Author Topic: Track: Grace Under Pressure  (Read 2937 times)

Zaq

  • Elite
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Track: Grace Under Pressure
« on: October 11, 2013, 03:45:32 AM »
Track: Grace Under Pressure[/u]

You have learned the art of smoothly sailing around the battlefield without breaking your concentration. You are fully able to walk and chew gum at the same time, and you're all out of gum. Wait, I think I got that wrong.

All abilities from this track are (Ex)traordinary.

First Circle: Unflappable Moving out of a square of difficult terrain does not cost you an additional square of movement. In addition, choose one of the following abilities. This selection is permanent. (Note: If a player acquires an ability that would render the selection made here as moot or irrelevant, the GM is encouraged to allow the player to change to the other selection.)
  • Poised: You gain a +4 bonus to AC against attacks of opportunity you provoke by moving through or out of an opponent's threatened area, including the attack of opportunity normally provoked by activating a special movement mode (e.g., the free action used by a creature with the Fly movement mode to lift off or land, gaining or losing [Flying]). This bonus increases to +5 at third circle and to +6 at sixth circle.
  • Alert: You do not suffer a penalty to defenses for being [Flat-footed].

Second Circle: Quicksilver Motion Once per [Encounter], as either the first action of your turn or the last action of your turn, you may move up to your speed as a free action.

Third Circle: Split Focus Once per [Encounter] per odd-numbered circle of this track you possess, when you activate a skill as part of a move action, you may activate a different skill without taking an additional action to do so. The use of the skill you activate must normally require a partial move action. You may not activate this ability more than once per move action taken.

Fourth Circle: Master Training Choose one of the following abilities. This selection is permanent.
  • Lead the Way: Once per [Round], when you move as part of a single action or as a 5 ft step, one ally (other than you) who was within your [Melee] range at the start of your movement may move a number of squares equal to the number of squares you moved, up to a maximum of half of your movement speed. Your ally's movement provokes attacks of opportunity. You may not activate this ability if your movement has the [Teleport] descriptor or the [Warp] descriptor. You must choose to use this ability before you begin your movement, but the ally does not begin moving until after you are finished with your action. A creature can only move as a result of this ability once per [Round].
  • Well-Oiled Machine: You gain [Immunity] to effects with the [Binding] descriptor.
  • Action Before Thought: When you roll initiative, you may roll twice and choose which result to use. Feats, items, and abilities that specifically increase your Awareness increase your initiative by the same amount. You cannot add more than a total of your character level to your initiative in this way, though other sources of initiative bonuses are not subject to this cap. (Your WIS mod is not considered to be a specific addition to your Awareness for this purpose.)

Fifth Circle: Multitasking When you activate a skill or an ability as part of a move action used to move, your movement speed is not halved for that action.

Sixth Circle: Grandmaster Training The ability you selected at fourth circle improves, as follows.
  • Lead the Way: When you use Lead the Way, you may select up to two different allies to gain the benefit, though you still may not choose yourself. If you only choose one ally, that ally's movement is no longer restricted to half of your movement speed. In addition, the affected ally or allies may start their movement within your [Close] range of where you started the movement, rather than your [Melee] range.
  • Well-Oiled Machine: You gain a +4 bonus to AC against attacks of opportunity, which stacks with other bonuses from this track, if applicable. Furthermore, taking an immediate action does not count as your next turn's swift action, as though you had not taken a swift action on the previous turn. (This ability does not change the number of immediate actions you can take per [Round], nor does it increase the total number of swift actions you can take.)
  • Action Before Thought: When you roll initiative at the start of an [Encounter], you may move up to your movement speed. This does not require an action, and you may do so even if you are surprised.

Seventh Circle: Time Stands Still Three times per [Encounter], but no more than once per [Round], you may spend a free action to gain an extra move action on your current turn.

Notes:
Spoiler
This grew out of a desire to see how well I could make a utility track based around maximizing movement efficiency without stepping on too many toes in the process. Many of the abilities are pulled from brainstorms I've left around other topics in this forum. This track is intended to improve your action economy, among other things, but I'm worried about giving it too many nice things to play with. Please let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 03:51:56 AM by Zaq »
I do verb now and again, but gerunding is my real passion.

