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Improved Mastery Benefits

 
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welknair
Genin


Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:09 am    Post subject: Improved Mastery Benefits Reply with quote

While researching how technique mastery works, I dug up an old thread about possibly tweaking how it works. I didn't want to raise that thread from the dead, so I'll post my suggestion here-

Design problem: Mastery tends to not be worth it for techniques that do not give specific bonuses for achieving certain mastery levels. As-is the benefits for most techniques are bonus on Perform checks (only useful if the technique is on the boundary of your capabilities, as you reach Threshhold for most of your techniques), bonus on saves against that technique (Tends to be pretty situational, but nice), and bonus on effective character level for the technique. Most techniques don't have effects that scale off of character level, favoring instead scaling off of additional chakra put in, with the primary exception of range. In most cases though, it isn't worth it to spend the training time to increase the range of a technique by 5ft.

I think we need to start with what "Mastery" represents in-character. In my mind, when I imagine a character Mastering a technique, that individual has gained greater ease with it - Their chakra naturally and efficiently flows into those shapes from long hours of practice and use. If I've used a technique tons, I'd like to be able to make it a go-to option, which first of all would seem to indicate at least a slightly decreased cost. The complete knowledge of the motions involved would also seem to indicate something like a bonus on Concentration checks to maintain the technique, as you're so well trained in the motions.

My proposal for additional benefits:

1st: +1 on Concentration checks to avoid technique interruption, base chakra cost decreases by 1 (to a minimum 1 or one half original base cost, whichever is higher)
2nd: +2 on Concentration checks to avoid technique interruption
3rd: +3 on Concentration checks to avoid technique interruption, base chakra cost decreases by 2 (to a minimum 1 or one half original base cost, whichever is higher)
4th: +4 on Concentration checks to avoid technique interruption
5th: +5 on Concentration checks to avoid technique interruption, base chakra cost decreases by 3 (to a minimum 1 or one half original base cost, whichever is higher)

These benefits alone would greatly encourage players to spend the time to Master their favorite techniques without making Mastery necessary for a technique to be effective (as would be the case for DC scaling on Mastery).


Comments and meta-suggestions very much welcome!
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Dairius_Chi
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Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 2633

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They increase your effective level which modifies your maximum damage (being able to deal 13d6 on a mastered technique at level 8 is pretty huge), range, and duration... chakra is already a resource that can easily get sent into insane amounts later on if you know what you're doing, and static decreases in cost would get out of hand for a lot of techniques that are already relatively cheap.

Mastery is not something you need across the board, some people only get what they have to to qualify for higher ranked techniques, others master damaging moves for cheap sources of high damage at low levels...

A bonus on concentration doesn't seem too out there, but really if you're using techniques in peoples' faces chances are you have the concentration skill and are maxing it like any sane caster would in DND, so it's not much of a necessity. I could see a house rule where you receive an equal bonus on concentration equal to the bonus to meet perform requirements, so +1-6 pending steps of mastery... just a personal quirk.

Another option that I've seen at times is adapting the Pathfinder Concentration system, where concentration was dropped as a skill and your modifier becomes Caster Level(level with mastery bonus, for Nd20) + relevant modifier(Int for Nin, Wis for CC, Cha for Gen, etc)... if that helps at your table.
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welknair
Genin


Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woops, I totally forgot to address those. From among those, the increase to max damage is by far the most substantial IMO. Increased range and duration both tend to be quite situational (What are the odds that that last 5ft of reach makes the difference, or that you needed just that last minute?). They're nice, but not universally useful. While increasing max damage is a significant benefit, it obviously is only helpful on damage-dealing techniques, and for individuals looking to deal max damage with a technique's use (Instead of spacing out of their resources to avoid unfortunate Kawarimi's). In my opinion, Mastery benefits ought to be such they are useful in all cases for all techniques, in order to incentivize players to Master their favorite techniques or the techniques they use most often, not just the ones that currently benefit the most from said Mastery.

