. The character can also use the Defend option while unarmed.

Note: At the GM’s discretion, this Power may be taken as the character's Tier 1 selection and ‘Master of Water’ would become the Tier 2 option. If this is done, UC I should be added as an additional prerequisite. The subsequent Powers in this portfolio are not interchangeable, however.

Tier 3 - Master of Fire (1500 XP)
Prerequisites: Unarmed Combat III

A character with this Power can channel their internal chi into their hands generating extreme heat. This will manifest as a glowing or flaming fist (color will vary based on the player's preference, but yellow, orange or white are typical). The damage dealt will follow the same rules outlined for flaming weapons in ITL (pg 162). A successful Punch attack adds +2 damage if the character normally does 1 die or less HTH damage, +3 if he does more than 1 and up to 2 dice damage, and 1d+1 if he does more than 2 dice damage.

The character also gains some resistance to fire or flame-based attacks (including magical spells). The stance will stop 2 hits of fire damage per Power tier that the character has acquired in this portfolio (i.e. 6 hits stopped initially).

Tier 4 - Master of Air (2000 XP)
Prerequisites: Acrobatics, Running

The character using this stance has the same defensive bonus as the Master of Water except that they apply to ranged attacks and missile spells only (-4 DX ‘to hit’ to start which stacks with Evade) and can make jumps with more ease. All jumping actions will ‘cost’ 1 less MA and require 1 less die to perform (i.e. jumping 8 feet uses only 3 MA and success requires a roll on 4 dice vs. the total of their DX+ST). This character may also Dodge while engaged.

In addition, once per engagement, the character can deliver a whirlwind flurry of blows, striking in all directions against each opponent in their hex or any hex directly adjacent to them. They must roll ‘to hit’ separately against each opponent and damage dealt will be their current Unarmed Combat punch damage.

Tier 5 - Master of the Void (2500 XP)
Prerequisites: Unarmed Combat IV

The character's perceptions and martial abilities now extend beyond the material realm. While in this stance, the character effectively has Mage Sight (as the spell) enhancing their ‘eyes-behind’ Evade ability. Their supernatural senses can also perceive someone cloaked by the Unnoticeability spell and even pierce the Astral plane to detect astral projections. The character may also Dodge while engaged.

Their fists likewise gain the ability to strike non-material targets including ghosts and other incorporeal creatures, opponents using the Insubstantiality spell, and ‘astral bodies’.

Finally, when the character acquires UC V, they can use their Nerve Strike ability once per day to paralyze an opponent as per the Freeze spell. Obviously, this would not work on creatures without discernible anatomy or physical form. Elementals and constructs would also be immune to this ability.
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Last edited by TippetsTX; 01-20-2019 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: TFT Powers - Mystic Monk portfolio

I think the following alternate progression schedule (first proposed in my other thread) works well for this portfolio as well.
  • Tier 1 and 2 Powers - 750 XP each
  • Tier 3 and 4 Powers - 1500 XP
  • Tier 5 Powers - 3000 XP

Still looking for feedback on these powers too.
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: TFT Powers - Mystic Monk portfolio

Thoughts:

Master of AIr (only?) says "while using this stance" which implies you have to choose only one of these stances to be using each turn? Also implied by re-mentioning the ability to dodge or parry unarmed at levels 3+?

If so, I think that adds a nice tactical choice and signficance/thematicness and also a nice reduction in the stack-o-rama and "of course my fists are always flaming orange" aspect.

I am not sure why Fire and Air could not be learned in different order, especially if the costs are marked per element. They are different and Fire seems at least as powerful (though different) as Air for combat purposes, to me.

Air could use more detailed explanation of the flurry attacks - is it giving an exception to the usual inability to strike out of HTH while in HTH? Also it seems like if you could strike people in several directions, and were only facing one, you could probably strike a single person more than once instead.

I like that Master of the Void is a countermeasure for Astral Projection. I might add mention that it could let you detect that there is something insubstantial inside a nearby wall (such as people using the Insubstantiality spell, or monsters that are insubstantial). Of course, it is Tier V, so would tend to be something almost no one knew in limited-power games.

I'm not clear whether/which of these (if any) have the same restrictions as Unarmed Combat skills - Can I use weapons & armor and still benefit from these powers?

