Saturday, June 23, 2012

Finishing Up Psionics

My wish to complete the JAGS Revised Archetypes books is limited only by my intent to have a power-set that is complete to what was originally scoped. If not: I'd declare it done right now. This means transcribing the Psionics rules.

Originally there was a bunch of random Psionics files that got turned into JArch1.7 (which you can download). This was the first almost-complete JAGS Archetypes book and I'd even started working on artwork for it (the last stage before editing-ruining "fixes") when we realized that it just wasn't the book we wanted to produce.

This was clear for two reasons. The first was that, well, a bunch of the rules didn't quite work--that included a fairly disastrous test of the Telepathy rules. The second was that we realized there were some "bad answers" encoded into the framework.

We knew that stuff like -4 Damage Modifier against all attacks was worth some % of your AP's--but we didn't quite know how much--or how to codify that in rules. We knew that fast company characters who somehow did a lot of damage were too good--so we had this rule for "high damage" and "low damage." But it wasn't a good rule.

So we created the Combat Simulator which began a new era of testing (learning how to use the simulator is what the first part of this blog is about). Back to Telepathy ...

So we had a JArch 1.7 version which touched on how we saw Telepathy working. An earlier version of these rules got a pretty good playtest in a campaign set in post-apocalyptic Miami. The telepath in the group was reasonably powerful and the basic abilities worked okay.

However, at that time, the rules were emphatically non-scalable. Chi Fighters (What the other two characters were) had very discrete limits. Cyborgs a little less--but not much--there were like three "grades" of them. Within those limits the rules worked okay.

The problem came when we tried a very similar cut of the rules (what is in JArch 1.7) in a game where everyone played a telepath. It became clear that we were not able to do a lot of things we wanted to--and that a good portion of the abilities simply didn't work--there were rules holes all over the place.

So I wrote a Telepathy v3 file.

It fixed the rules--but kept the vision relatively intact.

Now I need to take that 56pg file and "update it" to the new framework. That means two major things: 1. Simplify it greatly. The new framework favors a lot of small-description powers rather than long ones. It also favors more straightforward effects rather than special rules systems (like Chi Points).

2. Re-evaluate the vision. In my vision telepathic combat is a little like grappling (shudder). The idea is that you establish a "mind link" (or "lock on" as the current PDF calls it) and then you can start trying to mess with their minds.

While in a mind link people can "mind strike" each other using their WIL as STR. So if your telepath mind-links with a super Tai Chi master martial arts master with a 15 WIL you may have telepathy but going 1:1 with his superior mind is a bad idea ...

I like that--but it's complex. Do I need to keep that? What if I drop it and make all the telepathy attacks one-offs without the concept of "mind-linking?" What if I take out the Mind-Strike thing altogether and assume that there is no way for non-telepaths to hit back mentally?

It's not as cool and colorful--but it's a lot simpler.

I think the middle ground here is to see if I can present a very simple mind-link system that covers the bases (how do you break a mind-link if you're not the initiating telepath who can just drop it?) but doesn't take 50 pages to explain?

That's the key thing.

Last chapter ...

No comments:

Post a Comment