Mystify

  • Sage
  • In Mithril Reborn
  • ****
  • Posts: 3117
  • Gender: Male
  • Scroll of Scribes Typo Hammer Magic 8-Ball Editor's Highlight Ballot Box Dungeon Delver Art Aficionado
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 11:47:39 AM »
c2: That is really strong. Compare Exit State Left. it costs them a swift action to do this. Sure, that can activate other move actions, but it is still worthwhile just for the movement. Throughout the system, there are lots of places where you can get a swift action to move, and this is doing it with a free action, and at circle 2 no less.

c4: well-oiled machine is really strong. dervish 5 only gives anti-difficult terrain as its companion to [Binding] immunity. Freedom of movement itself is only 4th circle. Disc. of the dragon offers immunity to [Binding] as its 5th circle. And +KDM to initiative isn't small. At 4th circle, which could be level 9, you could have a KDM of 7. That is nearly as good as a +level initiative bonus when you get it.

c7: a free action for movement may be appropriate here, but a free action for a move action is raising the cap on actions per [Round], which is not something to do lightly. Doubly so, since these characters can be getting multiple free skill checks alongside that move action. This is more significant than you may realize.
My extensive collection of homebrew
As always, Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly

Zaq

  • Elite
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 02:24:05 PM »
c2: That is really strong. Compare Exit State Left. it costs them a swift action to do this. Sure, that can activate other move actions, but it is still worthwhile just for the movement. Throughout the system, there are lots of places where you can get a swift action to move, and this is doing it with a free action, and at circle 2 no less.

c4: well-oiled machine is really strong. dervish 5 only gives anti-difficult terrain as its companion to [Binding] immunity. Freedom of movement itself is only 4th circle. Disc. of the dragon offers immunity to [Binding] as its 5th circle. And +KDM to initiative isn't small. At 4th circle, which could be level 9, you could have a KDM of 7. That is nearly as good as a +level initiative bonus when you get it.

c7: a free action for movement may be appropriate here, but a free action for a move action is raising the cap on actions per [Round], which is not something to do lightly. Doubly so, since these characters can be getting multiple free skill checks alongside that move action. This is more significant than you may realize.

C2: It is intended to be a pretty enticing ability, definitely. As you noted, though, the swift-->move abilities are all notable because a move action in Legend represents so much more than just moving. It means skill checks, Tactical Insight buffs, anything even vaguely potion-related (SLV vials, Combat Alchemist Brews, Sweet Springs, Master Healer draughts . . .), no-save offense from 3 out of 4 Elemental tracks, battlefield rearrangement from Just Blade . . . in contrast, this is movement. Nothing more, nothing less. It is good movement, useful movement, but it is only movement. Also, the first/last restriction is not meant to be crippling, but it is a consideration. I don't think that it is, in and of itself, overpowered; if you don't like it at C2, when would you be happy to see it?

C4: Hmm, I can see your point. I can see two quick and easy fixes for this. The first would be to swap the "never provoke" ability down to C4 and the "[Immunity] to [Binding]" up to C6. I was actually going off Acrobatic Adept as a balance point; I agree that +init is more valuable than ignoring difficult terrain, making the as-written C4 better than AA C4, but the degree doesn't seem overwhelming. With that in mind, maybe putting no AoOs at C4 is too good. I dunno. Brainstorming, as always.

The second option would be to split C4 into three choices. The first, Lead the Way, would stay as is. The second, Well-Oiled Machine, would be to give [Immunity] to [Binding] at C4 and the "never provoke" ability at C6. The third, which I'll just call "Init tricks" until I come up with a better name, would be a bonus to initiative at C4 (maybe KDM, maybe something else) and the "free movement when you roll initiative" at C6. If I go with that option, though, Well-Oiled Machine C6 becomes exactly equivalent to Acrobatic Adept C5, and I'm not sure what to throw in to justify the delay. Evasion, maybe? I was kind of hoping to stay away from Evasion (just to keep the track feeling different from all the kind of similar tracks out there), and getting a C5 ability + a C1/C2 ability as your C6 is, while probably not unbalanced, also not especially thrilling, when you consider that C6 is when a lot of the really unique abilities hit the field.

C7: If you compare someone with Esoterica Radica to someone with this track, by C4, the ER user's turn can consist of standard/move/swift/move four times per [Encounter], and by C7, the GUP user's turn can consist of standard/move/swift/move three times per [Encounter]. Furthermore, the ER user has more flexibility; they can take two swifts instead of two moves, they can burn through their uses of swift-->move to take three moves per turn, and they can keep taking extra swifts even after their swift-->move uses are burnt out. If anything, this is underpowered in comparison. Even someone with no tracks dedicated to it can get a similar turn structure twice per [Encounter] at level 10 for the cost of a feat and a relic (ESL + True Symbol). And this is a C7 ability. A feat and a relic aren't trivial, but it can still be done, and it's not like either ESL or TS are useless on their own.

Now yes, technically, someone with both two sources of extra swifts (ER and/or Professional Soldier and/or True Symbol) AND a source of swift-->move AND Grace Under Pressure can get one more action per turn than anyone else can, but that's an extreme case. And it's at C7. And it's limited in use. If anything, I view this as not entirely dissimilar to the C7 option of True Mage to get two spells as swift actions every [Encounter] without counting as a [Surge] effect. It's breaking a usual limit on action economy, but it's C7, it's limited, and it requires something separate to really take advantage of it.

Talking myself through it like this, I'm almost tempted to bump up the power on C7, though I'm not going to just yet. I agree that C4 could be tweaked, and I'm thinking about how to address it. Not sure about C2, honestly; I'm not convinced that it's overpowered as written, but I'm still open to being convinced.
I do verb now and again, but gerunding is my real passion.

