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SAME Crossbows.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:01 pm    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mystical Transformation, as described, is roughly balanced in combat. It switches your ideal combat role from brick to archer or vice versa. Unfortunately, it has the problem wherein the bards of this world don't actually get any use out of it, which is bad (since they sacrificed points off their biggest attack to be able to use everything).

More importantly, it really hoses split characters out of combat. While people are researching in tomes, disarming traps, and making lattes, the players usually only use one stat at a time and know ahead of time what is going to be useful.

So no, I don't see such a manuver as being acceptable.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:00 am    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Here's another rather tough SAME question.

How is the system going to handle swarm attacks?

Normally, you can get to the point where one attack can never deal any damage to a given target, yet multiple attacks do, in situations such as:

-One Lilliputian firing a bow at Gulliver.
-A bee stinging a human
-An X-wing firing on a Star Destroyer.

I would think that it would be best to use one system to handle all of these, as they're all a very similar situation. None of which is handled especially well by the SAME wound system thus far. Even the quad fire linked cannons on an X-wing would probably make use of such a rule, since they are four attacks in one. I'd think some rule for staging up damage based on number of attacks might be useful.

It may also be necessary to have some way of discerning hard targets from soft targets as well, for instance, you can have a whole army of guys with pistols and bows firing at a tank, but it never ends up taking it out. So in some cases some things should be invulnerable to swarm attacks.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:09 am    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Every system has a problem with swarm attacks. Whether a rule that allows the combination of multiple smaller attacks into a larger one is in or not, it's a problem. The problem is that attacks are negligible both because of hardness and size.

A diamond is hardness 10. A piece of glass is hardness 7. Talc is hardness 1. No amount of talc can cut diamond, or even glass. Glass is simply harder than talc, and diamond is harder than glass. Having more talc on hand just makes it take longer for the diamond to cut through it all.

Meanwhile, a mosquito draws some of your blood with their little bite. That's causing real damage, though not enough for any playable game system to keep track of. However, a thousand, or a million of those little girls could raisin a guy in minutes.

So every game system needs to address whether it's more obnoxious that the game can't adequately address the actual immunity that a MBT enjoys against any number of nerf pistols, or that it can't adequately address the complete immunity that a tyranosaur does not enjoy when confronted with a large enough horde of rats.

If you wanted SAME to address the first problem, just don't allow small attacks to add together. If you wanted SAME to address the second problem, you would allow some combination of attacks. Say, every double the number of attackers can make a single attack roll at +1 to-hit and +1 damage (yes, this means that it is virtually impossible for a swarm of bats to miss).

If you wanted to attempt to address both problems simultaneously, you'd give every potential target a "damage threshhold" for Strength and Elan. That is the damage number that is the minimum amount that anything can have and still add to an attack. This is pretty easy to implement, but is still probably too much of a pain in the ass to bother with for most settings.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
Prince


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 7:31 pm    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There are a few different swarm attack scenarios that I can envision, and I'd think all of them would be a bit different.

-A bunch of little things attacking one big thing. Like a swarm of bees on a human or a swarm of starfighters attacking a capital ship. The idea here is that there are a lot of hits and numbers allow for accumulated damage.

-Autofire or multiweapons fire. This can be some guy with a machine gun or a big capital ship firing off a bunch of laser batteries at an incoming fighter. This one can have multiple uses. In some cases you're trying to improve both accuracy and damage, usually when firing at a same size target, against a smaller target you're generally just trying to improve the chance of landing a hit by spraying an area with firepower.

Now it's an important distinction because if a Star Destroyer opens up with its turbolaser batteries on a small starship like the millenium falcon, you probably want it to be able to hit the ship, but not increase the damage much (since it would likely vaporize it taking a full barrage from all its guns).

I wonder if possibly you could do something based on relative size, that determines how much of the damage goes to agility or strength. A small thing shooting at a big thing gains mostly damage and a big thing shooting at a small thing gains mostly accuracy for instance. A guy with an autofire weapon shooting at another guy would gain a combination of both.

About hardened targets it's probably easy enough to say that a base damage DC of X or lower (before you apply mods for swarm attacks) can be negated. So if you wanted to simulate a tank you'd just give it hardened armor 40 say, and that way people with base damage 32 M-16s wouldn't be able to touch it regardless of how many were firing on it. That'd be a simple solution I'd think which seems to do the job rather well.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The only inherent difference between Autofire and Swarm Attacks is that you don't want Autofire attacks to have the option of resolving themselves as a series of separate attacks on the same target. And that's mostly because it's really annoying to adjudicate, more than being inherently unbalanced on principle.

A swarm of bees, for instance, has the option of being a bunch of separate bee attacks, if for instance they are fighting a ginormous number of spiders. A guy with an uzi, OTOH, has the option of having a bunch of low-odds attacks against everyone in the room, or a single larger attack against one enemy. But while the Bees can split up to attack the spiders three at a time, the guy with the Uzi should not have the option of attacking one enemy 3 times.

