C.R. Brandon, In a recent post on his blog, entitled Sacrifice, talked about some of the changes he’s contemplating for the revised edition of Heroes & Other Worlds. I left some thoughts on them on his blog, but I think blogspot ate the comment. Or maybe it’s just stuck in moderation. So herewith:
Not really thrilled with the idea of a shield-splintering rule, and particularly not with reducing all the types of shield into one. The availability of choices in arms and armor is, in my mind, the good type of complexity: extra choices in the down-time when you’re equipping your character but not a lot of extra decisions weighing down each combat round. If I were to create a rule about damaging shields, it would be something like if you block a critical hit, then if the hit does 8 more damage than the shield’s AR (enough to knock you down if it had gotten through), the shield stops the blow but is broken. This actually keeps the choice about whether to risk the high probability of breaking your shield, since in HOW you get to see the attack roll before committing to a shield block as a reaction…and a crit from anything heavier than a dagger is very likely to do the required damage.
Or maybe the even simpler, if you roll to block with your shield and roll a fumble, it breaks. No real decision there, but it does produce broken shields that occur naturally as part of fighting with them.
As for the other changes mentioned:
Eliminating All-Out Defense
I’m against it. I see it as important in offering a somewhat practical way to do a “fighting retreat.” In fact I just realized that by-the-book HOW gives you no real option except stand there and take it, and then hope to win initiative next turn and succeed in your 4/DX check to disengage. So, I’d be in favor of liberalizing it back to the TFT rules that as long as you forgo attacking, you can choose Defend and make attempts to hit you use 4/DX (i.e. it would no longer count as a reaction, but instead be an alternative to attack). That way you at least stand a better chance of surviving until you can win the init and attempt to disengage. (If you don’t win the init then even if you disengage the enemy can just follow you and you’ll have already forgone your attack.)
Eliminating Berserk Attack
Wouldn’t actually miss this, though there probably ought to be some way of throwing everything you’ve got into attacking and damn defense. Still giving up armor protection never really made that much sense. Maybe it would work better as your attack is 2/DX, but attacks on you that turn are also 2/DX?