Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Where did you come from?

DnD Next is going to have a system for character background.  Unlike previous iterations of the game that (in core modules, at least) ignored background entirely there will be advice and tools to help people set up an engaging history for their character.  I remember reading DnD 2nd edition and seeing a few tips here and there about building a character but there was very little actual help and a lot of 'Just DO stuff!'  The game focused on rules and tables and assumed that roleplaying was pretty much entirely up to the people involved.

The old way of doing things has upsides and downsides - for those who don't care to roleplay it is fine of course and for experts who generate ideas effortlessly there is no need for codified background help.  On the other hand beginners often found getting into DnD very intimidating, particularly if they were expected to build a character history.  Some games offered systems to roll very precise histories and those I found to be much better for newbies because it got them into the game with the expectation that roleplaying was a thing and gave them some concrete examples and ideas.  It did have problems though that if you actually wanted to build your own character history there were often issues with balance since history often awarded specific bonuses and penalties.

I feel like the new idea of having backgrounds built into the core game is a much better strategy.  Beginners are likely to only read and/or own the core book so the material for them should be in there!  Experts who want tons of crunch and options and numbers can buy and (ab)use all of the splat materials that inevitably come out so they should be full of more spells, feats, classes, races, etc.  The basic books should present simple systems to build characters that have some interesting story already behind them that provides a good place to begin telling a tale.

They have gone with three things that form a character's background:  Bonds, Flaws, and Ideals.  Personally I would prefer to have background be composed of things that happened to the character like enemies, friends, accidents, debts, and such rather than to dictate their actions and mental state but this is still a step up from 'Time for character details.  Choose a name and alignment.  Done!'  They still have alignment in the system because they are desperate to hamstring themselves by including lame duck mechanics from the stone age but at least they are offering more things to flesh characters out and making it clear that this is a core concept.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wanted: Heroes to save the world. Good pay, some danger.

I am going to be starting up a new fantasy roleplaying campaign in the next little bit.  I will be running it and I already have two players so I need one or two people to fill the roster.  We will be using the RPG I designed called Heroes By Trade.  I have been testing it over the past 7 months or so and it has come out the other side of testing seeming very robust and the reviews have been really positive so now it is time to run a campaign and see how that goes.

My games definitely have a roleplaying emphasis and I want people who are interested in making a character with real history and depth.  There will be hard decisions and you will develop relationships with all kinds of denizens of the world, including each other.  Familiarity with the system or tactical skill is not required - there will be fighting and dicechucking but as long as you are willing to learn and excited about playing I don't expect perfect play by any stretch.  The learning curve in terms of numbers and rules is drastically easier than regular DnD but the depth of tactical play is fairly substantial; figuring out how things work is simple but figuring out exactly what is the optimal thing to do can be challenging.

The current plan is to play in the afternoons starting noonish and stopping before suppertime, probably on Fridays.  Currently I plan on playing at my place.  If you read this blog and are interested but aren't familiar with me IRL that means Yonge/Eglinton in Toronto; feel free to contact me even if we have never met face to face.  Your ability to show up regularly is critical.  I am not interested in constantly cancelling or rescheduling games because you can't make it.  However, if you want to play but can't make the listed times but have other times you could be consistently available let me know - I will keep alternate arrangements in mind.

So, if you want to kill some monsters, explore a fantastical world, and save all existence from the Void then send me an email or reply on Facebook.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

High level play - Success!

Earlier I was musing about high level play in Heroes By Trade.  I had a lot of good testing at level one but I definitely needed to make sure my numbers were right for higher level play.  This past weekend I built a new adventure for higher level folks and ran a level thirteen group through it.  I had intended for it to take three to four hours but we ended up playing all day and definitely logged more than nine hours start to finish.  It was awesome!  I have a lot of conclusions about how things worked out but mostly I am very happy with how the system stood up.  A meteor landed!  Someone was going to use it to summon a volcano and destroy the town!  Monsters were slain!  Character plans went terrible awry and a random cook got killed for no good reason!  Monsters are no problem but totally regular walls you could buy at the store are highly dangerous when you fall off them!

