Thursday, February 14, 2013

SA 2.0 Dev Blog #8: The whole dying process

I wanted to break down the entire dying process just to give a clear picture of what it will look like under the new system. I included a chart below because that became a thing recently.

  You have health, you have maximum health, you're alive.

  You have 0 health. You have been incapacitated. You are unconscious.
  If you have a regeneration rating it will automatically trigger at 1 minute and you can spend energy to heal. Characters may choose to move to dead at this point (NPCs with no friends).
  If you don't have a regeneration rating or you don't have energy to activate your regeneration, after 10 minutes you are now dead.

  If your maximum health is 0 or you've been incapacitated for 10 minutes you are now dead. Dead is an interesting state. First off your maximum health immediately drops to 0 if it wasn't already. You can be targeted by insight and you can be resurrected (even if you're not human). There's a couple of other powers that can target dead people, but we'll talk about those later. If you're dead, you're in a pretty bad spot, you don't want to be here.
  If you are dead for 10 minutes you become Decaying.
  Decaying is when you can drop your tags and get up. Depending on what you are, you may not have to do so yet. A decaying vampire or wraith goes OOG immediately. A decaying shifter or human may continue to play a body for as long as they want, or until a power destroys their body (spoiler). Once you hit the decaying stage your character is gone and can not be brought back.

Look here. I made a chart:

  I'm also going to take this opportunity to show off some of the new formatting we're looking at for powers. While the majority of powers will continue to cost 1 energy, we wanted to clearly spell out what will not. Touch is a "new" category of powers that require touch to activate and are resisted with willpower. Touch powers are not considered attacks, unlike mental, status, and damage powers which are considered attacks.

Resurrection - (Touch)
Cost: 1 Willpower
Call: “Resurrection”
After the caster spends 1 minute meditating while touching a dead character he may activate this power to bring them back to life. A dead target will have their maximum health returned to 1 and be healed a single point of health. An incapacitated or conscious target will be healed 1 point of health.

Insight – (Touch)
Cost: 1 Energy
Call: “Insight <question>”
The caster touches a target that is dead. The target must answer any questions the caster asks truthfully per character knowledge. This power ends when the target becomes decaying or when the caster is no longer touching the target.


Why the changes to the above powers?

The infinite timer on Resurrection had some major concerns from a rules perspective. First off it encouraged people killing a target near the end of an event where the chance for resurrection was low. This artificial timer didn't sit right. Also, we wanted resurrection to be cool and not just a human thing. Shifters are alive and can be resurrected. There was some big war about that or something. We figured that the dead state gives a time period in which someone could be resurrected without becoming a burden. Another fear we had was a character staying IG as their character's body all night in hopes of being resurrected. While I'd admire the hardcore aspect of this, I don't think it's actually something we want in the game. This gives a clear path from which a character moves from living to incapacitated, to dead, to gone in a clear and concise way.

Insight has been heavily used as the best truth telling method of the game. The line I've heard repeatedly is "beat them down and insight them". While the energy restrictions that exist in a limited energy system would limit it's abuse the one question one answer system still isn't great. We wanted to take this power back to where it belonged. In canon the power was really used to extract information out of a dead body, not a live one. If you came across a corpse you could get info out of it (usually only about how it died). We wanted to keep some of the original investigative nature in insight but we wanted to up the ante on it. As it is written in the new system, if you want the truth, you need to get it from their cold dead eye. You also get tons of info for a single energy point.


  1. We used to have a 10 minute unconscious timer followed by a 10 minute dead timer followed by *poof* your gone. We changed to an unlimited dead timer because of the many frustrations that existed with the system at that time.

    This change looks like it would keep around the long period of time to have a corpse available for RP, but cuts the amount of time available for resurrection.

    You claim that this is because you are worried that people would stay out late in hopes of resurrection, with the implication that this is unsafe and players would injure themselves to protect their characters.

    This sounds like an imaginary problem that will not be solved by the proposed solution.

