It’s a Monday. I’ve hit a point where I’m not quite sure how to continue with Lost Worlds. I may take a break from this whole thing for awhile and come back to it with some fresh thoughts. I may play in Andy’s game for awhile and review how I feel about the game from a player perspective rather than a GM perspective.
Barring some flash of insight (no, I’m not about to crit you with a cyclops Brian), I have two choices: wait and think more on my core mechanic, or design the game using the core mechanic I have and borrowing heavily from familiar systems. I’m not sure which route I want to go.
I want to do away with rolling to hit, and then rolling again for damage. I want the initial roll to be non-linear, and to have the actual number you roll represent something like “damage” – that’s non-linear and really utilizes the non-linear feature of the 2d10 system.
If I remove the to-hit roll, that means I remove the meaning of different types of defenses (Reflex, Fortitude, Will – as examples). The result is that you either need to have different pools of hit points (Marvel, for example, has three different stress tracks, one for physical, one for mental, and one for emotional), or you need to implement class powers that help you avoid/mitigate attacks of a certain type.
Of course, if you have class & monster powers that allow them to avoid or mitigate powers of a certain type, you’re almost full circle back to just having defenses again with an attack roll, which seems to be the least intrusive “power” you could have to avoid certain types of attacks. I could just not worry about different types of attacks for mitigation purposes, but I don’t like that from a simulation/differentiation standpoint. I think rogues like to be nimble, and barbarians like to be hardy.
Different health tracks seems over-complicated right now, and what do you do when you’ve run out of a particular pool? The rogue dodges and dodges until she can’t dodge anymore, period?
One thought I had was to go ahead and use the different pools, and rule that if the attacker’s 2d10 roll is greater than your pool, you take a wound. If it’s less than your pool, you lose points on your pool. That way, even as you’re getting worn out, there’s generally some slack you have at the bottom of that pool that gives you a chance of avoiding another attack. If you happen to be completely out of slack, well that means you took the least wounds you could up to this point and you really are exhausted to the point you can’t dodge again.
If I go with different pools of health, how many do you use? I was thinking about simplifying the game so that your ability scores were also your defenses. I was planning to do away with Reflex, Fortitude, and Will from D&D and go with D&D Next’s philosophy of double-utilizing ability scores as defenses (so: The 8 ability scores would also be defenses). I don’t think I want 8 separate pools of health though!
Let’s turn this around a little bit, and say I decide to go with 2d10 to hit, and if you hit, the black die represents your damage. What the non-linear mechanic does is help scale fights against more difficult opponents (making them even harder) or easier opponents (making them easier) without having to build an exponential bonus to defenses. You can trigger powers off of one or both dice. However, if the mechanic is 2d10, damage is basically going to be a static d10 roll, all the time.
First of all, I don’t know if this is bad. It might simplify the game in a pleasing way, but the simulationist in me doesn’t like it. So you could tack on some rules here. Maybe a small weapon uses the lowest rolling of the two dice as its damage. A medium weapon uses the black die for damage. A large weapon uses the larger of the two dice for damage. This gives a nice low, medium, and high damage curve as well (well, technically medium is still linear, but it’s going to average in between the two curves).
What this also means, is that either luck & fatigue can’t really scale much, because this mechanic doesn’t have a built-in multiplier – or I need to build in a multiplier on the damage somehow.
So, I’m stewing on all of this and I haven’t broken through the wall yet. I have most of the structures of the game in place (although there are certainly some decisions still to be made, such as weapon proficiency), but I can’t really move forward or even playtest until I make an initial set of decisions on all of this.
I think I’ll stew on it a little bit more, maybe wait and see if I get any feedback. In a few weeks I may decide to move forward with a 2d10 attack to see if hit/miss occurs, and then make a decision on how damage will scale.
I think going to GenCon and playing a lot of different games might be inspiring for me to start building again. I also think playing in a game (months away still) might be inspiring as well. And as always, I’m looking for reader feedback!