[Some more questions about the “whys?” of the game mechanics. These questions mostly arose in play, because of small rules that were necessary for play, but hadn’t previously appeared as part of the Destiny Game Mechanics series or in the 0.1a Rules pdf.]
Q1. Does Strength really add twice to melee attacks?
A1. Sort of. Sometimes. And pretty much on purpose.
Your Attack Rating is Skill + Damage. Power melee skills (see next question) are based on Strength, so the Base Skill Rating is +1 to +3. Melee Damage is also based on Strength (such as a club which is STR +3). So, a STR of 8 will add a total of 10 points to the Attack Rating (8 from damage, +2 from the Skill Rating), purely from the character’s Strength itself. And an Olympic weightlifter, with a Strength of 12, gets 15 points from skill and damage, due to his Strength alone.
In a modern setting (or a viable cross-genre one, one of the design goals of Destiny) high-Strength characters are at a disadvantage. Firearms are available, and guns do a lot of damage, at range, and are fairly reliable. Giving strong characters a little extra boost (from +1 to +3) makes them more balanced.
Q1. What’s the difference between a power melee skill and a fast melee skill?
A1. In the real world, melee combat depends on your muscle power “to hit”. Boxing, sword-and-shield fighting, and so forth, all require you to hammer your way past a target’s defenses, using main force. So most melee skills are based on Strength.
But a few, such as dueling rapiers, are based on Dexterity, because they depend on physical agility and speed instead. Some forms of hand-to-hand combat are also speed/agility based, such as wrestling or judo.
Power melee skills are Strength based, fast melee skills Dexterity based. This adds some skills to the list, increasing complexity, but makes the game match the real world a bit better.
It also addresses flavor concerns, as well. “Bruce Lee” characters can have their agile, fast-striking martial arts, while “Rocky” characters get their brutal, hard-hitting boxing skills. Those distinctions make for great roleplaying fodder, and having two different kinds of hand-to-hand (or other melee) skills implements them.
Q1. What is a “Full Defense”?
A1. A Full Defense is one of the few (6 or so) combat maneuvers in the game. It represents the character concentrating wholly on defending themselves.
Normally, your Defense is a static number. With a Full Defense, you can roll the hot dice and add it to your Defense against any and all attacks that round.
“Full Defense” is a rule not in the current release (0.1a), but which will be detailed in 0.2a. It came up in the playtest, however, hence the question.
Q2. Do you really want to allow Declarations on regular Defense?
A2. After some thought, yes. Declarations are optional, but they add color.
When the GM says “Your opponent dashes in, striking hard with his axe.” and the player responds with “I parry wildly.”, that’s all good. The game mechanics should, and in Destiny do, encourage exactly this sort of play.
Roleplaying games depend on description. The game “comes alive” in the imaginations of players and GM’s when they know what they see, hear, feel, smell, and do.
Immersing players in the world is hard, but good descriptions (and unobtrusive mechanics) make it easier. Declarations encourage “in-character” thinking: the player has to focus on what his character is doing just to make one, instead of worrying solely about the numbers and the dice.
Re-reading the playtest chat log convinced me of this. The defense Declarations were cool, and an opportunity to roleplay. The entire goal of the game is to support and encourage just this sort of interaction. And defense Declarations did.
[There are more questions, so expect a FAQ, Part III presently.]