Compelling and Differentiated Gameplay For Spellcasters and Martial Classes

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
@Undrave

I think to have compelling martial combat regardless of rationing it is immensely helpful to have status effects that have a worthwhile impact but are not completely debilitating. It needs to be more than just trading hit points. Then you can have other things that key off those statuses. Basically you need to setup big moves. Another option is to have more potent attacks that inflict conditions on the user so a really big attack might leave you fatigued or lower your defenses or have special requirements.

Your second design reminds me a lot of the combat system in Exalted Third Edition which was inspired by Final Fantasy Dissidia. You have two types of attacks - withering attacks and decisive attacks. Withering attacks represent breaking down your opponents defenses and are more like glancing blows or getting them out of position. They lower your opponents Initiative and raise your Initiative. Things like armor, weapon damage, and the like matter for withering attacks. Decisive attacks represent those telling blows where you are overextending yourself. These attacks are the only ones that do lethal damage. This is based on your current Initiative. However if successful your Initiative resets to base which can make it easy to send you into Initiative Crash which is like bad. It's pretty much tailor made for Shonen anime fights.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
@Undrave

I think to have compelling martial combat regardless of rationing it is immensely helpful to have status effects that have a worthwhile impact but are not completely debilitating. It needs to be more than just trading hit points. Then you can have other things that key off those statuses. Basically you need to setup big moves. Another option is to have more potent attacks that inflict conditions on the user so a really big attack might leave you fatigued or lower your defenses or have special requirements.

Your second design reminds me a lot of the combat system in Exalted Third Edition which was inspired by Final Fantasy Dissidia. You have two types of attacks - withering attacks and decisive attacks. Withering attacks represent breaking down your opponents defenses and are more like glancing blows or getting them out of position. They lower your opponents Initiative and raise your Initiative. Things like armor, weapon damage, and the like matter for withering attacks. Decisive attacks represent those telling blows where you are overextending yourself. These attacks are the only ones that do lethal damage. This is based on your current Initiative. However if successful your Initiative resets to base which can make it easy to send you into Initiative Crash which is like bad. It's pretty much tailor made for Shonen anime fights.
I agree that a collection of minor status effect is essential to make interesting martial moves.

Stuff like Slow, Weaken, Distract, forced movement, Prone, ongoing damage, and then some. Personally, I miss the simple "Save End" mechanic of 4e where you just roll 10 and above and that's just your timing. No need to count down turns, just wonder "Does this character have a condition that can be ended by a save?".

I also miss the Bloodied condition, it was a neat bit of fluff/crunch interaction that could have a ton of stuff hanged on it. Like how Dragons would automatically recharge an reuse their Breath weapon when bloodied. That sort of thing.

Of course, for my idea #1 you don't need to make the buff simply boosting the damage, that was only in the context of the game I was thinking about. The conditional buffs could be more potent effects or something as simple as a follow up attack on a different target. A variety of buffs make the choice more interesting.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
I think losing the 4E combat engine was big loss.

I think it was very solid and there's a lot that could be done with it - even if you completely reworked class design.
I agree... but people who can use the term "Theatre of the Mind" seriously were complaining about all these FILTHY MINIS in their DnD >.>

Positioning was important so controlling movement thus became important.
 

MichaelSomething

Adventurer
This thread does not have the Fifth Edition tag. I wish there was a Design tag so I could clarify what I was looking for.

My intent was to discuss from a design perspective how we could have martial classes that require the same amount of skill and coordination to play as spell casters while still feeling thematically like martial classes. How do we make fighters mechanically engaging while retaining a play environment where most the things they do are at will and spell casters still have daily spell slots, hopefully with individual memorization?

Basically I want to remove the tension between playing a fighter because I like them thematically and playing a psychic warrior or cleric in Third Edition or playing a paladin or cleric in Fifth Edition because they provide the mechanical engagement and challenge I am looking for. Fourth Edition lacked this problem, but fighters did not feel like fighters to me after awhile. So far it looks like Pathfinder Second Edition has solved this problem in one particular way, but I am interested in other possible solutions.
How about turning the Fighter's turn into a game of Yahtzee?
 

pemerton

Legend
At a certain point, what do you expect? You have a few basic options if 5E doesn't suit your needs. Implement house rules, possibly grabbing some from from Dmsguild. Play a different game or edition. Wait for a UA article and participate in the survey and give feedback. Accept that no game can be for everyone.

