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Subject: Would "leveling" be viable in Myth? rss

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David Griffin
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We have treasure bag manipulation, titles (which give you an ability and allow you to keep 1 treasure), and action card manipulation (and agent cards if you want to think of that as a separate thing).

Most games use leveling, which is admittedly artificial. The idea is that you get a numeric level which gives you some advancements as a result of achieving the level. In D&D it's hit points, perhaps stat improvements, maybe skills (depending on edition), perks, and so on.

The value of leveling is it establishes an easily understandable checkbox for evaluating a character (or party's) readiness for a given adventure. It's harder if you have to look at a lot of different benefits and do a mental calculation (which may be hard to do) to see if someone is prepared for some given part of the mission. I'm thinking of this because I'm playing Avernum: Escape from the Pit on my Mac at the moment (Man does not live by boardgames alone!).

If it existed in Myth, gaining a level would have to be designed to give you some standard set of improvements native to the game. So maybe it would give you the ability to keep a treasure and give you a deck manipulation. Maybe you'd get a title (instead of the 1 treasure since it does this also) every few levels? Maybe level X would be Journeyman "class?"

Note that this is not necessarily instead of the existing system. Note I'm not doing this or recommending it, I'm just talking about it. Do you like or hate the idea of levels in Myth? You don't necessarily make a game better by applying a mechanism that other games use (sometimes it's the reverse) but I figure it doesn't hurt to consider it. After all, in Myth, the rules are just guidelines so players have to use more judgement than the usual game.
 
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Martin Gallo
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I thought the whole point of the Journeyman expansion was to "level up".
 
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David Griffin
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martimer wrote:
I thought the whole point of the Journeyman expansion was to "level up".


Probably not literally though. The play is "higher level" conceptually with more powerful characters and more powerful monsters -- though some of the bosses I got with the KS lot are already there.
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MM
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martimer wrote:
I thought the whole point of the Journeyman expansion was to "level up".


Under Myth's definition of "level up", yeah. Through experiences (I think Serendipity, but someone with a better memory than I can correct), characters gain the ability to add new cards to their deck that are more powerful than the "novice" cards we have now.

These "Journeyman" card upgrades have been discussed in KS Updates if you want details.

I'd also suggest another focus for JM was the introduction of Modules too.
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David Jackson
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Typically, leveling up in a game (lets say a PC game) does one of a few things. Better stats, new abilities, or more power relative to the "monsters". The latter can be a side effect of the other two, or in some cases "MMO's", its just a built in mechanic where lower level critters take more damage/do less to you.

The first is meaningless in Myth - there aren't any "stats" to speak of, and things like Vitality, Damage, Attack power (D10's) are already hard baked into the items and cards. Trying to add anything extra there is just going to skew things in favor of the heroes.

The second is somewhat already in the game - the Novice card swap, or Titles.

The third - also no way of implementing such a thing without wrecking the game.



Now I do agree, there probably should be a better way of adding new Hero cards and Titles to your character in preparation of Journeyman. The most elegant solution would be to use the Serendipity system that will be introduced in Journeyman.

I actually had a basis of a simple system worked out in my head, but honestly don't have the time to see it through right now.

Basically:

Serendipity is a shared party resource that carries over from session to session.

Go through and determine an amount of Serendipity for successfully completing a 2.0 quest, probably scaled to number of Heroes (so that a 5 Hero party doesnt prepare for Journeyman more slowly than a 2 Hero party). Something like 1xH (H = Number of Heroes) Serendipity for completing a quest. 1xH for a Miniboss, 2xH for a Boss, figure out a number for traps.


Allow Serendipity to be spent on Hero Card swaps, Titles (like the ones that come from the KS quests and the like) and Treasure bag manipulation.

Tier the rewards in cost so that everyone gets an earlier upgrade, and it makes more sense to spread the upgrades across the party than upgrade one person fully.

Novice Card Swap: 3/5/7/9/11 Serendipity cost

Titles: Either Tier like above 5/7/9 for each title you pick up, or assign specific values to Titles based on their relative power.


