A weird idea popped into my head, and I was forced to investigate. Pretty standard operating procedure, to be perfectly honest. This time, the question was whether Fourth Edition characters could keep up with damage output and hit points of monsters using my Static Damage Table. The answer is “mostly no.”

Here, we’re returning to the topic of a tabletop roguelike, using Fourth Edition as a basic engine, and building up from there. I think I’ll be using a lot of these ideas in the next playable build of my system. I checked the damage growth potential of strikers, defenders, and controllers, and the results weren’t encouraging.

Monsters using the Static Damage Table start at the same level as heroes, but pull ahead gradually. Soon, the only way for heroes to keep up is through the use of limited resources. This actually falls under the eighth “rule” of roguelike design from an article I previously referenced, “The Eight Rules of Roguelike Design.”

Now, I am thinking of incorporating different sorts of advantages and disadvantages into the tactical aspect, while also cutting down and streamlining combat. It should be entirely possible for a character to single-handedly defeat a higher-level opponent by having the right circumstances in her favor.

On the other hand, the reverse also stands. A character at a severe disadvantage may well be brought low by an opponent several levels his junior. Still, that’s intended to be part of the challenge, and is what I hope will replace dice-rolling mechanics. As for hit points, I might one day be able to slaughter that sacred cow. *shakes fist*

Back to damage and such. The article states that a good roguelike should make level advancement a losing battle — the enemies will always be stronger, and the player character must survive on a combination of luck and resourcefulness. I think I can get behind an idea like that. Maybe not before, but I think I’ve turned over a new leaf.

The player will always have the advantage of deciding to hit or stay. Only they have the opportunity to choose whether to take on the next challenge, or retire. They will never run out of opponents, and those opponents will only grow stronger with each obstacle overcome. It’s a never-ending struggle they will eventually lose.

And when they do, so much the glory. But until then, they have all the power. Even if technically they’re outmatched by the monsters. You know what I mean.