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APP, round two.


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So I've been thinking about APP recently, and although the 5.2 rulebook says it's not a dump stat, other than for reasons of not dying through aging it's... uh... kind of a dump stat. Cos it doesn't really affect anything. The only mention of using your PK's app is that it might give modifiers to Flirting if particularly high or low, according to GM whim.

There's a previous thread about this, and several folk have offered some possible house rules which I'll try to summarise before going on to my own attempt at a solution.

OPTION ONE

APP/10 is used as a Glory modifier. So high-app characters trade in extra damage etc that they could have got by putting the points in another stat for more Glory.

OPTION TWO

Each superlative APP point (16+) grants a +1 bonus to the following: Flirt, Intrigue, Orate, Singing, Play, Dancing. It does not affect Romance.

There were also various mathematical options, eg the bonus being APP-11/2.

OPTION THREE

Glory for Courtly skills is equal to APP rather than a flat 10.

OPTION FOUR

Scrap APP entirely

OPTION FIVE

App can be rolled as Inspiration-ish for social skills. Success is +5/+10 for a crit, Failure is the reverse

OPTION SIX

New mechanic:  A reaction roll based on APP determines people's attitudes to the character.

I'm not keen on option one because it could mean that a character could quickly outpace the others if they survive the first few years - and if they then start putting more of those points into APP you could end up with a seriously overpowered PK. I think that's enough to take it off the table for me.

Option two has the potential to make social rolls super-powerful and into auto-crit territory - especially if you've got some bling and use some Fashion rolls to bump up the APP before making those social rolls. So I'm not so keen on that either.

Option three I'm interested in, but feels more like a tweak than making APP equivalent-ish in power to the other stats.

Option four: No, I want to keep it.

Option five and six both effectively introduce a new mechanic, and I'm quite keen to keep it simple rather than design a new edge case; both of these could work, but don't feel right for my game.

What I've decided to go for, then is OPTION SEVEN.

All of the other attributes are used to create a derived characteristic, but APP isn't. So instead I'm going to derive a characteristic from APP which can be used on courtly skills. None of the derived attributes end up with negative attributes, so instead I'm going to give a bonus to the Courtly skills listed in option two - plus Romance - of +1 for each 6 full points of APP.

  • So 0-5 APP = +0
  • 6-11 APP = +1
  • 12-17 APP = +2
  • 18 APP = +3 

And so on.

Players can use the Fashion skill to bump their APP in any given encounter per the rulebook, but only the most expensive piece of clothing/bling will count, so you can't just load yourself up with twenty different bits of jewellery. And of course, Fashion is non-knightly, so most PK's won't be wanting to lose Honour for doing it.

I think this should give enough weight to APP to make it worthwhile without over-powering it. I'm going to give it a test-run over the next few weeks and will let you know how it goes.

 

 

Edited by piersb
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Oh my God! You’ve gone and included D&D-style bonuses....the last refuge of the critical game designer! 🧐

Seriously though, I do think that APP needs to have more concrete rules surrounding its regular use in a game. Appearance is important to a Knight as it is with any social standing, and I think a Knight’s bearing should have an influence over things like leadership or social skills generally. Maybe this is something that will be looked at in the 6th edition?

 

 

 

