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A couple of interesting posts from rpg.net

 
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Will



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 395
Location: This Very Ring

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 2:18 pm    Post subject: A couple of interesting posts from rpg.net Reply with quote

[4e] Tavern Mechanics
(4E) Narrative Skill Challange House Rules

Enjoy and discuss!
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quakemonkey



Joined: 23 Oct 2006
Posts: 246
Location: at 4e's house, drinkin tea

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 10:33 pm    Post subject: Re: A couple of interesting posts from rpg.net Reply with quote

Will wrote:
[4e] Tavern Mechanics


Interesting, but seems like it's more trouble then it's worth to me. Why you would want to mess with and have to re-balance so many parts of the game is beyond me. All of the stuff his players did could have been done just fine using the rules as written. It would be easier if he just told his players, "you get XYZ exps per session, oh and make shit up during you're down time of ya want".

Will wrote:
(4E) Narrative Skill Challange House Rules


I haven't read how skill challenges work in 4e yet, other then some of the DDI articles on it, but this guy's version seems overly complicated and rigid. Though honestly, that's kinda my opinion on the 4e rules as well, from what little I've seen.

Also his example is of a party using a skill challenge to deal with combat situations which seems wrong. Half the fun (and 90% of the rules) of DnD is fighting stuff. This guy seems to want to use Pool like rules for situations they are least suited for. Although his example may have just been a poor one (a non-combat situation would be better), it shows how he thinks the presented rules should be used.

I'm gonna read the skill challenge rules tomorrow, cuz I have no idea what this guy changed or what I'm talking about. I'm guessing the benefit/detriment thing is new/broadened?

Also I don't like game design that forces people to be more "narrative". I'm all for groups deciding they want more storytelling or whatever, but it should be a matter of choice. Those that want to can and those that don't want to don't have to (and shouldn't be penalized by the rules for not doing so).

Also, I hate D&D. 4e is awesome though. Wait what?!?! 4e is D&D!!! Oh shit, I need some time to get my head around this...
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Will



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 395
Location: This Very Ring

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: A couple of interesting posts from rpg.net Reply with quote

Disclosure: I'm not actually proposing that we implement this stuff in any of our games. I just thought it was interesting and might be worth looking at, talking about, etc. If we like them, or can come up with ways to change them so that we like them, then maybe we can consider them. Till then, it's just discussion. Weeee forums!!!

quakemonkey wrote:
Will wrote:
[4e] Tavern Mechanics


Interesting, but seems like it's more trouble then it's worth to me. Why you would want to mess with and have to re-balance so many parts of the game is beyond me. All of the stuff his players did could have been done just fine using the rules as written. It would be easier if he just told his players, "you get XYZ exps per session, oh and make shit up during you're down time of ya want".

Fair enough! I think they're going for that Conan-esque feel, wherein the PCs are adventurers who loot and pillage and then blow all their money on ale and whores. It's a genre thing. The idea is, can we come up with mechanics to make doing this beneficial to the PCs/players? Sure, you could always do as you say above, or even go a step further and just force PCs to spend all their money between adventures (i.e., "At the start of each adventure, set the amount of gold, silver, etc. you have to zero."). But stuff like the above seems like more fun.

I'd brought this up a couple of years ago with respect to Iron Heroes (a much more swords-and-sorcery-ish game than typical D&D) in the thread Lewt: what is it good for? Ed liked it (no surprise), and Armstrong was unimpressed. I guess I should drop it, huh? Wink

quakemonkey wrote:
Will wrote:
(4E) Narrative Skill Challange House Rules


I haven't read how skill challenges work in 4e yet, other then some of the DDI articles on it, but this guy's version seems overly complicated and rigid. Though honestly, that's kinda my opinion on the 4e rules as well, from what little I've seen.

I think it's just a framework for role-playing, just like all the other rules in the book. Honestly, I just don't really get skill challenges as presented in the PH. They seem to be trying to do what the rules in that post look like they would do -- something Pool-esque, as you say below. Something to encourage players to think up cool uses for their skills and abilities. But then they tell you to roll initiative, and plan out all the skills you allow ahead of time, and punish players for being creative, and all the published adventures have skill challenges that are like "Make DC 25 Thievery checks until you get 5 successes or 3 failures!" and I just can't reconcile the two. I should just subscribe to DDI so I can read the damn articles Mearls is doing on the subject.

quakemonkey wrote:
Also his example is of a party using a skill challenge to deal with combat situations which seems wrong. Half the fun (and 90% of the rules) of DnD is fighting stuff.

