Do monsters/NPCs really need to roll any dice?

xechnao

First Post
In old school design the DM used random events behind his screen to decide the course of the adventure. Random tables, random treasure, random number of monsters and all that stuff. I believe it was in the same philosophy that NPCs rolled their reactions and monsters rolled their attacks and damage and saving throws.

New school design does not consider this method necessary to play the game. In 4e for example PCs roll to attack monster defenses: the saving throw that used to be is no more.

Now, I am asking do monsters really need to make any rolls at all? Couldn't it be that only the PCs make random rolls, since in fact we are playing a roleplaying game whose basic premise is personal character immersion?
In combat a PC could make one roll to see if he gains or loses advantage over his adversary. And based on that, roll again to see what damage he manages to inflict or manages to avoid - depending on the performance of the previous roll.

This was just an example for combat. I would like to pose a question for every kind of interaction of the PCs that asks for a randomizer. Couldn't just the PCs make all the rolls that are involved with what they face? Does this make sense?

Discuss.
 

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sckeener

First Post
It sounds like from the description that a fight would be an on going saving throw until either the effects are shaken off or the character succumbs. In the case of one hit = dead fights, they might as well be traps, making or not making the roll determines the outcome.

Admittedly descriptions make all the difference, but I doubt I'd like that system.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
It might be that I don't play 4e or "new school design", but this makes no sense whatsoever for me. You can't mean adversaries are just standing targets to a PCs attacks. You also can't mean that monsters/NPCs get automatic hits when they attack.

How could a monster/NPC ever get a critical hit on a PC, if no dice are rolled? Do you assume the monsters get auto attacks and now the PC just rolls for defense to see if it succeeds or not.

Since I'm not interested in the potential of 4e enough to buy their books just to find out (I don't have an "everfull" wallet, so I have to pick and choose what gaming material I spend my cash on) I do visit Gleemax and reading discussions I try to get a feel for what its all about - but the game makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Perhaps its best I stay out of the conversation. But the more I hear about 4e and to questions like this one posed in this thread - it makes even less sense as time goes on.

Not trying to do Edition War here, as I have no idea about 4e. But its questions like this, that make me not want to learn more. It seems pretty silly - the question posed, not the game itself.

GP
 

GSHamster

Adventurer
You can do this if you want. Essentially, monster attacks become "Saving Throws" from previous editions. The PC makes a Save to avoid being hit by the orc's axe.

However, in 4E , I believe the general rule is that the offensive party gets to roll, and defenses are passive. Mathmatically, both systems are identical (or can be made identical). It's a matter of fun.

Plus, suppose one PC attacked another PC? Who gets to roll?

Edit: The Advantage system you lay out is a little more problematic. The traditional system allows two methods to soak damage: Avoidance and Effective Health (combination of hit points + damage reducing effects). Both methods are viable ways of surviving a fight, with different pro's and cons. Under your Advantage system, Avoidance becomes much better than Effective Health as it functions as both offensive damage and survivability at the same time.
 

xechnao

First Post
It sounds like from the description that a fight would be an on going saving throw until either the effects are shaken off or the character succumbs. In the case of one hit = dead fights, they might as well be traps, making or not making the roll determines the outcome.

A fight could be exactly like it is now. Each roll should be significant which means that should come after the choice of some option (except perhaps the roll of damage which comes after the result of some previous roll).

The information that you have now in a combat (ie monster actions, descriptions etch) could be exactly the same as it stands in the current way of things. The only difference would be that you would play this out with fewer rolls and thus speed up combat.

For example you do not need to roll initiative roll for both monsters or PCs to see who wins. With one roll you could manage exactly the same.
 

maddman75

First Post
I run a lot of Cinematic Unisystem, which uses exactly this mechanic. Rolling dice is for players.

It works pretty simply. The bad guys have a 'Combat' score. This is an average roll plus what they would add to make attacks or to dodge. If the PC wants to hit the bad guy, they roll their combat skill. If they beat the bad guy's combat score, they hit him. The bad guy makes an attack, and its up to the PC to roll his defense.

In 4e, rather than have the defenses be 10 + all their stuff, they just roll a die and add their stuff. So rather than an AC of 17, they'd have AC +7. The bad guy has say, an attack score of 16. They roll a d20, add their AC bonus. If they beat the attack score, they dodge or block the attack.

You could simplify them further by combining their defenses. Maybe for minions no one would miss the lack of depth. Rather than having a bonus to hit of +6, AC 16, Fort 17, Ref 14, and Will 14, minions get a Combat score of 15. Makes it all run very fast.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Perhaps its best I stay out of the conversation. But the more I hear about 4e and to questions like this one posed in this thread - it makes even less sense as time goes on.

Honestly, this question has nothing to do with 4e. The thought and question are not new, and predates 4e by... at least a decade, probably much more.

Do remember, there are entire systems where nobody rolls dice, yet the results are not pre-determined. Resource bidding systems, for example, base everything on choice and lack of information to produce unforeseen results.

It is possible to run a game where the entities under the DM's control don't roll dice. The question is - can you design such a system that produces reasonable results and is also easier than rolling dice?

Then, of course, you need to define what is meant by "reasonable". What do you want out of your resolution mechanics?
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
While that's certainly true, I thought the OP was posing a D&D question, not a general "other game system" question. I'll just stay out of the thread and see where it goes. Maybe I'll have an epiphany and say, "Now I understand..."

GP
 

xechnao

First Post
Mathmatically, both systems are identical (or can be made identical).
Exactly.
It's a matter of fun.
My intention was to speed up play-
Plus, suppose one PC attacked another PC? Who gets to roll?
Both? The DM? We can figure this out.

Edit: The Advantage system you lay out is a little more problematic. The traditional system allows two methods to soak damage: Avoidance and Effective Health (combination of hit points + damage reducing effects). Both methods are viable ways of surviving a fight, with different pro's and cons. Under your Advantage system, Avoidance becomes much better than Effective Health as it functions as both offensive damage and survivability at the same time.
This was just an example. How fighting works is a matter of design. I just want to see people's reactions to a new model that tries to speed up things while retaining the same functional possibilities. It is a psychological question. I am fishing for people's reactions.
 

The Shaman

First Post
Now, I am asking do monsters really need to make any rolls at all? Couldn't it be that only the PCs make random rolls, since in fact we are playing a roleplaying game whose basic premise is personal character immersion?
Do you think this might be a little boring for the person behind the screen?
 

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