I think Water and Earth are examples of powers that someone could be extremely tempted to take and then maybe stop taking this portfolio. I would, anyway, since they add very nice defensive abilities that would go well with fighters, and I don't especially want my fists to be on fire. (I don't see this as a problem - I'm just mentioning it since before you'd mentioned an expectation most people would want to push towards Tier 5 in one portfolio.)
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Old 01-25-2019, 07:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: TFT Powers - Mystic Monk portfolio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Master of AIr (only?) says "while using this stance" which implies you have to choose only one of these stances to be using each turn? Also implied by re-mentioning the ability to dodge or parry unarmed at levels 3+?

If so, I think that adds a nice tactical choice and signficance/thematicness and also a nice reduction in the stack-o-rama and "of course my fists are always flaming orange" aspect.
The stance mechanics are described in the portfolio description text preceding the actual Powers.


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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
I am not sure why Fire and Air could not be learned in different order, especially if the costs are marked per element. They are different and Fire seems at least as powerful (though different) as Air for combat purposes, to me.
I may have a solution for this. See my last post in the main 'Powers' thread.


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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Air could use more detailed explanation of the flurry attacks - is it giving an exception to the usual inability to strike out of HTH while in HTH? Also it seems like if you could strike people in several directions, and were only facing one, you could probably strike a single person more than once instead.
I'll review those rules and make sure the intent is clear. TBH, I think the multiple attack option should kick in at UC III instead of UC V.


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I like that Master of the Void is a countermeasure for Astral Projection. I might add mention that it could let you detect that there is something insubstantial inside a nearby wall (such as people using the Insubstantiality spell, or monsters that are insubstantial). Of course, it is Tier V, so would tend to be something almost no one knew in limited-power games.
Interesting idea. Makes sense to me.


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I'm not clear whether/which of these (if any) have the same restrictions as Unarmed Combat skills - Can I use weapons & armor and still benefit from these powers?
No, you can't. They are intended to blend with UC only. I will clarify this in the summary section.


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I think Water and Earth are examples of powers that someone could be extremely tempted to take and then maybe stop taking this portfolio. I would, anyway, since they add very nice defensive abilities that would go well with fighters, and I don't especially want my fists to be on fire. (I don't see this as a problem - I'm just mentioning it since before you'd mentioned an expectation most people would want to push towards Tier 5 in one portfolio.)
And that's perfectly fine. One of my core goals with Powers is provide options for a variety of character archetypes at different levels of depth so that players can choose to add just a little or a lot of extra flair to their characters.
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TippetsTX View Post
The stance mechanics are described in the portfolio description text preceding the actual Powers.
Oh I totally skipped that somehow, thanks.

A couple of questions about them:

* Most or all of the stances seem to have some non-combat uses. If someone wants to use a stance when no combat is happening, can they do that, and if so, how long can they keep it going?

* In the turn to switch stances, presumably no stance benefits apply, but does the user have to take the Cast Spell option, or can they be doing other things during that turn?

* Similarly, when going from no stance to using a stance, does that take one turn of no-stance before being able to use stance effects? And does that require taking an action to do so while not doing other things?

* When going from one stance to another, when exactly does one have to choose which other stance one is going to change to?

* What if you're in a stance and want to go to not using any stance - does that take a turn of not doing other things?
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Most or all of the stances seem to have some non-combat uses. If someone wants to use a stance when no combat is happening, can they do that, and if so, how long can they keep it going?
TBH, I hadn't really considered using stances outside of combat. There's no duration limits, only the ST-based per day limits so if a character wanted to use 'Master of Fire' to cross several hexes of fire, for example, I would allow it but they are burning one of their uses per day.


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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
In the turn to switch stances, presumably no stance benefits apply, but does the user have to take the Cast Spell option, or can they be doing other things during that turn?
If they are disengaged, then I was thinking the could still use the DODGE action during the 'cooldown' turn, but if engaged, then they should be limited to SHIFT & DEFEND.


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Similarly, when going from no stance to using a stance, does that take one turn of no-stance before being able to use stance effects? And does that require taking an action to do so while not doing other things?
I think this should be treated as READYING A WEAPON.


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When going from one stance to another, when exactly does one have to choose which other stance one is going to change to?
They should choose the new stance when they decide to make the switch (just before the 'cooldown' turn), but as with certain spells, they do not have to announce to their opponent what stance they will be switching to.


