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Old 06-22-2020, 03:12 PM   #1
AllenOwen
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Default Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

Elves and Dwarves in The Burning Wheel RPG are inspired from Tolkien.

Elves, though Unaging, suffer from grief as they witness endless tragedy unfold before them. This is represented in the game as a characteristic called Grief, as as the elf witnesses bad things, or does bad things, this stat will slowly increase, until they "pass into the West", much like Tolkien's elves.
Some elves have their Grief become "Spite", and it eventually will drive them to suicide.

I can see "Spite" being represented as various mental disadvantages, such as Callous, Sadistic, Paranoia, etc, as Spite is described as causing the elf to do mean and nasty things. But how would I represent "Grief"? Chronic Depression?

Elves also have ways to mitigate grief, via songs.
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:40 PM   #2
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

I'm not very familiar with Burning Wheel, but my impression was that the emotional attributes are basically positive things. That is, while they might be associated with some negative trait, they empower the character, fueling the elvish magic or faith or whatever other special abilities the race possesses. Level 10 ends the character's career, but that's not because they've become ineffective and helpless, just consumed by their emotion. So maybe Disads aren't the core effect to use to model them.

At any rate, a few other mental Disads strike me as appropriate for grief, though they need some rewording or reinterpretation to reflect grief, sadness, depression as the cause. It's less about mechanics defined as grief as using grief as the underlying reason to understand why the character shows the surface traits that the Disad defines. Chronic Depression is one route, but how about:

Absent-Minded -- the character is consumed enough by mourning for everything he's lost that he just can't get interested in most aspects of life.

Extra Sleep - one classic sign of depression. Why bother to drag yourself out of bed?

Flashbacks -- in this case, of some past emotional connection that turned out badly. (Because for emo elves, things always turn out badly. Or else they can't manage to accentuate the positive.)

Gluttony - in this case, it's because the character is overcompensating for early pangs of grief. He's denying that life is that grim by clinging to it too hard, trying to cram in what joy he can -- but there's so little joyful content that to become sated, he has to overdo everything.

Indecisive - as with Absent-Minded, the explanation of the mechanics here isn't that the character is somehow too dumb to choose. It's that they can't bring themselves to care what happens. It's all going to turn out badly, so why bother to do anything? Whatever you want to do is fine; I don't care.

Insomniac - yes, I put Extra Sleep on here already. But you could also design the character to have trouble sleeping because they're staying up brooding about past losses and fretting over all the bad things that could happen to their current attachments.

Killjoy - being unable to enjoy life to the point where you sail off to Valinor just to get a break from it is pretty much the definition of accumulated Grief.

Laziness -- another early-stage symptom, where the character can't engage himself enough in jobs to make any real effort.

Loner - pretty much part of the core definition, as elves cut themselves off from other people to avoid losing them.

Manic-Depressive - see Gluttony, above. This is a more generalized form of that symptom, overindulgence alternating with depression.

On the Edge -- If you're no longer interested in life, it becomes easy to take what seem like excessive risks. You've got nothing to lose but your grief.

Paranoia -- in Grief form, this isn't so much a specific fear that others are out to get you as a more generalized sense that you don't want to get involved with them because it will turn out badly in the end, as it always does. The reaction roll penalties aren't fear, but isolation.

Short Attention Span - as with Absent-Minded, the effect here is a reflection of the underlying cause, not the definition of the root cause. You find it difficult to focus on current tasks at hand because you're distracted by memories of past similar situations and how those brought you grief. It's another representation of demotivation.

Shyness -- Also a core feature. You have a lot of difficulty getting to know new people. You'd much rather stay be yourself.

Workaholic - classic displacement, the opposite of Short Attention Span, here focusing on work exactly to keep your mind too busy to think about grevious things.
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Old 06-23-2020, 12:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

How would you represent those ailments being forestalled by elvish song and ritual?

Disadvantages with the Maintenance limitation? (Can you even do that?)
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Old 06-23-2020, 01:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

I'd probably use Mitigator.
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Old 06-23-2020, 01:19 PM   #5
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

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Originally Posted by Proteus View Post
How would you represent those ailments being forestalled by elvish song and ritual?