Combat felt better at level thirteen than at level one because characters had more choice.  Generally at level one characters have two Powers and at level thirteen they have six Powers.  This difference is immense because it means that a character can have a gap closer, a self heal, a single target damage attack, a debuff remover, an AOE attack, and a debuff.  This is a very diverse toolbox that allows for all kinds of reactions to events and having that really makes characters more effective.  At level one you have to pick just two of the categories above (there are other categories but these encompass the bulk of the Powers) and it is easy to see that you will have serious problems with many situations.  It feels like level one characters are limited and need to learn new things which seems just fine to me.

Rituals didn't get as full a test as I would have liked.  One character chose to know zero Rituals and the other only three although I would normally expect five Rituals per character at this level.  There just wasn't enough space to really give them a full test but at least we did get to test the single Epic Ritual a character took... she used Time Lord and it was AWESOME.  Time Lord!

Time Lord
Difficulty: Epic
Materials: An ornate clock crafted from platinum by a master clockmaker - (Which has Encumbrance 2).
Cast: 1 minute
Cost: 2d6
Duration: Instant
Effect: When this Ritual is completed the world continues on for 1 hour during which you can do whatever you like and everyone else acts as normal.  After the hour is up everything rewinds to the exact moment the Ritual was completed but you retain your memories of what occurred during that hour.  No one else recalls the event, nor can they tell the difference between the time during the Ritual vs. normal time.  Although you can attempt to do things exactly the same way a second time around there are no guarantees everything will go exactly as planned because minor differences can change the course of events.  If you are knocked out during the hour your memories will obviously be less than useful and if you die you will remember everything up to (but not beyond!) the point of your death after the reset.

The one thing that became very clear is that throwing a horde of dorks against a high level group isn't functional.  The characters were attacked by fifteen mooks who by the numbers should have presented some kind of reasonable challenge but the characters Augmented their brutal AOE attacks and absolutely annihilated the enemies.  I kind of figured that might happen but it was clear that I have to note in the document that the system breaks down when there are that many enemies.  I think things work best when there are two to four enemies but the only real possibilities for degenerate combats are the ones with a single opponent or huge numbers of opponents.  These open up chances to (ab)use debuffs and AOE respectively and can sometimes not work well.  That said I think my system for determining enemy strength is robust but it does need the GM to use their brain a bit.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tiers of play in Heroes By Trade

I have always been intrigued by the shifts in playstyle in games when players level up.  This is most obvious in tabletop RPGs I think but it appears everywhere.  Even in Blood Bowl there is a distinct early game where your players don't have block and you don't have many rerolls where the game is hilariously random and you knock your own team over constantly whereas the late game is much more predictable.  The thing I have been wondering is whether or not people really want distinct game stages in their roleplaying games.  Hobo was talking about this after he tested Heroes By Trade with me; specifically he didn't find that he was looking forward to high level play that much because there weren't huge and cool new things to acquire.

I have no objection to tiers of gameplay in some sense; fantasy stories often incorporate the idea of a group of people who start off doing trivial things like fighting some bandits or travelling through a dangerous forest who later on become super heroic and battle dragons while teleporting across the land.  The trouble with these tiers I find is that an author has much greater control over the crazy powers that tend to dominate high level play.  In a game with tremendous flexibility players tend to wreck carefully constructed worlds by using the tools at their disposal intelligently.  They teleport into throne rooms and massacre kings, fly above armies incinerating them with fireballs, and sneak around permanently invisible.

The trouble is always the utility spells.  Fireball is great and all but it is the flying and invisibility that really causes problems and teleport is nothing but a headache waiting to happen.  I determined that in Heroes By Trade there would be utility Rituals but they are restricted by how fast you can heal the damage you take by using them and are designed to not get out of control.  Characters slowly learn new Rituals and there isn't a breakpoint where they suddenly become supremely powerful or begin breaking the rules - it is a matter of slow, constant progression.  Also Rituals are gated not by level but by investment so a relatively low level character who really wants to can learn the most powerful Rituals at the cost of being much less flexible in other ways.  I don't want to let utility get out of control like DnD always did and that isn't going to change.

