BGS and how to use them

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BGS and how to use them

Post by Maggie » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:08 pm

Hello all!
I was wondering if we could get a thread going on the various TOV3 BGSs like Observation, Query, Entropic Delve, etc. and get clarity on how to apply them, how they work, how to make the most of them, etc. Though I played TOV 2, I never did BGS as my previous character so just an overall primer would be extremely helpful!

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by ambisinister » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:22 pm

I'm currently putting together a beginner bgs tutorial. Stay tuned!

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by gordanit » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:06 pm

If we have questions that it may or may not answer, would you rather we share those before or after you finish?
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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by ambisinister » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:02 pm

Before is good. It will let me know if I’m missing something.

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by ambisinister » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:23 pm

I'm posting the guide as a top level topic in its own post.

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by gordanit » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:07 am

Edit: got cross posted with the primer, will copy unanswered parts there.

From asking more experienced folks, I'm told getting the most out of BGS is picking good topics (and appropriate to the BGS) and writing up your questions well (context, goals, what you already know, details ala PEL). I think I have a pretty good handle on the latter, but while I think I'm also clear on the former it'd be good to know what cast thinks of as the distinctions between different skills (explanation or examples).

I realized the questions I have mostly are about multiple PCs tackling the same topic, so I can think about how best to coordinate between events. Such as, whether that gets them all the same info, or if they get several different bits that are greater in aggregate, or something else. Also, if it matters or not whether they specify they are cooperating, or if given the nature of the game unless someone says otherwise you'll combine efforts when you run in to each other in the archives or whatever.

I know there are a million BGS but I'm mostly thinking about the ones I'm likely to have this time around -- Query (and Halls of Antiquity), Local Investigation, Cognition, Entropic Delve, and Visions.
Last edited by gordanit on Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by Varanus » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:11 am

Some comments that I'll leave here so the other thread is clean, from the perspective of a player who used a lot of BGS in the previous campaign, not all of which will work the same:

Detect Magic: there's no skill by this name anymore. The only "detect" skills are Detect Influence and Detect Affliction, which are not BGS.

Cognition: assuming this is like Insight from TOV2 (which I think it is), some good uses include "am I on the right track?" or "what am I missing?" or "which of my assumptions are wrong"? That can save you a lot of trouble.... It was also sometimes good for assessing motivations of people/entities.

Query: since this is a request for someone to go through existing records, it's going to be most useful for things that some Rhiven already knows. If no one knows -- for example it's unique to the area around our Outpost because different regions of chaos are different -- it's not going to be the best skill. At best you will come up with things that are sort of similar, or possibly some guesses from a scholar on the topic.

"If we have to guess what you’re looking for or trying to accomplish that increases the chance that we don’t get you something useful to your question." Corollary to that, if in your question you let them know what you already know, you're more likely to get a response that doesn't just reiterate things you already figured out. Provide some background.

Also, it's not required, but if you are descriptive about your process, I think that can be helpful to the person writing the response. For example Visions at least in TOV2 had a lot of metaphor and symbology, so if you described your method, they could adopt that same metaphor and symbology. Rather than just saying, for example, "I’d like to have a vision about what is threatening the corvidae" you could say, "I'm concerned about the corvidae. In order to understand what threatens them, I seek out their perspective. On a windy day, I climb a hill and look out across the trees. From my perch, I watch the birds flitting about, and imagine what it's like to be a crow, to fly, to join with others in a murder and terrorize other birds and animals. And then from that perspective, I imagine what would terrify me in turn." Now the person writing the response has a starting point for the vision (which they can ignore if they want), and you've made the vision personal and not just generic. Meanwhile a different person might describe their process of having a vision as staring into a pool of water, or eating carefully selected mushrooms, or whatever, and although the information in the response might be the same, the vision will be different.
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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by Varanus » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:17 am

gordanit wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:07 am
I realized the questions I have mostly are about multiple PCs tackling the same topic, so I can think about how best to coordinate between events. Such as, whether that gets them all the same info, or if they get several different bits that are greater in aggregate, or something else. Also, if it matters or not whether they specify they are cooperating, or if given the nature of the game unless someone says otherwise you'll combine efforts when you run in to each other in the archives or whatever.
I found in general that even if we didn't specify cooperation, we tended to get different and complementary information. But I think it's better to say you are cooperating; you'll get less overlap that way.

Sometimes even as a single character it's useful to attack the same problem from several different angles. E.g. the "threat to the corvidae" problem could be approached with a vision, or perhaps with observation or local investigation. Those are going to yield different answers with only partial overlap.
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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by ambisinister » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:52 am

Just as a side note, detect magic was added into pioneer in the antiquarian update before the play test.

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by Varanus » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:39 am

ambisinister wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:52 am
Just as a side note, detect magic was added into pioneer in the antiquarian update before the play test.
Missed that. If the rulebook won't be finalized for a while it might be worth putting all the known changes up on the forum somewhere.

In that case, what is "magic"? Does it include alteric items?
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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by RealityXcursion » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:24 am

Question for Bridge Process: Are you expending a non-BGS that you still have from the previous game, or starting the next game with the skill expended?

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by ambisinister » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:48 am

@Varanus Magic in this case is anything with a higher concentration of mana than is 'normal' Components would detect as magic, generic things you find in the woods would not. A plain sword, even one wrought by a shaper would not be magical, but a Wonderous sword or a 'magic' sword made by non rhiven would detect as magic. Something with magical effects on it, even if the item itself is not inherently magical, would detect as magic.

@RealityXcursion You'd be spending an unspent skill from the event preceding the BGS cycle.

@gordanit We're putting together a response to your question about collaboration.

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by Erica » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:59 pm

@gordanit-"I realized the questions I have mostly are about multiple PCs tackling the same topic, so I can think about how best to coordinate between events. Such as, whether that gets them all the same info, or if they get several different bits that are greater in aggregate, or something else. Also, if it matters or not whether they specify they are cooperating, or if given the nature of the game unless someone says otherwise you'll combine efforts when you run in to each other in the archives or whatever."

Okay so this may be a little rambly but here ya go:
Let me start by caveating that answers absolutely depend on what abilities you are using, what you are using them on, and when you are using them. It also depends to a smaller degree on the plotwriter writing that part of the story.

If you use something like Detect magic on an magical artifact that was found, and then two events later, someone different gets possession of it and does a Detect Magic- they are going to be getting the same answer. This holds true with Query and Local Investigation as well, because A) we have to assume that that person is unaware of the previous info put out and B) they put in the same amount of effort. This is why adding context of what you DO know or suspect when putting in such BGS is very helpful.

If you wish to collaborate with someone on a project, you must tell staff in your bgs that you are attempting to do so. Otherwise we'll need to treat it that both of you are doing your own separate thing and you are more likely to get more overlap of info and only a little bit of unique information. As JD said, collaborating by approaching with different skills is likely to net you the best results due to the spread of BGS that we have in this campaing as opposed to the past one. For example: Two folks using Analyze Artifice on an object is probably going to get you a little more than just one of you doing it (assuming you have stated you are collaborating) but you more likely to get more different and useful info if one of you uses Analyze Artifice and another uses Entropic Delve.

The big thing is that it does not hurt to try. We are going to be actively seeking to help folks out by contacting folks if a bgs is being used in a manner that isn't appropriate, to allow them to learn and modify their uses during the first year of the campaign.

Erm, hopefully that wasn't too rambly and was actually helpful?

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Re: BGS and how to use them

Post by gordanit » Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:16 pm

Very helpful, thank you!
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