Poll: Updates to Racial Traits

Users who viewed this discussion (Total:9)

How do you feel about the proposed changes?

  • Laicar - Too much. Tone it back.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Laicar - Too little. Give some love.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Laicar - Why are you changing this? If it ain't broke...

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Enlil - Too much. Tone it back.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Enlil - Too little. Give some love.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Enlil - Why are you changing this? If it ain't broke...

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Velen - Why are you changing this? If it ain't broke...

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Demvir - Too much. Tone it back.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Demvir - Too little. Give some love.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Demvir - Why are you changing this? If it ain't broke...

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Spurii - Cribbing racials is underwhelming.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    6

swaswj

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Feb 18, 2008
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#1
Hey everyone,

This has been on the idea block for a while, but since it took me so long to get around to it, I figured I should let you all vote on it rather than thrusting it on you. You've all been playing your characters one way, after all.

Some of these changes can have significant impacts, while others won't be too different. The goal is to make sure the different races remain distinct as well as make sure each race's traits are of comparable desirability, plus to add some needed clarity to the more ambiguous ones (like, "what does Adrenaline Rush actually do?").

The changes are below, and I'll summarize some of the specific changes.

Please make one vote on each race. You can change your votes if necessary, so don't feel like you have to withhold your vote until a change is made. Also please respond with your thoughts, good or bad.


Changelog

Laicar
  • Adrenaline Rush: Revised ability to be constant but have specific limits. Ground movement per round is 30m (standard movement is 20m).
  • Glory: Magnitude now scales with Esteem.
  • Mortal Block: Increased range from 15m to 20m (equivalent to a normal round's movement)
  • Obstination: Added magnitude, which scales with Esteem. Update: raised magnitude slightly.
  • Second Wind: Raised activation threshold from 5% to 10% Vigor.
Enlil
  • Feather Fall: Now allows flight, with limitations, in addition to just slowing falls. Aerial movement per round is 30m (standard movement is 20m).
  • Raptor Glare: Magnitude now scales with Esteem. Added a duration. Update: Added details.
  • Predation: Increased range from 15m radius to 20m radius. Base magnitude reduced, but scales with Esteem. Added a duration. Update: returned range to 15m radius.
  • Savagery: Specified a minimum range.
  • Touch the Sky: Removed duration.
Velen
  • Aquatic Affinity: Revised wording to be clearer. Aquatic movement per round is 30m (standard movement is 20m). Update: Noted water-breathing in effects.
  • Voice of Serenity: Magnitude now scales with Esteem.
  • Super Ego: Magnitude now scales with Esteem.
  • Catechism: Magnitude now scales with Esteem. Removed daily limit to clear contradiction with cooldown. Instead, effectiveness diminishes with repetition.
  • Voice of Command: No change.
Demvir
  • Machina Body: More features added to make up for lackluster ability. Does not scale. Update: Further expanded utility.
  • Machine Logic: More features added to make up for lackluster ability. Does not scale. Update: reworded for clarity. Increased magnitude. Expanded utility.
  • Security Protocol: Base magnitude reduced, but scales with Esteem. Increased cooldown. Increased base magnitude. Adjusted cost.
  • Capacitance: No change. Update: increase from 1% to 2%.
  • Overclock: Revised wording to clarify what actions can be taken during the ability.





Nature of Laicar (The Terran)
Unknown
Adrenaline Rush
Of all the races, the laicar are easily the most tenacious. Their stubbornness at times makes it seem like they always appear to be right where they need to. Partly, this is due to the ability to push their muscles to their absolute potential in dire situations. Laicar are capable of calling on a burst of fight or flight energy, increasing their running speed significantly and allowing them to jump further or higher.

On solid ground, laicar have a standard movement of 30m (or 60m if taking no other action) if they use the full amount in one burst. When using Adrenaline Rush, a running jump can go twice as far or high as normal. This does not cost vigor to use, but does not improve smaller movements like dodges or repositioning.

Notable
Glory
It may be an unfair assumption that all laicar are naturally boisterous, but history at times says otherwise. That aside, their natural charisma does tend to have an almost magnetic effect. Somehow, they always seem to be able to make themselves the center of attention. When used, the laicar is capable of drawing the attention of everyone in a 20 meter radius immediately to them, ally and foe alike. While it seems to inspire courage in allies, enemies on the other hand seem to have this growing urge to attack them.

The laicar pays 5% of their vigor to use. For the following turn, this greatly increases the propensity of affected enemies to attack them. This is considered a mental effect with a magnitude of 2 plus the user's current Esteem tier.