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What if you're in a stance and want to go to not using any stance - does that take a turn of not doing other things?
Maybe, but probably not.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: TFT Powers - Mystic Monk portfolio

So it's more restrictive to go from no stance to a stance (can only Ready, move 2 hexes), than it is to go from one stance to another (can Dodge or Defend, move up to 1/2 MA)?

(Seemed surprising at first, but could make sense if already being in a stance means you're already in stance mode, just changing stance.)


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TBH, I hadn't really considered using stances outside of combat. There's no duration limits, only the ST-based per day limits so if a character wanted to use 'Master of Fire' to cross several hexes of fire, for example, I would allow it but they are burning one of their uses per day.
Sure. Thinking about what some more crafty players might do with this out of combat, some things come to mind, FWIW:

* If someone only has one stance, why not use it all day long?

* All of them might be used any time someone's around people and thinks they might get suddenly attacked and not want to need to take a turn before getting its benefit.

* Earth would be useful to have on any time you think you might take damage from anything it protects against (traps, ranged attacks, accidents).

* Fire is very useful of course for starting fires, destroying things, breaking through things, smoking people out of places, the fireproofing you mentioned, and for light and heat and getting attention or signalling from a distance.

* Air can be used for overcoming obstacles out of combat.

* Master of the Void is definitely one people would love to have on all day, as it gives you super Mage Sight all day long, which is much better at preventing nasty Astral / Invisible / etc attacks than if you can only use it for brief periods. Of course as you say, it uses one of your uses, and means you're not using the others that also have defensive uses of other kinds. i.e. You could detect astral attacks but not an assassin who walks up and attacks you, when you could have had Water for -5 to hit and Defend, or Earth for +5 armor, etc.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:00 PM   #8
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* If someone only has one stance, why not use it all day long?
Something that just occurred to me is that always-on powers are reminiscent of self-powered magic items and they should probably interact with the rule of 5. This is pertinent to my Theurgy system as well.

Maybe considering up to 5 always-on powers to be a single magic item might be a good approach...
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
So it's more restrictive to go from no stance to a stance (can only Ready, move 2 hexes), than it is to go from one stance to another (can Dodge or Defend, move up to 1/2 MA)?

(Seemed surprising at first, but could make sense if already being in a stance means you're already in stance mode, just changing stance.)
Would you suggest a different approach? TBH, I fully accept that you and the other long-time Trippers here will have a much better idea about the various rule interactions than I do. I'm more that happy to defer to your wisdom.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Thinking about what some more crafty players might do with this out of combat, some things come to mind, FWIW:

* If someone only has one stance, why not use it all day long?

* All of them might be used any time someone's around people and thinks they might get suddenly attacked and not want to need to take a turn before getting its benefit.

* Earth would be useful to have on any time you think you might take damage from anything it protects against (traps, ranged attacks, accidents).

* Fire is very useful of course for starting fires, destroying things, breaking through things, smoking people out of places, the fireproofing you mentioned, and for light and heat and getting attention or signalling from a distance.

* Air can be used for overcoming obstacles out of combat.

* Master of the Void is definitely one people would love to have on all day, as it gives you super Mage Sight all day long, which is much better at preventing nasty Astral / Invisible / etc attacks than if you can only use it for brief periods. Of course as you say, it uses one of your uses, and means you're not using the others that also have defensive uses of other kinds. i.e. You could detect astral attacks but not an assassin who walks up and attacks you, when you could have had Water for -5 to hit and Defend, or Earth for +5 armor, etc.
So as a GM who tries to enourage creative problem solving in my players, I would have to say... maybe. I might allow some of the uses you describe, but only as case-by-case exceptions. I definately wouldn’t allow extended non-combat use, however. Remember, the portfolio summary text states "Each Power represents a martial stance that the character can adopt during combat" so being engaged will be the default expectation for using these Powers.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by zot View Post
Something that just occurred to me is that always-on powers are reminiscent of self-powered magic items and they should probably interact with the rule of 5. This is pertinent to my Theurgy system as well.

Maybe considering up to 5 always-on powers to be a single magic item might be a good approach...
As I stated previously, none of these Powers are intended to work as 'always on' abilities.
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