Ugh. The feats.
|How many Feats does|
a Hero really need?
Other games aren't immune to this trend. Savage Worlds has Edges, Ubiquity has Talents, HERO System has Advantages, and nearly every other saga me out there has some kind of feat-resembling mechanic. And that's fine, but rarely do these feats do more than provide basic mechanical bonuses. The "Ace" Edge, for instance, provides a +2 to Driving, Piloting, and Boating rolls in Savage Worlds. Yes, it's a great bonus, considering the default target number is 4, but it doesn't really fill your head with visions of hairpin turns, ramp jumps, or barrel rolls.
When I sat down to write Cold Steel Wardens, I wanted to ensure that an unpowered vigilante could hold their own against a powered metahuman, using their skills, gadgets, and wits. A good portion of that feel came in creating a skill-driven system. The majority of any character's points in CSW will be sunk into various skills, not the least of which are the three combat skills: Unarmed, Armed Ranged, and Armed Melee.
Masteries, however, I wanted to be different. Rather than simple skill bonuses or the like, I wanted Masteries to represent new and alternate uses for skills, opening new combinations and avenues that could provide entirely new methods of crimefighting.
Unfortunately, I fell into that same trap as so many other games. The overwhelming feedback I'd received about Masteries is that they were simply too situational and not worth the points. Why take a +4 bonus to picking locks, when you could spend those 3 points to increase your Fine Manipulation skill and reap a +3 on all uses of that skill, not merely lockpicking? In revising the CSW beta draft, Masteries had to become more than that.
|Batman, leaping into the middle of trouble!|
If I accomplish one thing through Cold Steel Wardens, I hope to make a game that allows players to walk that line between awesome comic-book invulnerability and the emotional weight of their actions' repercussions. It's been a long time coming, but this book is going to be amazing!