The updates making their way to the 1.10 release candidates of Command are excellent. There’s one that I’m particularly excited about, but nonetheless have trouble thinking of ways to use effectively. That is the special action setup.
A rough description of how special actions work can be explained as follows. The scenario creator goes to “Editor/Event Editor/Special Actions”, inputs a Lua script, and saves it. Then, in-game, the player can go to “game/special actions”, and by clicking on it, can run the script.
That’s the simple part of it.
Now the hard part-how do I do it effectively?
Some of the reasons I’m wary of using special actions are mechanical (having to write long Lua scripts). Others are thematic (most of my scenarios are small and thus have little scope for such grandiose actions). But the biggest is-I don’t want the player to get something for nothing.
One idea I’ve considered is just using a simple random element to give the operation a chance of working, and if it doesn’t, either nothing happens or they lose points. (SOF insertion is where this would fit perfectly). This can work, but a part of me feels it’s back to the “luck-based random”, where you have a chance of getting a huge SSGN or a tiny diesel.
Another, and the simplest, is to just subtract points from the player if they use the special action (political capital expended, or some other justification), making them have to earn it back with what they get from it.
Finally, it can change the stakes of the scenario. If you escalate, so do they. This is the hardest mechanically, but can be interesting. While I might be wary about special actions, I’m certainly eager to try them out, for they offer so much potential.