Thursday, November 25, 2010

Burn Baby, Burn

I'm testing flame attacks. These currently have the effect of burning for the same base damage for one additional round (the "Napalm" effect burns for three rounds after the initial hit). Here are some thoughts.

  1. I think that the official flame power will be that it only burns on a hit by 4+. While this doesn't distinguish it from Power Blast as much as it might, I think that it'll (A) greatly simplify the "standard" flame attack (you need a "good hit" to get the burn effect) and (B) it'll perform more or less as I see it happening: not every hit with a flame blast should set targets on fire--only some. The current "always burn" configuration will still be in there. I'll just call it Heat Ray.
  2. Right now the simulator has the burn effect happen at the beginning of the Round. This is probably necessary because of the way the simulator works (changing it would be complex) but I tend to think the actual rule will have the power burn on the flame-attacker's Turn--making that player responsible for handling it. This should reduce the value of the flame attack slightly because it'll give the burning character a chance to take action before being hit again. We may make this change to the simulator to test it. We may not: I'm facing probably 60 days of testing and have a lot of travel and work and stuff to do.
  3. I believe an 8 REA Stop-Drop-And-Roll action would prevent most burns (chemical burns being the exception). We could also test this (the simulator does allow for certain kinds of conditional emergency actions). I am pretty sure that it would not be a "winning move" (it would be a desperate move that characters would take when they really need to). We can also allow someone else to smother the flames with a cover-them-with-a-blanket action which will prevent unpleasant desperate situations where a character is going to burn and probably die if someone doesn't do something. 
  4. It turns out that 3-rounds of burn is not worth as much more as 1 round of burn as you'd think. What the 3-rounds does is: (a) result in more "both-parties-die" ties as guy A wins and then, two Rounds later, burns to death (b) it simply results in damage "after the flame-guy has already won." Most of these fights take 3-4 Rounds (note: some do take much longer--but out of 5000 we are trying to herd fights into a 3-4 round model for "good, pleasant, fights between nominal equals"). At this rate having 3 rounds of extra damage simply doesn't do that much to the situation. This is, kind of, good news: I was afraid that extended burns would rule the game. As they (generally) don't, it makes that attack less unusual.
  5. In a perfect world there would be some Advanced-Optional rules for setting targets on fire (a space suit makes it harder, wearing a lot of flammable hair-gel makes it easier, etc.) and rules for the fire spreading or going out or whatever (the "1-round rule" would be a generality). These kinds of optional rules would make fire-as-a-weapon pretty darn scary (and tactical: dousing the target with oil first would really help). I'm not sure who they help though. Almost always when I add an "Optional Rule" I say when you want to use it. I'm not sure in what game you use "advanced fire rules" because they make the experience better.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and a wish for a great weekend anyway to everyone else!


1 comment:

  1. Its good to hear that, though you wonder if smaller ongoing fire attacks are still important if you can do hit and run attacks.

    This has come up since I've been having to work out specs for a lot of Morrow Project incendiary weapons, and most of them run for at least 6-10 rounds in JAGS terms.