Mystify

  • Sage
  • In Mithril Reborn
  • ****
  • Posts: 3117
  • Gender: Male
  • Scroll of Scribes Typo Hammer Magic 8-Ball Editor's Highlight Ballot Box Dungeon Delver Art Aficionado
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 03:22:33 PM »
C2: It is intended to be a pretty enticing ability, definitely. As you noted, though, the swift-->move abilities are all notable because a move action in Legend represents so much more than just moving. It means skill checks, Tactical Insight buffs, anything even vaguely potion-related (SLV vials, Combat Alchemist Brews, Sweet Springs, Master Healer draughts . . .), no-save offense from 3 out of 4 Elemental tracks, battlefield rearrangement from Just Blade . . . in contrast, this is movement. Nothing more, nothing less. It is good movement, useful movement, but it is only movement. Also, the first/last restriction is not meant to be crippling, but it is a consideration. I don't think that it is, in and of itself, overpowered; if you don't like it at C2, when would you be happy to see it?
But its not only move *actions* that are granted by swifts, there are plenty of cases where it is raw movement. And a lot of the time, even if you are using a swift for multiple move actions, one of them is being spent on movement anyways.
 compare this to utter brute 3rd. That is 10ft of movement for no action. This is an entire movement, which can easily be 100ft or more.

C4: Hmm, I can see your point. I can see two quick and easy fixes for this. The first would be to swap the "never provoke" ability down to C4 and the "[Immunity] to [Binding]" up to C6. I was actually going off Acrobatic Adept as a balance point; I agree that +init is more valuable than ignoring difficult terrain, making the as-written C4 better than AA C4, but the degree doesn't seem overwhelming. With that in mind, maybe putting no AoOs at C4 is too good. I dunno. Brainstorming, as always.
never provoking at 4 would be early, AA has it at 5th, and its really good.
the degree of that initiative boost IS overwhelming. As I said, it is nearly equal to level when you first get it. Other initiative boosts are half level, or less, with the exception of wildborn, which gets it at 5th level as the entire circle.
The second option would be to split C4 into three choices. The first, Lead the Way, would stay as is. The second, Well-Oiled Machine, would be to give [Immunity] to [Binding] at C4 and the "never provoke" ability at C6. The third, which I'll just call "Init tricks" until I come up with a better name, would be a bonus to initiative at C4 (maybe KDM, maybe something else) and the "free movement when you roll initiative" at C6. If I go with that option, though, Well-Oiled Machine C6 becomes exactly equivalent to Acrobatic Adept C5, and I'm not sure what to throw in to justify the delay. Evasion, maybe? I was kind of hoping to stay away from Evasion (just to keep the track feeling different from all the kind of similar tracks out there), and getting a C5 ability + a C1/C2 ability as your C6 is, while probably not unbalanced, also not especially thrilling, when you consider that C6 is when a lot of the really unique abilities hit the field.
this seems better
C7: If you compare someone with Esoterica Radica to someone with this track, by C4, the ER user's turn can consist of standard/move/swift/move four times per [Encounter], and by C7, the GUP user's turn can consist of standard/move/swift/move three times per [Encounter]. Furthermore, the ER user has more flexibility; they can take two swifts instead of two moves, they can burn through their uses of swift-->move to take three moves per turn, and they can keep taking extra swifts even after their swift-->move uses are burnt out. If anything, this is underpowered in comparison. Even someone with no tracks dedicated to it can get a similar turn structure twice per [Encounter] at level 10 for the cost of a feat and a relic (ESL + True Symbol). And this is a C7 ability. A feat and a relic aren't trivial, but it can still be done, and it's not like either ESL or TS are useless on their own.
This stacks with all of that. You have to consider how it interacts with everything else. An ability being in the system one time may be reasonable, but being able to stack it twice would not be. stacking all of that together, you can go from the existing baseline of 4 moves and 4 skill checks to 5 moves and 10 skill checks. That is the shift that deeply concerns me. Even if that doesn't comprimise anything currently, you have undermined basic system assumptions that future content may be balanced around. This is doubly concerning for homebrew as future development won't take it into account, so it becomes more likely to develop into an issue.

My extensive collection of homebrew
As always, Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly

Zaq

  • Elite
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2013, 12:44:16 AM »
I split C4/C6 into three paths. I think the wording is a little ugly in some places, but I feel like the concepts are decent.

First, I've left Lead the Way as it was originally, since it seems okay.

Second, I turned Well-Oiled Machine into [Immunity] to [Binding] at C4, and at C6, I gave it a combination of AoO resistance and of functionally separating swift actions and immediate actions. (The intent is that you should be able to use a swift without interfering with your ability to use an immediate, and vice versa, though it doesn't directly give you more of either, nor does it mess with the system-coded cap of 3 per [Round].) I decided to simply make it a nice fat bonus to AC against AoOs instead of making it outright immunity; this will be near immunity if you take the Poised option at C1 (since they stack), though it'll still be useful on its own. Note, of course, that C1 only applies against movement-based AoOs, while C6 applies against everything.

