Monday, August 23, 2010

One Makes You Smaller

The Success Point testing is on hold today. Last night I took e-pen to paper and started working on the InDesign layout and the text of the Innate Powers chapter. This would incorporate most of the attacks, bio-weapons, and size.

I realized we had not done the math for Smaller.

Smaller is complex: It reduces your DP (a bit, depending on how small), it reduces Reach of your HTH attacks. It makes you harder to hit--but higher weapon skills can negate that. If you are not mobile (like a slow moving ant) you don't get bonuses in HTH combat for being small (stomping a bug: bugs that are not quick are not hard to hit--even if they are small).

To make matters worse, my conclusion is that small things should probably deal fewer points of damage than big things--this is due to some experiences in gaming and a feeling that hard to hit things that hit hard are a unique kind of problem: they really leverage terrain in a way that most characters cannot do easily.

What To Do?
This creates several unique problems for the simulator. Firstly, being small is a negative-point Trait: it gets you points back. Secondly, we need to answer some difficult questions to even be able to test anything:

  1. What do you do with the points you get for being small? Do you put them into Armor? Buy back DP? Use them to buy other things? If you are really small you need to buy Flight or something: do we assign some points for that?
  2. What's Your Attack? Small things lose their Reach: their punches become Close Combat--a big disadvantage ... this will lead many small things to resort to Ranged Attacks. Do we test with small things hitting in HTH? Or do we give them all Power Blast? Some combination (we think that perhaps 75% will have Ranged Attacks).
  3. What Are Your Opponents? If you face L3 guys your negatives to be hit will get eaten up by their skill level unless you can leverage range (hang out at -3 to-be-hit range for both you and them--and then your modifiers will apply!). But most monsters are not L3. Neither are most "mooks" (or whatever)--so what do we assume? Is -2 to be hit going to show up or not (worse; the simulator doesn't handle size-mods right now. I have to simulate these as AGI Mods). Our present plan is to have -6 points of mod (insect size) count as "-4 points" as a sort of middle ground and then factor down from there.
  4. What About Attacks? The old version of the rules just divided the number of APs you spent doing damage (or just divided damage) by some number: you're small? Cut your damage in half! That doesn't work as elegantly as our (newer) Low Damage, Very Low Damage, and Normal Damage rules. These dictate we should test each level of Smaller at three damage scales for three AP values (that's around four days of testing--I dunno if I'm up for that ...).
  5. Should It Be A Percent Of Your Points? Our preliminary thinking is that the "real" value for things that more or less multiply your DP should be a % of your Total Points rather than a fixed number. If you sell +1 CON for, let's say, 10 AP then every single 100000 AP character will buy at least one level! It's super effective: it multiplies your 100s of DP! (In reality this isn't much of a problem but still). Do we try to figure this out?
All in all we're still looking this over.


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