Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > In Nomine

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-16-2017, 01:50 PM   #1
PK
Assistant GURPS Line Editor
 
PK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dobbstown Sane Asylum
Default Normalizing stats, for the better

The Problem: One of the biggest issues with In Nomine, IMO, is that whether you're building a human or a (modestly powerful) celestial, there's a lot of room for swing. What I mean is, it's easy to completely suck in some areas but equally easy to be completely overpowered in some areas. And while the GM can strongly encourage players to build balanced characters, it's sadly true that those balanced characters tend to fail at most rolls until they earn more Forces (turning 2 Forces into a characteristic of 4 + a skill of 1-2 = sucking). So it becomes tempting to pump your key characteristics up to 12 to hit "autosuccess plus check digit bonus" as often as possible -- and it's kind of silly how easy this is to do for even starting characters! -- which leads to all of their actions being basically "pass/fail."

I don't think I'm saying anything that hasn't been said before, probably more eloquently, by others. But my POV is that the d666 isn't the issue here; the issue is the extreme amounts of swing. Just as the GMG fixed the problem with body hits, I think it's possible to fix the issue with characteristics. They shouldn't range from 1-12, because we don't need stats that go from "utterly useless" to "almost every roll breaks the system"; we want them to go from "poor" to "amazing" like most other games.

My Goals

1. Constrain characteristics to a reasonable range, in this case 4-10. (I've considered 3-9, but I think it's just more fun to default to more competent characters.)

2. Promote balance, so that the person with Strength 7, Agility 7 has some tangible benefits over one with Strength 4, Agility 10. (See rules for songs.)

I also plan to normalize a few other things, like starting character points for resources (defaulting to being a bit more generous) and combat stuff, but I don't want to make this post too broad as I'm looking for feedback.

Rules Changes

Characteristics: Every human and human-patterned character starts with 4 in each characteristics. Every Force in an area gives you 2 Characteristic Points to improve those, to a maximum of 10 (+6). Example: Sade, a new angel, has 3 Corporeal Forces, which gives her +6 to distribute between Strength and Agility. She takes +4 to Strength and +2 to Agility, for Strength 8, Agility 6.

Songs: To use a song, roll against the lower of the two relevant characteristics plus the song's level. Example: Sade has Song of Harmony (Corporeal)/3. Her Agility is her lowest Corporeal characteristic, so she rolls against Agility 6 + Song 3 = TN 9.

Success/Failure: You cannot roll if your effective skill is less than 2. Also, no matter how high your skill, a roll of 12 is always a failure. (This makes "pump everything to 12+" a bit less attractive, and a 2.8% chance of failure is hardly onerous.) If your TN would be higher than 11, you may add any "excess" to the check digit of a successful roll, as for the existing rules.

Essence and Rolls: Every 1 Essence spent before rolling gives +1 to a roll. You may also spend Essence after you roll, but the cost then doubles to 2 Essence per +1.

Thoughts?
__________________
Reverend Pee Kitty of the Order Malkavian-Dobbsian (Twitter) (LJ)

MyGURPS: My house rules and GURPS resources.

#SJGamesLive: I answered questions about GURPS After the End and more!
{Watch Video} - {Read Transcript}
PK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2017, 06:14 PM   #2
robkelk
Untitled
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: between keyboard and chair
Default Re: Normalizing stats, for the better

I'd prefer to playtest these before giving an opinion, but I'm between groups at the moment.

On the face of it, they look good.
__________________
Rob Kelk
“Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
– Bernard Baruch,
Deming (New Mexico) Headlight, 6 January 1950
robkelk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2017, 05:36 PM   #3
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Normalizing stats, for the better

Likewise: looks good, but I'd want to try it out.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2017, 02:42 AM   #4
Methariel
 
Methariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Freiburg i. Brsg., Germany
Default Re: Normalizing stats, for the better

The system IN is currently using admittedly shows the problems described by PK. As it is, it needs a GM who consistently(!) rules when a Skill or Ability check is not necessary to succeed and when you have to take it. Such a GM needs some trust from his - or her - players, as well as the group as a whole accepting that "cinematics/narration might trump rules". That leads to IN being 'successfully' played only by groups whose members are acquainted with each other and their playstyle, in my opinion.

Having said that, PK's solution seems to address the problem, even though I, as the others before me, would like to playtest it before giving a final opinion.

That being said, I would like to point out that I firmly belong into the camp that wants to keep the gap between celestials and mortals, as well as between celestials and ethereals. I like my canon-celestials having significantly higher Abilities (Am I using the right term here? I'm referring to Strength, Precision, Will etc.) than regular humans, and I want them being better at tasks they took the time to acquire the Skills for. That is one of the things that make the system/setting appeal to me.

I do not mind a trained IT professional being better at using computer systems than a regular Seraph, though. (That is, as long as the angel does not just spend some Essence on the problem and 'miracles' the system to work as the celestial wants it to, as shown in one of the rules' examples for using Essence.) So maybe a higher default to some Skills would be useful, too.

Even though Body Hits are not the main concern of the thread, I would like to add that I positively like the huge amounts of Body Hits celestial Vessels can have. The GMG's 'fix' to that has never been felt necessary to me. It is a game about Angels and Demons after all, about beings so far removed and above - or below - from ordinary humans, while at the same time being very close to them, and sometimes much more limited than them. I do like those beings to take a shotgun blast to the chest or three, shrugging and going on to politely punch their human attacker's head from their shoulders with their bare hands. (I do have to point out, that, in the games I used to participate in/run, combat had its place, but it did not happen often. The emphasis was a lot more on politics, conflicting agendas and intrigue, just like the (Cold) War apparently is being fought.) What I am talking about is shown nicely in that - in most other respects awful - Lucifer-wants-to-destroy-the-world-film with Arnold Schwarzenegger, when the First of the Fallen, played by Gabriel Byrne, gets smashed to almost pulp and looks down at his chest, being annoyed by it, but apparently not feeling any pain.

