The One Hour D&D Game

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  1. #1
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    The One Hour D&D Game

    New L&L is up:

    Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (The One-Hour D&D Game)

    The design goals don't seem bad to me. I was just thinking I'd like to see a system that could support both one, large fight or many, smaller fights over the course of one adventure.


  • #2
    Sounds excellent!

  • #3
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)

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    One hour is a bit of a short time frame, but I absolutely want this type of game. In fact, if 5e doesn't really support streamlined gameplay where an adventure can happen in a couple hours, I won't buy it, or buy into it.

    I already have two versions of D&D that are intricate and feature detailed and time-consuming combat and non-combat resolution (3.5 and 4e). I don't want another one like that.

    I want something with the simplicity of Basic, but with the options of 3e or 4e.
    Glamour is a rocky road!

  • #4
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    I thought this was an excellent article. I agree with it 100%, especially with the bit that noted that this should not be the only way to play.

  • #5
    The one hour game is really a stress test. A good GM can cram more into a session than an average GM. If a good GM can make a one hour game work, then the average, tired, adult, weekday night GM can run a satisfying session in the two-and-a-half hours they have to run.

    But, yeah, a great idea.


  • #6
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    I think the simple 1 hour adventure is a great building block. You can add complexity and tactical modules to the base as desired depending on the desires of the group and the time available.
    Death is for amateurs -Charlie Sheen

  • #7
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

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    It does help that they were running a party of 3 players and one GM.

    I've always found a small group runs through challenges faster. You have several advantages for this;

    -- less herding cats as it takes less time for the group to discuss and evolve a course of action
    -- less players usually means the GM has cut down the size of the opposition. This reduces the overall size and length of combat.
    -- interaction scenes and problem solving are more to the point with only one rogue in the party it follows that the thief leads on the puzzle scene and one of the three would have led on the interaction (who ever was more the party leader).
    -- this is 1st level Basic where the Wizard has 1 spell to cast in the entire game night (if it is sleep then it can be a battle ender or a charm then it can be an interaction ender). There is really only one main active player in the fights (fighter) while the mage might toss a dagger or two and the thief is likely maneuvering on the first round or two to get in a 'backstab' unless this rule has been modified.
    -- if this is a basic module (like they used to produce at TSR) then the battle space is usually pretty bare with no environmental hazards. It is pretty much move and hit the things.

    Also, this is not a 5e gameplay.

    It is Mearls usage of 1981 Basic with some of his ideas that are a version of what might be in 5e or tests of ideas.

    The aim is good but I would not extrapolate conclusions from the test without knowing how similar the two objects are that the one is testing (a bad test is worse than no test because it can lead to false assumptions or beliefs).

    I mean, I've run battles in PF with no terrain where the players (group of 9 players plus me as GM) basically tell me there actions and destroy the opposition in a single round (total time is around 10 min to get their plan and 5 min to resolve).

    I've also run battles like Sat night which featured the opposition holding a hill with 10 defenders with armour and shields, 3 ninja (disguised initially as warriors), 3 cannon raining fire every other round on a group that was pinned down (inside a cave where they depended on their light source for seeing and the opponents/ratlings/skaven had darkvision). Two thirds of the players were in the rescue group (they had played the week before) and the other third of the group (missed that week for various reason) along with 3 NPCs were in the group pinned down needing rescue. The group pinned down were at a lower level trapped amongst rocks and one of the NPCs was an enemy/rival of one of the players in the rescue group.

    I had one other element to drop on the players as 'trap' (a pair of doomwheels based on Warhammer Skaven like the guns were basically Jezzarails) but figured the players already had their hands full and didn't need an extra wave.

    This was a big complex battle that took 5 full turns for the players (with a 6th fudged to mop up) to play out over 2.5 hours (using PF rules). There was plenty of variety and enough battle space for people that were stealth types to move with shadows. There was a variety of opposition types so even people with AoE attacks covered and blasted only a portion of the opposition meaning everyone had opportunities. There was even the final problem when some of the players turned on their own NPC commander for leading them into such a bad spot and the rival player having to make a choice on whether to support his companions or his duties to church and justice.

  • #8
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

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    It's been a LONG time since I've been able to sit down with a group and complete a short adventure in even 4 hours... I HIGHLY support this goal.

  • #9
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    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    Block Caster

    Ideally, focusing on the adventure as the basic unit of DM design also helps us cover different campaign styles.
    I REALLY enjoy this particular quote from the Mearls article because I agree with this concept design-wise. 4e was explicitly built around using the Encounter as the basic unit of DM design - which I though it did an excellent job of - but did skew and limit aspects of the game outside of this narrow focus.

    By making the Adventure itself the basic unit, it allows for a wider use of the Three Pillars (Combat, Exploration, Interaction) to work together as an organic whole along with the rules necessary to facilitate this style of gameplay.

    If this iS their De Facto Mission Statement of what they hope to achieve in DNDNEW then it is exactly the kind of thing I need to hear to garner my interest.

    Basically, this sold me on giving it a chance when, at the moment, my gaming group and I are quite happy sticking to our 4e campaign.


  • #10
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    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

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    I support the goal.

    I just don't know how you can play an adventurer hook in an hour with more than 2 PCs without the game being ridiculously simple and boring.
    My beard is hairy.

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