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  #46  
Old Apr 6th, 2021, 05:47 PM
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Sounds like fun was had, Menzo, so the mark goes in the win column.

Your idea of switching things around so you have more range combat, more save vs, etc., I think is just good GMing... it helps to give everyone a chance in the driver's seat, as it were... People with high saves can shine a bit, then fade to back row when the burly grapplers take over next time. High Dex Pc's can shine, then take a second chair while the wizards duel it out next time.

It's almost impossible to balance every encounter with every player/PC and their skills...even if you THINK you have it, they will decide "I wanted to try it left handed" or something. So, I think the best you can do is what you are trying... a mix here, a mix there, a shake up and some different spices. Let everyone have fun, everyone gets a turn in the barrel, everyone gets to stretch... if not this time, then next time.
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  #47  
Old Apr 7th, 2021, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menzo View Post
4. I'm definitely NOT a fan of the CR-based, resource depletion model. Really unexciting. I much prefer a single, sprawling battle where the players are stretched to the limit and their characters are on the verge of dying. And my players seemed to prefer that too.
I've been kind of drifting in this direction myself. I've been appreciating an "easy come, easy go" approach to character resources in games like Cypher or PF2e recently, where you can spend a lot of resources in one encounter and then recover relatively quickly to be ready for the next one. I suppose you could get a similar feel in D&D 5e by running a party that's all on the short rest clock, but once you run out of hit dice, healing will become a problem.
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  #48  
Old Apr 7th, 2021, 01:15 PM
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@Menzo: I do like the resource-depletion model at a live game table. The exciting part comes every third combat encounter or so - once resources are sufficiently taxed - and the players have to make some bold choices; start burning some of those one-use items in their bags and such. A single big battle almost never gets that way without getting a little too heavy-handed in terms of the math (damage, AC, HP), in my experience.
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  #49  
Old Apr 7th, 2021, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Kaigen View Post
I've been kind of drifting in this direction myself. I've been appreciating an "easy come, easy go" approach to character resources in games like Cypher or PF2e recently, where you can spend a lot of resources in one encounter and then recover relatively quickly to be ready for the next one. I suppose you could get a similar feel in D&D 5e by running a party that's all on the short rest clock, but once you run out of hit dice, healing will become a problem.
This always plagues me, and I don't think any system really hits resource management where I want it to be. In my clearly nonexistent unicorn RPG:
  • Characters would not expect so many resources in a single (reasonable) combat so as to not be able to / be willing to continue adventuring without refreshing them. The five minute adventuring day is a blight.
  • On the other hand, it would be possible to run characters out of resources, and I don't just mean consumable equipment. I want it to be possible to wear down a party by force of numbers, even if that doesn't (and shouldn't, perhaps) happen frequently.

3.5/PF make it too easy for many characters (especially at low level but then ironically again at high levels) to nova through their resource tank quickly, and provide too many ways to force long pauses in the action to recover them. Yes, you can punish that through story, and should, but the mechanics aren't helping. But at the same time, you could have a 3.5 party of Warblade / Crusader / Rogue / Warlock (admitting the limitations there at higher levels), who could fight a probably arbitrary number of encounters, or at the very least until the rogue ran out of wands to burn on downtime healing in between fights.

4E was even worse than that, effectively writing off resource depletion entirely, because it's At-Will/Encounter/Daily power breakdown largely failed. Especially since enemy hit points scaled markedly faster than anything but highly-optimized, late-in-system-lifecycle damage, daily powers stopped being useful almost immediately and encounter powers were of dubious value in the upper tiers (except for utility effects). So you generally just optimized at-will synergies and... very... slowly... churned through enemies until everyone got bored and played something else.

5E is weird about pacing and resources. So much of the burden of healing was shifted to short-rest HD use that it really encourages this weird "schedule" where characters do whatever they need to squeeze in 1 hour rest breaks in between the action (and of course, there's magic, starting with rope trick, to allow players to try to enforce that pace). I'm still undecided whether that's precisely better.
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  #50  
Old Apr 7th, 2021, 02:22 PM
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What I like about Cypher's resource management in particular is that everything boils down to the stat pools that every PC has. You spend from those pools to improve your odds of success and to power special abilities, and when you take damage it's subtracted from the same pools. It makes it easy for everyone at the table to keep an eye on the party's overall resource burn rate, because you aren't tracking a half-dozen types of resources (hp, short rest abilities, spell slots, etc), some of which apply only to some character types and to varying degrees. If one character is burning faster than the others, it's easy to notice and to adjust tactics accordingly.

In conjunction with that, resource recovery is quick, up to a point. The first recovery roll takes an action, the second ten minutes, and the third one hour. It's only when you reach the fourth recovery of the day that you have to rest for an extended period. If someone burns a bunch of pool on the first encounter of the day, they can still bounce back relatively quickly at first, lessening the impulse to call it a day after one fight.

In contrast, PF2e mainly plays like 4e/5e D&D, except that non-magical healing is effective and not limited by arbitrary resources, though it takes ten minutes to treat someone's wounds and you can only treat them once an hour. It eases up the resource pressure on HP, which means spellcasters don't have to spend spell slots topping people up between fights or else have party members risk going into battle with too few HP.

All that being said, I've also been appreciating systems where there isn't any emphasis placed on resource management, especially in PbP. While it makes sense that people would get tired after fighting and need to pull back to rest sooner or later, oftentimes the mechanics end up making it feel arbitrary from a narrative standpoint.
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  #51  
Old Apr 9th, 2021, 06:57 PM
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I feel like current editions of d&d have moved away from wandering monster tables. Sure. Go ahead and try to rest for an hour. Maybe a pack of bugbears show up and ruin your party; maybe they don’t.

