Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SA 2.0 Dev Blog #3: Aggravated Damage


  In WoD canon aggravated damage (agg) is a really big deal. Most supernatural creatures can heal non-aggravated lethal or bashing damage quickly with only moderate cost. Aggravated damage however, takes days and willpower to heal. Normal damage still matters but you get really scared when aggravated damage comes around. Also, almost all supernaturals have a method of dealing aggravated damage. Werewolf claws, vampire teeth, and many powers all cause universal agg damage. It is moderately easy to come by and it hurts.
  Is the history of SA agg has worked a number of different ways. It has generally been utilized to prevent a supernatural from using their natural regenerative properties to get back up after being beaten down. There was a time when only if the hit that took you down to 0 was agg damage would you be unable to get back up. Most recently agg comes out in the form of exposure damage (fires, sunlight for vampires, or being staked with an agg weapon) or from weapons and powers. It getting hit with agg once you are at 0 health or by the hit that takes you to 0 health prevents you from using your innate regeneration. This means you can walk through fire from 10 health to 1, then if you get stabbed, all that fire doesn't matter any more. Additionally, most highbie characters have the regenerate power and they can just get back up even with the agg.

Examining Problems

  If you can't tell from my notes above, I feel the current SA system is broken. Someone swinging agg should be among the most terrifying opponents in the game. I'm sure that for some characters it is. But once you have the "survival set" of powers, it simply doesn't matter any more. This isn't how it should be. When someone comes out throwing fire I want to have to run and hide, or grow a set and decide to rush in against the deadly onslaught. There needed to be a significant way to convince me
  One of the first thought I had was of the Wounds system in an old tabletop game called Earthdawn (I believe Shadow Run has a similar system). In this system a major hit could cause a wound which decreased the dice on all your rolls and took some serious time to heal from. This felt more like aggravated damage but debuffs are significantly problematic in LARPS. Having a -1 or -2 in a d20 system is a fair and good way to work. Having -1 damage in SA is massive, but having -2 or -3 would be crippling. It's difficult to balance out in a LARP setting.
  There was also some talk of immediate death if you get hit with agg while unconscious, rather than the weird staking or throwing in the fire rules we have now. In the end this was decided to be serious overkill, but there were aspects of the idea that had merit. If you're a werewolf, and I have a silver weapon, at some point me stabbing you should kill you, like dead dead.

Getting Hit with Agg

  In the end we needed to clarify more than just how agg works and instead rework the dying process so that it makes more sense. This lead us to a pretty major thought about agg. Aggravated damage is how you kill supernaturals. There's a couple of other ways, but really, you beat the hell out of them with whatever they are "allergic" to. Agg should be just as dangerous at any phase of the awake and dying cycle. Though repeated exposure should kill you at the dying side.

  Our final picture on agg is that each time a target is struck with aggravated damage their maximum health is reduced by one. This is per strike not per damage. So taking "fire 4" as a vampire would only decrease their maximum health by one. The primary way to kill a character would become doing agg to them a number of times equal to their maximum health. Thereby taking their maximum health to 0, which is dead and unable to be healed. This means that a character who takes a couple of balefire shots will go into future fights with lower maximum health.
  We liked this idea specifically because it gave another way for people to be come worn down over the course of an event. After one good fight you might be down a couple of points, after two you're down a handful and are very concerned about getting into a third. It also made agg scary. If someone throwing fire could reduce my maximum hit points. I'd want to be really careful about how I engaged them. However, with the new combat rules, this isn't as terrible as it sounds. You're only dealing one attack per second so it's not like you'll get jumped and suddenly be down at five maximum health. But there were still a number of issues we had to work through.