The other way people progress is raw combat power - bigger numbers.  Characters avoid more attacks, take less damage, hit more often, do more damage, and have a wider selection of Powers as they level up.  The difference is quite dramatic in total but it is a matter of incremental changes.  +1 to this, -1 to that, one more option over here.  I really don't want characters to be army killing engines and the system is designed to reflect that.  A high level group could easily and indefinitely hold a small chokepoint against a huge number of infantry but if they end up surrounded by one hundred random people with longbows they are going to get wrecked very rapidly.

Heroes By Trade is very much designed around that idea of incremental changes rather than alternating 'dead levels' and massive new benefits but  I think it is worth considering how I might add significant benefits of some kind that are available at higher levels.  At first glance I am tempted to do this through class perks - at the moment each class picks one of three perks when they begin but I could add more perks at higher levels that characters can choose from.  It would require making up a bunch more unique and interesting things for each class but it would certainly add something potent to look forward to.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Feats of Balance

DnD Next has a new blog post out about feats.  In all previous editions where feats appeared they were a collection of mostly garbage abilities mixed up with a few mandatory picks.  There was also the issue of having large feat trees where the baseline feat sucked and if you got to the end of the tree it was worth it... but if you stopped playing before then you never got the good and/or interesting final feat.  Next is now swapping to a new system where you can either take +2 to a stat (or +1 to two stats) or take a feat and the feats are drastically more power than in previous incarnations.

First off this should allow the feat designers to balance the feats reasonably because they have a hard baseline to work with - feats have to be as good as +1 to hit and +1 to damage.  While I don't know that they will get the feats properly balanced it is clear that they are trying to do so, much more so than they did in previous editions where many feats were obvious 'skill testers'.  If the balance works out it has the excellent side benefit of making characters who do use feats and those who use the basic system without feats be comparable in combat.  It is a relatively smooth system of introducing complexity without mucking with balance; in theory I approve.

There are two examples of feats given:

Great Weapon Master

Benefit: You gain proficiency in heavy martial weapons.

When you make a melee attack with a weapon, you can take a –5 penalty to the attack roll to double your damage with that attack.  When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon or reduce a creature to 0 hit points with a melee weapon, you can make one additional melee attack as a part of the same action. The attack granted by this feat cannot trigger another attack from this feat.

Heavy Armor Master

Prerequisite: Proficiency with medium armor

Benefit: You have proficiency with heavy armor.  When you are wearing heavy armor, you have a +1 bonus to AC, and you reduce all bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage you take by an amount equal to your Constitution modifier.

As usual the devil is in the details.  These feats, while very cool, don't seem to fit into the scheme given above of being equivalent to +2 to a stat since they are far too powerful.  The second feat gives +1 AC, which is half of a feat, and up to 5 damage reduction.  At low levels 5 damage reduction is absolutely absurd and will handily reduce damage taken by 50%.  Even at fifteenth level where characters have 150 HP this is still going to be at least 15% damage reduction while +2 Constitution would be 10% more HP.  The weapon feat is much more challenging to evaluate because it very much depends on the availability of random dorks to cleave through.  If there are a lot of dorks to smash and/or the characters are hitting on numbers like 6 then the weapon feat will be hilariously overpowered.  This is particularly true because taking -5 to hit does not penalize the chance to critical so characters are definitely incentivized to take the -5 to get utterly absurd criticals.  (Double damage!  Doubled again!  Also get a free attack!  Kaboom!)  So these feats are neat in theory but it remains to be seen if they can make their balance goals work with the final, polished versions.

