Author Topic: Discussion and Suggestions  (Read 3012 times)

Offline Bauglir

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Discussion and Suggestions
« on: August 29, 2012, 12:41:14 PM »
So, we all know the original Truenaming system was borked and have some idea of why. Use this thread to tell me why the new system of Truespeech is also borked, and how I can fix it. Once I'm done posting what I've got so far, I'll add my own thoughts to this thread. In the meantime, on the offchance anybody reads this stuff fast enough to get through it before I've finished formatting the next section, please don't actually post in any other threads. I'll be spending a while tweaking the formatting, adding images, etc.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 01:23:09 PM »
For Sentences, do you mean a full-round action or 1 round?

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 01:54:26 PM »
1 round. I had considered a full-round action length of utterance, but I felt like it overlapped too significantly with Sentences and would add needless work in constructing the system. However, if it turns out not to be balanced, I'll change it to a full-round action. I'm absolutely certain that the system, as it stands, is not well-balanced, but I'm suffering from creator's vision, so I'm hoping to get some other eyes on it to get better advice. Also, just as a head's up, there aren't yet enough written lexica to build a level 20 truespeaker of any kind. So that needs work.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 04:28:19 PM »
I ask because it's unclear. "1 round action" in the glossary could mean either of them, so please clarify it when you have the chance.

Edit: Why does Truespeak cost so much more for Rogues, Rangers, Bards, and Beguilers than for Fighters, Sorcerers, and Commoners?
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 04:32:38 PM by Garryl »

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 04:36:25 PM »
I'll go edit that to make it clear what the length of the action is.

There are a couple of possible routes to the reasoning behind why it costs so much. In-game, it occupies the entire attention a character normally has, leaving only what their natural talents of their own can work with. Balance-wise, it's one of many mechanisms I have in place to prevent abusive dipping without making multiclassing impossible - I'm not entirely sure it's necessary, nor am I terrifically attached to it. It's probably the most kludgy attempt to deal with that, and I can get rid of it for the time being.

For later readers: Originally, cross-class ranks in Truespeech cost as many skill points as your class offered at each level (not counting your Int bonus or bonus skill points).

Offline Garryl

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2012, 05:16:12 PM »
If the only things with personal truenames are creatures with Int > 3, why are there rules for object and location personal truenames (which are not creatures and have no Intelligence scores)? What happens to the personal truename of a creature whose Intelligence score decreases? Your first rank in Truespeech teaches you your personal truename, but what if you don't have one (low or no Intelligence score)?

Does the length reduction from successful saves and failed Truespeak checks also negate the utterances effects on creatures further away than the (reduced) utterances range?

If it's impossible to tell the difference between the normal and reversed version of an utterance, how can creatures make an informed decision about whether to give up their saving throws?

Law of Sequence: How does this interact with shortened utterances due to saves and failed checks? Is a sentence shortened to a word the same as a sentence or a word?

Law of Uncertainty/Immiscibility: Which is it? The 1st paragraph refers to Immisicibility as the 4th rule, but the 5th paragraph talks about Uncertainty.

When deactivating a non-deactivatable item through a personal truename, what action does it take? A swift action or the item's normal activation action?

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2012, 05:36:56 PM »
The above post is basically perfect. Yeah, these are consequences of writing half this system in a caffeine-fueled haze of sleep deprivation.

So, first, a question - what is your opinion of a more elegant solution? Everything has a personal truename, or drop personal truename rules for unintelligent objects and locations?

Successful saves don't affect the range, but a failed check does (the latter causes you to actually speak the shortened utterance, you just wind up using a longer action for it). This is what I intended, at any rate, and I'll go clarify that a failed check makes you actually speak the shortened utterance, and a successful save changes the effect on a subject (but only on that subject).

I'll clarify that I meant that it's impossible to tell the difference from an epistemology perspective. That was a really vague statement of mine. You would know the effect of a particular utterance affecting you if its speaker so desired, but not anything else about it, such as what utterance it actually was (unless you could make the truespeech check).

Law of Sequence - When you fail a Truespeech check, you actually speak the shorter utterance. So if you fail to speak the sentence of fire, you actually speak the word of fire. If one of the creatures targeted made its saving throw, it (but not necessarily the others) would be affected as if by the syllable of fire instead (which would then interact with other utterances as the syllable of fire, since that's what is affecting the target).

The Law of Immiscibility was an old name for the Law of Uncertainty. Thought I'd cleared those up, thanks for pointing it out.

It should be a swift action. I'll clarify that, since it'd still be necessary for intelligent magic items.

