Sunday, June 27, 2010

Attack Profiles II

You have to read this blog from the bottom up for it to make sense.

Here's the second post on Attack Profiles (a quick one because I haven't much time). I ran some numbers on different potential approaches that were "hypothetically equal." These were:

  1. 20-20, 20-20 (20-20): the character (a 36 AP Energy Blaster) makes 2 attacks each Round for 20 Impact Damage each.
  2. 10-10, 30-30 (10-30): On the first round of combat the character hits for 10-10 twice but on the next round (and every other Round after) the character hits for 30-30.
  3. 30-30, 10-10 (30-10): On the first round of combat the character hits twice for 30 damage each hit and on subsequent (even numbered) Rounds the character only has a 10-10 blast.
Against a "wall" with no armor the damage, 80 IMP each two rounds, works out the same for all of these. However, they don't all have the same percent chance of winning.

20-20's Profile
The "basic profile" gets a 51.92% chance of victory against its peers in the 36 AP Normalized Herd. This is close enough to 50% for us to call it balanced. A character with this profile is assumed to have gotten his money's worth.

10-30's Profile
This guy comes in at 47.34%. It's a little low but not that bad. While we don't do exact costs based on %-wins we might assume that this guy comes in at maybe 35 AP instead of 36. That's a little generous.

30-10's Profile
The guy who hits twice on the first round for 30 damage twice wins 59.52% of the time ... basically 60%. We consider this "too high." In other words, he should not be considered "the same points" as the other guys in our perspective. He might be 40 AP. Maybe (we don't do exact values based on % wins).

I suspect the reason this is the case is because of the way JAGS's damage system works. Here are the factors:
  1. Minor Wounds. When you take a lot of damage all at once it's considered a 'Wound.' A Minor Wound is 1/3rd your total Damage Points so a normal man has 10 DP and a "Minor Wound Value" of 3. When this guy takes 3 or more he must make a Minor Wound roll which can Stun, Daze, or even knock him Unconscious. The higher damage numbers are more likely to result in Minor Wound Rolls for the targets.
  2. Damage Over Armor. Armor removes incoming damage and many characters will have at least a little of it. We believe that "for characters likely to have armor there are some common assumptions you can make as to how much they will have at a given point total." This gives us an "average armor." Damage below that level is worth much less than damage above it (as the damage above it is what the character will actually take). Put another way, in a high armor environment a hypothetical 1-Point-Of-Damage handgun is worth no more than a 0 point of damage handgun as the effect will be the same.
  3. Limited Number of Rounds. In real battles as opposed to hypothetical ones there is a limited number of rounds ... often 2.6 to 3.X. This means that if an attack is useful once "every other round" and it is NOT available on Round 1 of the fight then it may only get one use as opposed to two. This is of key importance to understanding why the 30-10 blast is worth a good deal more than the 10-30 one.
I'm not 100% sure yet however I think what all this implies is: (a) as our testing shows the different Rate of Fire is worth a different amount. We need to keep this sort of thing in perspective when determining how to sell these things to people. (b) The big question is how these rules intersect with the Low Damage rules (I'll go into those in a little more detail later). If a LD character (think a very fast agile character who does poorly against heavy armor) can have a limited number of higher-damage attacks without making them over-powered then it gives that character something to do in heavy-armor environments rather than just watch.

Finally, understanding this is going to be key to other game types. Take for instance our Fantasy game where we envision dragons that "turn on" their breath weapons once every few Rounds forcing a flurry of defensive action. It will be important to understanding our Chi Martial Artists who may charge up Chi Bolts or have to re-gather their strength after a taxing move.


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