Finally, I added a new path, Action Before Thought, which is where I put the initiative shenanigans. I feel like giving a double roll is a good way to raise the average result (and provide some insulation against one bad roll ruining everything) without simply adding more numbers. The part about Awareness is just opening up a new way of investing in initiative; it would take hard work to get your whole character level specifically in boosts to Awareness, but if it were to happen, the cap is there to keep things sane. In contrast, Wildborn C5 gives your character level straight out; it comes a circle later, but it doesn't require any external investment. Sure, they stack, but for as much investment as it would take to max out both? That character deserves to go first.

I still don't see C2 as being a problem, so I've left it as is. The point of the track is to make movement easy and to allow you to not have to worry much about positioning when deciding how to divvy up your actions. Getting some free movement once per [Encounter] is a way of doing that. If a character wants to combine this with other sources of movement, that's their choice, and their investment in this track should matter. But this track also gives a character the option of not having to worry about finding the chance to move, letting them spend their move actions and/or swift actions on abilities that have nothing to do with changing your position on the battle grid.

For C7, I still don't feel like the extreme case is worth the concern. A character would have to devote either three tracks or two tracks and one item to have this start rubbing up against the action limit, and by C7, I can't see what such a character would be doing that they wouldn't deserve to do with that much investment. I really can't see a time when four move actions would be A-OK, but five move actions would send things straight to hell, skill checks or no skill checks. Even if later material is added, again, I can't envision any ability that would be a problem with five but wouldn't be a problem with four. If a character with way too many move actions is going to break an ability, they're going to break it well before we reach the most extreme case enabled by this track.

Besides, C7 abilities challenge system limits all the time. You usually can't take two attack actions per [Round], but Battle's Tempering lets you do so without even taking an action (sure, you can't directly trigger it, but still, it's functionally an extra standard action). The [Surge] rules make it hard for you to get more than one extra spell on the field per [Round], but C7 of True Mage can let you get as many as three extra spells out in a single [Round] (one [Surge] from whatever source, then two non-[Surge] as swifts); this can combine with C6 of Incantation to get another spell out with flagrant disregard for the assumptions laid out by the [Surge] rules being what they are.

My point is that I am not especially concerned with what might happen when a C7 ability is pushed to an extreme case, and I don't believe that this track's C7 ability is strong enough to warrant much worry, even with the extreme case in place. Out of curiosity, how would you feel if I had a clause like "even if you get additional move actions from another source, you may not take more than four move actions per [Round]"?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 04:03:05 AM by Zaq »
I do verb now and again, but gerunding is my real passion.

Mystify

  • Sage
  • In Mithril Reborn
  • ****
  • Posts: 3117
  • Gender: Male
  • Scroll of Scribes Typo Hammer Magic 8-Ball Editor's Highlight Ballot Box Dungeon Delver Art Aficionado
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2013, 11:26:39 AM »
I still don't see C2 as being a problem, so I've left it as is. The point of the track is to make movement easy and to allow you to not have to worry much about positioning when deciding how to divvy up your actions. Getting some free movement once per [Encounter] is a way of doing that. If a character wants to combine this with other sources of movement, that's their choice, and their investment in this track should matter. But this track also gives a character the option of not having to worry about finding the chance to move, letting them spend their move actions and/or swift actions on abilities that have nothing to do with changing your position on the battle grid.
ER 3: swift -> move action
ER 5: immediate -> movement
ninja5: immediate -> movement
crane 6: swift->move action
air elemental 5: swift action->movement
water elemental 4: swift or move -> [Close] range movement
exit stage left: swift -> move action

utter brute 3: 10ft of free movement
swash 4: 10ft free conditional movement
poet 3: 10ft free movement for KOM hp reduction

This should speak for itself.