Problems with this System

  While we really liked the idea of this system we encountered a number of problems with it. First off, agg is really fairly common. People wielding flaming weapons could essentially kill anyone quickly (10 seconds). The current fire sword power was also broken powerful with these rules but remains frustrating to use. However, we had already discussed this particular problem when we were looking at powers that were overly complex. We had agreed that fire sword needed to move to the same as silver claws, 1 energy for 1 swing with the "fire" type. Also flaming weapons needed a similar power down basically granting the fire sword power to that specific weapon. This allowed us to remove many of the free sources of agg in the game. This means that in order to kill a supernatural through powers means you'd have to intentionally spend 10+ energy. With the changes we were looking for the energy system, this is costly, but worth it sometimes.

  The second major problem was the idea of a character being stuck at 1 or 3 maximum health for the rest of the event. While this may be fun for some players to be the severely wounded character, for others it would make them want to climb into their car and drive home. Clearly there would need to be a way to heal agg. Not a quick and instant way, but a way that it could be healed back up to a playable level. Interestingly enough, we haven't decided exactly how this will be done. Our discussions so far have really been focused around willpower a big part of the healing agent. We want willpower to play a bigger role over the course of the game and give people multiple ways to get warn down to become susceptible targets. But exactly what this will look like hasn't been decided yet. If a player can use willpower to heal or have some means to buy healing through potions or the like then a character becomes weakened, but not unplayable which is the feeling we're going for.

  Finally, there's the issue with Regenerate. In our early discussions it was clear we didn't like this power. This power is currently one of the biggest sources of metagaming in the game. Characters with the regenerate power who are beat down to unconscious are basically still conscious enough to be able to decide when to regenerate. It's unrealistic to expect players to make unknowing choices for their character at this point. While this leads to some thematically appropriate jumping up and escaping, it's bad gaming. Regenerate is a big power in the game. In most of our calculations regenerate along with immunity powers is what extends the kill time on characters to unreasonable levels.
  In the end we decided to make regenerate equal to +4 maximum health pool. This means that someone trying to decrease your maximum health to zero would have to spend four additional energy to do so after beating through four additional health points. We feel that this is still a very strong power that many people will want but it no longer has the game shattering effects of Regenerate. With this power even after taking four hits of agg is at the same maximum health as a character without this power.

Making it Work

  For lower XP characters I see these changes having an interesting positive effect. While a character may be struck with a few points of agg over the course of a weekend, someone being dropped by Fire 3 (going down after 4 hits) would need to be worth spending an additional 6 energy to kill. In this case getting dropped is just as easy as today, but actually killing the character requires sustained interaction as well as significant energy expenditure. Meanwhile a high XP character who is in their 3rd or 4th fight of the day may find their maximum health dropping to dangerously low levels making their death a more real possibility.

  We are quite aware that this will require a significant change in how NPCs are built. No longer will the group of 2 Baali throwing balefire be a small roadside encounter. There will be lasting effects of each notable combat that will leave those involved significantly weakened. This will also open up the opportunity for characters seeking to get revenge upon a adversary more time to do it. Even characters with a significant Willpower pool will be weakened notably after a decent fight. This leaves some time in which the wounded individual is quite vulnerable before healing.

  Finally, we hope that this brings back some of the atmosphere that is removed by slowing down combat. If each blow means more the sudden flurry isn't as necessary to make the game scary. We did a number of battle tests with this system and we liked the results we saw. Being a character that gets into 3-4 big fights every weekend is going to be more dangerous, but I think that in reality that is good for the game. When combat erupts, more people will run away, rather than towards the fray.


  1. I assume that everyone will be given a chance to re-roll their character-sheets should these changes happen, right?

    Consider: What the hell use is 4 health to someone that is usually unarmed?
    Example: Unarmed Friar goes to talk to some miners that are at the church.
    Miners seem unusual, but Friar doesn't open up and assault or use powers in front of them -because that'd be an unreasonable response.
    Miners assault friar seconds later in broad daylight, because they are Formori.

    Scenario 1 - What actually happened:
    Friar uses Regenerate as his litmus-test; they are acting weird so they may attack - but until they prove themselves ill - I need not act. To assume every NPC is here to attack me would be dumb (even though that is usually the case, I have to suspend disbelief that ST will send some regular people into town on occasion).

