Saturday, November 27, 2010

Opposing Abilities

One of the things I like about Resolute is that you only purchase the abilities you use. This keeps the character sheet and number of stats you have to keep track of minimal. In Mythweaver, if a goblin had negligible might, you still had to record that on the character record; there’s still a spot for might, so you have to write something in, even if it has no bearing on game play. Resolute doesn’t do that. If you have no particular might, your might is +0, and you don’t bother writing it down.

However, one of the things I really like about Mythweaver is that your abilities oppose themselves. If you are taking a casting action with an ability that uses Willpower, the target uses Willpower to resist… if you swing a sword using Prowess, your opponent rolls Prowess to evade it. It’s a nice, intuitive system that tends to work well in play. The frustrating thing becomes when you attack a giant; your dwarven fighter has a harder time hitting it than your elfin archer or your gnome caster; the other two are attacking its weaknesses, while you are engaging it against its strongest attribute (your Prowess +10 against its Prowess +10). This also, however, makes a good deal of sense. A spell caster’s greatest foe is a character good at melee; a thief’s greatest foe is a spell caster; a slow, heavily-armored fighter’s greatest foe is a light, quick, ranged attacker.

Right now, Fighting targets your foe’s Evade. If, however, fighting targets fighting… this makes more sense. You aren’t going to learn how to swing a sword (for instance) without also learning how to defend yourself against sword attacks… it would all be part of the same training. A high-level wizard is not going to have mastered casting spells, but never have bothered to learn how to prevent those same spells from affecting him.

This means that, in general, the game can have fewer core abilities, and can have more applications of things you build off of those core abilities. Each ability should be a multi-faceted and valuable thing. Here are some things I’m considering:

Armor is not a unique ability, but is instead an application of your stamina. You need great stamina to wear heavy armor. Part of the reason a typical bookworm sorcerer doesn’t go around in heavy plate mail is because he doesn’t have the proper conditioning to wear such armor. So, if you have stamina +3 and armor use (at a default cost of 2 character points), you can wear armor +3… ring mail or the like. Once your stamina gets to +5, you can start wearing chain mail, and once your stamina gets to +7 or better, you can throw on the plate mail. This makes sense for dwarves, who have the best stamina and also tend to wear the best armor. This also means that characters with high stamina tend to be more durable- which makes sense.

Conversely, shield use should be linked to fighting, not your armor. A shield gives you a pool of points that you add only to armor soak rolls (whereas now those points can be added in a number of places). However, your ability to use a shield effectively is not about how durable you are; it’s about how well you position your weapon and your body in combat- this is fighting. It also makes sense that the classic Greek warrior with the lighter armor but the huge shield has this because he may have fighting +8, but stamina only +4 or so… his +8 shield helps to offset the relatively light armor he’s wearing. I know that the whole story of the 300 is predicated on the tremendous stamina of the soldiers present, although I’m going to argue that this is more about Resolve than Stamina per se, and I’ll get to that later…