[Review] Part-Time Gods review and general discussion

Discussion in 'Game Reviews' started by noman, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    This is a review of Part-Time Gods, by Third Eye Games. This review covers the PDF version of the main rulebook and touches upon the PDF versions of several Part-Time Gods supplements. It does not cover the Fate version of the game.

    EDIT: This is also a general PTG related thread.

    This review is family friendly, safe for work, and gluten free.

    I have bought and read every title in this gameline, and am currently in the process of building a campaign. I haven't yet run the game, nor have I played it.

    What is Part-Time Gods?

    Part-Time Gods (PTG) is a rule-light, urban fantasy Table-Top RPG (TTRPG) where the players take on the role of newly empowered gods. Players typically begin as fledgling deities such as the god of love, the goddess of ravens, the god of aircraft, etc. The players must contend with both external threats to their survival and power such as supernatural monsters (called 'outsiders' in the game) and other, hostile gods, as well as deal with the personal challenges relating to the realities of their divine status.

    Anyone familiar with Godbound, Exalted, or Cypher System's Gods of the Fall, will immediately be familiar some of the themes presented in PTG. Likewise, anyone who's read Neil Gaiman's American Gods will find familiar ground here.

    I've seen some limited discussion on other forums about how to emulate the American Gods television series using Godbound or Exalted. PTG takes much of its inspiration from Gaimain's original novel; the game is literally made to emulate the American Gods setting.

    PTG stands alone among demigod-level games in that it forces the players to deal with the grounded, day-to-day realities of modern life. The deities in PTG are almost all normal joes who suddenly attained divine power. They have families and friends. They have jobs, ambitions, and mundane struggles. They have to pay taxes, go to PTA meetings, suck up to bosses, and otherwise deal with the humdrum stresses of everyday reality while somehow juggling the responsibilities of their divine authority. Think Godbound as a slice-of-life campaign.

    There are the personal struggles of making it through life, suddenly complicated by the injection of divine power. This forces the players to make some very interesting tactical and ethical decisions regarding how to best apply that power. It gets more complicated as various supernatural entities are drawn to the fledgling god. There's also the very real threat presented by outsiders and hostile gods seeking to exploit, murder, or literally consume the new deity.

    PTG is about balancing the divine with the everyday. These day-to-day, mundane connections are as critical as the divine power the god commands. They serve to keep the god grounded and sane. Without them, his humanity is overwhelmed by the divine power he holds, and he essentially becomes a powermad sociopath. Think Vampire: The Masquerade (V:TM) and humanity loss.

    Game mechanics

    PTG is a light-medium game system that uses a single d20. Task resolution is resolved by attributes + relevant skills (if any) + d20 + modifiers. Success requires rolling over a difficulty number, usually 10, 20, or 30. Contested tasks are the same, with competing characters trying for the higher number. Characters get 'boosts' where they receive a benefit of some kind for every five they roll over the difficulty number. In the case of contested rolls, one gets a boost for every five over his opponent's roll. Rolls of natural 1 or natural twenty result in a critical success or critical failure, respectively.

    PTG is a skill-based game, with a decent selection of broad skills similar in nature to Savage Worlds. Fists covers all empty-hand fighting, Melee covers all weapon combat, and Marksmanship covers everything from pistols to archery. Crafts can cover anything from cooking to pottery. Technology deals with intermediate computer use, hacking, hardware, etc. Both attributes are rated on a simple scale of one to ten, with higher numbers being possible.

    It's also a fairly handwavy system. Simply put, if the GM thinks a player can accomplish a task, it's an auto success without the need for a roll. Rolls are only made when it really matters.

    Combat is simple. Initiative rolls are followed by players choosing combat 'maneuvers', then contested rolls between combatants. Maneuvers are exactly what they sound like: combat moves that modify to-hit and damage. Example include light strikes (high bonus to hit but low damage), heavy strikes (the opposite of that), grappling, dodging, parrying, etc. Damage varies by type of weapon and maneuver used. It seems like a nice, little system. It runs smoothly and quickly in the simulations I've run.

