On the plus side of driving for 4 days, me and my son talked a lot about games and I’ve got a list of things to implement for 4e.
One of those thoughts is a little incongruous for The Artifact as it is now. In 4e it might become more normal. In Technical Challenges you have Consequences, basically a story prompt that carries a mechanical effect in the game. Nothing weird, it’s just that regular combat doesn’t have that… yet.
We talked about how in combat and even in social conflict you could be put in a bad position. We called it “out of position” and talked about the various ways that it could cause a problem for you. At first it was something I thought about inflicting on someone else but it would be better if it was something a player elected to take. That made sense for combat. If you’re being fired on and you maneuver into a bad position to avoid it, you’re electing to not be shot.
My thought is that taking the Consequence gives a character a defense success for that turn. In return it usually limits your ability to act, so it would reduce the character’s actions by 1 for the next turn.
Next we talked about Kerdi. They’re a little odd in their stats. They’re overly powerful for infantry but are ineffective against E-Suits. I think we may have hit a good balance for them with some changes. I’ll implement these changes in the next PDF I put out of the game book. (3.2?)
One, they have too many hit points for their size, they’ll probably be reduced to 80HP. That puts them in range of infantry while still being really tough.
Two, their weapons are all wonky. It was an improvement in 3e to have their heavy cannons but not enough. They have lasers, let them use the lasers on infantry and completely convert their plasma into an anti-vehicle role. I’m thinking of giving them four shots at triple the damage of their current guns (90 at point blank). That should give them a chance to do some damage to armored targets. I think describing them as patient and only using the plasma cannons when they think they need to is enough to keep them from blasting PCs with 90 point plasma cannons, for a little while anyway.
I’m also thinking of setting a social contract in motion mechanically at character generation. I’m thinking of having the players pick a mode of play. The Artifact is a zero to hero game as it is but that isn’t for everyone and I’ve occasionally thought about starting characters off a little higher up for some fun. Now I’m thinking, why not give that option to the players instead of leaving it up to GM whim? The players could vote at character generation and pick a mode of play. The changes don’t have to be mechanically dramatic, a +10 to two attributes and a +1 rank would put the players into a role where they’re already competent. +20 and a +3 rank would give them a lot of extra muscle early on.