Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Issue: Special Moves ...

My original intent with this blog was to, as I did something--even very little--daily--to write a quick post. In my mind it would be something like "added a new Generic Archetype Ability--still need to edit ..." and that would be that. The idea would be mostly to keep my forward momentum up since I assumed no one would be reading.

However, people are (to a degree) reading--and conversely that makes me less apt to write: "found another error. Need to fix last search and replace on Mind->Domain" or similar cryptic stuff that no one but me would care about.

However, that creates gaps in posting even when I have been doing light if steady work.

Which is why some of this will seem strange.

Special Martial Arts Moves
Back in the day we created a bunch of special martial arts moves like "Counterstrike" and "Perfect Back-Fist" and stuff like that which were purchased with Character Points and would give color / flavor to martial arts battles. Most of these were taken from non-mystical real-world training and represented an "unusually effective" form of training in the move: anyone could train to throw an Uppercut (that's just a punch or cross in JAGS terms)--but the special "Power Uppercut" represented a character with extreme training in that move--like a boxer who specialized in an uppercut that would floor people.

So, good. We had 2 CP, 4 CP, and 8 CP moves. There are a lot of them (maybe 30?) and they're reasonably colorful and reasonably balanced against each other. Some thought has been put into making sure that you don't do nothing but throw your signature move over and over in a fight.

So, good.

They had gone in the Chi Martial Arts section--but now that section doesn't exactly exist any more. It has become Domain Control Body / Chi Control and is more aligned with the Archetype Rules (even beyond what I wrote here). It's less fiddly--there is no longer a concept of Chi Points (I liked it--but it made it hard to integrate / balance against other Archetype Abilities and was, simply, unnecessarily complex).

So what do I do with this big list of Special Martial Arts Moves?

Answer: Put the list at the bottom of the Fast Company rules--along with some GATs for "Gun Fu" (some Wanted and Equilibrium style stuff). This makes some sense: Fast Company characters (maybe with some Chi or Gun-Fu or just some standard GATs are the template for super martial artists and human-frame superheroes. So, good.

But something happened when I started transcribing the rules. Originally the marital arts moves were in the context of our original set of Chi Fighter rules which granted, IIRC, 150 Character Points to the players. Now, this was kinda before the age of AP's so you used CP to buy special Chi Moves--and we had actually run "the tournament" where several players created Chi characters (about four or five each) and we had them fight--or just eyeballed them--to see what would happen: WHO WAS BEST!?

This, we think, resulted in a pretty balanced set of rules before the age of the simulator.

I mean: not perfect--but it showed us where min-maxing the system produced holes.

The problem was that while a 150 CP character (and these guys were pretty optimized) might have 2 or 4 CP to spend on specific moves to, for example, deal with a Grappling Attack they otherwise weren't well prepared to handle, today's 50 CP characters simply did not.

Going through the list I thought: I'd never spend 4 CP on One-Inch-Punch even if it is what you do when you're grappled by someone who out-wrestles you ...

Worse, back in "the day" there was nothing really competing with CP for HTH damage. The concept of Archetype points existed--yes--but not GATs. Not really. Today, if I want to buy hand to hand damage I have a plethora of choices for many games--and with the Fast Company rules I will almost certainly be using those options ... they're hard to avoid.

So I'm looking at these previously "very balanced" Special Moves and going: I need to half the price of all them ... and maybe even tinker with them to make them better deals (we know, for example, that things that cost 5 REA at the start of the fight--essentially putting the character at "one attack behind" their opponent are  more costly than we'd thought in terms of Percent Of Victory).

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