Monday, January 17, 2011

Finished with Fire

I have completed the "big list of attacks" for Fire-attacks. I am now moving to Frost/Freeze rays and the like.

I believe as I work through these things that the amount of color and flavor that having a hugely diverse list of attacks will bring to the game is an unalloyed good for people who are likely to want to play JAGS anyway. The ability to have things like freeze rays and disintegration attacks (or fire-blasts that burn for continuous damage, for example) is something that has benefits beyond just the "weight of the rules."

I have always liked having options that I felt gave me both imaginary flavor (or what might be called 'color') and rules-weight. The Hero games weapons book The Armory was a ground-breaking supplement for our group. We were not especially gear-headed and (to be fair) most of the weapons in the book were statistically similar. However, shopping for a gun that "fit the character" both in terms of look and the discussion around it (gun X was a weapon favored by off-duty police officers or Y was used by intelligence services) gave more depth than "large gun" or "medium gun" would.

The fact that this was optional didn't hurt either.

I think fairly few characters will pick a freeze ray as their first attack (and in homage to Dr. Horrible, I'll be clear that I mean it in terms of temperature--a time-stop beam is something else)--but I'm glad it'll be in there. And I'm glad I have the computational power to give it a reasonable cost.

In other news, one of the members of our Skype game had a new baby (Congrats, Mike!) and so was unavailable for last night's game (some people's priorities, sheesh). Apparently these baby-things take up a lot of your time going forward too--so we may be down a player for a while.

We didn't want to stop playtesting our in-the-dungeon post-apocalypse game so we all made new characters and started them at Level 0 (no AP, just 50 CP). It was interesting to go back to basics on this. My analysis is that where we have used an even-spread of capabilities (points) for our test characters, the 3 PCs were all "extraordinary" in one way or another. I'll note here too that of the three players, only I know statistically what the variance were--the other two players don't have as deep insight into the math as I do.

I think that it's common-place to want to be extraordinary at what you are "good at." One of the things about AD&D was that without great stats it wasn't really possible to distinguish one 1st level character from another. As we saw a lot of 18/00 STR's I think maybe it's because the wish to have a character who excels at something was stronger than many people's wish to play it straight (but this is almost certainly less than many people's wish to simply "be great"--a subtle difference to be sure).

Also note: when our characters from the Bravo-Team (our second set) were sent down into the GC-Complex dungeon for our inaugural Level-0 adventure one of the PCs had been told by psychics that what waited for us was not what the our instructors wanted--the codes for our level were somehow damaged or something and they weren't sure what we were walking into. When we got down to the sterile, brightly-lit corridors of the dungeon, we heard a computer voice (played over the Skype speakers) that said "Warning, Karmic Events under way. Please check your destiny when exiting the vehicle" or something like that.

Something special was happening to us.

Our A-Team characters (the first set) are already recognized as special as well. This, I believe, is also good: as players we want our characters to stand out, even if we are Level-0 PCs on the first level of the dungeon. There's no reason the game's story should be about people who aren't interesting.


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