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View Full Version : Static Number vs xd6 -- Calling all Numeromancers!

2012-06-14, 01:11 PM
So, long story short, I'm working on a homebrew system and I need some help on balancing offensive rolls vs static defense numbers. The goal here is to keep the rolling done in combat to the minimum required, as well as keep the total number of stats for a unit down to a minimum. If my units seem oversimplified, that's why. :smallsmile:

I am looking to have, roughly, 8 different kinds of units, each unit representing a formation of combatants. Each of them will have a static number that is their Defense, and xd6, representing their offense.

The basic mechanic is, when they come into combat, each rolls their xd6 against the other's Defense stat. For each point they exceed the defense of the enemy, the enemy's offense decreases by one die. When that die reaches 0, the enemy is destroyed.

My question is, what do you esteemed ladies and gentlemen of the GitP forums think is the best balance of values for Defense and Offense? I'm open to all suggestions. :smallsmile:

Welknair
2012-06-14, 01:20 PM
Well, the average result of 1d6 is 3.5. So if you want an average unit to be rolling 4d6 with an 50/50 hit-chance, the average Defense ought to be 14. Extrapolation and comparisons are pretty easy from there.

Does decreasing Offense affect the Xd6? I have a bit of experience with wargame-systems, due to the 3.5e Mass Combat system I made (You can find it in my extended sig if you're interested) and that was a difficult issue.

2012-06-14, 01:38 PM

Secondly, yeah, you've hit exactly on what's made this complex for me. Conceptually, I want losing a combatant in the unit to reduce the unit's damage output, as you have fewer guns/swords/what have you attacking in a round.

Mechanically, it also allows me to combine damage output and HP into one stat for simplicity. But it does make it so that a unit damaged past a certain point will find it impossible to beat their enemy, and at that point, why even have HP instead of a one-hit kill system?

Possible solutions to this conundrum I've thought of include:

1) Just giving up and assigning a separate HP-like stat.

2) Reducing Defense instead Offense when damaged. (not sure how much I like this one conceptually)

3) Arbitrarily increasing the Defense and Offense numbers so that the "point of no return" takes much more damage to reach.

Welknair
2012-06-14, 01:56 PM
I had separate Health and Power (damage) stats for my units, but I also had "Checkpoints" at the fifth-marks. Once a unit was reduced to 4/5 Health, it'd start outputting 4/5 Power. Due to trying to model D&D, I also had rules for healing which comlicated things a bit.

Having the HP and Damage stats the same makes it very difficult to have units that are lightly armored heavy-hitters, or slow tanks that don't deal much damage. The two ought to be tied together, but not the same, IMO.

2012-06-14, 04:33 PM
Yeah, I can always go with HP in the end if this fails to work out, but this is just one component in a larger, more complex combat system, and I'm trying to keep the number overhead to a minimum during combat. :smallsmile:

One thing I'm experimenting with right now to keep the total results to a reasonable level is keeping all the Defense values in a 12-18 range, and doing something like 3d6+6, or 5d6 drop the lowest.

Do you think I can fudge around with the average results like this to keep number of hits and amount of damage/hit reasonable? Or is this actually any simpler than an HP system?

Thanks!

2012-06-15, 04:29 PM
I decided it was time to get more concrete about this, so I came up with some preliminary numbers. Two factions, four unit types each, with four important stats. Defense, dice rolled against other units, dice rolled against fortifications, and speed.

Please give me any feedback you may have. I am looking to tap the expert homebrew minds of this forum to help me get these 8 units balanced against each other.

Sorry if things are a bit vague in the name department, but it's nice to keep some mystery. :smallwink:

Defense: Static number, does not change.

Attack: This number is rolled against other units. For every point it exceeds the target's defense value, both of the target's attack values decrease by 1. Either they lose a bonus point, or they lose an entire die if no bonus is available.

Siege: This number is rolled when a unit closes on a fort and attacks it directly. No effect on unit combat, except that it may be decreased by taking damage.

Speed: How many hexes a unit can move per turn.

Unit X|
16|
3d6+4|
3d6|
5|

Unit Y|
14|
2d6+2|
5d6|
4|

Unit A|
18|
3d6+6|
1d6|
10|

Unit B|
17|
2d6+4|
6d6|
5|

Unit 1|
12|
3d6+4|
1d6|
6|

Unit 2|
10|
2d6+2|
5d6|
5|

Unit 3|
16|
3d6+6|
1d6|
8|

Unit 4|
18|
3d6+6|
2d6|
10|
[/table]

Veklim
2012-06-16, 10:25 AM
Firstly, this is a pretty good system for simplified/strategic combat, and I approve! :smallbiggrin:
I'll make suggestions now, all my numbers are largely arbitrary, since the system is still in infancy. Proper number-crunching is kinda pointless until a defined system is decided! :smallwink:

Welknair's model for incremental damage penalties is a really good, simple system to go with for damage/HP loss. I would like to ask though, why not have attack AND defence tied to 'HP' instead? If you go for a simple 4 tier health system you can have full health (no penalty), 3/4 health (-1 attack and defence), 1/2 health (-3 attack and defence) and 1/4 health (-5 attack and defence), just as an example.

