Monday, December 27, 2010

Game Breakers

This is never a fun part of the game design process, but it must needs be done… it’s time to try to break my game. Yeah, it’s not even close to done yet (or even in draft form really), but I have enough of it down in my notes and head to have a go at wrecking the whole thing… Let’s go with Thor vs. the Spawn of the Midgard Serpent, shall we? Let’s take this thing out and see how it handles the tough terrain… I’m not going to give the Midgard Serpent’s spawn Resolve.

Thor, the Thunderer (200 CPs)
Armor +5; Fighting +10; Might +10; Precision +6; Stamina +10
Focus +6; Resolve +8; Warding +5; Call Lightning +10 (Energize Weapon; Control Weather; Flight)
Intuition +6
Carries Mjolnir, a +11 weapon; this deals +21 damage in melee, +17 damage when thrown (up to 10 units)
When he energizes Mjolnir, it deals an additional +2 damage (+23 melee/+19 thrown)
He wears Norse Battle Armor +5.

Spawn of the Midgard Serpent (200 CPs)

Invulnerable +9; Fighting +9 (Bonus Attack); Might +10 (Strike); Focus +8 (Lore); Warding +8; Intuition +9 (Nature); Poison +11; Speed +6

Setup: Having learned that the Midgard Serpent has spawned progeny across the multiverse, Thor has undertaken a quest to find these progeny in their nests and destroy them before they set out to wreck untold destruction on the realm of mortals. That sounds Thor-y, doesn’t it?

Being Thor, he arrives in the chamber, calling out to the serpent to face him… and it does! It’s time for sequence! They start 12 units (120’) apart.

