[SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

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Severite
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[SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#1 Postby Severite » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:59 am

So, something I have been curious about, how do you personally determine what is balanced, or needs tweaking, or when determining how new/old facets to the game will interact due to new combinations. My own tends to be on, what is fun, as true to the setting as possible, that doesn't add needless crunch to the game.

And, what do you look for when deciding on what you will house rule, and what must stay canon?
Last edited by Severite on Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

JurneeJakes
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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#2 Postby JurneeJakes » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:07 am

If balance was really an issue, there would have been a much more mathematical side to "Savaging Your Favorite RIFTS", but instead the designers went with what captures the 'feel' of classic RIFTS, which had no balance whatsoever.

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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#3 Postby Severite » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:54 am

JurneeJakes wrote:If balance was really an issue, there would have been a much more mathematical side to "Savaging Your Favorite RIFTS", but instead the designers went with what captures the 'feel' of classic RIFTS, which had no balance whatsoever.


I agree that it is subjective. My own tends to be on, what is fun, as true to the setting as possible, that doesn't add needless crunch to the game. But, I am curious about others' viewpoints. Though, it occurs to me I should have placed this statement in the original post. Matter of fact, I think I will edit it in to the first post.

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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#4 Postby Brickulos » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:08 pm

Severite wrote:
JurneeJakes wrote:If balance was really an issue, there would have been a much more mathematical side to "Savaging Your Favorite RIFTS", but instead the designers went with what captures the 'feel' of classic RIFTS, which had no balance whatsoever.


I agree that it is subjective. My own tends to be on, what is fun, as true to the setting as possible, that doesn't add needless crunch to the game. But, I am curious about others' viewpoints. Though, it occurs to me I should have placed this statement in the original post. Matter of fact, I think I will edit it in to the first post.


I try to keep things as balanced as possible. Using the points system we've loosely accepted as canon. I'm a firm believer in giving options without increasing power overall. I certainly don't want the power creep issues that plagued Paladium Rifts.

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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#5 Postby Ndreare » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:38 pm

When it matters I use the rough ideas from Savage Worlds Deluxe on crafting new edges.

I also consider Savage Abilities an excellent resource by Richard Woolcock.

Finally I just go with it. I have been allowing characters and edges from other books, specifically Fantasy Companion, Horror Companion, and Shaintar.

Necromancer and Master Necromancer have been reskinned as Elementalist and Master Elementalist.

Eldekar Line Walker's have benefited from their naturally high Smarts and ability to use an extra advance per rank to raise Smarts.

Our Cyber Knight has the Concentration power from Fantasy Companion.

So far no real issues have arisen.

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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#6 Postby Ndreare » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:42 pm

PS: Right now I have a player who wants to bring a mage from Lankmar over. I am debating on if to let him keep his no Power Point option (as it is balanced by casting penalties) or translating him to a PPE driven character.
But the Lankmar character has a big penalty to try and cast in combat so I think making him stay with the original system would nerf him big time.
Last edited by Ndreare on Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#7 Postby Hendell » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:23 pm

I consider a game system balanced when there are several different ways to achieve the same (or functionally similar) result. Not every path leads to the same destination but many are clearly intended to do so, this should be represented in the numbers as well as theme.

A good example of that is the heavy ranged damage output from the Glitterboy and the Burster. The math is different, and in some situations that matters, but in almost every other situation both create the same functionally similar result of 'sufficient overkill'. Neither can survive attacking the other, however the Bursters are immune to themselves while GB vs GB is just a matter of initiative or a single bad roll to hit so there are some differences.

Mind Melter and Line Walker are clearly 'different' but both have access to what amounts to the same bag of tricks with the same power range but neither of them will ever be a Burster or Glitterboy, nor should they.

The Cyborg and Hatchilng Dragon are both tough enough to fight anything except the GB or Burster and have a reasonable chance of not being dead on the first hit, but in the end its the style and trickery that sets them apart.

As with most game systems the idea of balance is really just that, its an idea, if all the players design characters that fit within a predetermined power range it works out. Inevitably someone will design a mostly useless character and grow tired of being ignored, and someone else will build an abnormally effective character and discover the game offers no challenge and the GM has simply allotted them an additional number of targets such that they do nothing important to the story except go through the motions. Trying to get this to work will always and only ever be the responsibility of an attentive and skilled GM, no rules can ever account for player ingenuity and choice.
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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#8 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:19 pm

Severite wrote:So, something I have been curious about, how do you personally determine what is balanced, or needs tweaking, or when determining how new/old facets to the game will interact due to new combinations.
...
And, what do you look for when deciding on what you will house rule, and what must stay canon?

