Where to begin…
Financial issues continue, as I only worked 5 hours last week. Basically, I never got called as work has dropped off and we now have a surplus of drivers. Of course, the “feast and famine” effect kicked in, and I got nearly 30 hours this week. With the flakiness of my schedule, I’ve finally gotten off my ass and started looking for another job again. That’s pretty much a full-time job in and of itself.
On top of the in-flow issues, I paid my car registration online two weeks ago, and have yet to see the money taken from my account. I need to call the DMV, but I don’t know when I’ll get time for it, as tomorrow, I need to take Mom to the hospital for a transfusion, and that’s an all-day thing.
On the positive/gaming side, I managed to do some playtesting of Adventurers!, and I think the combat rules are a little broken. No, they’re a lot broken.
Just to test a combat, I ran a pair of characters with the same stats, same armor (heavy), but with different kit. One character had a one-handed sword and shield, one had a greatsword. I ran the combat three times, twice without skills, once with skills. I never used the game’s “Heroism Points,” as the way the characters were built, they wouldn’t have any. Basically, these were just exercises in how the system works, so I used no minis or tactics. It was two characters wailing on each other until one or the other fell. What I noticed was as follows:
- Armor works okay, but it seems very flawed. Greatweaponss reduce armor rolls and add to damage when they hit, which pretty much made the armor of the shieldbearer useless, as he kept failing the reduction rolls and taking additional damage. However, the Armor Mastery skill was amazing, enabling the greatswordsman to prevent all the damage dealt by the shieldbearer on most hits. Only a couple of really bad defense rolls on the greatswordsman’s part, along with good rolls on the shieldbearer’s attacks, enabled the shieldbearer to do any damage in the final combat.
- Shields are virtually worthless. It only activated once in about 20 rounds (when the skill was present, but had no impact), and didn’t prevent enough damage to be worth using. As expected, the shield is too passive for my tastes.
- The greatsword seems like a superweapon, and since there are few differences between it and other greatweapons, I think it’s just a side effect of the combat rules. The flat bonus to damage and penalty to armor rolls is mentioned above. While the one-handed sword gave a bonus to hit (due to the character builds), the plus one to hit really didn’t sway the math enough to be as valuable as the flat damage bonus.
- Crits can be devastating. Each character had nine hit points, and crits typically scored about 4 hit points, even more with the greatweapon, upwards of six hit points. The shieldbearer only one once, in the protracted twelve round combat, but lost the other two times. I don’t think a fourth combat is necessary: the math indicates the shieldbearer will likely lose.
I’m thinking I need to go to flat damage for weapons, with crits adding a small amount and no other damage, and armor changing to a flat damage reduction. I’ll need to figure out a new way to do defense as well, working on a way to include shields as an effective defense.
It’s late and I need to be up in the morning, so…
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some financial issues, but I managed to pick up a number of the Adventurers! supplements/setting expansions and read them. I’ve enjoyed them, particularly their willingness to write new systems to fit the setting in question. However, I finally found some stuff I’m not real crazy about.
Armor and shields.
In A!, combat is handled as opposed rolls of 2d6 plus derived bonuses. Attack bonus is based on either Strength or Agility, and Defense is based on either Armor or Agility. Armor heavier than light armor has either option, but penalties based on weight. (See below.) If you roll doubles on your defense roll, your shield activates and you get to ignore one point of damage.
Further, depending on the weight of the armor, you can ignore a measure of damage. Damage absorption is handled kind of like armor in Warhammer minis games: roll a certain number or higher to reduce the damage by a certain amount. The armor chart gives stats as follows (AR means “Armor Rating”):
- Light Armor DEF Agl AR: 5
- Medium Armor DEF 3/Agl-1 AR: 4
- Heavy Armor DEF 4/Agl-2 AR: 3-4: -1, 5-6: -2
So, armor both keeps you from getting hit as well as mitigating damage, and a shield is a very passive defense. The thing is, damage from an attack is determined from the attack roll, based on half the excess over the defense roll (rounded down) plus 1.
For example, an attacker with a +3 ATT rolls a total of 11, and the defender in medium armor rolls a total of 8, which means the attacker succeeds by three, so the damage is 2. If the defender had been wearing light or no armor, his defense roll might have been higher and prevented more damage. The defender now gets (basically) an armor save, and with medium armor, he can reduce the damage one point. If he had heavy armor, he could potentially reduce the damage to zero. Also, if he got lucky and rolled doubles on his defense roll (a one in six proposition, which isn’t really bad), his shield would activate, which also would prevent one damage.