There should be consequences to resting in the middle of the day.
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  #52  
Old Apr 9th, 2021, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raylorne View Post
I feel like current editions of d&d have moved away from wandering monster tables. Sure. Go ahead and try to rest for an hour. Maybe a pack of bugbears show up and ruin your party; maybe they donít.

There should be consequences to resting in the middle of the day.
This is why rope trick is arguably one of the most disruptive spells to the 5e environment, although not by most measures anywhere near one of its most powerful.
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  #53  
Old Apr 10th, 2021, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raylorne View Post
I feel like current editions of d&d have moved away from wandering monster tables. Sure. Go ahead and try to rest for an hour. Maybe a pack of bugbears show up and ruin your party; maybe they donít.

There should be consequences to resting in the middle of the day.
Consequences don't even have to be combat-related though, you could easily have them be natural occurrences... Such as I dunno, resting in the middle of a floodway because nobody checked to make sure it was a safe area to make camp?
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  #54  
Old Apr 10th, 2021, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshmallow View Post
Consequences don't even have to be combat-related though, you could easily have them be natural occurrences... Such as I dunno, resting in the middle of a floodway because nobody checked to make sure it was a safe area to make camp?
Bugs.

No body ever talks about the fleas and lice and mosquitos... good luck getting 8 hours of rest when you are slapping critters away all night.
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  #55  
Old Apr 15th, 2021, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Inuvash255 View Post
Also, this whole conversation has me thinking of roleplaying Monopoly.

...Properties & Pennypinchers...

...Monopolies & Minotaurs...

...Riches & Robber-barons...

...Landlords & Locomotives...
Suns of Gold
Or simply....Traveller.
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  #56  
Old Apr 16th, 2021, 02:22 AM
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I came into this a bit late to contribute much of anything that hasn't already been said, but I did want to touch on this one point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffdove View Post
The paradigm of course falls apart when the 100 hit point character is tied down or otherwise helpless, forcing an orc to hack at him for 15 minutes to open that wound. In such situations I don't personally use normal combat mechanics. In that situation, an orc can kill the high level character rather quickly and the encounter becomes a role-playing challenge.
Admittedly I'm very behind on modern rulesets, but D&D's 3.5 player's handbook had specific rules for damaging helpless defenders. Long story short, ruffdove's method was more or less RAW rather than a houserule or an ad hoc DM ruling. If you're helpless, the amount of HP you have is nearly insignificant.
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  #57  
Old Apr 16th, 2021, 06:23 AM
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A big improvement over 1E...

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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimson View Post
I came into this a bit late to contribute much of anything that hasn't already been said, but I did want to touch on this one point.Admittedly I'm very behind on modern rulesets, but D&D's 3.5 player's handbook had specific rules for damaging helpless defenders. Long story short, ruffdove's method was more or less RAW rather than a houserule or an ad hoc DM ruling. If you're helpless, the amount of HP you have is nearly insignificant.
Yes, there are Coup De Grace rules in 3/PF, but even then... Just finished an encounter with a mid level anti-Paladin, and because the CDG still allows a Fort Save (and Pally's are built to save), we could not manage to do it in single rounds. He kept saving!
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 10:31 AM
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Haha, yes, it sounds like they got extraordinarily lucky. Personally I've only seen things make that save a handful of times, usually only by rolling a natural 20. It's a pretty high threshold.
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  #60  
Old Apr 17th, 2021, 12:03 PM
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I'm back on the forum after some time, and just saw this thread.

First off, Menzo, I both whole-heartedly agree and vehemently disagree with you!

I disagree that combat is anything than other than dramatic. Looking at real life examples, combat (as opposed to sport fighting) is a struggle of life or death in most cases. The stakes could not be higher for the participants. Emotions can run high, all faculties are engaged, and bodies are strained to the extreme. Combat is also informed by other dramatic factors, such as being informed by the personality of the participants. Look at Batman and the Joker, as an off-hand example. Each one behaves and fights in a very different way, their tactics informed by their motives and objectives. And combat is also amplified by consequences. Batman's fight is not just for himself, but to prevent the Joker's plot from coming to fruition and lives possibly being lost.

That said, especially in PbP, it can be a bit of a pitfall if someone keeps describing these factors at length in the middle of a fight.

Now, I an 100% with you on the need to make combat more interesting by introducing appropriate tactics. A battle where a party of orcs leap out of the woods and rush at you, both groups in straight lines, like colonial era armies or Marvel comics heroes is boring and dumb. That quickly devolves into just a series of dice rolls and comparisons until someone's numbers beat the others' numbers. I mean, that's fine if it's the game everyone has agreed to play (a fact which precludes all other considerations, as others herein have mentioned). When that aforementioned party of orcs has scouts flanking from the surrounding woods, and two rogues climbing into the trees with a net that gets dropped in 1d4 rounds, while their shaman prepares a summoning spell... maybe the same hit dice or CR of enemies, but now a great deal more engaging of an encounter.

Generally speaking, there needs to be an appropriate balance of drama and mechanics in combat, in order to have it be exciting, efficient (in terms of PbP posting), meaningful. And that balance will be different for each game group, for each adventure, etc. and will require some tweaking as the campaign goes on, perhaps.

And also, hope you're enjoying the podcast, which Scimmy and I continue to enjoy recording.
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