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Thread: The One Hour D&D Game
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 02:52 PM #11
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 02:57 PM #12
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Problem with this is there's a huge difficulty difference between some amount of XP spent on a single fight, and that same amount spread across individual monsters encountered one at a time. So I don't think a simple per-adventure XP pool accomplishes much of anything. If you want balanced fights, it really has to be per-encounter design.Originally Posted by Mike Mearls
But, old-school D&D isn't about balanced fights. And if you don't care about balanced fights, then there's little point in having an XP pool at all.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 02:58 PM #13
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
I think 'encounter' vs 'adventure' focus is a matter of presentation though. I also think that speed of combat is more a matter of tuning than anything else (and I don't see with 3e or at least 4e that anything outside of combat is slow). You could make combat fast in 4e with basically just tuning the existing rules a little differently. As for XP budget for adventure, I already do that. In fact it is a well-discussed concept here and in other forums at this point, so not even notable.
I think my point is really that I don't get why we have to have a whole entirely new set of core rules to accomplish this goal. It is overkill. Might be a nice way to sell more books, but I'm getting tired of total rewrites of the system for reasons that aren't compelling.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 03:01 PM #14
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I doubt I'll ever find a one hour game interesting as anything else than an introduction to an actual adventure.
That said, I'm more interested in Mearl's proposition of allowing for a variable number of combats in a single adventure. When I GM, I like to have a flexible flow and use as many combats as seem appropriate, that means I sometimes have one big battle, sometimes I have two setup battles and a larger finale and, sometimes, I just have several skirmishes leading to a complex social encounter at the end.
Where the system fails, I believe, is how it handles the refreshing of abilities. If I have several skirmishes before the final complex social encounter in a single day, its alright, but if it is meant to represent several ambushes during a journey to meet some NPC, the dynamics are completely different, instead of small ambushes, it has to be several complex and demanding battles or the PCs just nuke their way through. So, Mike's suggestion to have an XP budget for the adventure is interesting, but I believe it fails to address the bigger problem with the number of combats per adventure.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 03:05 PM #15
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
It sounds so simple, but playing a game in an hour and getting something meaningful done and feeling satisfied is really quite a radical idea. I have a hardtime imagining it happening. Would be nice to shoot for that though.
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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 03:09 PM #16
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
That's a fantastic benchmark. I hope they can achieve it.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 03:21 PM #17
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The one hour adventure sounds hard to do, but if you've played BECMI (or probably OD&D) you would understand that it is perfectly feasible. Back when:
- Character sheets were on one page and you even had room to draw a picture of your character.
- There were only one or two rule books, and people knew the rules or learned them quickly.
- Combat was quick, without the need for a battle grid to adjudicate rules like flanking or opportunity attacks.
- The DM had to make more decisions on the fly, and couldn't rely on the rules as much.
The downsides are obvious: less detail, fewer options, less tactical gameplay, and more of a chance of a DM making bad decisions.
But a modular system would allow all that detail if you wanted it, and still allow players to master the rules if the DM doesn't try to use too many optional systems at the beginning.
I like where Mearls' head is at. Then again, I always have, it's just the execution of his ideas by his team that leaves something to be desired sometimes.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 03:25 PM #18
Lama (Lvl 13)
This sounds great, but it runs the risk of being anticlimactic. One on end of the gaming experience, you'll have very fast games, but no sense of tension that builds up and the other end, you have combat grind where you're slogging through hp just to end the thing. The tension was there, but now you've gone waaaaaaaaaaaay past it.
I want my combats to be fast, scenarios to play out fairly quickly, but I need tension to build up in the mechanics of the game that gives BBEG "staying power" so that they won't blow us out of the water in the first round or for us to do the same.
It's a tough order to fulfill. My idea of that "perfect combat" length is going to be different than someone else's, but I think what they are doing now for the next iteration is definitely a step in the right direction.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 03:39 PM #19
Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)
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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 03:43 PM #20
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
A scene is, usually, some set number of actors interacting with each other, essentially simultaneously. In a combat encounter, an XP pool helps ensure that the NPCs are balanced with the PCs.
But over the course of an adventure? Without assumptions on the distribution of XP (which Mike did not make, and it seems to be the point of his idea to not make), I'm not seeing the value.
But what are you getting out of that XP budget, aside from predictable advancement rates? Is it really getting you much in the way of building balanced challenges? Can you spread that XP across an adventure and be confident of a balanced challenge? Because that's what encounter XP pools get in 4E, for the most part. Follow the encounter building guidelines, use that XP, and as long as you don't do weird stuff with terrain, etc., it's quite likely that you'll end up with a balanced encounter. Do that with Adventure XP pool, and the difficulty will vary wildly between "big battle" adventures, and "a monster in each room" adventures. What is that pool getting you then? Are you making assumptions about the adventure structure when you use that pool?As for XP budget for adventure, I already do that. In fact it is a well-discussed concept here and in other forums at this point, so not even notable.
Ultimately, a adventure XP pool is like an encounter XP pool, but only if there's an assumption that "wave" encounter designs are just as challenging, for the same XP, as "all at once" designs. That's obviously not true. 4E's DMG2 discusses wave design, and what it boils down to is that there should be more XP in the pool in an encounter with waves, but it's really a judgement call. That encounter pool gives a reasonable baseline for 2 waves, but past that, it's more DM judgement than rules. And once that happens, there's little point to having those rules.