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1  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: October 30, 2014, 05:54:01 PM
A bit of explanation and reasoning, if I may. Ignore if you do not care for design wank.

Artillery has a lot of bang for the buck, with high damage and range for low design points. This is chiefly balanced by the new Indirect quality. I originally futzed around with concepts like applying damage the round after the weapon is fired, but only if the target hasn't moved since then, but letting the player secretly pick another square to target as an attempt to lead the shot, and maybe it should just target squares instead of striders to begin with, and...and...and no. I looked at 2.0's Hangtime Rules, which are cool for when you have an AH-64 send a Hellfire at a skyscraper and your agents have two rounds to kill the big bad, shoot out the windows and dive out the other side with their gadget wingsuits. However, in a game where multiple striders are gonna be slinging this stuff at each other every round, we need less bookkeeping. Anything that starts in a round should be resolved in that round, because otherwise we have a big spreadsheet of arty fire coming down next round while everyone moves from under it, and it just turns into a huge round of whack-a-mole with high explosives. Besides, missiles and sniper cannons at extreme range don't suffer from hang time either - projectile velocity is just not A Thing except for armor-piercing effects or attack bonuses, and it would feel weird to just slap Arty with it.

So, go back to step one. What do I want as game effect? Make it suck at hitting moving targets. Bam, make an effect that only applies to moving targets - but you need something that you can resolve at time of the attack roll, so you don't get attacks rolled and then the other player decides to move and we have to recalculate again. In short, action->result. So instead, we look back at the round before, which is information that we actually have at the time we roll the attack. It may not make as much intuitive sense, but it's vastly easier to play with. Okay, so we have a penalty condition, what's the penalty? Auto-misses are lame. Some kind of numerical penalty...and it's harder to lead targets at long range - wait a minute, we have range penalties already. Make those worse! Double, no, triple them! There, arty now sucks at engaging moving targets while still being good against stationary stuff. (You may notice auto-mortars and the fastgun don't have a range penalty at effective range, meaning they actually don't experience any suck against moving targets. Deliberate - they can be depressed to be useful as short-range direct fire assault guns. Nasty little trick and a good reason why you don't want to try to rush a strider armed with them.)

Now, whenever you run into something that's a categorical limit of the tech, you try to beat it. People don't like living with the fact that arty sucks against anything that can dodge. Turns out, in the real world, there's long been attempts to make artillery smarter than just shooting big dumb shells into the air and hoping the math holds out. Excalibur and Copperhead are artillery rounds with guidance fins and laser seekers. Would the future figure out how to mass-produce and field those guys? Yeah, they sure would. Enter longguns, the ideal rear-echelon weapon - reach and punch of a missile, but much cheaper to field. You just need to make sure your target stays put or painted.

Speaking of painted...kind of a death sentence, isn't it? If you pull it off, your allies will just rain death on your target lock before it gets a chance to respond. The best you can do against it is to have a smokescreen up, but who has time to lay down smokescreens all the time? Enter the fastgun. Laser warning sensors are a thing even now, as are systems like Boomerang that can locate shooters in seconds. Put all that into a spritely little cannon on a fast mount with semi-automatic targeting algorithms, and you have a "MAKE LASER GO AWAY" button. It's short range, and it's weak, and it doesn't deal well with a moving target at all, but it's also fairly cheap, and it makes you think twice about parking either your arty or your spotter in one place. Plus, you never know what the next weapon with Vengeance looks like...

Okay, but what if you don't want the fancy? What if you need a strider that can blast something stationary to hell, and doesn't care about trying to catch some zippy little strider? Enter the auto-mortar. Heavy firepower on the cheap, the auto-mortar exists to stomp on poor defenseless fortifications. A strider will move, or try to shoot down the shells with its AMS, but once you free a weapon system from having to account for countermeasures, well, it turns out you can pack in quite a lot of boom. And even AMS isn't that great an idea what with multiple armored projectiles incoming, so it's much better to move. And that's true for all of these - artillery forces enemy striders to be on the move, actively hunting down scouts who provide target designation.

TLD;DR: Artillery - because war isn't fair.

(P.S.: I've looked into statting strategic missile weaponry and other WMD delivery systems, but with the lack of sensible uses in tactical combat, that's probably best built as gear that just sucks up design points, core slots and power with no concrete game effect beyond "Fuck you and your entire zip code". Once I've got those worked out, we're gonna build us some Metal Gears. Stay tuned.)

  All soundly reasoned Smiley. I'm trying to make artillery feel right more through damage than attack roll - tends to plink and pepper people (and machines) scampering for cover when the sky starts to rain HE hailstones, and consistently scores the big hits on building (and parked vehicles). It still needs some AoE and/or scatter. Work in progress Smiley.

