The Basic Shape Of Things
Right now it seems to me that there are a few basic "types" of attacks. At the highest level is the Impact/Penetration (kinetic blast vs. bullet) split. Now a lot things like Disintegration Beams (PEN, Ignores Armor, Extra Damage on a Hit by 4+) fall under the PEN area that are complex.
Under Impact are the standard things (Fire and Electricity are Impact, so will be Freeze Ray).
One Level Down From IMP/PEN: Major Attack Categories
So right: under the big headings I have what I'm considering "different types of damage." So Electrical Damage is 'just like' IMP damage but CON rolls are at -1 (and possibly -2 for some attacks) and it may ignore a bit of armor (mostly "metal armor" but that's a specification the game doesn't track especially well so it might just be "X-Amount" of armor). Burn/Fire Damage (which could also be acid in other context) will hit for X-amount of damage and the burn next round for X-amount again (or, possibly Y amount). Right now, for simplicity's sake (for our human players) Burn Damage only burns (generally) for 1 Round. But I could see a "napalm attack" that burns longer.
So, stuff like that.
So right now there are around five or six 'Major Attack Categories.' These include (for IMP):
- Power Blast. The basic ranged IMP attack.
- Burn. The attack hits and then burns the next round.
- Electrical. The attack gives negatives to CON rolls. Usually -1. May ignore some armor.
- Sonic/Vibratory Attack. Like Power Blast but double damage to inanimate and undead targets.
- Freeze Attack. A hit by 4+ will reduce REA and Init (a good effect actually 'freezing' the target for a while)
- Rad-Pulse. A hit for damage will inflict a "sickness" effect.
- Quantum Beam: Ignores armor.
There might be a few more kicking around (Venom Bolt: if 1pt of damage gets through there is a venom effect), Flash-Bang (a hit will inflict a disorienting/blinding effect), etc.
Down From That: Delivery Type
So for each of these there's a big list of "Delivery Types." Can it be fired only once a round? Charge Up? Cool Down? Is it 8 REA or 5? Is it a Long Action? Does it have an explosive effect? Area of Effect? Cone Effect? Beam Effect? Auto-Fire? Damage Field (Long, Med, and Short) Some combination of those (8 REA Long Action, Every Other Round?). And so on.
This sort of creates a grid of let's say 7 basic attack types x 10 Delivery Types. That's 70 attack powers. If I combine Delivery Types (as some attacks might) then I would get a 3D grid of 7x10x10 (or so): that's 700 attack types.
But Can't I Just Figure Out What Damage Field (Long) is 'Worth' And Apply That Mathematically?
Maybe. I'd certainly thought so. Unfortunately the simulator says "maybe not." I'm trying to get a good handle on what these abilities are worth mathematically and how they apply and I'm not having a lot of luck. I plan to post my theory on this today or tomorrow as time permits however.
Certainly there are powerful trends in the data. 1 ROF Charge Up looks like this:
As you can see (Factor is Standard/Charge Damage) the increase is certainly close, but not identical. Is it close enough? For everything? I'm not sure. I'm working on that. If the POV variance for using an average of around .28 is workable then I'll go with it. But it would mean players have to do fractional math--something I am not happy with.
Worse: I will have to prove how these things work together: something I'm really not clear on. That is, if I take Charge Up, 1 ROF and combine it with Costs 8 REA To Fire do I multiply or add Factors? Does that give me the correct number in terms of POV when I test it (Percent chance of Victory)?
The Other Philosophical Question
The other issue for me is that I want a power called Sonic Scream (amongst a whole lot of others). It would be a Sonic Attack, 8 REA Action, with a 1 Round Cool Down. That's a reasonably unique combination of powers that I might not do for everything.
If I have a single "power block" for Sonic Attack I can add Sonic Scream in at the bottom--but what I really want is a billion stand-alone powers like Quantum Bolt or Pulse Beam or Breathe Frost (as opposed to Freeze Ray, which would both be the same Frost Attack but with different delivery systems).
One of the reasons we moved from Hero to GURPS was because we felt GURPS was better at providing specific cool names for things. We liked that. It was enough less generic that it sold us.
I really don't want to call powers Power Blast + Beam Effect + 8 REA To Fire. I'd rather call it ... Ion Beam and then describe it (and if you don't want "Ions", that's fine--you can define it as Magic Unicorn Blast if you want--and we'll talk about that--but I feel the play experience is helped a lot by having a shopping list with Ion Beam on it ...).
EDITED TO ADD
My original graphic could've used more examples. Here's a bigger spread showing what the numbers come out like. Factor is Standard Attack Damage / Delivery System Damage. As you can see, there are trends but it's not exactly even. IGNORE the Damage column. That's Damage for the Blast (and not for any of the others).
As you can see Medium Reach Damage Field has a pretty big variance. Cool Down is dead even for Burn and electrical which is great but comes out low for standard blast ...