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Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 11:49 am
by Luckmann
Upon looking into the game and the RPG, I noticed that you do not initially choose your "Verb" or "Foci" (as in "I am <adjective> <noun> who <verbs>", or "I am <descriptor> <type> who <foci>"). Everyone that knows about the game should be familiar with this, such as Aligern being a "Hardened Nano who Fights With His Demons".

Upon creation, however, you only choose Type and Descriptor through a somewhat backwards and arcane process (you get assigned Descriptor first, then Type, but then you can change your Type first, and your Descriptor last). But I noticed that the CNPC:s have their full profiles, so I went looking for answers, finding precious little, but eventually I happened upon this old thread on the Steam forum for Tides of Numenera.

Playing onwards a bit after that, I realized that still, only three choices of Foci, all except possibly one being rather shallow or "obvious" (and that one being inappropriate for many character types) were in the game. Later, I also discovered that they seem to have no apparent affect on your choices of abilities per tier. Anyway, I asked Sear a question, but since I haven't gotten a reply and the Steam forum is tremendously dead, I thought I'd bring it here, either for an answer or some discussion on the matter.
sear wrote:Foci come into the picture a bit later once you reach Sagus Cliffs proper. Only a few are in the beta, but we'll probably add more over time, and in the final game of course.

This is an intentional choice as we wanted to give people a bit more time to play around and experiment before deciding on their Focus (and, your Focus can also be changed by spending XP, whereas other options like Type and Descriptor can't be).
Here we are, a full year later, and just over month ago, the last early access update before release came, and this was still missing.

There's still only three incredibly shallow and one-dimensional foci/verbs, namely Brandishes a Silver Tongue, Breathes Shadow, and Masters Defense, out of the incredible wealth (54, literally 18 times more) of interesting options in the RPG itself. There's also no apparent way to change this by spending experience, which wouldn't make the system less shallow, but at least it would be more meaningful since you could adapt to a situation (at least once you know about an upcoming situation, which is pretty rubbish).

Is this something that's actually going to be rectified in the 20-or-so days before release (which makes me assume that the choice of Foci would have absolutely zero interactivity/reactivity, but I'll take what I can get), or is it just yet more silently cut key material that's been shoved under the carpet?

Because I'm not going to lie - between the extremely limited number of CNPC:s becoming even more limited, the bloated and cover-all console-y UI, this shallow character options (should there not be more than these three), and the way inXile kept cuts hidden for literal years until fans themselves discovered the cuts, my hopes for Tides of Numenera is going to be at an all-time low.

So what gives? While it wouldn't tie into the cut stretchgoals/cover-up debacle, it would be tremendously sad to hear that we're not getting more than three basic and very archetypical foci.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 12:21 pm
by anonymous6059
Luckmann wrote: Playing onwards a bit after that, I realized that still, only three choices of Foci, all except possibly one being rather shallow or "obvious" (and that one being inappropriate for many character types) were in the game. Later, I also discovered that they seem to have no apparent affect on your choices of abilities per tier. Anyway, I asked Sear a question, but since I haven't gotten a reply and the Steam forum is tremendously dead, I thought I'd bring it here, either for an answer or some discussion on the matter.
sear wrote:This is an intentional choice as we wanted to give people a bit more time to play around and experiment before deciding on their Focus (and, your Focus can also be changed by spending XP, whereas other options like Type and Descriptor can't be).
Here we are, a full year later, and just over month ago, the last early access update before release came, and this was still missing.

There's still only three incredibly shallow and one-dimensional foci/verbs, namely Brandishes a Silver Tongue, Breathes Shadow, and Masters Defense, out of the incredible wealth (54, literally 18 times more) of interesting options in the RPG itself. There's also no apparent way to change this by spending experience, which wouldn't make the system less shallow, but at least it would be more meaningful since you could adapt to a situation (at least once you know about an upcoming situation, which is pretty rubbish).

I thought I remembered seeing more Foci than that when I played the beta. Have you tried making another character with a different descriptor and type? I thought I remembered seeing that in TToN the Descriptor and type narrowed the possible foci you could pick. I could be wrong though, not sure. In the PnP version it doesn't work that way, but for some reason I want to say it does with the game.

