Advancing Root Stats and Shade Shifts

Considering that Wayfarer’s example of the order of things is 1) extremely rare 2) completely within your power to control and alter as a player in the course of a game, I would not advise you using that example as the basis for changing this rule.

Doubly so, because shade-shifting a root stat is so hard, the benefit must equal the effort. And getting a few gray skills after a shade-shift is well worth it.

Since this is in “Sparks” now, here’s some ideas for tweaks. Call these workarounds or call them customizations for your particular campaign, whatever.

1, Grey-shading stats when you already have all the skills you want opened. I suggest a suitable solution is a trait (say you shade-shift Agility and the group awards you “Legendary Swordsman,” which also shade-shifts your Sword skill). Why a trait? Because that gives the group the power to say “Okay, yeah, that’s totally your shtick and makes sense” or “Hmm, that’s excessive,” depending. Inspiration is the Child Prodigy and Chosen One traits.

2, Grey-shade weapons splatting regular. Here’s a small rules tweak that aims to avoid spillover. Call it “alternate grey shade weapons” or call it “dark grey shade weapons” or whatever. Apply the “shade-mixing” rules you use for factoring skill roots &c. to weapon + Power: if you have a grey weapon OR grey Power, your damage is black+2; if you have both, your damage is grey. In other words, a “dark-grey”-shade weapon gives you the power to burn an aristeia to beat up a demon.

I like the Trait Vote idea, I also think that in real life, when you increase a natural ability like strength it does take some retraining to be able to get the full effectiveness of it into all of your skills, (especially those you do not use all the time). It should be easier to train your old skills up to the next shade after you have shade shifted the root stat (perhaps by using it Aptitude plus two times after the shadeshifted stat occurred (the +2 is to cover the shade difference), this would be your retraining period. After retraining, you could then resume regular skill advancement at your new skill shade.

I think this is a good approach. Maybe a blend of the two, on a case-by-case basis? I just want to get rid of the weird dichotomy in my head.

I’m totally down with this. Clean, quick, and encourages people to write good beliefs (you know, to drive your trait vote in the right direction).

The trait vote to raise shade could work in some situations, but it still doesn’t handle such things when you are running several skills in black shade when you shade shift their root stat. Especially true when you are still learning new skills, writing and playing out beliefs for one or two skills that are important to the storyline and character conception makes a lot of sense of course, and every skill doesn’t need to shade shift for each character. But if your Agility shade shifts to grey and you are the man of arms type it just makes sense to be able to work all of your current weapon skills upto the same shade as the ones you recently learned post shade shift, and to have to play out beliefs skill for skill seems wrong. Better to be able to train it up somehow or another.

I think one of the problems is the lack of system to go with it. There’s still this odd mix, where new skills are grey and old skills are black, unless the group decides on a vote. The idea of an old, practiced skill (that hasn’t gone up too much, say, due to a low combat game) being automatically inferior to a new skill, now that you’ve grey-shaded the root…

That’s just wrong. I can’t see any other way of looking at it.

So what about the idea of all skills open at black, all skills must have a minimum exponent of 1/2 root, and shade shifting the root opens the vote for the character’s related skills, permanently?

Prior to shade shifting the root, you can’t vote to shade the skills. Afterwards, suddenly all skills are forever open to the possibility, as a new, fundamental mechanic.

So, you’re a swordsman, you do awesome sword things, you shade shift your agi before your sword (for some reason). That session, you also open up axe (either before or after the advancement of agi, because now it doesn’t matter (: ). Group decides, let’s shade shift the sword because you’re an awesome sword swinger. But not the axe, because you’re a newbie with it. Some sessions later, the guy decides he likes his cool, shiny new axe, and is really pouring himself into it - group decides, okay, the axe should be shadeshifted to match the root now! One of the things I like about it is the fact that you have to actually have a roleplay investment into the new skill to get it shade shifted.

It’s contextual, consistent, logical, and easy to implement. nodnod I’m still a newbie myself, mind, but this seems workable to me.

It’s not usually, though. If my bandit with G6 Agility opens Sword at G3, it’s still weaker than a Knives skill that has already grown to B5 or B6 in play. Especially if you’ve got a Call-On for that skill. So, to me, shade-shifting stats is about raw ability and potential; I’m fine with the fictional consequences being “you’re still just as good at the stuff we already know you’re good at; you just have new potential in other areas.”

Also, shade-shifting a stat takes forever (I’ve been flogging Perception for a good 30 sessions now and I’m still not quite there yet). By the time you’ve done it, picking a couple of new skills to focus on is probably going to be a welcome change. A little bit of pressure in that direction is probably good for you.

True. and when you consider that your good old B6 Sword skill will still give you successes about half of the time and your shiny new G3 Ax skill is only three, (all be it 2/3 success ratio) dice, I think you might be a little better off with your sword, but I haven’t done the math yet.

It is a rare problem that doesn’t come up in play very often. perhaps the best thing we can all do is table it for now, put in some thought and playtime behind it, and see what come up. If it becomes more of an issue in future games, or someone hits on a particularly brilant solution to this issue stary it up in Sparks again and take it from there.

G3 Axe is essentially the same as B4 Axe (average 2 successes on X dice) for a fresh character. The G equivalent to B6 is somewhere between G4 and G5 (the G progression is B 1 1/3 per grey exponent).