    The only significant gripe I have with the combat system is weapon damage. Damage values are, in my opinion, a hot mess. A glance over the weapons chart, and the min-maxer in me starts looking to pump all of my skill points into firearms. Their weapon damage is too high at the expense of other damage types, and their range is too low. Knives might as well be rotten eggs for all the damage they do. Dunno. This is something I haven't worked out yet. I'm noting it here for any potential GMs to look at and consider for themselves.

    The importance of a god's connection to the everyday is simulated by PTG's bond system. Bonds represent mortal connections to people, places, or groups that provide a grounded, human sense of meaning to the character. These are rated by bond points that represent the measure of emotional investment the god has with a particular bond. Actions taken within the context of a bond, such as protecting a loved one, receive bonuses. Bonds can decay and be lost through various means such as mismanagement or the death or destruction of the bond itself. Once lost, a bond becomes a failing and results in pretty severe psychological penalties on the character.

    End of part one
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  2. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Part two.

    Powers

    There are no magic or psionics systems in PTG. Powers are either (A) hardwired into certain classes of outsiders or special NPC antagonists, or (B) a byproduct of divine powers.

    In the case of (A) creatures like giants, gorgons, and near-human divine champions all have their powerset as part of their build, independent of any real, coherent system. This is bad if you like system-wide power mechanics, but good if you don't care. It means I can stat a new monster however I want without fearing I'll breaks something.

    There are two types of divine powers: entitlements and manifestations.

    Entitlements are abilities that are independent of a god's chosen dominion (dominion being the subject of the god's power, such as fire, wind, love, war, etc.) Most new gods get one or two entitlements at character creation. Examples include regeneration, supernatural strength, astral projection, etc. They serve to round out a character or support a character concept. A weak combat character might choose something like regeneration to help keep him alive, or a god of the sea would likely take an entitlement that allows for breathing underwater.

    Manifestations are the skills the god uses to express their domain. A god can pick any domain, even if another gods shares the same domain (such as two gods of storms). But they can't really do anything with that domain without manifestations. There are seven manifestation skills, each one granting the god a broad skillset of divine powers within the theme of the manifestation skill. For example, the ruin manifestation skill is the offensive skill, allowing the god to curse, blast people with his dominion, and boost his combat skills. The oracle manifestation skill, by contrast, is the information gathering skill. Each manifestation skill is flexible enough to give the player a lot of options while not intruding on other manifestations' territory. I've also found no gaps in the manifestation skills, meaning each one covers what I'd need in the game, and I don't see anything lacking.

    One can only use a manifestation within the limitations of one's dominion. For example, a god of fire with the ruin skill can happily blast folks with fire all day long. A god of love, cooking, or gardens may have a hard time justifying how their dominion could be used offensively. Another example is the aegis manifestation skill. It covers various forms of defense, but its applications aren't total. Aegis can only be used to defend against attacks related to one's dominion. For example, a god of love could use it to bind someone trying to murder a former lover that spurned him, or a god of animals could use aegis to become invulnerable to any type of animal attack. For this reason, it's important to understand that not all manifestation skill are equally effective with every dominion.

    Min-maxers would immediately think the best dominion would be one that allows for the most flexibility with the use of manifestation skills, such as choosing to be a goddess of war rather than a patron of soldiers, or animals instead of wolves. And here is one of PTG's more interesting features: the power system is set up in such away as to reward the use of manifestations specific to the chosen dominion, and assigns penalties for seeking to move outside that specificity. A goddess of war could use a manifestation to affect soldiers, as that is technically part of her dominion, but it's not war, specifically. She'd suffer a penalty in the attempt. Same with the goddess of animals trying to control a pack of wolves. A god of actual soldiers or wolves could do this without penalty.

    I like this limitation, as it forces players to plan what powers to choose and how to best use them. It balances out the usefulness of various dominions and puts a cap on attempts to exploit the system.
    The actual use of manifestations is extremely freeform. The manifestation skills serve as frameworks, explain what can and can't be done with the skill, but leaves the player to determine how that manifestation is actually used. Given the infinite possible dominions, this allows each GM and player to tailor each effect to fit the character and situation at hand.

