Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[Atomic Robo] Minor Repairs

Good news, everyone! Turns out the aftershocks from Fate Core Rules-Quake '12 weren't as severe for ARRPG as I'd originally feared. I mean... they were still pretty serious. We lost a whole thing. But it looks like everything's working out pretty well, skill-wise. It's probably even an improvement, actually.

Let me elaborate on that, because you're probably all, "Hey, could you be less specific about the thing in question?" But, like, in a sarcastic way.

So I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before (at least once) that, in ARRPG, there are these things called modes. You can think of modes as thematic bundles of skills that reflect broad areas of competence. Action is a mode. Science is a mode. Modes make on-the-fly character creation easy, because they don't require you to make a decision for every single skill your character has.

Prior to yesterday, there were a total of five standard modes (among them, Action and Science). Now there are but four. When you make a character, you pick (and rate) three modes. With only four standard modes to pick from, however, what you're also doing (as Fred has pointed out) is deciding which of the modes just isn't important for your character.

Why was this done? A number of reasons -- so many, in fact, that when I wrote them all out I was surprised by how compelling they all were en masse. But the most practical reason is the math.

There are two ways to make a character in ARRPG. One involves making choices. The other involves some simple math. Neither method is better than the other, but the choice-making one is simpler in practice than the math-doing one (an important difference when making a character during play). The thing that makes that no-math one work, though, is the math going on behind the scenes. Thanks to a certain change in the Fate Core rules, that math wasn't working out anymore, which had the potential to be a pretty serious issue.

What with one thing and another, the way to fix this issue was to cut one of the modes. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say that two modes have been merged, but... not that much more accurate, to be honest. Regardless, in the process each of the remaining modes has been made a little more distinct, which is a good thing. (Except Science. Science has experienced no change whatsoever. Science don't care.)

If you're wondering how four themed skill-bundles can possibly reflect everything that, say, Atomic Robo does, or Dr. Dinosaur purports to do, the answer is simple: They don't! Those four modes are just the standard modes, but there are other modes -- weird modes -- that you can make yourself.

I'm not going to get into all that now, though. I have a literal ton of work to do. (Not literally.)
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