Sunday, September 2, 2018

K.I.S.S. the Splintered Realm Hello

As I refine and refine, I keep going back and forth on a few issues. In the end, I think I am going to go with the simplest option for each problem, because the simplest is the easiest to remember, it takes up the least space, and at the end of the day you don't lose anything from the play experience by taking the simpler option that the more complex option would have given you...

FEATs. FEATs have grown a bit since the original SSR rules. In the supers game, the DT of a FEAT is relative to the power and level of the foe; Magneto's magnetic control is more difficult to resist than the Magnet Kid's (I just made him up, so (c) that immediately and wait for the royalty checks to roll in) magnetic control would be. By the same token, the breath weapon of a huge elder dragon is more difficult to resist than the breath weapon of a young wyrmling. Except it doesn't need to be. In several situations the FEAT is only allowing you to minimize the damage; you still get hit, and you still take damage, and this as scaled based on the level of the foe. Okay. Then there's this problem: if your FEAT modifiers scale with the foes, you basically always have the same chance of success; you never 'feel' like you are getting better, because the difficulty of the situation is also getting harder. In that case, why have FEATs at all? Why not have everything be a 50/50 chance? If I got to take +7 at level 1 to pick DT 20 locks, and now at level 6 I take a mighty +12 against DT 25 locks... I am no better off. The game is more complex, sure, but for no notable gain, and possibly for a loss. It's much easier to say that the DT for all Feats is 20, and then create a few basic modifiers; a good lock is always at -2 to the FEAT. This is how it is in the original SSR rules, and it's staying. I toyed with the Sentinels model, but it doesn't make as much sense here. This target 20 actually aligns better with the source material; your saving throw vs. Dragon breath is always the saving throw. It gets better as you get better, and is rarely dependent on the specifics of the dragon who is doing the breathing.

Magical Bonuses. This is always one of the big bugaboos. How do you balance magical benefits? I don't like the complex array of stacking; this item gives a benefit, unless it is with this item, then you take the better of the two; but in some cases, you get to take a third bonus, but only if the first bonus is not from a ring.
I am thinking of a simple hard cap on magical bonuses. You are limited to a magical bonus to any ability, attribute, or quality of + your level. At level 2, your magical bonus to AC can be no better than +2 altogether. This could be from a ring that grants AC +1 and a shield that grants +1 AC, or from a spell that grants +2 AC. Doesn't matter. You cap at your level. This means that a level 6 character could conceivably run around with magical +6 to attack, damage, attributes, Feats... okay. These are endgame characters. I'm cool with that. So, a level 1 character can pick up a sword that gives +3 to attack and damage, but he cannot use the full power of the sword yet; he just isn't powerful enough to wield it, so he gets +1 to hit and damage. I actually like this a lot, because a character could start with an heirloom weapon or suit of armor and not know its full benefit until a few levels are achieved and it stops getting better...

Magic. I have WAY simplified the magic system. I like it. As a caster, you can cast one spell of each spell tier you have per turn. If you are a level 3 primary caster (like a magic user), you get a tier 1, 2, and 3 spell each turn. You want to throw fireball every turn? Fine. You only get one, so I hope it counts. This at least requires some level of diversity. In fact, this better aligns with the movies that I often try to emulate; a wizard never just stands there delivering the same spell over and over. The wizard draws different spells from his repertoire, throwing an assortment of different magic at his foes. Mechanically, the game will support this approach. And, this solves the problem of a level 2 magic user have a grand total of 2 spells per DAY. Ugh.

The draft is coming along nicely. I should have it out in the next few days.

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