  Like the fast gun concept a lot. Morphed it into a variable payload platform called "Deadeye". Point cost of weapon plus platform is a bit pricey but I'm trying to shift to the high-tech goodies being a little more of a carefully considered choice instead of no brainers because the design point costs have been so low. The proliferation of sensor and EWS units is a totally reasonable response to the cost-to-benefit ratio. I've found a way to give the cost more bite without wrecking the existing catalogue... Wink.

  I've also done a little rearranging of how gunner works - net result is the same costs for existing designs but opens up gunner seats as much more flexible (can control multiple turrets) and they can pull the trigger on the larger turrets now.
2  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: October 29, 2014, 08:12:52 PM
  Yup. Dual challenges of improving my process for tracking company (first revamp was good, but needs to be better - still a ton of work to process rounds) and re-mounting the narrative horse. I want to bring the raiders to a satisfying conclusion in the next few turns and bring some other developing conflicts to the fore. Plus more world building Smiley.

  A first stab at artillery damage, using those ever popular analog calculators - dice!

  Shelling. Roll damage 3 times. Keep the lowest result of the target is mobile such as a character or manned vehicle. Keep the highest result if the target is immobile (e.g. buildings).
3  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Some miscellaneous homebrew Paths on: October 29, 2014, 07:14:17 PM
  Small suggestion~

  Influence I: Your Reputation cost for Favors drops by your Step + 1, to a minimum of one-half base cost (rounded up).

  Also note formatting in the book (pages 311-314). Steps are boldface, no bullet points. The are also always self-referential so you don't need to indicate the name of the path inside a step Smiley.
4  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: October 28, 2014, 06:00:20 PM
  Alrighty, evolution, though slowly. Playing Beyond Earth has renewed my enthusiasm for battlefield vehicles Smiley.

  I'm eying the multiple seats tech - it'll likely get removed with the other restrictions on size being the main limitation.

  Artillery will be getting a harder look. I expect the range to be  "off the edge of the map" (measured in miles) but the damage will use one of my favorite probability curves - the dx divided by dY Smiley. Essentially if you are a moving target in an area being shelled you take d20/d20 damage each round (round down). Most days its a point or less. but once in a while... WAMM! It'll be a sort of huge AoE debuff for squishies who hate having to move around in the stuff. Fixed targets get dialed in over time and are functionally doomed. Multiple points of artillery produce multiple damage rolls.

  A complete steal from the BE-Supremacy vehicles will be the SABR's anti-orbital strike. The ability to knock satellites out of the sky  Grin.
5  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Beyond Earth (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: October 28, 2014, 03:27:17 PM
  The AI race in Farthest Star is intensely jealous of humanity's "natural firewalls" Smiley. When they brush up against each other the usual outcome is one identity dies and the other gets a new body to add to its collection.

  They don't brush up against each other much if they can help it.
6  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Around the Campfire [OOC and open feedback] on: October 28, 2014, 03:20:31 PM
  Good call. It makes rebating for under-built designs a bit tricky, but that's enough of a corner case I could put it in a sidebar.

  Current thoughts: I'm looking at there being 3 classes that have vehicular emphasis. Most of the bad-ass driver crunch I'll put in a new Transport tree where all three can get at it to the degree the player chooses (and other classes can dip with their Career Level-based feat choices. Two of the drivin' classes will have some unique goodies. One will probably buff raw stats. A '+1 speed and handling' kind of thing. The other would have the ability to add a tech to their ride above and beyond the factory specs. Both driver classes are likely to share a That's Impossible type ability at 10/20, but be quite different otherwise.
7  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Beyond Earth (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: October 28, 2014, 02:26:04 AM
  Weather sats give +1 food in their 7 hexes and add a natural resource to an undeveloped hex 1-2 times during their lifespan. The faster they crash, the faster they free up the 2 petroleum/1titanium to launch another one with the next 1-2 resource adds.

  It picks from undeveloped hexes. I've gotten gold, obsidian, fiber, fruit... and lots and lots of coral and algae as I was deliberately firing over oceans so they'd have to improve the bare water hexes Smiley.

  I had a city with a launch pad devoted to lobbing them as fast as the strategic resources came available.
8  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Beyond Earth (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: October 28, 2014, 01:06:58 AM
  Got a win with ARC... but it was odd.
  Ran an Archipelago and nobody else seems to master boats until turn 120ish.
  Most ridiculously overpowered thing EVER: extremely early on (less than turn 30) I researched a pile of bones... and got a unit of alien wasps. Those little buzzing bastards proceeded to orbit the entire world twice, picking up  probably 10 pods and pin-pointing the locations of as many artifacts for my explores to sweep in after 4-12 turns later. That one unit it probably put me 10 turns ahead of everyone else and they never caught up.
  Espionage turned out entirely pointless. With ARC that was a bit shocking.
  finished with 9 cities, every one of them running 2.8 traderoutes to the others. An insane number of boats.
  Weather satellites with no bonus duration are awesome. I basically filled the seas with coral and algae by firing more than a dozen of those things up over my cities. Serious terraforming tool.