If you were to calculate health as being defence value plus speed (again, just a thought) then you could use the difference between attack and defence as the damage value, which you subtract from the health. Derivative values are often useful if you're wanting a separate health entry.

Alternatively, you could simplify by giving a set number of wounds per unit (4 wounds allows for the above penalties by wounds instead of fractional values, or you could simply apply a -1 attack & defence per wound), and doing a straight up attack vs defence roll to try and inflict a wound. This would mean the number by which you beat the unit makes no difference, just so long as you beat it. A draw would indicate either no wounds or a wound to each side, depending on how long/involved you want to make the combat.

Also, random aside, perhaps you should label the 'attack vs unit' entry as simply 'attack', and the 'attack vs fortifications' as 'siege'. Helps to reduce word-clutter!

2012-06-16, 01:58 PM
Thanks very much for replying! I appreciate all the input I can get.

I would like to ask though, why not have attack AND defence tied to 'HP' instead? If you go for a simple 4 tier health system you can have full health (no penalty), 3/4 health (-1 attack and defence), 1/2 health (-3 attack and defence) and 1/4 health (-5 attack and defence), just as an example.

I thought about this, but there are a couple reasons why I decided against it. First, the fluff reason -- as more members of the unit die, it becomes harder and harder to score a hit against them because the density goes down. It also becomes easier to beat them as they can't help defend each other as well, though. Thus, Defense stays the same.

More practically, it is to avoid a mechanical "snowball" effect. If Defense decreases when damaged, then it is really easy for only the first round of combat to matter, where a unit takes larger and larger amounts of damage every time it gets hit. :smallsmile:

If you were to calculate health as being defence value plus speed (again, just a thought) then you could use the difference between attack and defence as the damage value, which you subtract from the health. Derivative values are often useful if you're wanting a separate health entry.

Hmm, it is an interesting idea to incorporate speed into the defense/health value, giving me a way to fluff certain units as fast and hard to hit but fragile, and others as lumbering tanks. I will think about that. The only thing that makes me hesitate is that one of my design goals is to keep things simple during combat, so I'd rather just have one number the players can consult rather than having to do math each time.

Alternatively, you could simplify by giving a set number of wounds per unit (4 wounds allows for the above penalties by wounds instead of fractional values, or you could simply apply a -1 attack & defence per wound), and doing a straight up attack vs defence roll to try and inflict a wound. This would mean the number by which you beat the unit makes no difference, just so long as you beat it. A draw would indicate either no wounds or a wound to each side, depending on how long/involved you want to make the combat.

This is a good idea if playtesting shows the units aren't survivable enough -- especially if they can't survive in close contact with a fortification long enough to actually do anything. :smallsmile:

Also, random aside, perhaps you should label the 'attack vs unit' entry as simply 'attack', and the 'attack vs fortifications' as 'siege'. Helps to reduce word-clutter!

Done, thanks :smallsmile:

Veklim
2012-06-16, 02:47 PM
I see your point with the snowball effect, trouble is a static value against a potentially decreasing variable value give problems. It may become wholly possible for 2 units to damage each other so much that neither unit would be able to hurt the other without unusually high rolls. If I may hazard a thought here...are you planning on giving defence bonuses for terrain, cover, etc? If so, the static vs variable dynamic could be levelled nicely with the application of strategy. Dunno enough about the system to comment though!

2012-06-16, 03:02 PM
Yeah, sorry I'm being a bit vague about the rest of the system, but I'm planning on balancing the units and then using their stats to set the values for the larger ones like fortifications.

Fortifications will use hex facings to decide which walls are damaged and which weapons can fire at which units, so facing will be a concept the players will already be familiar with. Maybe I can give these small units Attack bonuses for being behind or to the sides of their target? That might give a wounded unit a chance to attack a fresh one. Thoughts?

Veklim
2012-06-16, 03:36 PM
Flanking bonus essentially, makes sense. +1 from the sides, +2 from behind perhaps. Then perhaps you could make static defence bonuses like terrain advantage (height for instance) +1 and cover advantage +1, make them stackable but only on valid hex facings...?

Craft (Cheese)
2012-06-16, 09:45 PM
More practically, it is to avoid a mechanical "snowball" effect. If Defense decreases when damaged, then it is really easy for only the first round of combat to matter, where a unit takes larger and larger amounts of damage every time it gets hit. :smallsmile:

You already have that sort of snowball effect: Once a unit's offense goes down enough, they become irrelevant because they're very unlikely to hurt anything. It may be less realistic but there's a good design reason why so many games use the "only hit point that matters is the last" trope.