For C7, I still don't feel like the extreme case is worth the concern. A character would have to devote either three tracks or two tracks and one item to have this start rubbing up against the action limit, and by C7, I can't see what such a character would be doing that they wouldn't deserve to do with that much investment. I really can't see a time when four move actions would be A-OK, but five move actions would send things straight to hell, skill checks or no skill checks. Even if later material is added, again, I can't envision any ability that would be a problem with five but wouldn't be a problem with four. If a character with way too many move actions is going to break an ability, they're going to break it well before we reach the most extreme case enabled by this track.
The extreme case is ALWAYS the concern. That is where the system can be broken. That is where all the assumptions of balance can be turned on their head. Doubly so when you are dealing with action economy. And just because you can't see how it is abuseable, doesn't mean its not. I have builds that use all of their swift and move action boosting up their attacks. Another move action would be another boost, which raises their output even higher, and that will push the threshold of "I can one-shot these guys" from "squishy enemies" to "Typical enemies", which is a very dangerous threshold to cross.
As one example,  reign of arrows, by itself, can be using a move and two swifts to boost itself. Add in a spellstoring weapon, and that is 3 swifts and a move. Adding in another move would let them access yet another layer of buffs. It doesn't even care that much about the encounter limit, as the move action boost is limited per encounter anyways. I don't have  every time its happened off the top of my head, but maxing out my action economy on damage boosts is fairly easy to do, and it is a real and important limit in the system.
Besides, C7 abilities challenge system limits all the time. You usually can't take two attack actions per [Round], but Battle's Tempering lets you do so without even taking an action (sure, you can't directly trigger it, but still, it's functionally an extra standard action). The [Surge] rules make it hard for you to get more than one extra spell on the field per [Round], but C7 of True Mage can let you get as many as three extra spells out in a single [Round] (one [Surge] from whatever source, then two non-[Surge] as swifts); this can combine with C6 of Incantation to get another spell out with flagrant disregard for the assumptions laid out by the [Surge] rules being what they are.
There is a difference between "new tier of abilities" and "violate base system assumptions". That True mage lets you bend things that far makes me  say that True Mage needs fixed, not that its OK to do. They went through and added [Surge] to prevent that type of shenanigans, just because they missed some combinations doesn't mean that is how its supposed to work. Being at c7 doesn't make it any better, it just means that everything you can do to exploit that is available.
My point is that I am not especially concerned with what might happen when a C7 ability is pushed to an extreme case, and I don't believe that this track's C7 ability is strong enough to warrant much worry, even with the extreme case in place. Out of curiosity, how would you feel if I had a clause like "even if you get additional move actions from another source, you may not take more than four move actions per [Round]"?
That just means they use a swift as a swift, it doesn't change the basic breaking of the action economy.
My extensive collection of homebrew
As always, Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly

Zaq

  • Elite
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2013, 07:56:05 PM »
I'll try to think of a way to change C7 that still fits my original idea for the track. I still don't see it as a problem when considering that it's very far from the only way to get extra move actions, but I don't think our discussion is actually going to move at this point, since I think we understand each others' arguments, but neither of us is convinced. I'll try to think of something, but I'll leave it as it is for now.

Regarding C2, though . . .

I still don't see C2 as being a problem, so I've left it as is. The point of the track is to make movement easy and to allow you to not have to worry much about positioning when deciding how to divvy up your actions. Getting some free movement once per [Encounter] is a way of doing that. If a character wants to combine this with other sources of movement, that's their choice, and their investment in this track should matter. But this track also gives a character the option of not having to worry about finding the chance to move, letting them spend their move actions and/or swift actions on abilities that have nothing to do with changing your position on the battle grid.
ER 3: swift -> move action
ER 5: immediate -> movement
ninja5: immediate -> movement
crane 6: swift->move action
air elemental 5: swift action->movement
water elemental 4: swift or move -> [Close] range movement
exit stage left: swift -> move action

utter brute 3: 10ft of free movement
swash 4: 10ft free conditional movement
poet 3: 10ft free movement for KOM hp reduction

This should speak for itself.

It does not, actually. I don't understand what your objection to C2 is. To go through your list:

ER C3: Happens 2-6 times per [Enc], and can be used to activate skills or other abilities. If anything, GUP C2 is underpowered in comparison.
ER C5: An immediate to get you out of harm's way is hardly the same thing as a free action to take the pressure off of your approach. Also, twice per [Enc]. They serve fundamentally different goals.
Ninja C5: See ER C5, only 3-5 times instead of twice per [Enc].
Crane C6: See ER C3, since it's the exact same ability.
Air Elemental C5: Of the abilities listed so far, this is the closest to being comparable, since it's on-turn and can only be used for movement. That said, it's still twice per [Enc] instead of once, it doesn't provoke AoOs (GUP may have anti-AoO abilities, but they aren't mandatory, and C2 still provokes), and most importantly, it's a way of inflicting unresistable action denial that doesn't have much of an equivalent anywhere else in the system.
Water Elemental C4: At will, every round, and with more freedom. (It also becomes a free action at C7, horror of horrors!) It's actually pretty comparable in that the intent seems to be to let you use your swift action and/or move action without having to worry about taking a separate action to position yourself, so I don't see why this is a problem. GUP C2 may or may not give you more room to move (move speeds often end up bigger than Close range, but not always), but it's limited in use, and doesn't let you ignore AoOs and obstacles. Seems appropriate for a C2 vs. C4 with a fundamentally similar purpose.
Exit, Stage Left: See ER C3.

