Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Explosives

It hit me today that I may be blogging about things that may prompt visits to my site by friendly neighborhood Federal Agents... I mean, I have blogged about military-grade weapons a number of times over the last few weeks, and today I'm actually titling my post 'explosives'... and I've been perusing wikipedia pages about small arms and other sundry military weapons.

So, just to assuage my paranoia - it's all research for a role-playing game where you are 6 mm tall insects fighting for the good guys against the bad guys.

Just to be clear.

I also hope that today's post isn't insensitive to what's happened in Boston. I don't mean it to be... I almost didn't post this, but then decided I would. I hope I've made the right choice. I'll be blogging next week (after this A-Z challenge is done) about the Army Ants and how they've been impacted by terrorist attacks... I've got quite a bit to say on the subject. You'll read about it here shortly.

Okay... on to explosives for today.

Explosives shouldn't be as random as other elements of damage. I mean, you throw a grenade, and all bets are off - you could do a little damage, or you could do a lot of damage, and there are a ton of random factors that influence that damage roll. How close did the grenade get to the target - how did the target react - did he get behind cover in time - was the grenade packed right? These factors all come into the dice, and rolling two dice creates a nice bell curve that pulls results towards the middle of the curve. I like this.

When it comes to bigger explosives, I don't like randomness as much. If you set up a rig of plastic explosives to take out a bridge, you shouldn't roll and hope you get lucky and take out the bridge - as someone trained in explosives, you know (within a certain pretty tight window) how well they are going to do.

For these devices, it seems like you should be able to purchase the damage rating in clout. As a ballpark, let's say that every clout point purchases 2 points of explosives. If you are the demolitions expert for your group, you might purchase 25 clout worth of explosives - 50 points. You can divide this up as you will during missions (assuming you have as many triggers/detonators as you need). You can set a charge on a door that blows it for 20 points (leaving you 30 points worth of explosives left in your pack) or you can set the whole thing to blow a single tank with your 50 points. You are pretty much guaranteed that it's going to do the damage, as long as you make the roll. There are two ways I see this playing out...

In option one, you have to roll against a DT based on the total damage you want to cause, a base of DT 4 +1 for every 10 points you want to deal. Blowing a 20-point door requires a DT 6 (base of 4 + 2 from 20 points) Mind + Explosives roll, while blowing the 50-point tank requires you to set 50 points worth of explosives and make a DT 9 (base of 4 +5 from 50 points) Mind + Explosives rolls. Failing this roll means that your device goes off, but only deals half of the damage you set; botching the roll means that the device completely fails, and you lose your explosives in the bargain. A critical success allows you to increase the damage 50% (20 points becomes 30; that 50 points becomes 75).

In option two (which I like less) you get to roll your Mind + Explosives and add this to the damage base you've set. Not a big fan of this one... so your 50-point device deals 50 points + the result of a Mind + Explosives roll. This makes your attribute and Trait less important, because your damage comes almost exclusively from the device itself.

I like option one much better all the way around. That's probably the one I'll be going with. Hmmm. I can see demolitions being a worthwhile addition as a base specialty now... maybe I'll consider saboteur, and add a facet that allows you to mess with other people's stuff. Demolitions or saboteurs as the tinker gnomes of the Army Ants game... hmmmmm....