Author Topic: BGC final version?  (Read 491 times)

PMárk

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #15 on: (18:14:19/02-10-18) »
Is the final result of the action in any way modified by magic? Then it is modified by magic.

In the case of Critical Strike, it modifies the effect of the weapon (+1 DV) meaning that attacking with that weapon is modified by magic.

The same thing goes for Killing Hands, it modifies your Unarmed attacks, which means that those Unarmed attacks are modified by magic.

I would ruled similarly for Traceless Walk. The power doesn't modify your roll, but it does enhance your ability to Sneak, which means it would be a penalty on Sneaking tests while affected by Background Count.

I think that is closest to my interpretation and I'd wager, the closest to the intention of the writers. It's just, a less harsh interpretation, based on what is a constitute of a skill test (roll) and what isn't is a viable one too.

Glyph

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #16 on: (19:33:45/02-10-18) »
Is the final result of the action in any way modified by magic? Then it is modified by magic.

In the case of Critical Strike, it modifies the effect of the weapon (+1 DV) meaning that attacking with that weapon is modified by magic.

The same thing goes for Killing Hands, it modifies your Unarmed attacks, which means that those Unarmed attacks are modified by magic.

I would ruled similarly for Traceless Walk. The power doesn't modify your roll, but it does enhance your ability to Sneak, which means it would be a penalty on Sneaking tests while affected by Background Count.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but coming off a strict interpretive standard of what's a skill test has greater implications.  I agree that Killing Hands increased damage "feels" like it should be affected, but if you say it does then you also have to say that dodge tests enhanced by Combat Sense have to be affected, and so on.  Not sure that's the intent given the language of "skill tests" in the clarification.

One doesn't follow the other.  Given that killing hands and improved sense are the examples given, I would say that the more stringent interpretation is correct.  Skill tests are affected if a power modifies it in any way - more damage, better targeting, etc; not merely dice pool bonuses.  It still explicitly says skill tests, though, so it does not affect damage resistance, initiative, etc.

Marcus

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #17 on: (14:25:30/02-11-18) »
Ugh so I just reviewed the wording in SG, and man that wording is horrifying, with the exception of Foci. I always forget how terrible that book is.  So I went and checked the errata, and there nothing about it what so ever. With ratings going from -24 to 24, the old standby just don't make any realistic sense. Apply penalties due BGC is fine and working as was always intended however when those penalties are exceeding 6 by up to 4 times this has just gotten way out of hand, and a week per point for acclimation? It's just not cricket.

For stop gap I would go with the groupings on page 31, and just say a -1 die for 1-3 -2 for 4-6 etc, anything beyond 18 is just basically lethal from ether direction.
This way you have room for the new span but still having some level of mechanical sanity. I would further move acclimation to 1 day be point assume the background count is stable and uniform across the character day inside that count.

Patrick can you please, please, please, clarify whatever the heck is actually intended, and if actually intend for penalties in those ranges can you please explain that logic or what players are intended to do about?

PMárk

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #18 on: (19:26:06/02-11-18) »
Patrick can you please, please, please, clarify whatever the heck is actually intended, and if actually intend for penalties in those ranges can you please explain that logic or what players are intended to do about?

hat would be really great! :)

Kiirnodel

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #19 on: (03:20:01/02-12-18) »
So, I wrote up an entire response yesterday, and lost it because something was happening to the forums that was saying the host wasn't connecting...

So here is what I originally wrote (I was able to save the text, just not post it.

Quote
just checked the actual rulebook again...

Killing Hands is explicitly mentioned as being affected by background count. No arguing that it's only talking about powers that give dice pool modifiers, the book explicitly says "... and skill tests that use active adept powers such as Killing Hands or Improved Sense"

The Missions FAQ only clarifies that (for the purposes of Missions) it only applies to Skill Tests, which means it wouldn't apply to tests that don't involve skills.

Personally, I don't agree with that slight alteration, and I apply it to All Tests still, so (for example) Combat Sense adding to Defense tests would still be affected. Same thing for other Attribute-only tests, such as a lift-carry test when you're using Magic to augment your Strength.

