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Thread: The One Hour D&D Game
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 05:54 PM #31
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Regarding the discussion between Encounter XP budgets and Adventure XP budgets, I have to chime in that this is a very 4e distinction. In 4e, if I had one 1,000-XP encounter for a party of five first-level characters, they'd have a very tough time with it. But if I threw ten seperate 100-XP encounters at them, they would wipe them up without breaking a sweat.
Why? Encounter powers, encounter healing, and short rests. My experience of 4e has been that anything less than a well-balanced encounter is basically a meaningless cakewalk, because it costs the PCs nothing in resources-- at the end of an easy encounter plus short rest, they have exactly the same resources as at the beginning, with a few more XP. Maybe one or two characters has to spend a healing surge, or maybe not. Imagine your 4e PCs taking on two guards outside the door to the citadel. All they have to do is throw down all their encounter powers on the two poor guards then take a five-minute breather. Aside from concerns about making noise and having an alarm raised, this is basically free XP for them.
I think what Mearls is talking about is a system where you can choose to wage a war of attrition against your PCs, where healing and big powers aren't as easy to come by, so those ten 100-XP encounters would actually use up PC resources to approximately the same extent that one 1,000-XP encounter would. This also means that traps would return to being more meaningful scattered throughout a dungeon as opposed to parts of a set-piece encounter. I strongly support the design ideology that Mearls lays out in the article, and I really hope that 5e follows this in its basic game.
I also think such a game would be much more attractive to new players. On Saturday night I spent a few hours helping four brand-new players through 4e character creation. All we did was race, class, and at-will powers, and it still took a long time since I had to explain every little quirky rule that came up. We barely had time for a very simple "test combat" before bedtime. I just kept wishing for a simpler system so I could have helped them make characters and run through a whole adventure in a couple hours. I can't help but believe that that would be a play experience much more likely to hook them into the game.
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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 05:57 PM #32
Magsman (Lvl 14)
I just don't see how you could even fit character creation, talking to the quest NPCs, exploration to the adventure site, exploration of the adventure site, a few little battles, and a boss battle all in an hour. I can barely get through most single player rpg video game intro in an hour without rushing.
I love the goal. I just don't think it is possible as stated.
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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 05:59 PM #33
Defender (Lvl 8)
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 06:02 PM #34
Superhero (Lvl 15)
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My personal target nowadays is to fit an adventure in an evening, including characters generation. If they can make it happen in an hour then then better! I can take care of adding complexity or just extending the adventure to reach the end of the evening
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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 06:02 PM #35
A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)
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I don't think that necessarily follows. TV shows manage to build and release tension in 20-40 minute bursts on a weekly basis. I don't think it's too much to see that the collective decision-making/rules-referencing portion of the game take about as much or less time than commercial breaks in an hour-long TV drama.Originally Posted by kitsune9
I think the main choice is going to be between speed and verisimilitude or options, not speed and storyline.
Take the OA rules in 4e and 3e: you provoke if you move to a square adjacent to an enemy. Provoking means that, if the monster has the actions available, they can opt to attack you, rolling to hit and dealing damage before your turn resumes.
It's a tactical option that certainly adds verisimilitude (running past a guy isn't usually a safe move!), but that slows down that game to a sudden crawl. That crawl might be worthwhile for groups that want that tactical dimension, or that realistic combat, but it's not always worth it for those who like a more cinematic game.
So the choice for a "fast game" would be to drop them -- they spiral the duration of a turn into the stratosphere. But that does remove some tactical elements, and some realism-based elements from the game. So which do you want? 5e sounds like it might want to give you both. YAY.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 06:02 PM #36
Lama (Lvl 13)
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 06:08 PM #37
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
In fact, I kind of want to give it a try now. It sounds like fun.
Last edited by Dausuul; Monday, 19th March, 2012 at 06:12 PM.
Originally Posted by Agent Elrond
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 06:16 PM #38
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
That's what I meant about it not being the whole game striving for 1 hour length adventures. Like if you were playing the game with a bunch of complex options and battles and stuff, I doubt they will make a game that plays the entire thing in 1 hour. (But it seems they will probably pay attention to minimizing "drag" as much as possible even in complex games.)
But the option, for those that want it, to have a stripped down quick running game should be there at the core.
This is something I really like, because it also speaks to the idea that it doesn't have to be binary. Hopefully we won't have to choose either long adventures or short adventures, but we can tailor them to the speed/styles we want.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 06:23 PM #39
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 06:30 PM #40
The main obstacle to running shorter games, in my experience, is ourselves. Most of us (rpg tabletop gamers) get together to "shoot the breeze," relax with friends, and game somewhere in there, so that even during solid gaming time, someone might break up the table with a funny moment in-game, crack a joke about a cinematic move someone did in-game, or (I'm worst for this) making a 20-second aside about how similar some gaming situation is to something from TV, movies, or real life that I saw recently.
Also, if we don't spend much time looking on our character sheets for skill scores, verifying how ability damage has altered four or five stats, or checking the wording of a moderately complex feat, then we can be rather surprised how much gaming we can squeeze in.
Me, I want a D&D option (that says "D&D" on the cover, to quell skittishness) that I can break out to new players who have never played an RPG before, when I say, "Have you ever played D&D before?" and they "no", I can say "would you like to play? It only takes about an hour to show you how. we'll play a game."
When I say, "about four hours" to play anything, people tend to glaze over -- even world of warcraft or poker can be played in an hour's time.
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