Prominent
Mortal Block
Laicar dominance over Terminus is oddly paradoxical. For all their lack of biological advantages, their ability to function as a group rather than individuals is near unmatched. So much so that the bonds created between close comrades can override basic survival instinct.

A laicar may immediately take an attack for an ally, shielding the other from all damage while taking it for their own. To activate, the laicar must be at least within 20m of their ally; they take the ally's place, moving the ally up to 5m away. This can only be used once every 4 turns.

Renowned
Obstination
In the most dire moments, the laicar are able to seemingly conjure up immense strength and stamina from nothing. After the laicar is at 50% or lower of their vigor, for the briefest moment they are able to actively use this superhuman ability. When taking damage, they seem completely indomitable, granting them a fleeting moment of staggering tenacity. They are capable of performing feats such as ripping out of bindings with sheer force of will, or forcibly countering an attack with their bare hands with determination. While still suffering the damage and pain, they simply fight through it.

The exhausting energy this takes allows this energy to only be tapped once per chapter or collab. The magnitude of this action cannot exceed 4 plus the user's current Esteem tier.

Exalted
Second Wind
When things seem bleak, the laicar rise to occasion. They should have died. They did die... right? However, through it all they still continue to move. The laicar are capable of tapping into a hidden reservoir of strength, one that seems to only be available on the brink of death.

When rendered unconscious or under 10% of their vigor, they enter a dormant state. Two turns later, a sudden influx of vigor seems to spark them back to life. They suddenly regenerate 10% of their vigor and are returned to consciousness. This temporary vigor only lasts for the following two turns, though they will remain conscious until knocked out again. This ability can only be activated once per week.


Nature of Enlil (The Avian)
Unknown
Feather Fall
While not ideally aerodynamic, the wings of the enlil are not just for show. The plumage allows them to fly or glide at low altitudes. The average avian can climb to heights of 100m, though it takes time. They are capable of slowing their descent to a near non-existent point, to produce an effect similar to hovering in mid-air.

In the air, enlil have a standard movement of 30m (or 60m if taking no other action). When using Feather Fall, an enlil is unable to use their hands for fighting or casting, but can cast verbal spells or attack with their talons. This does not cost vigor to use, but cannot be used to rise above 100m in altitude.
Notable
Raptor Glare
Possessing an intense disposition and carnal features, the enlil are capable of calling on ferocity that once made them the apex predators of the sky. When activated, the eyes of the enlil glow a brilliant red and their vicious, ripping teeth, are revealed. This ferocity is capable of striking fear into even the most stoic of enemies.

The first target who views the enlil on the turn the technique is activated is struck with a crippling fear for two rounds: they cannot bring themselves to attack the user, and will cancel any existing attacks on the user. This is considered a mental effect with a magnitude of 2 plus the user's current Esteem tier. To activate, the enlil must pay 5% of their vigor. This can only be used once every two turns.
Prominent
Predation
The war-cries of the enlil are a far cry from songbirds. Using specialized organs, at one point used for territorial signaling, they are capable of producing frequencies that are crippling to enemies. As each frequency produced is unique to the enlil who creates it, even other enlil are affected by the sound.

The attack stuns targets in a 15-meter radius around the enlil, where the sound waves are most intense. This is treated as a binding effect with a magnitude of 3 plus the user's current Esteem tier, preventing the use of items or abilities until the start of the enlil's next turn. This ability can only be used once every three turns and costs 5% of the enlil's vigor to activate.
Renowned
Savagery
Biologically attuned to hunting from high above, the enlil can be considered the apex of birds of prey. Their razor-sharp talons and focused vision are tailor made for attacks like this. Much like a bird of prey, they are capable of performing a violent swooping attack to strike unexpecting targets.

From at least 15m above a target, the enlil can rapidly accelerate downwards, digging their deadly claws into their target and lifting off once again. The attack is capable of displacing a target 15 meters in the direction of the attack before returning the enlil back to their original height. This is treated as a physical attack with a magnitude of 4. This technique can only be used once every three turns.
Exalted
Touch the Sky
For the briefest moments, the enlil draw upon the strength of their fierce ancestors. Pushing off with their powerful legs and propelling themselves with their wings, they are capable of launching themselves skyward at staggering speeds. The force is so powerful that they can carry an additional person with ease.

Immediately, the enlil can fly 100m into or across the sky, in addition to any other movement, and can bring one person, creature, or object close to their own size. The exertion is something that cannot be used constantly and can only be performed once a week. This ability costs 10% of the enlil's vigor.

