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Why I think Sixth World Edge is "bad design"

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Iron Serpent Prince

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« on: (15:07:31/09-21-19) »
Trigger Warning:  The title is not meant as flame bait, however it is brutally honest about what you will find in this post.  If you are triggered by criticism of Sixth World, you would be better served backing out now.  No one would think less of you.  ;)

Also, I’ll be upfront. I don’t have any idea of how to “fix” the Edge system without a complete rewrite of the system.  Since people tend to be labeled “mean, nasty, stinky, trolls” if they can’t provide suggestions or alternatives along with their criticisms, I do have some ideas of how to improve the system later in the post.  They aint fixes by any measure.



I’ve called the Sixth World Edge system as too finicky.  Fickle might be a better word for it.  It may not be frequent, but it probably won’t be uncommon for a characters Edge points to change 4+ times a round.
Each time it changes is an opportunity to introduce human error.  If it could only change one point at a time, it would mitigate this some.

This makes it difficult to track Edge points accurately.  Do note, this isn’t the same as claiming it is difficult to come up with methodologies to track it.  That is easy.  A D6 and a coin should do you just fine.  (More on that a bit later.)

For example, with my play group we have seven people (1 GM and 6 Players).  Of those seven, only two are “good” with math.  I define that as being able to do simple addition and subtraction with single digit numbers and get accurate results at least 90% of the time.
The rest…  Aren’t so good.

It isn’t that the results are “conveniently” in their favor either.  They screw themselves at least as often (if not more so) with their errors.

On top of that, technically you have to track 2 numbers each turn.  The actual Edge value, and how many points you have gained.  I will grant you that the later is a much simpler value to track.
This means if you are a GM that has to supervise your players (either because they are genuinely “not-good” with math, or because they tend to always make errors in their own favor) you can have 10+ Edge pools with Point Gain Limits to track every round.

What makes Sixth World Edge even worse is that digitalizing it doesn’t improve it in anyway.  In fact, it makes it worse.  5e’s Situational Modifiers could be a pain in the hoop, sure.  That could be fixed with a computer script (ask me how I know.  ;) ).  Select the situation descriptors, and the script does the math for you.
You can’t do anything like that with Sixth World Edge.  Each individual has to track their own Edge and trying to do it digitally actually is more of a pain in the hoop than doing it analog.


That is all I have without scrapping the bottom of the well.  On to my suggestions.

Tracking Edge:

Since the most Edge you can have at any one time is 7, use a D6 and a coin.
When you have less than 7 Edge, and haven’t gained any Edge this turn, the top face of the D6 is your Edge points, and place the coin under the D6.
When you gain 1 point of Edge, move the coin to beside the D6 with the “heads” face up.
When you gain your second point, flip the coin to “tails.”
If you have 7 Edge, place the coin on top of the 6 on the D6.

Improving Edge:

Drop the 2 points per turn limit.  This removes one of the two numbers having to be tracked, and reduces the points of entry for human error.
Change the max Edge to Edge Attribute + 2.  This removes the flattening of the effects of Edge.  A character with an Edge Rating of 1 is never able to spend 4+ Edge points at once.  It also gives a mechanical advantage to having a 7 Edge.

Where this will likely fall apart:

First, this might resurrect Edge Lords.  Being able to “hold” 9 Edge, then spend it, and then regain it…  It might be too much.
Second, it might require rebalancing of the Edge Action costs.  Off the cuff, I would suggest starting with increasing the cost of 4 and 5 point actions by 1 point, and raising some of the 3 pointers to 4.


Like I said, they ain’t fixes.

0B

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« Reply #1 on: (15:13:55/09-21-19) »
That's not what "trigger warning" means.

Interesting way of tracking edge- though I think it'd be easier to use pennies, or 2d6. Personally, I like whiteboards- initiative, health, and special stats (Like edge) can all go on it and be easily changed. Since edge is sharable, it also helps in having a good idea of when to share, if you want to give another player a bonus.