Edited by TrippyHippy
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  • I’ve been using a vague principle of, “If I don’t know what you should roll, roll APP.”  APP almost as a luck roll.  E.g., if there isn’t an obviously relevant knowledge skill, roll APP — people with higher APP get into more conversations, and if you succeed, you happened to be chatting with someone once who knew about this.
  • Also, I’m a big fan of the “spotlight rule” that was posted on the old Nocturnal forums. Roll APP (modified by Glory) to have a chance to use a courtly skill or otherwise get someone’s attention.  It can easily be bolted onto the courtly challenges from the Marriage of Count Roderick — in a courtly setting, all knights get to roll APP, and in return they have a courtly challenge of their choice.  (They will naturally pick their best courtly skill, of course.)  But I use this a lot in general in social settings, and highly recommend it.  The Glory modifier gives it a nice rhythm in which APP is really important for young knights whom nobody knows, giving them opportunities that they would never have had otherwise, and bringing them to the attention of the powerful.
  • Tizun Thane suggested making the card draw in BoF dependent on APP, not Glory, and I do that.  Specifically, it’s APP modified by Glory, then divided by 10, because I think a choice between two or (for the truly exceptional) three cards is enough and more than that would slow our game too much.  But you could divide by a different number to bring it closer to the BoF as written.  Also, if you’re playing with the “winning the Feast” concept (I’m not), then there would be a case for throwing in an APP roll to get all of that Glory, which is (as has often been discussed here) extremely high.
  • One thing that I need to remember to do more is use APP to backstop courtly skills.  OK, you failed — but how much did you embarrass yourself?  Roll APP: if you succeed, the court is forgiving; if you fail…. 
  • If one wanted to do a fair bit of work, there could be a standard APP roll in the Winter Phase.  If you make it, something good happens to you — someone does you a favor, an unexpected opportunity comes your way, etc.  If you fail it, something bad happens to you.  Like the personal events in the Book of Solos (but my personal preference would be not to dictate what the character does, as those tend to do).  This involves taking the time to come up with tables of good and bad events, of course.
  • One thing that’s easy to implement is to design various courtly rolls as automatically accompanied by an APP roll.  Don’t just roll Intrigue to pick up a rumor.  Roll  APP and Intrigue — success at both gives you two rumors, or more detail, the equivalent of a critical at either one.  Fumble/success: some truth, some falsehood, etc.  This is simple, and produces varied and more interesting results than yes/no, like more recent systems often do.  This is another one that I have to remember to do more often myself.

 

Edited by Voord 99
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What we ended up with in our group:

  • We didn't add more uses for app, because we didn't feel the game needed it - I haven't seen any ideas for making APP better that I think makes the GAME better, they are only bandaids for APP
  • We didn't remove APP, because it seemed like a bigger change than we wanted
  • So instead we tried to make your APP value not impact your other stats much. You didn't have to be weak or clumsy or small to be beautiful, because being beautiful isn't as usefull in the game as being strong or large.

 

So at character generation:

a) set APP to whatever you like between 5 and 10, then:

b) place 50 points freely between all attributes, with no attribute lower than 5 or higher than 18. Points you put in APP counts double. Then:

c) add your cultural bonus (typically +3 con)

 

A bit clunky, but it has worked well for us. No need to think about it except at character generation.

APP sometimes has an effect ingame when we feel like it should - but most nights it doesn't.

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On 9/27/2021 at 9:04 PM, piersb said:

OPTION FIVE

App can be rolled as Inspiration-ish for social skills. Success is +5/+10 for a crit, Failure is the reverse

It's my houserule, so I can attest it's not game-breaking. I limited the fake inspiration under App to one by social event (feast, whatever), and it works.

On 9/28/2021 at 1:40 PM, Voord 99 said:

Also, I’m a big fan of the “spotlight rule” that was posted on the old Nocturnal forums. Roll APP (modified by Glory) to have a chance to use a courtly skill or otherwise get someone’s attention.  It can easily be bolted onto the courtly challenges from the Marriage of Count Roderick — in a courtly setting, all knights get to roll APP, and in return they have a courtly challenge of their choice.  (They will naturally pick their best courtly skill, of course.)  But I use this a lot in general in social settings, and highly recommend it.  The Glory modifier gives it a nice rhythm in which APP is really important for young knights whom nobody knows, giving them opportunities that they would never have had otherwise, and bringing them to the attention of the powerful.

Love it. I am going to steal it for my game ^^

On 9/28/2021 at 1:40 PM, Voord 99 said:

Tizun Thane suggested making the card draw in BoF dependent on APP, not Glory, and I do that.

I am honored. This houserule works.

On 9/28/2021 at 10:15 PM, Baba said:

b) place 50 points freely between all attributes, with no attribute lower than 5 or higher than 18. Points you put in APP counts double. Then:

I use a slightly different rule. 10 in App, 50 points freely between all other attributes. Each point invested in App counts double.

I was tired of Quasimodo Knights in my game ^^

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