I'm also very concerned with this as well. I'm almost afraid to read the updates now. I really don't even want to know what all has been cut. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that all the Companions were cut. :(

I

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 12:23 pm
by Serjo
You're supposed to have access to a personalized selection of Foci based on your Legacy:
Your Legacy (and the Tides) has a variety of impacts on both gameplay and on interactions in dialogue. For example, certain items will provide different abilities depending upon your Legacy, and your Legacy also affects what focus you master.

...your Legacy is determined by which Tide or Tides you favor, and that Legacy affects NPC reactions, item bonuses, and your character’s Focus.

http://tormentrpg.tumblr.com/theksstretchgoals
Since Legacies aren't in the beta, it's possible that the foci selection will be added later on as well. But I think it's really strange that these mechanics weren't in the December build, and that they haven't been publicly discussed in years.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 12:52 pm
by Luckmann
Serjo wrote:You're supposed to have access to a personalized selection of Foci based on your Legacy:
Your Legacy (and the Tides) has a variety of impacts on both gameplay and on interactions in dialogue. For example, certain items will provide different abilities depending upon your Legacy, and your Legacy also affects what focus you master.

...your Legacy is determined by which Tide or Tides you favor, and that Legacy affects NPC reactions, item bonuses, and your character’s Focus.

http://tormentrpg.tumblr.com/theksstretchgoals
Since Legacies aren't in the beta, it's possible that the foci selection will be added later on as well. But I think it's really strange that these mechanics weren't in the December build, and that they haven't been publicly discussed in years.
Just to be clear here, though - you absolutely can choose Foci in the current build, it's just that there's only three of them to choose from, and there's nothing to suggest that there's more than that, or that you'll somehow unlock more or be able to change your choice of Foci later, and they don't seem to relate to character advancement at all - although I may be wrong on that one, and just not getting any relevant feedback from the game implying that Abilities I can choose is somehow unlocked by a given Foci. Either way, you only choose 1 Ability per Tier (every 4 "levels") so it would be a bit of a sham if you had to pick between one granted by your Type and one granted by your Foci.

Sear's post also makes no reference to the Tides/Legacy affecting what Foci you can choose from, just that they'll "probably" add more than those three.

And I've been unable to find any more information about this online, so unless this is clarified, I guess that another stretchgoal was truncated...?
anonymous6059 wrote:I thought I remembered seeing more Foci than that when I played the beta. Have you tried making another character with a different descriptor and type? I thought I remembered seeing that in TToN the Descriptor and type narrowed the possible foci you could pick. I could be wrong though, not sure. In the PnP version it doesn't work that way, but for some reason I want to say it does with the game.

I'm also very concerned with this as well. I'm almost afraid to read the updates now. I really don't even want to know what all has been cut. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that all the Companions were cut. :(
No, I haven't, I've only fixed the clock with a Stealthy Jack.

Edit: I also tried it with an Observant Nano. I also paid attention to the Tides, this time, and checked the Tides of my Stealthy Jack. The Stealthy Jack's dominant Tide was Blue, the Observant Nano's dominant tide was Silver & Indigo. And just for full reference, the Stealthy Jack was female, the Observant Nano was male.

Still got the exact same basic three predictable Foci to choose from - one social focus, one combat focus, and one stealth focus.

Not Descriptor, Type, Tides nor Gender made any difference.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 1:34 pm
by Serjo
No, the beta has just those three foci. You can see it in the game files.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 1:39 pm
by Luckmann
Serjo wrote:No, the beta has just those three foci. You can see it in the game files.
Well that makes it incredibly unlikely that there's going to be any more added, considering that early access' last update was just a month ago, and with less than 22 days to go until release. I guess that explains the silence.

Sad, but I'm not even sure I want to see more Foci hackjobbed into the game at this point, considering that they'd likely have absolutely zero reactivity in terms of narrative, dialogue and quests, being thrown in purely as mechanical modifiers this late in the game.

