[TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

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Havard
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[TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by Havard »

I still havent had a chance to play TORG Eternity, but I am slowly learning the changes in the rules.

The most significant change I've noticed is that you now need both a d20 and 2 six sided dice, whereas in the original version (and R&E) you could do everything with the d20.

In the new system you roll 1d20 and consult the chart to find the number you should add to your skill or ability and compare that to the TN.

If your result is a good (TN+5) or spectacular success (TN+10), you end up rolling 1d6 or 2d6 and add those to the effect (damage). My main concern was that this would result in less insane results. However, the d6s are exploding, meaning 6s are rerolled so you can still accumulate tons of damage.

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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by Kuildeous »

What better way to engage in the new home of Torg discussion than to revive old but still relevant threads?

The d6s do explode, though they’re not your typical explosions. The 6 is replaced by a 5 that explodes. With a d20 that explodes on 10s and 20s, you can get 1-9, 11-19, 21-29, etc. With the d6s, you can get any positive number. It struck many of us as weird when we first learned of it, but it makes sense.

Other changes:

Ords (kind of like minions) have fewer Wounds. There aren’t two damage charts depending on what you’re hitting. If you do 1 Wound to an Ord mook, you take him out. Larger and elite Ords can take more punishment. Reality-rated characters have more Wounds than Ords. I’d have to check, but it seems like +3 across the board.

Only five attributes instead of seven: Strength, Dexterity, Mind, Charisma, and Spirit. Perception and Toughness got wrapped up in those five.

Cosm cards. Great addition. Everyone gets one. Some are unequivocally good. Others have penalties but also usually a reward for playing it (innocent bystander gets in the way; gain Possibilities for saving them). The cosm cards are tied to their cosms: You could lose an important piece of equipment in Living Land, you could accidentally summon a demon in the Cyberpapacy, and the lights go out in Orrorsh.

Core Earthers are masters of reality. Only they can invoke reality storms, which requires a perk. Only they can negate the enemy’s use of Possibilities; also a perk.

Some perks have cosm protection: Tharkold characters get Occultech, Orrosh characters get Bulletsmith, Pan Pacifica characters get ki powers, and so on. Suitably advanced characters can buy perks from other realms, but it’s expected that new characters must work within their cosm.

POSSIBILITIES ARE NOT XP! Honestly, I didn’t realize how problematic this was in original Torg until my wife played a campaign. She griped that everyone was hoarding their Possibilities rather than doing cool stuff with it. The veterans knew how precious they were, so we chose safe and easy over daring and cool. Since XP is separate and Possibilities reset with each Act, there’s no reason to hoard them. Go be awesome!

Probably missed many, but those are the big things that come to mind. The numbers are lower, which means that a direct comparison to oTorg isn’t applicable. I’ve seen complaints that Torg Eternity didn’t feel heroic because the average skill would be 9 or 10. But everyone had their numbers cut down, so the amount of heroics is still there.
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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by Utsukushi »

I’ve seen complaints that Torg Eternity didn’t feel heroic because the average skill would be 9 or 10. But everyone had their numbers cut down, so the amount of heroics is still there.
And did you mention the part about Possibilities not being XP anymore? That helps a lot with being awesome when you want to.

Though while that's a great listing of directly changed mechanics, I would say the biggest change in the mechanics is that Eternity is much, much, much simpler. It still uses the Bonus Table, and a lot of the basis is there, but everything pretty reliably works the same way and you don't have whole new systems introduced in every Reality. For new-to-Torg players, I think this is almost unmitigatedly good. (The loss of old Torg's spell design system I believe is tragic. But otherwise, this is great.) For fans of the classic, it can be more of a mixed bag, because if you liked the original you probably liked those intricate systems. But they did a pretty amazing job of keeping the feel of the game while flensing the mechanics.

