Thursday, July 15, 2010

Talking Toxins

One of the hazards of this blog is that I'm going to spend time (DAYS!) talking about stuff that you cannot and (I'll wager) should not give a crap about. In this case: more on toxins.

Today I ran the scripts to test TOXIC CLOUD. Toxic Cloud bypasses all the "draws blood" nonsense and simply hits the target with a Resisted Attack that they must roll against. It's the same thing we had before: it does immediate damage and then continuing damage until they make a CON roll at some negative (usually -1).

Given the JAGS Resisted Attack rules I realized (I saw it yesterday but didn't quite know what to make of it) that there was a problem: the problem is that a given damage-dealing toxin is NOT suitable for all AP Ranges. Let's see what I mean by that:

Average Damage Points vs. Intensity of the Toxin
A check of the 32 AP Herd shows me that the 30%-Attack builds (16 characters) have, on the average, 42 DP. The average for the 4 Weapon-Using members (the 50%-Attack builds that I give a weapon to in order to test it) have, on the average 31 DP.

The Toxic Cloud at the 32 AP level wants a 65 Intensity in order to win 50% of its fights assuming the Toxic Cloud Attack operates at range, gets +2 to hit, and fires twice per Round. According to my calculations that means it has a 16- roll and, if the attacker rolls a 6 or less it'll deal its maximal Catastrophic attack of 24 pts of damage immediately and 8pts of recurring damage. More likely the attacker will roll a 10 and get a MAJOR EFFECT which will do 16 damage followed by 6.

These are all respectable numbers.

But when I outfit the weapon in a "more likely" Breath-Weapon configuration of firing once per Round? It wants an Intensity of 140 (Roll of a 30-) in order to win 45% of the time. In other words, the somewhat meager damage that this particular brand of toxin does will NOT win you a fight (against powerful fists, blades, a .357 equivalent gun, or energy blast) unless it regularly does its maximal effect.

Even worse, the stats for a 'breath weapon' I'd like to have include 1x-per-Round fire and a Cool Down round or even Charge Up (so the Toxic beast can't breathe on the party 1st Round). I know what my simulator will say: probably no amount of Intensity will give that configuration a win.

Not with that toxin.

Other Toxins
Of course I'm free to build any toxin I want. We have a good number of effects to choose from and can integrate even more with a little effort. I can have the toxin simply deal an immediate and fight-winning unconscious/death result. I can have the CRITICAL EFFECT level do a million points of damage. I can play with this however I want.

What we think this means is that there will need to be different schedules of toxin that will be either more or less relevant at differing point levels. The Toxin I have now is good for a fantasy game level: if your fighter gets a really bad CON roll and suffers 24 points of damage he's probably down and maybe out--but it isn't necessarily an instant kill.

On the other hand, if you are building a venomous super-villain or space-marine bad-ass (40K type with, uhm, a super-toxic boomerang gun or something wacky like that) then you could get a "schedule 2" toxin where the critical and catastrophic effects do like 100pts of damage (and Major is much higher too). The simulator should, in fact, balance this for the lower levels as well: the starting Intensity for a 32pt Herd might be more like 20 instead of 65.

However, with this toxin, higher Intensity scores will allow the toxin to be relevant to higher damage classes.

So we'll see. I need to cook some of these up and then test them.


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