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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If I don't use it.... toss it. (playtest)

Source: Eve Online

There is an old saying that "If you haven't touched it in a year, it's probably safe to get rid of it."
Ok I'm not sure how old of a saying it is but I have definitely heard it before.
For the  people (person?) who read this blog that would probably  mean throwing away a painstakingly curated, thirty year old, attic full of gaming material. With that in mind I'm not going to suggest applying this concept to real life.

However in Playtesting it holds a bit more water.
We playtested (albeit super briefly) my shoot and loot style game Loot Box A-Go-Go last night. The game is an unapologetic homage to Star Frontiers, Borderlands, and perhaps even Halo / Doom. As you might expect there should be a fair amount of combat so for the  playtest we had one small encounter. Our heroes vs a small security bot.

In the course of the fight I noticed a few things.

Just like in Star Frontiers, a percentage system with combat modifiers leads to the game slowing down a bit while the players and GM figure out modifiers.
I have one rule in particular:

"If in a round you or your target move before you fire you suffer a -10 penalty to your target skill roll for each occurrence (Example: You and your target have moved the  result is a  -20 penalty) ."

Simple enough right?
Makes sense, moving things are harder to hit; shooting while moving is also more difficult.

Well I forgot about that modifier pretty much every round. And I wrote it YESTERDAY.
What that says to me is the modifier is pretty much unnecessary. Even if the rule does makes sense.

One thing that I would like to see is players choosing to move early in the round so that enemies have  a harder time hitting them, or choosing to shoot at stationary targets because it's an easier shot. That gives the players a chance to weigh the benefits of an action and make a decision. A thing I like in these kinds of games.

What I will likely do is move it to a section I maintain in the PDF for "options." Options being anything that adds depth at the cost of added complication.

Automatic fire: (this gets a bit dry, sorry)
Not going to go over the whole thing top to bottom but the end of it is this. You can choose to empty your  whole clip and attack as many  squares as your weapon's fire rate.
In our test it came up this way. The player used a full auto fire to attack the security drone. His fire rate was 3.   If he hit  the attack would do 3d6 (1d6 per point of fire rate) damage because he was focusing all of his fire rate on one target. He missed, so all those bullets ended up lodged in a wall somewhere (sucks to be level 1.)
My initial thought was the player should roll to hit once per die, not once per target. In other words the player should have rolled three times each roll doing 1d6.  As the player wisely pointed out that method would create more rolls, and also take away some of the all or nothing nature of using fully automatic fire.
After a brief talk, we agreed to leave it one roll per target, regardless of how many bullets the player is tossing towards it.
My current thought is towards giving any player a bonus of +10% to hit for each additional  point of fire rate the player uses beyond the first.
Following our current example, the player using three fire rate on one target would have had a +20% to hit bonus for sustained fire.

Effective range. Need to be longer, for most if not all guns. I have nothing else to say I will modify that today sometime.

Well that' my play test update.
I look forward to playing this one some more.
I kind of want to do an actual "scenario" or game just to see how it flys.
An hour and 15 minutes of playtesting  is just a scratch.

Thanks for reading
-Mark.