Tracking stuff is always a challenge. When I GM for discord games, I usually end up tracking player stats like health, perception, edge, etc as well just as a backup in case they forget.

penllawen

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« Reply #2 on: (15:23:09/09-21-19) »
Re: tracking Edge. My idea was seven coins/tokens and three piles.

First pile: Edge you have to spend right now. So at start of an encounter, this is equal to your Edge stat.

Second pile: Edge gained this turn. Can be spent the same way as the first pile, but you’re also tracking when you hit the cap with this pile. When you roll initiative, move contents of the second pile to the first. I see this as the most critical component. Tracking when you hit the 2 Edge cap across a whole round is quite a lot to just do mentally.

Third pile: Edge you don’t have right now. Just a place to store the spare tokens.

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #3 on: (15:28:54/09-21-19) »
Second pile: Edge gained this turn. Can be spent the same way as the first pile, but you’re also tracking when you hit the cap with this pile. When you roll initiative, move contents of the second pile to the first. I see this as the most critical component. Tracking when you hit the 2 Edge cap across a whole round is quite a lot to just do mentally.

I thought of something like this at first.

The problem hits when you spend those two points you've gained, then reach situations where you technically gain more.

Example:

You have 3 Edge points, and then gain 2.
In your system, the piles would be 3 / 2 / 2.
Now say you spend 5 Edge Points.  Your piles go to 0 / 0 / 7.

At that point you don't have anything tracking the Edge you gained this turn.

Tracking the points gained per turn has to be mechanically separate from actual points to spend.

dezmont

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« Reply #4 on: (15:38:23/09-21-19) »
The crux of it is that Edge was meant to make things simpler than modifiers but now you have to do a running math problem for the length of any time where edge doesn't refresh.

The idea for piles of coins or beads is a good idea if you play in person and in your house or something but at conventions or online it just gets mega messy. Like I could see this being a fine boardgame mechanic because your moving like... "charge counters" between piles and in a boardgame you could print attack and defense rating on its own so its always visible, and in a boardgame the context of this interaction is always the same.

In an RPG though its a total mess. I am struggling to think of a way to add more complexity to your game with what is essentially 3 lines of rules that isn't a recursive function and am stumped.

penllawen

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« Reply #5 on: (15:40:50/09-21-19) »
The problem hits when you spend those two points you've gained, then reach situations where you technically gain more.
Oh. Yeah. Huh. How annoying.

Finstersang

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« Reply #6 on: (15:47:33/09-21-19) »
I´m becoming more and more fond of dropping the 2-Edge-per-round limit alltogether (or at least turning it into a 2-Edge-per-action-limit). No double-tracking, less diminishing return, less modifiers getting thrown in front of the simplification bus.

The only real "problem" here compared to the RAW or to other houserule suggestions that keep some kind of limit on Edge gain is that that this would give "Tanks" (i.e. characters with high DR that are scary enough to draw massive fire from the opposition) the option to use a kind of Bait-and-punish playstyle: Pool up the Edge from incoming attacks and unleash them on your next turn for brutal counterattacks. And I´d really argue that this isn´t that much of a problem, because

  • a. It sounds hella fun!
  • b. It´s still quite risky, since this playstyle also means that you use less Edge for your own safety
  • c. It can be countered by using Grunt rules, giving these an additional purpose as well.
« Last Edit: (15:50:34/09-21-19) by Finstersang »

AJCarrington

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« Reply #7 on: (16:12:39/09-21-19) »
This is a very interesting conversation...thank you.

ZeroSum

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« Reply #8 on: (16:22:41/09-21-19) »
Hey, my childhood is making a comeback. I give you: The Abacus™!

No, really, hear me out. If your players are math-averse, or even if they are generally good at math but tend to get excited and "forget" things in the thick of combat, or if they just have actual trouble keeping track of multiple variables, I actually think an abacus is a great tool.