I start from an assumption that the existing rules are fairly balanced, and that I may not recognize that until I've played more. (The "reads bad, plays good" problem. The designers spent some time on this, including a lot of playtesting, so I assume the rules I get are pretty solid. With SR, that has proven a safe assumption.)
So, the things that need tweaking are the ones that are a bit ambiguous and confusing.

When balancing new material and conversions, my guideline is pretty simple. "Does this invalidate existing content? Is this competitive with existing content?"
"Does this invalidate existing content?" If yes then it is too powerful and needs to be redone. Potentially, it needs to be shelved until I figure out a new, balanced, approach (such as giving a "monster killer" class the Giant Killer edge instead of just a flat damage increase).
"Is this competitive with existing content?" If no then it is too weak and needs to be empowered. This is usually easier to do than toning back the busted stuff.

JurneeJakes wrote:If balance was really an issue, there would have been a much more mathematical side to "Savaging Your Favorite RIFTS", but instead the designers went with what captures the 'feel' of classic RIFTS, which had no balance whatsoever.

That's self-contradictory. If the source numbers are bad then no system of math could produce good numbers; Garbage In, Garbage Out. That's probably why Savaging Your Favorite Rifts Ideas places such a strong emphasis on the style of the source material, with some useful but narrow guidelines on the actual numbers; because the source is numerically unreliable and inconsistent, a successful conversion has to mostly ignore those source numbers.
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Severite
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Re: [SR] How do YOU determine what is balanced?

#9 Postby Severite » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:24 pm

Brickulos wrote:I try to keep things as balanced as possible. Using the points system we've loosely accepted as canon. I'm a firm believer in giving options without increasing power overall. I certainly don't want the power creep issues that plagued Paladium Rifts.


Indeed. I actually like the relative balance between the IF's, and while "points wise", there are discrepancies, in play things really do sort of balance out. For instance, everyone is always quick to point out the disparity in points the dragon enjoys, but no one ever notes the rule that they do not get to pick hindrances at character creation, and must "choose them over multiple game sessions, side stepping born a hero, plus, their abilities are so disparate, that they really have to choose what they will focus on, or excel at none of them. And that is just one example. Of course, as house rules go, I have minor tweaks to the way that psionics detect arcana, and the way magic detect arcana work, as the two were very differently in PR, and the interaction between them bring a dynamic to the game that I miss. Another example I have is TW are allowed to cast their powers without equipment, at twice the cost and half the range. This fits with PR, doesn't take anything away, gives another (expensive) option in an emergency, and doesn't slow down or clunkify the rules, as mechanic resolution stays the same. There are a few other examples like this, but that is kinda what I mean.

ValhallaGH wrote:
I start from an assumption that the existing rules are fairly balanced, and that I may not recognize that until I've played more. (The "reads bad, plays good" problem. The designers spent some time on this, including a lot of playtesting, so I assume the rules I get are pretty solid. With SR, that has proven a safe assumption.)
So, the things that need tweaking are the ones that are a bit ambiguous and confusing.

When balancing new material and conversions, my guideline is pretty simple. "Does this invalidate existing content? Is this competitive with existing content?"
"Does this invalidate existing content?" If yes then it is too powerful and needs to be redone. Potentially, it needs to be shelved until I figure out a new, balanced, approach (such as giving a "monster killer" class the Giant Killer edge instead of just a flat damage increase).
"Is this competitive with existing content?" If no then it is too weak and needs to be empowered. This is usually easier to do than toning back the busted stuff.

JurneeJakes wrote:If balance was really an issue, there would have been a much more mathematical side to "Savaging Your Favorite RIFTS", but instead the designers went with what captures the 'feel' of classic RIFTS, which had no balance whatsoever.


That's self-contradictory. If the source numbers are bad then no system of math could produce good numbers; Garbage In, Garbage Out. That's probably why Savaging Your Favorite Rifts Ideas places such a strong emphasis on the style of the source material, with some useful but narrow guidelines on the actual numbers; because the source is numerically unreliable and inconsistent, a successful conversion has to mostly ignore those source numbers.


They are very well balanced. Some rules are needlessly complex where they need not be, but generally, these are extremely minor in the greater scheme of the game, and even changing them makes no difference to 99% of sessions. The one place where I will adjust, is that I will shift things, so that while numerically, they remain balanced, and FFF, they also "feel" closer to the Rifts I grew up with. Also, I go with fluff. "This robot was made to kill glitter boys, and haz blades!" is much, much more useful for conversion than, it has 360 MDC, and is covered in 4d6 MD vibrospikes*. So, I may look at relative power, and in game, the robot is objectively useless at performing it's job, and got pushed through because of monies and kickbacks, or, it may actually be feasible to do it's job. I make the decision based on how it fits into the ecology of the game I already have built.

*not the actual numbers of the glitter boy killer, frankly, I don't remember them, and, again, they are bloody useless to me, anyway. Also, not allowed to post other peoples material, of which I am respectful of.


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