The roots of 4e exposed? - Page 31
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  1. #301
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    I was asking about about whether you let the Players know they are in a Skill Challenge with number of successes or not because for me it always seems to make it into a kind of mini game. It feels very much like when Combat starts and the Minis come out and now the real game is on hold while we resolve this seperate part. I have seen a few people suggesting to not let the Players know and others who take the opposite tact.
    I think players need to know they're in a skill challenge if they're going to make reasoned choices about what resources to use (eg powers, action points, equipment, etc). In that respect I think the comparison to combat is apt.

    I don't see resolution as something separate from the "real" game.
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  2. #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    I really dont see that 4e does not rely on the adventuring day. Everyone has Daily abilities, they all get a certain number of Healing surges per day with Action points that reset every day and items that also have Daily abilities. At high levels you get abiltiies like: "Once per day, when you die....". 4e is full of the normal DnD resources that need to be carefully hoarded and preserved. It kind of detracts from your main points to be honest.
    Those daily abilities don't have to be hoarded/preserved., though. The "adventuring day" might involve one encounter, or a dozen, and it makes no difference to game balance. If the players all nova in the first encounter of the day, this doesn't allow wizards to outshine fighters. It's purely about pacing.

    Whereas other editions (and 13th Age) depend for balance upon an "adventuring day" that has enough encounters, or the threat of them, to balance wizards and other casters against fighters and thieves/rogues. 13th Age formalises this into a rule of "one full rest after four encounters". 5e relies on the GM ensuring an "adventuring day" of the right length. Which then generates a pressure towards GM managed ficiton and story, rather than playing more spontaneously from one encounter to the next.

    The lack of asymmetric resource suites makes a huge difference in this respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    If the DM is presenting or "framing" a room in a Gygaxian dungeon, and I must admit that some of those rooms can be very interesting indeed, how is that not meeting your first premise?
    Well, in classic dungeoneering the players scout out the dungeon and choose which room they engage. So the GM provides the "menu", but the players choose from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    And then if the Players engage with that scenario then that must meet your second requirement as well.
    It certainly helps if the rooms on the menu are interesting! But players are also expected to bring their own desire for gold and magic loot, and their planning and decisions about how to tackle the rooms are meant to provide a significant part of the play experience.

    It's a different dynamic from scene-framed play.

  3. #303
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Here's a concrete example, from actual play, that shows that the two things are separate:

    "The ranger and the wizard made Nature checks. The ranger was adjacent, so reached out to the bear. The wizard, however, was at range, giving rise to the question - how does he actually calm the bear? Answer: he used Ghost Sound to make soothing noises and Mage Hand to stroke it. The sorcerer wanted (i) to back away so as not to get slammed in case the bear remained angry, and (ii) to try and intimidate the bear into submission. I (as GM) asked the player how, exactly, the PC was being intimidating while backing up? His answer: he is expending Spark Form (a lightning-based encounter power) to create a show of magical power arcing between his staff and his dagger, that would scare the bear. A successful Intimidate roll confirmed that the light show did indeed tend to subdue rather than enrage the bear."
    So your example of a party working together in a skill challenge is a party working at odds with itself? You have two players trying to calm the bear and one trying to intimidate the bear, which regardless of success, isn't calming. The sorcerer is negating the efforts of the first two PCs.

  4. #304
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    So your example of a party working together in a skill challenge is a party working at odds with itself? You have two players trying to calm the bear and one trying to intimidate the bear, which regardless of success, isn't calming. The sorcerer is negating the efforts of the first two PCs.
    If you want to have that discussion, you can necro the thread and respond to the posts there.

  5. #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    If you want to have that discussion, you can necro the thread and respond to the posts there.
    Threads wander and you brought it up as an example of a skill challenge. That makes it fair game for discussion here, but okay... I'm not going to bother looking up the thread to necro it.

  6. #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    In a linear adventure, where there is no adventure but through the door, /forward/ would be more litteral. But, sure, more broadly, point taken.

    I rather like that one.

    I suppose that, with 5e, the penduulum has swung back to more DM-directed styles...
    That’s a less ‘linear’ adventure and more simply a bad one.

    ‘Can’t get through the door? Game over guys!’

  7. #307
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    Quite the thread! Surprised I didn’t notice it before.

    Just a few quick thoughts in relation to @pemerton ‘s post on player-facing Skill Challenges .

