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My one issue


Andor
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I bought Academagia a while ago, and recently picked it up again and played a few more games.

 

I really do like this game but I have one big issue with it. I feel as though I'm too busy wrestling with the meta-game to actually come to grips with the game itself.

 

I want to cast a spell which needs the planning skill. Cool I'll train it. Oh wait no. I can't find it. Either I simply missed it in the hundreds of sub skills or I didn't discover it yet and have no clue which skill to research because there is no discerable logic to sub-skill placement. Artifice for example is under sabatoge. Why there and not forge, art, caligraphy or any other place that might make more sense than sticking it under the skill of destroying things? No idea.

 

And some things that should be reasonable to accomplish are far too much work to discover. I've spent a few game trying to do nothing more than actually forge an item. This last game I finally stumbled across the right catalogue to learn the recipie, or so I thought. I bought a few pamphlets of recipe, managed to read them and found... nothing. The recipe was not added to my recipe section, not reasearch, not lore. Finally I try the artifice action, and there the recipe is. Only it calls for a bunch of components which the pmphlet did NOT teach me how to make. So how do I make a sword? Beats the hell out of me. I don't even have a clue as to what the right venue to explore is, and that's after having played probably a dozen or more games with a few of them dedicated to nothing more than figuring out how to.

 

And that's not because the process is that big a mystery to my character. He's a damn good smith with access to several forges, a school that teaches smithy, and a job as a weaponsmith. But the meta-game is so impenetrable I'm lost. I'm sure that I'll figure it out eventually, but I really feel I should not have to play a game a few dozen times to figure out the only way to accomplish what should be easily achievable.

 

Just my 2¢

 

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You know, one of the thoughts I had about this game was that the complex Master-subskill system might benefit from detaching them. By which I mean that the sub-skills don't have to be unique to each master skill. For example "Diction" might be a sub-skill for Oratory, and Debate and Enspell. Raise it for one and you raise it for all. Although as always to raise the master skill you need to get three sub-skills up. This would vastly streamline the skill system, although probably at the expense of making advancement too rapid. It's too late to do that now of course, but if I were to try making a table-top version of this game I would almost certainly do that, or something like it. ... Actually I would just use Ars-Magica. :) As it stands I don't have a clear enough idea of how things are supposed to work to meaningfully transfer the game to PnP.

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Actually on reflection I'd probably use World Tree which is the Ars Magica system expanded with a couple more magic skills and a lot more mundane skills as well as a lot of daily utility magic of the sort most game systems ignore. (My complaint about D&D magic for decades has been "Hundreds of ways to blow stuff up, not one way to heat your house.")

 

You guys don't have a handy source book that could be used as a PnP resource, do you?

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I do like that a lot of the "magic" in this game has mundane utilitarian and beneficial applications that are situational and not jsut a buff that makes you strong or invulnerable even if there are spells that work that way.

 

I also like that you can use other skills to improve your chance of sucess.

 

By observation finding weakspots, or maybe architectural knowledge woudl allow you to spot the weak points in a wall that you want to bring down, which makes it easier.

 

I immagine those who don't know about the weakness you spotted would be impressed by your pwoerful display, while those who understands will be impressed by how knowledgable/insightful you are.

 

That's the strength of Academagias story telling, you are allowed to do these things, not just hurl a thousand fireballs that do 2d4 damage. Which is one of the reasons I love it. Kind of a pen and paper RPG run on a PC. Which makes it faster and easier and "balanced" when you play it alone. AI gamemasters ftw. (except when they bug out :D )

 

Maybe your knowledge of Geometry would allow you to avoid getting hurt by the wall that would otherwise drop a few bricks on you and hurt you. Or maybe luck could do the same thing.

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There has been some talk about the so called useless skills, but I think it would be nice if they were used to help avoid taking damage or stress as you adventure or in events even if they arn't nessesary to "win" or complete the adventure or event they could help you overcome the incident in style without damage or stress buildup.

 

They might not be nessesary, but it would add some value and depth to the stories. I'm certain it would be more work though. But probably worth it.

Beign better at predicting where things will fall down(Geometry, planning, luck, stuff like that), noticing thorny, poinsonus or otherwise dangerous flora (botany) that you should try to avoid. or Acrobatics to avoid stumbling/fallign and getting hurt.

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Actually one of the things that tends to irk me in playing is that sometimes a challange will call for the weirdest skills and completely ignore the obvious ones.

 

"Farmer Joe needs you to build a wall"

"Diplomacy - Ask the rocks to stack themselves,"

"Negation - Canel the lack of a wall."

"Needlepoint - I like pie."

 

And I as a player am left to wonder why my maxed out masonry, stonework, transport or incantation doesn't apply. (The above is not an actul example,... But it's pretty close.)

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