Planning Dust: Mage Guns (Part 2)

Posted on August 29, 2012 by

1


In my last post, I spent a lot of time talking about the mechanics and concepts behind Mage Guns, the new weapons that I’ll be introducing in my upcoming game, Dust.  While I’m confident that these deadly new weapons alone would be enough to define a Fantasy Western setting, I don’t feel quite right leaving well enough alone.  I want something more.

For my High Seas game, I created something that I like to call the Legacy system, a type of alternate advancement that allows characters to really become something unique and special.  For Dust I’d like to do something a little bit different.  Although I loved using Legacies, they really felt more like something that I gave to each player than they did something that the players were choosing to advance of their own accord.  That’s fine, and for most games that would be enough, but I want Dust to feature a sense of freedom that should not be restrained by what I think the character should get next.

So how do our favorite games do this?  Skill trees.

Let’s do it.

First I decided that I wanted a skill tree full of your classic gun maneuvers, everything from shooting a guy in the foot to firing both pistols while diving to cover.  I want something multi-tiered so that players feel as though they’re working up towards something, but also something that gives players some incentive to spread themselves out a bit.  Of course, what if players don’t want their characters to use guns?  I then went ahead and started putting t0gether a smaller tree where players could buy things like improved hit points, defenses, and even resists, and that will be a post for a later time.

The concept so far is this; a tree that represents a character’s training in how to use these unique weapons in a way that makes them as dangerous as possible.  It is a five-tier array, and I anticipate that players will have to pay points to unlock higher tiers.  So far my working concept involves awarding only a few points per game.
– A new ability would cost 1 point per tier.
– A character cannot buy abilities unless they have unlocked that rank for 1 point per level of that tier.

Let’s take a look, tiers start at the bottom.

Click me to see a bigger picture.

Crippling
Execute – Your mage gun attacks deal double damage on a coup-de-gras.
Foot Shot – You may make a mage gun attack at a -4 to hit that knocks your target prone.
Leg Shot – You may make a mage gun attack at a -4 to hit that slows your target until the end of the encounter.  If you use this attack again, the target is knocked prone and can only crawl at a speed of 1.
No Mercy – You deal an additional +2 damage (+4/+6 at paragon/epic) with mage gun attacks against prone enemies.
Skilled Crippler – You reduce the penalty for crippling attacks to -2.
Arm Shot – You may make a mage gun attack at a -4 to hit to disable an enemy’s arm until the end of the encounter.  Attack rolls made using that arm are at a -4, and it cannot be used to take difficult actions.
Careful Crippler – You may reduce the damage of a crippling attack by 1 die in order to negate the penalty to attack rolls.
Master Crippler – You no longer suffer a penalty to crippling attacks.
Double Down – You may combine your Double Shot and your Foot Shot and Leg Shot abilities to make two crippling attacks in any combination.  Combine the attack roll penalties for both Double Shot and crippling attacks.
Double Disabler – You may combine your Double Shot and any of your crippling abilities to make two crippling attacks in any combination.  Combine the attack roll penalties for both Double Shot and crippling attacks.

Dual-Shot
Double Shot – If you have a mage gun in each hand, you may attack with both in a single round at a -5 to attack rolls.
Better Double Shot – The penalty for Double Shot is reduced to -4.
Skilled Double Shot – The penalty for Double Shot is reduced to -2.
Master Double Shot – You suffer no penalties for Double Shot.