One question - in writing this, I've been assuming a distinction between the act of taking an action, and the effects that action generates (the distinction between the act of spellcasting and a fireball). Is that a distinction the rules actually make in a sensible way? The rules for shortened utterances are intended to rely heavily on this distinction.

EDIT: After making the changes mentioned above, I'll be taking a short break. Once I get back, I'll get the lexica I have done posted (only one for each dialect, unfortunately), plus a few bits of miscellaneous material (feats, variant True Dragons, because Skyrim, and a masterwork tool). I can say right now that the Truenamer class is bland, and needs work.

MOAR EDIT: Should the Law of Resistance apply to all utterances from the same lexicon, or only identical utterances? I went with the conservative option, but I want to see what the opinions are. It might be necessary to see actual lexica before making that call, though.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 05:49:46 PM by Bauglir »

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2012, 11:50:02 PM »
Okay, so I've got everything I have posted, and I've revised everything except personal truenames according to feedback I've gotten already. My current thoughts on the system:

I haven't actually resolved the dual brokenness of the original system. I think utterances, as written, are too powerful, but might be too easily avoided. I'm wondering if I should rewrite them to scale to power less rapidly (since I think the syllables and phonema are reasonably good), and eliminate the saving throw. Also saves gameplay time; I'd probably let you roll your truespeech check twice against targets that currently don't get saves. Also simplifies the system, which is probably a big problem right now. Thoughts?

Truenamers are incredibly bland. They need more interesting class features than "break the laws in minor ways". Should they also get a "force your utterance to happen" ability? Probably not if I remove saves, since the only reason it works out for the Drakespeaker is the relatively low power of their utterances.

Drakespeakers, on the other hand, might be too good. I'm wondering if I should nerf their truespeaking abilities a little more. Speaker's Claw could stand to be more interesting than a generic +2/+2 synergy ability.

Should only intelligent creatures have personal truenames? Should the Law of Resistance apply to entire lexica, or just individual utterances? I do not know.

I need to write MOAR UTTERANCES and MOAR FEATS and MOAR ITEMS before the system is really functional. You can't actually build a level 20 truespeaker. Feats need balancing, since they were generated entirely on instinct. All spells referenced so far need to be replaced by equivalent utterances, which need to be written.

Sorry about the double post, thought this merited it. At any rate, I'm done for the night. Feckin' exhausted.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2012, 08:11:08 AM »
What happens to truenames when one creature becomes two+ (ex: Fission, or splitting an awakened ooze)?

If a 17th level Truenamer uses Rebuttal and fails the Truespeak check, does he take the ability burn twice? What happens if the utterance he counterspeaks with (and fails) is a non-Truenamer utterance?

Edit: Are you at all concerned about essentially granting the highest-level class features by level 5-7?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 09:03:16 AM by Garryl »

Online Nanshork

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2012, 09:53:20 AM »
A) Hooray for Truenaming fixes!  I don't have time to go over everything but I'm glad to see that you've added a base class.

B) What's the possibility that you want to/ are capable of making a base class similar to (but, you know, balanced and in working condition) the Necronomist?  I find the concept of an undead creating truenamer to be fascinating.

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2012, 01:16:49 PM »
What happens to truenames when one creature becomes two+ (ex: Fission, or splitting an awakened ooze)?

If a 17th level Truenamer uses Rebuttal and fails the Truespeak check, does he take the ability burn twice? What happens if the utterance he counterspeaks with (and fails) is a non-Truenamer utterance?

Edit: Are you at all concerned about essentially granting the highest-level class features by level 5-7?
I haven't specified rules, so both creatures will default to having the same personal truename. I don't actually have a huge problem with this from a fluff perspective, but does it need addressing?

Yes. He takes a point of ability burn according to the source of the utterance he failed to speak, and a point of Charisma burn. I can make that explicitly clear, if you'd like. While we're on the topic, is taking a point of ability burn for failing to counterspeak too harsh?

That is possibly a problem. I've been approaching Truespeech from the position of a combo-building system, so that the real optimization lies in combining utterances, which means that it's probably okay to grant access to the highest level utterances a little earlier than the highest level spells (particularly since one of the design philosophies for lexica is that they should always contain a scaling component or provide a stackable debuff, so that they can be level-appropriate at all levels). However, it doesn't give high level truespeakers a lot to look forward to. The problem here is that a truenamer must begin play with at least Syllables and Words, and I don't think there's room for combat utterances longer than Sentences (and utterances intended to be spoken outside of combat should be Recitations). I originally had Lectures as a length of utterance that you concentrated on each round, but I needed to write so many exceptions into the rules for them that I abandoned the idea. Not very elegant, and the system is already complicated enough. Got any Third Options?

