Monday, April 27, 2009

Thinking About Damage for Action Cards Revision

Mechanics post on my card based system. I did decide ultimately to add dice into the mix for this new version of the system. I think it will work well, but I'm still juggling the numbers on it. Essentially, when you deal a hit, you roll a pool of d10's ala Storyteller and try to hit a target number, usually six plus. That TN can shift slightly. You subtract a target's armor soak from the wounds dealt.

How I presented that in the rules:

Once a character has successfully made an attack, they roll damage using d10's. Damage rolled is equal to the damage of the weapon, plus extra dice for character talents, combat styles, and circumstances. If an attack was particularly successful or well described, the Gm may give additional dice.

Roll the d10's and count each die which rolls 6+. The target then subtracts the soak value of any armor they're wearing. The remaining amount counts as wounds done.

Some circumstances may modify the target number needed on the dice to cause a wound. Better weapons, certain damage types against certain armor, and special abilities may lower the number needed. Better armor may raise the number needed. The GM will track and adjudicate these effects.

Characters start the game with 12 wounds. More may be purchased at character creation or with experience (up to a maximum of 24 total wounds). If a character takes more than half of their total wounds from a blow, they must make a Physical Pull or be knocked down and Stunned.

When a character has 1/3rd or less of their wounds remaining, they apply a -1 drop to all actions. When a character reaches 0 or less wounds, they must make a Physical test or pass out. If they remain conscious, they may Act or Move on their turn, but must continue to make tests at an increasing penalty or pass out.

Criticals and Combat Effects
If a player rolls three or more tens and this is the majority of his damage, then his attack will cause a Combat Effect. If a player rolls five or more tens and this is the majority of his damage, then his attack will cause a critical hit. Both are resolved by the GM pulling a card to check the effect:

Bleeding: the target loses 1 wound each action they take.

Extra Damage: add +1 damage for each 10 rolled.

Stunned: the target may defend and move, but may not take a standard action on their round until they blow an action or spend a point of Focus.

Knockdown: the target is knocked down.

Unbalance: the target may move or make a standard action on the following round.

Funny Bone: a limb is temporarily disabled until the end of combat or he spends a point of Focus.

Crippled: a limb is permanently disabled until healed.

Killed: target dies nastily

However I wrote up a quick version of the weapon and armor tables-- but I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with the numbers. I wanted to lay out all of the parameters and variables for calculation:

1. Numbers should err towards play and playability over realism or verisimilitude.

2. Should be some differences between weapons-- not necessarily that every weapon is unique, but that these a range within the three classes of weapons.

3. Range of weapons within a group should kind of fall in the middle, so more than just describing something as a “blade” but less than listed out a half dozen blade types.

4. No weapon should be the obvious choice within a class, i.e. Why would you use anything but that for effectiveness? The same thing for armor.

5. Should remain fairly simple to read and understand. Should be easy to record and track on character sheets.

System Mechanics Variables
1. Players start with 12 wounds. They can buy up to a total of 24 wounds. It should take several whacks with a weapon to take people (i.e. PCs and Named Bad Guys)

2. Instant kills and additional effects will be handled through the quick checking of 10's on the dice rolled. So weapons don't have to have enough damage to kill someone in their base attack. (That's always something I worry about, but I think it is a nervous nelly thing).

3. Players roll a number of d10's for the damage. For each success they roll, they cause a wound.

4. The number to cause a wound is standard 6+, but this is based on the armor involved. Unarmored requires a 5+ and some potent armor could require a 7+. That's a fairly heavy bonus/penalty since it plays across all the dice, and I'm not sure how it weights vs. adding more dice for damage.

5. The Soak of a character's armor subtracts from the Wounds dealt after rolls have been made. The other way to handle this is to have soak subtract from the dice rolled. However, people like rolling more dice, rather than less. Exalted uses the dice reduction strategy, which ends up with a lot of people rolling a single die.

6. Players can increase their damage through a number of means: a good hit (+1-2 dice), a particular talent (+1-2 dice), a profession ability (+1-2 dice), a combat element (+1-2 dice). Not all players will have any or all of these, but they do have the options available to them.

7. Right now I have the Armor-Piercing modifier halving armor of targets (i.e. their Soak)-- I mean change this so that application of the element (or modifier for spells) reduces the target's Wounds On number.

8. Other modifiers could be applied to weapons and armor: besides dice of base damage, weapons can have an effect which makes them go faster, can have a narrow bonus (like to Disarm), can have limits like not being able to parry heavier weapons, can increase the Wounds On number-- these are just some ways in which one could differentiate between weapons. Though I fear it could get overly elaborate. OOH people usually choose their weapons early on and write them on their sheet, so it doesn't provoke a “look-up”.

9. Armor has Soak and the Wounds On number. It also has penalties based on weight. Medium Armor causes players to lose Dodge ties. Heavy Armor gives a -1 drop to Dodge and causes players to lose Dodge ties. We can also assume that heavier armor gives movement reduction as well as penalties to Athletic tests.

10. Here's how I defined the Combat Effect and Critical Rules: If a player rolls three or more tens and this is the majority of his damage, then his attack will cause a Combat Effect. If a player rolls five or more tens and this is the majority of his damage, then his attack will cause a critical hit.

Given those points, I want to have a weapon table which is both satisfying and balanced. So I have to figure out how to build what weapons/armor with what numbers and what modifiers. The tables in the game are a first pass attempt at that. One thought I had was to have weapons do X damage in wounds, plus a number of dice rolled to see if they get wounds...but I'm still thinking.

What I have now...

Light Armor Soak Wounds On
Unarmored 0--- 5+
Clothes 0--- 6+
Leather Coat/Vest 1--- 6+
Leather Armor Suit 2--- 6+
Rigid Leather Armor 2--- 7+
-1 to Athletic activities

Medium Armor Soak--- Wounds On
Chain Vest 3--- 6+/5+
Effectiveness is reduced against pierce
Scale Vest 3--- 6+
-1 to Athletic activities
Chainmail 4--- 6+/5+
Scale Mail 4--- 6+
-1 to Athletic activities

Characters in Medium Armor lose ties in Dodges.

Heavy Armor Soak--- Wounds On
Half-Plate 5--- 6+
Full Plate 5--- 7+

Characters in Heavy Armor lose ties in Dodges and have a -1 drop to Dodge attempts. Characters in Heavy Armor suffer significant penalties to maneuvering and things like, say, swimming.


Light Weapons Damage
Unarmed 4d
Dagger/Knife 5d
Shortsword 6d
Sabre 5d Wounds On -1
Baton/Club 5d +1 to Parry tests
Thrown Dagger 5d
Slingstone 5d

Medium Weapons
Hand-Axe 7d
Hand-Axe, Thrown 6d
Mace 7d
Broadsword 9d
Staff 7d +1 to Parry tests
Bow 7d
Spear 8d
Spear, Thrown 6d

Heavy Weapons
Battle Axe 13d Loses Parry Ties
War Mattock 10d -1 to Attack and Parry tests, Wounds On -1
Bastard Sword 10d/11d
Greatsword 12d
Polearm 11d