Thursday, 1 September 2011

Adeptus Titanicus: Back to the Drawing Board

Since I've moved across the country, started a new job, and finally made it in to the local GW, I figured I'd pick up working on Adeptus Titanicus again. Playing with spreadsheets lately and I've noticed several things about my plan to have successive turns of waiting increase the number of D6s rolled for success. Firstly, it doesn't take too many dice to turn a chance into something virtually assured.

I say "virtually" because I've managed to roll 8D6 and have them all turn up 1s. As Terry Pratchet might remark, in fantasy worlds million-to-one changes turn up 9/10. Basically while not really a bad thing, I would like to have players think strategically and in reading people's comments about Warhammer 40,000 on the 'net I think that the strategy needs to be much more transparent, and not obscured so much by lots of dice rolling.

On the other hand, I think there's something to be said for making people think about the dice and how the dice interact. So I think, tentatively, that I'm not just going to re-write the Silhouette core dice mechanic. For those of you poor ignorant sods that don't play DP9's suite of magnificant Silhouette-based games, basically what happens is that players either have to meet a threshold (like 2+) on xD6, with x = the appropriate skill, or an opposed skill roll. Once x = 2+, then you get to choose the highest to determine the Margin of Success (MoS) which in turn determines the success of the action. Once you've picked the dice you get to add bonuses, including a +1 for additional 6s, and 1s don't get modified. Which means that higher skill levels have a marginally increasing reliability and success in executing certain actions. The chance of a regular skilled pilot (2D6) of rolling a 7, for example, isn't much less than that of a veteran skilled pilot (3D6), but significantly more reliable at rolling higher numbers.

So here's some thoughts:

Roll +1D6 when:

1. For each additional turn that a target has been 'locked'
2. For each additional turn that the Titan moves in the same direction
3. For each additional crew member enabling an action

Titan actions:

1. Firing a weapon
2. Locking onto the enemy
3. Repairing a system (Reload/Raise Shields/Do something to the reactor?)

Titan Descriptions:

4+ Servitors

Reactor: [power generation][power cost]
Drive-Train: [length multiplier][turning degrees per distance][traction][power cost]
Shields: [strength][coherence][power cost]
Target Profile: [base to hit][armour saving throw]
Weapons: [range][strength][armour piercing][type][power cost]
Auspex: [range][sensitivity]

Hmm, actual turn sequence-wise, I think it would be best to go with a kind of 'chit-screen' kind of think where the players arrange chits on a table behind a screen and then reveal them to their opponent, like in the old Epic Space Marine. Not Charge/Advance/Fire Fire, but moreso a set of actions that they can assign to their crew. An index of Titan actions would then determine the next game-state.

Basically each Titan would have a set of actions, with crew allocate-able to either perform or assist actions. These actions would therefore be modified by the previous game states and the number/type of crew assisting. Opposed actions, like getting a lock on another Titan or shooting, would involve an index like S v T or WS v WS in Warhammer. Stuff like movement or walking would be determined by a threshold. Something like the Difficult Terrain tests would be used for movement, with multiple turns in a straight line increasing the reliability of going the full distance each turn. That's where stride length would be important, as it would determine where and when a Titan could turn, with traction functioning as the threshold for executing a turn.

I haven't really figured out where the Auspex comes in, but it definitely has to do with shooting. My theory would be that there's basically two sorts of shooting: bombardment and targeted shooting. Bombardment would be choosing a point on the board and shooting at that, targeted shooting would involve getting a target lock on an enemy Titan. The difference would essentially be that it would be more difficult to get a target lock (though increasing with ongoing time/attempts), but the results of getting a target lock would be much more potent. I figure it'll be something to do with the target's basic target profile, its movement, its shields, and reactor output.

Resolving actions would involve a neat mechanic that I first used in Toe-to-TOW whereby the Titan's intended end-states are used to determine when and where events occur. Basically this would reduce the turn sequence to:

Turn Sequence
1. Strategy Phase (players allocate crew to actions)
2. Integration Phase (players determine how actions apply to board and integrate with opposing actions)
3. Resolution Phase (the players resolve actions, moving stuff and rolling dice)

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