    The longest time of a corpse laying around in game was from myself (at somewhere between 5-6 hours as clocked by ST camp.) At the time I was doing that for pure RP and I was not expecting a resurrection (I actually thought that there were no active characters at that event with the power, I was wrong.) And yes, it was overnight, but the weather allowed me to do this without risk.

    On another occasion Meg intended to stay out for a long time after a characters death without the expectation of resurrection, also for RP reasons. I believe that her intent was to stay as a corpse for the rest of the game, but she ended her scene after a few minutes because she fell into a puddle and immediately recognized the risk of being soaked and cold.

    As far as I am aware, EVERY case of someone staying as a corpse for longer than 10 minutes has been with the intent of RP not resurrection, and EVERY case where this posed a health risk the player in question recognized that risked and stopped playing dead.

    Since there has never been a case of someone injuring themselves through exposure in order to get their character resurrected, what problem are you trying to solve, and how does this rules change solve it?

    Ignoring the question of Insight and information gathering as a separate topic, how does this change improve the game at all?

    Please explain.

  2. Personally, I love that Mog was able to play dead for that long. I think it's fantastic for RP and shows incredible dedication. Based on the proposed changes, the system allows for [living] characters to play dead for as long as they want in Decaying status so I don't see much of an issue with it from the role play perspective. Overall, I think this system looks pretty good allowing anyone that dies a 10 minute window to play dead and have their body found. In looking forward, I'm a little concerned that a power that makes a dead body immediately disappear may be overly powerful. I'd suggest treating it like reversed Resurrection, taking 60 seconds to perform or something like that.

    As for insight though, I think that power is going to become nearly useless on PCs. Sure you'll get more efficient use out of it from NPCs that are slaughtered, but PCs are usually the ones with juicier info. Unless Resurrection is going to become super common and make 'Dead' the new 'Unconscious', I think that insight is losing a huge amount of utility. By doing so, it's also going to make the Bone of Lies much more important and powerful.

  3. I'll just drop in the spoiler that the power that destroys bodies is a level three power, and it isn't in multiple factions. It's a fun power and it does have a timer.

    I agree that insight is going to become useless on PCs for the most part. That's actually intentional. Currently insight is being used as the equivalent of a level seven Auspex power to pry information out of someone's mind, with the minor caveat that the person needs to be asleep. The simple fact that knocking someone out and insighting them is a regular solution to problems indicates to me that this is a bad thing. Insight is about learning information from a dead target, not reading the mind of a living person.
    That said it still has uses. That guy you just killed, where does he keep his money/rituals? How many other buddies does he have? When is the attack coming? Very useful questions to get answers to for a single energy. Also note there is no restriction on asking the basic sensory questions? What clan are you? Are you a BSD? Who taught you balefire?

  4. I'll re-iterate my comment from other blog entries.

    I don't feel like being dropped to 0 alone should indicate death after 10 minutes. The scenario I feel is missing is that you come along, beat the hell out of somebody, steal there money and run.

    Your intent was not to kill them, but to rob them. We don't really have a pure combat solution for "beating the hell out of someone, but not killing them", but even with bladed weapons this is very often the more likely outcome.

    Staking, or some similar action (slitting throat, stabbing through heart, or some directed intent to kill) makes it clear that your delivering a killing blow. It also fits inline with the RP of the moment.

    The alternate scenario, where you didn't mean to kill someone, just rob them, requires you to actively heal the target. Which in turn would cause the target to awake, creating an unpleasant and unintentional RP situation.

    While death is a very interesting outcome. The waste of burning a character over an unintentional death just because none happened to walk down that trail at the right time seems counter to objectives and unduly punishes new players.

    Obviously supernatural creatures are not impacted by this based on the other blogs, so this is primarily directed at humans based on the rules as I understand them at this blog post.

  5. Currently, being dropped to 0 as a human will lead to death. Just as it is in the new rules. I agree that we don't have a rules set for beat them down and rob them but don't kill them.

    However, this is one of the specific advantages of being a supernatural in the game. The majority of characters should be able to get back up if their beating wasn't done with excessive levels of aggravated damage.