Nature of Velen (The Aquatic)
Unknown
Aquatic Affinity
As expected of the race native to the oceans, the velen feel much more at home in the water than on land. Firstly, their biology gives them the natural ability to breathe underwater. Their innate knowledge of water currents, their ability to move through water with ease, and not to mention their tailored biology make them astounding swimmers. These factors combined completely validate their dominion over the seas. While other races may struggle under the pressure and density of the water, velen are able to able to move through it with ease.

In the water, velen have a standard movement of 30m (or 60m if taking no other action). Velen are also capable of speaking underwater, including incantations for verbal spells. This does not cost vigor to use.

Notable
Voice of Serenity
The velen only shed blood when needed. The power of words cannot be understated, potentially quieting violence, gathering information, or inspiring others. Velen are capable of speaking in a primordial language that appears familiar to all but unrecognizable at the same time. Even animals and otherworldly beings respond to it, though most vistra do not. After speaking in this tongue, for the next few moments, the velen hears echoes of other tongues in the Voice of Serenity.

At a cost of 250 vigor per round, up to five rounds consecutively, the velen is able to make themselves understood to people and creatures. While this effect is active, they can also hear and understand other tongues spoken within 10m. Usable once per chapter or collab, the Voice of Serenity allows the velen to speak and be heard even when otherwise impossible, even through loud noise, muffling, or unnatural silence.

Prominent
Super-ego
Contrary to what their appearance that seems to indicate, the velen are more disposed to diplomacy than belligerency. Their affinity for language seems to be an innate skill. They can persuade even the most stubborn and subtly manipulate them with ease. Their skill allows them to plant ideas in the minds of those who listen to them, subtly manipulating to the velen's whims.

By paying 5% vigor they can attempt to persuade the target with an idea or command. This is considered a mental effect with a magnitude of 3 plus the user's current Esteem tier, only usable on the same target once per collab or chapter.

Renowned
Catechism
Through means not fully understood, the velen always seem capable of gathering information from the deepest of secrets. Their words seem to tap into the target's memories and conscious thought. Fitting their lifestyle, they are capable of gaining information from others with ease. They pose a single question and the target is compelled to answer truthfully.

Each question costs 5% of the velen's vigor, and only one question can be asked at a time. This is considered a mental effect with a magnitude of 1 plus the user's current Esteem tier. As repeated questioning can naturally cause the target's mind to resist, magnitude is reduced by 2 for each successive question to the same target; as magnitude decreases, the answers become less complete, though no less honest. When magnitude is less than 2, or when more than one round passes without asking a question, the effect ends and cannot be attempted again on the same target.

Exalted
Voice of Command
The ability to command dozens with a single word is a skill left to only the most powerful velen. Rumor has it that ancient velen generals could even cause a standing army to surrender with a single command. Though the validity of these claims is suspect, it is no exaggeration of the velen's ability of control.

They utter a single command that seems to be understandable by all creatures and races that hear it. The targets immediately disarm themselves and are halted in place for the following round from the command. For that one turn they are completely pacified and no attacks may be used. This ability can only be used once a week. This ability costs 10% of the velen's vigor.


Nature of Demvir (The Machina)
Unknown
Machina Body
A casing of metal, a skeleton of steel, compared to their organic brethren, the Demvir appear at first glance to be nearly indestructible. While that may be considered a gross exaggeration, there is truth in the fact that they are far more durable than most. Their exoskeleton is much more resistant to physical attacks than normal, and they lack many of the limitations of the flesh-and-blood races.

Passively, incoming attacks are reduced in magnitude by one tier per round. Demvir do not need to breathe when underwater, though attempts to speak are muffled. There is no need to eat or drink, and while Demvir benefit from periods of rest, if not seriously damaged they can continue functioning in a low-power state almost indefinitely. Demvir are also resistant to drastic temperature change, able to endure freezing or scalding temperatures with minimal damage.

Notable
Machine Logic

Timeless in all senses, the sheer age of this race causes them to think in a manner far removed from the younger races. They are beings of logic, emotion being a conscious concept to them. As such, any attempt to alter rationality is automatically met with resistance.

For better or for worse, any mental effects are automatically reduced in magnitude by 2 tiers per round. Demvir have perfect eidetic recall for memories of the past 24 hours and are also capable of storing a handful of 'perfect' memories long-term: for the sheer pleasure of it, to recall spoken words perfectly, or even recreate a complex diagram.

