sabato 27 agosto 2011

Development #2: THAC0? No, THER0!

A word generating opposite reactions: someone loves it, someone hates it.
Well.. we're humans after all.

To the best of my knowledge - maybe I am wrong - Frank Mentzer was the first one using the word THAC0 inside a module of the R Series: starting from that moment, this word became suddenly one of the most distinguishing features of the D&D/AD&D game.

An abbreviation for To Hit Armor Class Zero, it expressed the target number to beat in order to hit an opponent with an Armor Class of 0: if the opponent's AC wasn't 0, you had to subtract that value from your THAC0 and roll over the new target number.

Although a pretty easy mechanic, its main turn off was IMHO the descending nature of the AC: the better your armour the smaller its value, so an AC of -2 was way better than an AC of 5.

Maybe that's the reason why THAC0 survived until [3.X] came out, promptly substituted by an ascending AC and by the generic d20 Resolution.

So.. why am I talking about THAC0?
Because I wanna introduce THER0, short form of To Hit Entity Rating 0: in few words, that's the core my personale Franken-Clone spins around.
First of all, THER0 has the same progression THAC0 (and Saving Throws) used to have, that is +2/+5/+7/+9 and so on: I wanna hold that in memory of THAC0.

THER0 is used for any kind of action: spellcasting, skill tests, combat and Saving Throws.
Entity Rating simply measures the scale of the task: it ranges from a minimum of 1 (Easy) to a maximum of 7 (Impossible), according to whom/what the action is aimed at.

This value, multiplied x2, must be added to THER0 to get the target number to beat.
YOU declare the action, YOU fix the Entity Rating, YOU roll and with a success YOU tell the scene: not the GM, but YOU as a Player.
In few words you have a pretty flexible system, similar to THAC0 and - most importantly - with a known target number to beat.

And that's all for now.

1 commento:

  1. That's an interesting re-purposing of THACO and I really like how you made it into a unified mechanic for all situations.

    One question I have though is that the player sets the Entity Rating. I'm guessing this means that for a called shot to a limb your ER would be higher than a standard hit.

    What I'm wondering is for situations where something may not be as easy it appears, why doesn't the DM assign the value there, or perhaps both the player and GM work on an acceptable rating depending on the situation? Or will there be a table with guidelines for what Entity Rating should be for certain general instances?

    To continue using a combat example let's say te player is fighting a Displacer beast. The player assigns the usual ER to hit a creature of their strength but is unaware of it's displacement ability. How would this situation play it?