So in theory, good ideas.  In practice, balance is a big problem.  I guess that describes pretty much the entire DnD Next process so far...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Squeezing through the gaps

There is a constant drive in rules design for a tabletop RPG to add more rules and greater rules complexity to improve flexibility and immersion.  What if the characters want to swim across a small lake?  Can they make it?  What if they fall in a river and sink?  How long until they drown?  How much money can a swordsmith of average skill make in a week anyway?  How about if she has a bad cold and is distracted by thoughts of her upcoming trip?  Obviously at some point the rules become terribly unwieldy and overly complex but finding that perfect point of balance is really tricky.  Hobo was over this weekend and we were discussing the rules for squeezing in Heroes By Trade which really make this point admirably.

Squeezing comes about when the space a creature takes up on a combat grid is larger than a spot it wishes to go through.  For example, if you have a person taking up a normal two meter by two meter square they can clearly squeeze through a one meter wide opening.  What happens to them when this is taking place?  How does it affect their movement and combat capabilities?  This question also arises when a creature taking up a chunk of space two squares wide tries to squeeze between two enemies who have one empty space between them.  Surely the large creature can get itself through a space two meters wide, but how does this occur exactly?

I want to have the rules cover this circumstance but every time I try to write something up it ends up being half a page.  I really want to avoid gigantic blocks of text because I know every time I see such things in a system somebody else wrote I shake my head and just make something up.  It simply isn't fun to spend ten minutes reading a complicated section of rules several times to make sure you understand it when it will only apply for a few moments, especially when it will come up very seldom.  Any rules surrounding something that comes up constantly or which is integral to the system have a lot more leeway of course; some rules you just have to figure out.  When something is situational or niche though it simply must be simple and quick to adjudicate or you might as well not write it. 

As as example of this here we have Heroes By Trade rules about grabbing another combatant followed by Pathfinder's rules.  Note that the Pathfinder rules listed are not nearly comprehensive and several more large entries are required.  To actually understand the whole thing you should probably visit a page especially designed to let you understand grappling, like this one.

Heroes By Trade rules:


Anyone can use a Maneuver against an enemy within their reach by declaring which Maneuver they are using and making a Physical Hit Roll.  No weapon properties are added for this roll.

Grab:  The target is Immobilized for 1 round if the attacker stays adjacent to it.  Using a weapon with the Grab property allows the Hit Roll for a Grab to be made at advantage.  A Grab can only be made against an adjacent opponent regardless of either combatant’s reach.  To make a Grab the attacker must either have a free hand or be using a weapon with the Grab property.

Immobilized:  You are held in place.  You may not leave your current square voluntarily or otherwise.

Pathfinder rules:


As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll. If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition (see the Appendices). If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails). Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds. Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).

Move: You can move both yourself and your target up to half your speed. At the end of your movement, you can place your target in any square adjacent to you. If you attempt to place your foe in a hazardous location, such as in a wall of fire or over a pit, the target receives a free attempt to break your grapple with a +4 bonus.

Damage: You can inflict damage to your target equal to your unarmed strike, a natural attack, or an attack made with armor spikes or a light or one-handed weapon. This damage can be either lethal or nonlethal.

Pin: You can give your opponent the pinned condition (see Conditions). Despite pinning your opponent, you still only have the grappled condition, but you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC.

Tie Up: If you have your target pinned, otherwise restrained, or unconscious, you can use rope to tie him up. This works like a pin effect, but the DC to escape the bonds is equal to 20 + your Combat Maneuver Bonus (instead of your CMD). The ropes do not need to make a check every round to maintain the pin. If you are grappling the target, you can attempt to tie him up in ropes, but doing so requires a combat maneuver check at a –10 penalty. If the DC to escape from these bindings is higher than 20 + the target's CMB, the target cannot escape from the bonds, even with a natural 20 on the check.

If You Are Grappled: If you are grappled, you can attempt to break the grapple as a standard action by making a combat maneuver check (DC equal to your opponent's CMD; this does not provoke an attack of opportunity) or Escape Artist check (with a DC equal to your opponent's CMD). If you succeed, you break the grapple and can act normally. Alternatively, if you succeed, you can become the grappler, grappling the other creature (meaning that the other creature cannot freely release the grapple without making a combat maneuver check, while you can). Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that requires only one hand to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you. See the grappled condition for additional details. If you are pinned, your actions are very limited. See the pinned condition in Conditions for additional details.