The item carry over is broken. Myth was intended to be a fresh start, gear wise (with a manipulated treasure bag to speed gearing up in later sessions). The "keep one per title" seems like a quick band-aid to people wanting persistence. It doesn't work out very well.


If you wanted a true "keep your items" system, it would be better to stack the bag for slower acquisition, and control the rate at which the bag could be manipulated.

I had envisioned something like starting the treasure bag out with 30 white tokens and 5 green. As tokens are drawn, they sit out for the rest of the session instead of going right back into the bag -meaning if you are unlucky, each draw will give a slightly better chance of getting a green. If you draw a green immediately, your chances of getting one goes down. This smoothes the "luck factor" somewhat, and you see similar mechanics in play in a lot of PC games these days.

The only way the bag could be manipulated would be through spending serendipity (ignore quest results,traps, etc, that let you manipulate it, using the serendipity rewards system instead).

3 Serendipity - remove a white
5 Serendipity - add a green
10 Serendipity - add a blue

Merchants would be restricted to those that offer Green items or lesser only.


Anyways, there's more to it. But that was my general idea for a mechanic to level heroes up and prepare them for Journeyman. It uses resources already in the game with some tweaks, without making things overly complicated (tracking exp per kill or something).

All you would really need is a chart telling you what gives what, serendipity wise, and a chart showing what you can spend it on with tiered costs.


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David Griffin
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Ok, let's talk about the goals here. How long in sessions (each session say 2-4 hours) should you have to play before reaching some fixed competence? Hard to put the finger on what that level is, possibly Journeyman status, possibly ready for Rise of the Revenant, possibly something like 2 kept items, 2 card swaps?

I guess what I'm trying to ask is how many play sessions do you have to play before you are playing with a "powerful" group? Are we talking years of play, a month, a week, 3 sessions? Note that I mean that after this time, the next time you START a game you will start as "powerful" whatever that might mean.

At the moment, I just build my party before I play the tiles, using whatever advancements I feel are appropriate, do the play session, and break everything apart. But I think it's useful to explore the possibilities.
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David Jackson
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carbon_dragon wrote:
Ok, let's talk about the goals here. How long in sessions (each session say 2-4 hours) should you have to play before reaching some fixed competence? Hard to put the finger on what that level is, possibly Journeyman status, possibly ready for Rise of the Revenant, possibly something like 2 kept items, 2 card swaps?



I kinda hammered out the rough guidelines above.

I think the biggest opportunity at the moment - and the question I've seen pop up time and again - is the transition from start to "Journeyman Ready". With all of the changes, the old booklet quests being in the 1.0 format, etc, it would be nice to have a roadmap for people to get there. Something where they can sit down and say, ok, I need X serendipity to get Journeyman ready.. If I can do some quests, defeat a mini-boss or two, disarm some traps... at least they know how to get there.

The reason I target the transition from beginner to Journeyman is because we don't know much about Journeyman yet. I don't think it's wise (or maybe even needed) to develop a level up system that would carry over into Journeyman. I think everyone should enter the Journeyman modules and play them with the rules as written, at least at the start. I think a lot of people could benefit from a method of getting to that point, though.

To answer your question, If I had to go in and balance point values based on a projected progression vs time spent, I would shoot for somewhere in the 15 - 20 hour play time range for "Journeyman Ready" (2 Titles, 3 card swaps), and roughly double that to "max out" in the novice content, as it were.

If I get some time tonight, I'll try to come up with a rough draft of a Serendipity assignment for the "Heroic Feats" (bosses, quests), and the cost of spending them to "level up" your character.


I initially wanted to roll this idea into a series of mini-modules that introduced players to the game. Something like that seems time consuming and out of reach for me at the moment, but perhaps I can get the level up portion working for people to use with the existing quests.

I would like to re-visit the mini-modules someday - they gave serendipity as rewards, and you could take on an optional challenge for each quest that would reward more serendipity if successful.

The first was a dual-tile (6x12 I believe) tavern. The Heroes were relaxing for the evening when the town came under attack by Grubbers. They burst into the Tavern, and the Heroes must fight them off using whatever they find lying nearby - hence the pot lids and butter knives. The quest ends with a Mucker fight. The optional challenge was a fire breaking out at the rear of the tavern. A wall of fire advanced one square each refresh cycle, so you were under some time constraints on completing the quest. You had to weigh if the increased serendipity reward was worth cranking the pressure up a bit.


