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Thread: High-Level Play

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    4e milestones are dungeon-crawl and combat neutral. You can earn them for dealing with non-combat challenges just as much as combat ones.
    On a side to the side-note:

    I find this to be their best use actually. In fact, I've only ever given a few milestones out in combat. I've never used them as a balancing mechanic. I use them to reward the PCs for:

    - Playing to their character archetype/theme when that choice is sub-optimal (from a metagame perspective).
    - Intentionally driving the narrative forward in a dynamic and interesting way (that is coherent both thematically and genre-wise) especially when it involves a sub-optimal choice.

    With regards to non-combat challenges, we use them for two explicit purposes:

    Skill Challenge

    1) Player gets to reroll and use the second roll.
    2) Player gets to narrative rights to the results of the roll (pass or fail), thus setting up the next portion of the non-combat encounter for the next player to deal with (which has both meta-game and narrative implications).

    Outside of non-combat challenges they are for:

    Mechanics-Neutral Narrative

    Player gets narrative rights to create something out of whole cloth (an NPC, a syndicate, a locale, even an encounter) for the players to deal with (which, after their exposition of it, of course, I play out).

    Combat

    We exclusively use them for p42 Improvised Limited Use Exploits/Spells/Terrain effects. We tailor everyones' Paragon Path AP Feature around this usage.


    I'm sure that this is "off the grid" for most tables but we're quite happy with the results that stem from the way we reward and use them.
    Last edited by Manbearcat; Tuesday, 6th November, 2012 at 02:59 PM.

 

  • #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    4e milestones are dungeon-crawl and combat neutral. You can earn them for dealing with non-combat challenges just as much as combat ones.
    Milestones, in which two encounters results in the award of a milestone, is designed to support dungeon crawling, but lends itself to story based narrativist play in which the DM has a natural progression of encounters. It is not designed for adventures where players can have encounters of various importance, but only gains milestones for only reaching key points in the adventure. The reason for this, by Mearls own admission, is that the designers felt it would be a pain to label dungeon encounters to be important or unimportant. Therefore, the decision by the designers was to place importance on the dungeon crawl.

    The decision has an affect on pacing, because milestones earn the players action points. Now, it may be easy to convert milestones to be "true" milestones as shown by Rel, but, house ruling aside, the default rules do not support what I think is one of the major approaches to playing D&D.

    For those interested, below is Rel's original fix and Mearls's reply that they had considered an approach similar to Rel's, but decided against it to avoid a hassle with lableing dungeon encounters important or unimportant.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rel View Post
    Milestones - There are few mechanics in 4e that I find less flavorful than the "fight two encounters, get a Milestone" bit. But after consideration, I determined that what I needed to do is to simply turn Milestones into, well, milestones. In other words, have something meaningful actually take place. And it doesn't have to be after the encounter either. It can be smack dab in the middle of the battle.

    If the PC's interrupt the Evil Wizards in the middle of their Ritual, that's a Milestone. If they maneuver past the Evil Cleric's minions and blow out the Dark Candles that have desecrated the Altar of Pelor, that's a Milestone. When they slay the Hobgoblin Lietenant who led the attack on their village, that's a Milestone. The PC's should constantly be setting short term goals and even quests. Accomplishing those is significant and earns Milestones (and therefore Action Points). Fighting a random encounter of wolves in the woods does not earn you a Milestone.

    While I'm discussing making meaningful battles meaningful there's..."
    And here is Mearls's response
    Quote Originally Posted by mearls View Post
    Interesting trivia bit: at one point, we thought about doing milestones pretty much the way you describe.

    We decided against it because we figured that for story-based games, the DM would have a natural progression of scenes, while for a dungeon-based game it might be a pain to label some encounters as important and others as trivial.
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  • #43
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    Thanks for the mention, Greg K! It's been a LONG time since I wrote that!

  • #44
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    I like the article part about the Legacy system. I don't think such system necessarily implies a minimum level tho, but it's definitely something that could be useful to many DMs, including me.

    I also think that high-level campaigns are a VERY complicated topic.

    First of all, it's even hard to define WHAT is high level... Is "10" high level? I think first, it depends on how many levels the core rules support "individually" i.e. with enough material directed at those levels. BECMI supports up to 36th, 3e up to 20th, 4e up to 30th. They also have rules for "beyond max level" but then it takes a different form and the material tends to be not individually tailored to specific levels. That said, 10th level is less than 30% towards the "end-of-game level" in BECMI and 50% in 3e.

    Numbers have a psychological effect, but beyond that they really don't define "high level game". What does +10 to attack rolls mean, if you are fighting monsters with +10 AC? More important than absolute numbers could be relative numbers, because it determines what monsters that previously were challenging won't be anymore, or how many monsters of the same kind can you take now. 3e, 4e and 5e have significant differences here, resulting in different ranges of encounter levels that you can put in a campaign, and this is something that definitely has a more tangible effect on what is "high level feel".

    But more than anything else, high level is defined by special abilities: invisibility, flying, teleporting, scrying, asking questions to Gods, polymorphing, plane-shifting, resurrecting, and laying waste on very large areas are examples (with some campaign dependency... plane-shifting in Planescape may not feel much high level at all).

    And IIRC, the levels at which those stuff appear in the game (both for PCs and monsters) have practically remained the same across all editions. Or not?
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