Reviews and Ramblings
    by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
    by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
    by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
    by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
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Game Design
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10:03pm EST - 12/12/2016

ZeroCount posted:

Middenarde might have the worst gap between theme and mechanics that I've ever seen.

Theme: It is a harsh and gritty world. Life is short. You will not prosper.
Mechanics: Revive the dead with batteries. Erase yourself from the memories of others. Kill a man by calling him fat.

hyphz posted:

Also a Watt is a measurement of energy over time - a joule/second. If you're Frankensteining it up that is usually portrayed as a delivered in a single instant in which case you'd need less than 20 joules to raise the dead, which you could probably get just by sliding the body down a hill since the rule doesn't say the power has to be in the form of electricity.

If it has to be over time then you'd need a big ass battery even if you were using lightning, because a bolt's peak of 1TW for an instant will blow anything else.

Don't get scientific terms in your fiction, guys.


Now, what we've all been waiting for... to see how high-mortality our high-mortality game really is!


Timg'd because it's page-breakingly wide. Open it up, though, it looks awesome.

7.3.1 Normal Attack posted:

A normal attack may be made as a full-round action with either a melee or ranged weapon. The attacker declares a target, and then enters the attack phase as per section 7.4.

I mean, actually attacking someone is relatively simple, as it turns out, but the writing does everything it can to make EVERYTHING sound more complex and technical than it is.


Arrows that hit targets may be recovered by picking them up. A Visual Acuity check (DC 16) will return a number of missed arrows equal to the roll minus the DC, plus one. A ranged weapon will take damage as though it hit even if it doesn’t hit, so roll the weapon’s damage dice regardless.

We're getting fifty kinds of garbage bookkeeping rules before we get to actually learning how to finish off our damn attacks. I don't give a shit about my arrows, just let me know how to hit someone. Also joke's on you if you think that's the next thing you're gonna read because you're at point 7.3.1 and attacks are just over at 7.4! Because there's another 22 subheadings in the way. And then we get to the actual attacking because I skip all of the fucking idiot intervening points and I want to get to the action. I'm instructed that an attack consists of rolling the ATTACK DICE POOL vs the EVASION DICE POOL. I've never been told what these are. Scroll back, find rules for INCREASING the pools, but not what they start at, realize that it's yet another thing only shown on the fucking online character sheet.

Either pool starts at a single D6, and you can invest in increasing your pool(by adding a d4, though keep in mind, for weapons, it's only for a single type of weapon, you have a separate pool for each type!), or bumping up one of your dice in the pool to the next level(d4 to d6, d6 to d8, d8 to d10, and that's the max). When rolled, the pool totals are ignored, and instead the two highest dice are compared to each other in value. Ties resolve in favour of the defender, and if the attacker rolls poorly enough, the defender gets a free counter-attack. Though no word on whether this can, in itself, trigger another counter-attack if flubbed badly enough, trapping two characters in an eternal loop of missing each other.

Now, if we hit someone, we roll 3d6 to determine hit location(rather than just using 3d6+static modifiers from skills as our initial attack, allowing us to determine the hit location and whether or not we hit in one go.), then we roll damage(both to our weapon and our enemy/our enemy's armor. Also as far as I can see, shield bashing is almost always aa more effective weapon than, well, actually using a weapon), assuming our damage penetrates, we then apply damage to the location we hit, and to our opponent's total vitality points, calculate whether we sever or cripple a limb, make a second attack and dodge roll if there's enough damage to sever to determine if we do sever the limb, and if we do sever a "minor" limb or a head, the defender may additionally choose to roll to only lose part of that hit location rather than all of it(also bafflingly, it's harder to cripple a bodypart than it is to entirely cut it off?). And then we may also have to roll for bleeding.

