Current work has me going through the current draft of the Innate Powers section of the book and taking the new approaches that are outlined in this blog to the work we'd already done (and remember, that work was three years of thought in the making).
I've finished the Body Types section, have gone through the Armor stuff (not much changes there) and have come to: Damage Fields (really Bio-Defenses). These are things like spines or quills, a burning body, or an aura of blades. A Damage Field works by attacking anyone who hits the owning character (if you have a real tornado of swords around you it would act as a Damage Field but would also just deal damage to a radius and is a somewhat different power--in the above case we're looking at an 'aura of blades' that would activate only when you are attacked.
Damage Fields are very hard for me to get my head around. Firstly they are a 'defensive attack' which means they don't cost the owning character REA. It's difficult to figure out how much that's worth. The second problem is that they generally only work vs. HTH attacks (although some, like the Alien's Acid Blood could get someone who is close enough with a ranged weapon). The simulator has to be able to handle all of that. Fortunately it's close (I think we need a mod to handle acid sprays at Medium Reach).
The really hard part, however, is figuring out who has them and what they are paired with. Why's that?
In the JAGS simulator test the general way to price a weapon is to take the weapon, spend 50% of your AP on it, and pair it with one of four defenses which also has 50% of your AP on it. You run those four characters against The Herd and vary the damage output until those four characters win, on an average, 50% of the time. That's how you know what 50% of the AP should get you in terms of, say, fire-blast damage.
The problem with Damage Fields is that while they are an attack they aren't the only one the character is likely to have. Now, granted, in many cases (burning body) the character can choose to punch with his burning body and will also burn anyone who grabs or strikes him. But in other cases (Acid Blood or a coat of quills like a porcupine) the Damage Field does not come with an implicit attack and therefore, if the character doesn't have one, will leave the character punching ineffectually while trying to defeat his opponent with his Damage Field.
That case would properly simulate a character who had spent 50% of his points on Damage Field and armor--but who would do that? Is that a proper, logical test? Will it skew results?
The mathematical question is this: is there a 'synergistic' effect if the Damage Field character deals HTH damage and uses the Damage Field? Or is it 'antagonistic'? Or neither? In other words, given the composition of The Herd, if I have a character spend 25% of his points on STR, 50% of his points on Acid Blood, and 25% of his points on Defense will that perform better across the board than 50% Damage Field, 50% Defenses or 50% Attack, 25 % Damage Field, 25% Defenses.
That's something I want to see if I can figure out.