A New Take on Magnitude
on Dec. 10, 2012, 12:20 p.m.
One of the biggest hangups I've seen regularly during play with Saga Machine is determining magnitude (Mag)--particularly during combat where Mag is used frequently to determine the severity of outcomes. Because of this, in the next generation of Saga Machine games we're taking a very close took at Mag and how to streamline it.
Our take on streamlining Mag is likely to take a double-pronged approach:
- Reduce the number of rolls where it is necessary to calculate the Mag, particularly during combat where timeliness is of the most importance.
- Remove division from Mag entirely.
The first of these is conceptually straight-forward, if a bit more tricky to implement. Basically all those rolls where the Mag matters are likely to be streamlined. So, variable bonuses that apply a modifier based on Mag are likely to change. We've already posted about one example of this (group effort actions), but that's likely to carry over to other such rolls as well--for example, coordinate tactics.
Attacks are likely to be streamlined to where it only matters if the attacker hits a threshold or two, and the exact amount over that threshold doesn't matter. This is likely to be accomplished by the introduction of a Defense score, cutting down not only on determining Mag, but reducing the number of required rolls as well.
The second point--removing division from Mag--is a more fundamental change, but also one that's easier to implement. In earlier Saga Machine games, Mag is determined by how many increments of three you scored over the TN. In practice that means if you rolled 26 and the TN was 13, typically you would figure out the difference (13) and then divide by 3 (4).
Under the new system Mag will simply be the difference. This skips that mental division step entirely. So 25 over 13 is Mag 12. This is conceptually simple and most results will merely require a wording change. Saying "if the Mag is 3 or higher" becomes "if the Mag is 9 or higher." It also gives us the possibility of working with Magnitudes that aren't exact multiples of 3; and that's something we will be experimenting with, as in my experience most people are faster at calculating increments of 5 or 10 than they are increments of 3.
Either way, this new take on Mag should speed up the game and make it run more smoothly (especially for those long session where by the end everyone's brain is fried).