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 What is the basic algorithm for a hero? 
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Bottle Cap
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Hey all,

I've been working on a custom SDE variant for the holidays, and have been trying to make characters—heroes specifically—that are neither OP nor weaksauce. It suddenly occurred to me that I'm probably trying to reinvent the wheel here. So...

Has anyone worked out the basic algorithm for an SDE hero? That is to say, what would be necessary to keep these heroes more or less balanced?

This has probably been addressed somewhere else and my searchfu is just week.

Thanx much,
-DrQ


November 16th, 2018, 6:57 pm
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It's really hard to say. There are some patterns. But a lot depends on the heroe's role, focus (or lack there of), and where they derive their strengths from.

If I had to form a "hero baseline" it would be something like 3 blue dice in each "main" stat (attack and defense). Two two action point abilities, one red and one blue. A potion ability. And one ability keyword. This is less an algorithm and more an average of everything though. Most heroes are not this. In fact probably almost none.

It may be a good place to start, then adjust accordingly from the get go. Then playtest, and adjust again. Until it does what you want it to do, without doing it too well from the start. :P


November 16th, 2018, 11:11 pm
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Mini-Boss
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DrQ,

There has not been a lot of formal analysis. The balance of heroes in SDE is unfortunately inconsistent and exacerbated by the changes in SDE 2.0 compared to FK (SDE 1.0 balance I think is moot b/c 1.0 stats do not exist for the majority of released and/or planned heroes from SDL). There has been slight power creep with the masterclass heroes (primarily the Tusk Raider in terms of stats and abilities compared to existing heroes and some of the NAS SDE heroes primarily by ways of how they combo with other heroes). A lot of the homebrew that is produced/shared tends to be very overpowered regardless of the ruleset you use (but the point of homebrew is to have fun so most folks aren't interested in being balanced so much as having someone support their creation/justify their decisions).

The 'average' stat as stated by SPM during the FK KS is 3B. This is an average of 2 stars, max 6, access to hearts, no access to potions.

There has been changes with new heroes in that heroes that focus on dex or will no longer have a basic melee attack along with some melee heroes having mid range (e.g. range 4) attacks.

Anyways, so a typical 'baseline' hero you'd typically 'add to' would be:

Race (some have semi-consistent stats associated with them - dark hero races can interact with traits that typically help attack monsters, e.g. dragon spite vs kobolds, holy vs. undead)
6 move (elves usually have 7 move, Centaurs 7-8 move, Walruses 5 move)
3 actions (extra attacks are often in the form of trait/ability based e.g. Proficient, Berserk, support actions that may cost 2 actions, but allow you to do 3 basic attacks)
Primary attack stat - minimum 3B, but can be greater (3B > 2R > 2B1R > 1B1G)
Primary defense stat - minimum 3B, but can be greater (3B > 2R > 2B1R)
Other Stats - usually 2B > 1B1R > 3B
Basic attack usually uses primary attack stat. melee range 1-4. dex range 3-8. magic range 3-8.
5 hearts (dwarves usually have 6 hp, walruses have 7 hp)
1 potion capacity (only heroes focused on potions will typically have higher potion capacity, but typically at the cost of lower baseline stats, be a support hero, or less effective actions)
Crystal affinity (usually based on a combination of primary attack and assumed hero role - generally considered minor game impact, but sapphire = tank/defense, citrine = melee, ruby = will/magic, emerald = dex/ranged, amethyst is not generally used for heroes. Exception is Princess Amethyst/Midnight queen)
Traits (dwarves are immune to knockdown, centaurs have surefoot,
1-2 attack/support actions
1 potion action
Small base (large base heroes are centaurs, walruses, shapeshifts, and dark heroes - large base benefits aoe/aura/template abilities, ability to block LoS, see over small enemeies, but generally reduce mobility and increase probability of being impacted by terrain and/or surrounded, etc. -- it's not clearly better or worse - for example, Surefoot can negate the mobility issues (e.g. Centaurs)).

For creating actions, my opinion is to base it off existing heroes, but accept that some heroes are already horribly overpowered compared to others.
Attack actions - most attack actions cost 2 actions and choose between either adding AOE *or* increasing offense and/or dealing status effects. There are some attacks that deal AOE AND increase offense (these are typically on the OP/stronger heroes), but I don't think any that do all 3 and the ones that deal AOE rarely also deal a status effect.
Massive Damage - a lot of people like to use this in homebrew. These are usually 3 action, +1G, Massive damage melee range 1 attacks. There are a few exceptions like starguild sapper that has a 2 action +1R, Massive damage melee range 2 attack, which is why he is one of the stronger melee heroes as he ALSO comes with AOE. The balance is a bit off with SDE 2.0 with critical success since intrinsically adding offense can make it easier to achieve a critical success and it stacks with Massive Damage, but Massive Damage attacks tend to be expensive action wise so it'll typically be better to do basic attacks and/or 2 action cost attacks that increase offense.