    Overall, I really like this system. It's balanced, interesting, and give the players a lot of toys to play with.

    Character creation

    It's a point-buy creation system, with each section (attributes, skills, entitlements, etc.) being assigned a set pool of points for each section to be spent as desired.

    Anyone familiar with the original Word of Darkness games will recognize some of the design elements.

    Bonus points are the currency of character advancement, grown from earning experience in a way that's very similar to what I remember from V:TM. There are gifts and disadvantages (merits and flaws) with a good catalog of both.

    Character creation is straightforward: come up with a concept, pick a mortal occupation which provides skill bonuses and extra bonus points, spend points on attributes and skills, and pick your bonds. After the mortal life of the character is laid out, begin selecting the divine aspects of the characters.

    Fledgling gods have to chose a theology -- the philosophical foundation that their power is based upon. With this comes a special ability and limitation native to the theology, as well as two manifestation skills (with the player picking the third). Think clans in V:TM. The theologies are pretty well balanced, with three strongest possibly being the Ascendants ("Goku's a punk"), the Puck-Eaters ("I hide under the monsters' beds") and Nanuk's Outlanders ("Monster Musume is a how-to"), but each of these come with some pretty heavy limitations to balance them out. I think there are enough theologies to satisfy most players, and if you have to, it wouldn't be hard to hack together a new one.

    Players pick their theology, assign their manifestation skills, and pick their entitlements. After that, spend the extra bonus points from the character's occupation and any disadvantages that were taken. Pretty easy and quick.

    I tend to look at character creation with an eye for min-maxing, seeking exploits. There aren't that many in PTG. As the game is as much sneaky and social as it is combat, there's plenty of roles to play beyond punching things. Every player and every theology should have a fair stake in the game.

    Props for game balance, overall.

    Setting

    Modern, urban fantasy. The twist is gods and monsters are real, they've been asleep for ages, and now they're coming back. The PCs enter the scene during this surge of active rebirth.

    There's lore, of course, which I won't go into for the sake of space and time. The backstory of how the setting got to this point is explained. There's a bit of a metaplot in the "Coming Storm", an endtimes event involving a massive influx of outsiders and old gods. It's lightly done, sits quietly in the background, and can easily be ignored. Later supplements flesh this out and help the GM decide how to manage the metaplot, if they want to make use of it at all.

    There are no setting details beyond this. Descriptions of cities, organizations outside of the theologies, etc. aren't present, leaving the GM to worldbuild as she sees fit.

    Supplements

    There are five supplements published for PTG as of this review.

    Angels Among Us deals with the Nephilium (human/angel hybrids), as well as rules for playing them.

    Divine Instruments is a must-have that covers the various aspects of godhood, including worshipers, divine territory, and prayers. It also provides three new theologies.

    Harder they Fall is all giants, all the time. What they are, the various types, and player options for playing them.

    Minions of the Source is a useful resource full of new outsiders and touched. It also provides three more theologies.

    Return of dragons is not a supplement about Bruce Lee clones. It covers rules for bringing dragons into the game, though not as PCs. There's also an additional theology of dragon slayers, because why not.

    Most of these supplements come with small adventures, extra lore, and a few new artifacts. They're all cheap, and worth getting if you plan on running the game.

    Miscellaneous

    Layout, art, writing for all books in this line are adequate by my standards. Not stunning, by any measure, but not bad either. The bigger rulebooks have color covers while all of them have black and white art on the interior. Most of it is pretty good, some of it, well, not so much. None of it detracts from the rules, and the art does a good job in capturing the spirit of the game.

    That's it. Feel free to ask questions if you have any. I'll answer them as best I can.

    Hope you enjoyed the review.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  3. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Some art:

    [​IMG]

    Ah, Penelope. You are my waifu.

    [​IMG]

    PTG comes with a group of NPCs already formed into a pantheon. They're represented above.

    Oh, yeah. A crowbar, Victor? Really?

    [​IMG]

    Same as above.

