Level Up (A5E) Fall back!

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I love how countdown mentions the actively interesting risk of setting off magical alarms as the implied fail state of picking the lock rather than just falling back to "welp guess that door is locked still" or guards.
 


J.Quondam

CR 1/8
It's one of the best things I ever designed, I think! So simple and elegant. I use it constantly.
Yes, it really is great!
I've been trying to figure out a way to run attitude toward a particular NPC in a village, and I think this will work nicely. The townsfolk start off friendly toward him, but grow paranoid over time, and eventually want to torch the guy. Each day, the PCs' actions might add to or remove from the countdown pool; then the pool is rolled at dusk or whatever. When it finally runs out, the mob goes on their rampage. Yay! Barbecue!

(I might go with removing 1s rather than 6s, though, just to jibe with the "low roll = bad" of most other D&D mechanics.)

Thanks for this!
 




Stalker0

Legend
I also really liked that countdown mechanic a lot, so of course I was immediately curious of the math involved. I did a simulation (500k iterations so it should be close, but its not 100% theoretically perfect).

Dice - Avg Number of Rounds
1 - 5.98
2 - 8.72
3 - 10.55
4 - 11.93
10 - 16.55

Now for a game that generally revolves around 3 round combats, that's a pretty long time, I think a bit longer than many DMs might imagine at first glance. So here's what happens if you remove a 5 or a 6.

1 - 3
2 - 4.2
3 - 5.02
4 - 5.64
10 - 7.73

Pretty much half the time, though the effect starts to taper at higher levels.


It might be better to go with 5 or 6 for most countdowns, you can throw a lot more dice, giving you more consistency (its still pretty random but not quite as random), and timeframes that are likely more in line with 5e expectations. Besides more dice is more fun!
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I also really liked that countdown mechanic a lot, so of course I was immediately curious of the math involved. I did a simulation (500k iterations so it should be close, but its not 100% theoretically perfect).

Dice - Avg Number of Rounds
1 - 5.98
2 - 8.72
3 - 10.55
4 - 11.93
10 - 16.55

Now for a game that generally revolves around 3 round combats, that's a pretty long time, I think a bit longer than many DMs might imagine at first glance. So here's what happens if you remove a 5 or a 6.

1 - 3
2 - 4.2
3 - 5.02
4 - 5.64
10 - 7.73

Pretty much half the time, though the effect starts to taper at higher levels.


It might be better to go with 5 or 6 for most countdowns, you can throw a lot more dice, giving you more consistency (its still pretty random but not quite as random), and timeframes that are likely more in line with 5e expectations. Besides more dice is more fun!
You don't always need duration or predictability. Here's an example that might work well with a short 2-3 die pool.

Scenario: players need to break into the bbeg's place in a well off section of town to steal or sabotage the macguffin to stop the veryBadEvent from taking place or whatever. Specifics are unimportant.
  • Players decide to use their prestige to get a local carpentry shop to sell them outfits & maybe some tools fitting what would be expected of wine cellar technicians rather than assaulting the front gate
  • Players show up with weapons hidden in tools & such just in case & bluff their way in past the guards but don't know where the macguffin is hidden
  • Obviously wine cellar technicians are unlikely to have much work outside the wine cellar but they sling some arcane gibberish about needing to keep the preservation wards in tune with those throughout the rest of the keep & such beacuse that's a 300 platinum bottle of prewar aundairan brandy.
  • None of the guards are sure that it's not a 300 platinum bottle of prewar aundairan brandy or what is involved in properly preserving such a treasure.. but all of them are certain that they don't want to sign a work order saying they refused to let you properly isolate the preservation wards for when it goes bad.
  • They are willing to guide you around a bit to watch the party playing with various arcane doodads they don't understand however. eventually they are going to find something better to do than watching the party... how long that takes though is anyone's guess.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I also really liked that countdown mechanic a lot, so of course I was immediately curious of the math involved. I did a simulation (500k iterations so it should be close, but its not 100% theoretically perfect).

Dice - Avg Number of Rounds
1 - 5.98
2 - 8.72
3 - 10.55
4 - 11.93
10 - 16.55

Now for a game that generally revolves around 3 round combats, that's a pretty long time, I think a bit longer than many DMs might imagine at first glance. So here's what happens if you remove a 5 or a 6.

1 - 3
2 - 4.2
3 - 5.02
4 - 5.64
10 - 7.73

Pretty much half the time, though the effect starts to taper at higher levels.


It might be better to go with 5 or 6 for most countdowns, you can throw a lot more dice, giving you more consistency (its still pretty random but not quite as random), and timeframes that are likely more in line with 5e expectations. Besides more dice is more fun!
You can alter the number of dice, and the numbers which are removed. In WOIN that was codified into fast, medium, and slow dice pools (4,5,6). It’s a bit more open here.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
I also really liked that countdown mechanic a lot, so of course I was immediately curious of the math involved. I did a simulation (500k iterations so it should be close, but its not 100% theoretically perfect).

Dice - Avg Number of Rounds
1 - 5.98
2 - 8.72
3 - 10.55
4 - 11.93
10 - 16.55

Now for a game that generally revolves around 3 round combats, that's a pretty long time, I think a bit longer than many DMs might imagine at first glance. So here's what happens if you remove a 5 or a 6.

1 - 3
2 - 4.2
3 - 5.02
4 - 5.64
10 - 7.73

Pretty much half the time, though the effect starts to taper at higher levels.


It might be better to go with 5 or 6 for most countdowns, you can throw a lot more dice, giving you more consistency (its still pretty random but not quite as random), and timeframes that are likely more in line with 5e expectations. Besides more dice is more fun!
That was my immediate thought. The cooldown is a simple and elegant idea. But I don't see the numbers as written being very useful in combat rounds. Even one dice goes beyond what most of my encounters last.

However, in a setting of exploration, or a social encounter, or a skill challenge it works wonderfully.
 


Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Countdowns for picking locks and disarming traps.

Measured in Combat Rounds.

While Wandering Monsters are nearby.

The DM rolls the big fistful of dice to see how long before the wandering monster arrives. The Rogue has a dice pool based on the DC of the Lock to determine how long it takes (Proficiency makes it a 5-6, Expertise makes it a 4-6). The Rogue is dropping that fistful of dice in turn, but allowed to split it among the party as they like to represent everyone else protecting and shielding the Rogue. Get the -whole- party in on the action! Lots of tension as you watch the timer drop between a Gang of Minotaurs and the Rogue's lockpicking...

Which dice pool hits 0 first?!

And then even if combat is joined, the Rogue can keep working on the lock while the rest of the party is fighting the minotaurs, because the party is badly outmatched and will probably get a TPK unless they can get that door open, get through it, and close it before the minotaurs burst through!

Now that's some tabledrama.
 


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