Monday, December 20, 2010

Wounds and Levels

For the sample heroes so far, I’ve used their CP total as their wound total, since this is the ballpark of where characters should end up. This is pretty reasonable. Every CP you add to your character total is +1 wound you can take before you risk being knocked out. A dragon built on 150 CPs also has 150 wounds. A young watchman built on 5 CPs also can take 5 wounds. Simple enough.

However, I also like the idea of stamina being linked to your wounds. Originally, I was going to go old school D+D style, and have you roll your wounds every level. Each time you advance in level, you roll 2D+ stamina, adding this to your wounds total. On average, most characters would end up with wounds roughly equal to their CP total anyway, although characters with high stamina would end up with higher wounds. For example, a level 10 character (100 CPs) would have:
100 wounds with the first method I talked about.
An average of 110 wounds with Stamina +3 (average roll of 7+3=10 each level for 11 levels).*
An average of 77 wounds with Stamina +0 (average roll of 7+0=7 each level for 11 levels).*
An average of 165 wounds with Stamina +8 (average roll of 7+8=15 each level for 11 levels).*

* level 0 has to count as a level, since you would roll your health at 0 and again at 1… it’s not like a creature built on 1-9 CPs has no wounds at all!

With the random method, a dragon built on 150 CPs (level 15) with Stamina +8 is going to have between 150 and 300 wounds, with an average of 225. That’s a LOT of wounds, but it makes sense that a dragon will have a lot more wounds. Creatures with high stamina should have more wounds.

The real issue I have with this is the concept of levels. The game feels like it’s moving away from levels as an important concept. No abilities are tied to levels or level progression, and I don’t see any need for levels as a part of the progress of the game. For example, here’s the CP progression I’ve had in mind as I’ve worked:

0-9 CPs = Novice, Beginner
10-29 CPs= Apprentice, Initiate, Rookie, Tenderfoot (New heroes start at 10 CPs)
30-59 CPs= Adept, Street Level, Name-level
60-99 CPs= Expert, Hero (Most superheroes start at 60 CPs)
100-149 CPs= Master, Super-hero
150-199 CPs= Paragon, Legend, World Class
200+ CPs= Godlike

This puts Superman in the 150-175 range, and the members of the Fantastic Four, as well as most X-Men, in the 60-99 range. Most Justice Leaguers and the top Avengers (Hulk, Thor, Iron Man) would be in the 100-149 range I’d think. My models of Wolvie and Cap ended up at 99 CPs, and they both felt just about right. Is 99 the cap for a mortal character? That’s kind of a cool concept; your character (if a mortal) cannot proceed past 99 CPs. You’d have to argue then that Superman and the Hulk are not mortal characters, but in some senses they are immortal- or as close as we’re likely to get. Hmmm. I’ll think on this more…

I still don’t know how to solve the wounds issue; I like random generation for wounds, but I don’t see the benefit of putting levels in the game. If you have wounds completely tied to stamina, then everyone is going to have to have some stamina… and wounds are going to stay pretty low. If you have the ability to deal upwards of 25 wounds in a single strike (and most heroes will before too long), 50 wounds is not all that much.

You could go Marvel FASERIP style and have wounds tied directly only to the total of your physical abilities, but then you run into another set of problems; by tying your stealth to your intuition instead of your precision, you just cost yourself 2 wounds. Is stealth a physical or mental ability when you buy it independently? It gets too hard to figure out, and the cost to get there isn’t worth the variety you get in the exchange.

I think that keeping wounds tied to your CP total is the most reasonable solution. Being built on 200 CPs inherently gives you a lot of health. I’ll go with that for now, although the 10-year-old gamer in my heart still wants random health determination… I could always include sidebars for ‘house rules’ allowing you to roll your health randomly, and including ‘levels’ as part of that … every 10 CPs, you roll 2D+ your stamina and add this to your total wounds. This is easy enough to add, gives you more options as a player, and doesn’t unbalance things in either direction. To determine wounds for enemies, just take (7 + stamina) x (level +1)… since you would roll for wounds at level 0.