Thursday, December 30, 2010

About Healing and Regeneration

I like how healing has fallen out so far in terms of its uses in the game. I was thinking, however, that healing magic should be especially effective against undead and demons as an attack. Any creature attuned to shadow (maybe?) automatically suffers full damage from a healing-based attack. This makes the warrior maidens of Yahalla especially effective against vampires; with healing +8, she’s going to drop 8 spells in a row on you that deal an average of 15 points of damage. Undead don’t get to resist or defend against this magic- the pure energy is just too blamed strong. I don’t know if this is unbalanced (it probably is… but I’m just brainstorming right now). Maybe you could make this an available application to holy heroes… for 2 CPs, you get an attack (linked to your healing- or to the ability you link healing to) that allows you to deal this damage to undead/shadow creatures. This I like better- Holy Reckoning: once per scene, you roll your linked ability to wound a shadow-attuned creature within rating range. The target automatically suffers the full damage of the attack, and cannot roll to defend or resist. Holy Water then becomes like Holy Reckoning in a can… you throw this stuff and the target must feel it. Holy Water has to be special then- you don’t just buy it in your local temple.

Regeneration has the potential to get really unbalanced as well… here’s where I’m leaning right now with this:
Regeneration as an ability grants you automatic wound recovery at the end of every round. If you put 30 points into regeneration to get it to +10, you almost deserve to recover 10 points every round. As I showed with my Thor example, at high levels, heroes are dishing out large worlds of hurt. Getting back 10 points a click is nice, but won’t always keep up with the damage you are taking in big fights; and you spent 30 of your character points to get it.

Regeneration as an application has to work differently, and be much less effective. It has to give wounds back over time, but not as many per round as the regeneration ability. I am not huge on the way you convert a rating into another rating here, but let’s try this out…

You recover the rating converted as a CP total for a number of rounds equal to the rating… I’ll have to find a clearer way to write it, but here’s an example: with a +6 rating in the linked ability, you get to recover 4 wounds per round (since 6 CPs = a rating of 4) for 6 rounds (a total of 24 wounds). This is helpful and useful, but not as impressive as regeneration over the same time frame (36 wounds), and regular regen continues long after this effect expires. I see ranger types, some necromantic casters and even earth mages taking regeneration as an application. Here’s a breakdown by rating:

Rating (total regeneration)
+1 (1 wound per round for 1 round = 1 total wound)
+2 (2 wounds per round for 2 rounds = 4 total wounds)
+3 (2 wounds per round for 3 rounds = 6 total wounds)
+4 (3 wounds per round for 4 rounds = 12 total wounds)
+5 (3 wounds per round for 5 rounds = 15 total wounds)
+6 (4 wounds per round for 6 rounds = 24 total wounds)
+7 (4 wounds per round for 7 rounds = 28 total wounds)
+8 (4 wounds per round for 8 rounds = 32 total wounds)
+9 (5 wounds per round for 9 rounds = 44 total wounds)
+10 (5 wounds per round for 10 rounds = 50 total wounds)

You do get some big jumps (after +3, +5, +8) where the rating bumps, but this is still a reasonable progression. You could just go half the rating (rounded up) for a number of rounds equal to the rating… this is easier to remember, and not quite as clunky in determining. Let’s check the numbers…

Rating (total regeneration)
+1 (1 wound per round for 1 round = 1 total wound)
+2 (1 wound per round for 2 rounds = 2 total wounds)
+3 (2 wounds per round for 3 rounds = 6 total wounds)
+4 (2 wounds per round for 4 rounds = 8 total wounds)
+5 (3 wounds per round for 5 rounds = 15 total wounds)
+6 (3 wounds per round for 6 rounds = 18 total wounds)
+7 (4 wounds per round for 7 rounds = 28 total wounds)
+8 (4 wounds per round for 8 rounds = 32 total wounds)
+9 (5 wounds per round for 9 rounds = 45 total wounds)
+10 (5 wounds per round for 10 rounds = 50 total wounds)

Wow… that’s almost identical (I can feel the math people rolling their eyes right now… I’m sure there are some statistics classes I could have taken that would have clued me into this a lot sooner). The big disparities are at +2 (4 vs. 2), +4 (12 vs. 8), and +6 (24 vs. 18). The rating conversion method (instead of the take half method) is the stronger system on the whole (the only exception being at +9, where there’s a 1-point difference).

Either of these systems is acceptable, although at lower levels the rating conversion system is stronger… this shouldn’t be a real consideration, but the fact of the matter is that you are only going to link regeneration to an ability you have a relatively high score in (+5 or higher) most of the time. Sure, you could be in the neighborhood of 20 CPs and have Intuition +2 linked to regeneration, but that’s not going to last long…

Okay, one more go at this. What if regeneration fades over time… each time it pulses at -1. This is the easiest by far to remember. Let’s check it:

Rating (Recover in round 1/2/3/…. Total)

+1 (1 point)
+2 (2/1=3 points)
+3 (3/2/1= 6 points)
+4 (4/3/2/1= 10 points)
+5 (5/4/3/2/1=15 points)
+6 (6/5/4/3/2/1=21 points)
+7 (7/6/5/4/3/2/1=28 points)
+8 (8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1=36 points)
+9 (9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1=45 points)
+10 (10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1=55 points)

Again, very similar results… some numbers are spot on (again, statistics class: why did I not take you?). This is not a bad system… you activate your regeneration when you’ve taken a good chunk of damage, trying to maximize the return and control your losses as the fight goes on. This one is much more strategic… you wait too long, and you aren’t going to recover quick enough to stay in the fight- you get a big surge right at the beginning (so you know it’s working), and then diminishing payoffs as the fight continues. Regeneration is superior to healing at the top end (a guaranteed 55 points vs. a typical result of 17 wounds recovered, maximum possible result of 22) but healing is better at the low end (at +1, a result of only 1 wound vs. an average of 8). In the middle ground, the results tend to balance (at +5, regen grants you 15 points; healing an average of 12 with a potential of up to 17). The benefit of healing is that you can choose to drop a resolve point to make it more powerful, while with regeneration you won’t have the same option.

Hmmm. Regeneration still feels far too unbalanced… healing restores an average of 7+rating wounds, giving you a total range between 3 wounds (the worst roll of 2 at the lowest bonus of +1) and 22 wounds (the best roll of 12 at the best bonus of +10). Regeneration has to fall within comparable ranges to be balanced… what if we just go with a default of your rating for 3 rounds… so at +1 you recover 3 wounds and at +10 you recover 30.

Rating (Averages for Healing vs. Regeneration)
+1 (Heal 3-13/average 8, regenerate 3)
+2 (heal 4-14/average 9, regenerate 6)
+3 (Heal 5-15/average 10, regenerate 9)
+4 (Heal 6-16/average 11, regenerate 12)
+5 (Heal 7-17/average 12, regenerate 15)
+6 (Heal 8-18/average 13, regenerate 18)
+7 (Heal 9-19/average 14, regenerate 21)
+8 (Heal 10-20/average 10, regenerate 24)
+9 (Heal 11-21/average 10, regenerate 27)
+10 (Heal 12-22/average 10, regenerate 30)

These are more modest results, but also more in line with healing. From +4 onward, regeneration is better over time, but healing is always stronger in the round it happens. As long as you are going to be up for another 2 rounds, regeneration is superior.