The item progression could be something optional - but for those that like not giving up items each session, I believe it would be the way to go. The downside of that would be that you would acquire gear much slower than you normally would -- getting a blue would be something to celebrate, and not something you see often. But it would essentially be a keep-what-you-find type deal, ignoring the one item per title deal.


A few other tweaks that I had in mind-

Titles. I was going to put a rule in limiting one title in use per Hero Group. I see people say things like "Every Hero just uses the +1 Hand size" Title. It would add another layer of strategy if you had only one of those to equip across the entire group. Titles are awarded to the group, but only one Hero may use that title at any given time.

Gold - Forgot to mention this above, but I thought about allowing players to "donate" gold between sessions - something to the tune of a 10 gold to 1 Serendipity ratio. I see people mention that they are swimming in gold a lot (usually those with a healer), so it would be nice to be able to use it to further your cause. Thematically, you are using your spoils to help those who are in need (towns in shambles, people driven out of their homes by the darkness) , and you get a karma boost for doing so.
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Tobias Loeffler
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There are some great ideas in there and it is cool to see, that you single out many of the same "problems" I see atm (keeping items, used titles, prgoression path to JM, guided play).

The only problem with your draft I can see so far is the fact, that allow your group to save Serendipity. That could - potentially - make the game a lot more easy. I'm not only talking about the "big" Serendipity uses like resurrect but the small once. If you set-out with 5 Serendipity, most traps will be super easy, as they pay more or less for themselves - You gain +2D10 to NCAs for 1 Serendipity.
Another very effective use of Serendipity would be the "draw 2 treasure tokens". If you allow gold -> Serendipity it's even a low-risk gamble. Spending 2 Serendipity would allow the party at the start of a session to draw 4 treasure tokens. That's an optimal played 4x6. If you allow people to keep stuff, that gamble is worth way more than adding a new hero card to the deck, especially at the rate you rake in Serendipity through Quest and mini-bosses.
Another aspect that plays into this exploit is the fact, that permanently removing white treasure tokens from the bag always costs the same. A party could spend most Serendipity earned during their first sessions to optimize the treasure bag, then go for a nearly secure gamble. The costs for removing and adding tokens should also scale with the number of players (as you intend quest rewards to do).

A way around those problems could be to rescale all Serendipity costs according to player count (I mean, those from the rule book) or to put all left-over Serendipity after a session in a seperate pool, that can only be use to pay for level-up things.

I know this is only a draft, but perhaps those may are things to consider.

Thank you for sharing!
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Endevor Rovedne
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Quote:
The first is meaningless in Myth - there aren't any "stats" to speak of, and things like Vitality, Damage, Attack power (D10's) are already hard baked into the items and cards. Trying to add anything extra there is just going to skew things in favor of the heroes.


It is not 100% true. You have some stats : base dice, vitality, courage value, and some bonus (like Faith 1).
And these "stats" are upgraded with the journeyman choice. When you choose you path (light or dark for the base game characters) you take the token of your class and they are not the same as the base classes.
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Endevor Rovedne
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Quote:

The only way the bag could be manipulated would be through spending serendipity (ignore quest results,traps, etc, that let you manipulate it, using the serendipity rewards system instead).

3 Serendipity - remove a white
5 Serendipity - add a green
10 Serendipity - add a blue


There is a lot of new use for serendipity in the new JM manual.
For example 3 karma = add 3 white or green token in the bag.
6 : Gold Token
10 : orange token
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David Jackson
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Endevor wrote:
Quote:
The first is meaningless in Myth - there aren't any "stats" to speak of, and things like Vitality, Damage, Attack power (D10's) are already hard baked into the items and cards. Trying to add anything extra there is just going to skew things in favor of the heroes.


It is not 100% true. You have some stats : base dice, vitality, courage value, and some bonus (like Faith 1).
And these "stats" are upgraded with the journeyman choice. When you choose you path (light or dark for the base game characters) you take the token of your class and they are not the same as the base classes.