Thanks for the input, though.

:cry:

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 1:44 pm
by Serjo
Here's something interesting:
<ID>84</ID>
<DefaultText>All of these and more are in the depths of your memories, as though this body recalls every gift the Changing God ever had. Some sparks are buried deeper than the others, inaccessible at the moment, but *there*. Perhaps with time and experience, you might find a way to access more than just those within easy reach.

{COLIN: At present, it doesn't look like we'll have the bandwidth to create additional foci, so I'm moving this node down where it will never play. If this changes and we get more foci later, please move this node back between 67 and 68.}</DefaultText>
From the file "x2021_trainerfathom_kamose_villon_diviaticu.stringtable"

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 2:16 pm
by Luckmann
Serjo wrote:Here's something interesting:
<ID>84</ID>
<DefaultText>All of these and more are in the depths of your memories, as though this body recalls every gift the Changing God ever had. Some sparks are buried deeper than the others, inaccessible at the moment, but *there*. Perhaps with time and experience, you might find a way to access more than just those within easy reach.

{COLIN: At present, it doesn't look like we'll have the bandwidth to create additional foci, so I'm moving this node down where it will never play. If this changes and we get more foci later, please move this node back between 67 and 68.}</DefaultText>
From the file "x2021_trainerfathom_kamose_villon_diviaticu.stringtable"
I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. That is somehow priceless, yet so, so damn sad.

Thanks a lot, though. I'm so happy I never got around to backing the game in the first place, now. I'd be absolutely livid.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 3:02 pm
by Takkik
That would explain the silence about the foci and no trailer about them. If it's true that really a shame. If a dev come here please answer us, I prefer to learn it now (like the others cuts) than expecting getting new foci and didn't find them at release.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 6th, 2017, 3:36 pm
by Luckmann
Takkik wrote:That would explain the silence about the foci and no trailer about them. If it's true that really a shame. If a dev come here please answer us, I prefer to learn it now (like the others cuts) than expecting getting new foci and didn't find them at release.
Every time you quote someone on the forum, that person gets a notification, which is part of the reason I specifically pinged Sears in the OP. The thread is also at the top of this subforum. They're fully aware of this, and not responding by conscious choice. If they're going to be responding at all, it's going to be damage control, which they're likely considering how to handle first, nothing else.

If there were no issue whatsoever, they would've just come out and said so right away.

It's a real pity, too, because the Foci is really what sets characters apart from eachother in terms of themes. A Charismatic Nano is only different from an Observant Nano in how they approach things, and in a real RPG that would matter quite a lot more than in a CRPG (because you'll always have to contend with the same number of preset options as offered by the "GM" - that is, the developers).

But your foci is what determines how you go about doing things. The difference between a Hardy Glaive who Rages and a Hardy Glaive who Needs No Weapon is the difference between a Barbarian and a Monk, to use D&D analogies. A Cruel Nano who Bears a Halo of Fire is akin to a pyromancer or inquisitor, whereas a Cruel Nano who Lives in the Wilderness or who Controls Beasts would be more as a druid or ranger.

But I'm sure who Masters Defense (with it's passive-play retaliatory strike and +10% bonus to shields), or who Brandishes a Silver Tongue (with it's +1 Effort to Persuasion, Deceive & Intimidation) will be just as fulfilling.

Maybe not.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 4:47 am
by Grotesque
Luckmann wrote:[...]or is it just yet more silently cut key material that's been shoved under the carpet?
Image

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 1:46 pm
by Serjo
From the reddit post on the subject:
It's not looking good. FWIW, here's the foci that were originally planned, from the ttongui.stringtable file of one of the early betas:

