I’ve just churned out the first nonmagical combat type ability to hit the mud in a while (the last one was damage soaking, which has been around for one or two years).
The idea for the warcry command had been floating around in my little brain for a bit now, but when Snarky went and wrote a completely social version of the command before skipping town for the holiday, my hand was forced and I had to actually implement the thing 😉
The basic idea is that you can shout a warcry right before entering combat and generate a good bit of adrenaline for yourself. Sufficiently skilled fighting types will also be able to psych their enemies out.
The effects last just under a minute at maximum skill levels but the command is cheap to use and, in most cases, pays for itself within a few heartbeats of starting combat.
The skill used here is combat.tactics, and is set at maximum difficulty (cost) to advance. There will be numerous additional commands that use the tactics skill, but none of them will offer very many practices per use. Currently, one warcry results in 1 practice plus a bonus for each additional enemy affected. Two enemies earn 3 pracs, three enemies would earn 6 pracs, four would earn 10, etc… But the command stops practicing at level 25/100, so even if players manage to find a way to warcry against 20 bunnies at once, they’ll hit the cap fairly quickly and will not be able to abuse the system any more.
In an effort to make sure the ability wasn’t heinously unbalancing, I’ve done the math for a maximum effect warcry. This is with capped skill and a perfect roll.
700 readiness + 28/hb * 14 = 1092 total readiness
7 endurance/hb * 28 = 196 total endurance (-16 = 180)
17 hb of stun
-140 readiness/hb * 10 = 1400 total readiness
So… the buffing effects on the shouting player have a maximum of 28 hb of duration, with the haste effect wearing off long before the invigorate does.
The debuffing effects have a maximum potential duration of 27 hb and because of the way things work, they will start on the heartbeat after the battle begins (where the buffing effects happen on the first hb). So, both effect sets will potentially end at the same time.
In total, a disparity of 2492 points of readiness are created plus whatever happens over the 17 hb of stun. On average, combatants regenerate 200 points of readiness every heartbeat. So, an average 400 points per hb are generated over the duration of the stunning (total 6800).
This gives us a grand total of 9292 points of readiness, or just over 9 whole bars. Most melee actions cost less than a whole bar and most spells cost multiple bars. This makes the effect incredibly powerful for fighting types and useful – but not terribly useful for spellcasters (since they have potential for better results with their spells).
Either way, this means that the ability (when capped) could give a swashbuckling type player over 10 free hits on their enemy before any retaliation happens – and then we consider that getting hit also affects the victim’s readiness… it is possible to drive your enemy’s readiness so far negative that even given high health and armour, they still never get a chance to retaliate after how many times they’ve just been pummeled.
I like it, but that 16 end cost feels a bit low. I think we’ll have to at least triple the cost, just to make it non-trivial – a dwarf character with no skill and good stats has a little under 100 endurance to spend. The sort of character who is likely to have maxxed tactical skill is also likely to have maxxed endurance skill – and could have as many as 218 points to spend. 16 points that regen after 3 hb feels more than a bit pointless – esp when they’re about to earn 180 more.
So, the base cost will probably need to go from 2 end up to 20 points, I think. This makes it cost something for beginning users, but won’t result in paralysis from lost endurance. And the max cost will probably be going up to 50 points.
Otherwise, I think the total effects are good. Saving throws are currently still a work-in-progress, but nobody is going to get high tactics skill any time soon so I doubt that we have to worry about unresistable warcries very much.