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Thread: The One Hour D&D Game
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 10:17 PM #81
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Reading over the posts here, there seems to be a slant to some that I don't totally get. That is, some folks seem to be reading Mike Mearls's original L&L post to mean that "one-hour adventures" are some sort of requirement, or mechanical benchmark, or fundamental unit. Folks are then saying "Well there's no way to play in an hour because of RPing and table talk," or "One-hour adventures would be too limiting to my play-style" and things like that.
I don't think MM has any intention of making one-hour adventures any sort of requirement. All I think he means when he says he wants the system to be able to support them is that they should be possible. A one-hour adventure in 4e, including character creation and multiple combats, isn't possible. (Maybe if you're playing with a small group of very experienced players who agree to speed combat along as much as possible.) Functionally impossible, let's say. All Mike is saying, as far as I can tell, is that the ability to do that, to have that option, is missing from the current version of D&D, and he'd like the upcoming version to have that capability. I don't think he means every DMG is going to ship with a stopwatch.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 10:21 PM #82
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 10:28 PM #83
Magsman (Lvl 14)
It has some possible implications regarding the design of the overall system that might lead to a degraded experience for some players. If the game starts off a super-simple, super-fast game, it can take significant work to make it a complex, casual-paced game. Could, might, maybe, etc. But it's a valid concern.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 10:31 PM #84
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 10:32 PM #85
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
"It is a difference in designing for scenes vs. designing for Acts.""Each of the 3 'adventures' would be chapters in a larger arc and each of those play sessions can be part of a larger arc and so on."
Just like 4e play was a string of Encounters linked together to tell a single story, DNDN will string Adventures together to achieve the same effect. The (important) differences will be that the Adventure baseline includes more events or options than does the 4e Encounter.
Look at his example - in about an hour (for the moment let's not include character creation (as it won't happen EVERY session will it?) and the normal side chatter that makes these games a social experience as well) his players characters:
- Bought a treasure map from a halfling. (Interaction)
- traveled through a forest to the purported location of an orc lord's tomb. (Exploration)
- Dodged a few traps in the tomb and solved a puzzle needed to gain access to the inner sanctum. (Exploration)
- Battled skeletons that ambushed them. (Combat)
- And then defeated the vengeful spirit of the orc lord and the animated statues that guarded his tomb. (Interaction (?)/Combat)
- With the orc lord laid to his final rest, the characters claimed his magical axe and a small cache of gems. (XP rewards)
Now, is this the end of the story as a whole? I'd wager probably not. It is merely one piece in on ongoing narrative. An Encounter was a very narrowly defined piece but an Adventure is going to be a much broader one.
If you look at the 4e system you can see that it is chock full of Encounter related rules because the entire premise is that Encounters are going to be the bread and butter of your gameplay. They decided that the Encounter was king and went with that.
What excites me is thinking about how making the Adventure king will change everything from character creation (and how characters interact mechanically with the game world) to combat and exploration (and everything else) across the board.
I also think that we can take his "D&D in an hour" premise with a pinch of salt. Maybe those no-nonsense Uber-Design Gurus can do all that in an hour but if it took me and my friends two hours or even an evenings play to accomplish all of the above then I'd be a happy camper.
P.S. Just in case I wasn't 100% clear the real game changer is making the Adventure the basic component in DNDN and building the ruleset to reflect that premise.
Last edited by Caster; Monday, 19th March, 2012 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Clarity
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 10:33 PM #86
Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)
I don't think anyone is saying that the game is forcing one hour games. Many are just guessing that the only way a hour hour adventure is possible is if the core is very very bare of rules and complexity.
If so, there are serious implications to this.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 10:41 PM #87
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Of course, very early on, most XP was from treasure, and that was tied directly to what treasure table the monster you fought had.
But the salient issue is that XP wasn't always an "encounter design" tool. It was a reward, nothing more or less. Creating "fair" encounters wasn't really the point. If the random encounter table says you encounter "Orcs", then you roll for how many. It could be 1. Or it could be hundreds.
In 3.5, we got the CR system, but it didn't work very well. It was confusing, and general game balance problems made it rather superfluous.
XP as measure of challenge was new for 4E. And I think it works quite well. But it relies on a few important assumptions: an encounter will have total XP of (standard monster XP of level [party level +/- 4]) * party size, that monsters will not deviate more than 7 levels from the party, that monsters are present and free to act from the start, and that parties will get short rests between them. Those are important assumptions, because it forms a context the monster will be used in; how big of an encounter it'll be part of.
The problem in the L&L article is with trying to generalize that to Adventure XP pools, and have that XP value make sense whether the monster is alone, or in a group with a bunch of others. And I don't think that really works. Once you take away that encounter context, a simple XP amount is not a good measure of challenge. Adding in some kind of "overhead" XP, counted against that Adventure pool, for additional monsters per encounter could work, but then we're basically back to Encounter-based design, which is what a lot of traditional D&D players don't like, and what I think Mike was trying to avoid.
In addition, if that Overhead XP is purely DM judgement, then I don't think there's much point in having the system. If you standardize on assumptions of monsters per encounter and encounters per adventure, then you're basically just back to 4E-style encounter design.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 11:08 PM #88
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
That's one of the big shifts of the game (along with giving Clerics healing spells every single level, rather than just 1 and 4th-6th) that didn't look obvious at first.
Because XP was largely tied to treasure, and you didn't get all that much from just fighting, you tried to avoid wandering monsters (and unnecessary fights).
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 11:16 PM #89
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 12:08 AM #90
Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)
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