Hammercalled: Redefining Gear

My efforts remain mostly on velotha’s flock, but I got some new art for Hammercalled in today and I’ve also been working on doing a second pass on Hammercalled for playtesting.

One of those things is dealing with gear.

Basically, in Hammercalled, gear helps to define a character. The rest of the rules are fairly “lite”, with attributes and “professions” that define a character’s skill-set.

Gear helps to make characters who are similar stand apart; a “soldier” from a futuristic world with advanced magic feels very different from a “soldier” from the present day, in part because their kit is very different and the expectations placed on them differ equivalently.

The purpose of gear is to define characters, and I’ve been splitting it now into four categories instead of three as I had been:

• Weapons are… weapons.

• Armor is… armor.

• Tools are actively used pieces of equipment that provide their users with an instant effect. They allow a character to do something beyond their basic abilities.

• Augments are passively used pieces of equipment that boost the abilities of a character or another piece of gear.

Because Hammercalled builds gear “procedurally”, there are no particular limits to how many unique pieces of gear are available (even in infant stages, there were over 100,000 unique pieces of armor capable of being made in the game), and because these designs are hand-built, they tend to be interesting rather than boring.

However, differentiating between tools and augments is a key new change to the gear system.

Previously, tools covered both active and passive boosts. This was not a terribly awful effect on the system, but it led to some confusion about how they work. It also led to some weird thematic things, and it made tools feel too busy.

This is feeding into a gameplay loop decision, however. Characters get three pieces of gear, and it used to be natural that they would always choose a weapon, an armor, and a tool. Now there is more diversity. Offensive-focused characters will choose weapons, tools, and augments, for instance, to maximize their damage dealing capabilities. Augments are the only gear that can interact with other gear, and this makes them valuable, but they also have limited effect and can wear out quickly with heavy use.

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