Multiple Creatures: Multiple creatures can attempt to grapple one target. The creature that first initiates the grapple is the only one that makes a check, with a +2 bonus for each creature that assists in the grapple (using the Aid Another action). Multiple creatures can also assist another creature in breaking free from a grapple, with each creature that assists (using the Aid Another action) granting a +2 bonus on the grappled creature's combat maneuver check.

Grappled: A grappled creature is restrained by a creature, trap, or effect. Grappled creatures cannot move and take a –4 penalty to Dexterity. A grappled creature takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and combat maneuver checks, except those made to grapple or escape a grapple. In addition, grappled creatures can take no action that requires two hands to perform. A grappled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level), or lose the spell. Grappled creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity.

A grappled creature cannot use Stealth to hide from the creature grappling it, even if a special ability, such as hide in plain sight, would normally allow it to do so. If a grappled creature becomes invisible, through a spell or other ability, it gains a +2 circumstance bonus on its CMD to avoid being grappled, but receives no other benefit.

Pinned: A pinned creature is tightly bound and can take few actions. A pinned creature cannot move and is flat-footed. A pinned character also takes an additional –4 penalty to his Armor Class. A pinned creature is limited in the actions that it can take. A pinned creature can always attempt to free itself, usually through a combat maneuver check or Escape Artist check. A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component. A pinned character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level) or lose the spell. Pinned is a more severe version of grappled, and their effects do not stack.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The final level 1 test

I ran a short adventure I wrote for Heroes By Trade on Monday.  So far I have run three Level 1 groups through the adventure taking between 3-4 hours each time.  The first group was aggressive (might I suggest crazy?) in the spending of their health to power abilities and ended up with one death in the final fight.  The other groups had some serious damage taken but both ended up clearing out the adventure with no deaths incurred.  The lesson I learned from this is that my monster balance guidelines are pretty solid.  The final encounter was supposed to be quite challenging and people that entered into it injured were in extreme danger - exactly as its difficulty rating would suggest.  I am really pleased with the system overall and the combat in particular but there are a couple things that I really would like to fix.

The first problem is the way skills work.  In DnD people are all allowed to roll their skill checks for various challenges.  If you need to recall something with History everybody rolls, same with listening at doors, picking locks, etc.  I hate the system of 'everyone at the table roll and take the best result' because it feels utterly ridiculous to have all the characters crowding up to a door to listen just in case somebody rolls particularly highly.  In HBT the person with the best check rolls instead.  This makes the rolling a little bit simpler and emphasizes talent over luck but it has the problem that if Flavius has a +10 to Tools and Georg has a +11 to Tools then Flavius never gets to roll at all because Georg takes care of every Tools check.  I really want to find some clean, easy way that allows people who are fairly skilled to matter even if they aren't quite the best.  It does reflect real life in a lot of ways - in a small team having people specialize in different tasks is definitely the best way to go when you know you will encounter a huge variety of situations.  Being the second best driver in a four person bank heist team is not so useful.

The other issue is positioning doesn't feel quite impactful enough.  People either were in melee range of a given target or not and there wasn't much in the way of other states.  Unfortunately in all my tests everyone ignored positioning abilities and went with defensive or damaging abilities instead.  This sort of bias in ability choice means that I really lack good data on how I could potentially adjust things.  If everyone is crazy and should have been using positional abilities all along I don't want to buff them but if my playtesters intuition on what they should take is correct it seems positioning just isn't important enough.  It is a hard thing to determine.  I definitely want to get away from the annoying attacks of opportunity that most systems seem to incorporate and let people move around more freely but if I make positioning too simple then a lot of interest goes out of the combats.

Aside from those two problems though everything feels awesome.  The next step is to write a new adventure for higher level folks and see how things change with more interesting and flexible enemies and when characters have more selection in terms of abilities.  I guess I will do level 10 first and see how it goes.  Hopefully my simulators continue to get enemy stats in the correct ballparks.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

More XP!