So, please 'mind the gap' when trying to solve problems that, admittedly, exist for some players.

Best regards

M.
__________________
"In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing."
(Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest" , act 3)
Methariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2017, 05:45 PM   #5
PK
Assistant GURPS Line Editor
 
PK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dobbstown Sane Asylum
Default Re: Normalizing stats, for the better

Well, this forms the core of some changes that I've been working on for a while. If anyone's interested and wants to see what I've done, in full detail, it's all up at this page:

http://mygurps.com/pmwiki.php?n=Main.InNomine

I'd certainly love feedback.

Also note that I beyond-completely agree that this needs playtesting, and I plan to do so at some point in the near future. If anyone else is willing to give these rules a spin and send me feedback on what worked and what didn't, I would love them forever.

(Yes, I'm slowly transitioning the MyGURPS stuff over to a wiki format, just because it's so much easier than editing raw HTML and FTPing it up. That doesn't mean this is a public wiki; I have the only edit password.)
__________________
Reverend Pee Kitty of the Order Malkavian-Dobbsian (Twitter) (LJ)

MyGURPS: My house rules and GURPS resources.

#SJGamesLive: I answered questions about GURPS After the End and more!
{Watch Video} - {Read Transcript}
PK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2017, 09:56 PM   #6
tHEhERETIC
 
tHEhERETIC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Life imitates art--I'm in Pohang
Default Re: Normalizing stats, for the better

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methariel View Post
That being said, I would like to point out that I firmly belong into the camp that wants to keep the gap between celestials and mortals, as well as between celestials and ethereals. I like my canon-celestials having significantly higher Abilities (Am I using the right term here? I'm referring to Strength, Precision, Will etc.) than regular humans, and I want them being better at tasks they took the time to acquire the Skills for. That is one of the things that make the system/setting appeal to me.

I do not mind a trained IT professional being better at using computer systems than a regular Seraph, though. (That is, as long as the angel does not just spend some Essence on the problem and 'miracles' the system to work as the celestial wants it to, as shown in one of the rules' examples for using Essence.) So maybe a higher default to some Skills would be useful, too.

Even though Body Hits are not the main concern of the thread, I would like to add that I positively like the huge amounts of Body Hits celestial Vessels can have. The GMG's 'fix' to that has never been felt necessary to me. It is a game about Angels and Demons after all, about beings so far removed and above - or below - from ordinary humans, while at the same time being very close to them, and sometimes much more limited than them. I do like those beings to take a shotgun blast to the chest or three, shrugging and going on to politely punch their human attacker's head from their shoulders with their bare hands. (I do have to point out, that, in the games I used to participate in/run, combat had its place, but it did not happen often. The emphasis was a lot more on politics, conflicting agendas and intrigue, just like the (Cold) War apparently is being fought.) What I am talking about is shown nicely in that - in most other respects awful - Lucifer-wants-to-destroy-the-world-film with Arnold Schwarzenegger, when the First of the Fallen, played by Gabriel Byrne, gets smashed to almost pulp and looks down at his chest, being annoyed by it, but apparently not feeling any pain.

So, please 'mind the gap' when trying to solve problems that, admittedly, exist for some players.

Best regards

M.
I'll deal with the crunchies later, but I'd like to address Methariel's thoughts a bit.

I like celestials being potentially much more badass than humans, but that most such beings on the ground are not actually. Lucifer in a vessel makes sense getting run over by a Schwarnegger and laughing it off, because Lucifer isn't going to go to Earth over just anything. A minion with that kind of fortitude, though, is going to draw the wrong kind of attention because he's going to hang around a bit longer. If he's seen getting hit by a truck and is then seen walking around two weeks later, to me that breaks the setting (and ticks off Khalid to no end). Keep in mind that my background before IN was WoD and Constantine and in both those settings most people had no idea of the war just under their noses.

Superiors are quite capable of building high-powered vessels but I think (giving my setting assumptions) that they would generally refrain from doing so. Don't want trauma? Don't ask for a tougher vessel, just don't play chicken with trains.

Intelligence and Will are a little stickier there, since they're not vessel-dependent. I like the idea of angels as blazing experts in their fields but socially alien (especially Seraphim). Such a being could fluently speak several dialects of Latin because he's had time, but be as pointless as an old lady when it comes to programming a VCR, errr, TiVo? Firestick? He'd have historical noise to sort through to even know what device to use, nevermind how to use it. So--exceptional skills, but anachronistic deficits.

I'm sure it's in the rules somewhere (left my harddrive at home dammit) but a lot of basic skills are freebies for humans but must be purchased within Roles for celestials. Typing, driving, cooking, the kinds of things you just learn growing up I give to human characters but charge celestials for, because celestials don't grow up human.

But on PK's things--I like the 12 you fail bit and did something like that in my Red Queen LARP. No one should succeed on a difficult task every single time.

I use a different system for character vs character and PC vs environment, to the point where I occasionally confuse myself. CvC the higher number wins, CvE you must get below the target number. In a CvC I like having a clear winner, though I use the CD to soften or magnify it as the situation allows. In PlaybyPost I have the luxury of using Tarot cards instead of dice, giving a colorful and description CD, but in an actual tabletop game that would slow you down way too much.

I hope I'm making sense.
__________________
Criminy...these two have enough issues, they can sell subscriptions! (ladyarcana55, in a PM)
tHEhERETIC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.