Support actions - these tend to be harder to balance if you don't just take them off existing heroes, but they often help balance out the 'whole package'.

It's rare to have a support action outright inflict a status effect. Most have a stat vs stat check.

Potions - Heal potions tend to be green heal 2 or blue heal 2. Regenerate potions (which I think are terrible) are 2 potions for Regenerate.

Attack Potions are usually balanced around being equal to a 2 action attack, so again, tend to be AOE or increase offense and/or deal status effects.

Support potions that outright inflict status effects are more common, but you will still sometimes find stat vs stat.

Status effect actions and potions are currently overbudgeted for heroes on SDE 2.0 since monsters remove the status effect at end of activation rather than it persists forever. Since Arcade 2.0 all monsters activate every turn, it can be expensive to reapply and thus it moves the value of actions to AOE to bypass expendable and kill elites directly rather than chew through the minions. Previously in FK you could just debuff everything and ignore them (e.g. slow).

So...that's the basic info/feedback I can provide based on my experience. If you're interested in having more folks look at your characters for feedback, the SDE discord may be a good place to share. It'll ultimately be up to you to decide if the hero meets your needs/desires.


November 16th, 2018, 11:20 pm
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Dungeon Boss
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It does seem like it is much more complex. Stats can be used for basic attacks, defenses or special attacks only.

If a hero uses the same stat for both attack and defense, he/she/it is broken.

Hero active stats are usually either a red and a blue, three blue, two red or a red and two blues. Two blues is a seriously weak stat, and I don't think it has been used on an active stat since 1st ed Candy.

Almost no hero uses green dice from the start- expect a serious negative trait to go along with this, and probably a really wonky hero.



I believe the top tier/overpowered heroes are:

Ninja Cola
Princess Malya
The Tusk Raider
Hanzo

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November 16th, 2018, 11:25 pm
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The original ninja cola for sure. The rebalanced one that came with NAS KS removes his basic dex attack so he’s more balanced. Tusk Raider and Hanzo are clear stat inflation and Hanzo can be broken with certain hero combinations.

Malya is not too bad like rebalanced Cola bc they do not have basic dex attack so it limits the wounds they can deal but they are still strong.


November 17th, 2018, 2:54 am
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sleepy_laughter wrote:
The original ninja cola for sure. The rebalanced one that came with NAS KS removes his basic dex attack so he’s more balanced. Tusk Raider and Hanzo are clear stat inflation and Hanzo can be broken with certain hero combinations.

Malya is not too bad like rebalanced Cola bc they do not have basic dex attack so it limits the wounds they can deal but they are still strong.


I can attest to the Malya perspective. I have a player that basically refuses to play anyone but Malya, like, ever. Because once it worked out and he was able to have a really good defense and reliable attack that killed a lot of stuff...like...5 years ago. In general, putting all your eggs in the "all dex" basket for Malya is not wise. It's almost always the weakest link of the hero groups he plays in.


November 17th, 2018, 3:16 am
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Bottle Cap
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Thanks for your help folks.

I've been playing a bit with ICRPG and really like the way it has no character progression—all improvements comes from items. I realized that mechanic could easily work for some sort of SDE rpg hack.

I was hoping my job would be a tad bit easier; but again if it was, they would have just used the algorithm for SDE:L.

I'll try and report back if I come up with something (and assuming the lights are still on here....).


November 18th, 2018, 2:21 pm
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sleepy_laughter wrote:
The original ninja cola for sure. The rebalanced one that came with NAS KS removes his basic dex attack so he’s more balanced. Tusk Raider and Hanzo are clear stat inflation and Hanzo can be broken with certain hero combinations.

Malya is not too bad like rebalanced Cola bc they do not have basic dex attack so it limits the wounds they can deal but they are still strong.



The Tusk Raider doesn't seem as bad to me, mostly because he has such a clear negatrait to go with it (ie- he eats heroes- and if I read it correctly, you have to roll for that whether he activated this round or not).

But Hanzo just seems like he's better than other heroes, and I don't see the downside (especially with his "mastery" skill). I get the impression that Hanzo isn't meant to be balanced (kind of like how Warhammer Quest included Slambo and Grombrinal the White Dwarf).

But you really should avoid green dice on any starting trait.

