D&D 5th Edition Day-Based & Encounter-Based: It's Not Balance, It's Playstyle - Page 2





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  1. #11
    Out of curiosity, how is that a news article? Reads more like an op-ed to me.

    Anyway, encounter-based play has been around since the very start of D&D - it was just called the turn back then. And lasted ten minutes (as opposed to requiring a five minute rest at the end to bandage and recover your breath in 4e). It was written into the Gygaxian rules just as it was in the 3e and 4e rules. And wandering monsters are quite literally encounters. So I have problems accepting the premise that oD&D and 1e didn't have encounters.

    Also the adventuring day was the entire dungeon crawl - Mike Mornard has explicitely said that one purpose of wandering monsters was to prevent PCs from spending the night and recovering spells in the dungeon. Instead you had to schlep out and back to town.

    So I find the premise that D&D didn't have encounters before WotC to be a flawed one. The only edition of D&D that didn't have literal mechanical encouragement for encounter based play was 2e - and even 2e had a lot of people using scene based play. It's simply the framing of encounters that's a problem. And that can be changed. Give the fighters and rogues "fatigue points" that come back after a few minutes rest and we've a simulationist measure that makes a lot more sense to me than the fighters being able to attack at peak strength for ever and that brings encounters in naturally in almost the way Gygax did, while allowing them to be ignored.

    As for the proposed solution of all resources for all fights, resource management has been fairly central to D&D in all editions (yes, even 4th). And one of the goals of D&D Next is to speed combat up. A version of D&D in which wizards get to unleash all their spells in every scene either requires almost an entirely new wizard class or is a complete balance nightmare. It doesn't feel like any version of D&D, will be slow, and will more or less need new classes due to the different resource pools.

    TL;DR: It seems to be a bad idea for many reasons. Giving the fighter and rogue fatigue points recoverable with a five minute rest would fix a lot of problems including most of the ones being talked about.

 

  • #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon
    Anyway, encounter-based play has been around since the very start of D&D - it was just called the turn back then. And lasted ten minutes (as opposed to requiring a five minute rest at the end to bandage and recover your breath in 4e). It was written into the Gygaxian rules just as it was in the 3e and 4e rules. And wandering monsters are quite literally encounters. So I have problems accepting the premise that oD&D and 1e didn't have encounters.
    When I say something is "encounter-based" or "day-based," I mean that this is the period in which you are meant to spend all of your resources. At the end of this period, you recover your expendable resources. Of course every edition of D&D has had encounters, but not every edition of D&D has been based on them in this respect. 4e and 3e-with-wands are quite encounter-based with respect to HP, for instance. And 4e is also encounter-based with its encounter powers.

    So, to be clear, no one is saying that 1e didn't have "encounters." I AM saying that you didn't recover all of your HP and 90% of your spells after a 1e encounter. You do that in 4e. This is a difference, but it's not one of "better" or "worse," it's just one of playstyle preference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon
    As for the proposed solution of all resources for all fights, resource management has been fairly central to D&D in all editions (yes, even 4th). And one of the goals of D&D Next is to speed combat up. A version of D&D in which wizards get to unleash all their spells in every scene either requires almost an entirely new wizard class or is a complete balance nightmare. It doesn't feel like any version of D&D, will be slow, and will more or less need new classes due to the different resource pools.
    You can opt into daily management systems even in a game that uses the two tweaks I mentioned. I specifically called out healing surges and milestones as things that are easy to add in, and big powers ("dailies") that would be a great module (or could even be worked in via magic items, come to think). It wouldn't be hard to add in things like rations or whatever else you want to track. The virtue is that it is an opt-in basis: you can track what is fun for you to track without worrying about what isn't. Which is one of the virtues of encounter-based games: each scene is key.

    It's not a balance nightmare, since the wizard (and their party) is pitted against ALL THE XP FOR THE DAY. The wizard does not have the capacity to fix all those problems with spells.

    With surges, milestones, and "dailies" added back in via modules, it's a very close replica of what 4e already offers. The slowness is relative: it is slower than typical 5e encounters, but that is desirable since the encounter is where you're spending most of your resources. And even a slower 5e encounter is probably faster than a fast 4e encounter (which plenty of people who enjoy encounter-based play seem fine with), and it won't mandate new classes since the resource pool isn't any different in actual size, it's just different in timescale.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon
    Out of curiosity, how is that a news article?
    I'm thinking Morrus decides what goes on the front page based on a combination of factors. Dunno what specifically got this up there. Possibly slow news days.
    Last edited by Kamikaze Midget; Wednesday, 25th July, 2012 at 02:42 PM.
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    The two schools of thought on design going forward, encounter-based and day-based, are driven by the XP system reflecting a presumption that the game has continued to focus more on combat than RPing overall. The cascade of problems this engenders won't be solved by treating the symptoms while ignoring the underlying problem.
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    I think that's a bit of a separate (though related) issue. The central idea is that all of a day's challenges (be they combat challenges or exploration challenges or interaction challenges) fit into one "encounter" if you want them to. If you don't measure that challenge with XP value, you just switch out to whatever guideline helps you determine challenge. Even if I award XP for treasure (1e style) or for quests, or whenever I feel like it, an XP value still helps me determine challenge and pacing. XP can also be awarded for things like traps, obstacles, interactions, and other challenges that might carry a risk of failure (or at least require some resources spent).

    It does focus on "challenges," so if you play a peaceful D&D game where risks are minimal it won't be very relevant to you, but then neither will most of the rules of the D&D game in that case.
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  • #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    It's not a balance nightmare, since the wizard (and their party) is pitted against ALL THE XP FOR THE DAY. The wizard does not have the capacity to fix all those problems with spells.
    You're not thinking far enough here. Let's look at a simple spell like Protection from Arrows or Fox's Cunning. A 1 round or 1 minute/level duration expected. And the effect is clearly going to be very different depending on how big the fight is. You basically have to nuke all buffs and persistent spells for this approach to work. (Not that I consider getting rid of most buffs to be a bad thing).

