Monday, November 7, 2011

[Greyhawk] A Question of Granularity…

NOTE:  This is gonna be a bit unpolished, as NaGa DeMon is eating into the other 98% of my waking moments.  (Day-job? What day-job? Family?  What family?)

In my previous article of SoG magic and spell translation, I made the following statement…

“A single hit die is a D8, so technically each stress box counts as 2 hit dice. Which also means that the average hit points from 2HD would be about 9 or 10. Which would also place the average damage per missile at 4 points (3 + 1), which would then mean 2 missiles would be needed to do enough damage to take out 1 stress box. Rather than worry about the exact number of missiles in the description, I would rather just simplify to 1 missile equal 1 stress box.”

…so 10 hit points = 1 stress box.  Which then leads to some interesting observations (at least to me it does)…

  • SotC characters would translate somewhere in the range of around 50 hit points.
  • In the source material, a magic weapon with a whompin’ +5 bonus counts as HALF of one stress box in SoG.
  • There are only 2 mundane weapons in the entire source material’s Weapon Table that could score enough damage to equal 1 physical stress box.  This on the high-end of the dice roll spectrum, though it doesn’t include magic or strength-related bonuses.
  • All the other mundane weapons then fall into one of 8 “less damaging” categories.
  • I believe DFRPG has a maximum Weapons rating of 4 before you get into dropping anvils on people, which means that the most damaging hand-held weapon in the world of DFRPG could translate to the equivalent of 30 to 40 hp of damage per shot.  (So Evil Hat wasn’t kidding when they said DFRPG combat is brutal and short!)

This poses some interesting design considerations for Spirit of Greyhawk…

It’s not the size of the weapon, it’s how you use it

Dealing with mundane weapons of the world of Greyhawk’s technology, this means Skills are the source of real damage when it comes to Melee combat, not the Weapon.  This appeals to me for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which that it supports the assumption that a skilled combatant with a dagger is far more dangerous than a non-skilled combatant with a two-handed sword.

(Not that other things can’t be a crucial factor, but that’s what aspects are for)

Taking this to a logical conclusion, would it make sense to have SoG fall into line with Spirit of the Century and just NOT consider a weapon damage bonus?  This is not to say weapons would be meaningless—the tactical advantages of picking the right weapon for the right engagement are still worthwhile.  But given the level of granularity that SoG uses to translate the world of Greyhawk, it’s still pretty reasonable.

If you believe that a player’s expectations for play in SoG tends to require that weapon selection DOES need to make some sort of difference in damage, then I think that Mike’s recent posting about different colored dice and damage is a valid way to go.

Impact of Magic on Melee

Anyone who has played AD&D knows that accumulating your magic weapons and armor becomes pretty critical, pretty quickly.  Which means that in SoG, enchanted gear would still be important, the real benefit to those enchantments is not “just” in the damage (remember, the actual damage of a +5 magic bonus is only half a stress box in SoG), but rather to allow someone to actually hit certain creatures who could not otherwise be damaged by mundane (or only minimally enchanted) weapons. 

So again, it’s the TACTICAL advantage granted by the weapon, and then it comes down to a player’s skill in using it.

…and I think that’s sort of interesting.

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