In general, an abacus used for teaching maths in school has multiple tracks on a single frame, and each track could be used for the various needs in 6th Edition. I haven't gotten the 6th Edition core rulebook, but based on the reviews I've read and posts on this forum I gather that you have a starting pool (track 1), as well as a per-round gain (track 2) which is capped at 2, and a per-round expenditure (track 3). If there are other ways to gain or spend edge that I have missed, just add them to new tracks. Also, I have no idea if the actions I'm about to describe are valid, but the theory should be sound even if the actions technically are not.

Let's say Bob starts with 4 Edge. He moves 4 beads on the top track of the abacus to the right, representing his starting edge pool.
He then spends 2 edge during his first round of combat, so he moves 2 beads on the third track from left to right. He started with 4, has spent 2, and therefore has 2 left (Total on track 1 minus total on track 3).
He is then attacked (or something, I'm unclear on how you gain edge in 6th, but stay with me), which gains him 2 edge. This is in addition to his starting pool, but we don't want to confuse the two, so he moves two beads on track 2 from left to right. He started with 4, plus the 2 he gained, minus the 2 he spent. He has 4 left to spend.

I'm not trying to be facetious here, I genuinely think this is a valid approach to tracking edge by the sounds of things, and the abacus has been an effective tool in teaching arithmetic for centuries, if not millennia. Even better, it would be trivial (at least I think so, I have no programming experience) to create an app for this type of approach where each way of spending and using edge is a separate track with different maximums and minimums.

Or am I just horribly mistaken in how this system works in practice?
« Last Edit: (16:24:38/09-21-19) by ZeroSum »

0B

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« Reply #9 on: (16:33:49/09-21-19) »
I wonder if combining edge with "pools" would be good or bad. Instead of a pool refresh, it must be refreshed with edge. Pools would refresh to 2 points at the beginning of an encounter/scene, but otherwise, you must gain edge to refresh. With the exception of the Edge Pool, any Edge Actions must be taken using the appropriate pool.

  • Social Pool: Charisma + Intuition.
  • Matrix Pool: Logic + Device Rating (Deckers) or Highest Mental Skill + Resonance (Technomancers). This gives technos an advantage unless the decker has the best equipment, but it makes more sense that technos would be pulling weirdness or luck things than deckers.
  • Combat Pool: Strength + Agility.
  • Magic Pool: Tradition Skill + Magic.
  • Edge Pool: Edge. The smallest pool, but usable for any situation. The "catch all" for anything that doesn't quite fit. This one I would add because there are so many "edge must be spent immediately" things that should either just be a straight +1 or be used like normal edge, for the sake of elegance. Is it odd that edge gained from some daring athletic maneuver could be used for spellcasting? Sure, but maybe morale and confidence are a factor here.
Probably would add to the complexity, TBH

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #10 on: (19:54:16/09-21-19) »
Re: tracking Edge. My idea was seven coins/tokens and three piles.

I've been thinking on this, it it could work with 9 beads / tokens and a change in methodology.

The first and third piles will remain the same, first being your Edge Points and the third being the waste bin.

The second pile is your potential Edge points to gain that turn.

At the start of the turn, you move up to two beads from pile three, to pile two.
As you gain Edge you move the appropriate amount from pile two to pile three.
As you spend Edge you move the appropriate amount from pile 1 to pile three.

The only "gotcha" area is making sure there is never more than 7 beads / tokens in pile one.  Well, that and remembering to "refresh" your potential points in pile two.

Singularity

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« Reply #11 on: (08:30:25/09-22-19) »
I agree with the suggestion to drop the 2 edge limit. For my game, I used Savage Worlds bennies: As I've played and ran SW games, using those helped my group and I remember to dole out edge points and they made it easy for everyone to see where they stood on edge. They were trying to spend them as they could, so we didn't need to come up with different ways of keeping track of them, but if we had I think I would have just let them accumulate them during an encounter and then make them discard down to their max edge after the encounter/scene.

dezmont

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« Reply #12 on: (00:09:33/09-23-19) »
There are a few... EDGE... cases where dropping the limit can be a bad idea. Analyze device, for example, would allow you to convert net hits on a casting test to edge directly when using a device the first time every scene. The issue with nerfing that is that it further pushes mages into just abusing spirits.