Saturday, December 3, 2011
Combat Mantra of the Day: "Resolution, Not Simulation" (Starmasters Playtest Update)
The thing that has kept us grounded as we've tested is our mantra for Starmasters combat, "Resolution, not simulation." We sometimes, in our fervor for trying to resolve every issue that comes up, focus on creating added mechanics rather than simplifying/generalizing the ones we already do have. We have, so far, been pretty good about keeping an old-school approach in creating mechanics the GM can interpret based on our examples, in lieu of creating volumes of rules to answer every situation. I can see how the AC system of D&D (resolution) was a simpler alternative to Chainmails "rules for medieval miniatures (which began more, relatively, as a simulation.)
Last night's playtest took place in a more complex "battlefield" than last week. This time around, we used a building interior with more walls and doors and passage areas, compared to the more open/landscaped battle area from the last playtest. It seemed to make it a more offensive game, where characters were more intent on getting shots off and positioning themselves strategically for cover, rather than relying on defensive moves (like dodging and diving.)
We did seem to resolve the off-target issue for "area of effect" weapons. We used a mechanic similar to Starmasters' "range indexing" (in which a character's ACC affects his overall range with a fired weapon, scaling distance penalties to the character's ACC); Dave had already come up with this mechanic as of last playtest, but this round proved it in practice.
We need to refine the added mechanic for fumbling/stumbling (if a character tries to do too much in one phase.) The mechanic is good; the method for determining odds needs to be tweaked. Too many characters dropped their weapons too often.
Next up... moving from the "every man for himself" free-for-all, and moving to a "team vs. creature" mode. The plan is to arm and armor the team heavily, but put them up against some nasty alien creatures. I can't wait!!!