Suggestions and Thoughts Edit
It took me a while to figure out what you were getting at, since you use vector a lot in here to refer to a couple of different things. It would help readability if you were the change one of your terms to not use it; I'd change the class name since vector is likely to show up in the ability description but it's up to you of course.
Mechanically it's interesting, and I like the premise. I don't think I've ever seen an attempt to turn the battlemat into a vector field. I'm not particularly fond of the height growth of the plate though, especially with the lack of other growth options, or with the 2-D direction / placement restrictions. Is there a reason why you're avoiding a 5' cube that points in any of the 26 adjacent cube directions (it would be pretty easy to write up costs and movement things for it, since there's only 3 distinct cases)? Or why you have to set the plate on the ground? Or why the only bonus volume your plate gets is vertical? I'm genuinely curious what the reasoning behind those decisions was because I think you're missing out on some really interesting options by not allowing people to put a cube up in the air somewhere, or allowing them to make a plate that tosses people 20' into the air, or allowing them to make a low wall of plates as an action instead of a tower. - TarkisFlux 05:15, December 24, 2009 (UTC)
- I had already thought of the first one, and in admitting that I agree that it makes sense. A brainstorm session will happen. Regarding the second there are a few other growth options not mentioned here (which reminds me I still haven't described the action required (RAW says assume standard, but still), but I'd be interested in hearing any ideas you have on how usage could be expanded. The two-dimensional thing was mainly because battle grids don't have a third dimension to account for flying or underwater spaces, and unless you can replicate that things get complicated as hell. Hell, even if you can. That said, I was eventually going to allow for vectors in three dimensions (in a very limited way), but I didn't want to offer them early for fear of abusing falling damage and worries about complicating the whole thing even more. I honestly don't feel it's too complicated as is, but I still would prefer to keep it as simple as possible within reason. Regarding the on the ground thing, again, three dimension was an issue. It was in part because monsters come with a space dimension, but no height dimension, and yet I had to acknowledge what would happen if creatures could fly or jump over them. As for why only straight up, movement along the battle grid (from square to square in two-dimensions, rather than up or down within a column) seemed much more valuable to me than the previously acknowledged counterpart. As far as making a wall, I do have provisions to set more than one plate at a time, so it can be done, I just want the costs to be appropriate for what they restrict. I was a little confused by some of your questions (probably on my end, is late here), so if I failed to answer anything or something sounds stupid, that's probably it.
- I also made some changes regarding creature size and breaking free to prevent permastuck situations after you posted, so I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on those. The size changes were suppose to be part balancing, part un-complicating (ignore plates), but I fear it may have done the opposite.
- The TL;DR version of the first giant paragraph is combat in anything other than two dimensions is like mind rape for many... hoping to avoid that if possible. -- Jota 08:42, December 24, 2009 (UTC)
- Sorry I wasn't as clear with some of my questions as I could have been. But armed with your answers, I'll give it another go -
- 2-D vs 3-D Vectors - You pretty much answered why you restricted optional movement to the 2-D plane, and the simplicity concern is certainly a fair one. I think you actually can write up mechanics that are easy to cost for every possible adjacent cube (up + direction is the same as a 2-D diagonal and costs 1 sq then 2 sq of move, up + diagonal is a 2 square move cost) and effects for the verticals are fairly easy as well. The downward angles are weird if you hit someone with it on the ground, and you'd have to make something up for that. But while I think they're straightforward enough on their own, they would probably be a lot to remember or look up in actual play.
- So while most of those could probably go, I think you should include a straight up or straight down. While shifting is going to be important, the option to move someone out of range or crash them into the ground is also going to be handy. Plus, a straight up option allows local tactical stuff like wall jumping and can be weaponized into enemy tossing (for falling damage) in ways that directional ones can't. Those options should also be fairly simple to add, and you can just declare that the downward has no effect on creatures on the ground if you want to avoid dealing with it.
- 2-D vs 3-D Placement - Same thing with simplicity again. While I'd love to place vector mines all over the sky, it could be a pain in the ass to track. It may be something you need to consider though, if you want the character to have access to their ability while flying themselves, while swimming, or to have the ability to selectively repel flyers without also repelling ground troops. I think the benefits outweigh the tracking stuff, especially since any campaign that is likely to care about them is going to be doing pretty strong flyer tracking to begin with.
- Extra Tile Placement - If there are already mechanics for this, cool. Just remember to cost them appropriately. The difference between a single plate with a strength of 4 to the left and 4 plates with a strength of 1 to the left, in a line to the left, isn't very much. Both will direct people to the same place, though the latter one will get a couple more spaces directed there. I honestly don't know what that's worth in action or points cost, but I hope you put some thought into it.
- Diagonal Costs - I realized I missed this one. Does it cost 2 points for each strength of a diagonal plate? 2 points for the first, 1 for the second, 2 points for the thirds (and so on)... similar to regular diagonal movement? 2 for the first and then 1 for any additional? Something else?
- Strength Cap - Why such a low cap on how strong they can make the plates? Are they going to have relatively few points with which to make these, so the cap isn't actually a big deal?
- Creature size and effectiveness - It's clear what you're going for, but I think you could make it even easier. Subtract the creature's grapple size modifier from the power of the vector (or add the creature's size AC modifier to it if you want a smaller difference among creatures because of your low strength cap) and that's how strong it is for them. So really big creatures need really big effects to even be moved a little bit, and small creatures get tossed around like ragdolls. It works off of existing numbers and I think better characterizes the magnitude of the plate.