The rules are what they are. They aren't going to change because a subset of people dislike it. They definitely aren't going to change just because you post to a message board.
When someone comes up with some concrete rules rather than general complaints, I'll be happy to provide feedback.

I gave some suggestions a long time back, but there's no consensus on what the issue even is.
The thread isn't a thread about how WotC should rewrite 5e or publish 6th ed. It's a thread about how martial PCs might be designed and played in the context of a D&D-like game. And I really think it's very clear what @Campbell's issue is - you can tell both from what he has said in his posts, and what posts he has "liked" that have been made in response.

Assuming the OP wanted a solution compatible with D&D seemed reasonable - the thread is in the D&D section the OP lists his complaints about D&D and asks for ways it can be modified to suit him better.

I went through a number of suggestions - analyzed everyone and came to the conclusion that what was being produced was so far removed from D&D that I wouldn't call it D&D.

If the OP liked the solutions he's free to implement any of them - though he never really commented on ANY of them. I never told him don't try them if he likes the idea. But I also think it's worth talking about whether solutions proposed for the individual would be good for me and even whether they would be good for the game as a whole. Why is that such a touchy issue?
What is frustrating is having attempts to discuss design possibilities met with responses about what the market reception might be. Or has been. The thread isn't a thread about commercial RPG publishing. It's a thread about possible design spaces in a D&D-ish context.

So the answer is either "play something other than D&D," or "tweet at Mike Mearls until 6th edition solves the problem." Got it.
Orrrr...

Come to a website devoted to discussing nerdy TTRPGing stuff and have a (hopefully interesting and provocative) conversation with other nerds about it?

Far-fetched, I know.
So much @Manbearcat's reply!

This thread does not have the Fifth Edition tag.

<snip>

Personally I am not wedded to any particular version of Dungeons and Dragons. In the last year I have played Dungeon World, Fifth Edition, Moldvay B/X, and Pathfinder Second Edition. I am going to continue playing all of these. I probably will not run Fifth Edition. I do not default to Fifth Edition when discussing Dungeons and Dragons. As far as I am concerned there is no standard bearer. All those games I mentioned are just as much Dungeons and Dragons as any other.
And so much this too.
 

pemerton

Legend
Then there's the hard part.

Making at-wills that are, by definition, less potent, varied, and impactful as dailies /as engaging/.

Good luck with that.
One of the big tensions between at-will and daily classes is that the At-Will classes will tend to shine most in the fights that are least consequential.

If the Daily classes manage their resources right than they should be more powerful in the big fights that really matter, because that's what they're hoarding their resources for.

It may be possible to balance this a bit - by actually having At-will classes get stronger (at least in some senses) the more combats they face before a rest. Maybe think of it a rising confidence or something ("I've been in five fights today and come through all of them - nothing can touch me!")
I think Tony Vargas is too pessimistic. I think a variant of Don Durito's suggestion, which @Campbell alluded to upthread but hasn't seen much development, is to link the consequential at-will abilities to fictional positioning. A modest example of this is the 4e paladin's Valiant Strike: the more enemies that surround you, the bigger your bonus to hit.

It would be work to build on this idea to develop a richer set of at-wills linked to various sorts of situations, but it could make for an interesting set of options.

Another Super Sentai (and affiliated Monster of the Week genre) concept I had, this time for a RPG, was to focus on the idea that your Big Finisher Move is powerful, but extremelly inaccurate and leaves you open to retaliation
Rolemaster has something like a version of this: if you shift most or all your OB to offence and win initiative then you can attack with a big bonus and/or crit shift with the goal of finishing off your opponent; but if it fails then you've got no OB in parry and hence are liable to be hosed by the retaliatory attacks.

In our last RM campaign (10 years ago now) one of the PCs was a warrior who specialised in winning initiative and cutting down all his foes with these big attacks before they could retaliate. That PC was played by the group's optimiser (who actually specialises in optimisation mathematics and is a financial analyst in his day job) - he had graphs plotted for various common scenarios that showed him the optimisation peak for allocation of OB across initiative, defence and attack to help him make his decisions during play.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
I think Tony Vargas is too pessimistic. I think a variant of Don Durito's suggestion, which @Campbell alluded to upthread but hasn't seen much development, is to link the consequential at-will abilities to fictional positioning. A modest example of this is the 4e paladin's Valiant Strike: the more enemies that surround you, the bigger your bonus to hit.

It would be work to build on this idea to develop a richer set of at-wills linked to various sorts of situations, but it could make for an interesting set of options.
Iron Heroes is a good place to look for some ideas along these lines.