Utter Brute C3: Not even close to the same thing. GUP C2 is meant as a way of making your first turn (or some later turn, but I guess that's less common) have better action economy. UB C3 is about slow and--much more importantly--unstoppable movement. 10 ft per round, every single round, no matter what the enemy does to you, is not even approaching the same problem as letting you surge into place early and, presumably, stick around a while.
SB C4: Again, not really comparable. It's not entirely dissimilar, in that SB C4 lets you activate one of your Once More! attacks without tying up your move or swift (which you then presumably want to use on activating OM! at least an additional time), and GUP C2 lets you get into attacking range without tying up your move or swift (which you then presumably want to use on something else), but the scale is totally different. SB C4 is at-will, it presumes you're already in attacking range, and it's specifically designed to work with Once More!. GUP C2 is limited to once per [Enc], presumes you're NOT already close to the range you're aiming for, and makes no particular assumptions about who is using it. Tangentially related problems, but totally different approaches for the solution.
Poet C3: Probably the least comparable yet. Poet C3 works on you, or on your friend, or (more importantly) on your enemy, as part of activating the most action-efficient healing in the game. GUP C2 doesn't let you clump your foes up into the perfect formation to blast them all, or get your ally away from a threatening situation (well, GUP C4 MIGHT do that, but . . .), or make sure that your melee beatstick isn't in the spot that's going to be hit by that incoming fireball, be it your Shaman's or the enemy Shaman's. Not even close to the same thing.

I just don't see what the objection is. The point of the track is to increase mobility without directly increasing your move speed, and to increase your action economy without directly giving you extra actions (until C7, but let's not get into that right now). The intent of C2 is to let you freely spend whatever action you'd usually use for positioning (usually, but not always, on turn 1) on something else, whatever that may be. Yes, it increases your action economy. That is, explicitly, the point. In some ways, it's just taking the randomness out of turn 1; an encounter that starts with Team Monster up in your grill might be good for the melee Combat Alchemist who can then slap on a poison without having to get into position, but bad for the Reign of Arrows user who now wants to get out of harm's way before applying his move-action buffs. But if the same encounter starts in a bigger room or at a greater distance, the opposite occurs; the Alchemist is sad, and the archer is happy. Investing a track in GUP lets you have some control over this. You get a free dose of positioning right away, if you need it, so your actions are your own, and not necessarily dictated by the map. It doesn't mean that you never have to walk again, it doesn't mean that you can spend extra swifts, it doesn't mean that you can outrun Sonic the Hedgehog round after round, but it does mean that you aren't going to be totally thrown off balance by an unexpected map setup. The battle may shift, new challengers may appear, you may need to suddenly retreat; you're not going to just get an extra move action every turn from this. But you get a turn where you don't have to worry about positioning when determining what your actions are going to be.

I really, really don't see why a single instance of movement once per encounter is such an issue. What would you change?
I do verb now and again, but gerunding is my real passion.

Mystify

  • Sage
  • In Mithril Reborn
  • ****
  • Posts: 3117
  • Gender: Male
  • Scroll of Scribes Typo Hammer Magic 8-Ball Editor's Highlight Ballot Box Dungeon Delver Art Aficionado
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2013, 08:08:45 PM »
The intent of C2 is to let you freely spend whatever action you'd usually use for positioning (usually, but not always, on turn 1) on something else, whatever that may be.

Yes, it increases your action economy. That is, explicitly, the point. In some ways, it's just taking the randomness out of turn 1; an encounter that starts with Team Monster up in your grill might be good for the melee Combat Alchemist who can then slap on a poison without having to get into position, but bad for the Reign of Arrows user who now wants to get out of harm's way before applying his move-action buffs. But if the same encounter starts in a bigger room or at a greater distance, the opposite occurs; the Alchemist is sad, and the archer is happy. Investing a track in GUP lets you have some control over this. You get a free dose of positioning right away, if you need it, so your actions are your own, and not necessarily dictated by the map. It doesn't mean that you never have to walk again, it doesn't mean that you can spend extra swifts, it doesn't mean that you can outrun Sonic the Hedgehog round after round, but it does mean that you aren't going to be totally thrown off balance by an unexpected map setup. The battle may shift, new challengers may appear, you may need to suddenly retreat; you're not going to just get an extra move action every turn from this. But you get a turn where you don't have to worry about positioning when determining what your actions are going to be.

I really, really don't see why a single instance of movement once per encounter is such an issue. What would you change?
give it an action cost like every other ability in the game that grants movement. everything that is free is a very short distance. That is my point, Legend has been extremely consistent in that moving your speed takes an action, be it you standard to run, your normal move action, a swift ability to get a move action, or an immediate action to move. This remains constant, be it a feat, or a circle, of any level, whether or not there are secondary effects of the ability, regardless of how many uses you get. Recon is designed for tactical positioning at the start of an encounter, and it is giving out 5ft steps to do so, not 100ft of movement.

Action economy is king in d20 games, messing with it is extremely potent. You use this with a fast character, and you are 100 ft away without expending any effort. Movement can have profound tactical import. Giving better action economy, at all, is something you have to be very careful with. Legend has established some bounds on what is acceptable to manipulate.