    Scenario 2 - New system:
    Friar gets attacked by 4 people. Friar has Regenerate, but, 4 people attacking him still means he's screwed in about 4 seconds, assuming they are all swinging 1 - which they are not - at least one of them was swinging 3s. Friar is human, and therefore, is screwed by any damage.

    Friar would instead not opt to get himself in this situation, move around with a war-party, and frankly - would have no way to give ST the benefit of the doubt anymore, and instead be forced to assume that there's more than a 50% chance that every NPC is a threat trying to kill him (which seems to be the case).

    Further, personal intrigue vanish. I can no longer do things behind Zakiyah's back and/or made deals with questionable personages... because I need to have a war-party at my back to leave the house (or even be in the house).

    Regenerate is an interesting example - but it's not the only one. It's representative of 'rules that serve functions beyond just the rules' - and I agree with you. It makes it way harder to kill someone who has it... perhaps too much...
    ...but it also affords freedom to those who have it. Those who have it do things that - frankly - should be regarded as stupid in Ushaw Moor, and thus more stuff happens.

    It is, objectively, stupid to talk to 4 strangers in Ushaw Moor, however human they appear. It's stupid to go talk to the vampires alone. It's stupid to make deals with the devil with all sorts of folk I shouldn't be meeting alone.
    But Regenerate allows me to do stupid things... and all of those things are the things I love about the game.

    ~ Conor

  2. Interestingly enough you seem to be making an argument both for and against this change. In your example, if the Friar is human, they just got killed by 4 fomori. It's a terrible thing, but it happens and we weep for him. But if he's human, he's not going to have regenerate. If he's a ghoul or kinfolk there are a number of other powers at his reach to help him survive.
    While the new version of regenerate might not be as useful as the old, it does means that the one of those fomori who can throw fire can't agg him out, it'd take two to actually kill him, and those two fomori would basically become fodder for anything else that came along. The friar can be healed, so long as there's someone around that cares to help him, he's no longer invincible and able to easily survive meeting 4 significantly outmatched foes. Also, suddenly 4 fomori is a really big deal, not just krunchies.

    While I agree that being able to survive through anything is sorta fun, (I built Pikes to meet that standard as well) I'd argue that it's bad for the game as a whole. Right now the enemy isn't feared because they aren't scary. This makes them scary, and it makes stupid hurt. A general rules of LARPs is that stupid should hurt.

  3. "Interestingly enough you seem to be making an argument both for and against this change."
    Sort of - I was trying to express dramatic changes that can change with one power being changed, let alone an entire system.
    The point was my first line; I was trying to give supporting evidence of 'this change is significant enough that folk will need to be allowed to re-roll their characters.'

    I'll point out that your general rule is of "Stupid should hurt" is two things. First - It's YOUR rule, not mine. Second, I'd agree with it for some game types and some damage/death types... but not for SA.
    Stupid should Hurt is great for D&D or their live-action equivalent style games; wherein the objective is to beat the monsters and get their treasure. Stupid should totally hurt in those games.
    Additionally, in those games, Stupid can get you killed - but you can get killed multiple times so it's 'hurt' - not permadeath.

    In SA - well - it's a One-Death system, so, ONE MISTAKE is permadeath... which is how it can be in SA anyway, but isn't always and isn't for longer term characters that prepare...
    ...To note the same is true in a game like Alliance - newer characters are more likely to have to Rez because they took on one goblin too many... wheras older players can attack a litch-king with reasonable confidence because they have layers of protection in terms of banes, cloaks, dodges, contingency-life-spell powers and whatnot because they've been around for a few years and they are prepared.
    Regardless, I don't think that this game should be that unforgiving regardless of how you try and prepare. That isn't the game experience I am looking for in SA.

    Additionally - I don't think that SA is a D&D-style game.
    It is a game where players are more likely to deliberately do stupid things, to generate interesting plot. In Alliance, there's no reason to let the Goblins drop you when they wouldn't otherwise, because you know OOG it's unlikely that anything interesting would happen - the game dissuades you from doing stupid things deliberately.