    [​IMG]

    Dr. Ali. The only sane one of the bunch.

    [​IMG]

    Call of Cthulhu can go call on somebody else.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  4. HorusArisen

    HorusArisen Active Member

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    The artwork looks ok actually.
     
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  5. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Whoohoo! Somebody read my TL;DR review! :grin:

    Yeah, it's not bad. I'm used to Rite Publishing and Godbound levels of art. This doen't come anywhere near that level, but it's by no means amateurish.

    The first pic (Penelope) is representative of most of the interior art throughout the gameline.
     
  6. HorusArisen

    HorusArisen Active Member

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    It sets a nice standard. I've read a few reviews of the system and it sounds decent but doesn't quite hit my God playing fancy.
     
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  7. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Finally getting back to this.

    I totally understand this. PTG is a niche genre in a niche genre.

    Also, while I tended towards the positive in my review, there are a few things that annoy me.

    I've already mentioned the damage system. Let me expand on this a little.

    Unarmed combat does 0 points of damage, modified by what kind of combat maneuver the character manages to land on an opponent. For example, a Light Strike maneuver (be it a kick or punch) does 1 point of non-lethal damage, but has a bonus to hit. A Strong Strike maneuver does 3 points of damage (I think), but has a penalty to hit.

    This is fine.

    Damage is divided into non-lethal (anything that doesn't cut and pierce) and lethal (knives, swords, bullets). I don't really like the distinction, because a blow to the head with a baseball bat can kill somebody straight up, but I get the logic and I think it fits the broader system.

    This is fine too.

    Then you get into the damage chart. A decent selection of different weapon types. And this is where my problems begin.

    Firearms do too much damage in relation to every other type of weapon. IRL, a good knife can kill just as effectively if not better than a low to medium caliber pistol shot, but do 1 point of damage in game. Swords and heavy melee weapons are devastating IRL, but might as well be harsh words in terms of damage done. I've got min-maxers at my tables. After skimming the damage rules they'll be like "I'm going to specialize with shotguns. Here's my reasonable backstory explaining why I'm so good and have so many such firearms."

    No.

    There also are editing problems. The most notable one being the lift/carry values for each NPC listed in every book in the line is reversed. This bugs OCD noman.

    Really, though. The damage thing is the only thing I don't like. Everything else seems to hum mechanically.

    I think what I'll do is I'll slap a modified version of Cypher System's damage rules onto PTG and call it a day.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
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  8. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    Really great review though I am already convinced! I bought a copy about 2 months ago - now I need to read it! Thanks!
     
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  9. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Hey, thanks, Ronnie. That's much appreciated!

    Also, welcome to the Pub! :smile:
     
  10. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    A good review, and an interesting concept for the game.
     
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  11. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Thanks!
     
  12. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    I know it's probably expensive but it would be great if rpgpub.com would have a place to do reviews like the big purple does. Also a download area where we could upload things would be useful (like BRP Central) though I guess that would cost more. I enjoyed the review very much!
     
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  13. Endless Flight

    Endless Flight Administrator Administrator Moderator

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    Ronnie,

    I added a Resources Manager to the forum a couple days ago so that members could upload things others find interesting (no copyrighted stuff that can't be shared please!). You can find a thread about it in the Site and Community forum and you can access the Resources page by clicking the link in the navigational bar up top.
     
  14. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    Hey that's great! Make you guys uber competitive! I can upload some fairly polished stuff for BRP players!
     
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  15. Sommerjon

    Sommerjon Member

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    Been thinking about picking up either PTG or AP,Inc. Most likely do both.
     
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  16. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    I've heard good things about AP inc., but don't know any specifics. IIUC, it runs a different system than PTG.
     
  17. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    Okay I posted this same question on rpg.net but I thought I would ask here as well...

    If one god kills another for to get their dominion does he get their manifestations as well or is his manifestations constant across all his dominions?
     
  18. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Dominion only. Manifestation skills are disconnected from a god's dominion.
     
