D&D Next (5E) With Respect to the Door and Expectations....The REAL Reason 5e Can't Unite the Base - Page 13




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  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fifth Element View Post
    Whereas in 3E the disparity just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
    The disparity just gets bigger and bigger in 4e. Which was half my point. The fact the disparity starts smaller in 3e and gets larger (much, much larger) is really academic, as once the disparity gets larger than 10-15 there's no point in the untrained rolling. Both systems have the exact same flaw: non-specialists sit out and play assistant to the specialists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Unless someone gains skill training, (through feat or, more normally, multiclass feat) yes. Are you also prepared to accept now that this is very different from 3.X where the disparity in skills between trained and untrained rises every level?
    So... your argument is 4e is different because you can drop a feat to remove/lower the disparity and you couldn't in 3e and that the disparity doesn't increase in level?
    ....
    Except I just said it totally does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Also are you prepared to accept that 4e is literally the only edition of D&D where there is a decent way of bringing the skill disparity down for a non-class skill by investing resources? In 1e it's almost impossible. 2e it depends on the NWP. 3e you'd have to buy ranks in a cross-class skill and are limited to half level rather than level. 4e you simply spend a feat for a new trained skill or gain a new skill through a multiclass feat.
    No I'm not. Because the disparity doesn't really go away. Both editions are equally bad at the disparity. This is not a "3e skills are so much better than 4e argument" because it 3e weren't. There was a little more flexibility in 3e (you could choose NOT to put max ranks in certain skills) but that was very unlikely to happen unless the DM broke out the house rule beat stick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Plus powers (normally but not exclusively utility powers) plus items plus class features, stances, and utility powers which can change the way the skill is used.
    Which are neutral since the specialist can also take them making their bonus even more obscene.

    I'm mostly arguing skills in 4e didn't work. That they didn't really do anything to the skill system for 4e other than swap ranks for +1/2 level, change the 4x ranks at 1st level to the much higher +5 training, and reduce the number of skills. The developers gave skills a quick once over when they did SAGA and stopped refining and fixing.
    4e skills stand out as the sore thumb of the edition, the weakest link in an otherwise pretty strong and tight chain. Which, in turn, killed Skill Challenges. Had the skill system been more balanced and tighter there wouldn't be all the talk of removing Skill Challenges.
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  • #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester Canuck View Post
    4e was a good many things, but unifying was not one of them. There needs to be a step back. Moving forward from 4e to 4e evolved (despite already being tried and called "Essentials") would have just divided 4e's audience and not attracted many old players. Like any franchise, be it comics or movie or fiction, when the audience shrinks and splinters there needs to be a return to basics and the franchise's roots. That's just the way it is.
    The only franchise I can think of as an example right now is Batman, which has gone "back to basics" in movie form twice and comics four or so times. But that's not a good example as it equates 4e with Batman & Robin and even the most fanatical 4e hater wouldn't go THAT far.
    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Nah.
    OD&D = Adam West.
    1e and 2e = Batman and Batman Returns
    3e and 3.5 = Batman Forever and Batman and Robin
    4e = Batman Begins



    And Batman and Robin wasn't a reboot. 4e certainly was

    And yes, 3.5 was a different edition to 3.0. It changed the shape of a horse ffs. (Essentials isn't a different edition - you can have essentials 4e alongside regular 4e and not even notice).
    Well, the argument I was making was that reboots go back to basics, removing some of the changes and additions that have accrued over time. Which is very much 5th Edition where they're pulling back many of the additions of 3e and 4e for a very OD&D feel. 5e is very emblematic of the desire to return to the source, not just going back to the last time things worked but to the very early days.
    For Batman that usually means going back to the early Detective Comics stories for inspiration and other Year One tales. But I was explicitly hesitant to do so because I did not want to imply 4e was Batman & Robin, as that would be needlessly insulting.
    And then you went there. Classy.