Agreed, those are "stats" in the Myth universe, I suppose. Any upgrades to base stats would come from moving to the next class, and the game would be balanced around that - I can't see being able to alter those through a "leveling system" of sorts without breaking the game.

When I think of stats, I suppose I was thinking of them in the traditional str/dex/wis/int sense... something like Descent, where they come into play vs certain attacks or "NCA's", and make some characters more adept than others, depending on the situation.
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David Griffin
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I take it most of you don't think that the idea of levels to "enclose" the upgrades to a character are useful? Presumably, MegaCon considered it since it's the most common mechanic there is so it wouldn't surprise me if it's not a good fit for Myth, but I still like the idea of having some number you can use reliably to approve characters for a given adventure.

In regards to the "upgrades" themselves, I've found the treasure bag reasonably good at making things a LITTLE better for the characters, and maybe a bit better than that if you play a lot of tiles where you draw a lot of treasures. So subtle, but nice.

The advanced cards we get in the regular game are very minor upgrades on the standard cards (except for the Spriggan I think). Not dissing them, but I often found that except for the ones which have the same name and a minor improvements, it was often hard to decide what to lose to pick up one of those cards. I personally think it'd be better to just use them like agent cards, add them to the deck to avoid losing some critical capability (you could still swap if you wanted to).

Likewise, agent cards were nice and useful, but again a subtle improvement.

The title abilities (both to start with a good piece of equipment AND to have a very useful ability) were QUITE powerful, making a major difference to play.

Which is why the Title (or a similar ability) is too much to come in every level, if there are levels. But keeping 1 treasure (half a title) is more reasonable and gives you a noticeable improvement. Then the card swap, giving you very mild improvements fills the level out. Agent swaps could be outside the level system for fighting agents. For Spriggans you might want to add in the elder tree card from the start. For Hunters, you would want to start with green equipment to compensate for the design of the Hunter.

The treasure bag would operate as normal and would reflect not the character's progression but the player's. It would even continue if the owner of the game played with other characters. You probably want to make sure there are a few white tokens in the bag even once it's been played a lot. Just check at the beginning of a game and add them in if necessary.

If we divorce the Titles from the keep a gear thing, we can award the titles as normal for completing certain adventures or stories or for killing bosses since the "keeping gear" is handled by the levels.

Again, I'm not doing this or suggesting you do, but I want to know what the flaws in this idea are. You are of course welcome to talk about anything you want in the thread, but I'd appreciate some feedback on whether this would be a progressive idea or a regressive one. Thanks.
 
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David Jackson
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Oh, I think if you just assigned levels to serendipity spent, it would be fine.

3 serendipity - advance from level 1 to 2
4 serendipity - advance from level 2 to 3
5 serendipity - advance from level 3 to 4


But I still think you would need to list out choices that you could pick for your improvement each level, and not do something like this:

Level 2 - card swap
Level 3 - keep a green item
Level 4 - card swap

Just for the simple reason that some players/classes are going to want all 5 novice card swaps, and some will be happy with just enough to become Journeyman -- because they don't find the novice cards particularly useful. 5 card swaps shouldn't be forced on you on the way to get the "keep item" that you want. Some titles are great for some classes, not so much for others.

It may actually be the better and more streamlined approach, but I don't think you want to pre-map the choices.

Let me try to put a mock-up together for at least one of the concepts we're shooting for , and go from there.
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David Griffin
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Well, lots of games allow the players to make choices when they level, BUT it only works if all the choices you could make are about equally effective. If not, then 2 different level 4's (for example) would not be similar in power. And it's the similarity in power that would allow you to use the level for purposes of entry into a given adventure.

I admit I'm still a newby really, but green items seem worth a lot more than a card swap (except for the Spriggan). Not that I don't like a good attack card to cost 1 fewer AP or have 1 bigger range, I do! but it seems little enough to give that at every level free. The green items (and the titles if they are part of the system) are the better takes in my opinion.

A character with 4 items (even green) is better (I think) than 4 card swaps. Or do you think I'm wrong about that?

Plus I'm not sure the green items make sense when if you got crazy lucky you could have all blue items. So what then do you keep none of them? Wouldn't it be better to keep 1 item regardless of color? Or do you envision picking the green item by leafing through the deck? Do you want to allow the character to get blue items in later levels?
 