There are two notable exceptions: Initiative and Drain. Initiative isn't a "Test" so it isn't affected. And Drain is not automatically always affected just because it is related to magic. But if you're magically augmenting one (or both) of your drain attributes, you invite the penalty.

I also make a minor exception for some specific things such as Armor: the maximum penalty on a test where the only magic is Armor would be the Armor Rating. Essentially Armor can't create a net negative from Background, the Background can only completely cancel the magical Armor bonus.

Now, addressing the recent comment by Marcus, I'm actually confused about what you find so horrifying about the wording for Background Count. I can understand some frustration about how high the ratings go, but just because the penalties exceed 6 (by any margin) doesn't make the wording horrible. You even say that applying the penalties due to Background Count is "fine and working as was intended" ... but somehow that is the same horrifying wording except for Foci?

I don't know, your phrasing and short-hand is hard for me to read.

Personally, I don't find anything confusing about the way Background Count works. Yes, the scale is probably greater than a lot of people are comfortable with, but if you are dealing with Backgrounds (on this scale) greater than 12, you are doing something pretty crazy to be completely honest.


To break down the logic, in 4th edition, Background was rated from -12 to +12 and caused a reduction in your Magic Rating (instead of just a dice penalty). This meant that the most likely levels of Background people would see was between 1 to 6 (absolute value since in the case of penalty values positive and negative are the same). This meant that a Background of 4 caused an effective reduction in your Magic Rating of 4, which was a massive hit to pretty much everything a magical character did.

So when they changed editions they decided to approach it a little differently, they made it only a dice penalty. Which to be completely fair is a much smaller penalty. So in exchange, they widened the range. Personally, I probably would have gone only up to 18 instead of 24, but in the edition change quite a few things changed from a 1 to 6 range to a 1 to 12 range, so I guess this followed suit (1 to 12 becoming 1 to 24).

Honestly, from your comments, Marcus, I get the the impression that you just feel like Background Count should only be a minor inconvenience if anything at all. It is supposed to be a big deal. And seeing background greater than magnitude 6 means that you are venturing into a major magical sites. A penalty of only -3 is not appropriate there...

Marcus

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #20 on: (12:28:43/02-12-18) »
Kiirnodel is there anything else in the game that can apply a -24 die penalty? Anything?
The system is clear -6 is a serious penalty in fact is as serious penalty as being on the brink of death (See the Condition monitor). So I am total certain  anything above -6 is unreasonable penalty,  -12 is 2 times over the line, -24 mean you are now 4 times being almost dead. Does anyone else here think that seems reasonable?

If you are peace with that, I can only leave that between you and your god. But in no way is -12 reasonable penalty let alone -24. Background count is a serious issue at -6 A very serious issue, as I said the equivalent of just shy of death. Saying you should apply a greater penalty then that is total unreasonable.

Do have you or know of any character that can Handle -24 penalty? I don't, and I would never, never ask a player to deal with one.
« Last Edit: (12:47:15/02-12-18) by Marcus »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #21 on: (12:58:00/02-12-18) »
...
The system is clear -6 is a serious penalty in fact is serious penalty as being on the brink of death (See the Condition monitor). So I am total certain  anything above -6 is unreasonable penalty,  -12 is 2 times over the line, -24 mean you are now 4 time being dead. Does anyone else here think that seems reasonable?

Problem with bringing that up is that you'd then have to consider that a skill rating of 4 is described as "professional" and an attribute of 3 or 4 is "average".  By using the descriptors assigned to the in-game numbers, you'd have to argue that 7 or 8 dice ought to be plenty to shoot someone. 

If PCs and NPCs are going to be assumed to be throwing 14+ dice, it may be best to ignore those "fluff" descriptors as they're no longer jiving with the outcome provided by the rules in play.

Quote
If you are peace with that, I can only leave that between you and your god. But in no way is -12 reasonable penalty let alone -24. Background count is a serious issue at -6 A very serious issue, as I said the equivalent of just shy of death. Saying you should apply a greater penalty then that is total unreasonable.

Do have you or know of any character that can Handle -24 penalty? I don't, and I would never, never ask a player to deal with one.