    There's a similar drive with Bond movies, where they often reinvent with a new actor when the old starts to sag, often stripping away the gadgets and initially focusing on the man.
    Star Trek has done this twice. When Voyager failed they went back to basics with Enterprise, and when Nemesis failed they rebooted the whole franchise.
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  • #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herschel View Post
    AD&D Fourth Edition = Primus/System of a Down
    Well, just to remind us that there is a lot good coming out of 4th Edition, err, I mean System of a Down...
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMKmQmkJ9gg&feature=related]Meytal Cohen - Toxicity - YouTube[/ame]
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  • #124
    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    The difference is in the fiction. Each skill check in the skill challenge was binary. But each skill check was used to do something. And each successful outcome in the skill challenge (and for that matter each failure) changes the gameworld. Those don't go away just because what you were trying to do overall failed.
    But this is true in any situation where multiple skill checks are required.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    To pick an example, imagine a skill challenge for a jail break that requires six successes before three failures. Your first success or two will take you all out of your cells before they sound the alarm. Your fifth will probably take you to the main gates - six and you can get out without fighting (the XP value will be about the same either way). Depends how it unfolds.
    Uhm how is this any different than if I was playing 3.x and I tried to get the guard to leave our cell with bluff... then another player tried to pick the lock and then another one of us moves silently and scouts the way out to avoid other guards... two- three successes and we are out of our cells before they sound the alarm. The player scouting ahead uses perception to watch out for guard patrols and we are at the main gate... and so on. I'm not seeing the difference except in that SC's have set a hard limit on how many failed skill checks constitute a failed attempt as opposed to an organic progression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Fail the skill challenge with two successes and you're downstairs in the prison and out of your cells - but for weapons have the one truncheon you grabbed off the guard who sounded the alarm. Fail at five and you're probably in the main courtyard having collected your own weapons and can either fight the guards head on - or try forcing the gate open under fire and running like buggery.
    Again, not seeing the difference... this is how I've always run skill checks. IMO, this has more to do with a DM having an organic style of cause and effect with skill checks than with the structure of skill challenges themselves. It doesn't seem like anything inherent to the mechanics of a SC brings this about... and in fact many of WotC's own SC's run counter to this example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Now both cases are failures. But I'm pretty sure you'd agree that in the two success case the party is up a creek, but in the five success case the party is in a relatively nice position. Because that's where they got to in the fluff before all hell broke loose.
    But what do SC mechanics do to support or enhance this? How is this different from running a series of skill checks? Where complications arise because of failed checks? Again this seems more like a DM style thing than anything to do with the actual SC mechanics.
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  • #125
    Quote Originally Posted by Manbearcat View Post
    Pass/Fail as mechanical resolution. Pass/fail mapping to the fiction (unless you're rigidly adhering to process simulation) can mean any number of interesting complications when resolving a chase, etc (see my post in Pemerton's thread). Failing a ride check to elude pursuit doesn't have to mean you fall off the horse. It could mean that a nigh impassable canyon manifests over the next ridge, your horse goes lame due to tearing a tendon, and on and on. Please see that thread for reference on resolving this. Only if you adhere to bild's rigid process simulation of binary results and have the fiction follow them (climb the tree or fall out of it) does the scope of the fiction and the corresponding decision-points narrow. I understand that this is jarring and badwrongfun for strict process simulationist gamers. But just because it is jarring and isn't fun for them doesn't mean that other's don't enjoy it and it doesn't mean that their fiction isn't rendered dynamic through this out of combat resolution framework.
    I'm still not seeing what about SC rules support or enable this anymore that another system with a DM who chooses to layer fiction in a less "causal" style? I see no difference in your example above than with an example of a 3.x fighter failing a climb check... failing on the roll to climb doesn't have to mean he lost his grip... it could mean rocks crumbled under his grasp, or a flock of bats suddenly burst forth from an unseen cave startling him and making him fall. I guess my big disconnect is that this doesn't seem to have anything to do with the actual mechanics of the game and more to do with the type of playstyle (as far as genre and fiction are concerned) thet the DM and group agree to.
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  • #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinBahamut View Post
    Very well, then, if you are set on this idea of compromise... Prove to me that you actually want to make a compromise. Tell me how you will make such a compromise in a way that will leave different perspectives equally satisfied. Tell me how you have been willing to compromise. Tell me where you are willing to make additional compromises if necessary.

