Lazy-Ass Cracked Gaming Link!

So I had a two-and-a-half hour Q&A session tonight (link to the transcript), and I need the quickest, laziest link I can find.

Cracked it is!

How about… hmmm…

The 5 Most Elaborately Hidden Video Game Easter Eggs

Shit, yeah! Shenmue duck racing! Hadouken in Mega Man! Utterly pointless, deeply hidden fetch quests! (Yo, I’m playing Skyrim. I can relate.)

This, and a whole lot more… (say it with me now) …at the link.

Wait! I Got A Question! [∞ Infinity]

“You add your Damage Rating to your Skill to Attack. Doesn’t this mean a really big Damage Rating helps people hit more often?”

It’s a really good question, with a really simple answer that operates in two dimensions, the theoretical and the practical: No. No, it doesn’t.

Theoretical: No, because you’re not hitting more often, you’re doing better on an attack.

When you thrust with a sword, loose an arrow, or squeeze the trigger of a sniper rifle, there’s no “to-hit” or “damage”. There’s just the attack.

You do well, you do more damage. You screw the pooch, you don’t. Either way, there’s just the attack.

And more powerful weapons make for more effective attacks. By definition.

There are four elements in each Combat Challenge: weapon Damage, attacker Skill, Toughness, and defender Skill. The role of each must be comparable to the rest: no one element can predominate. To see if weapon Damage does, I ran the numbers.

I took all sorts of characters, from the most pathetic specimens of humanity imaginable to experienced PC’s, and gave them all sorts of weapons, from large caliber assault rifles to plasma weapons designed to burn holes in the side of tanks. I then faced the characters off against each other, and recorded the results.

At every level, bigger guns meant more damage. (Obviously.) But the damage was never disproportionate to the (very favorable) shooting conditions: the target was 4 meters (12 feet) away, in the open, standing still, not wearing any armor. (This maximized the damage done, to make the rule look as bad as possible.)

Even in such overwhelmingly favorable conditions, against an assault rifle, wholly incompetent attackers didn’t enjoy walk-away victories. They killed equally statted people, but average people were only hurt, not killed (assuming a roll of 0). As for the experienced characters… sometimes not even that.

In other words, the outcomes made sense. Which is fairly high praise for a game mechanic.

In other, other words, no — a high damage weapon doesn’t make bumbling jackasses into supa ninjas. It does, however, allow them to do better on an attack.

Now, playtesting is very different from number crunching. And it can reveal flaws that have previously gone overlooked.

If playtesting indicates weapon Damage is still too high, I’ve already prototyped two different solutions. So I’m not real worried about this.

On the other hand, it is a very good question and exactly the sort of thing I need to pay attention to. Thanks to the two commenters who brought it up: Dominick Reisland (back in 2012, I believe) and Phil Dack.

I’ll start covering the effects of damage — Wounds and Shock — tomorrow.

Part 1, Again. Again. [∞ Infinity]

Combat, pt. 1

Since the last post, I’ve had some discussions with The List and the playtesters, run some numbers in “Numbers”, prototyped weapon damage and Wound variants, and put together at least 5 different versions of the central combat mechanic. The following rule (which will seem very familiar) is the end result of all that.

We’ll start with skills. Everything, including combat, is based around skills.

Your Firearms skill is used for guns and energy weapons, your Melee skill is used for punching and swords, your Missile Weapons skill is used for bows and crossbows. Like all skills, you have Skill Points (reflecting your training and experience) and a bonus from an Attribute.

Example: 7 Skill Points +3 bonus = 10 Skill Rating

Then there are defensive skills, like Dodge and Melee. (Melee both attacks and defends.) Skill Ratings for these are calculated exactly the same way.

Weapons have a Damage Rating (calculated in different ways for different weapons). For an assault rifle, this is a flat value: an AK-47 does Damage 18.

Last, armor. All characters and objects have a Toughness, which measures their resistance to damage. For people, this is their Endurance attribute, plus a modifier for the armor worn, if any: a leather jacker provides +2, a Kevlar vest +5.

Example: Endurance 10, +0 (no armor) = Toughness 10.

So how do we do combat? The attacker picks a weapon, say the AK-47. They take their Firearms Skill and add it to their Damage Rating. That’s their Attack Rating.

The defender takes their defense Skill (in this case, Dodge) and adds it to their Toughness. That’s their Defense Rating.

Like all mechanics in this system, you roll a bonus and add it to the Attack. Compare that to the Defense, and calculate Success Levels (1 SL for every 3 Points). Each Success Level is 1 Wound, plus 1 Stun for 0 SL.

Let’s run the numbers, using the examples above:

Attack Rating: Firearms Skill 10 + AK-47 Damage 18 = Attack 28

Defense Rating: Dodge Skill 10 + Toughness 10 = Defense 20

The Attack: Roll +0. Attack 28 – Defense 20 = result 8. This is 2 Success Levels, or 2 Wounds + 1 Stun.

That’s it. 1 game value for attacker and defender, 1 roll, period, 1 simple mechanic for damage (the same that’s used everywhere else). There is no fundamental difference between combat and any other skill check. If you can count by threes, you can play the game.