Give it an action cost. How about letting you move your speed as an immediate action when you roll initiative, even if you are flat footed.
My extensive collection of homebrew
As always, Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly

Zaq

  • Elite
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2013, 12:03:56 AM »
An action cost would necessarily make it worse than (or at least no better than) Exit, Stage Left or ER C3, and I'm trying to address a similar issue in a different way. (When I make a character with ESL or who specifically likes ER C3, it's almost never because I'm worried about needing to move twice; it's almost always because I have multiple abilities that take a move action, and I want to make sure that I can use them as the need arises.) An immediate action when you roll initiative wouldn't actually make sense, since you can't take a different immediate until your turn comes up and you're no longer [Flat-footed] anyway (Battle's Tempering C3 notwithstanding), and then your turn's up and everything's reset. The entire point is that you get positioning--once per [Enc], I will remind you--without getting an unrestricted action that you can just spend on whatever you like. It clears up your existing action, but if you don't need to move right now, it doesn't let you load up on extra moves or extra swifts. I was specifically trying to avoid a situation like ER, where you CAN use your extra actions to move, or you can just hoard extra actions and blow them all on abilities that weren't necessarily expecting it. As I stated, outside of C7 (which is probably changing), the track isn't meant to give you more raw actions. It's meant to give you action economy without just saying "eh, have some free swifts"--and of course, "eh, have some free swifts" already exists in the core rulebook in three different places, so it's not like anything that goes outside "one move, one swift, one standard, FIN" is Things Man Was Not Meant To Play With.

Compare it to Fortune's Friend C1. That also gives you an extra move action (full move action, mind you, so you can make a Stealth check, or drink the Disappearing Draught in your hand, or otherwise cover your butt while you bugger off) once per [Enc], no action cost required. GUP C2 has more immediate utility in that you can choose to use it proactively, but FF C1 is explicitly able to save your bacon from a splattery end, automatically keeping you upright when you really shouldn't be. (I think that's fair, given that GUP is a utility/support track that isn't especially defensive, and FF is explicitly defensive in nature.) Between that and the circle difference, there's enough tradeoff to say that they at least begin to be comparable, no? FF C1 won't trigger on turn 1 (unless something is very wrong), but GUP C2 won't keep your HP unnaturally positive and get you to safety in the middle of the Tarrasque's attack action. But they both give you your speed worth of movement with no action cost, once per [Enc], at a low circle.

If it had to have an action cost, the closest comparable thing I can think of that actually fits the intent is Fire Elemental C4, which lets you reposition yourself (in a very specific way, mind you) "once per move action you take." So you can take a move action to prep an SLV vial or trigger Healing Burst or throw a Flame Kiss or whatever, but you still get to reposition yourself. You can also zap to the burning thing over there and just walk away, but the point is, if you want to reposition yourself without spending an action on it, Fire Elemental C4 lets you do it at will. It's not even limited per [Round]; if you have ER C3 or ESL or whatever, it works as often as you want it to. It does have some limitations as to where you can end up, but it also doesn't provoke, and the circle has other benefits. In contrast, GUP C2 is limited to once per [Encounter], but it's freer with where you end up, and it has no side benefits. In either case, you're getting to reposition even if you spend your swift and your move picking your nose (with one finger for the swift and two fingers for the move, naturally). Water Elemental C4 is not entirely dissimilar; in that case, you can still spend your move action on Mist Aura (which, presumably, you were going to do anyway), but you get to reposition yourself at the same time for no extra cost. Compared to Fire Elemental, Water Elemental has far fewer restrictions on where you end up, but it has a much greater restriction on what your actions must be spent on (before C7). GUP, in contrast, is not built with any specific actions in mind; it's not meant to presume what you're going to be spending your move action doing, but it gives you the freedom to spend it not moving. To make up for this, it's only 1/[Enc], and it still provokes as usual.

I did take existing abilities into consideration when writing this track. My aim was to copy as few existing abilities as possible, but to still have abilities in keeping with what already exists. You convinced me that C4 needed work to fit what already existed, and I'm still trying to think if I can concoct a C7 that addresses your objections while keeping with how I think the track should go, but I just don't agree with your objections to C2.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 12:06:19 AM by Zaq »
I do verb now and again, but gerunding is my real passion.