  19. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    So let say I am the god of health and I have the puppetry manifestation. If I kill the god of storms who happens to have the manifestation of ruin it doesn't matter I would use my puppetry manifestation with the domain of storms? Sorry if I am screwing this up. I haven't read the book yet but I have read some reviews
     
  20. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    It's no prob, Ronnie. Happy to help.

    To build on your example, each god will have a minimum of three manifestation skills. Let's say your god of health has puppetry, shaping, and minion. You kill and eat the god of storms, who has ruin, aegis, and oracle.

    Your god of health would gain the dominion of storms, but not any of his manifestation skills. You'd still have the same skills you had when you killed him: puppetry, shaping, and minion. You wouldn't gain the storm god's ruin, aegis, and oracle skills.

    With the additional dominion of storms, however, you can apply your existing manifestation skills (puppetry, shaping, and minion) to both health and storms.

    Think of it like this: dominion tells you what a character can do, but your manifestation skills tell you how you can do it.

    Hope that helps. :smile:
     
  21. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    Thanks noman! That helped a lot. So that implies that a character needs to think carefuly before he goes after another god and understand if his manifestation powers will work for the other god's domain? Also is killing a god strictly something a puck eater would do or can followers of other theologies do it too?
     
  22. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Yes and no. A god does need to think carefully before eating another god, because (A) you just picked a fight with that god's allies and (B) if other gods find out you like eating other gods, they'll be less likely to trust you.

    On the other hand, manifestation skills aren't really a consideration. Pretty much any manifestation can be applied to any dominion, it's just a matter of context and frequency. The dominion of love, for example might have less application with the ruin skill than, say, fire. But it would be still handy to have ruin as a skill as a god of love. You could cast love curses, buff your combat abilities when someone you love is in danger, or blast an enemy who is trying to harm a pair of lovers. Pretty much every manifestation skill is worth having, but some mesh better with certain types of dominions.

    Puck Eaters kill and eat parts of their prey to temporarily gain their power, but not necessarily to gain a god's spark. Cannibalizing a god and taking his spark is something that any god can do, regardless of theology.

    EDIT: BTW, feel free to ask questions if you want. It's not a bother. I'm enjoying talking about an RPG subject I actually know a little about. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  23. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Holy crap this is a wall of text. :shock:

    As I mentioned in the What Are You Doing Now thread, I've finally started running this thing. To date, I've run three sessions. Here, I'm going to talk about character creation and comment on the characters I ended up with for my campaign.

    Prior to this, I spent a lot of time testing and tweaking the rules. I had a hard time figuring out how followers worked, and kept going back and forth with what to do about the damage rules. I eventually house-ruled followers in a way I could live with and decided to just keep the damage system as is, and see how it played out in the campaign.

    As I mentioned in the above-linked post, this campaign would be a shonen or shojo style, slice-of-life meets urban fantasy themed game where all the PCs are juniors in high-school. I've set the game in the US, rather than Japan, and used Marchland's Brighten Bay as the main setting.

    Character creation was handled by my players with minimal intervention by me, via email. Concepts, builds, and backgrounds were all pretty much left up to them, with final drafts having to be approved by me. I set some heavy restrictions, though:

    • Most professional occupations were not available, such as sex worker, retired, white collar, etc. Student, privileged, and perhaps a few others like musician, artist, or computer tech might work depending on concept and background.
    • Marksmanship was capped at level 4 to start. All combat skills were capped at level 5 to start. This was to reflect that these were American kids whose skills were still in the early stages of development. The PCs weren't going to be child soldiers or prodigal killers trained by the government.

    In addition to this, I allowed players to take more than 7 points in drawbacks, with the understanding that all drawbacks had to fit the character's concept and all of them would be used against the characters.