That is sticky, I agree.

quakemonkey wrote:
I'm gonna read the skill challenge rules tomorrow, cuz I have no idea what this guy changed or what I'm talking about. I'm guessing the benefit/detriment thing is new/broadened?

New. Also, players setting the goals of their part of the skill challenge is new (and kind of like The Pool, yes). And players choosing the difficulty of their task, with the reward being commensurate with that difficulty. Actually, most of it is new, except the basic idea of "using skills to do a cool sequence of stuff, trying to get X successes before Y failures."

quakemonkey wrote:
Also I don't like game design that forces people to be more "narrative". I'm all for groups deciding they want more storytelling or whatever, but it should be a matter of choice. Those that want to can and those that don't want to don't have to (and shouldn't be penalized by the rules for not doing so).

OK. I actually like the example the guy gave, as it includes one player who kind of isn't sure what he wants to do, and the other players just jump in and give him ideas and stuff. It also says the player using the skill doesn't have to be the one doing the narrating.

I dunno -- skill challenges are the main thing I'd like to experiment with in 4e. Probably because they're so schizophrenic and useless as written. I feel like I know what they were going for, and the idea was cool, but they just fucked the implementation rotten.

quakemonkey wrote:
Also, I hate D&D. 4e is awesome though. Wait what?!?! 4e is D&D!!! Oh shit, I need some time to get my head around this...

Rabble rabble rabble!!!!!
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quakemonkey



Joined: 23 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:45 am    Post subject: Re: A couple of interesting posts from rpg.net Reply with quote

Will wrote:
Disclosure: I'm not actually proposing that we implement this stuff in any of our games. I just thought it was interesting and might be worth looking at, talking about, etc. If we like them, or can come up with ways to change them so that we like them, then maybe we can consider them. Till then, it's just discussion. Weeee forums!!!


I didn't think you were, but yea for full disclosure!

Will wrote:
I'd brought this up a couple of years ago with respect to Iron Heroes (a much more swords-and-sorcery-ish game than typical D&D) in the thread Lewt: what is it good for?


I like it for Iron Heroes, because that game was low magic and character's weren't expected to have expensive magic items that players had to save up for (as far as I know that is, maybe at higher levels they were suppose to have magic stuff?). 3.5 and 4e are not like this though. You need magic items as the game's challenges assume you have them. So far 4e seems like it would be easier to fudge with since the items are less powerful. In 4e I would give flat bonuses every few levels to make up for the lack of items and maybe combine some item powers into one to make up for the few items a character would own. I would also talk with the players ahead of time to find out what they want, so I could make sure they "find" what they need rather than buy it. I think this is a better option then giving more gold. I know 4e says you should talk to the players about what they want, but it doesn't always work out that way. I wouldn't even try it in 3.5, I'd just run Iron Heroes or the Conan RPG.

***Update***
Also I don't like the whole idea of money = exps. I don't think role playing needs to be rewarded mechanically (at least not this way. A small bonus or something is fine.) But that's just me.

Will wrote:
Ed liked it (no surprise), and Armstrong was unimpressed. I guess I should drop it, huh? Wink


If you wanna try it/talk about it more, I don't mind. I just don't like the way this guy implemented it is all. He's way just seems like a lot of unnecessary extra work with a good chance of giving out too much gold or not enough exps. Neither of which are that big a problem I guess. I just wouldn't want to deal with it. Also, I still feel pretty clumsy with 4e, maybe this guy feels confident enough to make it work.

Will wrote:
I think it's just a framework for role-playing, just like all the other rules in the book. Honestly, I just don't really get skill challenges as presented in the PH. They seem to be trying to do what the rules in that post look like they would do -- something Pool-esque, as you say below. Something to encourage players to think up cool uses for their skills and abilities.


I'll send ya the articles. They make the whole thing make a lot of sense. They show how to make a nice skill challenge and how to make it published module ready (read more work then I'd put in), but it would be very easy to simplify things for yourself.

