Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Designer's Notes: Heroes on the Mass Scale

This one was a fairly quick put together, but revisions were hellish in the extreme. Even the editing (the part I always have the hardest time with) took less time than the near constant revisions I did to make this thing work. Considering its progenitor system ("It's a Threat!" from Pyramid #3/77: Combat) was specific to Dungeon Fantasy it took me a lot of time just trying to "genericize" and then refit to GURPS Mass Combat. The idea originally germinated on the forums somewhere when a poster asked if the CER system could be pressed into service for Mass Combat. That same day, David Pulver sent me an email asking about recycling it as well. I was already in about 800 words when I got the email. Actual writing time was maybe 10 hours, revisions took an insane 120 hours, and editing took a mere 30 hours. I actually spent more time revising than I did writing, which was sort of annoying considering how well the idea actually worked (or at least I thought it did). Besides the content changed several times between submission and writing, the name actually changed as well. The original title being "Big Damn Heroes" (which I think fit much much better than its current one).

Due to the nature of the article (there was significant reuse and refitting from another article) there was very little material that had to be cut. Though several ideas did crop up on the forums after publication. Namely how a "typical" archer couldn't qualify as the Fire class because they'd need at least a ST of 15 to achieve a 1/2D of 200. As I noted here, when I was designing the rules I specifically had HERO elements in mind. That is characters with at least 100 points and probably significantly more. That said, an argument could be made to lower it to a range of 150, this would allow ST 10 longbowmen.

Another oddity that popped up (and one I truly hadn't thought of) was one-use weaponry. For example, a some anti-tank weapons are built as disposable. For such attacks, use the rules for FP-using abilities despite them not requiring FP to use.

Another idea I toyed around with (both for "Heroes on the Mass Scale" and "It's a Threat!") was the idea of a "Luck Statistic". After a bit more thought, here's how I'd do it for both articles:

Characters that are luckier than others (or unlucky) can affect the outcome of a combat. Total the character point cost of the following advantages, divide by 5, and add that number to the character's total CER or TS: Common Sense, Daredevil, Destiny, Intuition, Oracle, Luck, Serendipity, and Super Luck. For those with Probablity Manipulation and similiar powers add any power with an appropriate Power Modifier.
          For the unlucky, total the following traits and subtract it from the total CER or TS: Cursed, Destiny, Divine Curse (only if it affects die rolls or outcomes similiar to other unlucky traits), Unluckiness, or Weirdness Magnet.
          If a character possess both types of traits, then total all advantageous traits first, then subtract all disadvantageous traits and use the final number as the modifier to CER.

Example: Lady Ion has Luck, which adds +3 to her final CER.

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