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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by TorgHacker »

Kuildeous wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:17 pm

Probably missed many, but those are the big things that come to mind. The numbers are lower, which means that a direct comparison to oTorg isn’t applicable. I’ve seen complaints that Torg Eternity didn’t feel heroic because the average skill would be 9 or 10. But everyone had their numbers cut down, so the amount of heroics is still there.
I'll also add that the intent is for Possibilities and Destiny cards to be used, so even though it might seem that 'normal' actions are significantly harder...rolls are only made if the result really matters. Otherwise if it's reasonable for you to succeed, you just do.
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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by pkitty »

One of the first things I explained to my players was, while holding up the Destiny Cards and Possibility Tokens, "Without these, this game is incredibly hard. The d20 is more likely to hurt you than to help you, and you'll only have a few traits high enough that you'll feel comfortable reliably hitting DN 10 with no worries. But these cards and tokens are what separate a Storm Knight from an Ord. Use them, rely on them, and prepare to hate life the first time you Disconnect."
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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by ovidius »

In Torg Eternity Magic, Miracles and Psionics all have the same basic mechanic and they feel like different trappings now instead of different subsystems.

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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by Sir Alain Fisk »

Kuildeous wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:17 pm
POSSIBILITIES ARE NOT XP! Honestly, I didn’t realize how problematic this was in original Torg until my wife played a campaign. She griped that everyone was hoarding their Possibilities rather than doing cool stuff with it. The veterans knew how precious they were, so we chose safe and easy over daring and cool. Since XP is separate and Possibilities reset with each Act, there’s no reason to hoard them. Go be awesome!

Probably missed many, but those are the big things that come to mind. The numbers are lower, which means that a direct comparison to oTorg isn’t applicable. I’ve seen complaints that Torg Eternity didn’t feel heroic because the average skill would be 9 or 10. But everyone had their numbers cut down, so the amount of heroics is still there.
Possibilities: My Players in O-Torg almost never hoarded their Possibilities. I always encouraged them to maintain a few, but do cool stuff with the rest. My Players NEVER played it safe because they knew I would reward more Possibilities for cool stuff. Frankly, the new system is stifling to me and to my Players and XP makes the game feel like many other games out there and tend to be superfluous.

In truth, since my Players now have only three Possibilities -though I am able to, and often do, reward more- they tend to play it far more safe than they used to. I could easily say I hate the new system but, since we're playing on Roll 20 and I don't know how to build my own character sheets, even after the sandbox is to be released, soon, I don't have a choice. The next time we play on tabletop, though, I'm going back to the original system.

The Numbers: I honestly DO like how USI basically leveled the playing field with regard to numbers. Yes, you can still have high numbers, but I don't think I've seen anything above 20 on your more typical monsters, which means damaging them is more within reach. For example, last Saturday evening -we play every Saturday, thus far-, my Players were able to bring down a Tyrannosaurus Rex which, the way they did it was actually pretty epic, when under O-Torg half the party would be chomped badly before they could kill it. That is a very welcome change.

I don't like the way they do Toughness, though I suppose I can live with it being detached. Perception turned over to Find and Evidence Analysis, now that I have some more experience with it, is a welcome change.
Utsukushi wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:28 pm
And did you mention the part about Possibilities not being XP anymore? That helps a lot with being awesome when you want to.
All I needed to do to achieve the same effect in O-Torg was encourage my Players maintain a small pool of Possibilities, based on what they use in game-play over time and how comfortable they are with them, and then encourage them to spend when hard things came up and they needed to succeed. If the Torg crew had explained this in GM section of the Core Book, rather than re-designing the system, it could have saved a whole lot of heartache. My Players have always used their Characters to accomplish awesome feats, but now they're much more limited than they used to be. The XP system, likewise, is superfluous, and while I may use their "rule" concerning the gain of 5 XP per Act, I have created a system whereby up to three (3) Possibilities in excess of maintaining 3 can be used at the END of an Adventure to convert to more XP.

