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Creature Power Estimator
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JimmySwill
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Joined: 02 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Creature Power Estimator Reply with quote

A few days ago Hybban asked if there was some way to gauge the power of creatures in Wayfarers. Admittedly, this is something that I wish we had included in the book.

I'm currently working on a system that will enable us to create a 'Power Score' for each of the Wayfarer's creatures.

In order to maintain some consistency, I've been working on an algorithm that takes a few statistics from the creature and generates a reasonable Power Score. I've created a Spreadsheet with a list of the first 40 or so creatures from the rulebook. If you click on a score, you'll see the algorithm is a quite bit involved. Trust me, it looks much worse than it is. If you want the logic behind it, I'd be glad to share.

As is, the system asymptotically tops off at 50, however any creature over 30 is ridiculously tough. Initially PS's had no limit. However, I think it's easier to get a 'feel' for a system with some bounds. Also, when creatures start getting very powerful, the differences between them become less significant and harder to define. An asymptotic power function addresses this.

IMO, the biggest problem with this system is that it requires a spreadsheet. However, after playing with it a bit, I came to the conclusion that there is no simple way to get a reliable estimate of creature power. If we go with this model, I'll make a supplemental list giving the Power Scores of every creature in the game. I'll also create a webpage form where people can calculate the Power Scores of their home-brewed creatures.

On Sheet 2 of the spreadsheet, you'll see I started on a Power Score estimator for PCs and NPCs.

Throw some numbers/creatures in and tell me what you think. BTW, this is untested at the moment. When I get some time this weekend, I'll run some simulations.
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Hybban
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll take a look at this. I really want to see if there is way to find a rationale for the numbers. Like aby looking at all PL10 monsters, I can evaluate how many points I can distribute between Dodge, Armor, To-Hit, etc.

This way, you could have guidelines for creature creation. I suppose that your spreadsheet is a good start for that. It's just a matter of resolving the equation... Razz

Hyb'
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JimmySwill
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I have to admit that equation is pretty ridiculous. I'm already working on simplifying it. I'll repost an update a bit later.
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Hybban
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically, a PL 1 monster should be equivalent to a SL 1 PC. For example, goblins are good example of PL 1, as should be skeletons. Dogs should be PL 0, alongside peons Smile

Begining the scale at PL 9 (goblin), seems strange to me.

If I take a look at your NPC creation, there should be an easy way to determine basic stats for a PL 1 monster, and cost in SP to increase each parameter (like 5 SP per additional dodge, 2 SP for a +1 to-hit, 3 SP for an additional attack, etc.). Every 20 SP giving another PL. Those numbers are not good of course, it's just to give an idea of the way to create a monster with a good PL in concordance with SL.

I'm sorry, I'm an engineer, I like to have rational thoughts Smile

Hyb'
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JimmySwill
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with your premise, Hybban, and I'll see what I can do.

Sorry, I was trained a physicist. We like guesstimate everything. People are water cylinders and such.
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Hybban
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JimmySwill wrote:
I agree with your premise, Hybban, and I'll see what I can do.

Sorry, I was trained a physicist. We like guesstimate everything. People are water cylinders and such.

Pardon me, but sometimes, I can be a beer cylinder too Smile
I'll also try to get a look at that this week end and let you know what I think about it on Monday!

Hyb'
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JimmySwill
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've played with this some more. Here's some thoughts:

1. I think the average Skill Level 1 character might need a Power Score of about 5. There's a small range of less powerful creatures (brownies, pixies, domovoi, imps, dogs) and making them all PS 0 seems to obscure some variation. I agree it would be nice to equate creatures to a PC Skill Level. -I'm still undecided on this. Also, I think different PCs of the same Skill Level could have different Power Scores. However, I'm not sure if it's worth while getting into PC Power Scores beyond their Skill Level.

2. I favor a numerical cap on Power Scores. After creatures/PCs become very powerful, the predictive power of Power Scores seems to diminish. For this reason, I think there should be an asymptotic limit. I'm currently using 1-50.

3. The easier Power Scores are to compute, the better. Of course, there needs to be a balance between simplicity and over-simplification. Right now, I have been using the following 5 stats for creatures: Dodge, Health Points, Maximum Damage per Round, Special Abilities (None, Low, Med., High), and Maximum Armor Absorption.

As Hybban suggested, the trick is in weighting of stats. For example, the difference between a 10 or 20 dodge is much greater than the difference between 10 and 20 Health Points. Similarly, having an armor absorption of 1d4 matters less for a 10 HP creature than it does for a 50 HP creature. For this reason, my equation always gets complex pretty fast. I'm still working on constructing a more elegant system. I'll post a new spreadsheet later today.