Brandishes a Silver Tongue (T:ToN: The Explorer's Guide)
Breathes Shadow (T:ToN: The Explorer's Guide)
Crafts Unique Objects (Numenera corebook)
Explores Where Others Fear To Tread
Masters Defense (Numenera corebook)
Hunts With Great Skill (Numenera corebook)
Masters Weaponry (Numenera corebook)
Slays with Bolts
Summons Uncanny Forces
Understands Many Things
TTONGui.FOCUS_FIDDLESWITHTIME,
Snares Deadly Prey (T:ToN: The Explorer's Guide)
Murders (player version)
Rages (Numenera corebook)
Rides the Lightning (Numenera corebook)
TTONGui.FOCUS_FOCUSESMINDOVERMATTER, (Numenera corebook)
Murders (Matkina)
TTONGUI.FOCUS_OOMFEEDSONADMIRATION, (Oom)
Is as Heroic as He Believes Himself to Be (Erritis)
Knows How to Take Care of Himself (Tybir)
Talks to Gods (Rhin)
Pierces Realities (Callistege)
Fights With His Demons (Aligern)
TTONGui.FOCUS_RIASTRADWRESTSPOWERFROMPAIN (Riastrad)

N.B. these aren't cut stretch goals, but cuts from the base game itself - the game that they expected to be possible with only a fraction of the money that was raised in the end. Don't be fooled, though - this is a big cut. From the Four Pillars document:
But your focus is where things get most interesting. Your focus is the gift (and the curse) that you have inherited or created, one defined through your relationship with the numenera and your years of training. Your focus helps you manifest your powers to their full extent. You might ride the lightning, electricity dancing at your command. You might master weaponry to become one of the most fearsome warriors of the Ninth World, or even summon uncanny forces to do your bidding. There are many more options, and the choice of which is yours.
and from the Numenera corebook:
Focus is what makes your character unique. No two PCs in a group should have the same focus. Your focus gives you benefits when you create your character and each time you ascend to the next tier. It's the verb of the sentence "I am an adjective noun who verbs."
What makes this particularly egregious is the explanation offered for the lack of explanation on the stretch goal cuts:
"We should have communicated the cuts earlier," he added, "when they happened. Unfortunately, because we were busy finishing and polishing the game, we neglected to reach out to our community and explain the changes that were necessary. Please know that we absolutely and sincerely apologise to our backers for that lack of communication.
What this shows is that this isn't the truth at all - the reason the cuts weren't communicated wasn't because inXile was busy finishing and polishing the game, but because they were hoping that nobody had noticed. When they announced cuts, they only announced the ones that had already discussed by people digging through the game files, and continued their policy of not discussing the cuts that nobody had (at that time) noticed.

inXile, if you want to regain the confidence of backers, there is only one thing you can do: not only address these cuts that have just been noticed, tell us what else has been cut from the original pitch. This would include custom portraits, and the faction that George Ziets apparently said he would "talk about later".
On a side note: the mention of "Riastrad wrests power from pain" and "Oom feeds on admiration" means that this list predates the companion cuts. And "crafts unique objects" presumably predates the scrapping of the entire crafting system.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 2:03 pm
by Havelok_
The data mining is extremely revealing. I would rather they take Foci out completely than leave a measly 3 in the game, honestly. If there are going to be more than three, they could easily pop in this thread (or the several others on reddit and elsewhere) and say that there will me more. :(

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 2:41 pm
by Luckmann
Serjo wrote:[...]

Brandishes a Silver Tongue (T:ToN: The Explorer's Guide)
Breathes Shadow (T:ToN: The Explorer's Guide)
Crafts Unique Objects (Numenera corebook)
Explores Where Others Fear To Tread
Masters Defense (Numenera corebook)
Hunts With Great Skill (Numenera corebook)
Masters Weaponry (Numenera corebook)
Slays with Bolts
Summons Uncanny Forces
Understands Many Things
TTONGui.FOCUS_FIDDLESWITHTIME,
Snares Deadly Prey (T:ToN: The Explorer's Guide)
Murders (player version)
Rages (Numenera corebook)
Rides the Lightning (Numenera corebook)
TTONGui.FOCUS_FOCUSESMINDOVERMATTER, (Numenera corebook)
Murders (Matkina)
TTONGUI.FOCUS_OOMFEEDSONADMIRATION, (Oom)
Is as Heroic as He Believes Himself to Be (Erritis)
Knows How to Take Care of Himself (Tybir)
Talks to Gods (Rhin)
Pierces Realities (Callistege)
Fights With His Demons (Aligern)
TTONGui.FOCUS_RIASTRADWRESTSPOWERFROMPAIN (Riastrad)

