(D&D 4e) Would need some ideas

Started by mozartprado, July 11, 2011, 10:48:47 AM

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I'm from Brasil so if my English gets somehow confusing I can clarify if asked... I have ran D&D games for long time, also Vampire, Shadowrun, etc, just now I got in touch with some nice Indie stuff... sad its 2009 material but I wasn't really aware of those nice stuff, FIASCO and A Penny for my Thought, delightful games to play with people that don't actually play RPG and as I saw great devices of brainstorming and dunno even how to explain but quite mind opening technique... quite a fan but not the poit here.

Some stuff I already use for loooong time, maybe I should share, the people that introduced me to those games thought was nice the changes I used in D&D and I decided to share and ask for some other improvements...

The 1st and oldest change was not to use XP... just too much wuss, never had much complains about the way I managed this, usually the team upgrades each 2-3-4 sessions depending on the campaign pace and a bit over player quality, usually not much since never allowed one to be 1 lvl higher for more than 1-2 sessions.

The combat was an issue and then blessing in this 4e, at start demanded too much from me to track (3e later I found was even harder, I was sticking with AD&D yet... when you spend money on a book... at least me I suppose I'm gonna use it long time... but that's an issue for the D&D4e forum :) ) then this extra effort gave us more time to role play using no combat rule (we have to improvise when need some dunno con kill from rogue or whatever) and made us pace the game like 1 session full combat and then sessions full RP, sometimes even more combat railroaded but not many time, we just don't like to feel like we must do 1 - 1, so sometimes I just screw any rule of mine even... even when just for show.

Other is acquisition for magic items and gold or whatever, since 1st time I saw DnD I couldn't imagine a true Paladin or cleric or even a robin hood style rogue (which would be all those good fellas we play as heroes) just pillaging... most of the times the players need some clarification on those beforehand so they understand that its my vision of the stuff... of course we have the not so heroic alignments so some might steal but if the paladin ever realizes he would just point to authorities or punish the guy other way, mostly it is seen more as role playing feature other than real treasure hoarding when done by any not so good character or (rare but had many) evil characters, some really can manage to hide themselves in sheep clothes. I just give the items through quest completion style, even if they don't really see the quest, sometimes they just come to a city and their deeds are so glamorous sang by the bards that some influential figures give some gifts, usually each stuff can plant another story seed but whatever players don't need to care if that orc they just killed was actually carrying a magic item so much, sometimes it is obvious but works in a much more drastic way, like with named villains and such... its quite nice when the player remember the NPC that they vanquished and quite honor me by actually carrying a token from it, even when they don't really wield the item... had a character that carried the great axe from an Orc chieftain only as a trophy even the character having the knowledge of the power of the item... of course he got even more from it... holy avenger...

Background development, I never ask too much for players to start playing, I know they wont really make good characters for the 1st session, so they start with what they can supply, even if only the "Grunk, a barbarian from a village in the northern mountains" kinda stuff, usually through the campaign time this barbarian become material for novels... just took the time for the player to know better the scenario and really devoted to the character in question.

What I was intending here is about this point, I was thinking to start making some shared storytelling to upgrade the story development, somehow like fiasco I imagined the player setting a memory from his character and the other players and even myself would play his memory, so the change in his story become really vivid and the outcome could be better used by myself, I just wanna brainstorm the mechanics for it... the mechanics for the benefits I don't think will differ from what I already use, like just adding some extra knowledge from some obscure events to the player (that he usually share with the team)... so if the team gets this insight together wouldn't soil the tavern night to role play the storytelling (IC) that some quite like, and would take this responsibility from my hands from when the player don't like to tell story or just not good at it.

As I said I use this baseline in each system I ever used so the mechanics I will use for any other, no D&D4e knowledge is really important... I use to brag that not really important even to run a D&D4e game (or by statement any other system)

Please give me some ideas about this... I came to this forum since its Indie based so I hope that you guys are much more used with this kinda mechanics.

