Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rational Damage Spells: Revising the Costs

When I first wrote Rationalizing Damage Spells in GURPS, I pretty much eyeballed the effects of the elements. My intention was for them to be balanced at around 10-12 CP/die of damage for the standard Ball spell, but I didn't sit down and crunch the numbers.

I had some free time this morning, so I finally went back and did the math. I was pleased with the results: most of the spells came in at 10-13 CP/die, or only needed slight adjustments to bring them into that range. The only element that was really out of line was Deprivation, which pays through the nose to ignore DR and inflict a starvation hazard. Given that it's already a low damage attack (-2/die) that doesn't play well with other attacks (does FP damage), I'm not too concerned that it's so expensive.

While I had GCA open, I added a couple new forms:
Hellfire (Demonology): +1 damage per die. Treat as a Burning Innate Attack with Affects Insubstantial, Armor Divisor 2, Underfoot, and Costs 1 HP. Ranged Attacks are Acc 1, Range 25/50.
Calamity (Death, Necromantic): -2 damage per die. Treat as an Impaling Innate Attack with Affects Insubstantial, Cosmic (Ignore DR), Unblockable, and Accessibility: Only Living or Once Living creatures. Ranged Attacks are Acc 1, Range 15/30.


Fundamentally, these are pretty similar to Fire and Blight, but they have enough differences to be worthwhile and expand the role of the Necromancer and Demonologist templates. Underfoot was introduced in DF 11: Power-Ups (p 24) and works much like Overhead, except the attack comes from beneath instead of above.


Here's the revised effects of the forms:
Lightning (Air): -1 damage per die. Treat as a Tight Beam Burning Innate Attack with Double Knockback, Arcing Surge, and Side Effect (Stun). Ranged Attacks are Acc 4, Range 50/100. Double knockback, in this case, lets it do knockback damage as though it were a crushing attack.
Thunder (Air, Sound): +3 damage per die. Treat as a Crushing Innate Attack with Armor Multiplier 2, Double Knockback, and Hearing Based Side Effect (Stun). Treat attacks against swarms or vaporous creatures as area effect attacks, even if the spell form is normally a single target spell. Ranged Attacks are Acc 3, Range 30/60.
Blight (Body): -1 damage per die. Treat as a Toxic Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Cosmic (Affects things with Immune to Metabolic Hazards), Accessibility (Only living or previously animals and humanoids; cannot target locations). Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50.  Deathtouch should affect zombies, but not stone golems or trees.
Deprivation (Body, Food): -2 damage per die. Treat as a Fatigue Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Hazard (Starvation or Thirst, chosen when the spell is learned), and Resistable (HT -4). Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 50/100.
Enervation (Body): -1 damage per die. Treat as a Fatigue Innate Attack with Armor Divisor 2. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 50/100.
Stone (Earth): +2 damage per die. Treat as a Crushing Innate Attack with Double Knockback and a followup Crushing Innate Attack with No Wounding. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50. Essentially, calculate knockback based on quadruple the rolled damage. 
Fire (Fire): +1 damage per die. Treat as a Burning Innate Attack with Incendiary and Armor Divisor 2. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 50/100.
Poison (Food): +3 damage per die. Treat as Toxic Innate Attack with Blood Agent, Cyclic (5x10 seconds), Resistable by HT-5. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50.
Sun (Light): +1 damage per die. Treat as a Tight Beam Burning Innate Attack. Ranged Attacks are Acc 8, Range 100/200, and get +1 to hit. Sun attacks are laser beams, and should benefit from having a built-in laser sight.
Ruin (Making and Breaking): -1 damage per die. Treat as Toxic Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Cosmic (Affects things with Immune to Metabolic Hazards), Accessibility (Only never living inanimate objects; cannot target locations). Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50. Making and Breaking spells can't affect golems, zombies, or housecats, but they can destroy cars and furniture.
Force (Movement): +0 damage per die. Treat as a Cutting Innate Attack with Affects Insubstantial and Double Knockback. Ranged Attacks are Acc 3, Range 50/100.
Cessation (Necromantic): +3 damage per die. Treat as Toxic Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Cosmic (Affects things with Immune to Metabolic Hazards), Accessibility (Only zombies; cannot target locations). Targets that take damage have a 1 in 6 chance of being forced to flee out of sight of the caster for one day. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50. 
Sound (Sound): +2 damage per die. Treat as a Crushing Innate Attack with Side Effect (Stun). Ranged Attacks are Acc 3, Range 25/50.
Acid (Water): +1 damage per die. Treat as a Corrosive Innate Attack. Ranged Attacks are Acc 1, Range 25/50.Frost (Water): +0 damage per die. Treat as a Burning Innate Attack with No Incendiary and Armor Divisor 5. Ranged Attacks are Acc 3, Range 50/100.
Ice Shards (Water): +2 damage per die. Treat as an Impaling Innate Attack with Armor Divisor (0.5). Ranged Attacks are Acc 3, Range 100/200.

Specific changes were:
Thunder's armor divisor improved from 1/5 to 1/2. Incidentally, this makes the spell much more useful against lightly armored foes.
Blight's and Ruin's damage modifier reduced from +0 per die to -1 per die.
Enervation's damage modifier reduced from +0 per die to -1 per die.
Stone was rewritten slightly so that the second attack was follow-up, not linked, and didn't have Double Knockback. The intent was to do knockback based on 4 times the damage rolled, not 6 times.
Poison's cyclic modifier was increased from 3 to 5. It's a slow but horribly effective element if it's used with a form that has an area effect.
Force's damage modifier was increased from -1 per to +0 per die.
Acid's damage modifier was increased from -1 per to +1 per die. This makes the spell much more useful for casters with low ability, dramatically increasing the chance of corroding DR.
Ice got renamed to Frost.
Ice Shards got added to the water college as a long-range, low penetration impaling attack.

Merging and Splitting GURPS PDFs

I knew that some of my friends had used software tools to split up and merge their GURPS PDFs. For instance, combining both of the PDFs for the core rules into one file, or merging the various Mystic Knight articles from Pyramid into one file. I hadn't done it because I thought it would be really hard, time-consuming, tedious, and/or require expensive tools.

As it turns out, there's an free, open-source tool with a decent GUI that lets you merge a half dozen PDFs in minutes. I'm going to write another blog post about it soon and go into more details, but it was really easy and it beats digging through a couple of different directories and files to look up all the rules for creating a Mystic Knight or a Dungeon Saint. I'm really excited about it.

3 comments:

  1. I've had problems with some versions of the PDFSAM installer coming with malware, so I recommend being cautious. It's also got some memory management issues so it doesn't work well with 500 meg PDFs. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I had similar issues when I used it some months back. Can't recall the name but that sounds familiar.

      Delete
  2. The copy I linked to doesn't have malware as far as I can tell.

    500 MB PDFs ... I think the largest PDF I have is the Savage Tides compilation at 260 MB, and even that's pretty inconvenient for actual use since it's ~700 pages. I doubt dealing with 500 MB PDFs is a general worry.

    ReplyDelete