(In fact, as I look at this, I’m realizing just how oddball this system is in this regard, as all light armor gets you is a very feeble armor save.)
I don’t like this much at all. The armor affects how much damage results from the single attack roll twice (once by affecting the attack roll difference, once by affecting the damage), and a shield is only moderately useful and totally passive. While in history, the armor mechanics make a certain sense, the shield rules aren’t very realistic or heroic. All the rolling, it seems to me, would totally bog down play.
Now, there are a couple of ways damage can be increased, such as critical hits (boxcars, which nets one additional point of damage), penetrating weapons (which work like shields, giving one additional point of damage on doubles), and great weapons (plus 1 damage and -1 AR), but these don’t really generate that much extra damage (2, as the two weapon specific rules are mutually exclusive). Now, you don’t have a crazy lot of hit points to begin with, usually in the ballpark of 7 at character creation, but the mechanics seem to favor the defender, a lot.
I think I need to take this on a test run before I make a final judgement, but these mechanics seem broken to me, and something I’m going to have to tinker with to correct.
Anyway, it’s Labor Day and I have other things to do today, like enjoying the holiday.
Still feeling a little chore adjacent doing a post, but I felt I wanted to, so I’m doing. Last week, I didn’t feel like it, so I didn’t. I think there’s going to be more whim and less scheduling to future posts. Except in November when I do NaBloPoMo.
Haven’t Pokemon Go‘d in a few days. The weather’s been horrible (around 108 degrees during the day), and the particulate content of the air, thanks to the many fires around the Central Valley, make it miserable to get out. My allergies get activated, and I’m afraid I’ll get another of my endless colds if I push myself too hard. It’s bad enough that I cough sympathetically to my mom’s coughing, I don’t need a consistent cough of my own.
I got to talking about the Reincarnated campaign the other night with one of my long-time friend’s (Rob, the Kids’ dad) about the economy of the Murder God’s followers. I’ve been trying to figure out how a huge band of killers who disdain civilization would maintain a society, and a lot of that hinges on economy. I knew I wanted the base of the society to be the enslaved, but I wondered how to things worked above that. Eventually, our discussion came to the idea that the Murder Cultists have established an economy of fear. Overseers keep the slaves terrorized, and take most of the slaves products, leaving them with sustenance-levels of products, and distribute the rest based on whoever has them bullied into service. Above that, lesser warriors move up the chain through assassination or die. Fear of their target is all that keeps them in line.
Limited amounts of weapons and armor are made. The armorers are part of the system, acknowledging that only the faithful deserve more equipment, and they prove their faith by murdering the weak. But killing those weaker than you only gets you their fear, and while fear has it’s uses, fear can’t buy you respect like killing someone above you can. Of course, the powerful are wary of their subordinates, but if the powerful truly fear their lessers, they are unworthy of their position and their lives.
That’s all I have for tonight. Later.
I’m not in the best of moods, so take this for what you will.
I’m tired of the puppy. She just pissed on the brand new carpet with no warning that she needed out. I’m the only one that even tries to discipline her, and that work is constantly undone by the other members of the household. I’m tired of being responsible for animals I didn’t bring into the house.
While everyone else in the world has been on Pokemon Go, I decided to try out the older game by Niantic, Ingress.I was just looking for something entertaining to do while getting some exercise. The local players are jerks, and my entertainment has been spoiled. All of the younger folk at my Thursday night game are doing Pokemon Go, and there doesn’t seem to be the douchebaggery in that game, so I’m thinking of making the switch, even though I have zero interest in Pokemon Go.
I have no idea why I keep trusting in players on the Internet. Every game out there has it’s early adopters, and those folks seem to all be assholes who trample anyone new who joins. The social elements of these games are pretty anti-social.
I wonder why I bother to do this blog any more. I get five visits a post, and I haven’t had a comment in months. I’m really not enthusiastic about writing it, it’s feeling like a chore, or just a place to vent. That’s why I blew off making an entry last week.
Maybe it’s just my mood tonight. I could gripe about how work has been giving me very few hours, or any of a number of other things. Why bother?
I think I’m done for tonight. I wanted to get something up, and this isn’t really what I wanted, but obviously it’s stuff that I needed out.
Anyway, I’m done for now. Later.