So, in a worst case scenario, for a single attack defense, assuming no infinite counter-attack loop, we're going to be rolling 2(attack and evasion) + 2(counterattack + evasion) + 1(hit location) + 1(damage) + 2(extra attack and evade to determine severing) + 1(losing a minor part rather than severing) + 1(bleeding) = 10 rolls for a single attack. And we have to alter weapon durability, armor durability, maybe VP and potentially stats(from losing body parts) with every attack, so at least 2 values, possibly 4.

And that worst-case scenario isn't even particularly unlikely. We can assume that there's no counter-attack, which would at least reduce the rolls by 2, but almost every sharp weapon can cause severing and bleeding, and all of them have the damage values necessary to sever a limb if you don't fuck up the roll completely. The game does live up to high mortality, though, if you aren't wearing any armor, most weapons can kill you in two blows(or one if they lop off a limb and you bleed to death, or just cut your head wide open). Of course, that's assuming you ever get hit, if you've got a pavise(which is also one of the best possible weapons, damage-value-wise, except that shields sadly don't get any special attack knacks), you're unlikely to ever get hit by anyone since that gives you a 2d10 to block attacks with(rather than using your evasion pool).

Also for the cost of either of the two most powerful weapons(great axes or two-handed swords), which do tops 2d8+8 or 2d6+6 damage, you can buy two attack dogs, each of which can do 2d6 damage. And there's an Animal Handler knack that allows you to permanently upgrade an animal's attack damage(+1) and its attack dice(adding to the pool or simply increasing the dice it attacks with), meaning that the optimal strategy is to hide behind two pavises while a swarm of dogs(or bears, you can train wild animals, too, at that knack level), does all the fighting for you. To speed things up, the Animal Handler then trains a bird(I'm not shitting you, you can do this) to be an animal handling assistant of his own skill level. It can do all the animal training while he's out, and when he's back training some particularly difficult wild animal, it can assist him, boosting his own animal handling by 50%. The only thing slightly limiting the power of an animal trainer is that there are cumulative penalties to training the same animal over and over, but considering that dogs are already pretty powerful and just need to be better at hitting... no great issue(considering how cheap cats are, though, they may be more cost-effective because enough attacks will eventually break ANY armor or fortification).

Sadly, it doesn't specifically say that the bird also gets the knacks allowing it to boost animal combat stats, only that it gets the trainer's skill points, otherwise you could entirely farm out the entire process to a bunch of hawks or pigeons. But you could teach a bird to be a surgeon, a blacksmith, a wizard, an alchemist... any non-combat skill, really. So if you can catch enough birds and train them, you can replace paid human labour with free bird labour. Just as long as you don't teach any of them Mercantile so they can negotiate for better wages. I'd also like to note that "Heft," the skill for increasing carrying capacity, is non-combat, so with enough personal ranks in it, and enough birds to train, you could create, say, a flying fortress, or an airship. Or just get carried everywhere by your trained blacksmith birds.

But anyway, sorry for that aside. Back to combat. If you lose your arms, it sucks. If you lose your head or torso, you die. If you lose your legs, don't worry, you'll be penalized while missing them, but medieval prosthetics will restore full functionality, according to the game's rules.

There are also optional morale rules, but any group of 17 or more, with a leader, will never retreat. Alternately, anyone who can see 9 or more allies on the field, will never retreat either. Because literally the only modifier for morale rolls is how many men the leader is commanding, or how many friends you can see, not how many of your buddies just got gorily disembowelled. Did you start out at 500 men and just watch the remaining 491 get demolished by a horde of dogs and birds, lead by a madman on the back of a bear huddling beneath two shields? Doesn't matter! There are still nine of you left, you're invincible!

Zereth posted:

I wonder if it actually has rules for losing limbs in the combat section.

Does it EVER. The only thing preventing you from relatively easily lopping off someone's arm with an ordinary knife is that daggers lack the "severing" tag. Pretty much any axe or sword hit that actually HITS, if it hits someone unarmoured, is extremely likely to chop something off unless it hits the torso, which has a comparatively high(but definitely not insurmountable) threshold to being lopped in half. I can post the numbers, if people care.



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