Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby Maugh » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:59 am

So, Blueshift will work a little differently for weapons, which means that we get to do another round of weapon balancing! Woot! (This post is mostly for Matt, but we can have other folks help if they are interested.)

Multi-die attack
Fist off the Blueshift game will be running multiple attacks simultaneously. When firing an SMG or an Assault Rifle, that will help a lot to give it a better feel for this game, as opposed to Mayhem. That means we have a different variable to take into account for combat. HOWEVER, that also means that something else has got to simplify, so that calculations can still run smoothly. That means really minimal bonuses.


Attack
Weapons have an accuracy from d4 to d10. (again, d12 for outside modifications) The only bonus that should be attached to this is for accuracy ranges. Close range weapons (smg, melee weapons) would have a bonus from +2 or +4

Defense
The defender will roll their defense die, which is based on their dodge, ranging from d4 to d10 (d12 can be achieved through other abilities or modifications.) The only bonus that should affect the defense roll is the character's cover bonus, which would range of +2 or +4, (moderate/heavy cover)

Shots per Attack and Hits
Weapons will either file a single shot, (indicating a weapon like a heavy rifle or launcher,) or 2 shots, (quick pistol,) or 3 shots, (automatic,) all the way up to 5, (bullet-hose SMG.) The number of shots that beat the target's defense value will be counted as "hits."

Damage per attack
This is where I get torn. I prefer to just set a standard damage value, and multiply that by the "hits" to get damage. (which is what I've explored thus far.) Aubrey says that we should give it a single damage die, (d4 to d10, d12 reserved for modifiers,) and roll one die for each "hit".

Speed
Yep. We're rocking the combat wheel. Huah. Currently working with VF, F, A, S, VS, but thinking of simplifying it to fast, average and slow speeds, though.

Crit
Right now, we don't have a crit mechanic. Since the number of "Hits" basically counts as a damage scaling mechanism, I don't think that crits are really super necessary.

Range
Each weapon has three range increments, close range, standard range, or long range. Standard range always has no bonus. Long range usually has a penalty, short range usually a bonus, though some weapons, like the sniper rifle, are reversed, gaining the bonus at long range and the penalty at close range. The exact range increment for these is different depending on the weapon. Weapons cannot fire longer than the long range option.

Energy Drain
Tech-weapons have an energy drain, and will need to equip a generator in order to compensate. This provides a way to over-balance some weapons, since energy will need to be split and prioiritized between different gear and shields, etc.

Weight
Weight will be necessary for character balance, limiting the amount of heavy tech any given character can equip. Like energy drain, this would need to be split between gear in order to work. The amount of weight that a character can handle is based on race.


Personal Shield
An electromagnetic shield essentially acts as traditional HP for a character. The shield soaks damage until it drops. After which the NEXT attack can injury the actual character. Personal shields have a shield value, weight, and energy drain.

Injuries
Once the player has dropped their shield, they can only take a number of "injuries," before death. Humans can take two. (third hit kills them.) Really tough characters end up with 5 or 6 injuries. This isn't hit points, like damage. Weapons are tremendously destructive if you don't have some kind of a personal shield.

Physical Armor
Physical Armor allows the character to soak more injuries before death.

So that's the basic attack mechanic. Going to put in the next post with more information in a moment.
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby Maugh » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:09 am

Archetypes
Weapons should include the following 8 basic archetypes:

Pistol
SMG
AR
Heavy Rifle
Melee
Shotgun
Launcher
Grenade

Of course, we should do fancy tech-like options, electromagnetic weapons, laser style weapons, bio weapons, etc. In terms of total functionality, though, they should fit the 8 archetypes.


Series I-V
I am going to do 5 weapon lists for this game, in 5 weapon "classes," or levels for the overall strength of the weapons, which will be gathered over the course of the game, like leveling up, or like +1 to +5 weapons in dnd were. That does mean tweaking up things like accuracy, damage, clips, etcetera. It also means we really need to do relative balance for 5 weapons lists.

Special Abilities
Also, stuff like explosive weapons, or other kinds of secondary effects will be included in the more advanced weapons. This should be particularly true of higher series weapons.

Brand
Yeah, manufacturers. I have 6 listed out, but this is not set in stone, just a thought. Right now I have 4 weapons per manufacturer, per series, so there would be a total of 120 weapons in the game.

Anyway, I've attached what I've got so far. This is a bit of a brain dump, but I thought I'd see if you had any interest in the process.
Attachments
Blueshift weapon dump.ods
(16.93 KiB) Downloaded 232 times
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby TheMatt » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:22 pm

Running multiple attacks simultaneously? Multiple attacks, as in multiple bullets, or multiple attacks, as in multiple players?

To simplify combat: remove crits.

Please make my life simpler: Ties go to the defender.

I'd actually make cover a roll, rather than a mod. People don't really 'dodge' bullets.

Deadlands has pretty good rules for guns. As did MERCS. Full auto, semi-auto, and single-shot.