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November 19th, 2018, 6:52 pm
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The Tusk Raider's negative is inconsistent and only tied to his STR so you can build DEX and run relatively low risk of Angry Walrus doing a bad. Also depending on how you build the party, you can in fact use Angry Walrus in Arcade to gain extra movement. There is interplay to play with the Celestial Healer who WANTS to have wounds. I think the biggest drawback is maybe if you give him any equipment that deals status effects he will also inflict that on heroes if he gets a hit. Oh, yes, he is angry every Consul turn :).

That being said. I love the hilariousness of the Tusk Raider even if he's not terribly balanced/consistent.

I agree, Hanzo has above average stats. 1B1G is a 2.67avg/6 max compared to a 2B1R 2.5 avg/7 max on top of having 2B1R DEX to help use Mastery on top of a potion he can use to self buff STR and gain Immobile he can use with his built in AOE and doesn't have a tradeoff like the Tusk Raider. However, Mastery is only broken (imo) with certain heroes, but the drawback/cost is needing to be adjacent to the friendly model when using it so there needs to be some planning in place.

I agree no green dice on starting trait without a big drawback (like angry walrus) would be ideal. At the same time, green dice are what make the game fun ;). The only thing I can think of is that Hanzo's mastery can get pretty nutty in Arena where your friendly models are mini bosses and minions...


November 19th, 2018, 10:49 pm
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Don't all of the school girls also have an ability that lets them use some other hero's ability? I don't remember how it is worded right now, but maybe they all have some cool combo available in arena.

I hadn't done the math on the green die- I guess the green/blue is the best starting stat there is, but not by as wide a margin as I had thought. A green die all by itself would make for a really swingy stat (which might be fun).

If you try to play it safe and make the Tusk Raider a pure dex build (or a dex/armor build) he won't be terribly efficient- since it takes two actions for him to make his ranged attack- and the real kicker on his ranged attack is that he gets to make a free melee attack as well.

Plus, that green die is really swingy. It will break the heroes armor at least some times without any extra help.



- One thing that I'd really love to see is a (reasonably) balanced hero who only has two actions. Or a hero with some other weakness that has four actions. Action number has been really static, but it might be fun to have a hero who only has two actions but always has Improved Critical or something.

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November 22nd, 2018, 12:44 am
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The first 3 Takoashi University crossover heroes have Student. The latest Phoenix Pugilist does not (she has Surefoot instead).

Student: Once per game, a model with Student may use a single unique action listed on the card of any other Hero in the dungeon.

Unlike Hanzo's Mastery ability, it's limited to once per game, does not need to be adjacent, does not need to be a friendly model, but it does need to be a hero.

I found Student particularly underwhelming in Arcade since two of the students are WILL and one is STR and only one of them has above average WILL meaning unless they share a primary stat with the Hero, they will likely have less effectiveness at using the action (unless it's pure support).

This also assumes that potions aren't included in the unique actions.

green die is average 2 stars, so equal to 3B in terms of averages, but maxes at 4 stars instead of 6 (but hits 4 stars more often probability wise). It also, of course has the option to roll potions and hearts which is more difficult to quantify. 1B1G is currently the best starting stat, imo, but technically 2B1R is better at rolling potions (statistically and vs. higher defense enemies). The green die is very swingy, which I think can be fun.

As for making the Tusk Raider a (primarily) dex build, in the games where I've used him...I just primarily got DEX gear and he was the best hero to use it on. It's not *as* efficient as going full STR, BUT there is value in his DEX unique action to break up particularly large gangs (e.g. Crusher, Sprout, etc.) due to the Pull action and b/c he still has the ginormous 1B1G, even with 1 STR loot, he tends to hit with it (and b/c of the green die, he can sometimes even crit, which is a bit nuts).

I'm not sure a 2 action hero would be that interesting. B/c you'd just make their unique actions cost 1 action probably and mostly it'd hamper them from doing stuff like pick up plot tokens and/or dash around. Also, it may be tougher to balance given standard heroes have +1 action potions as does loot and treasure. I feel the same goes for a 4 AP hero. I'd rather see stat increases to movement, hp, etc. rather than AP since AP can get out of control. It's already pretty strong just to do basic attacks with the new critical success rule.

That being said, maybe one day we'll see one!


November 24th, 2018, 3:25 am
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I really just want to see 2 or 4 action heroes because the action point stat seems like the only one that never changes. It would be a big one to mess with, that's for sure, but I think it could work just fine.

While I can see some issues with balancing it, having a hero that's worse at objectives but benefits better from + action items doesn't seem like it would necessarily fall outside of the current range of hero balance. I think the same goes for a 4 action hero (especially considering how easy it is to get more actions on some heroes).

