Thursday, February 28, 2013

Game Design: Soaking Damage

So I posted an update to the actual play tonight, and I've been mulling over the problems posed by soaking damage... basically, if you have high Body, odds are good that you can go a long time without taking any hits.

What if I get rid of the soak option altogether? Combat now goes more quickly, because you never roll to soak. If you have protection (a flak jacket, armor, invulnerability) you automatically reduce damage by the rating of such protection. This seems to streamline things pretty considerably, and keeps Body from being the monster stat that it's turning out to be in the early play testing. This means that a creature Body D10 and Invulnerability +2, which used to be able to soak from 3 to 12 hits (more with a die explosion) now soaks 2 hits from every attack.

This is much simpler and keeps the system clean. I was tinkering with options for additional dice and scaling things upward, but scaling down and back is probably the better way to go as I continue designing. I want to add more layers to the game, and adding a layer like this to the core mechanic would have severely complicated things needlessly...


  1. When I computed the numbers for the start of my own game I almost included Damage Reduction / Soak as part of the base stats. I decided against this due to the reasons you post about here -- there will times where no damage is done after HITTING -- on top of misses where no damage occurs.

    There is Damage Reduction in the system, but it is a computation based on the expected Damage Avoidance (Armor Class) at each level. A Monster (or certain Armor worn) can have low Damage Avoidance, but high Damage Reduction.

    I found it easiest to start by stretching the whole system out end-to-end and compute the expected damage at the beginning and at the end at the simplest possible level. Then I decided on the levels of power in-between which then gave me my numbers. I then started working backwards by adding expected "hit-miss" ratios and then damage variance.

  2. Thanks! That's a great suggestion. I'll work through those numbers and see how it plays out.

  3. Rev. Dane Black brings up a good point about not doing any damage with a successful hit. This has a mental impact on the player which is hard to shake and can make combat seem more of a see-saw ride rather than quick and decisive. Personally, I like the idea of doing away with the Soak roll because it reduces the number of dice rolls and player-player or player-referee interactions with a single combat encounter.