    Beyond that, anything goes. My players reported they had no problems building their characters mechanically, but had a hell of a time coming up with good concepts. What dominion to take with what theology and with what manifestation skills turned out to be challenging. Part of the problem here was that some of my players like to optimize, and they got caught up trying to mix and match the best dominion with the best theology and manifestation skills. I tired to tell them that they were wasting their time, that pretty much anything is going to work with anything, depending or the situation, but they didn't listen to me. :blah: Eventually they gave up and just came up with what they thought was cool, which is what I was telling them to do the whole time. :argh:

    I ended up with four PCs, which I'll repost here:

    1. "Jack" played a god of love (the rich kid). A member of Nanuk's Outlanders (like Greenpeace, except for monsters), was the group diplomat, secondary fighter, and not at all like Batman.

    2. "Jill" played a goddess of ravens (the goth). A member of the Masks of Jana (like men in black, except they keep the other deities from fucking up human civilization), was the group rogue, and oh my god, whatever I guess.

    3. "Bob" played a god of hacking (the geek). A member of Warlock's Fate (Similar to the tremere, except they look at the interconnection of all elements within the universe rather than something so trite as magical power), was the group scholar/tech and no, you can't copy my homework.

    4. "Sue" played a goddess of air (the jock). A member of the Ascendents (A theology that tries to cultivate their divinity at the expense of their humanity), the group leader and top fighter (only slightly better than the god of love), and get on my level, bitch.

    My players surprised me here. None of them are min-maxed; all of them are thematically designed, meaning they picked skills and powers that meshed with their concepts. More importantly, they're a fairly well-balanced party. The god of love (GOL) and goddess of air (GOA) are formidable fighters, but the former is a skilled persuader (vice president of the debate club) and the latter took the other route and took intimidation (former bully). The god of hacking (GOH) is the brains of the group, with high skills in both technology and knowledge. He rounded out his character with a decent fortitude skill (can take a beating) and travel skill (he's the only one that can drive worth a damn). The goddess of ravens (GOR) took stealth, empathy, and perception skills, and some acrobatics. She's the most optimized of the bunch, which surprised me, given the player. Her divine abilities are synched with her skills in a way that the others aren't. She's extremely good at information gathering, and has the best mobility of the group (she can turn into a raven).

    The GOA and GOL are both front-line fighters, the former focusing on melee combat with fists as a fall back, and the latter going full on fists and throwing weapons. Nobody's got a firearm, but both of them took the ruin skill. They're also the two front men, with good persuasion and intimidation skills, they're the ones that deal with NPCs face to face.

    The GOH and GOR are both background players. They're weak fighters, and prefer to stay out of harms way. They're strength is in their ability to attain information and then weaponize that information. In their own way, they're more dangerous than the GOA and GOL.

    Their backgrouds were interesting. I won't go into too much detail here.

    The GOL is reverse Batman. Rich family, huge estate, loving parents...who also happened to be members of Fenric's Shackles (the moral opposite of Nanuk's Oulanders; they enslave monsters for their own ends). His father was preparing his son to take his place, and put him through an ordeal that ended in him being forced to kill a monster in cold blood. He refused. Things got out of hand, and by the end of it, his parents were dead, he was a god, and the monster he was supposed to kill swore to serve him until the debt was paid.

    And that's how he got a raksasha butler. This was tricky. A rakshasha is crazy strong for an outsider (monster). But it was just so cool an idea, and I thought hilariously fun, so I allowed it. It's understood that the butler will not engage in combat except to defend the estate ("You must stand on your own power, I won't serve a weakling!") and would mostly conduct non-combat duties. This has worked well so far, and the butler has been a blast for me to roleplay, adding to the hilarity.

    The GOA came from the wrong side of the tracks. Poor family. Abusive parents. Just a rough life. Her single, burning passion is to get out and away as soon as possible. A star athlete, she was hoping sports would be her way out, but now that she's a goddess...

    The GOH is similar to the GOA. Not an abusive home, but not a happy one. Father gone. Single mother, tired, bitter, and resentful. No friends. Bullied at school. But he's good at computers. His first PC became his solace to an otherwise unhappy life. By middle school, he was already programming. By high school, he was hacking the school network and changing grades for money.

    The GOR hails from an actual good family with no problems. Despite this, she's gone the 'weird" goth route, developing a spontaneous fascination with symbols of death and a near obsessive interest in ravens and crows. Good student, bit of a bookworm, awkward around people, but not a troublemaker. She and the GOA formed an unlikely friendship in their first year of highschool, and the GOA often stays over at the GOR's house. Despite her eccentricities, she's actually the most normal.