I still think it is easier to just role play out encounters and then call for rolls as necessary. But Skill Challenges (DDI article version) are very good at putting the DM in the right mind for this.

Will wrote:
But then they tell you to roll initiative, and plan out all the skills you allow ahead of time, and punish players for being creative, and all the published adventures have skill challenges that are like "Make DC 25 Thievery checks until you get 5 successes or 3 failures!" and I just can't reconcile the two.


Yeah and that's what I don't like about this guy's write up. Yea! it's not his fault! It's Wizards!

Will wrote:
That is sticky, I agree.


What does sticky mean?

Will wrote:
New. Also, players setting the goals of their part of the skill challenge is new (and kind of like The Pool, yes). And players choosing the difficulty of their task, with the reward being commensurate with that difficulty. Actually, most of it is new, except the basic idea of "using skills to do a cool sequence of stuff, trying to get X successes before Y failures."


Ahhh ok cool.

Will wrote:
I dunno -- skill challenges are the main thing I'd like to experiment with in 4e. Probably because they're so schizophrenic and useless as written. I feel like I know what they were going for, and the idea was cool, but they just fucked the implementation rotten.


I agree!
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Will



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 395
Location: This Very Ring

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 10:03 am    Post subject: Re: A couple of interesting posts from rpg.net Reply with quote

Yo,

I think I've run dry as far as stuff to say about the tavern-carousing stuff. It mostly just looked like it could be fun. From a DM's viewpoint, it might make adventure hooks a bit easier, since you can always use "you're broke, and you'll get lots of money if you agree to do this." But I'm not worried about adventure hooks, really, so whatever. Smile

quakemonkey wrote:
I'll send ya the articles. They make the whole thing make a lot of sense.

Cool. Thanks. I'm still not sure I'll end up liking them, and I still might end up trying out something like the post I linked to in this thread, but it would at least be nice to know what their official stance is on the subject. Smile

quakemonkey wrote:
Will wrote:
But then they tell you to roll initiative, and plan out all the skills you allow ahead of time, and punish players for being creative, and all the published adventures have skill challenges that are like "Make DC 25 Thievery checks until you get 5 successes or 3 failures!" and I just can't reconcile the two.


Yeah and that's what I don't like about this guy's write up. Yea! it's not his fault! It's Wizards!

Sorry, I'm confused -- what don't you like?

quakemonkey wrote:
Will wrote:
That is sticky, I agree.


What does sticky mean?

It's like your keyboard.

No, I just mean it's a bit weird and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

-Will!
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quakemonkey



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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Re: A couple of interesting posts from rpg.net Reply with quote

Will wrote:
Sorry, I'm confused -- what don't you like?


Just the whole feeling of how skill challenges kinda seem rigid and don't leave room for creativity. That's all.
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Will



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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah, you said you thought the guy's write-up was rigid. Care to elaborate on that? Smile
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quakemonkey



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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will wrote:
Oh yeah, you said you thought the guy's write-up was rigid. Care to elaborate on that? Smile


No no, his write up was fine. I still haven't had a chance to read the 4e skill challenge rules, but from what you said it sounds like his ideas built off of and improved the 4e rules. My only experience with skill challenges is from the Keep on the Shadowfell, but from what I saw the rules kinda suck. I don't like being force to make multiple checks, but only being able to use a skill once. It didn't make in game sense to me and seemed really forced. "Use a different skill! Why? Cuz the rules say you have too!!!!"

This guys rules seem to still work this way is all. I was saying it's not his fault though, its Wizards of the Coast's fault.

see?
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Lastman



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah it does sound Pool-esque. I skipped the rules and went right to the example of play, and based on that I think narrative skill challenges are cool.

But sometimes I'm at a loss, even when I'm immersed. It seems the hard part would be the DMs burden of describing enough details to get my imagination going.

Another issue would be the derailment of an idea by someone ahead of me who happens to describe something off the wall that's so wacky I can't get my head around it.

I'd be up for trying it.
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Will



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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some more heavily-shared-narration games (Dogs in the Vineyard comes to mind) have a rule: if someone at the table balks at or calls bullshit on something someone else narrated as being too weird or wacky or unrealistic, that basically acts as a veto. A rule like that might not be out of place when using such narrative skill challenges.
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