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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 31 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [D&D4E] Some WOTC encounters  (Read 7685 times)
Anders Gabrielsson
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Posts: 100


« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2011, 03:33:12 AM »

Chris, with the right set of eyes they would find your own preferences ridiculous. C'mon, the human default is to think oneself has won the magical belief lottery and has the right belief/preference and so is qualified to determine what is, overall, rediculous. If were working from the default, well then my dad could beat your dad anyday...

C'mon, take two! No default! Or you can instead just say my preference is so rare and held by so few (or just me) you'll skip talking on it, fair enough.
I don't know about Chris, but I don't understand this post at all.

I'm fairly sure (but I don't have my books here so I can't quote chapter and verse) that you only get XP for an encounter if you defeat it - basically, kill all the monsters, which you can't do (bar some weird edge case that's not going to matter anyway) if you're dead yourself. I highly doubt the text goes into it more than that.
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Chris_Chinn
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« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2011, 10:17:00 AM »

Hi Callan,

You asked about yardsticks to measure what kind of challenge is being faced beyond TPKs.   Then you added the qualifier that the book must explicitly explain to you that doing something faster, better, with less resource costs is better than doing it slower, worse, with more costs.

No one seems to require soccer teams to explain winning by 5 goals is way better than barely winning by 1 goal in overtime.

If you are interested in what kinds of challenge D&D 4E provides, as a system, or comparing the kinds of challenge you get from following the encounter rules vs. prepackaged adventures (such as D&D Encounters), then there's plenty of yardsticks.

Those yard sticks also become the tools by which you can define "tactical" - choices made to improve the outcomes of tackling challenges, much more than Win/Lose as a binary.

Otherwise, it sounds like you've already decided what you feel about the game without actually engaging with it.  I'm not sure anyone can have much of a conversation with you if that's the case.

Chris
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2011, 01:46:17 PM »

Well, hold on a moment. I think we might well examine the distinction between textually explicit success and what becomes experienced as success in any given game. I read a lot of card game rules about six years ago, while trying to understand card games better, and although for every game the rules were absolutely explicit about who wins and who does not, not one explanation addressed the issue from a personal enjoyment level. Not one addressed, for example, the possibility of someone who plays the best but happens to lose this particular round, even for a game which necessarily relies on multiple repetitions, like poker.

There may be some kind of shared understanding among practitioners of a given game regarding the unstated avenues of success. I'm thinking especially of pre-4th edition Champions, which I have previously described as a car that can run in any GNS direction, as long as the group in question kicks the tires in a particular way and throws out specific portions of the material. More important to this thread, the game was also highly customizable, or rather interpretable, in terms of the various flavors of Gamism. Sitting in with multiple groups and reading about even more groups' accounts, I realized that no one ever explained these extremely necessary avenues of reading and modifying the rules - it was always about sharing a group ... call it "value system," in which explicit success, like winning fights, acted as a practical framework.

Best, Ron
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contracycle
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2011, 07:08:45 PM »

I'm reminded of the old Streetfighter game (maybe?) which would reward you with a "PERFECT!" if you took your opponent down without sustaining any damage yourself.  Would something like that qualify for a Callan's textually explicit yardstick?  Say you shifted, or modified, rewarded XP by what proportion of hit points you had at the end, for the D&D type case.  Of course I'm not really sure that would actually work because current D&D seems to be attritional and quite finely calculated, but is that useful as a thought experiment?

Also seems to me the issue gets a bit fuzzier with team games as opposed to 1 on 1 games.  In a team game you might actually lose but still individually be recognised as man of the match, or as having the highest kill count, or something else related to individual contribution.  Hence I think in team games one of the yardsticks that will always be present, and isn't made up, will be the recognition of your peers.  Also, given the nature of these encounters, as I understand them, a local club could put up a leaderboard of different groups playing through each, and as with my HP suggestion, rank each group by how many HP they came out with.  That isn;t exactly how its designed to be played now, but it certainly could be textual.
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http://www.arrestblair.org/

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Anders Gabrielsson
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Posts: 100


« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2011, 09:02:20 PM »

I'm not sure if this is what you're after, but poker is actually a fairly illustrative example of different measures of winning: hands or money; long-term or short-term. Many poker books heavily stress playing "correctly"; i.e., for long-term monetary gain (for ring games - tournament play is a different beast). Handling repeated defeats at the hands of less skillful players is one of the most important skills for a professional poker player because it happens a lot and maintaining discipline is key to being successful in the long-term monetary sense.