- Hope that's clearer for the old ones, and helpful for the new ones. - TarkisFlux 17:53, December 24, 2009 (UTC)
- Sorry I wasn't as clear with some of my questions as I could have been. But armed with your answers, I'll give it another go -
- Alternate size and strength thoughts - instead of requiring stronger plates to move bigger things, you could also just require more of them. Large creatures have a 2x2 square footprint, and you could just require that it takes a 2x2 plate to shift them at all. Whether it just moves them 5' so they're only on a 2x1 or all the way off is an open question. If you wanted to add in a bit of granularity against big things, you could even make it so that any of their sized spaces that was half covered by plates pointing opposite their move direction counted as difficult terrain. It would mean that huge creatures treated any pockets of 4 or less plates as normal terrain and 5 or more plates as difficult terrain and were slowed down even if they weren't stopped or shifted, so plates could be effective even if you couldn't stop them entirely.
- Such a change also allows you to remove the ability to make stronger plates, instead you would just make more of them. Which would simplify the battlemat and your cost procedures a bit. Such a change makes vertical plates non-useful without the ability to stack them above or below one another, however, since a 5' vertical shift isn't particularly awesome. So if you wanted those in after all you'd need to shift to a 3D placement setup (which I still think is a good idea for this and other reasons).
- More stuff to think about anyway. - TarkisFlux 19:40, December 24, 2009 (UTC)
- Point by point:
- I think any vector coordinating the x, y, and z axes is probably just too much. Coordinating two of them is doable but can be complicated when movement is off the playing surface into the air or from the air into the playing surface. I understand that they are workable, but combat can be complicated enough as it is. There is bound to be a certain level of inherent complexity, but like I said, if I can mitigate it, I should like to.
- Straight up and straight down (tentatively Dragooned Dragoon, Forced Fall) are in plans, rest assured.
- Regarding flying creatures, given their relative freedom of movement, what if there was an option to check flying creatures (but treat the like ground-based creatures, so they simple cannot advance in particular direction)? Not quite the same as vector mining the sky, but still useful for controlling movement.
- This ties in with the last point, but I wanted to offer differing strength plates for the options they allowed (leaving paths open for movement, for example). So while it isn't that significant, there still is a noticeable difference between four plates of one to the left and one of four. And the options each allows, where either could be better depending on the situation, makes me think the costs could be equal.
- I wasn't aware regular diagonals did a 2, 1 alternating pattern. As is planned, it's just two for a diagonal. Do you think it's worth changing? It's not that complicated, but it doesn't strictly seem to have a whole lot of merit, either.
- Strength cap: The number of points was going to be low, nothing like a psion or even a PsyWar, for comparison's sake. My initial plan was X + 2Y + Z, where X is a constant, Y is class level, and Z is the vector's Dexterity modifier. It is up in the air, however.
- I really like the idea regarding size modifiers. I worry, however, that it will make really large creatures simply untouchable to the vector, though the tradeoff of owning smaller creatures could be worth it. Except that most stronger monsters are larger. Will have to meditate on this, as well as the idea of larger, collective plates. As mentioned before, however, I would like to have increased strength plates. Although if I had to chop them out of this one I suppose I can always work on another version.
- To elaborate on the upward and downward vectors, then intention there was mostly all-or-nothing in a single burst. Pile drive into the ground or fling into the sky as far as you want up. Doing something sustained would be interesting and, now that I think about it, most valuable, but I will have to figure out how it might work mechanically. It does seem worth including though. Maybe making it something akin to air walk (if sustained) would be a simplification but at least it gives a point of reference people might accept. -- Jota 19:25, December 27, 2009 (UTC)
I was reading this through, and an idea popped into my head that might make it easier to understand. In the ability description, you say "A creature who steps into a vector is moved to the edge of the vector in the direction it indicates plus one square for every increase in strength", and I was wondering why you simply don't say "A creature who steps into a vector is moved five feet in the direction it indicates, plus five feet for every point of strength the vector has". Having said that, I'm out, Merry Christmas Eve everybody! → Rith (talk) 20:48, December 24, 2009 (UTC)
- I originally didn't say that because of the provisions for creatures of sizes greater than Medium that would still be on the plate with your wording. With all the discussion that has gone on, I may change that, but it remains to be seen. -- Jota 19:25, December 27, 2009 (UTC)
- Ah, very good point, I didn't think about that. Well, perhaps you would add the clause of "If the creature's space is larger than 5 feet by 5 feet, then, instead of being moved by increments of 5 feet, they are instead moved by increments of however long the creature is on the side."
Alternative Names Edit
I like variance in place of vector plate. I also like dragoon for an alternative class name, although that's a little misleading given the image most have a dragoon and the use of the more obscure definition. Vanguard made some sense to me as well. Usher, although more mundane, could be spruced up with a qualifying adjective and made serviceable. Impetus, stimulus, blockade, interdict, impulse, occlude, shepherd, and shunt, were some other words I liked, which can be applied to either class abilities or the class itself. I have a whole big list, but it seemed superfluous to post the whole thing; these are those which stood out to me. -- Jota 19:36, December 27, 2009 (UTC)