Sunday, January 15, 2023

Thinking Forward

As I consider how this game will ultimately be adapted into superhero, space opera, and possibly military contexts, I want to make sure any foundational pieces that might be needed are there. Two of these are scaling and attributes.

In terms of scaling, the big issue is that superhuman ratings escalate beyond the scope of the current proposal for Hack'D & Slash'D. However, the current version of Stalwart Age already has a solution baked in - moving difficulty targets. While the DT for all checks in the core rules is going to be 10, for supers gaming I can use DTs of 15, 20, and 25 as benchmarks. It actually makes a lot of sense; ratings of 0 to 9 are human scale, while anything of 10+ is superhuman scale, and starts the count over again. For example, Spidey could have Might of 12, meaning that he can lift 1 ton (maybe what DT 15 would be) pretty easily, while 10 tons (DT 20) would require a roll of 8 or better. That feels Spidey ish... conversely, the Hulk has might 17, giving him automatic success on 1 ton or 10 tons, and needing a roll of 3 or better to lift 100 tons (DT 20). That feels Hulkish - so the game scale just starts again from 10 to 18, but the measures become superhuman. This is a pretty easy solution. So far, so good.

The second is more about naming and application of attributes. In Stalwart Age, I swap out wisdom for power, and the substitution works well. Hack'D & Slash'D uses attributes a little differently, so there's not the same opportunity to substitute. There are three options here: add power as a sixth attibute (not loving that because it changes the core of the game), tie power to different attributes (okay with this - it would probably mean that persona becomes the default attribute; not sure here), or just tie powers to level. This is a decent-sized change, but definitely helps with game balance. I don't have to make this decision today (or even this year, if we're being honest), but I have possibilities out there.

I want to make sure that the five attribute names are open enough to port to other settings. I love lore as a stat for Hack'D and Slash'D, but it doesn't make any sense for supers gaming. Here are my current thoughts:

Intuition is the attribute for awareness, perception, and connection to nature. It would be your ability to find stuff. It would also be used for nature magic (if I decide nature is a third field of magic, which it seems like it should be - arcane, faith, and nature seem to be three fundamentally different types of magic, and it makes sense that each of those magic types gets linked to a different attribute. The class/archetype for intuition would be the woodland warrior, such as the warden or druid. Not sure what it will be called yet.

Might is the overall statistic for physical toughness. It is both strength and constitution. I don't see a need for two statistics. Particularly hardy creatures can use an edge to take a bonus when using might to resist something like a poison or sickness. In classic literature, there are not great examples I can think of where characters are durable but not also phyically imposing. The two sort of go together. This is the hero.

Persona is the overall attribute for charisma, willpower, and mental fortitude. This would be linked to faith magic, and would be used to resist charms and control; to bluff, manipulate, or intimidate. This is the cleric.

Reason is the overall attribute for knowledge, logic, learning, lore... all things smart. A mage has it, Iron Man has it, and a supercomputer has it. It is used for solving puzzles, deciphering codes and languages, and for wielding arcane magic. This is the mage/wizard/sorcerer (whichever name I use).

Reflex is the dexterity stat. It's coordination, agility, and quickness. It would be used for all ranged weapon attacks, and for melee attacks with lighter weapons. This means that a rogue can be just as deadly with a dagger as with a bow. This means that most characters would not need might; even a cleric would attack with reflex. This is the rogue. I like rogue better than thief because it is more open-ended. A thief has a narrower application than rogue; I can play a rogue who's not a thief, but cannot really play a thief who's not a rogue. Rogue it is.

These seem to include everything needed, and translate well between settings. These are my go-to for now.

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