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 Mid-day Karma rituals

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Shaalwyd



Posts : 70
Join date : 2017-09-29

PostSubject: Mid-day Karma rituals   Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:48 pm

The problem that sparked debate: Some characters are stopping midway through their adventuring day to perform a Karma Ritual. This effectively allows them to use two days' worth of Karma on a single day, which has struck the GMs as
a) Unbalancing
b) Meta-gaming (using player knowledge rather than character knowledge)
c) Not in-keeping with Rules as Intended
d) Really annoying

The proposed solution: That a given character's Karma Ritual should happen at a specific time of day, either shortly after waking or before going to bed, ensuring a roughly 24-hour spacing between Karma rituals.

I have attempted to write an impartial summary of all the arguments that have been made on the Discord channel, both for and against this proposal, and I am happy to post it if it seems like that would be useful. I recognise that I am not impartial on this topic, however, and I do not wish to misrepresent anyone's position.
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chrisddickey



Posts : 76
Join date : 2017-09-29

PostSubject: Re: Mid-day Karma rituals   Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:37 pm

I personally do not see that it is Meta-gaming. The characters know about karma and know how much they have and how to get more. It is no more Meta-gaming to say "I want to do a karma ritual" than it is to say "I want to camp here until we heal".

I also respectfully disagree that it is unbalancing or not in-keeping with with the Rules as intended. I had always believed karma was a resource for the players to manage just like health is. I am not 100% certain, but I think 1st and/or 2nd edition specifically might have had rules that karma rituals could only be done in the morning. But I have seen nothing to indicate that most disciplines standard karma rituals can only be done in the morning.

As for the "Really Annoying" argument, Running out of karma is really annoying. What specifically is annoying about characters being able to do karma rituals?

In my opinion, the standard karma rituals already have enough arbitrary restrictions upon them. I don't see that universally adding another one is necessary or desirable.
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Shaalwyd



Posts : 70
Join date : 2017-09-29

PostSubject: Re: Mid-day Karma rituals   Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:05 pm

Let me take these one at a time.

1) Unbalancing. The system is balanced so that characters have access to a certain amount of Karma per day, just like they have access to a certain number of recovery tests per day. It is supposed to be a limited resource, especially at lower levels; you are not supposed to spend it on every roll you possibly can.

Adventuring for half a day, doing a karma ritual, and then continuing to adventure effectively doubles the amount of karma you have available to spend. Encounters are easier when you have karma to spend than when you don't, but making things more challenging to compensate for mid-day karma rituals is a problem because you do not have two days' worth of recovery tests in the same space of time you're spending two days' worth of karma.

2) Meta-gaming. The only reason this comes up as a problem is because of the episodic nature of the Westmarches adventuring style. If we were playing in a traditional campaign, we would have the time to make travel appropriately dramatic. Multiple sessions could be spent just travelling to an objective, because Barsaive is a wonderous and dangerous place. The restriction of getting to the objective, completing it, and returning in one session - four encounters, including social encounters - means that it is simply not possible to do this.

While mechanically, no Karma is spent during the travelling time glossed over, this does not reflect the the dangers of travel in Barsaive. Realistically, the characters should have reasons to spend Karma every day, which gives two equally realistic options: assume that they always do their Karma rituals first thing in the morning or last thing at night, which is why they start today with full Karma, or have them start the day with less than full Karma to reflect what was spent the previous day.

3) Not in keeping with Rules as Intended. Karma points, like recovery tests, are a per day resource. It is no more appropriate to spend two days' worth of karma in one day than it would be to regain all your recovery tests at noon and continue adventuring. If you want the resources of a new day, you should rest until the next day. If you are not able to rest until the next day for some reason, you should not be able to access the next day's resources.

4) Really annoying. It is not my intention to make an appeal to emotion here. All three GMs being really annoyed by this is not, of itself, a reason to do or not do anything. Nor is attempting to tease out the logic of why we find it so annoying likely to be helpful, because it is an emotional response rather than a logical one. I note it because I want to be transparent about the fact that emotions are in play here. For me, the chain of thought goes: "Emotional Response ----> Analysis ----> Reasons!" rather than "Reasons ----> Emotional Response".

The only degree to which this should influence the debate at all is the recognition that GM burnout is a real thing. One of the ways we moderate burnout is by trying to maintain a sane pace (*coughcough*); another is by attempting to minimise the things that personally irritate us whenever it is viable to do so. For example, if the way poison works in this game bugs the crap out of a GM, they don't put venomous creatures in their adventures. This, however, is not one that GMs can choose to opt out of, except by deliberately pacing the adventure so that there is only one encounter a day... which is actually very hard to make work, story-wise.
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GMPurplefixer



Posts : 117
Join date : 2017-09-28

PostSubject: Re: Mid-day Karma rituals   Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:18 pm

1. Being allowed to burn through your entire set of karma and refill it isn't a limitation, it's a bonus.  Races are built with the idea that one will have more than another, and thus balance out a consistently higher step in other attributes. Allowing mid-day karma rituals defeats this position of balance.

2. Preparing an ambush in every scenario to 'deal with midday karma rituals' is shitty, and feels shitty, and shouldn't be done.  It's the height of antagonistic GMing. It's literally tailoring towards weaknesses, which is what they teach you not to do in GMing 101. (Aside: This is a good book, and you should read it.)

3. We can design our own karma rituals.  This should not be an excuse or an encouragement to design karma rituals to game the system. Rather there should be no system to game.  You either do your Karma ritual at the start of camp, or you do your karma ritual at the start of the day when you leave camp, and your karma rituals don't result in your getting ambushed or murdered while you're alone and blindfolded in the woods, this is the only way to be FAIR and BALANCED between the disciplines.  This allows Karma rituals that are cool and thematic and add to the flavor of the adept who performs them, it does not create a mechanical restriction on the discipline 'over another discipline'.


Last edited by GMPurplefixer on Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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zexsis



Posts : 34
Join date : 2017-10-31

PostSubject: Re: Mid-day Karma rituals   Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:53 am

I would say that even in normal campaigns the same thing occurs. You are rarely adventuring, there's breaks between its use, so when the day comes that you use it, its most likely left over from the day before. Even if using midday karma rituals some races will still use more than others so the amount used is still fair and adds flavor to each race.

This has been a frustration to the gms for some time so I think they have their mind made up regarding it being annoying so just make a ruling on it and get the frustration over with.
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chrisddickey



Posts : 76
Join date : 2017-09-29

PostSubject: Re: Mid-day Karma rituals   Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:51 am

I Agree with zexsis.

As counter-arguments to earlier posts:
For the arguments it is unbalancing and not in keeping with the rules as intended, I agree that karma is a balancing per-day resource. The assumption is being made by some that the designers balanced it for renewing at the same time as recovery tests. I don't see any basis for this assumption. I would assume the designers made it a resource to be managed by the players, and balanced it under the assumption that the players would manage it intelligently. I see no reason to impose limitations that are not spelled out in the rules. If the designers had intended that mid-day karma rituals could not be performed, they could have easily have specified this.
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