Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Buying Attacks ... The Rules ... I Think

We're implementing a computer program to purchase JAGS attacks (and other abilities that include attack powers). There are, to be frank, a lot of rules around this. I was asked to send an email with them--but I'm listing them here for everyone.

Part 1: How Is It Sold?
There are three ways that attacks are 'vended':

  1. Raw: You just buy 10 AP of Power Blast or something. In this case the ability has an A-Cost ("Attack Cost") equal to its cost. A 10 AP Power Blast has an A-Cost of 10 AP.
  2. Packaged: If you buy Built (being big and strong) you get DP, extra CON, Strength, and BLD (which translates to extra damage). In this case the "attack part" of the Package is noted because the package has an A-Cost ("Attack Cost"). So Built has a cost (per level) of 8 AP and the A-Cost per level is 5 AP.
  3. Additive: Some "attacks" simply add to other attacks. So for example, the Generic Archetype Ability Cleave gives extra damage with one attack once per Round. This power, by itself, isn't an attack--it has to be combined with something (even if that something is just a regular 0 AP punch). Things like Vital Strike (more damage when you hit by 6+), Cleave (more damage once per round), and so on are additive. NOTE: everything that adds to physical hand-to-hand damage can be considered additive. If you buy Extra Strength for 3 AP, a Sword for 4 AP, the Cleave move (with the sword) for 4 AP, and Vital Strike (with the Sword) for 4 AP, your attack is now 3+4+4+4=15 AP.
Part 2: What Category Is The Attack?
A character will track their highest A-Cost because it's important for doing some cost tricks (see below) if you have more than one attack--however, before we get there we need to know the attack's "category." There are three (as of now). They are:

Standard: The attack can be used as many times per Round, every round, as the character has REA. 
Periodic: The attack takes some time to charge up or cool down after use. It may also have a Rate of Fire of 1 or some other strange number. It might have VERY limited shots. It may cost REA 'to charge' (or just charge for free). Whatever the case, it is substantially limited in how often you can use it.
Exotic: An attack listed as Exotic does something like ignore armor or otherwise have effects that circumvent normal defenses. Things like Explosives aren't Exotic--but "Mind Blasts" are.
The character will keep track of their highest A-Cost for Standard and Periodic and Exotic attacks. That's three A-Costs you need to keep track of if you are buying a large battery of attack powers.

NOTE: When computing your "highest A-Cost" you add up all the additive elements. If an additive element is of a different Category than others, the attack itself has the Category of whatever the most expensive parts are. If there's a tie, the category is Periodic.

Example: As with the above case a character has 3 AP of Strength (S), 4 AP of Sword (S), 4 AP of Cleave (P), and 4 AP of Vital Strike (S). The character's HTH Sword attack is considered Standard for 15 AP even though 4 AP of that is Periodic (the 1x-per-Round Cleave).
Part 3: Getting A Cost Break
You are now ready to start applying the rules for a cost break. These are the rules:
The Rule: You only pay full points for your most expensive attack. All other attacks should be reduced (either 1 AP if it's the same Category as your most-expensive attack or 1/3 the A-Cost of your most expensive attack if it's a different category).

  1. For Attacks of the Same Category: You only pay for the most expensive. All other attacks (in the same Category) cost 1 AP.
  2. For Attacks In A Different Category: You can buy an attack in a different category as your "most expensive attack" for 1/3rd the cost of the Most Expensive Attack (and it will be at the same AP Cost)
  3. Exotic Attacks Never Cost 1 AP: They always cost 1/3 the cost of the most expensive (unless they are the most expensive attack).
  4. Weapons (or Attacks) That Are Completely 'Eclisped' By Other Attacks Cost 0 AP or 1 AP at the GM's Option. If you paid points for a rifle you can (probably) get a smaller caliber handgun for free. If the nature of the game makes concealment and ease of use a big thing, though, it might cost you 1 AP.
  5. Attacks in a Package May Be Reduced to 1 AP but Will NOT be Modified by 1/3rd AP. If you have 2 levels of Built (8 AP each, 5 A-Cost) that's an A-Cost of 10 taken together and a total cost of 16 AP. If you then get a 12 AP Power Blast (A-Cost: 12 AP) the A-Cost of Built's drop to 1 AP making the character's total cost 12 (Power Blast) + [ 16 - 9 (two levels of Built with their 10 A-Cost reduced to 1) ] = 19 Total AP. Whew.

Example 1: In the above case the character has 15 AP Standard Sword Attack (including Cleave, Extra Strength, and Vital Strike). The character then wants to buy a charge-up "Ultra Blast" (or something, I'm making this up) which requires 2 Rounds of Charge up (combat) before it can be used (it can be used on the 3rd Round of combat and then again on the 6th Round).

This attack DOES NOT add to the character's other damage (if it did, it would just be added in as above)--it is separate.

For 5 AP (1/3rd the cost of the character's Sword Strike) the character can get 15  AP worth of Ultra Blast.

Example 2: The character then is going to get a gun as well as the sword. The gun is a Standard Attack so for 1 AP the character can get 15 AP of Gun. Note that the character can do

Example 3: The character then decides he wants "Ghost Bullets" which are fired from the gun and ignore armor . Ghost Bullets are Exotic (E) so the character can pay 5 AP for 15 AP worth of Ghost Bullets.


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