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The Numbers Game

  • Rine
  • 08/08/2015 08:01 AM
So, initially when designing this game, I was basing the theme and ideas around a tabletop game I designed a while ago. This also plays into one of my major preferences for game design: Small numbers. I feel too often RPGs, especially of the eastern variety, tend to value large numbers, 4+ and the like. To me, this tends to devalue damage and HP, and you keep having to amp up the numbers as you go. Bigger numbers, bigger damage, bigger defense, etc. Tactics and specialized effects tend to go by the wayside in relation to just 'bigger numbers'.

As such, with Binding Wyrds I have stuck firm to a low number game. The characters have six stats, and for most characters, these will not go above 6, with 7-8 being max even then. HP is the defense stat + 5 (again, except for certain characters, especially those with recoil/HP cost effects). So far, barring deliberately overpowered characters, most characters have 8 HP on the low end, and 11 on the high end. MP is level x10 for mages, and x5 for vampires, barring exceptions.

This does create a bit of a shallow range, with very few characters having below 3 in anything (I reason in this game and the tabletop that 3 is the human average), and very few having above 6 (being the normal human maximum). Some characters have gear that improve some stats (especially attack, given, you know, weapons), but those are unique to each character. The same goes for the researchable upgrades, some of which increase HP max, defense, etc.

Of course, a big part of having low numbers is making sure the math in your game works out to be just right. For most attacks, the defending stat is not static, but is rolled, while attacks are static. The original tabletop used a d6 system to roll for defense, with a 5/6 reducing damage by one for each die. The system in the game uses a randomizer to accomplish the same function, creating a random number to simulate it. ( if rand(3) = 2 ) The end result of this is that attacks are fairly static in damage, but the defense reduction can be quite random. In example, an attack of 5 damage (3 strength stat + 2 weapon), will be reduced by a defense of 5 (3 defense stat + 2 armor) x 2. Best case scenario, the defense can reduce it by up to 10 if every roll is a success, causing no damage. On average (33% chance), the damage will be reduced by 3, allowing 2 damage through. Worst case scenario where defense rolls no successes, the damage will be 5.

Of course, all this math is paired with the game having permanent death, and little healing. Hopefully with some balancing, this will lead to buffs being all the more important (with lasting the whole mission being a nice perk). With those factors, and recovering from missions requiring a character to sit out a turn, I am hoping this will lead to the player making hard decisions about who to bring on missions, and who to leave at home/maintaining territories.