Abilities were powered by tokens and classes gained tokens for doing particular things related to their class/role.

So Berserkers got rage tokens whenever they got hit, and they got additional tokens if one of their companions went down.

I could easily see a Defender type ability where you get a token of some sort for each enemy that is next to you at the end of your turn.
 

pemerton

Legend
Iron Heroes is a good place to look for some ideas along these lines.

Abilities were powered by tokens and classes gained tokens for doing particular things related to their class/role.

So Berserkers got rage tokens whenever they got hit, and they got additional tokens if one of their companions went down.

I could easily see a Defender type ability where you get a token of some sort for each enemy that is next to you at the end of your turn.
Do you think there's a way to do it where the relationship between fictional position and availability of the at-will isn't mediated by tokens or similar? Not that I personally have anything against token, but I'm not sure they are a good fit for @Campbell's feels like a fighter requirement.

A quite different example I think of that links fictional position to capability is Prince Valiant, where morale bonuses apply when a character is acting out of love, or loyalty, or faith, and morale penalties apply when a character is cowed, or guilty, etc. But I don't think this is suitable for what Campbell wants because it isn't a good fit for a challenge-oriented game. It depends on the players playing their PCs sincerely from the character perspective, and reaching consensus with the GM about what the appropriate morale modifier should be.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
Tokens are really just a way of tracking things.

If you just make them triggers to be immediately acted upon, or change existing abilities once certain thresholds have been passed than you can probably do away with tokens.

For example say you brought back the bloodied condition in 5E and then gave the ability "When you use an action surge you may add 1d10 additional damage for every ally that is bloodied", then this is functionally similar to collecting a token for every ally who is bloodied.

Or "If an enemy is reduced to 0 hp you may immediately use a reaction to move up to your speed and take an attack against the enemy who knocked them unconscious".

Or "If half the party is unconscious regain action surge".

(I kind of like the idea of the Fighter's niche being that they really come into their own when things start going really badly for the party.)
 
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Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
My intent was to discuss from a design perspective how we could have martial classes that require the same amount of skill and coordination to play as spell casters while still feeling thematically like martial classes. How do we make fighters mechanically engaging while retaining a play environment where most the things they do are at will and spell casters still have daily spell slots, hopefully with individual memorization?

Basically I want to remove the tension between playing a fighter because I like them thematically and playing a psychic warrior or cleric in Third Edition or playing a paladin or cleric in Fifth Edition because they provide the mechanical engagement and challenge I am looking for. Fourth Edition lacked this problem, but fighters did not feel like fighters to me after awhile. So far it looks like Pathfinder Second Edition has solved this problem in one particular way, but I am interested in other possible solutions.

I do think there is some room for a more complex fully at will fighter and would like to see that. Not holding my breath. Just like I do not think we will see a fully competitive true Vancian Wizard like I would also like to see.
I see two basic ways of achieving this:
1) Increase martial options.
Take the suggested additional maneuvers in the DMG and run with them. Add more options in combat beyond grappling and shoving. - Give the fighter bonuses and riders to these maneuvers - many of these may replicate Battlemaster maneuvers so give the Battlemaster even better bonuses and riders.
For example, anyone can shove. Fighter gets to deal their Strength modifier damage on a successful shove and can send the opponent back a distance equivalent to what they rolled on their Str(Athletics) check. Battlemaster has them deal Superiority die as well as Str mod damage, and they deal this damage to anyone they are shoved into.
These maneuvers should inflict conditions that last longer than just the opponent's next move action. There needs to be a tradeoff for losing the additional damage of a normal attack.

2) Leave the Fighter alone. Create a new class based around maneuvers like the Warblade of the Tome of Battle. As Tony Vargas has noted, the Fighter base class has too much combat power in its multiple attacks, and this limits the scope of giving additional capabilities. A new class could be designed so that their DPR was still a little less than a Fighter's, but their maneuvers could give allies advantages, inflict conditions on opponents, and give them out of combat capabilities.

Hmmm
What about giving them something between a daily and an at will?

Like a number of special strikes and extreme feats of physicality scaled to number of physical attacker hd per day? Including but not limited to dealing a portion of damage as messy physical ability damage for periods of time?

Or temporary feats of crazy athleticism also using a limit of uses per day scaled to class hd?

Or a different way of doing the latter would be being able to dedicate energy to continuous feats of physicality of a specific type per class hd persisted tgrpughout the day.

