Earth Delta Design Diaries 6/10/2010 — Oy.
So I finally got one of my rules lawyers/minmaxing friends to look over Earth Delta in some detail, and, after a lot of discussion, a lot of things will be changing, which is why this is still an "Alpha" and not a "Beta". The general overall shape of the rules remains, but a lot of specifics are going to be redone. The heart of the beast, the mutations-as-magic-items system, is undergoing a fairly major shift. Namely, the enhancement bonus aspect of weapon, armor, and neck mutations is going to be split out from the Properties/Powers/Vestigial Effects of the mutation. Enhancement bonuses to mutations will now be part of "treasure parcels". The flavor text/justification for this is going to be fun, but not impossible, but the main mechanical reason is that a mutant with 5 personal mutations is basically guaranteed powerful "magic items" in many slots, along with his normal, level-by-level loot, which will be going, presumably, to the slots he doesn’t have filled. Most of the mutations "turn on" by level 2-4, so he will basically have a full set of "magic" (game mechanically, not flavor textually) gear before someone with only a few mutation slots.
I’ll also be revising some of the key attributes for most of the new classes, and redefining the powers. I like the logic of "Attribute A to hit, Attribute B for damage", but I’ve been well convinced of its non-viability for a lot of gameplay. It was also pointed out to me that the current design has a very heavy bias towards Strength, Dex, and Int based characters, leaving other stats as "vanity stats" which will have lower values overall — esp. Charisma, which can leave a party underpowered for non-combat/skill challenge encounters. Quite honestly, I’m having a hard time coming up with a viable Charisma-based class which fits the genre, doesn’t feel forced, and seems "plausible" to the same degree the Scavenger is. I’m looking at a heavily Charisma-based build for Warlords, instead of a full class. The new class structure is going to be:
Scavenger: Dexterity as the attack/damage attribute for single target powers, Intelligence as the attack/damage attribute for area powers, Wisdom as a likely secondary to reflect both perception and healing.
Savage: Constitution as the primary attack/damage attribute, Strength and Charisma as secondary attributes for various powers. This also helps insure a Savage will have higher hit points, since he’ll need them as a Defender.
Scholar: Wisdom as the primary attack/damage attribute, Charisma and Intelligence as secondaries.
The overall class design and most powers will remain the same (until they’re tested further), but the key inputs are changing.
This is going to be a busy Saturday.
On the other hand, it was a fairly straightforward process to roll up a Quickvine Plantman bow-using ranger with spider powers, and that’s what the game’s all about.