Saturday, February 4, 2023

Numbers On My Mind

I am still working through the drafting process for Hack'D & Slash'D, and this morning started thinking about shifting all of the numbers down a bit. It started with thinking about 'common people' and minor monsters, and how a modifier of +0 was pretty reasonable for them. For a peasant to pick up his hoe and smack a monster that is attacking him with it is a pretty big ask. He's going to miss most of the time. He's going to hit it once in a while with a glancing blow. He's going to hit it good every so often. +0 reflects this. On a d12, he misses on a roll of 1-9. He hits on 10-11. He smacks it good on a 12. He has a 25% chance of hitting in combat, and 1 in 3 of those will be solid. If he has a little bit of training or skill, he increases this to 33%. If he has significant training and skill (+3), he has a 50% chance of success.

That's good.

Monsters reflect this. They are granted a default bonus equal to their level. This means that (if we were to convert monsters to characters), monsters are sequenced in this way:

  • Level 0 monsters have +0 to all abilities (so 0 character points).
  • Level 1 monsters have +1 to all abilities (6 character points).
  • Level 2 monsters have +2 to all abilities (12 character points).
  • Level 3 monsters have +3 to all abilities (18 character points).
  • Level 4 monsters have +4 to all abilities (24 character points).
  • Level 5 monsters have +5 to all abilities (30 character points).

Let's stop there. These numbers suggest a few things:

Monsters scale up quickly. There is a significant power difference between a level 2 and level 3 monster. They are 8% better at everything. Level 3 monsters have a 50% chance of success all the time. That's quite a bit.

Having PCs start with 20 character points is incredibly high. They don't have the hits, but they are effectively as powerful as level 3 monsters at level 1. This is way out of scale. Furthermore, since a 'normal person' is built on 0 points, they are scaled way beyond normal creatures. 

I can still allow characters to grow into bigger numbers but we can scale them back at level 1, and then grant +1 Character Point per level thereafter, to show this growth.

If I think of it this way, it makes more sense:

  • A commoner is built on 0-4 character points.
  • An exceptional normal is built on 5-9 character points.
  • A heroic character is built on 10+ character points.

If you are built on 10+ your level CPs, you have 11 CPs at level 1, and will have 16 by level 6. This means that monsters get more dangerous as you go. They are scaling differently. While you are about as capable as a level 2 monster when you are level 1, you will only be about as capable as a level 3 monster when you are level 5. 

It also means that having a +0 in an ability is not bad, it's just very average. I like that you only record exceptional abilities on your character sheet (if reason is +0, don't write it down). 

I am really, really okay with this. This also causes two other sets of numbers to change:

For heavy weapons, instead of defaulting to 1d12 for damage, you add might to damage; light weapons always deal 1d6, but heavy weapons deal 1d6+might. I'd prefer the guaranteed damage every time over the chance of getting a 12. Using two-handed then gives you +1 edge to damage.

For armor, we scale back to light armors (leather +1, studded +2) and heavy armors (chain +3, plate +4). This gives better scaling options for magic as well (so now magical spells that increase abilities and ratings don't potentially break the game as easily).

Based on all of this, here's my revised Arath (bear in mind I haven't done any official play testing for this game yet)... I can see him putting points in might, stamina, and persona as he grows (he's probably going to add a level or 2 of light mystic to become a paladin of sorts).

Arath, Stalwart Human Warrior 1
Armor +3; Hits 9; Greatsword (1d6+4)
Check level for second attack; Defender (+1 edge to armor checks)
Might +4; Persona +2; Reflex +2; Stamina +3
Chainmail (+3), Great Sword, Adventurer’s Pack, 6 gp

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