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child debate master (background)


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A few years back you won the child debate mastership against a other strong competitor.

But instead of been a fair sportsman the other child just shouted "I hate you” before running of to her parents with tears in her eyes.

All what you have left from this title is a strange document called "Certificate of Imperial Favor" and the knowledge that when ever you find the Sphinx mentioned there you will have the greatest debates of your live.

The child from back then didn't forget about you and now is also a student at the Academagia.


Background cost: 1


Debate +2

Item: Certificate of Imperial Favor

Enemy: Basia Rydz -5

Special Ability: unlock at Imperial Palace: Emperor Sphinx's Room

Debate with the Emperor's Sphinx (Roll vs Debate 13 for 1x Expand Choice of Subskill and 3x expand known Skill) need this Background


I want to have the old powerfull Sphinx back but not for free. My first thought was that I should give it direct for 2 Background points but that wasn't to my liking.

So I came up with the Debate idea to make it still a mid-lategame tool and the enemy was added to balance for the 1 more Backgroundpoint I think it should be worth.


Do you think this is balanced?


Edit: The Legate mentioned they will put it into DLC 16 because they plan to change the Sphinx there again.

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The current power of +1 chosen and +1 to 2 random skill gains sounds plenty for the sphinx - the debate (wit?) roll gets fairly irrelevant by mid-game even though it never manages to go green for me (currently the student I'm playing is insight 25, wit 12 - a roll of 13 should be long green surely?).


Effectively the background is by-passing 20 or so skill levels in History: Knowledge of Early Empires & Research: Library Knowledge/Filing - once you have the sphinx any other skill booster is obsolete so it's a pretty hefty jump - maybe just give the certificate?


The Library of Longshade gives +1 chosen, +1 random and +1 concentration and the Library of Manatele (+1 chosen, +1 SS each to a random revision and a random forge) so both are 1 skill slot gain short of your sphinx and both have an automatic limiting factor as concentration/revision hit their caps, the Library of the Mantle of the Stars (1 chosen, +2 SS to a random astrology) is far worse than either of those, so getting 1 chosen and 3 random skills sounds OTT - although your version doesn't appear to unlock skills that are unknown which potentilly restricts it - particularly in the mid-end game where skills are often at their cap.


I'm also unsure about the "Basia hates me" cost - she never seems to bully my students. The Morvidus rivalry which has a similar effect alternates between a free point (anyone but Joanna) and sickbay hell (Joanna) - -5 relationship sounds bad but in practice unless the foe bullies the player it just means the player won't get to do her adventure.


One way to balance the sphinx while making the ability even more powerful than it currently is would be to make it a once every 3 days or so type ability - how much time would the sphinx really spend talking to a kid - and how many students should be trying to monopolise it? As a rare ability the OTT scale of the power would be less of an issue. As alternative is to add an entrance fee for anyone using the certificate - fees are fairly common balancers, even if relatively trivial once your student can start adventuring.



Personally my bugbears are Milen'a's amazingly nerfed clique power and the Black Sheep background - if it said "-50 parental approval" or even "-100" it could be worked at, I can match the mechanical benefits of most backgrounds in 5-10 actions tops, but blacksheep is eternal :( Over-coming parental disapproval by scholarly excellence, praise from tutors etc would be something to be proud of - I'm hoping for a "you decide not to go home and stay at Academagia" as an option for the Y1/2 interlude as having aced every exam, teacher's pet for half the school faculty, been praised by the captain of mineta, made 15k+ pims, etc and still having no parental approval my kid is feeling that possibly they are more appreciated at school :unsure:

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But honestly, one little magical accident, they totally over-reacted legate!


I'm 13, what happened to "boys will be boys"?


It's not faaaaaaiiiiiiiirrrr!


Didn't want their stoopid pocket money anyhow :wacko:


sniff sniff


at least Academagia loves me.


except for Sixt, and Storey, and the Marchants, and Joanna, and... well ... at least I have Lisle :wub:

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My thing Legate, is that I have dreamt up a very specific reason for being in my parent's bad books tied into the somewhat over-complicated background I chose, so inevitably the summer experience risks contradicting it.


Hmm, apologies to Schwarzbart for hijacking his thread :(

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Even at the times when the official Sphinx still haved 4 slots it never replaced the Library of Manetele or some other 3 skill train ability’s for me.

The reason is simple first of all The Sphinx still have a failure rate even if you maxed your wits unless you also train your familiar also.

What means you have to spend at last 12 timeslots just to train your wit not counting that you first haved to get some ability to train your familiar.

Without the Sphinx I simply wouldn't train wit or with this new ability debate at all.

Oh and you know that according to a bug report the Familiar SS don't add to your Sphinx roll right now?

The second much more important reason is that the Sphinx gives me just a random mix of SS what is really bad if you want to max something and even worse in late game when you have some Skills maxed. You know that for most of my games I was really happy when the 4SS sphinx gave me after some reloads finally 3 SS and not just 1 or 2 SS of training starting with early late game?

And worst of all it have a good chance to train you class skills what is also a wasted SS as they are trained more then enough trough class.


Then NO this ability don't unlock at the start it unlocks at the place the normal Sphinx unlock!

So yes you got a 1 SS better Sphinx when you finally unlock it via the right adventure, research or some other way.

But in return you have a extra enemy right at the start.

Sure you don’t need train The Early Empire for getting the certificate but that’s just a small bonus worth maybe 1 starting SS but nothing more.

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I'd misread the unlock point in the first post then, delaying the unlock makes a big difference as it saves a lot of training research skills.


I find that insight shoots up from adventures so the roll rapidly gets routine - that never seemed much of a balancer, to me the balance to the boost to 3 skills came from the risk of detention (and losing illicit goodies) which is eliminated with the certificate (worth +8 SS to me as that's the cost of the certificate which is my first train target after hitting the sphinx via research) and the risk of hitting a cap (common later in the game) and missing out on a boost, or rolling a research as your random boost.


It's an interesting perception difference on the random vs chosen point, For me the random skills unlocks a lot that I wouldn't otherwise touch which often takes me in new directions or broadens my character; but as you note choosing skills is inherently a "more powerful" ability particularly for the focused character or once caps start to be hit - given that most abilities are +1 to 1 or 2 specific skills, often at a cost +1 to 4 skills of your choice for free sounds very generous.


Possibly drop the enemy, keep the certificate, and raise wit (or debate if adding a skill) [maximum + start] as the background bonus. Then change the sphinx ability itself to say that you get staged rolls - roll <a and all 4 learned SS's are random, roll > a and you get your top choice and 3 random, roll > b and get your top 2 choices and 2 random, roll >c and get your top 3 and 1 random, roll >d and get 4 of your choice - so the better your characters skill at wit/debate the more you turn the discussion to topics you want to discuss.


That way the dedicated sphinxer with their high skill can be sure of getting 2, maybe 3 of their choice and hope for 4, but there is always the chance that the sphinx decides to broaden it's audience's horizons to limit the ability and satisfy us explorers of knowledge - in practice in the early game you'd mainly get random (but always learn something) and as the game progressed you'd get progessively better - but in the late game it would be competing against other strong abilities and adventures so its power would be less of an issue.

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