[...]
The most depressing thing about this reveal is that only 8 were intended for CNPC use, and that Foci for all 8 of those are still in the game, despite there only being 6 now. This suggests that there was never really any genuine plans at all to create 9 CNPC:s for the game. This makes the claim that they simply couldn't finish in time ridiculous, and the claims that they totally didn't know about the cuts over a year ago is an insane degree of wilful ignorance at best.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 2:55 pm
by Serjo
It's also possible that the ninth companion was cut very early, or that work on them was postponed until inXile decided to scrap them altogether. All we can say for sure is that there's zero evidence of their existence in the game files.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 4:22 pm
by Luckmann
Serjo wrote:It's also possible that the ninth companion was cut very early, or that work on them was postponed until inXile decided to scrap them altogether. All we can say for sure is that there's zero evidence of their existence in the game files.
The fact remains that there's some remains of all the others that were cut, but there's no evidence of the 9th. I think that's pretty damning that not a single shred of the 9th companion made it into the game. It shows that they've known for an extremely long time that there was no way, no how that there was actually going to be 9 companions. The others are entirely debatable, but no effort was spent on that 9th CNPC.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 8:25 pm
by merz
ah, this is pretty major considering this is a core feature of the numenera RPG.I full well understand the need to streamline the project in light of schedule, budget and ability to deliver,but if this is confirmed to be true, its probably more significant than omission of several companions.
this is very much numenera's equivalent of a class system. not having it in the game, nor the reactivity for it properly written into the thing is a lapse so tremendous that it should have, at the very least, been brought to the community's attention much earlier on in an attempt to find the best way to rectify it with backer involvement. while there will be many to respond with 'SHH, AT LEAST THEY'RE GIVING US A TORMENT GAME', its a further blemish on crowd-funding as a mechanism towards such titles seeing the light of day. People are obviously going to be reluctant to contribute to any project when the platform itself shows even the most respectable studios let commitments to their backers fall by the wayside. a recent post asked whether 'emotionally-invested backers are bad for the industry', and the answer to that perhaps rests in the span of time and circumstances it has taken for this project and many others to get off the ground. It was only because of the strong emotional investment some backers brought with them, and the developer should be held accountable for the way they have been treated.

the silence is alarming.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 10:17 pm
by Lord of Riva
i dont even mind that much that there isnt a wealth of foci but at the same time i think three would be really bad.

If thats the case why not just give us a focus like: "who sheds bodies like skin" or "whose body was touched by a god" or simply "who is a castoff"
as an example?

that would not have been detrimental to the game AND less effort to do (because instead of three you only have to design one), it may have been to late at this point but it is irritating nonetheless.

Still, even if this was not the case with the companions, there is still a chance that these were not cut at all. That said i agree that we should inform others (who have not yet bought the game) about so that they may make a informed decision.

I still think that torment will be excellent story wise but i also wonder what remains of the things i hoped to see (R.I.P Toy) but that we will see at the 28th, i own the game anyways.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 7th, 2017, 10:32 pm
by Luckmann
Lord of Riva wrote:i dont even mind that much that there isnt a wealth of foci but at the same time i think three would be really bad.

If thats the case why not just give us a focus like: "who sheds bodies like skin" or "whose body was touched by a god" or simply "who is a castoff"
as an example?

[...]
I agree. I'd rather see no choice than a false, irrelevant choice. Having only three extremely generic ones is pretty bad, to the point where I'd rather have a single one assigned to me at the start of the game. The three to pick from feels a bit like a mockery.

Re: Character Creation - Determining Verb/Foci

Posted: February 8th, 2017, 12:06 am
by Firkraag
Lord of Riva wrote:If thats the case why not just give us a focus like: ... "who is a castoff" as an example?
Who Was Cast Off obviously. =)

Also, I think it's neat idea. There's a Castoff descriptor in Explorer's Guide, it seems, but Focus might be fun just as well.