    Each one has their strengths. Each one has their weaknesses, and each one has issues they've got to sort out.

    To make it easier for me, the players decided their PCs all knew each other from middle school, didn't hate each other, and had some kind of connection at one point between each of them. The GOH tutored the GOL for a while. The GOA bullied the GOR in elementary school, but changed by middle school, and apologized for it. Later became friends. That kind of thing.

    Their dominions have a direct affect on their environment. So the whole city is enjoying a proliferation of marriages, affairs, romances, wind storms and the occasional, never-before-seen tornado, an absurd number of ravens and crows, as well as the sudden influx of underground hackers and network security companies.
     
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  24. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    Okay I have read to page 80 of PTG and it keeps getting better and better Just now getting to the skills section. I would like to run this but I think I want to play it even more.
     
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  25. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    Coming back once more to my gripes about PTG's damage system; I want to talk about the lethality of the system.

    I've changed my opinion from what I wrote upthread. :errr:

    Upthread, I complained that the damage chart is a hot mess. While I'd prefer it was cleaned up and balanced a little, calling it a hot mess is a little harsh. It is a very functional system. Firearms still dominate, and it still lends itself to min-maxing to a certain degree, but overall, it's no worse than some other games I've run and played.

    I also suggested that the damage values needed to be higher for some weapon types. I've very much changed my mind about that.

    This game is deadly lethal. I seriously underestimated how dangerous it could be in play.

    Non-lethal damage is fine as is. The challenge for me is lethal damage.

    I created a sample character named "Bob". Bob has 14 health. If Bob takes half or more of his maximum health in lethal damage, he begins to bleed out. He takes an additional 1 lethal damage per round.

    If a character is reduced to 0 health from lethal damage, he passes out. He then needs to make a VIG + fortitude check (d20) against a difficulty of 20. If he fails, he dies.

    If he succeeds, he survives...unless he's bleeding (taken lethal damage >= half his health). Each round he's bleeding out, he has to roll another fortitude check. If he succeeds, he takes no damage...for that round. The next round, he's got to make another check, this time with a penalty. This continues until (A) the character receives medical attention, or (B) he reaches -5 health and dies.

    What his means is that if Bob gets himself into a scrap with somebody with a sword (2L), an axe (4L, or worse, a Mac-11 (4L with autofire), he's in real trouble if he doesn't know what he's doing. The damage listed is only the base; various modifiers such as combat maneuvers and various gifts and powers can raise the base damage, and the better you do on your combat roll, the more damage you do to your target.

    It's entirely possible, if not likely, for Bob to lose half of his health in the first few rounds. If he's bleeding before he finally drops, he's dead. :dead:

    This is a game where you have to have a cleric in the party, ready to go at a moment's notice. :hurry:

    If you're wondering how I didn't come to this conclusion after my initial study of the system and subsequent testing, it's because I'm an idiot who misunderstood the damage and survival rules during an epic, ongoing brain fart. :goof:
     
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  26. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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    Remind me to get self-regeneration for my first character :-)
     
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  27. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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    That's what I thought too. We assumed regeneration was a 'get out of death free' card, ala D&D. Nope. On a fresh read, we realized that the health you get back from regeneration (1 NL per minute, 1 L per hour) isn't going to help when you're bleeding out (you're losing 1 LP per round, every 5 seconds). It's not meant to help in combat; it's meant to help you heal faster once combat is over.

    Not worth two entitlement picks, IMO.

    Mechanically, Picture of Health (bonus health and bonus to save vs. death) and a shit-ton of fortitude of is a better option. Other than that, it comes down to different survival strategies (ranged attack, tank up, etc.).

    My players and I are reconsidering tactical and player build options. None of us want a repeat of my last Godbound campaign :dead:.
     
  28. noman

    noman Legendary Member

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  29. Ronnie Sanford

    Ronnie Sanford Member

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