Monday, July 28, 2008

Analysis Mr Spock?

Well, with some (substantial) rework and coercing I now have what I consider to be a premium quality excel analysis of my combat system. It compares two equiped fighters and/or mystics (spell chanters, or clerics), and shows the average number of melees it would take, on average, for one to defeat the other. I'm using this to calibrate the variables that make up the Elthos Rules configuration. These include such things as 'Sheild Damage Absorption', 'Starting Life and Mystic Points Bonuses', and so on. Modifying these variables effects the total results of the system which I can now review with mathematical percision. Using this I have now been able to fine tune the system so that two average (requisites) 1st Level Fighters with Leather and Shield, using Medium sized weapons (normal swords), take approximately 6 melees on average to do each other in. The same two fighters at 2nd level take 8 melees, and so on. I can swap out weapons and armors and change requisites in the combat analyzer and see the effects across levels as well. My next goal is to automate the comparisons so that I can then compare two groups of opponents and get the average melees for one group to defeat the other. That should not take long to build. That piece, however, will be part of the Web Application and should prove useful to me as the GM when I want to build scenarios and ensure that the difficulty levels are not out of alignment with the skill level of the adventure groups entering the adventure. Yay!

This is now starting to get past the drudgery part, and into the FUN part! Superior! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Grand Analysis

I asked Evan Jones and David Kahn to conduct an analysis of the ODS system. They did so and provided me with materials that I am using to apply a thorough investigation of the ODS mathematical model.

Right now I am going over the materials to make sure that I have fully verified the accuracy of the formulas so that I can review the recommendations. It is a slow and difficult process, but well worth the effort.

My preliminary investigation appears to reveal that the ODS system is exactly what I expected, only moreso: Stark. Since the numbers are small (Attack Levels and Armor Classes for example being only 1 through 6) it is the case that the effect of small differences in the numbers produces large variations in the results.

For example, two average fighters who are one level apart show a significant difference in percent chance of success against one another. If the calculations are correct, which is still in question at the moment, then it appears that the 1st Level Fighter can expect to defeat the 2nd Level fighter in 24 Melees, while the second Level Fighter can expect to defeat the 1st Level Fighter in only 6 Melees. Thus, the chance of victory for the 2nd Level Fighter is significantly greater than the 1st. Is this difference adequate? Does it work so far as the game is concerned, from a playability perspective? This remains to be seen. I am running a wide variety of scenarios, comparing differences in levels, weapons, armor, flanking, classes and range attacks including magic and missile weapons. It's quite a lot of work, but I plan to automate the process so that once I have the root formulas it should not be too difficult after that. But of course deriving the formulas *is* the difficult part.

In any case I am quite pleased with the work and am continuing to make progress. However, in light of my findings I must reconsider the August deadline for the final first draft of the ODS Rules Book. Given the difficulties I've had in validating the formulas so far, I'm not sure that August 1st can be achieved. However, nevertheless I will try.