I'd be interested if anyone else has any thoughts, or if you have come across something that works, Hybban.
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Hybban
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically, I'm thinking like you Smile
I'm at work right now, because my printer is broken Smile
I've printed many character sheets and I'm going to create some characters that are same skill level, and try to find monsters that are supposed to be of the 'same power level'. Then I'll try to estimate how it could be 'measured'.

And one think, the way you compute PL should be the same for PC and monsters. You should be able to use the same parameters.

And when you say that PL should not be equivalent to SL, I completely concur. Somebody that uses his proficiemcy points for his disciplines, will be probably less efficient in fights, but more in other circumstances. I was wrong on that one.

Then if you think on how dodge is computed (in relation to the cost of the Agility score), on how much it costs to raise the resistances, or weapon masteries (that give bonuses to hit and to dammage), it shouldn't be difficult to estimate roughly the cost in SP to create this 'NPC'.

20 SP could still make about one PL (when you see that PC have to spend 35+45+20 points for their characters...) which explains that begining characters should be at PL 5.

Here are my thoughts. Time for me to get lunch, beers and be ready to watch some basket though...

Hyb'
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JimmySwill
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another try at it. I'm much more pleased with this one, and the equation is much simpler.

Here's the basis:

[(Dodge x 1.8 ) + (Health Points x (1 + 0.05 x Max Armor Absorption)) + (Max. Damage) + (Special Abilities: None= 0, Low = 6, Med. = 12, High = 18 )]/10

Here's some examples:

Banshee = 7
Gremlin = 3
Human = 4
Titan = 16
Demon, Ba'al = 20

It took some tweaking to get the weighting to make sense, but so far each creature's Power Score seems pretty reasonable.

Now I don't think a limit is needed. The very powerful creatures tend to end up in the same place regardless. So far the highest score was a Dragon (Smok or Wyrm) with a PS of 26.

Thoughts?
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greyfaced
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe max damage should be average damage instead, an include multiple attacks. Something like the average amount of damage it would do to someone with a 10 dodge.
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JimmySwill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

greyfaced wrote:
maybe max damage should be average damage instead, an include multiple attacks. Something like the average amount of damage it would do to someone with a 10 dodge.

I originally was going to do average damage, but it is roughly half of max damage, and max damage is easier to compute. I also considered number of attacks but came to the same conclusion. -It simply multiplies the damage by the number of attacks, which leads you to the same place as max damage.

However, I do see that you are saying something a bit different. 3d6 is not the same as 3 x 1d6. However, if you consider that 3d6 will hit less often but do more damage, whereas 3 x 1d6 will hit more but do less damage, it comes close to averaging out. -Enough for me to go with the quick Max Damage calculation, anyhow.
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greyfaced
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough, I just would mention that what I talked about also included the idea of attack bonus.

What you have seems to work well enough. Plus it's always about the dice anyways; creature challenge ratings can't always predict the outcome, and that's a good thing. I guess.
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JimmySwill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

greyfaced wrote:
Fair enough, I just would mention that what I talked about also included the idea of attack bonus.

That's a good point. It would make a good deal of sense to put attack bonuses in, modifying the Max. Damage component akin to the way Armor modifies the Health Point component. I'll try it and see if the results are substantially different and worth the added stat.

Quote:
Plus it's always about the dice anyways; creature challenge ratings can't always predict the outcome, and that's a good thing. I guess.

True enough.
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Hybban
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One last thing that I would add in the equation are the physical and mental resistance. They often have a strong impact on magic and this is what magic-users will be using.

You could add to-hit, PR and MR and divide by 5, which would probably give 1 for an average starting character (or 10 if you think that the impact shoudn't be too important). That would give a +5 (or +3) to the Titan, a +8 (or +4) to the Demon, +2 (or +1) to the Banshee and nothing to the Human and Gremlin.

So it would just spread the range a little bit.

Hyb' (trying your new sheet right now!)
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JimmySwill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I've looked into the to-hit modifiers, and it didn't seem to make much difference in PS variation. However, Mental Resistance did seem to have an effect on the numbers.

I haven't settled on it, but Physical Resistance doesn't seem to be a very unique indicator. Typically, when a creature is physically tough, its HPs are high so one usually accounts for the other. However, Mental Resistance seems to be its own thing. As I want to keep things simple as possible, I decided for now to add Mental Resistance only.

I've re-posted the working spreadsheet.

Also, I am working on a webpage where folk can calculate their own creatures. It's my first real attempt at Javascript, so that was kind of worth doing it. I will likely add a PC/NPC estimator too, which I think will be more or less the same, but will probably incorporate spell circles instead of special abilities.

Anyway, I will make a full list of all the creatures and their Power Scores available when this is settled. -BTW, Thanks for the idea, Hybban.
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