July 23, 2011

Vivid: Scale DHMTC

Dispensing with weapon damage ratings in Vivid has both given me a lot of freedom and at the same time removed an easy mechanic for scaling effects.  To compensate, and hopefully make a GM’s life easier, I’m introducing new scale mechanics, taking inspiration from WEG’s Star Wars RPG.

Save Costs
First off, the bedrock of the Vivid damage mechanic: the Save Cost. The default assumption is that every hit is a battle-ender – we don’t bother recording grazes and bruises.  You only survive to fight some more if you have an excuse to stay up.

The Save Cost is a narrative way of letting everyone else know why you’re still alive.  You can either pay the Save Cost by Soaking the damage – you tap Assets indicating strength, toughness, size, or having armor/a shield; or you can Save by Escaping the damage – you tap Assets indicating agility, perceptiveness (you saw the attack coming and reacted in time), or blind luck, in the form of your Fate Dice.

Scale Effects
Scale has a very simple effect: it restricts the manner in which you can Save yourself from a defeat. 

Thus the very simple Scaling rule: Creatures, characters and vehicles (etc. etc.) cannot Soak damage from attacks of greater Scale than themselves.  This means surviving a greater-scale attack requires Escaping it.

For example:

If a Star Destroyer fires its turbolasers at your puny little X-wing, there’s no way it’ll survive a direct hit.  But you can spend a die from your X-wing’s Maneuverability or Speed to have been somewhere else just when that turbolaser beam hit.

If a hungry T-rex chomps down on your character, he’s steak. Or maybe hamburger.  But you can spend a die from your Fate to say you fell into a hole at the last moment so those teeth closed on thin air.

You can quash a mouse underfoot – if it doesn’t get away.

I think this increases the verisimilitude – no longer will my mind boggle at the thought of me surviving the bite of a multi-ton carnivore – at the same time I’ll be challenged to narrate just what happened.  More cinematic, more fun.

The flip side of this is smaller scale vs. bigger scale.   A creature or machine cannot effectively hurt a target of greater Scale – unless it has a weapon that can do so, or scores a Crit.

For example:

A single mouse will only annoy you at most.  A swarm of mice, biting all over, is life-threatening.

A man firing an ordinary rifle at a dinosaur will not wound it badly enough to kill it – unless he hits a vital spot.

But the same man firing an elephant gun at a dinosaur will damage it normally – the elephant gun is considered a Monstrous scale weapon.

Scale Categories
I was originally going for a numerical scale, but a verbal one is just much more evocative and less crunchy-feeling.  It’s just me – I don’t like numbers too much.  Unless they happen to be sets of zeroes separated  by commas in my bank account … hah, I wish!

So here are the categories:

Diminutive a mouse
Human person, horse
Monstrous dinosaur, dragon, giant
Titanic a modern battleship
Colossal the Death Star

We can easily note what Scale creatures or items are by writing the first letter of the Scale category next to their Trait ratings.

For example, a Dragon 5M is a Monstrous creature – it can easily quash a Human scale creature, no Soak.


  1. Hi man. Interesting that you call it Star Wars D6. Did it not appear in the now-open license system D6 books from the last gasps of WEG?

    Also, have you seen the mini-6 ruleset?

  2. Well, I remembered that rule from Star Wars since that was my first encounter with it. :) Yup, I've seen Mini-6.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...