Example: level 4 fighter dedicates 2 hd of his toughness to opperating normally in spite of a currently active physically debilitating disease all day 1 hd to carrying heavy load all day and moving as if with a light load (but ungainly objects still applying to restricted movement where space limitations would cause a tight squeeze) and 1 hd dedicated to convert 1 point of damage from any damage die roles rolling above average (for the die type) to a physical ability damage point all day long.

All such hd daily dedications would need to be charted so that it was standardized to have a list of the number of hd necessary for each.
The Extreme Explorer Barbarian class in the Eberron supplement has something similar: they can spend Hit Dice to add to some rolls (and take some damage).
A Fighter variant that spends HD to activate maneuvers would be possible, but I do not think that it is a good mechanic. - I don't like any "Hurt yourself to do X" mechanics since they move the burden of sustaining your health and class abilities onto another character (the healer).

The Fighter already has a couple of limited-use abilities that mark it as the "Heroically push beyond their limits" class: Second Wind and Action surge. I would recommend leaving Second Wind as-is.
Action Surge could be given more capabilities. For example:
"As part of making a Str, Dex, or Con ability check or saving throw, you may spend an Action Surge. When you do so, you may add all of your Str, Dex and Con modifiers to the roll, rather than just the one normally applicable."
This would give a potential boost to skill use and a little more resilience against status effects in combat, without adding a big power boost compared to other classes. A well-rounded fighter might get a better bonus than the Rogue's expertise, but only for a limited amount of rolls. I'd actually allow it to be used for mental ability checks and saves (adding Int, Wis and Cha modifiers together.)
However the issue we run into is that Action Surge is too powerful for an ability like that. As it is, any ability that involves spending an Action surge is competing against taking the extra attacks in combat. Giving more action surges boosts the Fighter's nova, which is not something needing shoring up. More action surges, but each only granting an extra attack might work, but may not be popular.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
The Extreme Explorer Barbarian class in the Eberron supplement has something similar: they can spend Hit Dice to add to some rolls (and take some damage).
A Fighter variant that spends HD to activate maneuvers would be possible, but I do not think that it is a good mechanic. - I don't like any "Hurt yourself to do X" mechanics since they move the burden of sustaining your health and class abilities onto another character (the healer).
I'd considered something similar. I'm not sure I'd do this if I was approaching things from scratch, but the potential benefit of this is that it gives the Fighter a bit more of a nova option without necessarily being beneficial over the course of an adventuring day.

So for example (talking 5e). You could say the Fighter can regain Action Surge by spending a Hit Die. This is probably not a good idea if you are doing the full 6-8 encounters adventuring day so the Fighter remains basically the same under those conditions - but if you're confident of only one encounter a day - or you're entering a final boss battle in good condition - then you've got some extra oomph to feel like you're not being overshadowed by the Long Rest classes.

As for extra features - I'd considered just adding in the Purple Dragon subclass features for second wind and action surge to the base class. They help give the Fighter a bit more of a warlord feel and therefore a bit clearer identity - and it's not so much of a balance issue as they mostly help the other PCs to be more awesome too.

But remember, for the purposes of this discussion, we're not just focusing on 5E.
 

Todd Roybark

Villager
A couple of thoughts:

1) A narrative stunt system, loose rules but lots of DM advice to handle on the fly. No more “I hit for 12 dmg”, but “ I bang my warhammer against it’s head to rattle it. I hit for 12 dmg”
Dm: “ next attack against it has advantage. The problem is everyone will run out of narrative description ideas at some point, and Monsters have too many HPs.

2) A limited number of swings before rest or exhaustion. Include an “overpower” option, whereby one can supercharge an attack at expense of increased “swing cost” or exhaustion cost.

3) A critical hit system that is more than rolling more dice. The inherent limitation is more complexity leads to more richness but adds more rules.
 
I see two basic ways of achieving this:
1) Increase martial options.
Take the suggested additional maneuvers in the DMG and run with them. Add more options in combat beyond grappling and shoving. - Give the fighter bonuses and riders to these maneuvers - many of these may replicate Battlemaster maneuvers so give the Battlemaster even better bonuses and riders.
For example, anyone can shove. Fighter gets to deal their Strength modifier damage on a successful shove and can send the opponent back a distance equivalent to what they rolled on their Str(Athletics) check. Battlemaster has them deal Superiority die as well as Str mod damage, and they deal this damage to anyone they are shoved into.
These maneuvers should inflict conditions that last longer than just the opponent's next move action. There needs to be a tradeoff for losing the additional damage of a normal attack.

