Empyrean, Beta, Stats, etc


Four Point Trap and the Trouble

did not help me at all. What is it?

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I am not sure exactly how the four point trap operates here, actually. That is when the same four stats are tested all the time and you have to play “find my highest stat” all the time.


What you’re describing here is pretty close to the Trouble, and the Trouble is what leads to the 4PT.

Now, admittedly, more Declined Testing Choices could help mitigate the Trouble, but then you have to be prepared to write those declinations.

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I am a role player I play to maintain a role consistently. Maintain a persona. I can’t maintain a character if choose a logical action… Like say Mara is cunning and ambitious so I totally see her picking a lock , however she is a well educated noble a snob that believes she is from a superior chaste to mere workers that are sub human for her (like in Metropolis) An she loves art… Half of game I was a Brute who barely knows who wrote Julius Caesar… Half of time I am art enthusiasts Who can describe artists in a gallery but can’t open a damn door with a panel.Same time text is saying both stuff… And don’t let me enter in the pain is cunning vs leadership…

Reading a text like that is broken my friend. I can’t be Ophelia and Macbeth same time in same text. You have guts of iron and next phrase you shake like a coward …


All I know is that how the stats worked for Empyrean and Pendragon Rising made playing the games frustrating and kind of ruined the experience, while most of the other games were much more fun. My favorite games are still Tin Star, the Heroes Rise trilogy and Midsummer. With the Infinity series, Samurai of Hyuga series, and Diabolical not too far behind.


The Four Point Trap is when you set up all choices to have 4 options, each one aligned with a single stat. A player knows the only way to succeed is to pick the option that reads most like their highest stat.

To avoid this, a writer needs to vary options with stat changes.

Not sure what the Trouble is. I haven’r written for the official label in a while.


I believe the Trouble is “the Trouble with unipolar variables” and has to do with stat inflation. This happens when choices are all candy, no cavities.


Would it be better to get this game now or during the steam sale? I’m curious cause I want to buy the game, but I also am kinda a miser…

Now; I think you can’t put a game on sale twice in one month, so it may not be on sale for a discount during the steam sale.

What’s the problem with this? As the game goes on, you’d expect to be facing tougher challenges, thus higher stat checks. And even if you don’t want higher checks, you could just do what a lot of other games do and drastically decrease the amount of options that will raise your stats at some point in the game. In my opinion lowering stats should be used very sparingly if at all, it really doesn’t make sense that to be good at one skill you have to be bad at another (this is the problem with using opposed pairs outside of personality traits too).


The problem has to do with how the Trouble contributes to the 4PT.

If you’ve been using Combat the whole game, and you’ve increased Combat to (say) 60, and you’ve been neglecting your other stats, then you decide that being Stealthy is the better bet for this choice. But because the author wants there to be a “challenge,” the difficulty at this point in the game is something like a 55, meaning…you’ve had to specialize in a skill in order to be high enough to pass the test at this point. The player learns to just pick their best skill (the 4PT), and that’s the Trouble.

There are a variety of ways to mitigate the Trouble, and you can just not indulge it by spacing out the stat increases and not setting the difficulty too high and a variety of other ways. But it’s an problem inherent to unidirectional FairMath (in particular) variables.


Wouldn’t lowering stats that you don’t use just reinforce this problem though?

Also, if the player gets themselves into that situation, it’s their problem IMO. As long as you give them ample opportunities to train their other stats, that’s not something you can criticise the game for.


here if you rise A you lower B. Or you choose only A choices or only B. If you try play a character who have sense you can’t because A and B start to fluctuate and you Are brute in a paragraph then too delicate and more and more non sense continuity errors. That make game a nightmare. Within logic, I passed in a Scene in a gallery from an art expert to a brute couldn’t difference any style or noble… From being a expert door opener to have zero idea

One mitigation technique that I’m employing in the new game is to create the opportunity for a non-statistic/Fairmath variable to allow access to a “success” route that would otherwise be locked.

For example, there’s a scene where the PC has the option to talk an antagonist out of the antagonist’s self-destructive plan. A high charm will allow them to do so, but if the PC was able to learn about about the antagonist’s motivations (through non-charm tested choices earlier in the game), then the PC will be able to succeed at talking the antagonist down, even if the PC has low charm.

It’s more work (and likely a reason for my ballooning word count) but it also provides for a lot of fun narrative possibilities.


I like to mix up options with varied results. If Combat is super high, maybe you succeed in the stat check (shoot your foe) but your foe is now unable to tell you how to diffuse the bomb.

And to keep this on topic I enjoyed Empyrean’s world building.


Right. @FSketchy Pretty sure Empyrean won’t be in the Steam Winter Sale due to some newer rules about how games are discounted there going forward.

The “Trouble” is a fallacy - You are talking about having balanced mechanics that have both drains and faucets. This is where I have issues with the CoG “vision” because a faucet that adds does not need to be immediately countered by a drain in the same basin of the decision at hand.

The positives and negatives consequences of a choice should be balanced but by no means does that mean an increase means an immediate decrease.

Now, if my work which will be balanced and not be all “opposites” is going to get dinged just because I don’t adhere to some rote equation then perhaps I should not move forward with my project.

This is a good example of balancing higher levels of stat attainment with consequences - especially consequences of specializing too much…

As a developer (my opinion) it is important to both reward those who chose to specialize as well as show them there are boundaries where specialization limits them as well. Just as the inverse is correct for those Generalsts - show them there are boundaries that limit success but rewards that enable their success.

Empyrean has all the positives of a novel or comic - awesome AAA writing combined with great world building and first rate character building.

On the other hand

_Empyrean’_s weakness inherently is the mechanical plumbing in its gaming structure. The faucets and drains are such that when you turn one on, the other drains anything gained elsewhere.

Every playthrough I have done with this work I have between 45-55 in every stat and they all started feeling like a clone play-through with minor fluff variants.

That and in my opinion, this work shows signs of being rushed. Several major continuity errors and logic break downs that with more time could have been eliminated pushing this work into the same level that Choice of Robots is at.


If you have continuity errors to report, take screenshots and send them in.

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How long do steam updates usually take to come out? I think someone told me before but I’ve forgotten. The portal destroying bug for saga of the north wind hasn’t been fixed for my steam version and I reported it a couple of weeks ago.

@Mara I very much appreciate you giving us a five-star review on the storefront. That means a lot that you do that for all of our games.

That said, our games are only as good as our beta testers. If people don’t beta test, then we don’t have the data to draw upon. And yes, while @cascat07 did flag the opposed skills issue, one or two people mentioning something isn’t going to compel us to make sweeping changes to a game.

If you want to see our games be better, then, join more betas. Right now, we have “Runt of the Litter” up; I’ve had exactly two people sign up for it.

@Eiwynn Unfortunately, when you say “your work will get dinged,” I don’t know what you’re referring to. Are you talking about a game that you’re currently under contract to write? Are you talking about an HG? Are you talking about a game you’re going to write for the contest?

If you’re talking about a potential contest submission, then that’s exactly the time for you to go against the grain of our vision. That’s the opportunity for you to prove us wrong and for us to learn something new.

More importantly, though, as Mary pointed out, it does no one any good to say “there were continuity errors.” As I’ve been saying for six years: if you find errors, send us an error report.

@Zakkarian I’ll look into it. I thought that had been pushed. EDIT: You know, Tom fixed the other bugs, and said that he fixed that one, but it looks like maybe he didn’t. I’ve written to him, and hopefully he’ll have time to get to it in the next few days.