You're not supposed to routinely encounter, much less handle, a -24 dice pool penalty.  As useless as the guidelines for things like skill and attribute ratings are, the guidelines for what constitutes a BGC is all we have to go by since we don't have the real world against which we might compare.  According to that guideline (SG pg 31) a +/- 24 is literally off the chart.  When you go read mana voids (SG pg 32), it gives me the impression that about the only time you'd even possibly (to say nothing of plausibly) hit -24 is if you're in interplanetary space.  Sure the odd run may involve deep space and the mage(s) of the team will be SERIOUSLY challenged.  But if that's the sort of campaign where runs happen recurringly, then you probably ought to just seriously consider not playing a magic character.  Background counts of the sort that a runner would plausibly have to deal with shouldn't be going higher than 4-6 as 7+ is reserved for events that both "significant" and "repeated".  As bad as Chicago's Shattergraves are, for example, the towers only fell once.  You'd have to have something major going on to score a 7+ BGC, and it'd absolutely be the sort of thing the runners would know they're heading into beforehand and have opportunity to prepare for ahead of time.  And a dice pool penalty of 4-6 is something that is hardly out of scale with other common penalties (-9 dice to dodge a full auto burst, for example?)

The SRM FAQ sheet was mentioned above; here is what it says for those who don't play SRM:

Quote
Can you clarify what tests Background Counts (Street Grimoire, pgs. 30-33) affects?
Background Counts apply their modifiers to all Skill Tests that are being affected by magic in any way. This means casting spells, tests to activate adept powers, any test that is being augmented through a skill or attribute boost, etc.
The adept power Improved Reflexes increases your Reaction, and will affect any skill test based on reaction. However, Initiative is not a skill test, so you do not take any Background Count related penalties.
Drain is a damage resistance test, so likewise does not suffer Background Count penalties.

Unfortunately the SR5 core rulebook doesn't seem to explicitly define what a "skill test" is.  I'd argue that implicitly a skill test is a success test, an opposed test, or an extended test (pgs 47-48) that incorporates a skill.  The clarification even goes to the bother of explicitly saying that initiative augmentations gained by magic are not affected by a Background count, so it's imo clear that not only is the standard of a "skill test" is exactly what it says it is, it also has the side effect of establishing that some magic goes unaffected by a background count.  Killing hands, I'd argue, is only affecting DV and therefore is not a skill test, and then follows that is not affected by a BGC either.  (EDIT: Actually, SG makes clear on pg 32 that the Unarmed attack test should still be affected if Killing Hands is in play, so there's that!)
It's perfectly clear in the clarification that even spells are not directly affected when cast* inside a BCG... only the spellcasting test itself is.  Of course that skill test may end up netting less or no hits because of the BGC penalty, but the spell itself isn't modified!

* the key operator there is "when cast inside a BCG".  Yep spells that are precast and subsequently carried into a BGC are absolutely affected by it...
« Last Edit: (13:38:43/02-12-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

Marcus

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #22 on: (13:27:55/02-12-18) »
I hear you SSDR, but I'm not talking fluff here, the System defines -6 as being just about dead, not the game fluff. To me almost dead is solid reference point for "serious" penalties. So a -24 isn't even on the chart to me. Saying your not supposed to encounter -24 is fine, but running into a force that applies that level should simply be ether instant or nearly instant death. -6 BGC is serious business, when your players run into it should be barely survivable conditions from the system frame of reference. Expanding the numerical systemic frame of reference to describe fictional magical places/thingies/environments is fine.  Just don't convert it straight to penalties, it's dumb, it's bad writing and it doesn't make any sense. Suddenly character who in the past visited these spots suddenly can't anymore?

I'm saying this needs clarification, in no way should that system work as described, and in no way is does it's logic hold, the missions errata is simply case in point and really just a dodge, it still doesn't actually address the issue.  I'm sure we can come to a workable compromise on what does or does not count as a skill test, but the example powers listed makes no sense. It's simply better to accept that mistakes were made with SG, Something we all know to be true, and we have had 2-3 more books released to address issues it created, its time to errata it (again) then to let this confusion stand. Honestly I'd just drop SG from the 5e Book list send a couple interns to update ether of the last two editions magic books and re-release that in SGs place. I promise you, we would all be happier for it.


