Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm working my way back through the list of abilities I'd created in the InDesign file.

Let me explain that:

JAGS starts as a Word (or other) text document. The first draft of any set of abilities will be done there where spell-check is easy and layout (other than some basic tables) isn't required. It wasn't always that way: we did all of our early books in Word and got very proficient in doing layout with it.

After the first few drafts I'll import the document into Adobe InDesign and start doing /real/ layout. InDesign is a best-in-class layout program for electronic publishing. It took some learning (and some help) but I've become /okay/ with it (really: 'decent.').

The problem is that once most of the document is formatted in InDesign that's where I keep it updated. Fortunately most of the text for things doesn't change too much (although that happens) but a lot of the numbers can get changed and stuff can certainly get added. That means I wind up, for that phase, using InDesign as a word processor--which it isn't built for.

I realize, fully, that there are ways to integrate the two and keep file links updated. Those have never worked for me because I do heavy-duty table-based layout in InDesign and don't see how to keep that square with the much simpler layout I have in Word. Maybe I'm missing something.

Dense Body
The very first thing that's had to change (after I re-did the 3 pages of Size) is the list of "Body Types." These include Super Strength, Dense Body, and Hyper Strength (amongst others). They are ways of being very strong, tough, etc. outside the normal human scale.

These are complex powers because the mix things that don't usually go together. Dense, for example, has STR, BLD, and DP--but it also has ADP, armor, and extra PEN defense. On top of that it reduces AGI Bonus and Initiative (you are slower and easier to hit).

While you can, in theory, have as many levels of Dense as you want (8 AP each, 4 for a half-level) the modifications to AGI and Initiative don't ever change (you are at -2 AGI/Init for the first level and after that it doesn't get any worse). This means that the real values of other things also have to change, in theory. In practice I'm not going to track that: I'm just going to do our three standard tests (16, 32, and 64 AP Herds) with the (new) understanding that the first level (L1) is likely going to be quite different from the other two.

This appears to give us very good fits at predicting what a 'balanced' 50% win will be.

Also Armed & Unarmed
I also have to test each build with a sword to see how it scales with 'Armed' damage. A sword is 4 AP and converts all damage to PEN at Medium Reach. This sort of 'multiplies' the effectiveness of any damage you already brought (Super Strength purchased for Unarmed combat will be worth a multiple of itself when paired with a sword). So I need /two/ cost tracks for each STR-increasing power.

That's a fair amount of testing ... I'm most of the way through Dense ...


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