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Sparksman
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So the starting Aspects for Fated characters in the Fated Almanac are balanced out to equal 0 in both Physical and Mental aspects, with the ability to add two +1's to these during the Modify phase.

However, in Into The Steam and Under Quarantine there's a much different range of total values, ranging from -2 to +3 with more than twenty of the fifty-six values being unbalanced, and the ability to add a single +1 to those during the Modify phase of both. Invested can add +1 to a Physical Aspect (max 4), while the Stitched Brush card can give them a +1 Physical/Mental (max 3).

I guess what I'm asking is - why the sudden change away from zero sum for Aspects?

I understand the goal of diversity of characters, but it seems weird to give this diversity to (potential) Constructs (there's a ~1/5 chance an Assembly Line character won't be one) and Undead.

Moreover, why give some characters a mechanical advantage over others in this area, when the core book worked so hard to preserve it?

 

 

 

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There's probably a better than 1/5 chance that an Assembly Line character won't be a Construct; you need a tome in your Body Aspect, but just because you have a tome in your Replaceable Parts doesn't mean you'll cheat it in.

 

The people working on Through the Breach changed between the Fated Almanac and Into the Steam/Under Quarantine, so a fair amount of the differences between the two come down to a difference in Design Philosophy. It's akin to the difference between Point Buy and 4d6 Drop Lowest in DnD; both make perfectly fine characters, but one ensures that everyone steps onto the stage at exactly the same power level, while one allows for the more realistic approach of some people being a bit better than others. We felt that the latter was a more interesting option and decided to go that way with things.

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Sure.

Generally speaking, the Cross Roads Tarot produces 0 sum Aspects, gives you 1 skill, and then increases your Aspects by a total of +2.

 

The Assembly Line Tarot generally produces +1, 0, or -1 Aspects, leaning more toward +1 Aspect, and then either increases an Aspect by +1 or gives you a Skill at rank 2. That means that you're probably not going higher than the total Aspect adjustment of +2.

If you're a Construct, you gain a +1 to one of your Physical Aspects, your Charm is reduced to 0 (if it's higher), and you end up with some fixed stats depending upon your chassis. That means that Constructs might be a bit better than living characters, but given that many of them were built for specific purposes, that's generally fine. Playtest found that the benefits of being a Construct more or less equaled out in the end.

All in all, though, the Assembly Line Tarot ends up coming in at roughly the same power level as the Cross Roads Tarot. The Assembly Line's stats are a bit better in the chart, but they have less points to modify their stats afterwards, which evens it out a bit.

 

The Lifeline Tarot tends to be a bit better than the Assembly Line. It generally produces +1, 0, or -1 Aspects, again leaning more toward +1 Aspect, and then twice either increases an Aspect by +1 or gives you a Skill at Rank 2 (once with the Brush Card, once with the Modify Step). Undead characters gain a few additional bonuses (not Aspects), but that's weighed out by being Undead, which is a state that most people in Malifaux have some degree of objection to. 

 

The upcoming Gremlin book has the Waterways Tarot, which tends to be closer to the Cross Roads Tarot in terms of Aspects while still offering something original (and very Gremliny) for Kin characters.

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