    So, what's your list? Once we have that, we can start to compromise.
    Okay then, let's get started.
    I did a blog on this here:
    Whoops! Browser Settings Incompatible

    But I'll reiterate the ones related to design and expand.

    1) Variable Play No one play style is king. The game shouldn't dictate to DMs how to run their game.
    This would include the style of game changing over the levels. While the math and balance should be the same, high level play should not be identical to lower level play but with higher numbers and "kobolds" scratched out and "abyssal plague demonaughts" written in.
    This is a big catch-all category, since it includes allowing gritty and heroic fantasy, high and low magic, high and low fantasy, high and low power, etc.

    2) Promote House Rules Let people make the game their own. The includes providing alternate rules (alternate healing, alternate ways of taking damage, different armour rules, more ritualistic spellcasting, alternate spellcasting systems (mana), variant class designs, tactical combat options, etc.) but also explaining the reasoning for rules so DMs can make informed design decisions.

    3) Reward and Encourage Role-Playing It's not enough to just sit back and let it happen, you need to nurture and emphasise RPing.

    4) Narrative Realism I want more nods to reality and a cohesive world. While, obviously, there needs to be some funkiness where the game rules bleed through into the world for balance and fun, I want there to be attempts and effort made to make the game and rules reflect reality. Not hard "Confirmed" as true by Mythbusters reality but narrative reality where if you saw it in a movie you'd say "yeah, I buy that. It could happen."

    5) Respect New Players New players aren't dumb. You don't need to completely hold their hand and treat them like fragile flowers that will wilt at the first sign of math or a choice. And a new player is only a new player for a couple levels. At this day and age everyone who might be interested in D&D knows what an "elf" is, what a "hitpoint" is (kinda) and terms like "level" and "class".

    6) Balance
    Quote Originally Posted by TwinBahamut View Post
    1) The designers need to acknowledge that many fans want game balance. To be honest, the game doesn't need to actually be balanced, but the designers need to recognize that imbalance is not what we want. Effort needs to made to discuss game balance and provide it for those who want it.
    Haven't they acknowledged this? I think the complaints for many isn't the idea of balance but the implementation of balance early in 4e.
    I want balance as well. That's totally high on my list. But I want the classes to be equal yet different. Perfect balance is an impossibility. There's too much variability and moving parts. "Average" balance is probably the best compromise between variety and equality. There are always going to be encounters that favour one class or build or character more than others, there is almost always going to be an M.V.PC. in each fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwinBahamut View Post
    The game needs to have a variety of classes and other major options, and they need to be meaningful and effective options. A game that tries to establish the Fighter/Rogue/Cleric/Wizard system as the only set of classes won't ever work for me. I don't want a game which assumes every team has a Cleric.
    Agreed. We do need a range of archetypes and classes. I think they've confirmed all the classes that have appeared in each edition's first PHB, which should be a nice mix. We really need a nice variety.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwinBahamut View Post
    4) The game can't depend on DM fiat in order to function. It's fine for people who want to play that way to play that way, but it must not replace rules for people who don't like that style.
    7) Greater DM Control & Education Here's the first point where we really disagree.
    I don't think bad DMs are so common that the entire edition needs to be designed to protect players from them. I think they're a minority, and it's more efficient to assume some DM skill and work to improve DM skills. Raise the bad DMs up rather than just mitigate their awfulness.
    But I acknowledge that it's easier to ignore a rule than add one that doesn't exist. So there should be a adequate baseline established to firmly show DMs what is acceptable. And rules somewhere (possibly a rules module) for reducing DM fiat.

