HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

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HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby skywalker » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:53 am

I am looking for a compelling reason why HP and Mana Recovery differ so much.

HP recovery is based on events (wounds and combat) or 6 hours sleep. It's also level proportionate.

Mana recovery is time based or 8 hours sleep.

I am not looking for suggestions for house rules, but I struggle to find a consistent explanation for the differences, whether due to mechanical design or setting concerns.

Any help appreciated.
[b]Playing:[/b] Lure of the Expanse (Rogue Trader)
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Zapp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:24 am

You know, when I clicked your thread, I was getting ready for a trainwreck, you know where the snarky posters "get the popcorn"...

But since you already seem aware there probably are no other reason for hit points than to keep mechanics fast and simple, your thread isn't that trainwreck.

Instead, your question is quite interesting. Indeed, why does mana recovery go the simple "full night's rest" while health recovery is markedly more nuanced?

Why are there no ways to take a breather to regain mana? No healing (meditation?) that restores Mana?

Personally, I like how recent rpg:s acknowledge that the pacing of different adventures is... different. One adventure takes place entirely within one hectic hour. Another (a desert trek perhaps) takes place over three weeks. Both adventures might feature the exact same number of scenes (opponents).

Both these adventures becomes dramatically more interesting if the heroes have exactly one batch of resources at their disposal, meaning that in the first case, it would be appropriate to regain Mana (etc) after one hour; in the second case only after three weeks.

What I'm saying is:
* I understand that a lot of adventures fit well with the "8 hours of sleep" paradigm
* I understand especially a newbie game want to keep things simple
* So I understand that the core book keeps to the night's rest to regain mana

But once you aren't a newbie GM any longer, there is no good reason to allow yourself to be bound by this restriction anylonger. Tying Mana to sleep also reinforces a simulationist world view, which I can feel is a bit unfortunate - just because AGE (and DA) is a simple introductory game doesn't mean it needs to be oldskool in that regard.

My recommendation is to abolish the absolute tie to 8 hours of sleep, and instead ask your players to accept that you regain resources (including Mana) at a pace set by the story, which can vary dramatically in in-game time.

In fact, I wish box set 3 would include something like this, if only as an optional text box.


Zapp

PS. As you probably have noticed, I'm much less interested in answering your actual question than discussing its ramifications. That is because I simply do not see any fruitful way of trying to rationalize something as abstract and gamist as Mana points. It's a fast and simple game mechanic and nothing more, and trying to explain it will only lead you down the same spiral as the astronomers who tried to explain how the Sun revolved around the Earth... in the end, you will only end up with the same answer: "that is not how it really works".
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby skywalker » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:59 am

That's cool :) As said, I am not really interested in house rules. I am interested in finding a compelling reason for why the two subsystems work the way they do.
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Tiger's Heart » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:41 am

I could propose another reason for the 8 hours of sleep to replenish mana - magic is tied to the fade.

Humans and Elves (for dwarves don't use mana nor have contact with the fade when they sleep / dream) must regain their mana reserve by contact with the fade for a reasonable duration. This occurs when they sleep and visit the fade in their dreams (even if they have no recollection of doing so). While the mage is awake they are naturally defensive and resist approaches from the fade. While dreaming, their body is still protected from malign forces and demonic influences, but renews its contact with the fade and thus the source of mana.

I would allow a slightly lesser duration for full replenishment if the sleep was deep and restful, and rule that more was needed if the sleep was disturbed or troubled - in my games.

That's just my theory, but it seems to fit what we know of the setting.

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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Zapp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:27 am

skywalker wrote:That's cool :) As said, I am not really interested in house rules. I am interested in finding a compelling reason for why the two subsystems work the way they do.

Perhaps you mean that you are content with how the rules work, and you only want to make up a reasonable fluff story for why this is so...?

(If that's the case, I can't help you. I'm sure you could come up with some language saying things like "Health represents more than just injuries, it's part morale and energy which you can partially restory by taking a breather yadda yadda; while Mana represents the fact mages need a well-rested mind yadda yadda" but I've seen such attempts countless times before - mostly connected to D&D - and none of them stand up to any real scrutiny, so why not yield to the inevitable and just say "because the rules say so" - barring actually making them - the rules - more flexible and dynamic, of course)
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Lynata » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:12 am

Mechanicswise, I'd speculate that Mana isn't regarded "as important" as Health, and that a lower regeneration is meant to make the players economize their powerful spells. Remember: you can always use your staff for free ranged attacks that don't cost anything but the action itself! Anything that consumes MP, however, is something special you're supposed to use rarely.

Doing so would result in a situation where the party, in particular its melee combatants, will use up more Health than Mana, so the system is geared slightly more towards the former. At least that'd be my guess for why things are how they are.

Tiger's Heart wrote:I could propose another reason for the 8 hours of sleep to replenish mana - magic is tied to the fade. Humans and Elves (for dwarves don't use mana nor have contact with the fade when they sleep / dream) must regain their mana reserve by contact with the fade for a reasonable duration. This occurs when they sleep and visit the fade in their dreams (even if they have no recollection of doing so).
You know, that is a pretty clever explanation - I'll have to remember this theory. :)

On a sidenote: Are dwarves truly "shut off" from the Fade? I was under the impression they just don't birth any mages, but that they still dream and thus visit the Fade like any non-mage human would. Or rather, that "dreaming" and "being in the Fade" are synonymous and you can't have one without the other. Unless you are a blood mage with lots of slaves to spare. ;)
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Zapp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:23 pm

"Every living being, with the exception of dwarves, enters the Fade mentally when they dream and mages tap into it when they cast spells."
http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Fade

"Well, we know from Origins, Awakening and DA2 that dwarves can enter the Fade. They don't dream, but they can be forcibly brought into the Fade."
http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Forum:W ... he_Fade%3F
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby skywalker » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:05 pm

Tiger's Heart wrote:I could propose another reason for the 8 hours of sleep to replenish mana - magic is tied to the fade.


