I’ve found a hypothetical solution to my current attack notation… stuff. I already figured out how ranges can be balanced and notated (touch, melee, close, reach, field), so I was left wanting for another way to define attack types, which I think I’ve worked out more or less to my satisfaction – weapon, wave, blast, burst, area.

The basic idea is that you start with more direct, focused attacks, and move outward to more indirect, larger-area attacks. As I was writing this I started to come up with alternate names for the targeting types, like “focus” for weapon (with weapon replacing focus while armed, et cetera, et cetera), with other elements changing as appropriate.

Never happy. *shakes head* Always changing my mind.

Anyway, this all effects the “power taxonomy” I’ve been developing – I’m thinking that Combat Powers start out as “Basic Moves,” notated as [Basic, Move], with several different types to be modified through various effects. “Attack” for example, begins as a Basic Move, and when it is referenced, it begins like as a [Basic, Attack].

Once you arm yourself with a weapon, it becomes a [Weapon, Attack], with the whole process hopefully being simple and straightforward and all that good stuff. The more fundamental the change, the higher up the taxonomy it appears. Gaining a feature that makes you a “weapon master” might effect your use of all weapons, for example.

It might seem kind of obvious… but that’s the point. In my experience there’s a significant disconnect between the names of features and powers, and their actual effect. Some of this is the fault of gaming parlance, but a lot of it is sloppy or just-plain-bad writing on the part of the designers/developers.

So yeah. Range and target. Most powers begin life as single-target effects, and I’m going to have to do some math to figure out what needs to happen for them to become multi-target effects. Using a grid limits the number of creatures that can be effected by a power at once – but there’s still a general figure based on that.

For instance, a “close burst 1” in Fourth Edition targets the eight squares adjacent to a player character. Generally, these powers are granted to characters who engage in close quarters combat, but they’ll rarely be surrounded by enemies. Three to five enemies is far more probable, and a better hard-and-fast figure.

An “area burst 1” effect, by comparison, targets nine squares. While it’s unlikely that a controller (who will usually have such an effect) will get a full nine foes, they’re likely to have more targets than the aforementioned “close burst 1” effect. Of course, I do have this other cool effect type I’ve been meaning to bring to bear in combat…

Push, pull, pass, slow, and stop. Oh yeah, it’s going to be awesome.

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