    I’ve long been an advocate of transparency (including making everything player-facing) in mechanical archetecture of scene-based games.

    While 4e is a fiction-first RPG like Apocalypse World, it is not a free form RPG like AW. It’s more kindred with Dogs, Fate, Cortex+ in that (a) the resolution of scenes gets cemented in mechanically and (b) an aspect of the mental overhead that players must assimilate is how their action declarations map to the mechanics and how the fiction and the scene’s resolution (both current and the finality) orbit around those declared actions and attendant mechanics.

    Without all the relevant information that a player would have in scene-based resolution games, they’re not able to manage the game part of the game. That negatively impacts (a) their ability to positively impact the fiction in the way that they wish and (b) it just slows play by increasing table handling time of each action declaration (as more conversation is required to resolve the interface between action:mechanics) and the total cognitive workload for the GM. I’m not a fan of either of those results.
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  8. #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manbearcat View Post
    While 4e is a fiction-first RPG like Apocalypse World, it is not a free form RPG like AW. It’s more kindred with Dogs, Fate, Cortex+ in that (a) the resolution of scenes gets cemented in mechanically and (b) an aspect of the mental overhead that players must assimilate is how their action declarations map to the mechanics and how the fiction and the scene’s resolution (both current and the finality) orbit around those declared actions and attendant mechanics.

    Without all the relevant information that a player would have in scene-based resolution games, they’re not able to manage the game part of the game. That negatively impacts (a) their ability to positively impact the fiction in the way that they wish and (b) it just slows play by increasing table handling time of each action declaration (as more conversation is required to resolve the interface between action:mechanics) and the total cognitive workload for the GM. I’m not a fan of either of those results.
    That's really dependent on the DM. Some skill challenges are in essence a combat — get past X somehow or fail. But others can be more open ended and have multiple success or failure options.

    Really, skill challenges are just about the DM figuring out beforehand, what they view as some possible outcomes of expected roleplaying encounters that have both the use of skills and meaningful impacts on the campaign. Want to meet the Duke? Who are the possible nobles that could introduce the PCs? What do they want? What can the PCs do to help them get that? What happens if the PCs fail? Do they still get to meet the Duke or not? None of those questions have to have specific answers. Just the DM should think about it so the rewards of roleplaying feels earned and not arbitrary.

  9. #309
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    @MwaO

    I’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with in my post. Can you hone in on the aspect you’re disagreeing with?

    Are you saying that you don’t believe there are inherent advantages to having closed scene resolution machinery player-facing or there aren’t inherent disadvantages to making the situation only GM facing?

    If you feel that way, could you maybe talk about other scene-based games that you’ve played and break down how the paradigm of play would change (or not) if the mechanics went from player-facing to opaque or GM-facing only.

    For instance, what happens in Marvel Heroic? How do players build their dice pools and choose to use them, interact with obstacles, make decisions about dealing with various threats (based on their die size)?

    4e has similar analogs with choosing to:

    -augment with secondary skills (and how mechanically)

    - deploy Encounter Powers

    - deploy a Ritual, maybe spend a Daily/Surges/$ = 1/10 of-level magic item

    - if the situation is dire and they want to pull out the stops for a “story win”

    - if Advantages are available and when/how to deploy them (based on where they are in the, let’s call it, “dramatic track” of Successes and Failures - more similar to Fate’s Stress Track).

    Without knowledge of the level of the obstacle and where they are in the “dramatic track”, without knowledge of what is at stake, without knowledge of what type and how many metagame resources are available...player tactical overhead, opportunity cost evals, “story imperative evals” all become muted (to a degree) or at least a lot of noise or insecurity in their decision-making is introduced.

  10. #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by MwaO View Post
    Want to meet the Duke? Who are the possible nobles that could introduce the PCs? What do they want? What can the PCs do to help them get that? What happens if the PCs fail? Do they still get to meet the Duke or not? None of those questions have to have specific answers. Just the DM should think about it so the rewards of roleplaying feels earned and not arbitrary.
    I ran one like that: the point of the challenge wasn't to convince an important NPC to help (she'd be downright committed to solving the problem the moment she got wind of it), it was just to get past all her handlers trying to preserve her privacy and interested third parties & conspirators trying to keep her in the dark. One thing I did a little differently was having several named NPCs that had 'powers' in their monster-block write-ups that could tamper with the Skill Challenge.

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