Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Beetles

Beetles, and the other allied species (Crickets, Ladybugs, Potato Bugs) present a small design challenge, insofar as the way I've assigned racial bonuses in Mythweaver is through granting a trait shift. However, in the Army Ants rules I've assigned the trait shift to the specialties, so assigning trait shifts to species would be redundant - and I don't have enough traits to spread the wealth.

However, seeing as there are four core allies species, and there are four core attributes, I can assign a shift bonus to the Feat linked to the attribute in ways that logically represent the way I see these species operating...

Beetles, as big, hardy and durable insects, take a +1 shift to Body Feat rolls.
Crickets, as quick and agile insects, take a +1 shift to Prowess Feat rolls.
Ladybugs, as intelligent and strong-willed insects, take a +1 shift to Mind Feat rolls.
Potato Bugs, as spiritual and intuitive insects, take a +1 shift to Spirit Feat rolls.

This makes perfect sense within the context of the four species, and also aligns nicely with the rest of the game system. It's hard to poison a beetle; crickets dodge enemy attacks more readily; good luck mind controlling a ladybug; supernatural powers are less effective against potato bugs. All of these work exactly as I envision them in the world of Army Ants, and the system reflects this directly.

FYI, I'm torn on ants... while my instinct is to give them a +1 shift to Moxy (since I see Moxy being the trait that defines Army Ants against all other species - their tenacity and inventiveness are their defining characteristic as a species), I am also tempted to break ants up into four sub-species, and have them overlap with the other species... red ants might get the +1 Prowess Feat shift, while black ants get the +1 Spirit Feat shift... fire ants get the +1 Body Feat shift and leaf cutters get the +1 Mind... these don't align quite as intuitively, and the game world has predominantly been about red ants (with one notable black ant thrown into the mix). I'd almost rather keep the other sub-species of ants out of the core rules and leave them for further development later... I'll be thinking more on this as I go. For now, I'm going with the +1 shift to Moxy for ants.


  1. I notice you only talk about the Allied races. What if players want to be, say, Hornets? What are their gameplay aesthetics?

  2. The core rules will assume that players are going to be ants or possibly (but rarely) one of the allies species. The referee will have some guidelines for player characters of other species, although the rules are going to lean away from wasps or flies as PCs. I'm actually going the other direction from previous editions, and operating under the assumption that players will be ants, with options for other species being an exception... I don't expect that this will prohibit people from doing what they want, but the game should reflect the world, which is that the VAST majority of the ant army is made up of ants. Having the game imply that you have an equal chance of running into a Beetle or Ladybug hanging out with the ant army is not in line with the world of the comics. My team does have a ladybug and a cricket they have run with in the past, but neither of these is a member of the core team.

    All of that said, the point build system is simple enough to hack (in fact, the rules will be right there, so no hacking is necessary) so that you can create any kind of insect you want. Just don't expect the ants to roll out the welcome mat for that wasp defector who decides it might be fun to hang out with the Army of Ants!

    1. What I was trying to ask was "what if a perspective shift happened and an Army Ants game was played on the side of the Hornets," rather than "A single player in a game wants to be a different race." Thank you for answering both, though, to a certain extent.

  3. So you'd be willing to turn against the ants and actually take the roles of their enemies? I'm sorry, but that's a world I just don't want to live in...

    But seriously, it would be a very easy swap. You could just ignore the species shifts (since they are relatively minor) or port them over.... Bees get Body Feat shift, Wasps get Mind, Yellowjackets get Prowess, Hornets get Spirit.

  4. I like how the racial shift works on the attributes and I feel that it does line up well for the different Allied species. I think that the Moxy shift is perfect for Ants.

    I agree about leaving the Ant sub-species rules out the core, but it would make for great supplement to the core rules! :D