Sorry Skynet, some how I missed this post when it first came up. So, here we go.
First of all : Hi! I've been reading this forum and the Iridium System for some months now and I think it's great! So, congrats to you and everyone involved in this.
Now for the Iridium V2. So, basically, your concerns about Iridium Lite are precisely what makes IL unique : Stats, Skills and Karma. Otherwise, it's almost the same as Iridium Core, with a little less fluff.
Well, I made the Lite version to be quicker and more easily handled. My concerns are mostly for the application to Iridium V2, not so much as Iridium Lite. It does Iridium Lite much as I hoped but what I am looking for is leesons to take from Iridium Lite into Iridium V2.
Personally, I like Iridium Lite. Of course, Stats are a little "cramped" and Skills tend to cap rapidly. But it's a LITE system, so I think it's OK. If I want something more epic in which characters have more room for expansion, I use Core.
Am I correct to think you want Iridium V2 to take the path of Iridium Lite? Yet, you seem to have issues with everything that makes Lite what it is. The way I see it, Iridium (Core and Lite) is composed of a variety of sub-systems. We resolve Stat checks this way, Skill checks that way, Combat in another way and so on. It's what makes it kinda "old school" and gives it part of it's charm. For me, that is.
As above, I want to take from Iridium Lite. I do not know that we want all the settings to be powered by a Lite system.
As to the sub-systems, well, yes. This is a conscious design decision. To me, combat is not and should not be treated as, just another skill. There are a number of other factors that play into it. It would be more a contested skill check than anything. In Lite, Skill and Stat checks are handled the same just on a different scale.
Now, if we want to start talking unified mechanic, well, I am not opposed. The current philosophy breaks the different systems into two camps, testing your skill against an opponents (roll over their Defense) and testing against your own skill (roll under your stat or skill). Again, this was a conscious decision. I am not opposed to aligning it to a unified mechanic but I think that origin should be kept in mind when doing so.
In fact, Lite have a more "modern" feel to it than Core. Stats and Skills add "as is" and do not carry arbitrary bonuses cross-referenced in a table, like Core. Big step to add simplicity and intelligibility to the game. But this method brings a plague : scale. Stats need to be smaller to add correctly to Skills. And the way the system works, it's relatively easy to concentrate efforts (read Skill points and Aptitudes) to cap a Skill right at character creation. This IS an issue, I totally agree with you.
You could push up the Stats to 20 and resolve them same as the Skills. That way, you could rule that they add to Skills only at half or quarter value (I'd go for ¼). So, a character with a Stat of 20, an Aptitude of 6 and a Skill of 5 would roll against 16, which is way more dramatic than 21. Using this system, a character with a Stat of 10 (Skill mod. of 3), an Aptitude of 2 and a Skill of 5 would roll against 10. This may seem a little harsh. I agree. So Skill Ranks could cap at 10, but NOT during creation, in which they cap at 5. So our Joe Average could push his Skill roll up to 15, which is good considering he is an AVERAGE guy. Or you could use half the Stat to modify the skill. It depends on your preference between innate talent and learned skill.
I like where you are going with this. So, to break down:
Skills: 1-10 with no initial skill over 5
How about we change it to Aptitudes going from 1-5 initially instead?
Also, you seem to be getting a bit convoluted with the 1/4 stat...not sur how to resolve that. Maybe we should have stats go from 1-5. When doing a stat check you merely have a standard number, say 10, and the higher over it you roll plus the applicable stat the better you save. So, if you have a 3 STR and roll a 9 and add your 3 for a total of 12, you succeed by two....hmm, not perfect but I will noodle on it some more.
Of course, these guidelines add to the complexity of the game for the players must remember to add only a fraction of the Stat. But it's still fairly simple. I hope it addresses your concerns in a good way and gives you ideas to build Iridium v2, which I eagerly awaits!
Now for my concerns. Fortitude, hit location and armor. First, I like lethal systems. Keeps the players on edge, never knowing the the coming blow will be their final. Nice. My issues are with the distribution of Fortitude points in the locations. You use a counter-intuitive method by giving more points to arms and legs than chest and stomach. I understand that arms a bullet in the arm is less lethal than in the chest, hence the higher Fortitude, but I think you should go along with the industry standard and re-think the distribution in a more intuitive manner. I know you've toyed with a single pool of Fortitude points before and I think it could be a solution. Hit location would still be use, but just on determine how much of the actual damage is substracted from the pool. This way, a hit to the arm could yield a ½ damage modifier and the head could be x2 or something.
See, I am not so sure. The issue here is modeling a system where getting hit in the head is more damaging than in the arm. Yeah, arteries and such compared to the skull can make an argument for the arms and legs actually having less FP. Still, I think it is a viable method of modeling vital areas while keeping a level of simplicity.
Now, a brief history. We once had one pool of FP. We once had one level of FP to all areas (so, say 20 FP in the head, 20 FP in the arm, etc). So, we played it a number of ways. I REALLY think doing damage multipliers is a bad idea. It would slow combat down and introduce the potential for a lot of errors. That said, I would consider going back to one FP level for all areas. To be honest, I am not too hot on that idea.
Now, armor. This is purely personal, but I hate ablative armor. It's too "all-or-nothing" to my taste. I would normally use a armor value subtracted from total damage, but the incredible difference in damage dealt by different weapons prohibits this method. But I thought of something, along the lines of Traveller d20. The armor value could be reduce the number of dice rolled, than the die type, down to a minimum of d4. Exemple : An armor value of 5 against an attack dealing 4d10 would use 3 points to reduce the damage to 1d10 and then the 2 remaining points to bring the damage down to 1d6. This system may require that the damage of some weapon to be modified, but not that much. I think it would be great.
I kind of like where this is going. Not 100% but it is somethign to work with. I use ablative armor because I always hated the DND immortal armor that never go damaged and protected for the same amount. So, perhaps the idea that there is a certain number of dice it can absorb, both over its life and at one time, could work. So, for example:
Leather: 1d6, 10 points
Chain: 3d10, 20 points
Plate: 5d12, 30 points
Meaning, Leather would be able to absorb up to 1d6 per attack, each die absorbed would be 1 point so it could do it 10 times. Plate would be able to absorb up to 5d12 per attack at 1 point per die so absorbing 5d12 would cost 5 points. When the armor reaches 0 points, it no longer protects.
Alternatively, put a straight damage reduction on the armor. Say...
Leather: 10 points
Chain: 20 Points
Plate: 30 points
With a 2-hander at max 60 + STR + Prof + Magic, say 90 or so and you would still do 60 through plate at max, 15 at median and 30 on average. Still, it would mean smaller weapons like short sword would be useless against heavier armor.
Something to think about though.
Well, that's it. For now. Maybe some of my suggestions are not as backward compatible with the old system as you'd like, but that's all I could come up with. I must also confess that none of these alternatives have been playtested. What do you think? Some of it any good for you?
Thanks again for Iridium and those wonderful settings (hoping to get Roma for Christmas
Well, thanks for posting and your input. Keep it coming. I will keep thinking on it.