  • #16
    People aren't saying the original idea is unworkable, or calling you dumb, or claiming that converting days into encounters is impossible. They're simply pointing out the massive ramifications of such a change. You don't have to say "don't worry, we're handwaving that issue!" in order to protect the original idea.

    If you incorporate and consider what people are saying, you can move towards actually making this into a usably fair houserule. Critique is your friend, not your enemy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon
    You're not thinking far enough here. Let's look at a simple spell like Protection from Arrows or Fox's Cunning. A 1 round or 1 minute/level duration expected. And the effect is clearly going to be very different depending on how big the fight is. You basically have to nuke all buffs and persistent spells for this approach to work. (Not that I consider getting rid of most buffs to be a bad thing)
    I see where you're coming from. I don't think that buff duration is an insurmountable obstacle.

    For these, I think you need to make sure that each spell is balanced. Rather than a point against the idea in the OP, it's really a point against unbalanced spells and buffs that last an entire encounter.

    It's worth mentioning first that the devs have already mentioned that spells probably won't auto-scale with caster level (rather, with the spell slot spent on them). So it probably will have a fixed duration.

    Additionally, there's other "fixes" you can apply to these spells.

    Protection from Arrows (or similar damage-prevention effects) often have an HP threshold after which they disappear (working a bit like case-specific temp HP), meaning more monsters in a bigger combat can make them disappear faster.

    Fox's Cunning (and similar raw stat-buff effects) would also have a fixed duration, and/or might be sustained with an action, and/or last until End of Next Turn, and/or might go away after a success or failure. You could also apply these to various protection spells, if you'd like.

    This is also assuming those spells even exist. WotC has mentioned a severely curtailed spell list in the past, and I wouldn't be astonished if there's less spells/level than there was in even the 1e PHB. In fact, me personally, I'd be happy!

    That's part of that compromise I'm certainly willing to make. The duration of Fox's Cunning isn't an absolute to me. It's probably better for fiddly-bit tracking if it's a bigger, more limited effect anyway. If we need to fix it to enable encounter-based play, I'm into it. And if in my adventuring-day (or adventuring-week) based style my wizard just needs to prepare it a few times so she can use it in multiple encounters, that's cool, too.

    It's not an issue inherent in the daily/encounter blend, anyway!

    Quote Originally Posted by dammitbiscuit
    Critique is your friend, not your enemy.
    Indeed! I like critique! I'm a little less fond of nay-saying, but that comes with the territory, too.
    Last edited by Kamikaze Midget; Wednesday, 25th July, 2012 at 06:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    I think that's a bit of a separate (though related) issue. The central idea is that all of a day's challenges (be they combat challenges or exploration challenges or interaction challenges) fit into one "encounter" if you want them to. If you don't measure that challenge with XP value, you just switch out to whatever guideline helps you determine challenge. Even if I award XP for treasure (1e style) or for quests, or whenever I feel like it, an XP value still helps me determine challenge and pacing. XP can also be awarded for things like traps, obstacles, interactions, and other challenges that might carry a risk of failure (or at least require some resources spent).

    It does focus on "challenges," so if you play a peaceful D&D game where risks are minimal it won't be very relevant to you, but then neither will most of the rules of the D&D game in that case.

    Naw, there's a clear focus on granulating XP for specific targets in combat encounters that are less granulated in what you refer to as "exploration and interaction challenges." The clear inference in such a system is that combat encounters are more at the core of the design and thinking of the designers. I suggest a new top-down approach that starts with a wider reaching award system that broadly handles all types of RPing, though certainly a module for each pillar with more specifics might be useful to those who want to focus their games in one or more of the three pillar areas.
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  • #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Out of curiosity, how is that a news article? Reads more like an op-ed to me.

    ...
    IMHO, much of the "news" read more like advertisements, epically the kickstarter projects...

    But no word about the big White Wolf changes and the coming of Exalted 3rd edition and the announcement of the new catalog (including the full name of the next game Mummy: The Curse and the first half of the one following up, Demon: The ?).
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  • #20
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    This sounds like another call for a dial to tweak resources to bounded by a specific time frame. Couldn't some players prefer D&D where all powers return after each encounter? What about just a few, but everything after a day's rest? How about only every day? What about powers that recharge on a longer scale?

    Again, that all sounds like a dial at the campaign-level for how frequently abilities and resources recharge. If they do that, then we not only get Greater diversity in the play styles supported by D&Dn, we get a lot of potentially fun and unexpected results too.

    This is how I like to play: The 1st session may be only a day, perhaps even two, but by mid levels every campaign session is likely taking several weeks to several months of game time in the same play time. Does that mean we have a 15-minute adventuring day problem? What about the number of combats completed in those sessions? The questions just don't relate as well anymore. Especially at very high levels when a year or more can be spent in a single session.

    On top of that built in, but still player selected natural time progression, I also like classes that actually recharge at different rates. The Fighter can't fight for ever. Not really. With fatigue he will eventually take so large a penalty he eventually cannot lift his sword. Refreshing can help that and would be nice to be able to do in combat. For a stereotypical wizard though they are casting arduous and lengthily prepared spells, spending valuable components, and warping the world to their command. It's a big deal, but it's balanced as a big deal by being less often. That means days, weeks, years, and even once in a lifetime spells. Another resource is the components, but those aren't balanced by class level, just as a fighter's arms and armor aren't.

    tl,dr
    With a dial on refresh rate we can not only dial into different playstyles, but we can also create an evolving game that enables a real choice between classes.
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