Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Get over here!

In Mortal Kombat the character Scorpion had an iconic line - "Get over here!"  He would utter it as he fired some kind of harpoon at his enemy, pulling them in and stunning them so he could deliver a devastating uppercut.  Everyone loves that!  In Heroes By Trade I wanted to have something similar for melee types to use to grab pesky ranged folks and get them into punching range.

The two classes that had this kind of ability were the Champion, a tanky brawler focused on defence, and the Channeler, a martial artist archetype.  Both had the ability to grab enemies at range and pull them in, with the Champion's abilities being more themed around taunting people to get them in and the Channeler being more obviously magical and just yanking them through the air.  In any case they used the Pull mechanic where a distant enemy was moved adjacent to them to receive a beating.

Here is an example:

Master of Melee - 13

No one can get away from you as you drag them mercilessly back into your weapon’s reach.

Gain 6 Focus.  Pull 1 creature within 6 spaces of you without a Hit Roll then attack it.

This caused some problems.  In fights it felt fine and people had a grand time with it.  Fleeing enemies were yoinked back into bashing range and the feel seemed great.  Later on though the characters were on a ship when a sailor fell overboard and our Channeler wanted to yank them back onto the ship using his ability.  I wasn't sure what to say because whether or not this works depends greatly on what exactly is going on.  Is the pull in some kind of mind control where the target walks of their own accord?  If so, why does it work on slimes or undead?  Also it ignores the speed of the target, so mind control seems unlikely.  If it works based on pulling people through the air with mystical forces then it seems like it should be able to save an overboard sailor easily.  But then shouldn't the player be able to yank keys off of a keyring 10 meters away?  Yank the keystone out of the arch that towers overhead?  Could they grab onto an immobile object and pull themselves to the object instead?

Basically we all kinds of questions and no answers.  I don't want this ability to have such huge swaths of power outside of combat.  Giving one class insane climbing, levitating, and ranged grabbing power is quite beyond what I was aiming at.  Also it would make that ability absolutely mandatory for everyone because of the outrageous utility it brought, to say nothing of combat applications.

So I came up with a new wording that I think preserves the functionality I want without causing so many hassles with trying to figure out what it does.

Master of Melee - 13

No one can get away from you as you relentlessly drag them back into combat, exactly where you want them.

Gain 6 Focus.  Take a Move, then make an attack.  If you hit, Move back to where you were and Drag the enemy with you.

The idea now is that you rush up to the enemy, grab them, and haul them back.  This works a lot better because it is very similar in terms of what happens in combat but it is abundantly clear what powers the character possesses.  You are a big tough badass who can grab people and drag them around by the ear when you want.  Great!  Still fun, but now very clear in terms of applications outside of brawling.

This is partly an issue of trying to figure out what exactly physical based characters do with their powers.  When a wizard blasts people with ice it is straightforward to understand.  Fireballs have relatively comprehensible limitations.  However, when people are using martial arts magic that doesn't use forces we can understand it becomes a lot trickier to define the limits of their powers.  Movies have it much easier in this regard because they have no need to figure out what character's actual limits are - they can just have them do what the story calls for.  Movie characters aren't going to try to solve problems in ways that the writers aren't ready for!

No comments:

Post a Comment