WOW is jumping the shark, or so the internet says.  In the next PTR patch they are testing out a consumable that increases experience gained by 100% for a limited time and that consumable is purchased using real money in an online shop.  Blizzard is leaping into a Pay To Win model people claim and ruining their good name.  I don't buy that sort of thinking in the least.

First off, the idea that levelling up faster will wreck the game is a complete joke.  Getting to maximum level isn't 'winning' in any competitive sense.  Any moron with a mouse and a lot of time can click their way to maximum level regardless so it is hard to imagine it being considered some kind of important win condition to preserve.  The level grind has become so long and involved (especially the last 10 levels) that maintaining it as a gateway to beginning the point in the game at which there is some modicum of challenge seems unnecessary.  It wouldn't bother me at all if Blizzard just straight up sold max level characters in the store.  If you want to level up and do quests, do it.  If you don't, then don't.  Who cares?

Second, the idea that paying to win isn't currently happening is a bit unsupportable.  There are all kinds of achievements to collect things and many of those things rely on outside purchases.  Not just that but there are a lot of achievements that are made massively easier with access to a lot of gold and buying gold from third parties and then using it to get stuff done is a constant thing.  Granted Blizzard doesn't control that but WOW is definitely not a game that is free from the power of real world cash.  You can get things done if you have money to burn and nothing can stop that.

The really critical point is when the best possible gear at any given time is purchased directly from Blizzard.  If the most skill intensive activities like raiding and PVPing don't award the best gear then people will rightly start bawling.  At the moment you can easily get the same gear as other people using cash but you have to wait until the gear is way behind the curve; the most skilled players definitely retain their status symbols.  There is no way Blizzard is going to change that because although they do bone it up on occasion they aren't THAT stupid.  The best stuff, the most prestigious and current rewards, are always going to be gotten by playing superbly.

It looks to me like Blizzard is really aiming to let people pay to avoid the grind.  If you really object to people being able to pay in money instead of time for a truly trivial task then it is time to suck it up.  That is the model everyone is shifting to and Blizzard isn't going to be left out.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Winning despite myself

I played the final regular season match of Blood Bowl with my Chaos team today.  I really like Chaos - lots of bashing but since everybody has decent Agility I can actually make all kinds of interesting football plays when desperation time arrives.  I was already guaranteed in the playoffs but my opponent, Ziggyny, playing Khorne was not in yet so for him it was a must win situation.  I set up my team on the first turn in a particularly idiotic way and that allowed him to knock two of my dudes off of the field on the first turn which left me facing him at a 9-11 disadvantage right off the bat.

That disastrous start was bad enough but I continued to play in a very mediocre fashion.  Elli was constantly wandering in and out as she is home sick today so I was trying to focus on my game while rushing around fetching things and reassuring her.  Despite those distractions causing me to play poorly I smashed Ziggyny down, killing one of his dudes and winning the game 2-1.  I took a pair of long term casualties myself so my team is in pretty terrible shape going into the playoffs but I get to go to the playoffs so it is pretty hard to complain.

Unfortunately I don't think anyone is especially happy with this result.  I feel kind of terrible walking away from a game where I played badly and won anyway - roll high and win isn't normally a strategy that makes me feel proud.  Ziggyny obviously isn't going to be too impressed with the result either.  Obviously he had fun punishing my mistakes by knocking my dudes out of the game but it is hard to feel great about playing well when you don't get to win anyway.  I guess that is just Blood Bowl - you roll some dice and see who wins.  Superior strategy wins very regularly (I have played at least 50 matches against the computer and only lost once) but there is a lot of randomness left, especially because I didn't play like a complete tool.

I wish I could find the best of both worlds, PVE and PVP.  I like playing against humans who make interesting decisions and force me to be much smarter.  On the other hand I love playing against an opponent that plays rapidly and never runs down their turn timer and good human players tend to use all of the time available to them.  I have a choice between rapid, less challenging play or slower, more challenging play.  Tricky choice, that.