I’ve put working on my Firefly campaign setting for a bit while I worked out some nagging issues I have the AGE system and worked on other things like my Wrath of Zombie game and got two different campaigns up and running.
Problems with the AGE system?! Whaaa–?!
I love the AGE system for its overall simplicity and feel, but I became disenchanted with it due to the thing that many people applaud about it… Stunts.
I’ve read several game reports and forum posts about rulings on attempting to do stunt-like things without the use of Stunt Points, like disarming, knocking a target back, or tripping them.
Many GM’s seem to have ruled that a player can’t do that unless they have stunts.. And that just bothered me big time. The whole “NO you can’t do X” just grates on me unless what the player is asking is really unreasonable.
The other thing about Stunts that was bothering me is that seems to be a big thing that people focus on and add more of, and I honestly fell prey to this when I developed Firefly, especially when you look at my Talents and Specializations. These are great stunts by Saisei and I have used them in a few Dragon Age games that I have run, but I noticed that adding these bogged down game time because the players had to look through their available options and decide what to do.
I love Stunts, but I’d also like a few more abilities and the like for each class rather than a huge plethora of stunts (that’s just me though).
So What’s a Dude to Do
After sitting on it for a bit I hit a Muse (no literally I did) and came up with some bits of levity that I think fit (for me) the conundrum that plagued me.
So first was what to do with those pesky actions that players wanted to do even if they didn’t have Stunt Points? Simple, just read below (this is from the upcoming Firefly update).
One complaint heard about the AGE system is the randomness of Stunts when dealing with actions like disarming or tripping an opponent.
If you desire to let your players attempt these actions without the need for Stunt Points it is easy to do.
Allow them to make an appropriate Ability (Focus) test with a -2. If they reach the TN then they are successful at the desired action, but they do no damage, where as the stunt allows them to disarm and damage.
If the player roll doubles and generates Stunt Points they must select the appropriate stunt that they are performing. You can also rule that performing “stunt” like actions does not generate SP when doubles are rolled.
Second- dealing with an overabundance of Stunts. An awesome post over on Dragon Age Oracle made me sit down and think about how I had approached designing my game and what I thought the AGE system was directing me to do and that I was slightly off key.
I’ve gone back through and redesigned MANY of the Talents and Specializations (some from the ground up) and hopefully they’ll be more interesting and have more use than just waiting to roll stunts.
I also changed how poisons work (from Box Set 2) since it bothered me that delivering the poison to a target was a stunt. I played a game where the rogue had poison on his blades, hit several targets during combat, but didn’t roll stunts once.
He was disappointed and understandably so. I didn’t like that design for poison- so I went with a more direct manner.
Delivering poison to a target is no longer a stunt, as per the standard rules of DA. When the target is hit by the weapon with the poison they must succeed at a Constitution (Stamina) ability test, TN 13 for Novice, 15 for Journeyman, and 17 for Master or fall prey to the poisons effects.
Hopefully the decisions I’ve made will be useful to myself and anyone else who takes my version of Firefly for a spin.
I’m not sure when the update will be out, but hopefully soon. I don’t want to rush it. I want to put everything I intend to in it.
Next Week- Firefly and…. Cyberware?!