However, for an amateur player, "getting one up on the pro" - correctly calling a bluff, avoiding a trap, making them fold - can be a victory, even if they're down money by the end of the year.

To make D&D more like poker there would have to be many more encounters in a day but the party should have the ability to easily avoid or escape from them. That way they would be better able to choose when to commit their resources for as much gain as possible.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2011, 02:05:46 AM »

Quote from: Chris
You asked about yardsticks to measure what kind of challenge is being faced beyond TPKs.   Then you added the qualifier that the book must explicitly explain to you that doing something faster, better, with less resource costs is better than doing it slower, worse, with more costs.

No one seems to require soccer teams to explain winning by 5 goals is way better than barely winning by 1 goal in overtime.

Those aren't the same things? In D&D you HAVE to expend resources - you have to lose some amount of HP, or use up a encounter power, or some amount healing surges. Therefore if you HAVE to expend some, how do you judge how much is too much? You can't compare a system where you can keep adding on goals with no limit, to a system where you start with a number of goals then you HAVE to lose some amount of goals! Unless your arguing for a perfect encounter (somewhat like Gareth's street fighter 'Perfect' result) - no HP loss on anyone, no encounter powers used, etc etc?

Or what about the 1/4 the parties resouces you mentioned? Like if you can beat an encounter and to the extent you can do it underneath that 1/4 resources (ie, under budget), the better you've done (in personal skill and/or ballsy luck)?

That goal isn't exactly spelled out in the books, but it could be used as a metric to judge player performance by. Surely that's both an example that shows I'm not just already deciding what my feelings are here (I am putting effort into looking) and also an example that even if you used the 1/4th thing to try beat the designers at their own game (literally), it's still not actually a spelled out player skill judgement method, in the book. Certainly nowhere does it tell players to add up all their PC hitpoints added together, for example, even though to work out this 1/4th thing you'd have to do that and other stuff. So I could agree there's a metric there - just one that the designers certainly aren't talking about.


I wont argue other posts, as my estimates of the situation are rough and slightly off topic and the above post might be sufficient for this topic/thread. Thanks for the input anyway, guys :)
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Balesir
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Posts: 12


« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2011, 08:43:00 AM »

Hi,

I think Callan makes a very good point from the point of view of gamist 4E, in fact.  Our games thrive pretty well on the "kudos yardstick", in that players are handing out kudos for good tactical combos (and that is one area 4E really makes sing!), but really functional gamist measures are really not realised, in my view.

I think there is a "near miss", though, in milestones.  Milestones happen every two encounters (or maybe more or fewer, at GM discretion, based on encounter level).  At each milestone you get some extra resources (an action point and, until recently, the capability to use a daily magic item power one more time).  If you want a real gamist measure that can work with a longer campaign (i.e. isn't a binary TPK/live), the number of milestones reached before taking an extended rest is pretty fair.  Maximum in one day and average over time both make sense - sort of like a batting score/batting average in cricket or baseball.
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Andy Gibson
a.k.a. Balesir
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Eschew Obfuscation!
Callan S.
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2011, 12:03:43 AM »

How are the milestones counted? I'm not too well read in encounter construction, but as I understand it it's like 3E - ie, party level plus or minus a number of levels.

The thing is, if you can get to a milestone or X amount of milestones with party level-2 encounter(s), as an example, then that makes milestones a meaningless measure.
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Anders Gabrielsson
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Posts: 100


« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2011, 02:06:06 AM »

The default is that you reach one milestone after every two encounters.
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Balesir
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Posts: 12


« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2011, 09:33:02 AM »

How are the milestones counted? I'm not too well read in encounter construction, but as I understand it it's like 3E - ie, party level plus or minus a number of levels.

The thing is, if you can get to a milestone or X amount of milestones with party level-2 encounter(s), as an example, then that makes milestones a meaningless measure.
Milestones are counted from Extended Rest to Extended Rest, in other words they are a measure of how much "encounter meat" you get through before replenishing your resources.

