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Author Topic: Anarchy Spirits and Balance  (Read 150 times)

Gingivitis

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Anarchy Spirits and Balance
« on: (18:52:52/03-05-17) »
A few people in forums and actual plays (and at my gaming tables) have noted how unbalanced/overpowered an average Spirit is (let alone a Greater Spirit).  They need some help in order to be a surmountable opponent or a balanced PC asset.

I have a few ideas but I am wondering if others out there have taken it upon themselves to adjust how Spirits work, how they are summoned, their stats or anything else used to bring more balance to those magical bastards.

Or do you play "as is" and deal with it?

I know that Anarchy isn't about mechanics, but I am very interested in balance (for the players and the GM) because I have seen too many campaigns breakdown due to imbalance.

Tecumseh

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Re: Anarchy Spirits and Balance
« Reply #1 on: (14:08:12/03-06-17) »
I'm the poster in question. For the benefit of anyone who hasn't memorized all of my posts over the last six months, I will recap my concerns here.

If anything about Magic needs balancing, it's Summoning (as usual). Spirits are still powerful: with the exception of Earth Spirits, their dodge pools are all better than a maxed-out elf, their attack pools are 10-13, and their Immunity to Normal Weapons in addition to natural armor makes them highly durable. The fact that a magician can have two with a relatively inexpensive summoning focus (Amp Level 2) is more unbalancing than any of the spells I've seen.

Per my post in the House Rules thread, I still think spirits are ridiculously good, so much so that average spirits are basically free Prime Runners, with attack pools and dodge pools that mirror maxed-out PCs. Between attribute points, racial bonuses, and attributes starting off at rating 1, Primer Runners have 27 attribute points. An "average" spirit has 31-33. Great Form spirits would have 41-43.

Gingivitis, I know that you had proposed a drain mechanic a few months ago where the summoning magician had to roll a glitch die each Narration the spirit was sustained to see if the summoner incurred drain or not. Did you ever play with that and, if so, how did it go?

I've had several thoughts about how to balance spirits but since I haven't started playing yet I don't know how well any of them would work in practice.

1) Jack up the opposed rolls to make summoning harder. Lesser spirits resist with 10 dice, normal spirits with 14 dice, greater spirits with 18 dice. (My baseline for this is Coydog, who rolls 15 dice to summon air spirits, and Alyosha Daska, who rolls 14 dice to summon earth spirits.)

2) Make the standard spirit stats the stats for the greater spirits, since standard spirits are already Prime Runners in terms of attributes and dice pools. The new standard spirit will be the old lesser spirit, etc.

3) Riggers can't use their own weapons while commanding their drones (p. 48). Impose the same restriction on summoners as they boss around their spirits.

4) Require summoners to pay shadow amp points for spirits, like riggers have to pay for drones.

5) Some sort of drain mechanic, or limitation on how many spirits can be summoned per scene.

I like spirits and summoning and don't want to lose that flavor. As such, my preference is probably for some combination of #1 and #2, although making the rolls in #1 easier if the rule for #2 is in place. For #3, I'd almost prefer the opposite: removing the restriction from riggers to make drones function more like spirits. I don't have a good resolution for the imbalance inherent in #4 yet.

Gingivitis

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Re: Anarchy Spirits and Balance
« Reply #2 on: (16:14:52/03-06-17) »
I have done a number of things.  Over the last 6 months, no single adjustment seemed to fix the issues.  I feel there is a balance now in my games (I have two groups going).

1) I kept my original difficulties summon. 6 for lesser, 8 for average, 10 for greater. But I required the use of a Glitch Die to summon the greater.  Exploit gets you the greater, Glitch gets you some Stun damage, anything else gets you an average spirit.  I felt if I ramped the difficulties too high, people would just stop trying, but it made summoning greater spirits difficult and dangerous And requires a Plot Point.

2) I implemented the sustaining roll (Glitch die) like you said, at the beginning of the Narration.  I scaled it back though: Lesser spirits require no roll.  Average spirits  give you 1 Stun if you Glitch.  Greater spirits give you 1 Stun unless you exploit.  Summoner can dismiss for free before the roll.  The roll does not require spending a Plot Point.

Incidentally, I use the same mechanic to determine Overwatch and Alarms for Matrix hosts. There are 3 levels of hosts in my games, but instead of Stun, the host launches IC if you glitch.

3) The above two things put the danger and consequence back into summoning but it didn't take care of the power levels.  For that I rebalanced stats (earth is 10/4, air is 4/10, fire and water are 6/8, beast is 8/6 and man is 7 AGI/7 LOG, all other stats being 6).  I also added non-combat powers (like kla did in his write up), but forced a choice between two combat powers.  That made them slightly less absolutely deadly.

4) The above did not take care of their utter invulnerability with such high defense pools, damage reduction, armor, and high CMs.  So I took away their armor.  I like it because it makes them the opposite of vehicles which are basically ONLY armor.  I did leave 6 armor on the Earth and 3 on the Beast for flavor. A little math shows that now a standard mage has around a 50/50 chance to beat an average spirit now.

It seems to have worked so far but I am wondering what other GM's have done still.

 

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