  ...Unsurprisingly the biggest challenge of conquering Earth is the logistics of parking 15 hovertanks around the gate and keeping the troops amused as they file in.
9  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Beyond Earth (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: October 27, 2014, 04:08:15 PM
Man, the nuances of the order in which you acquire tech and virtues can be brutal. "Haha! I have tradeposts and caravans reads... Oh noes! I can't clear miasma so my caravans decline to roll like that..."
10  Products / Z-Corps / Re: Escape Routes & Safe Zones on: October 27, 2014, 12:43:41 PM
  I'm now wondering how many zombies I could get to cheese-grater themselves into non-motility just by stringing some webs of piano wire among trees and watching them try to push through it or climb over it...

  Simple pit/ditches also seem promising since zombies generally don't climb well. And oddly enough cattle barriers on roads (the narrow metal rods that wheels go over fine and feet go between disasterously) could prove extremely effective against smaller swarms. Zombie steps, slips, breaks both shins, and is either stuck there or reduced to a hand over hand crawler...

  How about fire-fighting tanker aircraft carrying loads of caustic powders? *Foomp* 1,000 zombies turned into sizzling bone soup. Zombies seem fairly wet and vulnerable to things living people actively try to avoid.

  Deserts - and especially salt-flats - seem like they'd be impenetrable barriers to most zombie packs.
11  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Beyond Earth (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: October 27, 2014, 12:14:24 AM
  Missed Exodus victory by 6 turns, tops. Had 14 settled & 3 more on the map when somebody else won. It doesn't give you NEARLY as much warning as I would have expected. Conversely, nobody even tried to stop me settling the unwashed masses of Earth.

  Still learning the game. Was wondering where all the geothermal fields were that I needed for some structures... didn't realize I needed a tech to even see them. I like retrorockets, but my respect for the seismic sensors went way up.

Oh, and hybrid weapons... day-am the Purity gear looks fun with a little Harmony paint thrown over them.
12  Community / Off-Topic / Beyond Earth (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: October 26, 2014, 01:06:18 PM
I had my first "Oh shit, it's 7:30... wait, is it AM or PM?" moment, so I'd say I've got the game working now.

So does anyone else keep looking at the backers and thinking "Wow, its the 'Shadowforce Archer: Endgame' game..."? Grin

My preferred set-up so far is essentially an early game surge:

Pan-Asia Collectiv- er Cooperative
Aristocrats (money, money, money)
Retrograde thrusters (better placement and gives my explorer a leg up on snatching early pods).
Machinery (free worker to leverage the faction bonus starting turn 1)

I tend to run my society right into the ground - spent most of my first major play-through at -27 health. Still working on that.

I LOVE the 3-hex sonic fence, and just outright buying it at the first sign of hostile natives... Who needs personal shield when you can isolate entire continents from alien activity with just 3-4 cities Wink?
13  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Around the Campfire [OOC and open feedback] on: October 26, 2014, 12:36:26 PM
So, since all parties involved are used to Mastercraft, how would you feel about combat vehicles as a prize with a Reputation cost not too far off of its point value + a few points for each tech? Characters with support (military, large merc company, Stark Industries backing...) get Adventurer insurance when it comes to replacing them.

I'd really like to be able to link these to a wheelman-esque class with minimal math.
14  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: October 25, 2014, 04:57:24 PM
Setups! Let's see 'em.
Faction: Iberian. A free Tech every 10 Virtues is awesome seeing as the timing tends to work out at when I'm choosing between 500+ Techs and the second one arrives around the time of 2100+ options.
Settlers: Artists. Improved happiness and more Cultures for Virtues. Notably there is a Combat Virtues tree, so presumably my coterie of emotion-wanking, lisping, mincing "Arteests" also manage to inspire some really excellent military doctrine.
Ship: not sure, but I think I like Tectonic Scanning.
Other: Weapons. Workers are great, but trouble is best accounted for early.

I assume they produce really kick-ass marching music. And maybe video games that get all the kids to sign up as soldiers.

I'm still tinkering with initial set-ups (I'm trying ARC but their bonus seems to come into play really late in the day).

The tidal locked planet is AWESOME. Many kudos on that one.
15  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Some spells I need in the absense of the Spellbound preview on: October 25, 2014, 03:29:02 PM
It affects Alchemists Grin.
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