2) Leave the Fighter alone. Create a new class based around maneuvers like the Warblade of the Tome of Battle. As Tony Vargas has noted, the Fighter base class has too much combat power in its multiple attacks, and this limits the scope of giving additional capabilities. A new class could be designed so that their DPR was still a little less than a Fighter's, but their maneuvers could give allies advantages, inflict conditions on opponents, and give them out of combat capabilities.

The Extreme Explorer Barbarian class in the Eberron supplement has something similar: they can spend Hit Dice to add to some rolls (and take some damage).
A Fighter variant that spends HD to activate maneuvers would be possible, but I do not think that it is a good mechanic. - I don't like any "Hurt yourself to do X" mechanics since they move the burden of sustaining your health and class abilities onto another character (the healer).

The Fighter already has a couple of limited-use abilities that mark it as the "Heroically push beyond their limits" class: Second Wind and Action surge. I would recommend leaving Second Wind as-is.
Action Surge could be given more capabilities. For example:
"As part of making a Str, Dex, or Con ability check or saving throw, you may spend an Action Surge. When you do so, you may add all of your Str, Dex and Con modifiers to the roll, rather than just the one normally applicable."
This would give a potential boost to skill use and a little more resilience against status effects in combat, without adding a big power boost compared to other classes. A well-rounded fighter might get a better bonus than the Rogue's expertise, but only for a limited amount of rolls. I'd actually allow it to be used for mental ability checks and saves (adding Int, Wis and Cha modifiers together.)
However the issue we run into is that Action Surge is too powerful for an ability like that. As it is, any ability that involves spending an Action surge is competing against taking the extra attacks in combat. Giving more action surges boosts the Fighter's nova, which is not something needing shoring up. More action surges, but each only granting an extra attack might work, but may not be popular.
Im actually not talking about spending hd. Im talking about having the number of fighter hd you have being the relevant stat to define how many of a list of abilities you can activate. This doesbt involve temporary loss of hd.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Thinking a bit more. My "Play Fate" response isn't so crazy. I think Fate would work fine if you tore out the Fate Dice mechanics and replaced it with D&Ds funny dice and the like. (maybe not perfectly, but still.) The multitude of combat statuses, maneuvers, and conditions would be replaced with "Create an Advantage" actions, and you'd get a "very close to ToTM" combat system with the added bonus of a richer OoC play baked right in. The Fate rules already include things like racial stunts, and even class stunts, if you want. Replace Fate's numeric damage and armor values with dice, and you're good to go. (might need to tweak stress tracks and consequences and a few other tidbits too, but I would need to playtest that first.)
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
A couple of thoughts:

1) A narrative stunt system, loose rules but lots of DM advice to handle on the fly. No more “I hit for 12 dmg”, but “ I bang my warhammer against it’s head to rattle it. I hit for 12 dmg”
Dm: “ next attack against it has advantage. The problem is everyone will run out of narrative description ideas at some point, and Monsters have too many HPs.
Fate doesn't seem to run out of these, nor is reusing them much of a problem. Given Fate's more pulpy background, "off balance" is a very common descriptor for what Fate calls a Success With Style. A Fate SWS creates a temporary advantage good only on the next attack and is the result of a roll that is well above the defenders...kind of like a crit. However, Fate also offers the "Create an Advantage" action, which sounds more like what you are describing here. Taking such an action, the fighter could declare "I want to knock his helmet askew" or "ring his bell". If successful, such an action creates a temporary aspect on the target that can be invoked for bonuses on future rolls, and even comes with at least one free invocation.

I agree with the HP thing. If HP are to be used, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that they shouldn't scale with level (of monster or PC). Within the context of D&D, I'm thinking they should be based off your Con score, with possible bonuses for Feats, Race, etc. (Maybe Fighters have 10 and Wizards 4, Multiclass characters get the best not both of their options.)
 

Undrave

Adventurer
If Healing was still dependant on Healing Surges (or similar ressource, like Hit Die) of the target, spending them to activate effect would be an interesting trade off and wouldn't be putting the onus of fuelling your class feature on the healer: it just wouldn't work anymore.

That would give you actual choices that have impact but that you could technically do at will.