• Thor rolls 8+6=14 and the Spawn (we’ll call him Mid) rolls 8+9=17.
• Mid goes first, slithering across the chamber towards Thor. It travels 3+6 (its speed) =9 units. It’s now almost in melee range.
• Thor uses his turn to energize his hammer, preparing for total pwnage… or so he hopes.
• The serpent travels 2 more units (to close for melee) and takes a -2 penalty to his attack (FYI, I’m thinking you can move up to your total movement- everyone gets a base of 3 units per turn- taking -1 to your attack for each unit you move. Since Mid has this base 3 + his speed of 6= 9, he could travel up to 9 units and still attack… he only needs to move 2 to get in melee, so he does and then bites at -2). He rolls 11+9-2=18 to hit, and Thor rolls 9+10=19 to evade. Thor dodges the lunging bite of the serpent.
• Thor swings his hammer at the thing’s head. He rolls 4+10=14 to hit, and Mid rolls 6+9=15 to evade. Right away, Thor will spend a Resolve point, using his call lightning to drive the attack home, now striking at +24, and hitting by +9. Rolling for damage, he gets 11+23+9=43 damage, and the serpent’s invulnerability soaks 11+9=20 of this. Thor deals 23 wounds, leaving the serpent at 177.
• Mid bites again, getting 7+9=16, and Thor rolls 6+10=16. The serpent barely hits. For damage, it rolls 9+10+10=29 damage, and Thor rolls 3+5=8 to soak. He suffers 21 wounds, leaving him at 179. He has to roll to resist the poisonous bite of the serpent. I’ll use static 7 for the poison, giving it a total DR of 16. Thor rolls stamina, getting 8+10=18. He easily fights off the poison (the benefit of having stamina +10; it’s REALLY hard to poison you…).
• Thor’s quite willing to spend Resolve here, and brings forth another thunderclap as he lets Mjolnir fall upon the serpent’s head… he rolls 9+10+10=29 to hit, and the serpent rolls 8+9=17 to evade. Thor hits by +12; rolling for damage he gets 10+23+12=45 vs. the serpent’s soak of 5+9=14. Thor deals an impressive 31 wounds, leaving the serpent reeling at 146.
• The serpent is feeling the fight turning against him, and decides to try a new strategy… he’s going to bite while also trying to hit Thor with a tail swipe. He’ll need some good rolling to pull this off, but it’s worth a try. He rolls 7 on the die to hit with the bite, and Thor rolls 4+10=14 to resist. He’ll use 7 of his 9 fighting points to bump his attack to 14 and hit, adding the other 2 to his tail strike roll; he rolls the tail strike, getting 10+2=12 to hit; Thor only rolls 5+10=15 to evade this and does so (his fighting is so high that the serpent is going to have trouble breaking up attacks like this… he’ll stick with the bite from here out). For the bite attack, he rolls damage, getting 3 (ugh!) +10+10=23 damage, and Thor rolls 11+5=16 to soak. He deals only 7 wounds, leaving Thor at 172 wounds. Thor has to attempt to resist the poison again, and rolls 7+10=17. The DR is 16, so he barely shrugs it off.
• Thor’s been spending his resolve like water, so he’ll continue… he spends his third resolve point to invoke more storm power, and will also put a fourth resolve point into channeling his own stamina into damage. He throws himself into the mightiest swing he can muster, hoping to deliver a death blow (although I think this is very unlikely…) He rolls 10+10+10=30 to hit, and Middy rolls 7+9=16 to evade. Thor hits by +14. For damage, he rolls 5+23+10+14=52, and the serpent rolls 2+9=11 to soak. Thor doesn’t finish it, but he does deal 41 wounds, leaving the serpent feeling the pain at 105 wounds.
• The poor serpent is starting to feel a little hopeless… a lucky strike against the god of thunder would sure brighten up his day! He bites again, rolling 7+9=16 to hit, and Thor rolls 6+10=16 to evade. The bite barely lands; for damage, Mid rolls 8+10+10=28, and Thor rolls 4+5=9 to soak. This is a good hit, and Thor suffers 21 wounds, leaving him at 151. He has to try to stave off the poison again, and rolls 5+10=15… and fails! He suffers 1 more wound from the poison (ech) and is now at an even 150 wounds, with a little of the serpent’s poison in his system.
• Thor has no reason to change his strategy… this is working just fine! He calls another thunderclap, rolling 11+10+10=31 to hit, and the serpent rolls 3+9=12 to evade. Thor hits by +19. For damage, he spends his sixth resolve point, dealing 7+23+19+10=59 wounds, while the serpent rolls 6+9=15 to soak. Thor deals another 44 wounds, leaving the serpent at 61 wounds.
• It’s the end of the round, so Thor has to roll to soak the poison. He rolls 7+10=17, and ends the poison.
• The serpent goes to bite again, getting 8+9=17 to hit; Thor rolls 7+10=17 to evade. The serpent barely hits. Thor could use a Resolve point to have his intuition (+6) help him evade the blow, but why bother? He’s winning pretty handily at present… he’d rather have the resolve for offense right now. For damage, Mid rolls 9+10+10=29 wounds, and Thor’s armor soaks 9+5=14 of those; he takes 15 wounds, leaving him at 135. He has to soak the poison, and rolls 10+10=20, easily resisting the poison and ending its onset.
• Thor will use his final two resolve points here… one on the attack, one on damage. He rolls to attack, getting 9+10+10=29 to hit, and the serpent rolls 10+9=19 to evade. Thor hits by only +10… for damage, he rolls 4+23+10+10=47 vs. the serpent’s soak of 3+9=12. Thor deals 35 wounds, leaving the serpent at 26 wounds.
• The serpent rolls 5+9=14 to hit, and Thor rolls 9+10=19 to evade. He’s just toying with the snake now, as the creature stumbles around, trying to regain its bearings…
• Thor calls lightning, standing back to finish the creature with pure lightning; he rolls 8+6=14 to hit with the lightning bolt, and the serpent rolls 6+8=14 to defend. Thor barely hits with the lightning bolt, and rolls for damage, getting 9+10=19 vs. the serpent’s warding of 2+9=11… he deals only 8 wounds, but is just as happy to humiliate as finish. Mid is down to 18 wounds.
• The Spawn of the Midgard Serpent takes a frantic bite, rolling 8+9=17, but Thor easily beats its strike away with his hammer, rolling 12+10=22…
• Thor now brings Mjolnir around, rolling 5+10=15 to hit, while the serpent rolls 5+9=14 to evade. He hits by +1. For damage, Thor rolls 6+23+1=30 damage, and the serpent rolls 4+9=13 to soak. It suffers 17 wounds, leaving it at 1 wound!
• Flailing about in absolute misery, the serpent takes a final lunge, rolling 8+9=17 to hit; Thor rolls 7+10=17 to evade. The serpent barely strikes, rolling 5+10+10=25 damage vs. Thor’s soak of 7+5=12. Thor takes 13 wounds, leaving him at 122 wounds.
• Thor brings Mjolnir down on the creature’s back, rolling a natural 2, and fumbling! The serpent has been feigning being unable to defend itself, and leads Thor into overconfidence… now it gets a free resolve point to use on its next strike due to the botch.
• The serpent rolls fighting and adds its might +10 to the attack, rolling 5+9+10=24 to hit, and Thor rolls 8+10=18 to evade. The serpent hits by +6… for damage, Middy rolls 10+10+10+6=36, and Thor rolls 6+5=11 to soak. He suffers 25 wounds from a vicious bite, and is now down to 97 wounds. He has to attempt to soak the poison again, rolling 11+10=21 to easily stave off the toxin.
• Thor swings his hammer again, somewhat miffed at the serpent for attempting to psych him out… he rolls 6+10=16 to hit, and Mid rolls 8+9=17 to evade… this thing just won’t die!
• The serpent bites, rolling 7+9=16 vs. Thor’s evade of 9+10=19. He won’t be fooled again!
• Thor swings, getting 9+10=19 vs. its defense roll of 4+9=13… that should do it. Thor hits by +6, rolling damage 10+23+6=39 vs. Mid’s invulnerability soak of 4+9=13. He deals 26 wounds, leaving the serpent at -25 and D.E.A.D. Thor ends the fight with 97 wounds.

Analysis:
• I like it that a botch on an attack roll gives the target an automatic resolve point to use on the next action. That makes a lot of sense, and can turn the tide of a fight quickly with a few bad rolls.
• I tried to break the game- and failed! Even when dealing with 200 CP creatures, the dice still matter- a lot.
• Resolve is HUGE. Thor was able to lay the smack down early due to liberal use of Resolve points. If you don’t buy resolve, you’re missing out on one of the cooler aspects of combat (at least, I think so).
• The serpent was a little bland, in general. I’d like him to have a constriction attack of some kind or some way to wear down Thor other than just the bite and poison… a constriction attack tied to his might that gives the target penalties and gives him bonuses might have been nice. I’ll put that on my play testing list…
• This was a pretty long combat (10 rounds), and I was happy not to have to roll sequence or determine order more than once… we got going, and just kept taking turns. It was a reasonable rotation, and it kept things moving.
• I totally forgot that speed should give you bonus actions several times during combat! Mid would have been able to take several (6) multi attacks with full fighting on both (a tail slash and a bite both at +9 simultaneously due to its great speed). I’m still confident that Thor would have won, but it would have been a little closer. It really bites that I forgot to do that… 6 more attacks; on average he would have hit maybe three, dealing about 15 wounds each time… so Thor would probably have suffered about 45 more wounds, and the fight would have been a lot closer.