Mezzo Update: Balancing Challenges

So here’s a quick update for you folks on the upcoming play test document. I got over half way through the section on challenges this week, which is the third out of four main sections.

I was running into a little trouble there as I was debating on how quickly damage should accumulate. After juggling the number around I ended up working out three possible ways to win a challenge.

  • You can complete a goal before the opposition can reach it first or otherwise stop you.
  • You can take away your opponent’s ability to act against you.
  • You can restrain your opponent or otherwise remove them from the conflict.

The last two approach are fairly similar in that both focus on eliminating foes. However, I’ve got one approach the focuses on reduced specific abilities while the other limits the targets overall effectiveness until they’re forced to drop out. Both have their uses.

I’ve done some number crunching and it looks like the expected time of a combat comes down to about 5 rounds. I’ll see how that works out it play. I suspect 1-2 rounds would have too much of rocket tag feel, though I did give characters an option to tap out early. That’s actually not a bad strategic choice if it looks like you’re losing anyway as it limits the momentum your opponents gain.

The current sticking point I’m working on balancing out the number of major actions per side. With the way the system works, it looks like getting an extra action is a huge tactical advantage. The same mechanics that give the underdog a chance at a solid hit mean two minimally skilled can actually do more damage in a round than a more skilled character if they get lucky. Granted, the odds on that are pretty small, but it can happen.

That leaves me with the question of whether I should enforce limits on the number of opponents that can be brought into a challenge. Limiting them does keep things more balanced. On the other hand, it makes it harder to handle things like multiple weaker adversaries. I can get around that with character templates, but I was going to hold off on those until a later round of play testing.

I do have mechanics to help overwhelmed character make a comeback. This might help with the imbalance of side having extra actions, but I’m not sure I want to rely on it too heavily.

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Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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