Mobility
Blast Slide – As a minor action, you may fire your mage gun to slide yourself with the force.  Expend a charge from the weapon and slide yourself 1 square per die of damage that would have been dealt.  This movement must be in a straight line.
Diving Shot – As a standard action you may dive while shooting, shifting half your speed and making a basic attack with your mage gun at any point in that movement.  This attack is made at a -4.
Tuck and Roll – When making a diving shot, you may give yourself an additional -2 penalty to the attack roll to shift an additional 2 squares.
Blast Jump – You may expend a charge from your mage gun as a free action when jumping to give yourself a +10 to that skill check.
Skilled Diving Roll – You suffer only a -2 penalty for making Diving Shots.
Double Diving Shot – You may make a Double Shot attack while diving.  This attack is made at a -4 to hit.
Diving Unload – You may make an Unload attack as a Diving Shot.  This combines all attack roll penalties for both Unload and Diving Shot.
Skilled Double Dive – The penalty for using Double Diving Shot is reduced to -2.
Dual Diving Unload – You dive through the air firing two mage guns as fast as possible.  You may make two Unload attacks during your Diving Shot movement, combining all attack roll penalties from Double Shot, Diving Shot, and Unload.

Rapid-Fire
Unload – Make an attack roll at -4, this attack uses all remaining charges from your weapon.  For each 5 points by which you beat the target’s armor class, you hit with an additional shot, up to the number of charges that you expended.
Skilled Unload – Your Unload attacks are made at a -2 penalty.
Rapid Aiming – You hit an additional target for each 4 points by which you beat the target’s armor class.
Master Unload – You no longer suffer a penalty for making unload attacks.
Master Rapid Aiming – You hit an additional target for each 3 points by which you beat the target’s armor class.

Precision
Sniper’s Stance – As a minor action, you may enter a stance that halves your speed but doubles your range with all mage guns.  Making an attack other than a basic attack with a mage gun ends this stance and grants none of the benefits from being in it.
Low-Light Vision – When taking an aim action with a mage gun, you may ignore attack roll penalties for low light.
Stealthy Sniper – You have a +2 bonus to stealth while in the Sniper’s Stance.
Heavy Shot – When attacking a single target from Sniper’s Stance, you may add an additional die of damage.
Unseen Sniper – You have a +5 bonus to stealth while in the Sniper’s Stance.
Double Tap – When attacking a single target from Sniper’s Stance, if you beat the target’s armor class by 5 or more, you deal an additional die of damage.
Powerful Sniper – You deal an additional +1 damage (+2/+3 at paragon/epic) when in Sniper’s Stance.
Perfect Sniper – You have a +2 bonus to hit with attacks made from Sniper’s Stance.
Deadly Sniper – you deal +1 damage per die while in Sniper’s Stance.

Training
Trained Shooter – You may choose a stat other than Dex or Int to use for attack rolls with a mage gun.
Better Shot – You may choose a stat, add your modifier for that stat to all damage with a mage gun.
Gifted Shot – If you have a striker class feature (such as backstab or hunter’s quarry), you may use that with mage gun attacks.
At-Will Training – You may use your mage gun to make at-will attacks, and may treat it as an implement while doing so.  For each [W] that an attack deals, you must expend an additional charge from your weapon.
Powerful Shooter – You deal an additional +1 damage (+2/+3 at paragon/epic) with mage gun attacks.
Encounter Training – You may use your mage gun to use encounter attack powers, and may treat it as an implement while doing so.  For each [W] that an attack deals, you must expend an additional charge from your weapon.
Brutal Shooter – Your mage gun attacks gain Brutal 1.
Daily Training – You may use your mage gun to use daily attack powers, and may treat it as an implement while doing so.  For each [W] that an attack deals, you must expend an additional charge from your weapon.

Melee
Pistol Whip – You may use the mage gun as a melee weapon.  Treat it as a light club or light blade that deals 1d6 points of damage.
Point-Blank Blast – You do not provoke opportunity attacks for using a mage gun.
Close-Shot Training – You may treat firing a mage gun as a melee attack, and can use it to make basic attacks.  This allows you to use it for your at-will, encounter, and daily attack powers if you otherwise qualify for it.
Close-Shot Critical – When using a mage gun’s shot as a melee attack, you have a critical threat range of 19-20.

Well, I think that just about wraps it up for now.  Next time I talk about Dust, I’ll provide some more details about the non-gun options that players will have for improving their characters.

Happy gaming.

Advertisements
Posted in: Dust, Gamecraft