I don't intend to really run like FIASCO since it must yet keep pace like D&D, but the idea is like, should I consider require other players making inputs over the player memory? for a penny of course... I'm quite new to those ideas even though when I first heard the idea felt like damn its what I ever thought just without the game mechanics I'm used to...


Hi Mozartprado,

It's a little bit too bad that you've opted out of the XP system, though I know some groups have also done the same - one thing that's really interesting that 4E has is the Quest rewards, which are a great way to play with story-developing play. 

I like to have players have Quests like, "Earn the respect of Markus, the Dwarven Knight",  "Find out whether Allison the Rogue was part of the Assassin's Guild that killed your sister" and similar.  These set up fun motivations for the player characters to spend time interacting, investigating, etc.

That said, do you still use Action Points in your combat?  If so, you may want to allow players to spend an Action Point outside of combat to have a flashback related to the situation at hand - giving them the ability to show a scene that provides some change to the current situation - for example, showing that they have family or friends in the current town they're going to ("Actually, my brother is a high cleric at the temple here.  We're not on the best terms, but he'll help me out.")  or having knowledge dealing with the current situation.   You could allow players to get a free success or completely overcome a Skill Challenge, if you use those, as well.



Didn't really though of using action points this way, usually we only use for combat... could be good to.

But the idea to share the development like I said what you think? Quite need some mechanics that would help the players to take control of the flashback so we could actually play the flashback, giving them a full immersion over the memory... thus much more bonus with the plot twist, since a mechanic input would be just adding a single NPC (the cleric brother) the immersion could earn a insight about how the city was some time before, maybe even not in the character lifetime, maybe the flashback was about the adventures of his father... this way they have a deep insight that I can yet change a lot, adding some interesting extras.

The problem is to have some functional system to help the players to take control of the game, so they have a bit of the fun of storytelling with not so much weight over their shoulders... quite like those systems mentioned before like "a Penny for my Thoughts" or FIASCO. Found another post here that might be useful since he developing a card game to help develop this, dunno if would really help but its a try.

The quests I mentioned I don't tell the players all quests they might have, some are obvious like when an NPC "hires" them, even not offering actual payment, and some that they don't even realize like interfering with some meta plots from the scenario with their actions... the idea of uses for action point gonna make some experiences even to give them a way to input my story line (when I read your post I linked to M&M way to use their "action points", dun recall the name, that could change a bit the game and mixing with those ideas from those new (at least for me) games that I mentioned.

Hopefully upgrading the game experience a bit further...


QuoteThe problem is to have some functional system to help the players to take control of the game, so they have a bit of the fun of storytelling with not so much weight over their shoulders

There's another game that does a pretty easy way of making players have some narrative control without becoming too complicated - Apocalypse World does this thing where successful rolls either:

a) Give the players the right to answer certain questions about the world/setting/situation and they are true for the setting or;

b) Give the players the right to ask certain questions to the GM, who must answer and those answers are true for the setting.

Maybe something like that?  And playing around with the Easy/Average/Hard skill DCs would be a fun way to do that.  It would be easy and give each player more setting input in the fields where their characters are more skilled and capable- "Of course the ranger knows more about the woods!  He's got Nature training." etc.

How about an example of a scene in play you've had that you wish the players could have more control/input, or one where you tried and it didn't go a smoothly as you wished?   That would help a lot.



I might suggest just using the 4e mechanic for skill challenges. Use a current skill or create one and when the PCs have attained enough success, let them have narrative control.


I don't really use much skill challenge unless its necessary, was intending to try the action point idea for out of combat minor inputs and gonna try read apocalypse world, they already started to give me some ideas also, some tried the FIASCO game with me we gonna have to experiment anyway, our concern is about the ones that don't have any experience running the game, so they can experience this but in a more easy (even if free form) way... anyway we would be just reviving memories even if they manage to come with an epic (not level related meaning of the word) session this wouldn't change reality just give some insights for the next few sessions (and gimme even more info about what they want to see coming... than they already give just by writing a few more lines at their background and talking with me about)