Friday, June 11, 2010

StarCluster 3 - Building the Weapon Design System

I thought it would be a simple matter to bring the StarCluster 2 Weapon Design Guide into StarCluster 3, but it proved to be an all night affair last night. The WDG works by giving rules for changing a stock weapon into something more to your liking - not for players, but for GMs. You take a standard weapon and see note the parameters. In the WDG, each parameter is an axis of change. You can change it as much as you want, but any increases in any axes must be cancelled out by decreases in the other axes. So, for example,, if you make a weapon longer in range and more accurate, you would have to balance that change, perhaps by making it costlier and harder to conceal. OK, got how it works? I love this system - my son Klaxon and I came up with it for the Cold Space Vehicle Design Guide, then applied it to the SC2 WDG.

So I tranfer the text over. Reading over it, I noticed that the costs were given in Credits - and Credits have been replaced by a Lifestyle/Wealth system. Hmmm. I had to throw out the way this worked, and reconstruct this axis by one based on Lifestyle. That took a bit of thinking, but I got it to where it worked smoothly.

Then as I was changing the examples around to reflect this, I noticed that the Concealability rating - foe concealing a weapon in normal clothing - was given in percentiles, for SC2. Now I have put the percentile mechanics into SC3 as one of four options, but this would be a pain in the ass to work if everyone has d6s or is diceless. This took a lot more thought, because concealability was all over the place - from 90% to 0%. What I finally settled on was making the former conceal percent be a bonus to the Quality of the character's Stash skill check to conceal it, to compare to the Quality of the opposition's check, full amount for casual lookovers, and half for more detailed visual searches. A real hands on search would certainly have a hefty negative modifier.

Cool! I'm set! I begin writing these into the examples, when I notice the Accuracy parameter is given in points to add to the TN for percentile checks. Now these are usually small, from -10 to +10 generally, but too large to just add in as a modifier to a D6 game, adn diceless was going to be a real headache. I was banging my head trying to think how to approach it, when Klaxon said "Why not just use the Small Bonus/Penalty you have been using throughout? These are defined by the mechanics already." D'oh! Perfect! All I had to do was figure out what I needed to scale the steps at, and when I got that, I was set.

Then I noticed the parameter Ammo Cost. Crap! For a minute I panicked, then I remembered I had done away with Ammo costs at the system level. The characters are assumed to carry a reasonable amount of the proper ammo. I just deleted this axis entirely, and for those examples with changes on this axis, I modified something else to make up for it. Done! And this time I was right!


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