    Small things:
    * I'd like equal emphasis on class fantasy races and WotC IP. New players aren't initially going to care what a "beholder" or "mind flayer" are and are likely to think "displacer beasts" and "owlbears" are silly. Manticores, chimeras, cyclopses, wyverns, griffons, and unicorns are the Name races.
    * The above applies to PC races as well. I love my gnomes and don't want them ghettoized in the second or third PHB but also think shifters and warforged have their place. Anything that's been a playable PC race for more than two editions should be in the first PHB or playable in the first year.
    * Tighter feats. Feats are really the catch-all system in 3e and 4e. We need something to take the weight and spread out the customization. Class based options should be folded into classes (no "improved class feature X" feats). Ditto racial feats. Backgrounds and Themes can also take some of the brunt.
    * Generic monsters. I don't want three different types of roper. It's a roper, that should be enough. Instead, customizing monsters (monster themes, alternate powers) should be easier. Especially for humanoids. We don't need a goblin raider and orc raider and gnoll raider. We need a goblin and orc and gnoll and some way of adding the "raider" template.
    * Avoidance mechanic. I dislike the 4e defences for the sole reason stationary objects attacking the PCs is silly. "The pit trap attacks your Reflex with a 19." There needs to be an active defence and a reactive defence.
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  • #127
    Quote Originally Posted by Imaro View Post

    <snip>

    But what do SC mechanics do to support or enhance this? How is this different from running a series of skill checks? Where complications arise because of failed checks? Again this seems more like a DM style thing than anything to do with the actual SC mechanics.
    One advantage the SC offers is it controls pacing. Every situation will be resolved in (3/ # players rolling) to ((6+3)/ # players rolling) "rounds" of activity.

  • #128
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagol View Post
    One advantage the SC offers is it controls pacing. Every situation will be resolved in (3/ # players rolling) to ((6+3)/ # players rolling) "rounds" of activity.
    This is only an advantage if the pacing the SC imposes is the pacing you want for a particular event... Otherwise it's artificial and constricting.

    Now the above aside, I don't see how the pacing in and of itself helps with fictional changes and complications.

    EDIT: It's funny because going back to my first point, I'm starting to see why 4e sometimes necessitates non-causal relationships between actions and results... because the amount of times one can fail before failing the SC is 3, will always be 3 and that is an artificial limit as opposed to an organic one. I can have a ton of brilliant ideas and ways of dealing with a situation... but if 3 of my actions fail none of that matters, not sure if that's a good thing or not.
    Last edited by Imaro; Thursday, 26th July, 2012 at 07:28 PM.
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  • #129
    Quote Originally Posted by Jester Canuck View Post
    Okay then, let's get started.
    Yes, let's. It's nice to see this discussion take a more friendly and constructive turn.

    I did a blog on this here:
    Whoops! Browser Settings Incompatible
    Looking at this blog, it really does look like we are at pretty opposite ends of the spectrum on many things. For example, I liked 4E's marketing strategy built on explaining how 4E had improved upon 3E. I'd be perfectly happy if 5E used the same strategy, and I'm kinda disappointed that they have not... I guess it is a difference between "wanting to preserve the past" and "wanting to see dramatic change," or something like that.

    But I'll reiterate the ones related to design and expand.

    1) Variable Play No one play style is king. The game shouldn't dictate to DMs how to run their game.
    This would include the style of game changing over the levels. While the math and balance should be the same, high level play should not be identical to lower level play but with higher numbers and "kobolds" scratched out and "abyssal plague demonaughts" written in.
    This is a big catch-all category, since it includes allowing gritty and heroic fantasy, high and low magic, high and low fantasy, high and low power, etc.
    I'm having trouble following this a bit, since you seem to have combined a few different ideas together here. I think it is almost impossible for the game to not influence how it is run, but I do agree that a game like D&D should try to have wide appeal and to be inclusive to different genres.

    2) Promote House Rules Let people make the game their own. The includes providing alternate rules (alternate healing, alternate ways of taking damage, different armour rules, more ritualistic spellcasting, alternate spellcasting systems (mana), variant class designs, tactical combat options, etc.) but also explaining the reasoning for rules so DMs can make informed design decisions.
    I guess this gets into the argument I had in another thread that seemed to be ultimate based around what the term "house rules" means. I don't consider alternate rules to fit under the category of house rules... But, yeah, there should be many variants in there. The real trick is reconciling the desire for variation with the need for balance, and that can be pretty hard. Sometimes I wonder if D&D should just embrace the "tier" system that fans created for 3E, and allow come classes to be vastly stronger or weaker than others as long as the weak and strong ones were clearly distinguished from the balanced ones.

