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Started by Halzebier, March 05, 2005, 01:52:19 PM
Quote from: BankueiDo you think that the Life Insurance & Deus Ex Machina are basically necessary to functional D&D play? Aside from the Sim use of it, it shows up universally in console rpgs in the form of resurrection spells/items and escape spells/items, and it's commonality seems to indicate its necessity for this kind of play.
Quote from: Halzebier1. Use aggressive scene framing to set up a challenge.However, do not screw your players or their characters: Do not make them look dumb and compensate them for being set-up, if applicable. Better yet, have them start in a reasonably advantageous position.
Quote7. Don't pull your punches.Never fudge, whether it's die rolls, hit points or whatever. Don't have the enemy retreat, gloat, or otherwise give the characters a break (except if that's part of its write-up and included in the EL). Don't hesitate to kill the entire party (but see "Softening the blows" below).
QuoteContinually gaining levels is one of D&D's main perks, so give your players some XP. Hopefully, they will approach further challenges with renewed vigour when their characters have just gone up a level.
Quote from: NoonEven better, simply throw down the gauntlet along with directorial power. Explicitely say in advance that when you throw down the gauntlet and say "Can you handle this?" your also handing over directorial power. So feel free to just say they've escaped their bonds but are equipmentless. Then it's up to them to adjust that with directors stance. Some might say they find their gear in a nearby room. Others might say they don't, but do find sacrificial daggers nearby and weild those, along with some makeshift shields.
Quote from: Noon[Don't pull your punches, kill the characters.]I'm not sure about this one. Although we haven't explicitely stated it in our group, if the monsters retreat when they could press the advantage or gloat or such, the message is 'You lost!'. We don't need dead characters to indicate this...everyone knows that really they are dead, [...]
Quote from: bankueiIn a videogame, if you had to start over, you'd at least be armed with foreknowledge of how to approach it better the second time through.[...]Its probably safe to say that folks enjoy the strategic challenge but not the high stakes for the type of play you're talking about. Actually- given high stakes play and no drift, I can't imagine how anyone would get to, or get beyond 10th level.
Quote from: M.J. YoungAn entire layer of their tactical planning has been rendered meaningless by one shift in the rules.
Quote from: M.J. YoungOf course, if you're talking about players who don't want to think strategically or tactically but want to feel like they did, you're probably on to something.
QuoteIf everybody is on the same page, no problem. But in my experience, this approach blurs the line all too easily. Let's face it, the DM rarely says "The Warlock has a heart attack." Instead, he comes up with something which is more believable, less disruptive to the dream, less visible. So he says "The Warlock casts flesh to stone at the fighter." rather than "The Warlock casts flesh to stone at the rogue. IOW, the DM uses poor tactics on purpose to give the players a break. And at that point, you can't determine if the players won or lost.
QuoteFor instance, if you set the "encounter level" at "party level + 4" and frame it accordingly, the fight will be exactly as tough as you want it to be, i.e. hopefully guaranteed to be interesting. If the strategic level is allowed to bleed into the tactical level, the latter's challenges may become moot. An ambush is incredibly deadly in D&D, particularly at high levels. Hence, if you set the dragon's level ahead of time, you may end up with an execution. If the dragon's power is such that the PCs can only overcome it if they scout successfully, you'll have to execute them if they fail at that. Similarly, if the dragon's power is such that the PCs could overcome it even if surprised, it will be an easy kill if ambushed.
Quote from: NoonIf that's too much of a hit on the dream, your probably not that interested in gamism to begin with. Proper win/loss notifications are always meta game...which is a good thing.
Quote from: NoonI think your wandering into illusionist simulationism here. When the idea of each conflict is that they effect a greater strategic level by changing the plus added to PL in a future challenge, but you then just use PL+4 anyway, what was the point of those previous challenges?
Quote from: NoonIn other words, no one will cheer me for fights that aren't important...if I'm not getting cheers (not even from myself, because I know I'm not having a strategic effect, which is the intent), the only other way to enjoy it is just to watch what goes on.
Quote from: NoonI'd really think you should use PL+4, dropped by one point if they suceed at the previous challenge. Your still adjusting so it's always a difficult/interesting fight, but there is still an effect happening. It doesn't matter what level the challenge is in the end...as long as it's modified for previous challenges, then those challenges are strategically tied to it.
QuoteIt'd be illusionist if I did not cut out the strategic level completely, so there are no "previous challenges" (i.e., no challenges connected to the present one). In the dragon hunt example, I'd just jump from the point where the party takes on the job to the point where they fight the dragon. I'd put in some flavor text ("You scout the mountains for two weeks, finally finding ample tracks in one of the canyons.") and then I'd aggressively frame the challenge of the fight.
QuoteThat's a workable idea, as PL+3 is still quite tough. However, it's not so easy to come up with a non-combat 'preliminary' challenge in D&D which... (a) can be set up with clear victory conditions (to receive the bonus, i.e. "PL+3 in the next encounter, rather than PL+4") and (b) takes more than one roll (e.g. a DC 20 Survival check) to resolve. (Combat is right out, because I'm bored by anything less than PL+3.)
Quote from: Regarding 'preliminary challenges', NoonDo they have to be non combat? I could easily imagine having a few tracking rolls and then the players run into some other monster/or group of monsters on the mountain.
QuoteAlthough I'm wondering if that might have a weird pacing effect...the players might find this prior challenge more difficult, depending on how things work out. Would that be a prob, do you think?
QuoteDecide on the enemy's tactics ahead of time and generally randomize and spread the pain. If the tactics are particularly ugly (e.g. attacking downed foes, concentrating on one target), adjust the EL by +1 or +2. Do the opposite for poor tactics.
Quote8. When in doubt, always decide in favour of the players. If a rule call could go either way, rule in favour of the players. Always. It's more fun (and far less frustrating) to fight a big monster and feel that the DM is on your side than fight a small monster and feel that the DM is on its side. Passions run high during a fight, so for the sake of fun and friendship, it's best to err in favour of the players. YMMV.
QuoteEven though we have not been playing illusionist, I think that some expectations from years and years of that may still be in place, i.e. the players are used to boss fights being close, on account of DMs manipulating them.