Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 01:25 AM #31
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
ř Ignore ForeverSlayer
Skill Challenges just didn't do it for our group........nuff said.
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Gallant (Lvl 3)
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
ř Ignore epochrpg
When one of the developers announced that "Skill challenges died in a fire" that was probably the thing that sold me on D&D Next more than anything else.
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Magsman (Lvl 14)
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
ř Ignore Minigiant
I prefer skill/social combat over skill challenges.
I hated how skill challenges mandated a certain number of rolls DURING role play.
Either you roll before role play or after. NEVER during.
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But Worlds & Monsters I think is excellent. It explains the design of the 4e story elements from the perspective of the metagame - why the story elements have been crafted as they are, and the sort of play and themes they will support - whereas the tradition in D&D has always been to talk about story only from within the perspective of the fiction.
Even Mearls recent L&L column reflects the same problem - he talks about a GM reasoning from an in-fiction perspctive, or a GM reasoning from a mechanical perspective, but not a GM reasoning about the fiction from a metagame perspective. This last thing is what W&M is good for.
But neither book gives any skill challenge advice.
If the players don't care what happens, then there is no skill challenge, and the GM can just narrate what happens. The flipside is true, too - in my game, if there is no opposition to the PCs from within the gameworld, then there is no need for a skill challenge. It's just free roleplaying. (And plenty of social encounters happen like this in my game.)
While I'm not sure that this is the sort of dimension you are looking for, it is important. It is that narration (that reflects the underlying mechanical unfolding of "N before 3") which pushes the players to do things - non-diplomancers to nevertheless talk, desparate sorcerers to try and speed up their carpet by catalysing elemental fire, dwarven Warpriests to shove their hands into forges.
A damage-based system would have to generate similar pressures. In BW, the Duel of Wits does this because both sides are inflicting losses on each others' body of argument. But, in a reforging scenario, how do you frame the forge and artefact as inflicting damage on the PC? Because without this, there is no pressure that will produce dramatic calls.
I followed 3E, GMed a tiny bit of it, but never got into it in any serious way (for reasons I've talked about in other threads).
And JC is correct that the original OA was a big breakthrough for me - it was the first example I encountered of an RPG that tightly integrates PCs and NPCs/monsters into a common, thematically-laden fictional situation, via both build and action resolution rules.
In particular, I don't see a complex skill check as having the metagame-driven narration-of-complications dynamic that a skill challenge has. It's more about succeeding simply by accumulating a set of successful tasks.
Defender (Lvl 8)
Defender (Lvl 8)
Specifically, failures of skill checks led to complications in other parts of an adventure. Whereas in the 4E games that I played it, they literally just became accumulating 6 before 3. Obviously, it just wasn't run well, because I can see how the way I play seems to be the same as you do, but I didn't need the rules from 4E to come up with it on my own, and I think the base rules in the core books do the idea a tremendous disservice.
Last edited by Mercutio01; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 03:28 AM.
In 4e I was able to describe the PC as suffering burns. The wizard cast Remove Affliction (using some Fundamental Ice as the material component) and the PC spent some weeks resting.
In 3E/PF damage and healing are both more particularised. Cure X Wound spells are different from the various categories of Restoration spell, and then there is Heal, Regeneration etc. Plus there is a very wide range of conditions, with various possibilities for duration. If sticking your hands into a forge doesn't invoke these rules in some fashion or other, that doesn't seem right. But which ones should it invoke? I don't know that the rulebooks give especially clear guidance.
But I have never seen anything in any prior version of D&D that suggests that the appropriate narration, in response to a failed Diplomacy check, is for the NPC to acknowledge the reasonableness of the PC's request but explain that s/he cannot go along with it because s/he has sworn an oath that prevents her.
Or, to generalise this, I have never seen it suggested in any prior version of D&D (nor in Rolemaster, HERO or RQ) that the response to a failed check might be to describe the PC as having succeeded at his/her task - in this case making a reasonable offer that is well-recieved - but nevertheless failing to get what s/he wants because of some newly-introduced complication of the situation. Whereas this is pretty central to skill challenge adjudication and narration (the rulebooks don't call this out specifically - as I've said upthread, their advice on this is poor - but they give examples that show the technique at work, for example the sample of play in the Rules Compendium).
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