Monday, June 15, 2009

Stand and Deliver!


One of the most intrinsic parts of many characters is how they make things go boom. Anime is nothing if not rife with powerful heroes wielding magnificent weaponry, displaying fantastic martial arts, or otherwise decimating the landscape. The original OVA represented this through three completely separate Abilities – Weapon, Martial Arts, and Power Move – and none of these are handled in the same way. Weapon applies the game's perks in a manner completely different from Power Move, and Martial Arts forbids them entirely. To make things worse, I still see people from time to time using Power Move in completely oddball fashions. OVA Revised fixes this pretty simply.

By getting rid of all of them.

Yes, you heard right. In their place is the new Attack Ability. Attack is delightfully simple. Give it a Level, add that level to your Damage, and you're done. You don't have to do anything further. In the game, you can describe this in any number of ways. Energy blasts, roundhouse kicks, thrown furniture, it doesn't really matter. Damage is always the same.

This works great for quickly created goons and other badguys, or with newbie players, but leaves a little to be desired for most of us. If you want more detail, the Perks and Flaws are still here, and this time around, they always work the same way. Define a suite of specifically defined attacks, and then add Perks and Flaws. Perks always add to the Endurance cost, and Flaws always reduce it. It's sort of like Power Move used to work, only now there's not that pesky minimum Endurance Cost or the confusing Damage progression table.

The sheer versatility this allows is extensive. Instead of simply giving a character Martial Arts, he can now have a plethora of moves that achieve different things. A character can have a saber, a chi-strike, and a fireball attack without having to go through the drudgery of buying three separate Abilities and learning three different ways to handle Perks and Flaws.

And that's the basics of it. Something I still wrestle with is the name, though. I just know people are going to try to add Attack to their Attack Roll, which should never be done. But yet, try as I might, no other word is as all-encompassing as "Attack." It works for everything from guns to rapiers to waves of fire. Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Shou here is all about attacking. He'll start a conflict for no reason other than it seemed like great fun at the time. And to him, it is.

24 comments:

  1. I really, really like this. I like that it's implicitly simpler but I also like that it will make integrating OVA into multiple genres simpler.

    As far as the name goes, I agree. "Attack" really gets the point across.

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  2. thankyouthankyouthankyou! I knew this was coming from the post on the forums, but you need to be thanked nonethless. I'll get around the name issue by starting to call them "to hit rolls." XD

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  3. Excellent! I say you call it Offence. Which would lend to an ability called Defense.

    Offence does damage. Defense stops damage.

    Or Offensive Ability, Defensive Ability?

    Damage Ability?

    p.s. You can't cut and paste, the spell checker doesn't work in the comment section, and you have no formatting options. Can you upgrade or open up the comment field so we aren't forced to post wacky old skool style? :-D

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  4. I think Attack works fine, though I'd be tempted to call it Power or Damage. Though I'd change Combat Skill to Accuracy or Accurate, that should make it more clear that is what is used for hitting not the Attack ability and also implies that it has use outside of combat (say placing a tennis serve or shooting a basketball).

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  5. Power, Technique, and most of the others mentioned here have already been considered. The problem is a weapon, like a revolver, is neither a Power nor a Technique, while it can very much be considered an Attack. Damage works, but it feels so very, very dry, and I try to avoid that when possible.

    Offense has a similar problem, not to mention its opposite is already used for Defensive SKILL and adds to Defense Rolls. The kind of defense that stops damage is currently referred to as Armor. I could rename Armor to Defense, perhaps, but I think that would just confuse old fans more than it would help.

    Trentin: Unfortunately, there's no option I can find to fix the copy/paste etc. ban. I find it completely vexing myself.

    J. Cayne: Accuracy, as you describe it, already exists. It's called Agile. ;)

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  6. Hmm, given the way it reads I read that as only affecting melee attacks (is it cumulative with Combat Skill since that is only mentioned as not stacking with Hobby btw) and not ranged attacks. The leap in logic is that not affecting ranged attacks, it doesn't affect thrown or ranged accuracy in general.

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  7. That was an unfortunate error in earlier versions of the book. The updated PDF has removed the "melee" comment. Agile adds to all attacks, ranged or melee.

    And yes, it's cumulative.

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  8. A question about Endurance costs. With Weapon I could create a laser beam that could hit multiple targets at a distance by creating Weapon +2 (Ranged, Multiple Targets, Free Hand). It would not cost any Endurance to use becuase it wasn't a Power Move. By the sound of it, this won't be possible anymore because it will cost Endurance to use unless I add more Flaws to get it down to 0 (I assume that is possible because you say there is no longer a minimum END cost.

    I'm not sure I like the sound of that. There are things I rather liked about how Weapon worked. Am I interpreting this incorrectly or am I seeing a house rule in my future?

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  9. Cool ideas, OVA the simple is just so much fun! However, I like having characters that grow with experience, and I am not sure about having just plain old attack cover everything from guns to swords to fire.

    The problem I see is this: A specialized sniper character that has an attack of 3 is pretty lethal with his trusty rifle. However, when he picks up a katana (a very different style of fighting) does he still get an attack of 3? If he does, it just seems to make it way to powerful. A character shouldn't have the same attack level with very different types of weapons.

    If you are going to make attack be general, I would probably make my players add specific disciplines to it like, Sword Attack, Rifle Attack, Fireball Attack. I like the way that is broken up, maybe it could be under the "making OVA grittier" side section.

    Also, you can use Technique instead of Attack if you specify, I think it still makes sense. Sword Technique, Revolver Technique, Fireball Technique, Hand to Hand Technique etc. Likewise "Attack" still works, but I think if you specify (making it grittier) then "Technique" works as well.