Nice idea.
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby skywalker » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:09 pm

Zapp wrote:
skywalker wrote:That's cool :) As said, I am not really interested in house rules. I am interested in finding a compelling reason for why the two subsystems work the way they do.

Perhaps you mean that you are content with how the rules work, and you only want to make up a reasonable fluff story for why this is so...?


Personally I would have preferred to see some more symmetry between the two resources. But I like to stick to the RAW and want to see if there is any compelling reason why such different approaches were taken.

I am guessing a design reason why HP recovers by combat and Mana by hour, is that the first is more closely tied to fighting where the later isn't. I also suspect that the 6/8 hour discrepancy has something to do with Mages not being able to stand watch at night but other PCs can with no issue. :)
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Lynata » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:16 pm

Zapp wrote:"Every living being, with the exception of dwarves, enters the Fade mentally when they dream and mages tap into it when they cast spells."
http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Fade

"Well, we know from Origins, Awakening and DA2 that dwarves can enter the Fade. They don't dream, but they can be forcibly brought into the Fade."
http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Forum:W ... he_Fade%3F
I generally prefer Codex-entries rather than fan-created wikis (personal interpretation of vague or seemingly conflicting sources can really create problems), but it's still correct - after some digging (an idea I could've gotten earlier instead of asking here, duh) I did find a reference in the Prima guide. Thanks for the assist, tho. :)

So that means dwarves don't dream? Alright, at least the concept of dreaming and the Fade being irrevocably connected remains true even then, or rather makes even more sense than before if you consider the dwarves' lyrium-resistance. Apologies for the short off-topic!

skywalker wrote:I also suspect that the 6/8 hour discrepancy has something to do with Mages not being able to stand watch at night but other PCs can with no issue. :)
Bunch of tower-spoiled pansies I say! :P

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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Woodclaw » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:23 pm

Just trhowing my two bits around.
Personally I decided to ignore the whole how many hours of sleep and go for a simpler statement: wounds and mana are recovered after a full night of rest.
Mind you rest, not sleep. Characters that sleep but don't rest well regain little or none of their wounds and mana at the GM call.
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Loswaith » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:52 pm

Keep in mind that mages actually gain back mana (1d6+magic) based on meditation /rest per hour (see set 1 Regaining Mana Points, players guide p.49), it just has a blanket factor that if they do manage 8 hours uninterrupted rest or meditation they will regain all of their mana reguardless of the actual amount they have.

For me it's about the mage resting their mind, though Tiger's Heart sugestion of it being to do with the link to the fade sounds like that is a good in game rationale as well.
Its quite possible that using magic for a mage can mentally cloud their mind too as if each time they cast a spell they peak into the fade, so the more spells they cast the more of a mix the fade and real world becomes in their minds, so they need time to clear their thoughts and centre their minds again.

Keep in mind too that mechanically mana is the limiting resource used on spell casters and stops them just casting spells all the time. Mages in game/character are unlikely to ever refer to mana as a resource used when casting spells.

As to health the breather it is more like the recovery from the shock and winding aspects and an automaticly successful heal check for those injuries.
Much like if you stub your toe, bash a limb, or get a scratch, it hurts for the initial bit but after a while the body and mind adjust to it and it doesnt have the same pain level anymore. While sure being hit by weapons and claws tend to be allot more than simple bumbs and scrapes the principle is much the same, though weapons and claws will often take longer to heal all of the damage, its liekly there will be a fair few bumps and scrapes as well in battle.

At the end of the day they are both simply mechanics to track certain aspects of a character that the character as an individual otherwise wouldn't be aware of.
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Balgin Stondraeg » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:24 am

Lynata wrote:So that means dwarves don't dream? Alright, at least the concept of dreaming and the Fade being irrevocably connected remains true even then, or rather makes even more sense than before if you consider the dwarves' lyrium-resistance. Apologies for the short off-topic!


I can't find it right now but there's a David Gaider quote somewhere on the Bioware forums where just this question was asked and his reply was that dwarfs do dream but they do it somewhere else (outside the Fade). If they are forced into the fade then they can tell it's different to the way they dream and feel uncomfortable.

This implies their dreams are really boring down to earth stuff like going over work routines to perfect them or continuity & contingency plans. And that their dreams are less psychedellic and more constant.
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Re: HP/Mana Recovery - looking for a consistent explanation

Postby Ghostdanser » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:51 am

Balgin Stondraeg wrote:This implies their dreams are really boring down to earth stuff like going over work routines to perfect them or continuity & contingency plans. And that their dreams are less psychedellic and more constant.


Not able to search the Bioware forums at the moment...but taking the quote at face value then it may imply something else.

Pure speculation here...and something I just considered...so no forum/wiki/prima guide/etc research to back it up...

We know that other dimensions exist beyond the Fade due to the DAO DLC Witch Hunt. We also know that the dwarves oldest cities lie deeper in the world and that the closer you get to the surface the newer the cities get...so "maybe" (I stress the maybe here) the reason the dwarves don't appear in the Fade is that they originated in another dimension. Not being native to Thedas they go somewhere else when they dream, and being non-mages they just don't remember their dreams for the most part. So the dwarves were in another dimension, digging down from the surface, expanding their existing kingdom and run across a portal, or an Old One, or something...they get transported to Thedas deep under the earth...then have to dig their way back to the surface. Over the millenia they forget their origins, or maybe they suffer some form of racial amnesia due to the dimension shift. Probably not correct, but if the dwarves go to a different dimension when they dream then perhaps it is because they come from another dimension themselves.

*contemplates* :-?
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