    However - looking at SA - how many people have gone to chat with the someone they probably shouldn't (the Wyrm, a specter, Gustav, etc) - something stupid because they objectively they know will probably not end well - because they are fairly sure something interesting will happen?

    Long story short - the system should facilitate people doing stupid things in SA because doing stupid things in SA is different than doing stupid things in other games.

    In SA - stupid shouldn't hurt - it should be interesting.
    And it often is when done deliberately at SA - it's spawned some of the best multi-year plots and personal plots (just look at Jinx's story for a good example).

    Do you feel there is a way to have the new system support that style of play, rather than punish it?
    Regenerate was just an example - but - it was my example of my way of 'letting myself get in over my head because it gives me a reasonable chance of getting out of it' - so long as there are those things, and those things aren't reliant on being any good with boffer-fighting - then the system could work out well.
    While a new system might be better for fighting, it might be hard to top the system that we already have when it comes to those others sorts of things - which are more important to the game than combat.

    ~ Conor

    1. If stupid is rewarded, all you get is more stupid. I don't want more stupid plot, I want complex meaningful plot, fear of the darkness, and a feeling stemming back the tide of impending doom.

      I think that if stupid doesn't hurt, then nothing hurts. If nothing hurts, then there is no consequences for your actions. That isn't World of Darkness. We're working on rules for a WoD Dark Ages game where there are consequences, not a pro wrestling / superhero game where everyone will just go at it again in the next issue unscathed from the last battle.

  4. Philosophically speaking, I don't want to see characters purposefully getting into tight spots because the player think they can get away with it. A feeling of invulnerability fosters unrealistic character decisions. Keep in mind that combative encounters will be rebalanced with the new rules. The intent is not to send out deadlier foes, but to chance the potency of certain tools of combat.

    I'm sure they will be some form of character conversion, based on changes to powers, but that decision hasn't been made yet. You'll probably get to review that in its own time, and with a more complete picture of the rules than you have now.

  5. Did Jinx came out of that plot unscathed?
    System-Wise, sure. She (to the best of my knowledge) has no permanent marks on her character-sheet.
    However, her reputation *still* haunts her for something that happened years ago.

    But that sort of play was what Aya was looking for, and only found it because she wasn't worried about making a mistake deliberately; trusting that ST would see it was deliberate and something could grow out of it. I'm sure Aya knew that she *could* just get whacked - but she tried anyway - and she was rewarded with plot for doing so.

    If she was looking for a quickie-conversion to the Wyrm and to get some buffs and beat up some PCs - she'd have done that.
    She didn't. She was looking for a long-haul, and better than that, let a lot of other-player action decide the ultimate fate of the character. I *still* don't know the full story, but I do know it was a tug of war with 'the ways of the dark' and 'the ways of the Bastet' that lasted a good long while. Even not knowing all of the details, it was one of the best character-development plots I've seen. Not bad for a character that started out as a simple bully.

    Here's the thing:
    WoD is one of the only systems in which someone can touch the black and come back from it, deal with the angst of betraying those close to you, feel awful that some will never trust you again - and worse that others stayed by your side and are too willing to forgive you.
    It's the only system where doing something really stupid can - in fact - make you wiser and therefore stronger from it.

    ALL of the best WoD character stories that I know of involves that in some capacity - weather it making a deal that one shouldn't have made, trusting someone you shouldn't have, being idealistic when practical was really necessary - or sacrificing your idealism so that others could keep theirs.

    Usually, this all comes down to taking a risk. Doing something stupid, once. Or once a year.

    Stupid should hurt - but everyone makes mistakes.
    Someone Stupid usually keeps making mistakes (and usually dies of this anyway).
    The system needs to allow people to make a mistake or two before being considered stupid.