MERCS rules for cover: (uses d10's)
+3 for full
+1 for half-cover
-1 for no cover.
So +4,+2,+0, in effect.
Presume they did the -1 shift so you are always applying some sort of cover modifier to ever roll.

Mercs also includes a 1 hex 'free move' as part of shooting. Shooting and moving otherwise imposes a -2 penalty.

MERCS rules for firing:
Full-Auto: 3 rolls, at all targets in a 30 degree arc, DC 8
Semi-Auto: 2 rolls, each success counts as 2 hits, DC 7
Single: 1 shot, one target, DC 5.

MERCS damage:
Pistol: 1
Auto: 2
Shotgun: 3
Sniper Rifle: 4

RANGE INCREMENT
Do range increments in doubles: 1x, 2x, 4x, rather than different ranges for all weapons.
Rifles and pistols should have dramatically different ranges. Rifles are easier to steady.
Still plumping for a DC=distance rule.

DAMAGE PER ATTACK
Dislike the damage multiple per hit. Getting shot is pretty intense. 2H sword was 1100N of force, 15th century guns were 1500N. Spitting more lead into the air means more CHANCE of hit. Exception being a submachinegun at point blank (melee) range.

COMBAT WHEEL
F/M/S with a 456 works poorly, as 4+6=5+5, so 567.
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby TheMatt » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:35 pm

AR is assault rifle?
Heavy rifle is sniper rifle?
Launcher--missile?
No laser or beam weapons?
No flame throwers?
No lightsabers?

Why five lists?
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby Maugh » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:17 am

Multiple attacks = multiple shots fired from the same gun.

Movement rules will be worked into move + fire. Have those written down somewhere.

Ugh. Shadowrun has a cover/armor/body roll. I really dislike it. Makes me crazy that the inanimate object gets a defense roll. I realize that dodging missiles and bullets is crap for realism, but it's good for mechanics and stylistic for imagery. If it's not there, the very first thing that is going to happen when I sit down and explain it is someone is going to immediately ask if they can dodge.

Ties should really go to the attacker. It makes hits more likely than misses, and keeps combat moving. Sorry if that makes your life any more difficult.

F/A/S would probably run the 5/7/9 as opposed to the 4/5/6 or 5/6/7. Otherwise the distances are too similar for people to really notice the difference without going a lot of rounds.

Firing multiple shots in an arc is interesting. Not sure exactly how I'd want to do that.

Range increments has some flexibility, maybe standardizing them? 1-5/6-15/16-30 for all weapons? But I think I want to keep the bonuses/penalties for range. I've playtested some basics a few times, and the advantage that you give an SMG at close range, versus the sniper rifle advantage at longer range is pretty rad, and when combined with cover mechanics makes for interesting field strategy. Plays much differently than Mayhem, which it should.

AR = assault rifle,
Launcher = missiles/grenades, and would probably include flamethrowers.
Laser or beam weapons would exist, but would mimic the standard archetypes in terms of functionality.
Lightsabers = hell yes. Melee weapons.

Five lists for weapons, just so that I can scale power. Finding shinier guns over time as a means of character progression. Also I could print each weapon on a card, and people can track multiple options quickly and easily. Plus drawing loot.

Multiplying damage per hit would mostly apply to the personal shield, more than the specific character for the same reason you're mentioning. Getting shot is intense. Without an electromagnetic shield, a character can only take one or two hits from anything and they'll be toast. With the EM shield generator, then it's a matter of how much kinetic force you can hit the shield with before it drops. Multiplying damage versus rolling dice for damage is ultimately very similar in damage ranges, one just works with averages, where the other works with a wider range.
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby TheMatt » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:03 pm

Point of confusion--is this a card game, a board game, a RPG?

If you are going to have people dodging bullets, in a sort of gun-fu thing, environments will need to be urban with limited sightlines, or else movement is going to be irrelevant. Greater than 50% of the space occupied by buildings. Combat, amongst the ruins and slums?

Even more than most attacks, most bullets don't hit. Realistically speaking, so more probability should go to misses. Then counter that tendency by providing multiple rolls as a chance to hit.

Do you care about clip management, so people run out of bullets? HongKong Action Theatre's rules were you had a chance to run out of bullets if you rolled a 1, and had to take an action to reload before you could fire again. Otherwise, reload was just part of action.

579 for actions seems reasonable. 12 step wheel? Are there instant actions?

Perhaps make a distinction between automatic and aimed fire?

Ranges, pistols, SMG's, and AR should get different ranges. Perhaps each class of gun gets its own range, and that range is standard to all members of that class. Each class having different bonuses to hit at different ranges.

Better guns as progression...just a card for the base gun, and a modifier gun, adding +1 to something?

Inanimate objects don't get a dodge roll, but there needs to be some sort of defense, unless you see want people shooting out lights from miles away, or shooting the guns out of someone's hand.

Personal Shield--makes me think of Halo? Halo does the 'melee' attack pretty well.
Wresting the other guys weapon away?

What is Blue Shift about?
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby TheMatt » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:29 pm

Personal shield works how? Recharges, a la Halo? Or just Armor as Bonus HP?
I'd KO people if their shield gets overtopped. Or apply a wounded status? Or something like the overload mechanic?

