Thursday, June 23, 2011

News, or lack thereof

AMA just came and went this last weekend. I was invited along at the last minute by friends, and considered bringing DSRPG to the game room for a test.

In the end, I didn't have enough ready for a playtest, especially not since I was working most of the time I was there (manning the club table, if you must know). However, the deadline made me get serious, and it showed me that it's not really all that far from being ready. The biggest problem between me and playtest-ready Alpha 2 is the skill system.

In some ways, I'm not sure what to do with it. Basically, the skill system categorizes abilities into some level of some skill, and pretty much every level of every skill has something. The skills themselves get special bonuses and hindrances, which are themselves distinct from lesser bonuses (from skill criticals, equipment, etc) and lesser hindrances (from equipment, etc); these specials vary in strength, and can be powerful like Aspect bonuses, or barely more than crits.

A major question for me, though, is how to balance it. The DC of a skill goes up 10 when you use a higher level ability (5-15-25-35); if it didn't go up, you would get 2 extra crits for the same roll. That means additional specials, or the lost hindrances, must surpass that in value.

In some places, it's not hard to understand. For example, the Level 0 Weapon Proficiency(X) attack ability "Whack" has no specials and two hindrances: "Turn Eater" and "Crit Eater". That means that you cannot crit with the attack at all, and it will be the last thing you do in a round, even if you have additional MP. Considering that's the "Untrained" level of skill usage, hardly surprising. When you go up to the Level 1 skill "Slash", you lose "Crit Eater"; it's still the last thing you do in a round, but now you can at least make use of a high roll to crit the enemy. It's not until you hit Level 2 that you can make multiple attacks per round.

However, having gotten rid of those hindrances, what makes the mastery level weapon proficiency worth it? If I just add one bonus' worth, it's not worth the increased DC. If I add two, that's a heck of an improvement over previous levels. What's thematically appropriate? Under what circumstances would you use a mastery level sword attack anyway--knowing that the increased DC makes it harder to overcome an enemy's defense action? Are they highly specialized attacks, do they auto-succeed against certain defenses... what are they?

This needs more thought, and there are many similar questions for each skill that must be added. It's a confusing thing.

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