Disadvantages with the Maintenance limitation? (Can you even do that?)
For things like that, an option is to take the Disadvantage unmodified, then take a "Negated Disadvantage" Advantage that, well, negates it, with the relevant Limitation(s) on the Advantage. For example, let's say you have an elf who falls into depression if he isn't entertained at least once a week, and said entertainment needs to be a performance of some type involving 3-5 people. This elf would have Chronic Depression (6-) [-30] and Negated Disadvantage: Chronic Depression (Requires Weekly Maintenance by 3-5 people, -15%) [26] (rounded up from [25.5]). Maintenance usually uses technical skills, but using entertainment skills should be acceptable in this case. Note this ends up only being worth [-4].
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Old 06-23-2020, 09:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
For things like that, an option is to take the Disadvantage unmodified, then take a "Negated Disadvantage" Advantage that, well, negates it, with the relevant Limitation(s) on the Advantage. For example, let's say you have an elf who falls into depression if he isn't entertained at least once a week, and said entertainment needs to be a performance of some type involving 3-5 people. This elf would have Chronic Depression (6-) [-30] and Negated Disadvantage: Chronic Depression (Requires Weekly Maintenance by 3-5 people, -15%) [26] (rounded up from [25.5]). Maintenance usually uses technical skills, but using entertainment skills should be acceptable in this case. Note this ends up only being worth [-4].
I think the math here is off, though I might be wrong. the Negated Disadvantage enhancement says it is worth +10% for every point the Disadvantage is worth.

I'm not sure how you figured the -15%...
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Old 06-23-2020, 10:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

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Originally Posted by AllenOwen View Post
I think the math here is off, though I might be wrong. the Negated Disadvantage enhancement says it is worth +10% for every point the Disadvantage is worth.

I'm not sure how you figured the -15%...
Negated Disadvantage is an Advantage, not an Enhancement. Requires Maintenance is a variant of Temporary Disadvantage and uses the same pricing (-1% per [-1]). As for the value, requiring 3-5 people is [-30] as the base, but is only worth half this much due to being a weekly (rather than daily) requirement.
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

Where is Negated Disadvantage as an Advantage? I only see it as a Special Enhancement in Powers on pg 41.
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

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Originally Posted by AllenOwen View Post
Where is Negated Disadvantage as an Advantage? I only see it as a Special Enhancement in Powers on pg 41.
I don't think it's in any books (hence why I initially put it in quotes), although it sort-of makes an appearance in Bio-Tech (as part of a mental Alternate Form). The Enhancement you're referring to is for Affliction, and is pretty much just Advantage with a different name (much as Negated Advantage is just Disadvantage with a different name).

To be clear, I'm pretty certain Negated Disadvantage isn't truly official, but it really is the best way to build something like this.
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Old 06-24-2020, 07:38 AM   #10
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Default Re: Thoughts on Elves and Dwarves from The Burning Wheel

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Originally Posted by AllenOwen View Post
Where is Negated Disadvantage as an Advantage?
In this use, it's not a specific line item or paragraph -- probably not even RAW. The name comes from the Affliction Enhancement (and the reverse version, the prohibition of Negated Disadvantages on B120, simply because that seemed likely to be an avenue for loopholey munchkin cheese, which like the -80% floor on Limitations, is just a broad-brush way to try to head off mathematical abuse.)

But in the community, it's also the name for a build technique where you deliberately take an Advantage or Disadvantage that intentionally exactly cancel out on a permanent basis, not just the temporary negation from an Affliction. One of them is a standard trait; the invented mate for X is usually just called "No X", and is priced the opposite of X. So if X is a 20-point Advantage, adding "No X" is a -20-point Disadvantage. Or vice-versa.

The point of the gymnastics is to make a build simpler when there's a clean way to modify the invented "No X" half of that pair to get the desired result, while it's awkward or questionable to try to get at the desired result by directly modifying the X version alone. Rather than building something up from a base, sometimes it's easier to take away from its opposite. (It's like the Michelangelo quote, when asked how he could create a masterpiece like "David". He purportedly replied, "It's simple. I just start with a block of stone and remove everything that is not David." The Negated Advantage we're discussing is the RPG equivalent of the artist's "negative space".)

Always a build that should attract some extra attention just to make sure it's not just exploitation. But it can occasionally be a useful tool in the toolbox.
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