Monday, October 24, 2011

Chi Armor!?

What I'm Doing Right Now
Waiting for a conference call to start--but if I wasn't, I'd be testing CHI ARMOR! Chi Armor is a kind of defense where you pay 5 REA and get some Armor (or ADP) for that Round only. Now, exactly how much you get, how often you can buy it, and so on ... that's kind of up in the air. Also: It's a "bad power." What does that mean?

It's a Bad Power
So the first thing I do is take our 32 Archetype Point characters in our computer simulator (there are a bunch of new readers for the blog) and I deduct 5 REA from them, keep Initiative the same, and then "spend" 2 AP's on ... +12 Armor. That seems about right for a first run and I test it.

The Percent of Victory (POV) should come out to about 55% or so for our test characters--could be as high as 60% and it's okay. But when I test it, here's what I see: we have 4 "Test characters" who fight a bunch of "Herd characters" of the same approximate points. We have four modes of test character:

  • Mixed Armor and DP (MX)
  • Full DP (DP)
  • Force Field (FF)
  • Full Armor (FA)
When I give these guys power-up armor it's something like this:
  • MX: 75% POV (too high)
  • DP: 23% (way too low)
  • FF: 18% (way too low)
  • FA: 89% (way too high)
Now, on the balance--if you average them--the average isn't all that bad (the exact average varies by total AP Cost and so on) but what this means is this: if you have a lot of armor and you buy charge-up armor you rock out. If you have some armor and you invest in it, you're just "way ahead of the curve." If you have some other form of defense? It's a sucker-buy.

Now, that's assuming you have 12 REA and otherwise fit the profile of our test-characters: that's probably not the case--especially for Chi guys who will have all kinds of Flurry of Strike stuff and quick-blocks and extra REA and whatever. But still: baseline? This ability is either too good or it sucks and that category depends on who buys it.

So What Do We Do?
Well, before I discuss that, let me tell you something else: I'm doing this not just with Armor--but with Ablative Damage Points (each point of damage removes one). The way this works is you have a reserve of ADP that gets hit when you pay the 5 REA but is "transparent" if you didn't. So, okay--what do we see with that?

The same thing. The same thing because: when you knock off an attack and you double-down on defense fights take like 6-15 Rounds (too long) and your ability to absorb damage through armor (which does not degrade) is really, really important.

So? So What Do We Do?
I don't know yet. It's a nice power--and one we want to promote--but it looks like we have some thinking to do in order to make this balance. Here are some thoughts:
  1. The armor doesn't stack with anything else. This seems pretty safe. We'll have to cap how much of it you can have too because the "going rate" (4 Armor for 1 AP) is a sure-fire winner if you sink a bunch of your AP in it. Still, this is better than nothing and most Chi characters won't be armored to begin with.
  2. Give out ADP--but not that much. Assume that any character who buys it will have more than one attack to stack on top and work accordingly. It's a very bad deal for the wrong guys--but it is good for the right ones--just not overpoweringly good.
  3. Give out Power Field instead of ADP. Power Field has PEN Defense--but it also goes before armor rather than after (unlike ADP) and degrades whenever it's hit. That should be safer. I'm testing that. Plus, you glow (probably) so that's like The Last Dragon!


  1. Sorry for the (slightly) off topic question, but what, exactly, are the rules for Power Fields? I can't find them in the JAGS Revised rulebook...

  2. They're not in there. Nor is ADP. Here's the rules (short form):

    1. Ablative Damage Points: These are points (5 ADP for 1 DP) that come off before you start taking DP damage but after Armor or Force Fields or Power Fields. Each point of damage removes 1 ADP. ADP doesn't come back until you "heal it" (usually a period of rest after a fight).

    They are "Damage Points" and can represent biological toughness (or cybernetic toughness or whatever). Taking "ADP Damage" causes no wound rolls or other normal combat effects (But will count for purposes of poison or other things like that).

    You add ADP to your DP for purposes of Resisted Rolls for toxins or chemicals of any sort.

    So if I have 30 ADP and 21 DP, my Minor Wound is 7 (based on DP) and if I take three hits for 10 damage each I now have 0 ADP remaining but am at Normal Condition and have taken no DP as yet.

    2. Power Fields are just like ADP (1pt of damage removes 1 Pt of Power Field) BUT: each point of Power Field (PF) gives 1pt of PEN Defense and Power Fields come of first--before damage is applied to Force Fields, Armor, ADP, or DP.

    The What-Takes-Damage First goes like this:

    Power Fields->Force Fields -> Armor -> ADP -> Damage Points.

    Also: No question is off topic here. Feel free to ask. If it warrants it's own post to answer, all the better.