Re: Equipment

From: David Cake <dave_at_...>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 14:27:17 +0800

At 9:49 AM +0100 20/3/03, Julian Lord scribbled:
>On 19 Mar 2003 at 19:06, wrote:
>> David Dunham <david_at_...>
>> Subject: Re: Equipment
>> Jane
>> >Still, I gather the new system is dropping edges
>> >altogether? Somehow?
>> Edges were really never intended for routine use.
>Perhaps not, but I for one am extremely happy to see the
>official end of them for normal use ...
>It really was loathe at first sight when I first learned about them.
	There was a problem with the way people latched on the them.
	I think the idea as presented in HW needed more explanation 
of how it could be regarded as optional, not just overall but also for specific scenes, and not just for GMs who might be running the game, but for authors to have more idea of what was appropriate.

        I liked the system originally, because I thought the idea was that weapon and armour edges were such that the GM should and could normally just wave their hands and assume that both sides have roughly equivalent weapons and armour, and thus ignore them. Then you had a mechanism to make it count for those situations where it mattered, which should be only those situations where it might make a narrative difference. It should really have been made clearer that the weapon and armour rules were designed as something to use if you felt it mattered, but ignore most of the time.

        Eg its a clan raid - everyone had 3 rank armour and weapons, so just ignore weapons and armour entirely. Occasional unusual characters have special armour and weapons, because its a minor cool character note that makes combat a little more interesting but doesn't give them a dramatic advantage.

        Eg2 the characters are surprised by heavily armed attackers while nude in the bath (though are able to grab weapons). This is a situation where the increased danger of the attack feels like an important part of the narrative, but you probably don't want to actually give the attackers a bonus as such because the PCs still have their weapons and skill. Use the edge rules because it makes the 'caught with pants down' aspect of the fight seem meaningful and different.

        Its not just the size of the edge that matters, either - if you want to make small edges matter in your game, just to rub in the fact that your opponents can afford better quality gear or whatever, that's purely a matter for your groups judgement as to whether the narrative value is worth the bother.

> > HeroQuest reserves
>> them for unusual situations, like a giant thumping you with a massive
>> club.
>Although it's OK that they're kept for special situations.
>I don't think I'd give an edge to an ordinary giant's club though,
>but keep them for particular forms of magic.

        They are the best game mechanic for representing situations where an attack is very damaging, but has no greatly increased chance to hit, such as clumsy giants. Sure, you can just abstract it away by saying all the AP damage represents situational change up till the last one etc, but that doesn't really have the same feel - its good to have some combats that have an individual flavour in the rules as well as the narrative.

        You do want a mechanism within the rules that makes a clear difference between a clumsy but dangerous weapon (ie a chainsaw), and one that is simply more accurate/generally better, and the converse situation of a heavily armoured but not very effective opponent. Edges do that really rather well. The problem is in the idea that they should be an element in virtually every combat - they should only be used in those situations where it helps the flavour of the combat. Rules in service of narrative.

        Augments are really a similar deal. Augments that are used every combat are just time delaying guff that makes the game take longer but makes it no more interesting. Augments that are used only occasionally, but do make a difference when they are used appropriately, are valuable to the game because they stop every combat from feeling the same.

        I think there was another error in the HW rules when it talked about how large edges should always be cancelled out. I think this missed the point of edges, and had two problems. For one, it meant that duelling with feather dusters in platemail and chainsaws in the nude was equally dangerous. For another, equivalent large edges might not affect the outcome of a contest, but they do affect how long it might take (given you can't bid less than 0) to finish the contest, which can be very important to the other participants in a group extended contest.


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