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November 28th, 2018, 7:32 pm
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Yeah...it's just because actions are converted to basic actions where the balance can get a bit more difficult in potential edge cases.

Regarding having heroes better at objectives and or fighting, that's where the abilities like berserk and proficient fit in.

a +1AP potion or +1AP equipment/loot is more powerful in a vacuum/potential compared to +1AP on a specific hero since you can add more restrictions to the hero to counterbalance it. Likewise, instead of extra actions, you can build in the 'extra action' into the specific abilities, like the Tusk Raider's ranged attack action that effectively gives you a bonus melee attack above what most other heroes would get.

So, technically, there *are* heroes with 'extra actions', just not literal AP on the stat sheet. I think balancing a 2 AP or 4 AP well would more likely make them un fun to play =/. But balance hasn't been the highest priority vs. colorful characters so I guess we can wait and see.

For example, I think a 2 AP hero would be best balanced if it was a direct support hero and/or granted other heroes AP/bonuses vs. a 4 AP hero that maybe can do all the basic actions and attacks, but may have restrictions on using equipment/loot, etc.


November 29th, 2018, 12:09 am
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Just random spitballing. It would be interesting to see a hero with, like, 6AP and 0 movement. It could only move (in a basic sense) using actions to generate movement. It would have to be a short range hero (not going past 2 or 3 range normally). It would be very dangerous to things near by, but lose strength the more it had to move. It could have a keyword that makes the dash action, like, 1 space more efficient or something too, just to remind players that there is still a way to get around. :P


November 29th, 2018, 9:12 am
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Hrmm...yeah, that would be interesting -- i wonder if comboing it with a hero that offers mobility may make it too powerful or maybe that's the point given the way hero activations work you'd have to plan it out.

I'd consider a low/0 move and high AP hero maybe something like a clockwork golem and/or turret? It's an interesting idea for sure! I'd probably prefer something like this as a temporary NPC rather than a baseline hero (thinking of SDL), but it's something to consider if doing homebrew.


November 29th, 2018, 5:05 pm
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I was thinking something like an octopus or other tentacle monster thing. You have to choose if a leg is going to me used to move, or do a thing. :P


November 30th, 2018, 5:30 am
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sleepy_laughter wrote:
So, technically, there *are* heroes with 'extra actions', just not literal AP on the stat sheet. I think balancing a 2 AP or 4 AP well would more likely make them un fun to play =/. But balance hasn't been the highest priority vs. colorful characters so I guess we can wait and see.

For example, I think a 2 AP hero would be best balanced if it was a direct support hero and/or granted other heroes AP/bonuses vs. a 4 AP hero that maybe can do all the basic actions and attacks, but may have restrictions on using equipment/loot, etc.


Well, the Tusk raider is a poor example (with his 2 AP action that gives you 2 attacks) but we've had Berserk from the very beginning (and also the million attacks the Clawtribe Barbarian gets). And I suppose that Soda Master Candy (Candy and Cola back then) were really the first ones to have extra actions through potions (followed by the Deeproot Scout). Really, there are a LOT of ways for characters to get extra actions.

Here's another interesting combo- how about a hero that has a 4 AP action (but only 3 AP). Something you can only unlock by gaining that extra action point. Probably, that hero would be too dependent on combos (because she's be way more powerful is you paired her with the Deeproot Scout than otherwise).



I think a 2 AP hero would be fun as a sort of War Hulk build. Fewer actions, but give it either better dice or even improved critical (or even massive damage) as a core ability.

I do think that a 4 AP hero would probably be a little less fun to play if the hero gets lots of attacks, but they mostly don't do anything, that just doesn't sound like a blast (although it might work if said hero were a debuff caster or something like that).

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November 30th, 2018, 5:43 pm
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Hrmm...I feel like the hero would intrinsically need to have a +1AP potion to be self sufficient and I think maybe a 4 AP action would be more appropriate for a Treasure that also granted +1AP for a truly epic attack (since a lot of them are sometimes lackluster or don't compete well with basic attacks after a certain point).

2 AP will improved base stats and abilities I think would be intriguing. When you said War Hulk I was thinking of a more defensive oriented hero where they have -1 AP, but maybe have a defensive aura (like Iron Halo) on permanently so it's as if you're using the ability every turn, but you can't be Iced out of it.

a 4 AP hero that has like, no movement, but has a support action that lets other heroes 'pull' them towards the objective (the turret option I was thinking). So like a gnome tower instead of a gnome tank!


November 30th, 2018, 8:41 pm
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