Thursday, July 1, 2010

Testing and Re-Testing

Read this blog from the first post up or it won't make sense.

I've reached a 75% mark on Power Blast and have come to the conclusion that ALL the tested HTH attacks and General Archetype Traits (which I have already "completed" before this blog started) need to be redone. This is a recurring pattern with JAGS Revised Archetypes and it sucks ass. Here's what's to be done--and why.

The analysis of Power Blast showed us that all our costs were essentially some kind of wrong. The reason was that there is no real "cost per point of damage" for Power Blast and, probably, not for other attacks as well: there is a "start up cost" (Level 1) and then an on-going cost which may or may not be balanced out to a hypothetical infinite number of points (we have a clever way of not needing to deal with an infinite number of APs but I'll cover that later--the basic mechanics should still work, however).

So what I'm going to do is take a list of attacks such as:

  • "Strength" (HTH Impact) and its "child" attacks like Thunder Tail (ranged STR with a negative to block and a higher REA cost per swing), or Ram's Horns (blunt attack used with a charge maneuver) and re-calculate them using the 16, 32, 64 methodology.
  • "Sword" (HTH PEN) and its child things like claws (Close Range HTH), Jaws (a "Worry" attack where a single hit can be used to shake the target dealing more damage without having to re-roll to hit, and so on.
  • "Gun" (Ranged PEN) and its child attacks such as Ghost Bullets (ranged PEN that ignores armor), and cutting beam (a ranged PEN attack that ignores armor on a successful PEN roll) and so on.
This is a lot of testing. Each test for a given attack type (much less the numerous child attack types) could take a couple of days. This could be months of testing and re-testing.

Why would I subject myself to this? Well, the basic reason is this: the game I want to play is one that will (a) give a great deal of satisfying latitude in character generation (i.e. there are many options and they are relevant to the mechanics and the experience of playing) and (b) I want the "point buy system" to create 'balanced characters' without me as a player (or as a GM) doing a lot of policing to keep it balanced. If someone takes armor piercing claws and superior reflexes and precision striking? I want the native costs in the book to all work out so that character "punches at his or her point level."

The simulator as a tool, a clear set of goals, and a scientific approach towards analyzing the data seem to be able to meet that goal. In other words: I want this project to be the best it can be and, although it's a depressing and often overwhelming amount of work, it seems to be closer and closer within reach (I am so happy I didn't say "fuck it" and publish the book 2 years ago--we would have created numerous other JAGS source books based on it and the present catalog would be further and further out of date and the rules would be more and more broken).


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