B) What's the possibility that you want to/ are capable of making a base class similar to (but, you know, balanced and in working condition) the Necronomist?  I find the concept of an undead creating truenamer to be fascinating.
I need to read this fix, and loot it for ideas. If I have time, the Necronomist will be one of them. If I'm feeling pressed, it might wind up as a prestige class, but I think if I go for it I'll try to make the effort to make it a base class.

An Unrelated Thought
Should we even have a generic "truespeechy" class? Does the truenamer actually have a place in the game? It occupies a niche similar to that of the generalist Wizard, something I've complained about even being a thing often enough. Should I attempt to write, instead, a variety of classes that fill various niches, from which a true generalist would have to draw many levels?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 01:21:39 PM by Bauglir »

Offline DonQuixote

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2012, 09:12:18 PM »
An Unrelated Thought
Should we even have a generic "truespeechy" class? Does the truenamer actually have a place in the game? It occupies a niche similar to that of the generalist Wizard, something I've complained about even being a thing often enough. Should I attempt to write, instead, a variety of classes that fill various niches, from which a true generalist would have to draw many levels?

I'm not so sure generalists, as a core idea, are a bad thing.  Most spellshapers, for example, can pick from any of the circles--though they are limited by a certain number of circles they can access.

I do agree that the truenamer, as is, is a little boring.  The necessity of the truenamer in Tome of Magic lies in its status as the only truespeaking base class.  The problem with it here is really that its generalist status is all that it has going for it.  It needs an identity beyond simply being the guy who knows truespeech--that's what the whole subsystem is about.

I'm not sure if that identity is something that can be done with the truenamer class concept.  You need something a little more focused for that.  If you end up dropping the truenamer, I might give the "generalist" approach another whack when I end up writing the Skald.

Incidentally, you might toy with a Wisdom-based truespeaker.  Given what truespeech is, it makes a lot of sense for religious types to be struck with divine inspiration.  Maybe a Norn class?

Also, if you ever decide to come up with a truespeaking equivalent to familiars, I nominate the name "fylgja."

Why, yes, I am trying to influence the flavor of this subsystem.  So glad you noticed.
“Hast thou not felt in forest gloom, as gloaming falls on dark-some dells, when comes a whisper, hum and hiss; savage growling sounds a-near, dazzling flashes around thee flicker, whirring waxes and fills thine ears: has thou not felt then grisly horrors that grip thee and hold thee?”

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2012, 12:22:25 AM »
Okay, so I was working on the Lexicon of Shadow (it wasn't going too well), and thinking about the system as a whole. I'll be revising it over the next couple of days (my long weekend is at an end, alas, so there will be slowdown).

Changes: I'll be axing the Truenamer, for now. When I have a compelling idea for mechanics for a generalist, or somebody suggests one, I'll put it together and replace it with that. Right now it's too bland to justify its own existence. Saving throws for utterances will be removed, leaving only the Truespeech check as your obstacle to be overcome - I'll need to rebalance lexica accordingly, and this will probably take the longest. Fortunately, I needed to do that anyway. I'll add the Dialect of the Manifest Ideal, whose utterances create their own targets, for your summoning, illusion, and similar needs (the concept of this dialect was the final push toward losing saving throws, since this one would be all kinds of wonky). Personal truenames will exist only for potential targets with an Intelligence score higher than 3, and the effects will be identical regardless of the type of target.

Are there any intelligent landscapes I need to account for? Unforeseen problems with what I've outlined above?

Offline Garryl

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2012, 08:55:45 AM »
Why, yes, I am trying to influence the flavor of this subsystem.  So glad you noticed.

Everything's better with Norse mythology.

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2012, 11:22:05 PM »
Why, yes, I am trying to influence the flavor of this subsystem.  So glad you noticed.

Everything's better with Norse mythology.
Agreed. Posting because revisions are mostly complete. I'm really unsatisfied with the Lexicon of Stone, but I appear to have hit writer's block with regards to it. I stopped editing entirely after the Sentence of Stone, which is why the Sentence of Dust is no different. The Sentence of Stone really doesn't fit into a progression with the rest of the lexicon, which bugs me even more than the rest. I also haven't yet bothered inserting the new Subject line into all of its utterances, since I'm sure I'll end up rewriting them anyway. Any suggestions? Please?

I also haven't yet written the Dialect of the Manifest Ideal yet, but at least I've got a few ideas for that that I'll try to get up tomorrow.

