Friday, July 29, 2011

Finding a balence, crippling and empowering.

I've been so slow with this blog lately. I'm going to try and kick it back into gear. I have no excuse right now, being on internet with a bandwidth limit doesn't give many other options for things to do anyway.

I've been hard at work though. Within the next two weeks, I'm hoping, I will finally be finishing up the very long campaign I've been running. Trying to figure out how to get things going. I can only hope I'll get something climactic enough once it's done.

And once I'm finally finished with it, I'll be free of the Cthulhutech system, at blood last. It had its problems, but I tend to love it for them, but after running two very long campaigns, an attempted third and playing in another, I won't be touching it again until I hear a very appealing concept.

....Instead with my new game, I'm jumping into Mutants and Masterminds 2nd edition, a game in which two of MY friends are finishing up long running campaigns soon. Maybe when its over, if these plans don't ruin all my friendships I'll have finally thought up ideas for a more original system to offer my friends.

Instead of working on the enemies, Eidolons, lately, I've instead been trying to work on the rules for making characters, and oh boy has this been a mental back and fourth.

A couple quirks of the game I'm making, each character's given at least 1 'weapon' that suits their personalities that's the manifestation of their soul, and their reason for hunting Eidolons is they are a source of something called Essence, which is like the Grief Seeds of Madoka, the only way to restore their mana, though in addition they're the only way to actually gain experience too, and even offer a little healing, something that may be rare for the players.

One fun part about essence is that the levels of it dropped won't necessarily be enough to fully heal, restore and advance every character, you may want to save them until later, in case you need a recharge during battle. Some can wind up stronger based on the essence they collect to others.

They're also small objects that can easily be stolen if they aren't used immediately.

These have probably undergone the most transformation in development. They used to do every combination of healing (A little, full healing, restoring lost limbs), empowering (if you drink 4, 2 or just 1) and restoring mana (small amounts or fully) in various quantities, until I finally settled on only a little of all three in the hope I could encourage my players to store theirs in case of needs later.

One horrible idea I've recently got rid of was that in order to actually use them to get stronger powers, you had to save up several and drink them quickly, with a process that another could interrupt.

Back to the soul weapons, I've yet to quite decide on this. A nice part of the Mutants and Masterminds attempt at balancing characters like superman and green lantern is the concept of devices. Devices are 'containers' and to put simply, cost take 4 points a rank, but give back 5, so you have a profit in powers, but, they can be disabled, or drained or even just disarmed for a while. Summoning is similar, offering an alternate second character to play at the same time with completely different powers for a small price on the primary one, at the cost that this character can be the victim of attacks, killed or the like.

Both of these being the recommended formats my players to pick for their soul weapons, and soul weapons are the players only excuse for either these powerful options.

Now, the problem, Eidolons, as I've mentioned before, come from things with broken hearts, that includes the players, but in their cases, in addition to an attempt at giving them statistics for depression appropriate to this fact, for lore reasons, they also currently lose access to their soul weapon.

Only after putting this down and getting the idea appealing in my head did I realize I've heavily discouraged them actually developing their soul weapons at all. I've attempted to compensate by making these already cheap powers even cheaper, but am not satisfied with that alone as an option, or it may make them too strong.

It's tough work, trying to both give players a chance at being strong, but keeping them in line sometimes.


  1. Sounds tricky. But you should be OK in the future.

    Thanks for the post. And thanks for commenting on my blog post. I am always $upporting! Hope you return the favor! ;)


  2. Balancing can be a real bitch, just look at all the unbalanced fighting games out there, for example. I can imagine table-top RPG's must be very hard to get right, with the myriads of different factors that come into play.

  3. Slow and steady, don't rush any aspect of it or you might make a mistake that will take even longer to fix, or you'll end up with something sloppy. Hang in there!

  4. I think Mike is right. Often it's slow and steady that wins the marathon (because let's face it, most life issues are marathons, not races).
    Tech Me