Prominent
Security Protocol
The caelitium core of the demvir is one of the many mysteries surrounding the race. The near limitless energy source, the self-sustaining core, the consciousness that seems to be born from it, the amount of untapped power is staggering. In fact, simply drawing a small fraction of the energy from the core can cause amazing effects. The energy from the core coats the casing of the demvir, strengthening it greatly from any attack.

By paying 5% of maximum vigor, the demvir is capable of cloaking their body with a barrier capable of sustaining damage up to a magnitude of 3 plus the user's current Esteem tier. Continuously tapping into the core is dangerous and may render it unstable; as such, before it can be activated again, they must allow the core to cool down for three rounds after the barrier is destroyed.

Renowned
Capacitance
Whether it is spontaneous energy generation or the draining of vigor from the environment, the caelitium core is completely self-sustaining. This unlimited energy source can be tapped into by the most aware demvir, using the power core to directly fuel themselves once again.

Every turn the demvir regenerates 2% of its maximum vigor.

Exalted
Overclock
Perhaps it is a protocol afforded to those only who have achieved a true sense of self-awareness or perhaps it's the realization of their true potential. Regardless of the cause, the ancient demvir seem to break from the restraints of time itself.

Temporarily, the demvir is capable of pushing their ability to absorb, analyze, and internalize external information to amazing levels. While the time moves at its own pace, the demvir are capable of analyzing the information at such speeds that it seems all but frozen to them.

This level of control is only temporary, however, as their perception returns to normal the following turn. For one accelerated round, the demvir can analyze the situation in detail and prepare; the following round, the demvir can take two rounds' worth of actions based on their analysis. This ability costs 10% vigor to activate and only can be used once a week.


 
Last edited:

swaswj

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Feb 18, 2008
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#2
Changes made based on recommendations by @K3
 

Mystydjinn

[Insert rimshot]
Jul 29, 2013
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#3
Mystydjinn: Minmaxing with Spurii is a bit underwhelming since they can only choose between two techs at each level, rather than being allowed to take any tech they could have acquired from below their current esteem level Especially considering there's just 5 levels, so taking a lower level tech in favor of an At level tech means missing out on a higher level tech.

I.e. Adrenaline Rush + Aquatic Affinity + VoS + Mortal Block + Second Wind, means this velen/laicar spurii misses out on nearly all mental effect techniques.

Swaswj Answer: Too much variation and things to account for.

Mystydjinn: What about something to make the Spurii identity more "solid" since they all share the common theme of experiencing systemic oppression or at least a black sheep theme from their fellow Araevians.

Swaswj Answer: Make a suggestion. Keep in mind, it needs to be something that ANY spurii combination could find useful, since a group of techs for each combination would be an excessive change and bring us back to the first answer.

Mystydjinn: Okay, what about a resistance to mental or racial techniques?

SolidSnaK3: Demvir already have that. What's going on?

Mystydjinn: Read above

SolidSnaK3: No. Spurii don't get special techs of their own because we made them to be ambiguous at the beginning because having an additional tree was a bit much at the time. They also have ties to Castus which is ambiguous and emphemeral, so it makes more narrative sense that way. Your conflating race issues in Araevis, the current ones wouldn't merit any special identity for them.

Mystydjinn: They don't have to stay that way if we change it. Race issues should actually be more serious in the grand scheme of things, and they would encourage a common identity among spurii, that's how minorities work. You just haven't explored that side of the Araevis yet.

- ̗̀ nerrs ̖́-: Why isn't this on the forum?

Swaswj: ^^^

Mystydjinn: currently working on it.
 

swaswj

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 18, 2008
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#4
For anyone reading, please be aware that what Minj has posted is heavily paraphrased.

Mystydjinn: Minmaxing with Spurii is a bit underwhelming since they can only choose between two techs at each level, rather than being allowed to take any tech they could have acquired from below their current esteem level Especially considering there's just 5 levels, so taking a lower level tech in favor of an At level tech means missing out on a higher level tech.

I.e. Adrenaline Rush + Aquatic Affinity + VoS + Mortal Block + Second Wind, means this velen/laicar spurii misses out on nearly all mental effect techniques.

Swaswj Answer: Too much variation and things to account for.
Although we as players choose the race of our character, it's important to remember that racial traits are not something that a character gets to choose. Aelflead would not suddenly gain the ability to breathe underwater at 15 or decide between pacifying people or body-blocking for an ally when she turns 25. Like other physical traits -- height, bone structure, the color of your hair, eyes, or skin, gender -- you don't get to choose, even if there are ways to change them later.

