Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Resisted Attacks -- Part ... 3?

Resisted Attacks
This weekend I caught some free time and used it to tackle the Resisted Attack rules again--this time with intent to "finish them." Like Mortal Kombat. 

Anyway: in the JAGS Have-Not Skype game we were attacked recently by a robot with a "goodbye effect" pain-beam. In game terms it was a 40 Intensity Power 13 'Stun Beam'/Pain-ray. Each round, at the beginning of the round, each character had to make a save or be stunned for that Round. Ouch. The question was: what would that cost?

I didn't know the exact answer--but we had some rules so I was able to put together a rough estimate. This weekend I wanted to validate that.

Let's Look At Resisted Attacks Again
Remember that RA's are things like poison, pain-beams, sleep-rays, and the like (also: Mind Control) which don't deal in damage but can incapacitate or kill or whatever a target. They have: a POWER (which is like their Stat), their Intensity (which is like their "Damage Points they deal out"), and their Effect List which is 6 effects that go No Effect, Minor, Standard, Major, Critical, and Catastrophic. Often Minor is also No Effect--but not always.

The way the rules work is this: if you are hit and the conditions under which it might affect you apply (such as "you are hit with poison gas and are not a robot or wearing a gas-mask") then you do the following: 
  1. Compare your DP (plus ADP) to the Intensity of the attack on the Resisted Rolls table. This gives you a save number like 12- if your DP is higher than the Intensity. If your DP is equal to the Intensity of the attack your save is 10-.
  2. Compare your CON (or WIL for psionics) against the Power of the attack. This modifies the save up or down based on whether your CON is higher, equal, or lower than the Power. Most attacks have a Power of 12 so against a normal CON 10 man, the man takes a -2 to the Save roll.
  3. You roll and depending on how well or how badly you made the roll you suffer one of the Effects. If you had an 8- save and blew the roll badly rolling an 18 you suffer the Catastrophic effect (a miss "by 10"). If you rolled an 8 that's a Minor Effect (which is, again, for a lot of things the same as "no effect.").
The Effects could be things like: "You are totally paralyzed" or "you are under mind control but will not violate your core principals" or "you are Stunned as per the damage effect rules" or "you take 12 points of damage!" Things like that--the higher the effect level, of course, the worse it is (Catastrophic effect for some kinds of mind control are "you are semi-permanently enslaved to the Psi!"

NOTE: These are very complex rules. The basic rules are: you make a roll based on a target number and you suffer one effect. That's what you do if you don't want to suffer the above complexity.

Why'd we do this anyway?

There are a few reasons: the most basic is that for things like Mind-Control you want, if you are looking for richness of experience, more than "I have total control" or "I got nothing." It's really the same for poisons or pain beams or anything else. Secondly, you want the comparison of Intensity to DP rather than, as it was originally, Power vs. CON so that the same Taser that'll work on a man won't stop a bear ... or Godzilla (Godzilla has a billion damage points--but still has a 12 CON or so).

So it's for "richness" (which we define as a fairly granular experience of the mechanics leading to multiple levels of success/failure).

Anyhow ...

The Resisted Attack Charts!
Below is the categories of RA's with a few added notes:

This shows the Class (A+ which is "Death Ray" down to D which is "weak super-market pepper-spray"). The 8 AP column is what you get if you spend a full 8 AP on it.

X: Dead or Dying.
U: Unconscious or otherwise incapacitated
D-2: Dazed (or similarly screwed up) at -2 CON To recover (probably Dazed for 1-3 rounds)
D: Dazed (probably lose 1 Round)
S: Stunned or other minor result.

So what's the Stun Beam: It's not exactly on the chart. It's a C-level attack that does N/A, S, S, S, D, D-2. A daze Beam is C+: N/A, D,D,D, D-2, U.

In these cases I have exchanged an N/A (No Affect) for a less severe result down the line (Major and Critical). This also greatly increases the chances of getting a result of some sort since Minor is easy to score.

The Resisted Attacks Intensity List

Here's the power-factor list for various "kinds" of RA's (aura, gaze effect, gas, and so on). Beam Effect is the "basic" version--the Sleep Ray (or Death Ray if it's A or A+). This table, generated by Excel and my eyeball of what made sense indicates the following:

When you "buy an RA" you can pretty much choose your letter grade. If you have a poisoned flechette thrower you can choose to load it with neuro-toxin (A+) or paralysis Toxin (B?) or some kind of other, probably damage-doing poison (C+? C?). As you move down from A your intensity goes up. This means that its chance of being effective against a target is improved.

So if you go with the shellfish neuro-toxin you'll have like an Intensity of 25 (assuming it's a blood toxin) which will totally kill a normal man but won't stop a full-on cyborg (who could easily have 40 to 60 DP). On the other hand, if you go with some other venom (D+?) you get a venom that will have a decent chance of scoring an effect on said cyborg--but isn't as awesomely deadly as the neuro-toxin.

Next Step: Further simulation.

What Did the Aura of Pain Cost? for 40 Intensity the cost is 27 AP. If it was a Daze Beam the cost would be 30 AP. That feels about right for something that took a pretty big chunk out of the party.

Double Bonus Question: How do you handle increases to Power? Remember that Power fundamentally acts like "More Intensity" but is not tied to a scalar number as Intensity is (if you have a whopping 1000 Intensity it still won't have any effect on Godzilla--but if you have an 18 Power, Godzilla only has a 12 CON--so it still probably won't help much--but it'll help a lot more than another 1000 Intensity would).

I think the answer is that POWER is either fixed at 12 or can be based on relative AP's of the attacker to the defender (so that bot would be more APs than the PCs (in theory) so it might get a 13 Power). I haven't thought this through yet.

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