Thoughts about v0.1 -> v0.2: Frame Damage and Tags

Thoughts about v0.1 -> v0.2: Frame Damage and Tags

August 22, 2021
Game Design

Hi there! As promised, I’m going to talk about some other things that will be rebalanced for v0.2: Frame Damage and (a handful of) Tags. Some of these were revelations I had while testing, but others were a function of considering how things came together more closely.

Frame Damage #

Frame Damage is the consequence of losing all of your Vigor. It’s intended to show wear and tear on a Frame that’s taken significant punishment and raise stakes in combat. However, it’s designed to avoid “death spirals”: this is why Vigor and Tension are restored to full and max Tension goes up. It also provides a nice arc in combat, in which a Frame that’s been taken out can come back restored and ready.

That said, it needs to have some teeth to work. Unfortunately, the first 3 potential rolls (-1 Drive, -1 Speed, and -1 Control) are lacking in consequences compared to the last 3 (reduce Harm of an Armament, require a roll for a Modular System, same but for Integral). With how Attributes work, there’s a very good chance that the Attribute reduction isn’t going to mean much in the moment. Each of them needs something a little stronger. So they will be changed to something like:

  1. Superstructure Damage: -2 Max Vigor. All non-Armament Drive rolls have -1 die.
  2. Leg Damage: Move and Sprint actions require an Attribute roll. All non-Armament Speed rolls have -1 die.
  3. Sensor Damage: Armament Attribute rolls have -1 die. All non-Armament Control rolls have -1 die.

This has effects that correspond to the feel of the given types of Frame Damage while being meaningful in their own right.

With regard to Armament Harm reduction, it doesn’t feel meaningful enough. That option will likely replace the Armament with a backup weapon (probably a 1 Harm weapon with Close, Near, or Far - the Armored Core backup weapons come to mind as good inspirations).

Tags #

My general organizing principle for a given tag (more so on ones on stock models) has been to add value equivalent to 1 Harm when a given condition has been met. (Splash is an exception, but it’s enough of an edge case that I’m not too worried for now.) However, on review, I have significant problems with a few of them.

Aimed, Forceful, and Quick are very simple: when you use a specific Attribute, +1 Harm. However, this simplicity is more of a problem than a benefit in the long term. When considering these tags, they are either useless to an Ace or are better than any other tag you could possibly get, depending on their best Attribute - which means in the endgame they’re way too obvious picks. My best solution for these is to simply remove them and replace them with 3 more suitable tags.

Scoped and Sighted have a similar problem: when used with a weapon that’s already Far or Close, +1 Harm. My solution to these, however, is to make the +Harm more conditional: it’s only in effect when other ranges (Close/Near for Scoped, Near/Far for Sighted) don’t have enemies. This keeps them closer to the secondary function of Scoped/Sighted (expanding range towards Far/Close).

I’ll most likely be talking about enemies and the GM Turn next. Until next time!

(Originally posted here)