Mystify

  • Sage
  • In Mithril Reborn
  • ****
  • Posts: 3117
  • Gender: Male
  • Scroll of Scribes Typo Hammer Magic 8-Ball Editor's Highlight Ballot Box Dungeon Delver Art Aficionado
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Track: Grace Under Pressure
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 01:44:25 AM »
An action cost would necessarily make it worse than (or at least no better than) Exit, Stage Left or ER C3
It should be worse than ER c3. This is a second circle ability, and ER is a very powerful track.
, and I'm trying to address a similar issue in a different way. (When I make a character with ESL or who specifically likes ER C3, it's almost never because I'm worried about needing to move twice; it's almost always because I have multiple abilities that take a move action, and I want to make sure that I can use them as the need arises.) An immediate action when you roll initiative wouldn't actually make sense, since you can't take a different immediate until your turn comes up and you're no longer [Flat-footed] anyway (Battle's Tempering C3 notwithstanding), and then your turn's up and everything's reset.
Its kinda an ambiguous spot in the rules, but since you don't have a previous turn, you would have to use the swift from your next turn to power the immediate. Hence, it is spending a swift on your first turn, but you get to do it before anyone else moves. That is quite useful. you can seperate from the group to avoid AoEs, leap behind a wall, if you have battle's tempering you can position yourself to AoO opponents, dart out to longer range increments, invoke wake, etc

The entire point is that you get positioning--once per [Enc], I will remind you--without getting an unrestricted action that you can just spend on whatever you like. It clears up your existing action, but if you don't need to move right now, it doesn't let you load up on extra moves or extra swifts. I was specifically trying to avoid a situation like ER, where you CAN use your extra actions to move, or you can just hoard extra actions and blow them all on abilities that weren't necessarily expecting it. As I stated, outside of C7 (which is probably changing), the track isn't meant to give you more raw actions. It's meant to give you action economy without just saying "eh, have some free swifts"--and of course, "eh, have some free swifts" already exists in the core rulebook in three different places, so it's not like anything that goes outside "one move, one swift, one standard, FIN" is Things Man Was Not Meant To Play With.
Again, Legend does allow action economy manipulation, but it already pushes it as far as it should go- perhaps further in some places. Pushing it beyond that is a bad idea.

Compare it to Fortune's Friend C1. That also gives you an extra move action (full move action, mind you, so you can make a Stealth check, or drink the Disappearing Draught in your hand, or otherwise cover your butt while you bugger off) once per [Enc], no action cost required. GUP C2 has more immediate utility in that you can choose to use it proactively, but FF C1 is explicitly able to save your bacon from a splattery end, automatically keeping you upright when you really shouldn't be. (I think that's fair, given that GUP is a utility/support track that isn't especially defensive, and FF is explicitly defensive in nature.) Between that and the circle difference, there's enough tradeoff to say that they at least begin to be comparable, no? FF C1 won't trigger on turn 1 (unless something is very wrong), but GUP C2 won't keep your HP unnaturally positive and get you to safety in the middle of the Tarrasque's attack action. But they both give you your speed worth of movement with no action cost, once per [Enc], at a low circle.

When the FF ability activates, you are on the verge of defeat. It is not longer gaining a tactical advantage, it is grabbing a momentary respite before you get killed. the movent serves to prevent you  from just being stabbed and killed with the next iterative, which would negate the ability, and it occurs too late for you to leverage the movement any further. you are left on the edge of defeat.
If it had to have an action cost, the closest comparable thing I can think of that actually fits the intent is Fire Elemental C4, which lets you reposition yourself (in a very specific way, mind you) "once per move action you take." So you can take a move action to prep an SLV vial or trigger Healing Burst or throw a Flame Kiss or whatever, but you still get to reposition yourself. You can also zap to the burning thing over there and just walk away, but the point is, if you want to reposition yourself without spending an action on it, Fire Elemental C4 lets you do it at will. It's not even limited per [Round]; if you have ER C3 or ESL or whatever, it works as often as you want it to. It does have some limitations as to where you can end up, but it also doesn't provoke, and the circle has other benefits.
It has limits on  both distance and destination that make it far inferior to normal movement, and its a 4th circle. Half of it, but the important half.

In contrast, GUP C2 is limited to once per [Encounter], but it's freer with where you end up, and it has no side benefits. In either case, you're getting to reposition even if you spend your swift and your move picking your nose (with one finger for the swift and two fingers for the move, naturally). Water Elemental C4 is not entirely dissimilar; in that case, you can still spend your move action on Mist Aura (which, presumably, you were going to do anyway), but you get to reposition yourself at the same time for no extra cost.
That is also very limited compared to a full movement.
Compared to Fire Elemental, Water Elemental has far fewer restrictions on where you end up, but it has a much greater restriction on what your actions must be spent on (before C7). GUP, in contrast, is not built with any specific actions in mind; it's not meant to presume what you're going to be spending your move action doing, but it gives you the freedom to spend it not moving. To make up for this, it's only 1/[Enc], and it still provokes as usual.

I did take existing abilities into consideration when writing this track. My aim was to copy as few existing abilities as possible, but to still have abilities in keeping with what already exists. You convinced me that C4 needed work to fit what already existed, and I'm still trying to think if I can concoct a C7 that addresses your objections while keeping with how I think the track should go, but I just don't agree with your objections to C2.
make it not a full movement, for starters. a full movement can be a ton of distance. Twice as much if you used turbo this round. full, actual movement can be augmented in a dozen ways and can trigger a dozen other abilities. This has nothing to limit any of that.
My extensive collection of homebrew
As always, Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly