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Shadows of Malice» Forums » General

Subject: Design question: grey icons (especially CR modifiers) rss

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Jean-Yves Moyen
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So, we have white icons affecting self and grey icons affecting opponent. That's nice and a good iconography.

However, while trying the game, I started wondering how necessarily this is compared to only giving bouns/malus to self… I do understand the "storytelling" part of it (bleeding would increase the wounds I take, ie the wounds my opponent inflicts, not decrease my armour even if the effect is the same). I also understand the "cap" part of it (my armour cannot be decreased below 0 (the base value) while the damage inflicted by opponent can go as high as wanted, thus if we want a bleeding effect that always does something, we have to increase damage dealt by opponent, not to reduce self armour).

However, the white/grey distinction seemed particularly unnecessarily for CR modifiers (swords icons) as these rolls are not capped (unless there is a minimum CR, but I don't think so) and are purely competitive rolls between opponents. Thus, between "+1d* to self" and "-1d* to opponent", I see no difference in game effect. There is still a difference in storytelling, between "I'm a great sword master" and "I'm fighting cheap", but the effect is exactly the same (if my understanding of probabilities is correct).

I'm not speaking about the "+Xd* -Yd*" issue addressed in the FAQ. My point is more on the utility of giving -X to opponent CR instead of giving +X to self as these have the same effect.

Actually, I did transform all my -Xd* into +Xd* (to the other side) CR modifiers as it allowed me to roll a bunch of dice at once (1 big black for creature, several big white for avatars, and a bunch a small for d*) with all my white dice contributing to Avatars CR and all my black dices contributing to creature CR. Thus, all my d* were "+ to this colour (white/black)" and I did not have to remember which white d* are "+ to Avatar" and which are "- to creature".

I think this question is particularly present for the CR modifiers, not only because it is where it's the most symmetrical but also because it's a roll where both sides launch a bunch of dices with different meaning (main CR dice, bonus +d*/d2/d3, malus -d*/d2/d3) and diminishing the number of possible meaning for dice allows (imho) to speed up the process and make one big roll (we all love to throw buckets of dice…)

Hum, thus said, I wasn't in a situation where an Avatar has +d* to armour, -d* to opponent wounds and a creature has +d* to wounds, -d* to opponent armour which does require a bunch of different dice to roll them all at once because of the lower cap at 0 armour…
If I roll +0 to my armour and -1 to opponents wounds, and the creature roll -1 to my armour and +0 to its wounds, then I take 0 damage because the -1 to my armour is useless; OTOH if I roll +1 to my armour, -0 to opponent wounds, and the creature rolls +1 wounds, -0 armour, then I do take 2 damage reduced to 1 by the armour so that with same rolls (but not attributed to the same effect), the end result differs… And if I want to roll all these dice at once, I need 4 different kind of dices (luckily, this is provided in the game)… [and of course, I can use the interpretation that +d* and -d* cancel each other as stated in the FAQ but in this case that would give very different results because of the lower cap on armour]


So, to sum up the question, why phrasing some abilities as "grey -X CR" instead of "white +X CR"? What is the design choice behind this? How do you personally play a battle were "gray -Xd*" are involved? (which dice do you take and roll? in what order? how do you compute the final result?)
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Jim Felli
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The primary design motivations for the white/gray icons were asymmetric affects (e.g., immunities), storytelling (e.g., "I've been weakened" vs "my opponent got stronger"), and to have a flexible and consistent notation in place for future abilities and ability modifiers (e.g., vulnerabilities that affect gray icons, enhancements that affect white icons, immunities for creatures to use against avatars, etc.).

When rolling dice, I personally consider the situation and try to separate everything into "bonuses" and "penalties" and the use two colors of dice. In the cases where I want to track more effects, I use die size and color to define 4 different die types.

Does that help? Sorry for the terse answers, but I'm pressed for time at the moment...
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Jean-Yves Moyen
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Immunity is basically the rule point I have forgotten because it didn't occurred in my case which makes the difference completely necessarily. blush

Thanks to both of you.
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