utsukushi wrote:I've been thinking about this, and it looks to me like there's a difference in the way people who think the math in Eternity is clunky are looking at it compared to the people who don't see where the problem is. Not, like, universally, probably, but I've been looking at the way it's been described in groups where it's causing problems, and.. I don't know, maybe describing the way I look at it would help? Because this also seems to be the way other people who aren't having trouble approach it.
Let's take a case of Firearms 10 vs Dodge 8, but you're in a disco (-4 for weird lighting) and you're trying to hit two targets (-2 Multi-Targets). Your targets are a man and his attack dog (-2 for being Small), but the man is vulnerable (+2). Deliberately making this complicated, obviously. Let's say you roll a 13.
The hard way seems to be to roll, apply that to your Firearms, then apply all the modifiers, and then see if you hit. So that's 10 + 1 - 4 - 2 - 2 against the dog, making it 3 vs 8 for a clear miss. 10 + 1 - 4 - 2 + 2 = 7 against the man; if you had gone with a Short Burst, you would have hit him, at least, but of course you can't say that now. It's not too late for a Possibility, of course, so let's say you do that and roll a 3, which becomes a 10. Now your roll is 23, so now it's 10 + 8 - 4 - 2 - 2 for the dog, for a 10 vs 8 that hits, and 10 + 8 - 4 - 2 + 2 against the man for a 16 vs 8 that gives you a BD of damage.
The way I've always looked at it is to figure the modifiers first and know the difference before you roll. Relative to your Skill, you're starting at -6 vs the dog and -2 vs the man. And that's quick to see, even with this many modifiers - you just add them up once, even as you're noting what they are, and then including the difference between your skill and their Dodge (+2). You can immediately see that adding +2 for a Short Burst would drastically improve your chances of hitting the man, at least, making it -4 and 0. And then you're just rolling to beat 0 on the chart. And you can see immediately where you are in terms of what a Possibility might do for you.
The other 95% of the time when you don't have such weird modifiers, it's even easier. You just see that you're at a +2 (F10 v D8 still). You decide if that means you can risk Multi-Targeting, and if you want to do a Short-Burst to balance that out. Or say you spent the last turn Aiming - you know that's another +4, which you dump straight into a Called Shot. So you stay at +2, but ignoring their armor and getting +4 to your damage. If they don't have armor, maybe you keep the +6 and hope for an exploding Bonus Die instead of the guaranteed +4. It's up to you, but again... the math is all just done as you go, and you ultimately end up rolling for zero, which is super easy to see even on the weird Bonus Chart.
Doing it that way also intuitively breaks up the modifiers vs the die roll. Modifiers all get applied to your skill/target. Then you roll, find your place on the Bonus Chart. If you have an up or spend Possibilities/Heroes/Dramas, you add up the dice and move up the chart.
And then, if you're, say, two points shy of an Outstanding success and want to toss in an Adrenaline card, you do that after the dice are settled. And it's easy to see that once you stop rolling dice, you leave the bonus chart and numbers go directly to your total.
...I'm not sure I'm explaining it well, but I hope so, because I find it much easier than what I'm hearing some people describing.
I've tried to encourage my players to do things like this too, and it really seems to help when we're all sticking to a methodology that's at least similar. Before hand it would get confusing, as they & I each worked things out in slightly different orders, and then if we came to different Totals, who's made a mistake, and where? & was it just that I was on my third beer of the evening & getting a little befuddled? *grin*
(Ideally) Our "order of operations" now goes:
Attack Skill - Target's Defense,
+/- Situational (unavoidable) Modifiers (e.g. wounds, conditions, range, lighting, cover, etc),
+/- Combat Options (Called shots, Bursts, All-Out Attack, etc)
Generate Dice Total
Decide on Card or Possibility play
As you say, calculating the net result points, before the players even start to think about Combat Options, really helps them to see where they are, & what they're going to need to succeed at a given level (whether that's in terms of Combat Options, available cards, or just how high a dice total they're looking at to succeed.)
Any tables with players who struggle with the mechanics really could do a lot worse than to give Utsukushi's suggestion a go.