As for the Death Star vs. the Rebel Fleet, yeah the Death Star should have the opion of firing all its weapons at one ship and totally blowing it to little scraps. At +1 to-hit and +1 to damage for each doubling of weapons fired, it could be absolutely assured of frapping one enemy ship beyond recognition each turn if that's what it wanted to do. It's a Death Star, it's supposed to be able to do things like that. From a tactical standpoint, however, it's going to be better off shooting a weapon or two at each incoming vessel, because that way (just by playing the odds) it'll be disabling or destroying many rebel ships each turn, rather than only one. So any individual ship is going to have a relatively low chance of getting crunched up, but the Death Star is still killing more ships overall.

Once the Death Star reduces the fleet to just a couple of ships, the fight should be basically over.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:18 pm    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, the main problem with having a big capital ship be able to level smaller ships is that it's not particularly fun. A lot of space games, such as simulating the obvious Star Wars game, is going to feature the PCs flying in small space fighters.

And really, you probably don't want those fighters going up in a big ball of fire in a single attack, because that's somebody's character who just got lit up. And often times you are going to be doing bombing runs on a star destroyer, or doing the trench run trying to take out the death star. As far as fun factor goes, you'd prefer to just have the PCs ship get heavily damaged by one of the laser towers and he has to pull out. It isn't all that fun for him to get hit with one super attack as all the capital ships guns focus on him and blow him to hell.

It's a bit more dramatic, and probably better for the game, if the starship could take a few hits and the extra guns firing on them just means a bit more accuracy. I figure you're looking at a situation like this:

Capital ship: lots of strength, low agility.
Starfighter: low strength, high agility.

The cap ship's main problem is going to actually be hitting the little fighter, and the fighter's main problem is going to be damaging the capital ship. Both I could see making use of swarm rules but for different purposes. One for a barrage to help hit a smaller more manueverable target, and another to try to help bring down a target with superior damage reduction through massed firepower.

It's basically a ratio of wasted shots versus shots that connect. A starfighter squadron probably makes every shot they have count. A capital ship firing at a starfighter is going to waste most of its shots, and is primarily expecting only to land a couple. A human firing an automatic weapon at another human, or possibly the death star firing at a cruiser is probably going to both increase the chance of hitting and the damage dealt, since more shots will be landing as well.

You could do a couple of things, either you can have abilities which let you survive these sort of engagements, or you can just build it into the swarm attack rules from the beginning. I'm not really sure which is better at this point.

Also the other matter which probably should be addressed is what happens when you've got people in the swarm with different levels of ability. Again probably something that's going to happen primarily in sci fi settings when a PC decides to take control of one of the capital ships turrets, or is part of a fighter squadron. Even a mixed fighter swarm like Y-Wings and X-wings attacking the same capital ship likely brings up these problems as well.

Since you are condensing things to one roll you have to decide whose agility and strength you actually use for making the attack.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 12:01 am    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

No no no. If the players are doing trench bombing runs against the Death Star, they are part of a group of lots of Fighters. The Death Star is sending just a few shots the way of each fighter, so each individual Fighter has a very high probability of not going up in a fire ball each turn.

The rules should not be set up in such a fashion as to make the sending of individual Fighters against the Death Star into a viable proposition. Many small ships can go against the Death Star, the rules even support that sort of thing. But one X Wing by itself running in and blowing up the Death Star or even "holding it off" isn't fun, it's retarded.

If all you have is one X Wing, the Death Star should alpha strike you out of existence without even rolling dice. Anything else is stupid beyond belief.

If, on the other hand, you have lots and lots of ships, then the Death Star, by current rules, can actually have an engaging situation for any individual pilot while still killing lots of the enemy and having a decent fight.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:31 am    Post subject: Re: SAME Crossbows. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well keep in mind that the Millenium falcon really did go on an attack trajectory toward a Star Destroyer and land on it without getting vaporized.

And a single starfighter against a cap ship will never be a viable option simply because the starfighter can't actually hurt the capital ship. So it'll fire it's lasers and it might actually survive awhile, but it doesn't matter because it can't do any real damage. So it doesn't matter if a lone X-wing with a good pilot could possibly survive for 6 rounds against a star destroyer, because its weapons aren't doing any significant damage to it. So it can never be a viable strategy.

In a setting like Star Wars where fighters are supposed to take the forefront of the action, it's ok to make fighters good at dodging capital ship fire. You want the Star Destroyer to launch its own fighters to intercept the PCs ships, because that's fun and interesting from a story standpoint. Generally if anything you probably want to focus on fighter vs. fighter combats.

So if possible you should probably encourage capital ships to fire at other capital ships and fighters to engage other fighters. Capital ships can engage fighters rather inefficiently and fighters can also engage capital ships if in large enough numbers.

I'm not really sure where there's any basic balance paradigm problem with that. Just being able to survive a few extra rounds in an X-wing isn't going to be all that big a deal. And you certainly don't gain anything by sending in your fighters one at a time.

Now of course, if you were trying to simulate Star Trek instead of Star Wars, I suppose you'd probably want to put the emphasis on the capital ships instead of the fighters, but for most space style RPGs I think the emphasis is best placed on small ship scale combat, because the players are much more likely to end up flying an X-wing or the Falcon than they are a Star Destroyer.
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