So, in addition to the revisions I mentioned in the last post, utterances have a Subject line that allows you to define particular things the target interacts with in special ways. For instance, the Lexicon of Affection utilizes it extensively. You now reroll Truespeech checks against some things you previously got a bonus against or which didn't get a save.

EDIT: Okay, so, that didn't happen. Work is exhausting, and I've been in charge of organizing a group of 7 people fairly into 3 campaigns with 4 players and a DM each in a way that makes everybody happy. Still haven't got Manifest Ideal written. I'll hold off on posting again till I have another large bunch of updates. Lexica are too big to be able to do a whole one in small chunks of free time, anyway, which is a bit of a downside compared to most other magic systems. I'll make the next post in this thread when I've got a rewritten Truenamer (which I'll give an appropriately Nordic name and fluff), which I have an idea for (spellbooks, essentially), and when I've got an additional lexicon for each dialect (2 for Manifest Ideal), enough to actually build a 20th level character.

EDIT: Considering having utterances learned piecemeal. You'd still learn the reversed form of an utterance when you learn its normal form, but you'd have to start with Syllables, then Phonema, then Words, then Sentences. Classes that need to start with longer ones, like the Truenamer, would start out with entire lexica up to the highest level they start with the ability to speak, and would thereafter learn more in this way. Thoughts, if anybody is reading this?

EDIT: Fuck. Hard drive died. This is... pretty catastrophic, not just for this project. This is gonna have to go on indefinite hold, though at the rate I was going that might not mean much.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 12:18:15 AM by Bauglir »

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2012, 10:29:01 PM »
So, due to the hard drive crash, I lost a fair bit of work. So, once again, my last post is a bit of a lie. I'm working on more material, but since I'm currently hacking my way through some base classes as a way to take a break from lexica, I thought I'd post a bit of teaser material for the Nagollur, the Truespeaking Undeath class. The ability to use personal true names to create Draugr is the core ability of the class, so I'd like to get some feedback on it while I'm still in the early drafts. You get up to 2 times your speaker level in these at one time, and creating one requires 1 minute and the corpse of the thing whose truename you're using. There'll be a second template that can be applied to draugr that have been destroyed that represents the increasing trauma to their physical forms.

EDIT: Also, you get a save to resist having your spirit bound to a draugr, if you wish it. Spirits can be bound in this way starting at level 16.

I tried to create rules that are relatively balanced (heaven knows that giving monster stuff to PCs so often winds up broken as hell), and to allow dramatic situations like a burst of willpower allowing an enslaved soul to break free at a critical moment without automatically dooming PC nagollur to disloyal minions betraying them at literally every turn, and so on. Essentially, the goal here is to work your way up to intelligent, powerful zombie minions that make good elements of a properly dramatic scene, and do it in a balanced way. You're also supposed to be able to create unusual minions to suit your needs, which is why you can convert other undead into draugr. That might seem like a weird mechanic, but hopefully it works as intended. Such minions, obviously, do not gain bonus hit points from having their original spirit bound to them, and a mindless one should still be mindless if you do that sort of thing.

EDIT: Crumbling Draugr added. You cannot be permanently robbed of a servant.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 11:41:01 PM by Bauglir »

Offline Bauglir

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Re: Discussion and Suggestions
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2012, 07:34:59 PM »
Okay, updates are made. I didn't get as much done as I'd like, but I implied I might have something by today to a few folks, and I have a game in 30 minutes, so this is pretty much going to be it for the day. The Lexicon of Stone is gone - it might return in the Dialect of the Unshaped Matter, along with other elemental lexica, unless I have a better idea. In its place, we have the Lexicon of Haze and the Lexicon of Vegetation, making Undrawn Map the first dialect to have two lexica. I've also posted the first Lexicon in the Dialect of the Manifest Ideal, the Lexicon of Undeath. I've added some new concepts to the Basics thread, in particular Understanding Creatures. I'm not sure whether abilities that let you create creatures should be limited to Understanding or to Detailed Knowledge - thoughts? I'm sure I'll figure something out in the next couple of weeks, but feedback is always good. Finally, we have our necromancer class, which is probably a bit too powerful for now, but it should give you some context for the Draugr.

EDIT: The Nagollur, by the way, is not the generic truespeaker class I promised. That is the Seithren, the Spell-singer, which I didn't write yet because I don't plan on playing one within two weeks. It'll have limited flexibility in its utterance list, through its spellbook-equivalent, and will have minor free-action party buffs that the buffees have to spend actions to access.

EDIT: Lexicon of Haze revised. Lexicon of Sharpening added.

EDIT: Lexicon of Fear added. Lexicon of Growth added.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2012, 05:33:22 PM by Bauglir »