15 Jan Fading Suns Designer Diary — January 2018
Welcome once again and happy new year! I think 5018 is going to be much better than 5017, with all its mournful losses. Please extend best wishes to Emperor Alexius and his fiancé, Freya Eldridsdottir, on their pending nuptials. If this is news to you, you might want to go back and check out last month’s diary and Town Criers Guild report (here: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/229364/).
Instead of fresh news and gossip from the Known Worlds, this month I thought we’d go a little deeper into the rules mechanics, following upon last month’s discussion of Victory Point Tokens.
The Victory Point Vault
Characters not only have banks where they keep the victory points (VP) that they gain from successful rolls, they also have vaults.
Vaults are where characters store VP between the encounters in which they gain and spend them. At the end of each span, all banks are emptied; VP go back into the well — except for those that are transferred to the character’s vaults. Vaults have limits. As characters rise in experience, their vaults gain more capacity, but there’s always an upper limit. It will often be the case that not all VP put into a bank during a span can be saved.
VP in the vault aren’t represented by tokens; they’re instead recorded on the character sheet. Like other fluctuating traits, such as Vitality, players will alter the vault total whenever they add VP to or transfer VP from the vault.
Also, not all VP are created equal: some are temporary. These must be spent in the round in which they are gained. At the end of the round, any unspent temporary VP go into the well — temporary VP can’t be vaulted. A critical hit’s bonus VP are temporary; they must be spent before the character’s next turn comes around.
At the beginning of any new span, the characters’ banks are empty. They must gain VP from the rolls they haven’t made yet or transfer them from their vaults into their banks — with one exception. Once gameplay goes “live”, such as in combat, the first thing a player does is to take a number of VP from the well equal to their Surge trait and place them in their bank. This “adrenaline surge” can help get them through the initial vital seconds of the encounter.
The Surge trait, like the vault, is based on the character’s experience. We’ll discuss such matters of character advancement in later diaries.
Not all situations and opponents are equal. In many cases, even when you succeed in a roll and gain victory points, you must still spend a benchmark number of VP before you can actually affect your target. This number is called Resistance.
When a character vies against an opponent, his target’s Resistance is generally based on the type of armor they’re wearing and/or relevant environmental factors, such as hiding behind cover, as well as any VP they spend to boost their Resistance.
An action needs to hit and overcome Resistance before it can have any impact. A hit that does not exceed the Resistance is a glancing blow, a near miss, a close call.
Impact — damage — only happens when VP exceed Resistance. Weapons greatly enhance impact, but only do so once an attack has overcome defenses. A blaster’s devastating plasma doesn’t come into play to burn a foe if the shooter didn’t connect well enough — that is, if his VP don’t exceed Resistance.
So, there are three stages to consider:
- Goal roll
- VP vs Resistance
- Impact (which includes damage, but could also be other effects)
Luckily, players don’t have to rely simply on the immediate VP they roll for their actions. They can spend banked VP.
You can do various things with VP. Some of the things (but not all) include:
- Spend 1 VP to overcome 1 rank of your target’s Resistance
- Spend 1 VP to boost your Resistance by 1 (this applies against a single attack)
- Spend 2 VP to inflict 1 impact/damage point (must first overcome Resistance)
When you spend VP, you take it from your bank and put it into the well.
Other things you can spend VP on involve nudging dice rolls in your favor and other means of better ensuring that a roll succeeds. We’ll discuss those permutations later, as well as the complications of one side spending VP to overcome Resistance while the other side spends to boost it. Eventually, somebody’s got to win. But who?
(You might remember earlier when we mentioned temporary VP and how they must be spent before a character’s turn comes around again rather than simply on the turn in which they are gained. This is because, between one turn and the next, the player might want to spend some of those temporary VPs to boost Resistance against attacks. A critical hit doesn’t always mean a megaton of damage; it could also translate into amazing evasiveness against blaster fire.)
Still More to Come…
That’s enough of an info dump for one diary. Stay tuned for more reveals in the coming months. Thanks for reading!
— Bill Bridges, Product Line Manager