    3) Reward and Encourage Role-Playing It's not enough to just sit back and let it happen, you need to nurture and emphasise RPing.
    This one is hard for me to agree with on its face. The problem is that "Role-Playing" is something that people rarely think of in the same terms. For some 4E killed role-playing and for others it enabled far better roleplaying than any previous version. Of course, there is also the fact that many people simply don't want to roleplay in D&D, and the game should accommodate them, too. I think we'd need to dig deeper into this idea to reach an agreement on it.

    From my perspective, roleplaying comes from the environment (mostly the group of players) and from the mechanics. I don't think the rulebooks can really change the environment much, but it can encourage roleplaying via mechanics. That said, mechanics that really encourage roleplaying tend to be more the domain of indie RPGs, and are pretty alien to what has appeared in previous editions of the game.

    4) Narrative Realism I want more nods to reality and a cohesive world. While, obviously, there needs to be some funkiness where the game rules bleed through into the world for balance and fun, I want there to be attempts and effort made to make the game and rules reflect reality. Not hard "Confirmed" as true by Mythbusters reality but narrative reality where if you saw it in a movie you'd say "yeah, I buy that. It could happen."
    This is going to be a bit of a stickling point for me, as you might be aware if you've seen my arguments asking for Fighters who can chop mountains in half. If you ask me, this kind of request contradicts the "keep the game open for a variety of playstyles and genres" thing from above that I mostly agree with you about. I don't really want strict realism all of the time, especially in high-level, high-fantasy play. I think trying to enforce this intrudes on more important elements needed for a good compromise.

    5) Respect New Players New players aren't dumb. You don't need to completely hold their hand and treat them like fragile flowers that will wilt at the first sign of math or a choice. And a new player is only a new player for a couple levels. At this day and age everyone who might be interested in D&D knows what an "elf" is, what a "hitpoint" is (kinda) and terms like "level" and "class".
    I'll agree with a lot of this. These days, people get introduced to game mechanics far more complicated than Essentials classes all the time. It's fine for even simple parts of the game to quickly get more complex and mechanically robust, as long as it doesn't swing too far in the opposite direction.

    Still (and this might be a bit unrelated to your intent), I do want the game to be very helpful and clear on understanding what is going on and how it can be played. One of my biggest issues with 4E was how it could be rather annoyingly difficult to really get a feel for how its classes worked. You need to read through every power in a giant list and work out how they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Once you figure it out it works great, but there is a hurdle there that needed to be smoothed over. I'd like to avoid a repeat of that issue.

    6) Balance

    Haven't they acknowledged this? I think the complaints for many isn't the idea of balance but the implementation of balance early in 4e.
    I want balance as well. That's totally high on my list. But I want the classes to be equal yet different. Perfect balance is an impossibility. There's too much variability and moving parts. "Average" balance is probably the best compromise between variety and equality. There are always going to be encounters that favour one class or build or character more than others, there is almost always going to be an M.V.PC. in each fight.
    Well, I can't say that they've acknowledged it in the way I want them too. They've brought up the subject in a "trust us we know what we're doing" way, but the actual game shown in the playtests isn't exactly a paragon of balance, and the design team seems to be on the same path that led to 3E's unacceptable level of imbalance.

    But, yeah, you can't ask for perfect balance. Companies with more resources, financial motivation, and a more limited-in-scope task have tried and failed to achieve prefect balance, so it is too much to ask for WotC. Also, situational power differences are not actually an issue of balance... Balance is not "always equal all the time". Balance is "equal in the aggregate over a reasonable amount of time". It's fine if a fight has a M.V.PC, but it's a problem if it is the same person each time, or even half of the time. I also think that we can hope for a bit better level of balance than "average", since the average level of balance in games tends to be pretty poor...



