Thursday, 11 September 2014

PowerFrame Land Vehicle Test

After Monday night's wargame playtest, we also did a little playtesting of PowerFrame's Vehicle rules.

The guys had previously made up characters for a Final Fantasy inspired techno-fantasy setting, so we could include both magic and a variety of vehicles in the same game. In the first test session, Sasha, Dave, and Tony's characters had attempted to raid a newfound ruin to uncover lost treasures, but had barely survived an initial encounter with hostile goblins. They withdrew to civilisation, and returned (with Mickey replacing Dave) just in time to see another crew loading up their car with plundered loot and pulling away from the site.

They gave chase along an unsealed road and partially cross-country - despite the rough terrain, Mickey in his sportscar quickly caught up to the opposition and started taking pot-shots out the window. Tony in his 4WD was lagging a bit, but just managed to catch up at the end after Mickey nudged the opponent's car to a halt with a PIT manoeuvre. Sasha's van was never really in the chase, with a poor acceleration, but he managed to get it up to top speed. At the end, just for fun, he attempted to jump over a large offroad depression and failed the roll spectacularly, almost totalling the van and injuring himself.

The driving rules worked fairly smoothly, although I had to make a few spot rulings using my expansive system knowledge. At the moment the Vehicle rules are fairly sparse, because I don't have room in the book for a detailed treatment of each different vehicle type. However, after this test session, I have a better idea of what needs clarification, expansion, or reference to the relevant rules.

One thing that needs to be constantly checked during play is what the movement in hexes means in real-world terms. Travelling at 5 Hexes per Turn doesn't sound like much, but when 1 Hex per Turn is 30 km/h, that's actually 150 km/h (around 95 mph). So long as the players understand the speed conversion, they can develop an appreciation for the results of attempting too many manoeuvres at once. Ground vehicles get a penalty to manoeuvring when moving 90 km/h or faster, although I might need to increase the rate at which the penalty increases to avoid low-skill drivers routinely burning around at well over 100 km/h.

The current draft of the rules includes one free 60º change of direction each turn (or 90º if travelling at 2 Hexes or slower). This seemed to work pretty well, since it removes the need to make a roll every turn just for driving in a straight line or cornering slightly. However, I may have to put in a clause requiring a roll if both speed and conditions apply a penalty – for example, in off-road conditions, or when the road is wet or icy. Perhaps I could simply require a roll for [driving with one free corner] if the total penalties reduce the driver's Ability to 0 or less?

We still need to test out the rules for skates and bikes, boats, planes, and powered armour.