Different Players play differently at the table, whether face-to-face or virtual, some do more, think more, act more, plan more, etc., some are there only for the combat and otherwise do what they're told, and some just sit there like bumps on a log until they feel like it's time to do something, contributing no more than is absolutely necessary. They SHOULD NOT be awarded the same at the end of an Act, PERIOD. I want to encourage my Players, and I often do, to do, think, act, and plan, be clever and outwit me at my own table, but if I can't encourage someone and I can't penalize them on the front end, I will withhold rewards. So, the best way to deal with the current debacle is to award more Possibilities and allow Players who have earned more, to have more on that back end.
Though while that's a great listing of directly changed mechanics, I would say the biggest change in the mechanics is that Eternity is much, much, much simpler. For fans of the classic, it can be more of a mixed bag, because if you liked the original you probably liked those intricate systems. But they did a pretty amazing job of keeping the feel of the game while flensing the mechanics.
Precisely and I couldn't agree more. Despite my mis-givings, Torg Eternity is absolutely amazing, and I have either learned to switch over to the changes, nearly all of which I have readily welcomed, or I've adapted a different way of doing things.

Overall, Torg Eternity Team of USI, good on ya!!!
ovidius wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:07 am
In Torg Eternity Magic, Miracles and Psionics all have the same basic mechanic and they feel like different trappings now instead of different subsystems.
I have to say that, while I feel the original system was far more creative, in this regard, it was also pretty crunchy and more difficult to follow. In my dotage, the similar systems feel more consistent and true to mechanics, if not the creativity of it all. In this regard, my Players will have to be far more creative, in and of themselves, rather than relying on the game to provide creativity they may not agree with and, as such, can be less fun. I believe the new system is better, overall.
When I was running Torg Eternity for my family in 2018, my youngest Son (18, then) had a Nile Empire Weird Scientist with a robot nicknamed Stompy. At the end of the last adventure we played before my Wife and I moved to Texas, he asked,

“Hey Dad, can Stompy have Stealth?” This is a 450-pound robot being made into a Weird Science helper, made almost of solid steel, and he wanted to add Stealth… we died the table-round at the prospect.

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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by Kuildeous »

Sir Alain Fisk wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:52 pm
My Players in O-Torg almost never hoarded their Possibilities. I always encouraged them to maintain a few, but do cool stuff with the rest. My Players NEVER played it safe because they knew I would reward more Possibilities for cool stuff.
At a table where the GM gives additional Possibilities to make up for spending Possibilities, I could see where players would be less inclined to hoard Possibilities. In that case, there is no risk in spending Possibilities, so I can see where your players could get spend-happy. I haven’t done a formal study, but I suspect your table may be in the minority.
Sir Alain Fisk wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:52 pm
In truth, since my Players now have only three Possibilities -though I am able to, and often do, reward more- they tend to play it far more safe than they used to.
Even when you give them more Possibilities for spending Possibilities, they play it safe? Interesting. I wonder what’s changed. Is it the game rules, unfamiliarity with the new system, or just general change through age? That could be an interesting survey.
Sir Alain Fisk wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:52 pm
Yes, you can still have high numbers, but I don't think I've seen anything above 20 on your more typical monsters, which means damaging them is more within reach. For example, last Saturday evening -we play every Saturday, thus far-, my Players were able to bring down a Tyrannosaurus Rex
Yeah, when something has over 20, that’s a notable change in how important that scene is. Cool thing about villains with scores that high is that there’s usually a weakness. An intelligent character can trick the T-rex each round, making it Very Vulnerable. And with a Player’s Call (laughably easy against the dim-witted dinosaur), you could even make it chomp a different dinosaur or lose a turn or something else major.
Sir Alain Fisk wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:52 pm
They SHOULD NOT be awarded the same at the end of an Act, PERIOD. I want to encourage my Players, and I often do, to do, think, act, and plan, be clever and outwit me at my own table, but if I can't encourage someone and I can't penalize them on the front end, I will withhold rewards. So, the best way to deal with the current debacle is to award more Possibilities and allow Players who have earned more, to have more on that back end.

This is a philosophy change that I’ve adopted and applied to much of my GMing in all my games. I suggested it in a D&D3 game when I realized that Pathfinder Society gives the same XP whether you succeed or fail, and I loved the result. When I ran 13th Age, I applied milestone leveling, and when I ran L5R, I based the XP award on how involved the group was, rather than whether or not they pressed the right button in my mind.

