Ever since the rules were first published I’ve been curious about how worthwhile Fortitude would be as a skill. I’m aware of the theoretical benefits, but since we have now had a year of play we have a good bit of sample data to draw from.
So, folks who have died or brushed with death, some questions:
If you have or have had Fortitude, has it made a difference by saving you, or has it just given more time to contemplate your imminent demise?
If you haven’t had Fortitude, but been in battles, would having it made any difference to you?
In our (Marcher) group it has proved useful for those beaters who tend to operate detached from the main line, but I don’t think any of the “line of battle” billmen, etc. have taken it or felt the need of it.
I’ve got a point from my crafted shield (along with Endurance, which was the main reason for the shield).
It’s nice stuff, but I haven’t found it crucial yet. On the other hand, I’ve only got into serious scrapes on the open field, where the risks are much lower - and I will say that the one time I got dropped for a length of time I was a bit sad my shield had been shattered so I didn’t have the fortitude bonus.
Typically worth a point on a pure combat character, I’d say.
I think it compares fairly poorly in terms of value for points. At least the number of times that i am aware of it either saving a life or by bleeding due to a lack of it has been minimal
However I do not rate endurance any better I think it is over priced as well compared to the skills that allow you to things skills.
Certainly given the very easy to get potion and items options if I built a fighter again and the concept did not preclude it the artisan build seems much more effective.
I would include a point of it as a fighting character due to the fact that the additional ranks gained from that point onwards (from items, potions, pacts with Eternals etc.) will then give commensurately higher benefits. When weighing up items, it’s nice for that rank of Fortitude to mean “+2 minutes of deathcount” for a total of 6 minutes bleeding, and if you stack two then you’re suddenly on 9 minutes which is a massive boost indeed.
I quite like having at least one or two points of endurance. It stacks very well with being healed - my +2 endurance potion in Sunday’s battle gave me quite a lot more effective hits than second wind did, being two extra hits every time I got dropped and picked up again. Having just enough hits to go through two enemies without needing healing is also massively helpful when being a heavy skirmisher.
It’s probably not really worth stacking lots of points of it, though - 7 or 8 is a nice middle ground.
Fortitude would have saved my previous character so I figure the skill is quite meaningful as you can happily push out knowing you have some extra time to be rescued if it goes wrong
Endurance seems to be one of the better buys at the moment as it is synergistic with full heal abilities from True Vervain, Heal and Swift Heal. Especially when facing endless hordes of low skilled orcs.
The question is not ‘Fortitude or not’ but ‘Fortitude in exchange for something else’.
As such, it’s impossible to gauge the worth of Fortitude objectively, as even cases of ‘if I had it I would have lived’ fail as you may have fallen over in a completely different scenario if you didn’t have whatever other skill you sacrificed to get Fortitude.
Whatever estimations people give will tend towards the optimistic side because of this fact.
Logically, you will always use that extra hit you have before you fall over. Fortitude will only become relevant in edge cases, where you fall over and are in danger of dying in the window it would make a difference. From experience, the number of those edge cases as a proportion of times you fall over is way, way, way below the 50% that would put it on a par efficiency points wise as Endurance, and more into 5% level.
You can look at other skills the same. If you run out of hero points every battle, then the Cleaves/Second Winds etc. you used are operating at peak efficiency. Same for mana.
Other people’s opinions clearly vary, but at the costs presented in most games, Empire included, the ability to prolong your death once you are no longer contributing in any way is a horribly inefficient way to utilise a limited resource and I stay well clear of them. In Empire terms, I’d rather hypothetically wait two years for an extra point of mana than take Fortitude now and wait two and a half years for that paltry extra mana. Because I reckon I’ll make better use of that point of mana in those two extra events than the extra dying time in the entire two years.
A point of Fortitude might have meant that Estevo wasn’t yet Terminal when his captors started poking him at E1, and thus he might even still be alive today.
As Luiz, I have rarely been bleeding for longer than 59 seconds, but that’s because Unstoppable is an excellent investment. I’m much more likely to pick up Endurance than I am Fortitude, though, when I finally spend some XP.
Where does the 50% come from? The XP cost difference, with the first rank costing 1XP for Fortitude and 2XP for Endurance? If so I’m not persuaded.
For now let’s accept the 5% figure for the proportion of bleeds in which Fortitude makes a difference.
Consider a character with neither Fortitude nor Endurance.
Of the times when that character goes down, Fortitude would add 5% to the chance of survival.
Of the times when that character takes enough hits to go down without Endurance, what difference would an extra point of Endurance make? If it adds 10% to the chance of survival then it’s on par with Fortitude for value*. If more, it’s better* value than Fortitude.
It’s hard to work it out (even with perfect knowledge of what happened there’s too much “what-would-have-happened-if”), but I feel that 10% is not implausible. Often the bleeding character will be saved anyway. Sometimes a character will drop to a Cleave or Impale to the torso, so the Endurance is irrelevant. Sometimes blows are landing thick and fast and the extra hit makes little difference.
*Where I wrote of “value” I was taking a simplistic view, just considering the odds for the character in question without considering the effect on the battle. In fact Endurance has some extra advantages: it means a character needs healing less often, so can do more fighting, and the squad requires fewer healers, potions etc. and the battle is more likely to go well, which in turn means lower risk for the characters in it.
As I thought it was an additional minute of bleeding per rank of fortitude, not a geometric growth.
Ranks of Fortitude
No fortitude = 3 minutes
1 Rank = 4 minutes
2 Ranks = 5 minutes
3 Ranks = 6 minutes
4 Ranks = 7 minutes
5 Ranks = 8 minutes
Its somewhat uncommon to see geometric growth patterns in roleplaying rule systems (with the notable exception of the amount of XP required to reach another level in games like AD&D) and its quite rare to find situations where such growth favours the player. Usually it works the other way around as in the law of diminishing returns.
As it happens, it’s exactly the same progression as Fortitude used to give in Maelstrom, except with 100s replaced with 1 minute.
Edit: As far as I’m concerned, the primary advantage of fortitude is in making it feel less risky to be aggressive. Being aggressive tends to actually correlate with not being dropped, so it’s not that it’s going to be directly relevant very often — but you have a mental safeguard if this one does get fucked up, which means it’s easier to be aggressive and get stuck in.
Of note: what that effectively means is that each purchase of Fortitude adds one minute to your existing death count. You don’t get 3 mins + (1min from Fort 1) + (2 mins from Fort 2) but rather 3 mins + (2 mins from Fort 2).
The magic items which boost Fortitude imply that with +3 ranks you’re looking at a 9-10 minute sort of bleedcount.
That seems to reinforce Dre’s position, but it’s only flavour text.
The skill description also seems to reinforce that though:
“Each time you purchase this skill the time taken for your character to bleed to death increases. The increase is one minute for the first level of fortitude purchased, two minutes for the second level and so on.”
If it were simply +1 minute per level, I’d have guessed the phrasing would be along the lines of:
“Each time you purchase this skill the time taken for your character to bleed to death increases by one minute. So with one level you have one extra minute, with two levels you have two extra minutes, and so on.”
“This powerful elixir (+3 fortitude) that can easily triple the bleeding-out time of the average person”
Is a phrasing which only makes sense if it’s a triangular progression, not a linear one. Similarly, the +1 fort tonic says “This preparation is most effective when drunk by someone who already possesses deep reserves of fortitude.”, which again implies that it’s a non-linear progression.