Attacks Revisited

In Who Do You Think You Are? I expressed reservation about the amount of numbers needed for each character. I talked to my good friend Shane Leahy about this and he suggested that I could remove the defences and use three of the attributes instead. This makes sense as Fortitude and Physique are closely tied to each other (as are Reflex & Vision and Will & Intelligence).

I also realised that there is a more “boardgamey” way of having a character in charge of a number of underlings, which is mainly what the Personality trait attribute was used for in the Spaceship 47 RPG. The other use of Personality was to set a character’s maximum confidence points. In the RPG, players were determining the stats themselves, whereas I will be predefining  them based on Species and role. This means I already know what the maximum confidence points are for each character. So this is my first attempt at simplifying the game:

  • I am dropping the Personality trait
  • The Fortitude defence is removed for player characters and players use the Physique attribute instead
  • The Reflex defence is removed for player characters and players use the Visual attribute instead
  • The Will defence is removed for player characters and players use the Intelligence attribute instead

That has reduced the amount of numbers from 10 to 6, which I think is a lot better. Therefore the only numbers a character needs is:

  • Physique
  • Vision
  • Intelligence
  • Speed
  • Initiative
  • Maximum Confidence Points

I had a good discussion with Shane about removing the player who was playing the aliens and making the game purely co-operative. This would involve each creature having static numbers for both attack and defence and then the players rolling when they are attacking the creature or when the creature attacks them. I think that players would potentially enjoy this more.

Shane also suggested that if I am using the attributes for both attack and defence it might be good to make them different by needing to roll over a creature’s defence when a player attacks them, but roll under the target number when a creature attacks the player. However, this was before I revised the dice system.

In the system that I blogged about before, a player rolled a certain number of dice and for each dice that got equal to or greater than the creature’s defence, they scored a success. The number of successes the player got, determined how powerful the effect of the weapon was (see Equipment: Part 2 – Weapons for examples). However, when I looked into the probabilities of this happening, it was a mess. If I increased the probability of one thing others that I didn’t want to be too high would have to increase etc. So I have changed the way this works now.

I came across Go First Dice a while ago and had always wanted to use them in a game, so I explored if they could replace the system I had. For those of you that don’t want to click on the link, Go First Dice are a set of 4 12-sided dice that differ in what numbers are on them. Each dice has an equal chance of being the highest number. They were designed to resolve the decision of who goes first in a game. I am taking two of the dice from the set and making one the attack dice and one the defence dice. When a player makes an attack the character’s attribute determines how many of the attack dice the player rolls. The defence stat on the creature determines how many defence dice are rolled. So if the weapon stated that it was a Physique v Fortitude attack and the player’s character had a 3 in Physique and the target had a 2 in Fortitude, then the player would roll 3 attack dice and 2 defence dice. If – out of all of the dice – one of the attack dice is highest, then the player’s attack is successful. If – out of all of the dice – one of the defence dice is the highest, the attack was a failure. There can be no ties.

The dice I am using have the following numbers:

Attack Die  : 1, 8, 11, 14, 19, 22, 27, 30, 35, 38, 41, 48
Defence Die : 2, 7, 10, 15, 18, 23, 26, 31, 34, 39, 42, 47

They are designed to be used with the two other d12s in the set which is why there are numbers missing. As I won’t be using the other two dice in the set, I can change the numbers on the ones I am using to fill in the missing numbers, but still function exactly the same way mathematically.

Attack Die  : 1, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 24
Defence Die : 2, 3, 5, 8,  9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23

I am also going to add a a special attack die which replaces one of the normal attack die. The special attack die has the following numbers on it:
Special Attack Die : 1, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, *

If a player rolls a * then it is an automatic hit and they unlock the critical effect of their weapon. It is basically just a way of having a 1 in 12 chance of a critical effect occurring.

The following are the probabilities that the attacker succeeds in their attack:

             Number of Defence Dice Used
             1      2      3     4     5
Number  1   50%    34%    25%   20%   17%   
  of    2   66%    50%    40%   33%   29%
attack  3   75%    60%    50%   43%   37%
 dice   4   80%    66%    57%   50%   43%
 used   5   83%    71%    63%   57%   52%

I envisage that players will be using a weapon that uses their strongest attribute which will have a value of 3. There will be a lot of team based powers/equipment/features that will help a player increase that 3 to a 4. Attacking a target that is vulnerable to the attack will add 1 dice as well. Creatures that the players face will range from using 1 to 3 for their attacks.

With the strongest attribute set to 3, the other two attributes for a player will be set to 2 and 1. On skill checks, (unlocking doors, stealthing past guards etc.), a player will be using all of their attributes at some point during the campaign. An easy skill check would require 1 defence die to be rolled, a medium skill check would require 2 defence die to be rolled and a hard skill check would require 3 defence die to be rolled. If one of the player’s dice is the highest, they have succeeded the skill check, if not, they have failed the skill check.

Creature’s with a defence score of 1, are the weakest creatures and are supposed to be mowed down by players in a cinematic blood bath. I think most creature’s will have a defence of 2 for 2 of their defences with 3 as the score for the third defence. Stronger creatures will have a score of 3 in two of their defences and a score of 4 in their other defence. The big boss ones will have a score of 4 in two of their defences and a 3 in their other defence.

The weapons I have outlined so far in Equipment: Part 2 – Weapons will all have to change. I will miss the more continuous damage and effects for incremental number of successes, but I think overall the change will be positive as it is easier for the player to remember what effect they get if it is something they are using most of the time. Plus it makes the critical hit feel more special. Here is one of the weapons changed due to the change in the dice mechanics.

Pulse Wave
This two handed beast of a gun kicks out a pulse wave, scattering
anybody in its wake
Keywords: Force
Target: All creatures in cone 3
Attack: Physique v Fortitude
Success: 1 damage and the target is pushed 1 hex
Critical: 4 damage and the target is pushed 3 hexes

The Species that the players can play will also have to change as each one of them had a bonus to a defence stat which no longer exists. Now, each species gets a re-roll while defending as outlined below:

  • Humans and Androids can re-roll one defence die when defending against an attack that targets their Intelligence
  • Chimpanzees and Small-bots can re-roll one defence die when defending against an attack that targets their Vision
  • Stishak and Muscle-bots can re-roll one defence die when defending against an attack that targets their Physique

I would be really interested in hearing people’s thoughts on this post.

Now that is out of the way, the next 9 blog posts will detail the Roles a player can choose for their character.

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