« Last Edit: (13:33:40/02-12-18) by Marcus »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #23 on: (13:32:16/02-12-18) »
I'd agree it could use some cleaning up.  For example, Mana Warps are described as having negative BGC values on page 33 but positive values on page 32.  Granted the dice pool penalty is based off absolute value so it's of little difference... but the one potentially MAJOR difference is positive BGCs can be acclimated or even potentially aligned by N/PCs.  Yeah you suffer -16 dice is a big deal different than NOT suffering -16 dice and both are a world of difference from bad guys potentially getting 16 BONUS dice!

Another thought of mine is that BGC is basically the same mechanic as Noise for Magic.  -6 dice to Hacking actions based on being inside a Shopping mall (a plausible Noise level due to Spam) isn't questionable, is it?
« Last Edit: (13:35:52/02-12-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

Marcus

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #24 on: (13:35:47/02-12-18) »
I'd agree it could use some cleaning up.  For example, Mana Warps are described as having negative BGC values on page 33 but positive values on page 32.  Granted the dice pool penalty is based off absolute value so it's of little difference... but the one potentially MAJOR difference is positive BGCs can be acclimated or even potentially aligned by N/PCs.  Yeah you suffer -16 dice is a big deal different than NOT suffering -16 dice and both are a world of difference from bad guys potentially getting 16 BONUS dice!

Yeah i didn't even want raise that even more horrifying issue. But yes If that's possible some ass hat +16 local magic bonus is going to rule the freaking world with great form conjured spirits.

legionof1

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #25 on: (22:53:02/02-13-18) »
To be fair while technically possible, cranking up a region to that sort of level to empower oneself would get you noticed pretty easy. And then you either get great dragon visits or Ares dropping tungsten on your head from space.

And good luck borrowing an existent phenomenon without running into the same scaly/corporate problem. This grade of power assist is screwed down pretty tight by folks that prefer the world keep spinning as is. 

Glyph

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #26 on: (18:22:12/02-17-18) »
Honestly, from your comments, Marcus, I get the the impression that you just feel like Background Count should only be a minor inconvenience if anything at all. It is supposed to be a big deal. And seeing background greater than magnitude 6 means that you are venturing into a major magical sites. A penalty of only -3 is not appropriate there...

My personal problem with background count is that it should either be fairly common or a big deal, but not both.  It is both too commonly encountered (background counts of 1-3, and even 4-6, are too easily justified), and goes up too high (it is utterly out of proportion to other penalties).

Mechanically, I dislike how it penalizes some things and not others.  I also don't care for flat dice pool penalties against adepts, who have too many powers that work by giving small dice pool boosts.  Some adept builds, non-min-maxed ones with a wide spread of powers, can get effectively turned into mundanes by a background  count of only 2.

HP15BS

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #27 on: (22:24:37/02-17-18) »
I concur, Glyph.

Another thought of mine is that BGC is basically the same mechanic as Noise for Magic.  -6 dice to Hacking actions based on being inside a Shopping mall (a plausible Noise level due to Spam) isn't questionable, is it?

The problem with that comparison is that it's very easy to completely negate that -6 Noise penalty.  All you need is a single R6 armor mod.  And then you can stack other noise compensation gear / programs on top of that.

Contrast that to the utter lack of BGC mitigation available.  An adept has to initiate just to negate even the first point, and then be very obvious about what he's doing whenever he actually uses it. Meanwhile, mages have to initiate twice and / or go to the trouble of using rituals like smudging to get any BGC mitigation.
« Last Edit: (22:33:39/02-17-18) by HP15BS »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #28 on: (22:36:03/02-17-18) »
Well, that segues into another possible point.

Honest question:  Is the gameplay dominated by magically-capable PCs? For example I hardly ever see sammies; everyone wants to play an adept instead.

If magically-capable PCs are dominating the campaign, then BCGs could well be vital as a tool to allow the mundanes at the table a chance to shine while the usual powerhouses are minimized to some degree.
« Last Edit: (22:38:14/02-17-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

PiXeL01

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Re: BGC final version?
« Reply #29 on: (22:57:42/02-17-18) »
Sounds like it. Magic doesn’t show up on scanners and you can mold an adept into anything these days. They make the best faces for sure.