And as I think on it, I’ve developed a loathing for merit-based experience awards. It doesn’t make sense to me because how does one learn more from rescuing the prisoner than from failing to rescue the prisoner? If anything, they probably learned a valuable lesson in their failure, but I won’t fret about that detail. But when I realized that experience should be a consequence rather than a reward, I looked at games differently. There are ways to reward and punish characters that don’t involve experience points, and they should be used in a way that flows well narratively, such as a sworn enemy, a curse, a new sword, or access to a new Eternity Shard. Varying XP based on how well the group tacitly tells the group that they failed to resolve the plot the way the GM wants.

So with that idea, which 13th Age codified very well, I’ve taken a shine to giving the same XP for the encounters (or Act, in this case). If the players outwit the scenario, then they get rewarded in other ways. They probably avoided an unnecessary fight or found a healing potion or something. Giving 5 XP after each Act works pretty well with that philosophy in mind. I did start small with my home group and gave 2-3 XP per Act but mostly because there wasn’t that much published content at the time. Now, there are lots of options for them, but I bumped it to 5 XP when they hit Beta anyway.

One side effect of this philosophy is that everyone gets the same rewards, even if they aren’t there. While this would’ve been anathema to 1990s me, I’m on board with that because now I don’t have to feel like I’m punishing players for having a life. Some of my players have kids and kids’ events. Some players have to be on call during a game. 40- and 50-year-old players seem to have more reasons to miss out on a game than 20-year-olds. So all my players have the same XP. If this means someone gains 20 XP inexplicably in their absence, then that’s fine. Their penalty for missing the game is that they missed the game. Also, Martyr gets played more often since there’s no looming penalty of coming back as a starting character who pales in comparison to everyone else.
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Re: [TORG] Changes in mechanics in editions

Post by Sir Alain Fisk »

Kuildeous wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:28 pm
At a table where the GM gives additional Possibilities to make up for spending Possibilities, I could see where players would be less inclined to hoard Possibilities. In that case, there is no risk in spending Possibilities, so I can see where your players could get spend-happy. I haven’t done a formal study, but I suspect your table may be in the minority.
Of that I've no doubt. If the in-game currency flows and doesn't just ebb and dry up, things can be a lot more fun. What's funny is... a lot of folks would then complain about power crepe. I'm not a Monty Hall style of GM, but I'm also not a murder ball style. All of the GM section's I've read in any game on how to run games, in general, and their games in specific, I've actually taken the advice of; reward your Player's for being clever, in all sorts of ways, and you'll have a happier table. I was doing that long before Matt Mercer made video's about it, hehe.
Even when you give them more Possibilities for spending Possibilities, they play it safe? Interesting. I wonder what’s changed. Is it the game rules, unfamiliarity with the new system, or just general change through age? That could be an interesting survey.
That's not what I'm saying, exactly. In O-Torg, when I used to reward them for being clever and I explained to them at the beginning of each adventure they should maintain between 3 and 7 Possibilities, dependent on how they felt they would play, they found they could be a bit more epic, more free to try new things out or act on older things they knew would work, and likely be rewarded for it. They had a LOT more fun, that way.

