After The Storm:Development

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Originally posted on Development thread, post 123 page 13 by Potted Plant

One thing that hasn't been addressed is pacing. How often do people think they will be able to post? I will set the pace accordingly.

I expect that conversation scenes will be the ones that take longest. As for action scenes, my intention is to try to resolve them with as few posts as possible. (A dramatic, fast-paced action scene that lasts for several months can fall a bit flat...) Meaning that, unless someone objects, I won't resolve action scenes action by action. Instead, my plan is to ask for general strategy and possible contingency plans from each character and then try to run the scene with characters acting within those parameters.

Even with that system, I do not expect to be able to resolve all but the most straightforward scenes in one go, because the playing field may change mid-scene. So I will stop the action to ask for new strategy if a major develpoment occurs. Such as:

- A character or major NPC goes down or suffers a critical hit - One side or the other gets reinforcements - A character or bystanders get endangered in an unforeseen fashion - There is a drastic or opportunity-providing change in the environment (a fire starts, a structure collapses, or something similar) - Or anything else that I feel might cause a re-evaluation of plans

And since we are on the subject of action scenes, I will mention a few things that will come up during those.

All heroes (and villains) have a power score they use to power their abilities. Not every ability uses power. As a general rule, passive abilities like armor or superhuman strength do not, but active abilities like beam attacks or teleportation do.

Power has other uses though. It can be used to mitigate damage by "rolling with the damage" in which case power absorbs part of the damage. How much damage can be absorbed depends on how much power is left, the amount drops along with the power level. Rolling with damage does not take any actions, but the character needs to be aware of the attack. (Yes, this does make a sniper villain extra icky if you don't have Danger Sense.) You can also mitigate non-damaging attacks such as mental control, in which case the attack is easier to resist.

Power can also be used to "Push" physical actions and attacks that are not gear-related. So movement speed and carrying capacity can be pushed, so can damage from melee attacks and superpowers, but damage from a bullet cannot be pushed. Pushing needs to be done round-by-round so in an extended action it can drain power rapidly. If you run as fast as you can while carrying someone normally too heavy for you, you will swiftly end up exhausted.

Plenty of attacks cause Knockback. Meaning that if you take plenty of hit damage (damage absorbed by power does not count) you may be knocked to the ground or even sent flying and crash into things or other people. Knockback depends on mass. Bigger characters are harder to knock around.

There are a number of ways characters can get taken down in an action scene.

If a character suffers more than half of remaining hits in damage from a single attack or other damage source, they are down. Usually this means that they are unconscious, but depending on the situation they may also be conscious but in shock, or just plain too injured to do more than lie down and groan. In any case, they are unable to do more than mumble short sentences, at most. They are, however, in no danger of dying and will eventually recover on their own. Another character can also try to help them regain consciousness and ability to act.

Note that this makes the often-seen situation of knocking someone out with a surprise attack without causing serious damage easily achieved. A character cannot roll with an attack they are unaware of, so a surprise thump from the rear goes straight to hits, and assuming someone who knows what she is doing making the attack, an average person is easily in the "I just lost more than half of my hits" situation. Someone with Android's tenacity wouldn't be, however, even before armor is factored in, so it is not certain to work on everyone.

If a character drops to zero hits, they are incapacitated, which is more serious. Now I want to stress one thing: It is not easy to die in this system, but the threat is there always. A character is not dead until both hits and power is at zero. So a single attack is unlikely to kill anyone unless they were swaying dazedly in a "Finish him" posture when they got hit. But an incapacitated character loses one power per minute until medical attention is received. So depending on how much power they had expended before falling they may have anywhere from half an hour to a couple of minutes before they croak. Receiving more damage when already incapacitated is naturally a bad thing.

So when someone goes down it is not necessarily that serious a matter, but when someone is incapacitated, it should be taken seriously. Those characters will need help, preferably within minutes. My initial impression is that there is a nice balance with having an element of danger in action scenes while not risking a character dying from a single unfortunate roll.

Also, when superpowers get involved the situation may become drastically different. With the right abilities, someone might not lose power when incapacitated, meaning that they will eventually recover just like someone simply unconscious would. Someone else might suffer no ill effects from losing more than half of remaining hits. In a more drastic case, someone might not drop even at zero hits, meaning that you would need to either somehow restrain or kill such a person.

As for actions to take during combat, I think that the rules support tactical play rather nicely. Things that people might try seem quite well covered by the rules. Aiming for gear or specific body parts or weak spots in armor. Making a simultaneous attack to get past someone's defense. Grappling a guy and tossing him through a window. Fighting defensively. Intercepting attacks. All there.

Note that armor that is worn as gear can be bypassed but an armor that is actually part of someone (that is, superpower) cannot. So you can get past Gray Death's vest but not Android's armored structure. At best you can go for a headshot or something else that causes more damage if it gets past such an armor.

About posting frequence and advancement of the scene[edit]

Originally posted on the OOC thread, page 6 post 52 by Potted Plant

[cut] I do not generally get involved in character to character conversations as a GM, unless there is an NPC involved in the conversation. Or there is a potential action scene building up, such as the bad guys trying to spy on the conversation or something.

As for swifter posting speed, when it comes to action scenes I generally do not advance the scene until everyone has posted. But in conversation scenes, I do not see it as much of a problem if the conversation rolls on before everyone has posted. It happens in real life conversations too. A couple of people may have a swift back and forth before others join in again.

And then there are the practical matters. The computer time that people have available may fluctuate. People are in different time zones. And so on.

So in my opinion, if some people happen to be online at the same time and have a character conversation going on, They are free to have that conversation, even if it takes multiple posts before anyone else chimes in. But I think that it is fair that if other people get online later on and someone feels "darn, at that point my character would have said something" then they can retroactively post "at this point my character would have said this". If it would drastically change how the conversation went on, we can have a swift OOC talk about how the entire conversation went on, for example if some comments were actually made a bit earlier or later. And if necessary, have a wrap-up post of the conversation.

It was later concluded that people can just edit their previous post, if it would change dramatically bc some other character said something