Development Report (06/14/16 – 06/20/16)
Since the last play-test I have re-worked a few things involving how fast combat will come and go and the consequences for engaging in it needlessly.

From last weeks play-test, it became obvious that the GMs resources were not at all developed the way I would have liked. When rolling for your own characters (or NPCs) during combat, things quickly fell apart during the last test.

Based off of this, combat was fleshed out more since then:

  1. Increasing the speed of Combat Tests – Instead of allowing characters to be counter-attacked during a tied amount of successes between the GM and PC, counter-attacks now occur on failing a Combat Test. This allows for failures to always result in a counter-attack (which will come up more often than tying) and allow for a successful hit on a tie (dealing only a single point of damage to vitality in most cases).
  2. Reducing Skill Proficiency – It seemed like PCs who had a Skill rating of 3 were always going to pass tests. This was particularly going to be a problem during combat. I’ve decided to reduce Skill Training to either a 1 or 2. In some rare cases I might allow a player to reach a 3, but only after some serious character progression has been accomplished first.
  3.  Denying drawing cards during Combat – I’ve decided that since players are attempting test twice as often during combat, they should not be allowed to draw cards for passing Initiated Tests during this time. This makes combat even more intense, locking players into the resources they drew before the combat started.
  4. Reworking NPC Stats from the ground up – Traditionally, NPC’s stats only determined whether or not the GM would roll with additional Auto-Successes.  For instance, an NPC with an Intellect of 1 would allow the GM to roll with 1 Auto-Success when using that stat. Through testing I’ve discovered that more is required to allow NPCs to roll with their stats properly. Now NPCs have larger pools like their PC counterparts. Although they can’t apply Skills (which they don’t have) to determine Auto-Successes, DCs now have a Success Rating attached to them. For example, a DC5 test for a PC to attack an NPC forces the NPC to roll with 2 Auto-Failures. If the test was much harder for the PC instead, then the NPC may roll with 2 Auto-Successes (on top of what they are able to roll with using their newly designed stat pool).
  5. Simplifying the first round of Initiative  – Based on who is aware of the combat encounter starting, characters either roll with Perception or Agility when determining Initiative. That much has stayed the same. However, those who were aware are all grouped into an Attacker catagory and those who were not, into a Defender category. Attackers will go first during that initial round and defenders will go second. Very simple. If both NPCs and PCs inhabit the same group, they will then roll using their individual stats to determine final Initiative placement within those groups. This makes it so that “most of the time” nobody will have to roll for Initiative at all.
  6.   Integrating Dynamic Initiative  – After the first round of Initiative, things get a little more complex. With every new round, placement in Initiative will be changed. If a character successfully counter-attacks someone they will be placed at the top of Initiative during the start of the next round. If a character successfully lands a hit, they will remain where they currently are in Initiative instead. This seems complicated at first but I am hoping that it’s easy to record as the GM plays. The only thing they will need to ask themselves is whether or not a character landed a hit or not during the last round.
  7. Locking Abilities to Attack Types – It was made very clear during the last play-test that players thought if, for example, firearms could only be defended against using the Perception Ability that combat would speed up dramatically. Although I am going to try this out during the next test, I have my qualms about it. If players aren’t put off by it then I will explore this idea even further and perhaps establish it fully by the end of next week.

I’m still trying to determine the best way to organize these posts (I didn’t even get into the other systems that were also adjusted this week). As for all of these combat developments, you should check out some of the feedback I got from last weeks play-test. The feedback starts around 1:21:22 if you want to skip ahead and have a listen.

Excited as always to hear from my new play-testers here in a couple of days about these changes. Thanks for reading everybody!