Avadon - Three Rules for Difficulty
Jeff Vogel has posted a new blog entry on designing the difficulty for RPGs. The entry isn't specifically about Avadon but, as Jeff notes himself, he is balancing Avadon at the moment. As usual, some of his comments will be contrversial:
Observation One: There are two sorts of fights in an RPG: Fights that are supposed to be easy and fights that are supposed to provide a challenge.
In other words, first, there are fights that will almost never ever kill a player, also known as trash, or trash mobs. If your trash mobs are frequently killing the character, your balance is messed up. (Early versions of Avernum 6 had a big problem with this.) Most of the time, the vast majority of the fights in a game will be this sort.
Then there are fights that the player can possibly lose (mini bosses, bosses). And, of course, for fights that can kill the player, there is a spectrum of how likely that end result is. Some bosses will only kill you if you really aren't paying attention. Others require actual skill and strategy, and maybe a few tries to get your tactics down.