Even with insane amounts of Chakra, spending LESS is still always nice. ALWAYS nice. It might be negligible to the point that some upper-level players never bother to Master things for that reason, but it is still a tangible benefit 100% of the times that the technique is used. The setup I proposed could be tweaked if it makes some things TOO cheap (That was the purpose of the original limitation on not being able to more than halve the cost of a technique). Perhaps only reductions at 2nd and 4th step of mastery, if that's better. Given the cost of most techniques though, I don't think the 1/2/3 max one half reduction in cost is too extreme. For lower level techniques you can't make a cost complete negligible, while upper-level techniques have large enough costs that the reduction would just be gravy, not substantially decreasing the cost (Especially if you're pumping in an extra dozen Chakra for max effect).

As for Concentration checks, due to the way those checks are set up, a further bonus is always appreciated, as unless you're ridiculously high level using a super low level technique, there's still generally at least a 20% chance of failure, which that bonus would help you overcome to use a single technique very reliably.

I suppose what it boils down to is that my concept of what Mastery ought to be is different from yours- If I'm not mistaken (Please correct me if I am), the purpose of the Mastery system is to allow some upper-level effects to not be assigned their own techniques (By being Mastery bonuses for a single technique) and to allow low-level players to have more max damage capacity. I believe Mastery ought to be something players pick up for the techniques they use the most often, that they view as their signature moves, their go-to-techniques, and as such should be able to use them more often and more reliably, albeit at the expense of extensive training. Based on the training times alone, even with my modified system players won't go around Mastering every technique they have - You may see a lot more players getting the first level of Mastery though for that 1 Chakra cost reduction in their primary arsenal - but in general it'd just be extra flavor so a player can say "This is something I'm /really/ good at."

I don't know what Frankto's original design goal for the Mastery system's benefits was, so perhaps my view is totally off of what he intended. Just my two cents.
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Dairius_Chi
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Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 2633

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mastery is what Mastery is, it makes you more proficient with some techniques, qualifies you for learning upgraded versions of others, and generally gives a feel of "I'm better at this than that guy."

Not all techniques benefit and that's just something to expect and deal with...

The main issue for adding more to it is Frankto has always said 'never doubt the power of a +1 bonus' or any kind of stacking benefits. Decreasing the cost of techniques and being able to do it further with something like the Efficient Technique Feat just opens the door to too many possible exploits or breaks, and writing up a list of what instances it shouldn't work in is just more of a hassle than building up the system itself.

You think 1 extra round or 5 extra feet doesn't matter, but when it does you'll be glad for it. Think of a fully mastered technique- you could as 5 levels higher, that's usually 5 rounds/minutes/hours for the duration... when you consider a max level in some games of 20 that is a 25% increase in duration at your peak... for free, a feat that uses expendable resources would increase it by 50% for chakra and a Meta-Chakra Charge which could be better appropriated.

For distance, sure on a close-ranged technique that's only 10-15ft depending on your base level, but when you consider the range is 10+5/2lvls that... is not a small increase. Again, at 20th level the range would be 60ft, 70ft if mastered, that's a ~16% increase... again for free. The bonuses get even higher for the longer range techniques.

As for Concentration, personally if you fully mastered a signature technique that tells me it is already a lower-leveled one you've been using for a long time... if it was the highest rank you can learn chances are you haven't really had it long enough to call it an integral part of the character, and just dumped a lot of training time into it.

Further, I'd say that you really shouldn't be able to use your strongest techniques in someone's face without some chance of failure... I mean, take a 5ft step, invest into some quick movement techniques like a Swift Action teleport, or tumble because that's a thing and in PF the DC is a flat 15 to get to safety... lot easier to manage some Tumble ranks to match DC 15 than a scaling Concentration check.
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Reznor
Kage


Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Playing with the DC variant helps alot.

10+1/2 level+Ability Mod+Complexity bonus

E = +0
D = +1
C = +2
B = +3
A = +4
S = +5

The mastery level then affects effective level and therefore DC
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Dairius_Chi
Situationally Useful


Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 2633

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only downside being Frankto said he was planning to re-evaluate like 90% of the technique ranks if using that, likely lowering most of them... so it's speculation on how to handle that ourselves.

Still, having used such a variant in a Bleach d20(Nd20 based) game a friend of mine ran, I can say it was quite effective at keeping even the low-ranking Kidou(techniques) useful for quite some time.
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Reznor
Kage


Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure that anything that lasts until next update will last quite a while.
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