    In all fairness, to not be the guy that complains without any solutions - what about approaching it like this:
    Regeneration is a problem because people can do it over and over, creating superheroes.
    Regeneration allows people to poke at things, but not get perma-deathed for being curious.
    What if Regeneration could only be used once a day?
    Or Cost X, and X+1 or X+2 or X*2 every time you used it in the same game?
    See - I see myself having WAY less resistance to something like that, as it would preserve what I want out of the system (the ability to explore / do things on my own), but also punish my stupid (Ow, I better be careful for the rest of the day/weekend) - but not fatally so for a single mistake.


    ~ Conor

  6. "WoD is one of the only systems in which someone can touch the black and come back from it, deal with the angst of betraying those close to you, feel awful that some will never trust you again - and worse that others stayed by your side and are too willing to forgive you."

    In WoD you could come back from it, it SA you will come back from it. It's not risk when there's nothing to lose.

    From a rules perspective even at a 10 energy regenerate is a broken mechanic. It allows for people who are down to get back up when ever they choose. It allows unconscious characters who should have no clue of their surrounding the ability to make an OOG decision to pick the ideal moment to jump back up. It extends their time to escape from a limited amount of time to 10 minutes per three energy they have. It also has zero canon basis.
    Now there will still be ways to get back up, all supernaturals have a regeneration mechanic and people will be able to heal you. But this extended yo-yo invincibility is just bad game design. I know because it's the first power I learned IG.

  7. I'm not fond of making Health a complicated mathematical thing. I like 10 is 10 is 10. We have been playing with 10 Health for eight years.

    But I know what is Agg in Canon and believe it should be scary. For all of my characters it is scary currently. But I also don't have a "survival power set" character.

    So I get mixed feelings with this concept.

    I do have an idea in regards to Agg and Regenerate that I think is better than a raw 4 Health. It's not really Regenerate anymore, it's more raw Fortitude.

    What if Regenerate just helped you survive Agg and is still useful to every faction. It's still not regeneration as I thematically picture it but I think it's better than +4 Health.

    Regenerate: After you take Aggravated Damage in combat, when you calculate your new Health pool, take only half of the Aggravated Damage rounded UP.
    You calculate your new Health Pool when you are at zero health or after combat if you are alive. (Because that is realistically when a player will do the math.)

    It becomes an ability that mitigates Health loss to Agg, while at the same time allowing the Regenerate character to still be whittled down.

    PS: Any mechanic that could make a player leave mid-game is bad. Don't do it.

  8. Oddly enough, "Stupid should hurt" is one of my guiding principals as an ST. But, the hurt should match the stupid and doesn't necessarily lead to "Stupid should get you killed".

    But Fionn has seen enough people killed by momentary slips in judgement (letting that friendly stranger examine your sword, stopping to give directions on the road, sleeping on a couch, etc.) that he shouldn't need a reminder every weekend that he lives in a dangerous town.

  9. We actually had a big discussion about the 10 is 10 is 10 thing. I also happen to consider it one of the things that is significantly different about SA from most other games where XP increases HP D&D style. We all very much didn't want to see that happen in SA.
    The discussion closed at the fact that 10 is really 14 is really 16. We already have a number of methods in the game to alter this number 10. With fabricate armor, wearing physical armor, and even one of the fomori powers that grants body already in existence, I haven't seen people to struggle to keep track of their health even when the numbers start to change. While the simplicity is nice, it really isn't that simple.

    Your suggestion is very similar to what we are trying to do from a gamist perspective. The advantage of +4 health is 4 more health before you go down and 4 more agg it takes to kill you. My concern is that I don't think it is actually any simpler. While the individual calculation is simpler, the rule ends up more complex.

    Frequently we find that rules aren't played out exactly as written. The best example of this is a 1 minute timer which, in my experience, ranges from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on who's counting. Personally, I would probably track agg hits as a separate number rather than doing to subtraction from my maximum health each time I'm hit. (I've taken 7 damage, and 3 agg hits so when I get healed I'm stuck at 7 maximum health. Or I've taken 10 agg hits, I'm dead.) How you chose to do the math is up to you but the rules need to clearly state what happens when an individual gets hit.

    1. Some good points. In the end your just keeping the math easy instead of making people do algebra. I can track that.

      Most of my characters have armor, but wearing it can be a pain in the ass. Only my Wraith has Fabricate Armor and tends to roll a steady 18 effective health.

      Your current proposal for Regen would make the total possible effective health 24, assuming characters will still be able to double-up armor.

  10. Marc's blog gives me an chance to post personal opinions! Yay!

    "Stupid should hurt." Ties directly to one of my principles beliefs around role-playing games: "Actions have consequences."

    I have no interest in enabling "Stupid." That said, the "hurt" and "consequences" should not not always be lethal. In WW the evils of the setting are interested in corrupting and controlling as well as simply killing.

    I trust the STs to take into account the potentially more lethal combat when they are sending out things and handing out NPC instructions. I would very much like to see more efforts to try and corrupt characters (maybe it is going on commonly and I just don't see it) rather than sending out things to fight which is what seems to get the most play. It's possible that the players just tend to kill everything rather than asking questions and opening the possibility of falling off of the right path.

    I appreciate a shift to a slightly higher-stakes combat system as it plays into one of my other philosophies: "Without risk there is no reward." Frankly, when people get away with stupid things on a regular basis it discourages smart, strategic play. Getting away with being "Stupid" should be a lucky happenstance not an expected outcome.

  11. I think this "we're all going to die now" attitude is approaching the subject with a blatant lack of faith in the other aspects of the game, and the people who will be running it. ST is not out to win, nor to kill us because they can. "Stupid should hurt" does NOT mean "Stupid should be fatal", but the possibility of fatality SHOULD be very real.

    In WoD and Dark Ages, life is nasty, brutish, and short. One mistake SHOULD be able to kill you, just like in real life. Just like in real life, though, there is no guarantee that it WILL kill you (how many people have we shaken our heads at and wondered why Darwin or Murphy hadn't claimed them yet?). I have lost characters to "one bad decision" stupid, and it fits thematically with the game, and WoD, and Dark Ages. Just because it fits doesn't mean it is the ONLY result. It makes getting away by the skin of your teeth more meaningful, especially if you later understand the stupid that COULD have gotten you killed, or very nearly did. I don't feel that characters who wish to put themselves out on a limb and trust to their ability to cheat death should be common, yet currently they can be. That, I think, is "stupid" if it's a regular thing.

    There have been plenty of awesome non-lethal repercussions in a potentially lethal situation, such as Nathaniel's shaming by Black Stag, that COULD have been easily fatal. Yet ST balanced it, involved others, and had realistic, awesome RP solutions that involved others to what could otherwise have been a "smash make flat you're now an example" story. It became a social repercussion situation that STILL rings to this day. This is an example of stupid HURTING, not killing, and I think it will continue to exist because of the standards and atmosphere of the game, regardless of what agg damage might be. This is what SA is about outside the rules, which informs how we use the rules. The possibility for fatal interaction exists in every moment of every game, but that does not mean by any stretch of the imagination it always happens, even when ST is involved.

    Furthermore, as stated before, the 4 Fomori situation could easily be dialed back, and likely will be as current ST Carrie has discussed. ST doesn't want to have to send out hordes to make a story work, unless the story actually calls for hordes. Paranoia is healthy, but shouldn't rule a character, that much I agree with. However, lack of paranoia due to confidence in being able to pick oneself back up again all on one's own I think is unreasonable. Walking alone SHOULD be dangerous. Walking in a pair with the new system has the potential to mean a lot more, and reduce the need for small walking army buddy systems.

    Personally, while it scares me and I'm very leery of it, I like the idea of agg damage being more than just another kind of damage, and of it having lasting effects. That is more WoD to me. Right now the lasting effects are simply RP-related, and can't be translated into something that should otherwise be measurable/perceivable to others. Sure, you can limp around saying you got hurt a lot, but if someone checks your health and you're at 10, it makes no mechanical sense. While mechanics don't always have to back up RP, it would be neat to see something that does.

    I'm not happy about increased lethality, but I want to see the rest of the powers changes before I strike it down as unreasonable. I'm happy about simpler mechanics around lethality, and curious to see how Willpower could play more of a roll than just being stubborn to mental effects.

  12. I get the feeling that you have a somewhat one-sided perspective of the game Marc. There aren't that many really powerful players, and I think Shadow Accord is incredibly dangerous as it is. Most people are already afraid to walk alone at night, interact with strangers, and Usha Moor has way to high of a townsfolk 'turnover rate' to be in any way realistically self sustaining as it is. There are the few powerful long-term characters that can survive a lot, but I think that survivability is important to lead the town/factions in-game and I think that 4+ years of playing a character should earn some amount of confidence in life.

    So it seems this discussion has split into two main topics: Aggravated damage, and the power Regenerate. There are plenty more options to implement the overall goal than what has been discussed so far, so I'd like to add a few options to the discussion.

    1. I agree that there aren't many powerful characters (there are a good number of powerful players). The problem is that it is only dangerous if you aren't one of the powerful characters. It's not dangerous if you are. These changes actually make it much more difficult to kill the vanilla human, or the human with a a couple of basic powers.
      In the game today, the vanilla human is dead in under 2 seconds, with no way to heal if he is jumped by an opponent swinging 2s. At worst under the new rules, he's got 5 seconds to start activating powers or to try to get away. If you take the basic vampire that gets jumped on the road, they're down in 2 seconds, a hit with 1 fire and they're gone 10 minutes later. Now, if the attacker wants to kill them it'll take a very specific decision to burn 10 energy to do so.

      The intent is to make the change so that people who really want to kill someone can. The problem isn't that the game isn't lethal enough. It's that it isn't lethal enough for characters that have the right set of powers. They're really the ones that the changes are aimed at. The rest are actually getting more survivability.

  13. Aggravated Damage:
    I don't like the idea of keeping track of another damage type in the middle of combat. It's already difficult keeping up with tracking your health while trying to plan out powers you can use, yelling resist, and calling damage all at once.

    Option 1: You could say that someone who's taken aggravated damage simply can't be healed with medicine. You could take that further and say magical healing only heals 1/2 the value against someone whose taken agg damage. These conditions could persist until: end of event, until someone is fully healed exclusively by magic, or until 8am when willpower resets - depending on how dangerous you want it to be.

    Option 2: Add an effect to Agg damage if someone has no points of willpower left. It would be overpowered to add a full power effect you have to resist using willpower, but you could make someone frenzy or run in terror if they get hit with agg damage and happen to have no willpower left for the day.

    I can see that the regenerate power could use some tweaking based on allowing ST to provide the right amount of danger in encounters, but I don't necessarily think it's far overpowered compared to other 3rd tier powers such as Potence, Cloak sight, Paralyze, Thieving Talons and etc.

    Option1: Add a number of seconds someone has to wait before they can start to use regenerate. Lets say 30 or 60 seconds. That way if you knock someone out, you know they're not immediately going to be able to get up and run as soon as you turn to deal with the next threat in a combat. That should have a decent affect on the outcomes of battles with high level players.

    Option2: Limit the number of times per day (or even event) that regenerate can be used. Lets say once per day plus one time for each rank within a faction you have. That allows you to make progressive battles over the day become more dangerous while letting elders/leaders have more survivability. Keep in mind, regenerate is incredibly expensive to use as it is and it's likely that only higher ranked people would have enough energy to use it multiple times in a short period of time anyway (especially if infinite energy is addressed).

    Option 3: Have Regeneration basically work like your innate regeneration, but you don't have to wait 10 min. Also, allow those with regeneration to be healed by all normal means that would be prevented by the Aggravated damage option 1 presented above. If a person is knocked out with only regular damage, it should only cost 1 energy to get back up at any time instead the 1 energy after waiting 10 minutes. You could also call it Advanced Regeneration so it's not confused with the innate ability to regenerate. This makes it more usable for lower leveled characters and increases the threat of agg damage.