    7) Greater DM Control & Education Here's the first point where we really disagree.
    I don't think bad DMs are so common that the entire edition needs to be designed to protect players from them. I think they're a minority, and it's more efficient to assume some DM skill and work to improve DM skills. Raise the bad DMs up rather than just mitigate their awfulness.
    But I acknowledge that it's easier to ignore a rule than add one that doesn't exist. So there should be a adequate baseline established to firmly show DMs what is acceptable. And rules somewhere (possibly a rules module) for reducing DM fiat.
    This really isn't so much about protecting people from bad DMs as permitting other styles of playing and DMing. When I DM, I don't want a lot of DM control and need for DM fiat. It gets in the way of my fun and creativity. The job of DMing is really hard and bothersome (which is why many call it a job). The less strain the game places on that one player, the better the game can be for everyone. It also helps add predictability to the table, which helps players feel more comfortable with their actions and let's them feel more in control of their fate and free to experiment. Having clarity in the rules makes every part of the game run smoother.

    * Generic monsters. I don't want three different types of roper. It's a roper, that should be enough. Instead, customizing monsters (monster themes, alternate powers) should be easier. Especially for humanoids. We don't need a goblin raider and orc raider and gnoll raider. We need a goblin and orc and gnoll and some way of adding the "raider" template.
    This is going to be an issue of contention. You see, I'm the sort who would love to see a Monster Manual entirely dedicated to 300 statblocks for human opponents. Everything from guards, brigands, and hedgewizards to knight-commanders, pirate kings, and the dark sorcerers who command the armies of Evil Overlords. I like seeing a huge variety of easy-to-use humanoid statblocks that don't require templates or class levels, because they make the kinds of games I like running much, much easier.

    I might agree with the "three kinds of roper" thing, though. Most monsters don't need the same kind of treatment that intelligent opponents do.

    * Avoidance mechanic. I dislike the 4e defences for the sole reason stationary objects attacking the PCs is silly. "The pit trap attacks your Reflex with a 19." There needs to be an active defence and a reactive defence.
    You know, I can understand the psychological disconnect caused by "the trap attacks you and rolls a 15", but I don't think it is worth changing the game over. The 4E defense system makes the game run much smoother for a lot of reasons, and trying to reconcile the differences caused by your trap example might require a significant overhaul of the way the dice mechanics in D&D work.

    That said, I'm totally be okay with a "the PCs roll all the dice" system. I liked that 3E variant. Players roll for their own attacks and defenses, while enemies always have static attacks and defenses. This kind of system works best to solve some of the complaints I've seen come up here and elsewhere, since the PCs are always being active, and NPCs are kept simple.
    Last edited by TwinBahamut; Thursday, 26th July, 2012 at 08:21 PM.

  • #130
    Quote Originally Posted by Imaro View Post
    But this is true in any situation where multiple skill checks are required.
    Yup.

    Uhm how is this any different than if I was playing 3.x and
    SNIP
    It isn't really. What it is to me is an excellent pacing and behind the scenes framing mechanic.

    and in fact many of WotC's own SC's run counter to this example.
    WotC adventures ignored the WotC DM's advice? This is, regrettably, not news. Most WotC 4e adventures should be burned.

    How is this different from running a series of skill checks? Where complications arise because of failed checks? Again this seems more like a DM style thing than anything to do with the actual SC mechanics.
    What skill checks did for me was allowed me to frame and pace complex off the wall PC plans with the assurance and system mastery of a DM with years of experience despite it being my third session DMing. If you are a DM with years of experience you probably don't need them (although may find them useful the way @pmerton does).

    To this day if my PCs come up with a complex plan I don't know what the @#&% to do with because the parameters are well outside those of anything calculated in any book I know of (let alone have bothered to remember) I mentally frame it as a skill challenge. This gives me stab in the dark DCs (which are all I am ever going to get) that aren't either too easy or impossible, and a scene that is going to be long enough for the PCs to enjoy and not so long everyone gets bored. And I know roughly how far to let PCs through their plan with each skill roll.

    For a challenge for you, the PCs want to distract a group of Troglodytes by having three of them (a Tiefling, a Revenant, and a Gnome) dress up as emissaries of Blibbloppool, God of Troglodytes while the fourth tries to sneak in the back to rescue the kidnapped children. Taking the stealth part as a given, how do you handle the emissaries and the accuracy of their disguise mechanically, or the pacing of the scene?

    (Actual play example - not the one in my third session.)

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