Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stacking and Bonuses: House Rules

I’m thinking about shields, auras, and gear. Basically, as I’ve been playing (managing up to 6 heroes and 4 villains at a time), I’ve found the numbers a bit unwieldy when it comes to shields, auras and gear.

Here are the problems:

The way the numbers crunch (especially in play) becomes a bit cumbersome. I like the crunchiness of the numbers (since it gives you a great deal of granularity in spite of the limited total ratings inherent in the system)… however… I find that this is a lot of math to do in play. I’m also somewhat dissatisfied with how magical items (armor and weapons specifically) feel in play; you pick up a magical short sword, but it is no better than your normal short sword, because you are already at your cap. Unless the sword (or another item) actually increases your arms rating, you can’t get a benefit from this weapon at all. That feels wrong. Finally, I’m finding that every time I go to build a hero, I don’t want to take shields, only because it means I’ll have too much math to do in play. This is wrong… Similarly, the math with auras gets tricky in play; if you activate an aura of might +3, you have to figure out every hero’s existing might (including full CP investment), and then add +3, and re-calculate. When you switch between multiple auras during a fight, this gets to be a bit of wrangling.

I’m going to play with house rules that simplify these abilities. Here’s what I’m going with:

For auras, you have a total number of bonuses from auras based on your rating, but you can never have more than half of your aura points in one aura. For instance, with auras +8, you can have an aura of healing +4, and aura of evade +3, and an aura of might +1; this restores 4 wounds to allies when active, gives a +3 shift to allies when evade is active, and gives a +1 shift to might of allies when active. Everyone gets the same shift, whether it’s based on a +0 rating or a +10 rating. I’m a bit concerned about a hero with aura +10 granting a +5 shift to might (since this grants upwards of 25 CPs of might), but since it’s hard capped at +13, that solves the problem to some degree. It also limits the effectiveness of healing, which I rather like… aura of healing can now end up no better than +5. Previously, to get aura of healing +5, aura of evade +3, and aura of might +2, you spent 15 CPs, but odds were good that the people you really wanted to get the boost from might and evade, your main front-line fighters, had abilities beyond these bonuses anyway, and they were wasted. Now, everyone gets that +2 might; the magician with might +0 and the fighter with might +9 both benefit.

For shields, you get a progressively better shield based on your melee arms ability, not your might; a hero with low might ended up with no shield, and I found that the heroes I wanted to have the best shields were those who were trying to compensate for low might with something else; it became counter-intuitive.

- With arms (melee) +1, you can wield a small shield (a level 1 item), granting +1 to all evade rolls against enemy attacks (physical and magical).
- With arms (melee) +3, you can wield a medium shield (a level 3 item), granting +2 to all evade rolls against enemy attacks (physical and magical).
- With arms (melee) +6, you can wield a large shield (a level 6 item), granting +3 to all evade rolls against enemy attacks (physical and magical).

Further, magical shields, swords and armor are going to be rated based on their magical power:

- Enchanted items (DR 10) grant a +1 shift to the rating. Considered 2 levels higher.
- Mystical items (DR 20) grant a +2 shift to the rating. Considered 4 levels higher.
- Relics (DR 30) grant a +3 shift to the rating. Considered 6 levels higher.

The DR is for rolling as part of a treasure; when a weapon, armor or shield is found, roll 2D + foe level (modified by treasure rating); at 10-19, it’s enchanted, at 20-29 it’s mystical, and at 30+ it’s a relic. A dragon of level 14 with treasure +4 has a slight chance of having a relic hidden in his lair (needing a roll of natural 12 on the dice), and anything less than that won’t have a relic in its lair. This makes sense. You don’t find relics just sitting around.

A character with arms +1 can wield a dagger +1, but he can also wield an enchanted dagger +1/+1 (dealing +2 wounds), a mystical dagger +1/+2 (dealing +3 wounds), or a relic dagger +1/+3 (dealing +4 wounds).

- A normal dagger is a level 1 item, valued at 1 gold
- An enchanted dagger is a level 3 item, valued at 10 gold
- A mystical dagger is a level 5 item, valued at 100 gold
- A relic dagger is a level 7 item, valued at 1000 gold. It is quite unlikely that anyone would bother making one of these... the bonus far outstrips the item itself

(and I think I'm going to house rule as well that relics have to have at least a +3 base rating... if not higher. It makes sense to me that enchanted items could be as low as +1, while mystical items would be at least +3, and relics would be at least +6). The last thing you want to have happen is for your fighter of level 2 to decide he's putting aside his magnificent Dagger of the Valhallan Archangels +1/+3 because he can pick up a bastard sword +4 in a shop in Beldin Mere that will do the same thing...

Now, there’s a bit of benefit for a hero with lower ratings to take enchanted weapons; for instance, a young fighter with a short sword +3 (linked to his arms +3) finds an enchanted long sword +4/+1. He can only get +3 from the base weapon (his rating, the same as his short sword), but can now get the benefit of the +1 enchantment, giving him a +1 to his existing damage rating; when he increases his arms to +4, he gets another +1, and now uses the weapon to its full potential. The weapon is effectively as powerful as a +5 weapon, but can be used by a hero who normally could only use a +4 weapon; however, the weapon costs as much as a +6 weapon if you were to purchase it in store (which in Del Anon you can’t).

I am somewhat concerned about shields specifically here, but I think I can accept it; to fully abuse the system, you take arms +6 (12 CPs), you take shield use (2 CPs), you take evade +6 (12 CPs), you take auras to +6 (12 CPs) and designate +3 to evade; you purchase/find/beg, borrow or steal a relic large shield +3/+3 (shields have to be the exception to the rules I listed above... darn. I'll have to work on this). Your evade is 6+3+3+3=+15… you would be hard capped at +13. You’ve invested a great deal into being able to evade your enemies (an investment of 38 CPs), but you are virtually untouchable. You may as well only have an aura of evade +1, since you’ll hit your hard cap of +13 anyway. You are VERY difficult to hit, although at this level (looking at 50+ CPs at minimum to get this many points to distribute), you are going to face foes taking at least +8 to their attacks, giving them a chance (albeit a slim one) to hit you; foes will need at least +10 to really have a shot, although I’d suspect at this level you’ll be facing many of those; as well as foes who can charm, stun, mesmerize, breath weapon, paralyze and generally impede you in other ways that your shield cannot stop. If a foe is dumb enough to walk up to you and try to go toe-to-toe, that’s its fault.