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  10. The Storyguide: You are correct. However, there are a lot of extra Flaws that make building "free" attacks easier. The "Weapon" Flaw, for instance. You instantly get an Endurance kickback if your attack requires a weapon to use. But yes, the higher levels of Weapon have been extremely nerfed, which is generally for the better. The idea of Armor-Piercing, Area Effect, Rapid Strikes attacks with no Endurance costs send shivers down my spine!

    Nick: The main reason for this is how anime tends to work. If you look at Spike Spiegel, he shoots a few times, gives a roundhouse kick, and then grabs a nearby object to beat his opponent up with. Traditionally, gamers would NEVER do this. They'd always default, rather blandly, to the highest damage attack: The gun. This encourages a little more descriptive freedom.

    But yes, there are character archetypes where this just is not appropriate. While not clarified in the above post, the actual rules state that you CANNOT create attacks on the go. If you make an Attack, and it requires a rifle, and you don't make other attacks, then when you lose that rifle, you're out of luck. You could also give your Attack Ability the "Focus: Gun" Weakness. Or if you simply want him to be a little weaker without it, the Suppressed Power Weakness.

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  11. Trentin: I've discovered that if you LOG IN before you post a comment, Spell check, Copy & Paste, and other such things are enabled. Amazing it took me this long to figure it out.

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  12. Sweet! Makes much more sense now, for some reason I was thinking of attack as something more like Combat Skill, instead of something more like power move. It works very well when you create your "Attacks" ahead of time similar to power move of the past, only simpler.

    Now, if a character has an attack of 3 without any perks or flaws, will they have a damage total of 3 each time they punch/shoot/kick? Or might it be a damage total of 4 (3 for attack and 1 base) each time they attack?

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  13. Perhaps the word Assault might work? I would like to see options so that you could use this ability to represent a "psychic assault" simular to what is seen in Bleach every time someone of lower Spiritual Power faces someone with higher Spiritual Power; most notably, when the head captain cows one of the underlings with just a glance.

    Why can't you make a basic attack on the fly? That seems to go against some of your other design elements, as well as to invalidate one of your examples (being able to pick up an improvised object or dropped weapon and make use of it.

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  14. Meh. The sorts of attacks you get shivers over strike me as par for the course in some mecha series, and hardly anyone ever runs out of ammo, so why the END loss. Looks like a house rule will be born. I WANT the flexibility to have no-END cost weapons with as much omph as it takes to emulate the genre I'm working in.

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  15. Nick: Your second example is the correct one. While I'd very much like to see Attack simply represent your Damage Multiplier, it doesn't really work out. Since I have to include the possibility of not having Attack at all, the DM has to start at 1 when no Attack Ability is present. Levels in Attack add to that. I AM including a new Attacks section on both the character sheet and the sample characters that clearly indicates the total Damage Multiplier for any given attack, though. Should help immensely.

    Malckuss: You have a point, but I wanted to prevent such Player shenanigans as "What? You say the robot guard has Armor? Well, it just so happens I have an armor piercing attack I hadn't mentioned before..." But maybe that should be left to Game Masters to discuss with their players, like much of the OVA game already does.

    Storyguide: As I said, there are several ways to get no Endurance weapons. If nothing else, getting Attack at +5 insures quite a punch from the get go. Flaws like Weapon or Decreased Damage (to go back down to +4) can free up even more points. That aside, you rarely see mecha series pull out their big guns repeatedly in a single fight. It's always a very played up cinematic attack, no? Seems to make sense the Player isn't encouraged to throw it out EVERY turn. But the easy solution is simply to give the Weapon Flaw a really high value, or, if you REALLY want it to work like before, a value dependent on the level of Attack. (ie. Attack +1 nets -5 Endurance, Attack +3 -15, etc.) Hmm...actually, that may not be a bad idea...

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  16. Hey, how's this? Call it Special Attack.

    THIS way it'll be different enough from the simple term 'Attack', and it still covers powers, techniques and weapons.

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  17. But yet...it doesn't really cover someone like, say, Daisuke, who has a bit of brawling experience and nothing beyond. Not really special! But thanks; was a good idea. :)

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  18. I'm confused. Daisuke wouldn't have a Special Attack. He'd just have a higher than normal attack rating, but that's it, right?

    Or does he have some special techniques?

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  19. That was sort of my point. He doesn't have any "special" techniques. But if the Attack Ability were named "Special Attack", that means Daisuke would have to take an Ability called "Special Attack" just to have a +1 Damage Multiplier Bonus. Which doesn't seem quite right.

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  20. What about Fighter, or even Warrior. Both are more descriptive than simply saying "Attack", which sounds like what you want with the abilities (i.e. names that are descriptions instead of actions). In particular, a fighter can be anyone from a soldier to a boxer; it's very open in terms of it's definition. There are psychic fighters, fist fighters, martial arts fighters, gun fighters, etc. The player would define the type of fighter they are and place it next to the Fighter Ability (and the suite of powers they create) in parentheses. For Example, Spike Spiegel would be a Fighter (Scrapper)defined by his ability to improvise in battle, and shown by his range of attacks.

    Meanwhile, a Warrior is definitively trained in combatant, and could be used as a separate Ability (Possibly replacing Combat Skill).

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  21. And to add to my previously posted thoughts, the manual could list common types of anime fighters in an "Extra Notes" Sidebar; There's the Fighter (Magical Girl), the Fighter (Ninja), and even the Fighter (Prophesied One).

    This same sidebar could mention that the Combat Skill (Or as I mentioned, Warrior) can embody further "training" in the same area as the fighter ability.

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  22. Why do people feel compelled to suggest alternate names, when Attack is perfect?

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