Sunday, January 23, 2011

#23: Skull Vanguard (And Musings on Weapon Ratings)

This blog is ending up as a ‘greatest hits’ collection of adaptations of some of my favorite classics- may as well continue with the trend. Today, we’ll do the Skull Vanguard, a fallen, traitorous knight that now wields unholy power to bring suffering to the living. The Skull Vanguard’s unholy power is represented in its regenerative abilities; the magic it possesses (energize weapon, reflective armor) are linked to this power.

Skull Vanguard (70 CPs)
Fighting +8; Might +6; Stamina +6; Focus +5; Intuition +2; Invulnerability; Regeneration +5 (Energize Weapon; Reflective Armor)
Wields a great sword +7; attacks at +8 and deals +13 damage with this weapon (+14 if energized); the Skull Vanguard soaks +6 physical damage and +5 energy damage.

Some thoughts about weapons, finesse, precision and might…

As I think more about the use of finesse, I don’t know that I like how this works. The idea was that a light, quick archer type could still pick up and deal damage with a decent melee weapon. The classic archer is going to take high fighting and precision but no might at all; this character can then (without finesse or a similar option) wield anything better than a dagger. I don’t see this as reasonable at all…

However, what if weapon ratings were based on fighting? If you have fighting +8, you can wield a weapon that deals +9 damage (fighting +1). As an archer with might +2, your melee weapon deals +11 damage; this is quite respectable. However, as a troll barbarian with might +8, your melee weapon deals +17 damage; this is exceptional. Both heroes are very good fighters, and presumably the archer is going to have precision in the +8 range, so this all balances out, and each hero can play to his strengths.

I am concerned primarily with how much weight this gives fighting, and the way you are effectively double-dipping on fighting. It becomes far too important overall… fighting is how you attack, it’s how you defend, and it sets how much damage you can deal… and bonus results from fighting action rolls already carry over to damage. This makes fighting a supreme ability.

In making my friar, Luemas, this is becoming a real issue. He’s a lightly-armored fighter who carries a quarterstaff. He has some speed, although not ‘precision’ per se; he has a little might, but not enough to allow his melee damage to scale appropriately. Maybe I just have to accept that might is linked to melee weapon damage, and if you don’t buy might, you don’t get to deal a lot of damage. Of course, you ARE accepting that; even if you have a solid weapon, without high might, you aren’t going to scale with true melee creatures who get the benefit from high weapons and high might… here’s a rough up for Luemas the Friar at 30 CPs, without any additional item CPs:

Luemas the Friar (30 CPs)
Fighting +4; Might +2; Stamina +2 (Armor Use); Intuition +2; Focus +1; Resolve +6 [9 CPs +1 shift from human] (Boost Fighting; Boost Speed; Healing)
He wields a quarterstaff +3 dealing +5 damage with it; his leather armor soaks +3 damage from all physical damage.
Boost fighting moves his fighting to +6; boost speed brings his speed to +4; can heal once per scene for +6

+5 damage is a little light for a melee fighter at this level… although he’s not a true melee fighter in the traditional sense… it will be an even bigger issue for Avindos the Elfin Blademaster:

Avindos the Elfin Blademaster (30 CPs)
Fighting +6 (Two Weapons); Might +2; Stamina +2 (Armor Use); Focus +2; Intuition +5 [6 CPs; +1 shift from elf] (Stealth)
He distributes +7 between 2 fighting attacks each turn; each successful strike deals +5 damage.

I don’t WANT Avindos to take high might; the whole concept is that he’s this slim elfin dual-wielder who hits light and fast. +5 damage is just too little… if he gets use his fighting to set weapon damage, his blades deal a base of +7, and with his might these deal +9 damage. This is quite a bit… compare this to a dwarf fighter of the same level:

Dwarf Fighter (30 CPs)
Fighting +6; Might +5; Stamina +5 [6 CPs; +1 shift from dwarf] (Armor Use); Intuition +1
He’s one-dimensional. He attacks at +6 and deals +11 damage using the existing rules… if his weapon damage is linked to his fighting instead of might, he now deals +12 damage with a great axe. That’s a lot of damage for this level.

Hmmmm…. Must think on this more…