Multiples are dangerous. The distribution of damage will be different, even if averages and range the same. The outliers will be common. 2d6, 66% of the roles are: 56789. 1/2/11/12 are only seen 20% of the time.

+1 to Multipliers, very dangerous. 3x to 4x is massive increase. Very difficult to balance. Much rather have people roll more dice.
Last edited by TheMatt on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby Maugh » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:16 pm

RPG vs Cards
This is a tabletop roleplaying game, manual based. I just thought of printing cards to keep weapon stats on. DND 4e does this for abilities, and it works rather nicely. If I ever get around to it, I'd print out poker cards for all of the Mayhem abilities, and double-cards for all of the Races & Talents.

Clip Management
Clip management might be important, but I go back and forth on that. "Did he fire 5 shots or 6?" Seems to be kind of fun, and reloading may be important, but I don't know if the inventory management is really worth it. My gut impulse says no. What are your thoughts?

Guns as Progression
"Dude! You found a Third generation Tsuraga Railgun? Rad."
Modifications would be cool, but Maybe not optimal? Shadowrun uses a ridiculous number of possible augmentations and modular gear, and it gets lost in the shuffle. Also slows character generation to a crawl. (took us literally two sessions JUST to build chars. Given, we were learning the system, but still.)

Environment
In the few tests that I've run for this, this has been super important. Also, the destructability of environmental objects was really interesting as well. Grenades to lob over barriers, cannons to blast apart crates, It makes things interesting. Was also interesting to have the different roles on the field. Sniper for distance, but then xenomorph style melee combatants to deal with snipers, assuming they can get across the distance, from cover to cover. Surprise SMG ambushes were hilarious. If I can get the combat mechanics to run quick and smooth, it plays out really nicely on the board.

Action Length

5/7/9 sounds good. 12 step wheel yes, for continuity, instant actions, yes, as well. "flip a switch" style abilities.

Aimed versus Automatic
Possibly, though I would just build that into the weapon. Shadowrun distinguishes between sustained, burst and individual fire, and it's one of the more fiddly rules that I really think slows down combat more than it's worth. I really want this to clip along. Also, they did a poor job of balancing sustained fire, from what I've seen.

Weapon Ranges by weapon category
I think I agree. I'd have to look at it again, though. Test both options.

Inanimate Dodge
Shooting an inanimate object should probably be shooting against a DC, I think, rather than a roll. Those should be simpler checks anyway, to keep combat moving, since they only directly affect one player.

Damage per hit versus damage die per hit.
Okay. I think we may be understanding what we're multiplying a little differently. What I mean is that any given hit is worth a specific damage where, some weapons have the chance to do more attacks per trigger pull. This would only apply to multi-shot weapons, like the AR's and SMG's. (which, given, should be a little less than half the weapons.)

It wouldn't be rolling a single die and getting a number of hits, (that would be like having an amp of 1, which is ridiculous.) But just doing multiple attacks, each with a set damage value.

SMG damage = 3
4x shots, means rolling 4 d6 attack rolls, each doing 3 damage. Range of damage from 0 to 12, (0 to 4 hits,) with a mean of 6, assuming even odds.

SMG damage = d6
4x shots means rolling 4 d6 attacks, each doing 1d6 damage. Range of damage from 0 to 24. Average damage 5, assuming even odds (2 hits, 2 misses, average die roll of 2.5)

I'm really not seeing a huge difference, except that the d6 per hit method allows for HUGE damage if they luck out and roll really well.

A heavy sniper rifle, in contrast, would only get one shot, but might do the full 12 damage, if it hit, or maybe 3d8 damage, if damage were picked by dice. These are just hypothetical numbers. the point of bringing this up would be to try to balance them.

Not tremendously different, from what I'm seeing, except that one makes you roll dice and add them together, and one forces the player to do multiplication, which is debatable as a time advantage. I"m not married to either option, I just wanted to be clear, and to see what you thought of the relative merits.

Shields
A personal shield would act as HP, but could be re-set with a long-term recharge, (say between combat.) "Heal spells" could function as an energy boost to the shield, allowing for the niche of a "medic" character without supernatural healing magics, if someone wants to play that role, or an actual healer who might be addressing the physical injuries.

You could allow shields to auto-charge very slowly, which would also act as a free, between-combat auto-heal, which is good for re-setting for the next combat, without having to worry about somebody HAVING to play a healer character.

Most importantly, it allows the characters to have that crap your pants moment, when they realize that their shield just dropped and their hp, which WAS being counted in the dozens with their personal shield, is now counted as character injuries. It's a way of dropping someone from combat, without necessarily maiming their character. By saying that the -next- attack will count as injuries, (after the shield drops,) it will give them at least one action to get somewhere protected, before risking serious life-and-limb consequences. Sort of like dropping past 0 in dnd, but without being disabled.
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Re: Blueshift Weapon Balancing Puzzle

Postby Maugh » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:09 pm

What is Blueshift About?

This deserves its own topic:

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=528
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