    Regardless of the options presented above, I think there should be one big change to the game if you really want aggravated damage to increase in power: less of its use. Otherwise there will be a lot more death, even if it's not ST making it happen. Getting any character to survive 5+ years to become an Elder in a faction is difficult enough. Add more lethality to the game, and it will likely be an impossibility.

    1. Aggravated damage
      Your suggestions look at the immediate effects of agg but don't really go into the bigger picture of how it plays into death. Our testing indicated that it wasn't that difficult to calculate because what you would generally do is stop once the fight is over and figure out how many agg you took. Much like people do now with damage. You can see them calculating their current health when they are medicines. Testers indicated it seems more difficult on the surface, but with slowing down combat it wasn't hard.

      Your listed powers as an equivalent to regenerate are an interesting list. I want to respond to that for a second.

      Potence isn't really one gift, it's an entire tree. If you're a shifter you get it for 12, if you're a vampire it costs 27. just a forward looking note, I wouldn't expect this to remain like it is now.

      All cloak sight does is negate a level 1 power.

      Paralyze is basically negated by a level 2 power.

      Thieving talons I'll give you, but only because under the current system the cost is so miniscule. In a limited energy environment it will significantly decrease the effectiveness of the character that makes use of it.

      Option 3:
      We're doing this, but we're giving it to supernaturals for free. See Dev Blog Post 5. Healing with energy takes place at 1 minute after you fall unconscious.

      Option 2:
      Rank is a RP thing that we really don't want to make a rules thing.

  14. I know I'm coming at this thread horribly late and so comments may be old, but wanted to capture a couple of thoughts/questions based on what's written here.

    Regarding Regenerate, I feel both the proposed and current solution are horribly broken, but discuss this extensively in a response on Blog #10, item (3), so won't repeat here.

    1) The idea of reducing max health in response to Agg damage is incredibly appealing, for the role play elements that you mention. Weakened state, difficulty to repair.

    I agree with Jay's comments that it is difficult to manage too many numbers in game, but the RP benefits and simplicity causes me to like this approach. If nothing else unusual is going on other than damage reduces health and agg "hits" reduce max health, this might be a manageable idea. Certainly over most of the other proposed scenarios.

    I agree with reducing the availability of Agg and in particular free Agg. Agg items will become major targets for stealing or destruction. Powers should be cost prohibitive enough that killing via Agg must be a very intentional act, expending lots of power, or a cumulative result of many battles. Both of which seemed to be conveyed by the above.

    2) Picking up on your comment above:

    "All cloak sight does is negate a level 1 power". This is certainly not what I see in the game. Cloak is an incredibly deadly and powerful capability, for which few in certain factions have the ability to overcome via Cloak sight. With the exception of a major magic item or luck, cloaked individuals could devastate the Caern area through appropriate use of positioning, timing, and powers. It's not the level, but the power itself and scarcity that make these such highly valued powers.

    "Paralyze is basically negated by a level 2 power." Again, yes, if you have access to that power. If not, your likely dead.

    Are we saying that everyone should have these counter powers? Are they available to all of the classes? If not, then those powers immediately escalate up to the magnitude of Regenerate, or even worse.

    Thanks again!

  15. 1)Specifically, killing with agg must be an intentional act. There will be ways to decrease the cost, usually countered by increasing the time. Again, we don't want killing to be cost prohibitive in that it can't be done. We want it to be expensive in that it has to be worth doing to pull off.

    2) It is my feeling that eventually a character that is interested in their continued survival will want certain powers. The survival set currently involves Avoidance, Resilience, Regenerate, Cloak, Cloak Sight, and Umbra Sight (also Gauntlet Walk if it's available).

    They are generally available to all factions except human though at different levels of rarity.