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Here was my stab at this from last year: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1463871/yet-another-stab-cam...

Perhaps someone here will be able to get some inspiration from it.
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David Griffin
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I like this game but I don't get any game on the table a hundred times (except maybe Star Trek Attack Wing). If you think of this game like a role playing game, then a very slow progression is equivalent to the way I ran D&D. We played over a year in calendar time.

But this isn't a game with a continual story and strong character progression yet. I don't think I'd want to play it continually for a LONG time at the expense of all other games I'm interested in. So why am I saying this? It goes to how fast a player's characters get more powerful. What is the "lifetime" of the "campaign" (where campaign is defined as a multiple session play of a board game, essentially what the new legacy games are).

I wouldn't think (though I'm prepared to be proven wrong) that Myth can currently sustain a 50 session campaign, or even a 20 session campaign at present. Of course some people play the same boardgames hundreds or thousands of times but they're not typically playing it as a progression, they just like playing.

Now maybe you do plan to play Myth hundreds or thousands of play sessions (nothing wrong with that, you just must have more time than me). If this is true, then a very slow progression is perfect because it tends to ruin the game when you become so powerful you can grab Dragons by the throat and throw them in a nearby lake (Skyrim). But I'm thinking maybe 10 sessions from beginning character to journeyman character maximum.

So what does a character ready for anything Journeyman can throw at him (at least initially) look like? I'm not sure -- maybe 3 card swaps per character and 3 titles per character? Too much? I don't see the card swaps as adding that much but the titles are a big deal though you can only use 1 title ability at a time. See this is why I like leveling because instead of all this waffling, you can just say you need to be level 5 before you play the first journeyman game.

So if I am trying to get a couple of skeptical friends to play, getting them to commit to a pace that will let them finish in 10 sessions may be the most I can expect to achieve. It doesn't mean the pace in your other thread isn't valid, it sounds like it works for your group, but maybe a faster pace of progression might be worth talking about. Then you start new characters and do it again (basically the Legacy system, though Seawall is stretching that standard some).
 
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David Jackson
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One of the concepts I was toying with (layout isn't final, I intend on filling in actual title names, etc) was a skill-tree type layout.

You would actually purchase the ability to keep an item of a particular type instead of it being tied to a title. This example is for green items, as the ability to keep blue would come later in the tree.

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David Griffin
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CarelessOpossum wrote:
One of the concepts I was toying with (layout isn't final, I intend on filling in actual title names, etc) was a skill-tree type layout.

You would actually purchase the ability to keep an item of a particular type instead of it being tied to a title. This example is for green items, as the ability to keep blue would come later in the tree.



I don't think I understand this diagram. You're purchasing cards for 3 or 4 points? Purchasing a title for 5 or 6 points? And is the currency serendipity?

I wonder whether we should apply progression to not an adventuring team, but an adventuring group composed of EVERY class in the game. When you get a card that you decide not to keep, maybe you can donate up to 1 treasure to the group. The next time you take a different character, perhaps one who needs that item, he cans start with it?
 
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CarelessOpossum wrote:
One of the concepts I was toying with (layout isn't final, I intend on filling in actual title names, etc) was a skill-tree type layout.

You would actually purchase the ability to keep an item of a particular type instead of it being tied to a title. This example is for green items, as the ability to keep blue would come later in the tree.




Ooooh.... i love this concept- it ads a bit of order and planning into character building.
It also raises the stakes with group dynamics and general serendipity spenditure.

Please do keep working on it
 
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CarelessOpossum wrote:
[q="carbon_dragon"]
Titles. I was going to put a rule in limiting one title in use per Hero Group. I see people say things like "Every Hero just uses the +1 Hand size" Title. It would add another layer of strategy if you had only one of those to equip across the entire group. Titles are awarded to the group, but only one Hero may use that title at any given time.


This is exactly what I have done, It gets rid of those little tiny title tokens (I use the feet tokens for movement trackers anyways) and makes gaining titles feel more substantial and tactile, because the large rectangle title token is YOURS!
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