Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vehicle Hull Ratings

Just a quick post. The other night I was tinkering with stats again on the "big vehicle comparison chart thingy" (that's the official, technical name for it now)—and as I tinkered, I came to the realization that perhaps the stats on some of the starfighters needed to be toned down just a little—at least as far as the hull strength goes. The biggest example of what I am talking about is the X-Wing Starfighter as it compares to say...a Stock Light freighter (an unmodified version of the Millennium Falcon). Under the D6 rules, both craft have the same hull rating of 4D. Now, at first I always explained this away to myself as the fighter having a 'reinforced frame' and the freighter being more fragile—as it is largely made up of cargo space and not meant to enter combat.

Now, I still believe both of the above assumptions to be true, but when I looked at a more 'realistic' comparison of the sizes of the two craft, I just can't bring myself to justify both having the same hull code. Why? Because on my (admittedly rough) 'bulk rating system' an X-Wing has an overall bulk of around 50, while a freighter has a bulk of around 2,000. That's a pretty significant difference. Even if the X-Wing was 'reinforced' and the freighter was not, it just didn't make sense.

This left me with a couple options—I could either lower the hull rating of the X-Wing (and several other fighter classes) or raise the rating of the freighter. I chose the former for a couple reasons. From a purely game mechanic position I have found that more dice = more time at the gaming table. It takes longer to roll and it also starts a kind of 'inflation' that will affect a lot of other systems in the game (like weapon damage, for instance—which may have to increase in order to keep the same functional balance it had with the other hull codes). But beyond mechanics, I think that the movie pointed out that Starfighters, no matter how good they are, are somewhat fragile. We see X-Wings being shot down with one or two bursts of fire (Porkins, Gold Flight, etc.)—or at best being able to absorb a single hit before becoming significantly disadvantaged (Wedge, Red Leader).

So, what does all this blathering on my part actually mean? Get ready for the 'Dramatic Change in the Game Stats'!: The X-Wing and other 'beefier' fighters have dropped from 4D hull to 3D+2! GASP! I know. That's a lot of buildup for such a small thing. But the change is significant enough to note—and besides, these posts always help me work through my thinking. The end result is that the smaller fighters tend to have 2D or 2D+2 hulls (as they originally did) while the larger fighters have 3D or 3D+2 hulls. In a way, this has nice symmetry to it. In the game, characters typically have 2D to 3D strength and face blasters that typically do 4D to 6D damage. Thus, you'll now have fighters with a 2D or 3D hull facing enemy craft with the 'average' weapon damage of 4D to 6D. It works—or at least, I think it will.

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