I bring this up because in game terms, the spurii do get to choose... but in story terms, the character doesn't. It's entirely possible, and likely, for someone of mixed blood to be stuck with traits they don't understand, appreciate, or like, as much as and more than pure-blooded characters.

However, the biggest hurdle is balance. Right now there are 20 racial traits. Each one is measured against the other 19 traits, and sometimes it's necessary to use a calculator or spreadsheet to make sure things aren't too crazy one way or another. Sometimes it's necessary to put combinations together and plan out "How would I use this?" to see if things get too out of hand. That's hard, and also inexact. The more possibilities there are, the more chances for something broken to slip through.

Adding more traits for spurii that replace the idea of picking from their parent races would either be far more limiting than currently (instead of parent traits, you get 5 set-in-stone spurii traits) or add way too much to balance (5 traits for each of the combinations, meaning 40 total racial traits to balance).

Each level of traits is also balanced against its own tier. The first tier techs are strong, but balanced against each other. Combining multiples can create a character that's difficult to contend with. I'm not just doing this because it's easier, but because it makes sense numerically and narratively.

Mystydjinn: What about something to make the Spurii identity more "solid" since they all share the common theme of experiencing systemic oppression or at least a black sheep theme from their fellow Araevians.

Swaswj Answer: Make a suggestion. Keep in mind, it needs to be something that ANY spurii combination could find useful, since a group of techs for each combination would be an excessive change and bring us back to the first answer.

Mystydjinn: Okay, what about a resistance to mental or racial techniques?

SolidSnaK3: Demvir already have that. What's going on?

Mystydjinn: Read above

SolidSnaK3: No. Spurii don't get special techs of their own because we made them to be ambiguous at the beginning because having an additional tree was a bit much at the time. They also have ties to Castus which is ambiguous and emphemeral, so it makes more narrative sense that way. Your conflating race issues in Araevis, the current ones wouldn't merit any special identity for them.

Mystydjinn: They don't have to stay that way if we change it. Race issues should actually be more serious in the grand scheme of things, and they would encourage a common identity among spurii, that's how minorities work. You just haven't explored that side of the Araevis yet.

- ̗̀ nerrs ̖́-: Why isn't this on the forum?

Swaswj: ^^^

Mystydjinn: currently working on it.
There's a lot of content missing here. The full quote:

Solid SnaK3
Post-post apocalyptic society regresses social progress - what it cannot do is undo collective societal progress that's already been made without a total wipe. It protects existing hatred and prejudice, it does not foster new hatred and prejudice. Spurii are persecuted at an individual level, not a societal level.

When I say that spurii are not entitled to an 'identity' I speak in terms of game design - the way that a player race plays and interacts with the world around them - not unlike a core 'identity' for player races in D&D.

They lack one because they borrow directly from 2 other collective game identities to forge individual ones

They do not have unique traits to them because we wanted to keep things simple and because it was difficult at the time of Araevis' inception to invent an unfulfilled niche for spurii that was not covered elsewhere.

This plays into the large Rule of Fives we used for PT in general - we didn't want to upset the balance we'd made with that rule, and so kept spurii to a more vague identity that would be largely up to the individual writer.

Spurii have ties to Castus which is equal parts unknowable and ephemeral in form and nature. Making spurii the 'pick one or the other' trait style they have only made sense at the time and I don't disagree that it still does.
K3 actually says a lot here, but the first thing I want to point out is that the "ties to Castus" isn't a reason for the design choices. It's the spurii's unique (yet currently unknown and ephemeral because no one has explored it) niche in the world.

What was a design choice was that some of the parent traits are so important to a race's identity (enlil's feather fall, velen aquatic mastery, laicar glory) that even someone playing a spurii would be beholden to getting one or the other. The inability to have everything was seen as potential strife for writing: a half-enlil who can't feather fall, so it's too dangerous for the family to live in the trees; a half-velen who can't breathe underwater, and the family chooses to put them up for adoption rather than relocate to the surface. Creating new, mixed traits didn't make sense when players would likely want at least some of the parent traits -- and there's no way for us to account for every possible combination people might want.

As much as K3 likes to point out that it's easier the way it is (because that's true), we did consider a lot of alternatives before settling on the simple solution. That isn't to say it's the only solution, but it's the one that seemed to fit best and required the least rebalancing.

I'd like to talk about spurii prejudice in PT, but that will have to wait.
 

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