I’ve been working with the various battle formulae in RPG Maker VX for about a month now, trying to make the most sense of the equipment and statistics as possible so that any script modification can be kept to a minimum. I’m aware that there are major battle script overhauls available, but I kind of want to use what’s already there.

Also, I’m trying to make sure everything scales properly over sixty levels.

The first formula to understand from RPG Maker VX is how damage is calculated, which is four times the attacker’s offense minus two times the defender’s armor. If we’re assuming that attack and defense are about on par across the levels, then an easy way to think of it is, “damage is equal to your attack doubled.”

I’ll be sticking to the idea of attack and defense being about equal, so if you aren’t using that, the rest of what I have to say probably won’t help you much.

Based on the idea that damage is attack doubled, I calculated the expected damage output of a character at each level and made a great big table for levels one through sixty. Based on the concept of “encounter equivalence,” special attacks deal approximately two times the damage of a normal attack of equivalent level.

The next formula that’s important to know is how turn order is determined. The engine adds a random number between zero and five to the character’s agility, then divides is by four and adds it back into the character’s agility. This means the character with the highest agility pretty much always goes first, with little variation.

The only time the random element means anything is when several characters have about the same agility, within a few points either way, but it takes about four to five points of agility to really make a noticeable difference in turn order.

Once I got through with damage and the turn order, the only thing left was to decide how much weapons and armor effect the different values available to the player characters. Enemies don’t use weapons and armor, so they have a basic value that simply increases with level, while PCs remain at a numerical disadvantage.

I want to keep things as simple and easy-to-balance as possible, so I decided on four pieces of equipment – one weapon, and three pieces of armor. Weapons add to attack and agility, while armor adds to defense. I’m using the off-hand armor slot for a dagger or a shield, which enhance attack or defense, respectively.

The final piece of equipment is for the upper body, and modifies agility. There are basically two grades of each weapon or armor – the “light” version, which trades a little of its overall effectiveness for a small statistical chance to evasion, and the “heavy” version, which just does what it’s supposed to do.

The light versions of the weapons and armor are intended for the players who are really into the “risk” element of combat, where lucky attacks and dodges can mean the difference between success and failure, while the heavy version are intended for players who want more reliable effects.