However, with new Torg, starting at a base of 3 for each new act, or maintaining what they have above 3, even though they are certain I will reward them for being clever, they are a great deal more conservative. You can't hoard Possibilities when you have less than one-third what you used to have, and there's no reason to hoard when you're going to get the very same amount of experience as everyone else, regardless of what you do in the game, so I had to compensate for the rather socialist take on XP in Eternity. Everyone gets the same? Ridiculous. Why should my Player's try if there is, indeed, no actual reward for trying harder.
Yeah, when something has over 20, that’s a notable change in how important that scene is. Cool thing about villains with scores that high is that there’s usually a weakness. An intelligent character can trick the T-rex each round, making it Very Vulnerable. And with a Player’s Call (laughably easy against the dim-witted dinosaur), you could even make it chomp a different dinosaur or lose a turn or something else major.
The cool trick is getting Players to stick to the Approved Action(s) for the round, LOL, so they can earn cards.
I based the XP award on how involved the group was, rather than whether or not they pressed the right button in my mind.
I was just going to say, using that example, "it's not so much about pressing the right button" but, then, it actually sort of is. The way I hand out Possibilities in Eternity and the way I do XP in other games sort of falls in-line with the way Rifts and Earthdawn bill their awards/rewards for the Player's being clever and being able to figure out what it is I'm thinking. All modules written by a company are done with the concepts the writer has in mind to come across and solve, normally in a particular way. Giving experience, or Possibilities, for allowing a group, or an individual, to solve things they way THEY WANT to solve them does not help them learn how to play the game. I've had a maxim all my gaming life, since I was 19 (29 years ago), which is "we game as we live, and we live as we game", which is to say the things we learn in our games influence how we think and act in our real life, especially those helpful things for getting ahead, and vice-versa. Rewarding Players for doing things their way sets up false expectations for how the game will continue to be played. So, yes, I will award XP and Possibilities based on MY benchmarks for how well Players do in MY games.
And as I think on it, I’ve developed a loathing for merit-based experience awards. It doesn’t make sense to me because how does one learn more from rescuing the prisoner than from failing to rescue the prisoner?
For one thing, the right way to do things, which counts if you have only one shot to make something happen. For another, you can reflect LATER on how doing things any other way would likely have held a detrimental outcome. Yes, there are things to be learned from failing, as long as you have the ability to right the failure or another chance to get it right. However, failure grants diminishing returns for knowledge and wisdom, and rewarding failure teaches people how to fail and still be okay, which is fine if, again, you're not in a situation that will harm or kill you for said failure. It allows for mediocrity to save the day, which is not how the real world works, and it disallows for truly epic outcomes in the game world.
But when I realized that experience should be a consequence rather than a reward, I looked at games differently. There are ways to reward and punish characters that don’t involve experience points, and they should be used in a way that flows well narratively, such as a sworn enemy, a curse, a new sword, or access to a new Eternity Shard. Varying XP based on how well the group tacitly tells the group that they failed to resolve the plot the way the GM wants.
I see experience as both consequence and reward, not as either-or, because... mediocrity, again. I use all the other methods you speak about in this last paragraph, and I agree with them. However, we're speaking about experience and the varied forms it can come in, not just within the game, but as a means of building a hero.
One side effect of this philosophy is that everyone gets the same rewards, even if they aren’t there. While this would’ve been anathema to 1990s me, I’m on board with that because now I don’t have to feel like I’m punishing players for having a life. Some of my players have kids and kids’ events. Some players have to be on call during a game. 40- and 50-year-old players seem to have more reasons to miss out on a game than 20-year-olds. So all my players have the same XP. If this means someone gains 20 XP inexplicably in their absence, then that’s fine. Their penalty for missing the game is that they missed the game. Also, Martyr gets played more often since there’s no looming penalty of coming back as a starting character who pales in comparison to everyone else.
We will have to agree to disagree in this regard, I'm afraid. Yes, Players have a life, but Players also take breaks in different sessions. There is a social contract with my groups: if you say you are interested in playing this game and you say you want to be here, then accomplish all but emergency situations outside the time of our game and be there. Otherwise, you can designate another Player to play your Character while you're away.

Not only do I NOT think this is unfair, considering most gaming tables now only get to have about 4 to 8 hours PER MONTH, my Players are normally on board with either handling the responsibility to be there, or they know they are free to leave the game table. I've had plenty do so, only two or three of which have had any heartache with it.

Here's my further thinking on XP and showing up to a game you said you would be at: EXPECT someone to show up and they will find a way to be there; failure to plant an expectation is failure to expect someone to show up, which means the table is loosey-goosey, not solidly established, and it begs for dismissal. I'm not one to be dismissed; there's no respect in being dismissed. So, I plant the expectation on day one and, over the past 29 years, I've had bloody few who failed to show up. You are expected, you are wanted, you are respected at our table, and expected to show that same respect and expectation to your friends at the table, period.
When I was running Torg Eternity for my family in 2018, my youngest Son (18, then) had a Nile Empire Weird Scientist with a robot nicknamed Stompy. At the end of the last adventure we played before my Wife and I moved to Texas, he asked,

“Hey Dad, can Stompy have Stealth?” This is a 450-pound robot being made into a Weird Science helper, made almost of solid steel, and he wanted to add Stealth… we died the table-round at the prospect.

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