The number of encounters to reach a milestone is "two, or more or less at DM discretion for encounters that are above or below the party's level".  That's what I mean with it being a "near miss"; if they had been a bit more explicit and made a bit bigger a thing of it, it could have fitted the role nicely.  But they didn't.

An individual DM can still standardise things a bit, though.
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Andy Gibson
a.k.a. Balesir
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Eschew Obfuscation!
happysmellyfish
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Posts: 49


« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2011, 04:52:52 PM »

Quote
An individual DM can still standardise things a bit, though.

I've recently finished GMing a 12 week Savage Worlds campaign, in which we did just that. The whole thing was solely, explicitly a gamist exercise. I used a point system to match encounters to the players, and each session would have three encounters. I tallied each player's kill count as we went, and the winner became team leader for the next session, which had mechanical benefits. We averaged a TPK every four sessions, but survival wasn't the real goal. The coveted title of MVP was their real aim.

It eventually got a bit stale when we all realised that in-world fiction wasn't having any impact on the game play. My point is that Savage Worlds doesn't support or advocate that sort of play whatsoever, but groups still can and do beat it into shape for whatever they're after.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2011, 04:54:22 PM »

For all the 'boardgamey' charges laid against it, D&D still, out of the box, lacks the vital components of a board game. And probably raises another generation to intimately link incoherance and the notion of 'roleplay' together, utterly intertwined. With all the interferance that garners against developing coherant games. To make a coherant game is actually against market.

I wonder if I could announce a design comp somewhere (here?) where you take snakes and ladders and make an RPG from that base, without breaking the flow chart/having dead ends in the flow chart towards the end/win condition. I have no prizes though, except to read entries avidly. On the other hand, I'm curious about how much the idea would be like a chicken bone in the throat?
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mark2v
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« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2011, 04:35:31 AM »

D&D 4th Ed is a strategy game, with strategy game goals and measures of success. 
If you get through the encounter and still have a few healing surges and no one is dead. Congrats that was good use of skills and management of resources. . Exp points for you.
Finding the best way to fiddle your party skills in unexpected ways while overcoming the encounter is another form of success that I think gets less attention than it deserves. Players love to talk about skill combos, figure positioning and fiddly bits. Many players get a great deal of satisfaction from that part of the game.  It is the same personal reward a player gets for a good move in chess or checkers. That satisfaction is a meta effect of the game and not a written part of the system, but it is real none the less. 
I have never been able to mentally jive that part of the system together with a “role playing.”  That’s a discussion that been beat to death already, and not really part of this one.
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Mark 2 V
Callan S.
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« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2011, 03:38:28 PM »

Quote
If you get through the encounter and still have a few healing surges and no one is dead. Congrats that was good use of skills and management of resources.
So if we beat four minions or we beat four dragons, we get the same congrats? The same social salute for either?

Quote
Players love to talk about skill combos, figure positioning and fiddly bits. Many players get a great deal of satisfaction from that part of the game.  It is the same personal reward a player gets for a good move in chess or checkers.
I think if your playing to win, you don't play to have fun, you play to win. If your inclined to have fun while playing to win, then having fun is a side effect of that. Generally when I hear about player satisfaction, it's reversing the priority. Ala 'It's all about the fun'.

Anyway, these things do hinge on written system, because that's the method of determining win or lose. Or, if your making up win conditions, a hard question to ask for anybody is 'If you want to face win/lose conditions, why do you keep playing games where there is such an absence of them that you start making them up?"
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contracycle
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Posts: 2984


« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2011, 09:33:26 PM »

Hmmm...  I think there's room for some nuance in there.  I'm sure people like professional athletes play to win to such an extent that whatever fun they might have had from the sport when they started out is totally lost.  Which is understandable when it's a career.  For hobbyists, though, I think both usually co-exist in varying degrees.  Eevry online, mass-player game I've played has a range among the regulars between the seriously competitive and those who simply enjoy the way the game plays.  Even for people who totally play to win, there must be some means to choose between this game and that, and I expect that is the play experience.  Which I think is an adequate explanation for why competitive players are still found in games like RPG's with fuzzy conditions.
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http://www.arrestblair.org/

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
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