Saturday, October 25, 2008

Me Fix Og

Me play Og. Me like Og. Og fun. ...but it's not quite perfect. Of the 7 classes, 2 or 3 seem underpowered.
  • Problem: Banging Caveman's power is inferior. There's two cavemen who are designed to be more effective in combat: Banging and Strong. Out of every 6 attacks, Banging caveman averages 3 damage, Strong averages 4 (1 more). Against a critter with Evade or Armor 1, their damage is 2 from both of them. Against a critter with Evade 2, Banging caveman finally comes out ahead. But even then he's then only averaging 1 damage every 6 attacks. At best that makes for a really long boring battle (he'll forget how to attack once or twice before the fight is over), but it's more likely to result in Banging Caveman becoming Dead Caveman since dinosaurs and megafauna will do 4 to 20 times as much damage. Worse yet, anyone who takes the Throwing ability outperforms Banging Caveman.

    Solution: Improve Banging Caveman's attack rating to 3+ (the same value for hitting that one gets if they take the Throwing ability). He'll outperform Strong Caveman most of the time, but it's balanced a little by Strong Caveman's bonus to Lift rolls. Strong Caveman can also take the Throwing skill to do 2 damage at a range, making him again better than Banging caveman, but only if he devotes an ability choice to it. Banging caveman's real advantage then is he gets the good attack without spending a skill choice to do it. It's not a great advantage, nor terribly well balanced, but it's better than it was.

  • Problem: Grunting Caveman's power almost never works. Obviously, that's intentional - he's not a wizard, he's a proto-shaman. However, it's also "balanced" by the power only being attemptable once per scene. Scenes in Og aren't clearly defined - the PCs wander about largely randomly, and the GM improvises wildly. As a result, Grunting Caveman could fail the roll early in the game, and think he's not elidgible to Grunt again the rest of the night.

    Solution: Treat the roll for Grunting more like it's an unskilled action, but allow only two successful uses per session. That is, roll a d6 when you Grunt. On a 1 you get a disasterous result (ala double 1's in the default rules) or forget how, GM's choice. On a 2 through 4 the Grunt does nothing, but you can try again next turn. On a 5 or 6, the Grunting is a success and it saves your bacon. You can keep trying as often as you want, subject to the normal forgetting how rules, until you've had two successes. This makes it more readily usable, but still far from a sure thing, and a series of bad die rolls can leave you uselessly accomplishing nothing for 5 or 6 turns in a row.

  • Problem: Eloquent Caveman's bonus is kinda small, if you're using random word assignment (which is my preferred method - I have the PCs draw words out of a hat).

    Solution: Next time someone makes an Eloquent Caveman, I'll have them pull half their words out of the hat, and then decide on the other half.

    Alternate Solution: For an on-going campaign, this problem could be solved by just working into the plot a semi-friendly tribe that the Eloquent Caveman can trade words with. This is the intended balancing feature in the game, but considering the plot tends to be pretty random (and player-driven, or more likely feigned-stupidity-driven), it's hard to force it to happen in the game. A semi-friendly tribe becomes an enemy tribe with one bad roll or goofy moment. Still, if you plan for it, you can make Eloquent Caveman's advantages pay off.

Those solutions should get all the PC classes back into rough parity.

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