Thursday, April 23, 2015

IKRPG: Personal Piledrivers

In any gaming system, one is bound to experience a certain number of ruling mistakes. Even being an experienced Rules Minion, I still (on occasion) misread a rule, or house rule an established mechanic without realizing that the patches I'm placing on top of a RPG system may be covering perfectly tailored and tested mechanics.

I've decided to keep a running list of piledrivers I heap upon my games, in the hopes that anyone encountering them may not suffer through the utterly broken rolls that have occasionally plagued my games.

Combat Caster + Gunmage

Oh man is this a huge one. My good friend Scott created an Iosan Gunmage for his very first character, and let me tell you did it kick freaking ass. I mean, how could it not, combining Combat Casting with Rune Shot: Accuracy and Rune Shot: Brutal, where you're rolling four dice for attack and damage, and dropping the lowest die from each?

That just felt broken, and it wasn't until I actually read the Privateer Press forums that I realized it totally was. Combat Casting, in the way it's written, is only to be applied to magical attacks using one's ARC stat- meaning that Gun Mages, who cast the spells on their bullets and then attack using their firearms (and thus their POI and not their ARC), are unable to use Combat Casting for their rune shots. Scott didn't like me much after I revealed that little gem to him.

Sigh...being a Rules Minion was never an easy job.

Addendum 4/23: I've just realized that Combat caster only affects the Attack roll, not the damage roll. I'm sure all of my spellcasters in my game will be absolutely thrilled to hear this.

Quick Actions and Aiming

Onto one of my own personal piledrivers, this caused me no small consternation after I'd discovered that I'd been doing things incorrectly for multiple game sessions. It effectively dropped my RAT by two points for every round after that first round of combat, and even then I'd still lose the bonus if I had to, say, draw a weapon or send a Drive to a steamjack (something I never managed to do...sigh).

I still managed to turn a fair few enemies into mincemeat, but it just wasn't as super overpowered as it used to be. Ah well.

Heroic Dodge Before Calculating ARM

Oh man this was a HUGE one, but luckily it didn't last more than one or two sessions. You see, in IKRPG Core, the verbiage used for Heroic Dodge indicates that the 'feat point is spent after a damage roll is made,' but also states that a character suffers 'half the damage from an attack.'

What is confusing about this is that:

- Damage rolls, as defined by the IKRPG Core, are [dice roll] plus the POW (or P+S) of an attack, and the formula does not mention ARM.
- Damage, however, is the amount of hit point loss suffered after armor is applied to a Damage Roll.

Now, to a studious reader who is paying attention, obviously everything is perfectly spelled out.

1) Your character gets hit by an attack, the GM rolls for damage and gets a disconcertingly high number.
2) You declare that you are using Heroic Dodge and spend a feat point.
3) The GM calculates the damage he rolled and subtracts your character's ARM stat from the total damage roll. He then applies the effect of Heroic Dodge to the difference, halving the hit point damage your character suffers, rounding up.

What we were doing instead was halving the damage roll, so that when it came time to compare the roll to our ARM stats, we were suffering zero damage per hit.

The game got much more deadly all of a sudden.

Feat: Boost Untrained Skill

Well, here's one that I just this past week fully read the rules on and oh shit it is going to make a serious difference in how my players breeze through my games.

You see, in IKRPG, you generate skill bonuses from a combination of a base statistic and a skill rank. You also gain Feat Points at the start of every session and every time you do something cool (essentially), so they are a constantly renewing resource. One of the most common out-of-combat utilizations for Feat Points is to boost non-attack skill rolls.

My group has not only been boosting non-attack untrained skill rolls, but also non-attack STATISTIC rolls. Holy shit is that a no-no.

As stated by the rules, you cannot spend a feat point to boost skills in which you have no ranks. There is no verbiage to even indicate that spending feat points to boost Attribute rolls is even slightly viable.

Well folks, it was good while it lasted.

Back Strike = Free Strike?

Finally we get to a pretty embarrassing piledriver, and the last for this particular iteration of this post. Luckily we only did this for one session, and to be fair if we weren't I imagine our party would have been TPK'd by the warjacks our GM was sending at us, but yes, we managed to confuse back strikes with free strikes, therefore using positioning to gain unfair and unearned boosted damage rolls.

This was quickly remedied in future games and has not come up since.

Well, that's it for my current recollection of Iron Kingdoms RPG piledrivers. I'm sure I'll experience even more in the future, and hopefully be able to add more to this blog post sometime soon.


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