The Fighter already has a couple of limited-use abilities that mark it as the "Heroically push beyond their limits" class: Second Wind and Action surge. I would recommend leaving Second Wind as-is.
Action Surge could be given more capabilities. For example:
"As part of making a Str, Dex, or Con ability check or saving throw, you may spend an Action Surge. When you do so, you may add all of your Str, Dex and Con modifiers to the roll, rather than just the one normally applicable."
This would give a potential boost to skill use and a little more resilience against status effects in combat, without adding a big power boost compared to other classes. A well-rounded fighter might get a better bonus than the Rogue's expertise, but only for a limited amount of rolls. I'd actually allow it to be used for mental ability checks and saves (adding Int, Wis and Cha modifiers together.)
However the issue we run into is that Action Surge is too powerful for an ability like that. As it is, any ability that involves spending an Action surge is competing against taking the extra attacks in combat. Giving more action surges boosts the Fighter's nova, which is not something needing shoring up. More action surges, but each only granting an extra attack might work, but may not be popular.
You'd just need to give ways to recover Action Surge beyond the Short Rest so that it's not that big of a deal to spend your Action Surge on skills. As mentioned "Every time you or an ally is Bloodied, recover your Action Surge if you have already spent it". That way it played into the Defender aspect and yet doesn't give you extra action surges over your base one.

I'm actually disappointed 5e Fighters don't have class features that play off of Action Surge and Second Wind (outside the Purple Dragon Knight)

I had this idea for a Fighting Style that went "When you use your Second Wind class feature you gain advantage on all Wisdom Saving throws until you take damage or take a short rest, whichever comes first."

And one that went "When you use your Action Surge class feature to take the Attack Action, all allies that can hear you within 30 feet gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier plus half your Fighter level"
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
This thread is now officially productive!

Good job folks!

Despite all the odds, you guys have proven It. Nerds can actually stay focused on topic, draw upon experience and imagination, and coherently discuss TTRPGing troubleshooting!

I’ll probably post something later about jiujitsu, chess, and systematizing martial engagements.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
@Manbearcat

Pathfinder Second Edition implements degrees of success, but they are largely in terms of the action you are attempting and not what you are trying to accomplish.
  • If you beat the DC by 10 or more you score a Critical Success. This is usually a more pronounced version of success. A Critical Success on Make An Impression will shift an NPC's attitude by two degrees rather than one.
  • If you meet or beat the DC you score a Success. This is a defined impact for that particular action or activity. For Request this means the target agrees to your request, but they might demand added provisions or alterations to the request.
  • If you fail to meet the DC you score a Failure. This will be a consequence directly related to the action being taken. This will usually be akin to a complication. For Coerce this means the target doesn't do what you say, and if they were not already unfriendly or hostile, they become unfriendly.
  • If you fail to meet the DC by 10 or more you score a Critical Failure. This will be a more severe yet directly defined consequence that is directly related to the action taken. For Trip this means you lose your balance, fall, and land prone.
In general everything you do is part of a defined action or activity with costs both in terms of time taken and fictional positioning. They will generally have entries for each success level. For most spells this is determined by the result of the saving throw. Some actions and activities will have entries for just a few. In that case nothing changes in the fiction except the time you have taken when you get those results.

In terms of play ethos it sits between Apocalypse World and Moldvay B/X. There are some more dramatic consequences and success with defined complications, particularly in the social skills. However, there is also a very strong focus on time as a resource, operational play, and exploration of your environment. There is a very strong emphasis on fictional positioning and the GM's role as a referee and the text calls out to this repeatedly. This is also largely true for spells as well.

The game is played in three modes that you transition between based on the needs of play. If you are familiar with Blades in the Dark you should get the gist. These are meant to be fairly fluid

Encounter mode is used for anything dramatic or high risk. This includes combat, but can also include social encounters and action scenes like chases. The unit of time is the 6 second round.

Exploration mode is used for exploring your environment, traveling from place to place, managing recovery from combat, and generally anything where we are not sure what the risks are. The unit of time is generally 10 minutes calling back to dungeon exploration turns. Sometimes it transitions more into hours or individual minutes. A character can generally still only do one thing at a time, but the order is less important.

Downtime mode is used when the characters are not actively adventuring and is meant to be low risk. Things character generally do here include crafting items, retraining, Earn An Income, performing rituals. This is basically preparing for the next adventure. Sometimes things will come up to transition into other modes outside of adventuring.

I think I will save the more detailed analysis for a separate thread. I think the contrast with Fourth Edition will be telling because despite sharing similarities in design language and structural design in terms of design ethos, play techniques, and play experience they are almost diametrically opposed.

I should be able to put something more detailed up this weekend. Not sure where to put it though.
 
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