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I want to do something cool Every Round!!!

Crothian

First Post
http://gamescribe.livejournal.com/71109.html

Rodney Thompson posted this in his live journal. I do like the idea of giving the players a little more options so they don't have to hold onto resources so much. I want the players to be more engaged with what is going on and allowing them to have fun with their character is an easy way to do that. The Dragon Adept from Dragon Magic (a book he wrote along with Own KC Stephens) is a good and interesting approach to this. Same with the Warlock, but I like the Dragon Adept better.
 

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Mallus

Hero
Its a great idea. The whole "strategy = resource management" paradigm never did anything for me, aside from "annoy".

Sure, resource management can ratchet up the tension in a session. But at the expense of continuous player engagement, and only under an implied framework of (relatively) static opponents/challenges. "One more room" isn't a meaningful debate if the critters can move around, or, heaven forbid, if foes actually live outside in a wider world unbound by dungeion walls...

Superhero RPG's, like my Current Favorite Game, Muntants and Masterminds (2nd ed.), tend to discard resource management elements. I don't see why that couldn't work for genre fantasy RPGS.
 

iwatt

First Post
Seems to me he's talking of token pools as described in Iron Heroes. But IH basically is based on the premise that you can do something cool every round, with the new uses for skills, the stunt rules and token abilities.
 

Voadam

Hero
I too dislike resource management of scarce resources as a central element of the game. I'm really glad the dragon adept is posted on the website so it can be used by more than just owners of that book.
 

HeapThaumaturgist

First Post
I dunno. I've thought of this before, myself ... for one of those experimental games.

If it's about "Resource Management" ... and if the real meaning-making division of the game day is the encounter ... why not just measure resources per encounter.

And what are resources other than "the limit to the cool things you can do"?

So, boil it down to ONE RESOURCE ... a resource that returns at the end of every encounter. And call it Mojo.

High adventure, low rules sort of game where everything you do ... get hurt, cast a spell, use a skill, etc etc, uses up some amount of your "Mojo". Out of mojo, out of the game.

--fje
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I don't feel the need to do something "cool" every round. Something "cool" each encounter? Maybe, depends on the kind of character and the encounter. Each adventure? Definitely. But I guess, what defines "cool"?

I remain engaged (and keep my players engaged) by keeping in mind the various goals of what I am trying to accomplish: The goal encounter at hand is short-term, the goal for the adventure as a whole is moderate-term, and the long-term goals are those of the character and where and how I see him developing. The DM helps by presenting varied and interesting encounters that challenge tactically and in terms of emotional responses of the characters to what is going on in the scene/encounter/combat.

For me the formula for keeping people engaged is as follows:

Motivation + Tactical Goal + Adversity + Pathos + Butt-kicking Fun

Add all of those together and you have a perfect combat encounter, but sometimes for slightly different results you have to mix and match the amounts of each variable to equate something that works for you and your group.
 

Voadam

Hero
The part I disagree with him on is the dislike for boring every round activities. I have no problem with boring every round things like the warlock's eldritch blast or a warrior's swing of a weapon. I feel engaged even when my action is just run up and hit it with my sword, I don't need lots of power attack/expertise manipulation judgment calls to be happy in a combat.

My dislike is people not taking actions so as to save their spell resources or ending the adventure prematurely to rest up. Currently a wizard out of spells is a commoner. More in genre would be free cantrip like minor attack spells the wizard could do every round unlimited and stay engaged in their schtick.
 


<sigh>

This is what I consider a sign of the apocalypse. First they dumbed down my MMORPGs to cater to the 'I have to be the center of attention ADHD set', now they are coming for my pen and paper RPGs too.

Doing something cool every round is nothing special. Working so that you can do something *really* cool once in a while is more rewarding in the long run. IMO, etc. If there's no resource management, then everything quickly boils down to a limited set of optimal choices for every situation. I find that boring to play. I couldn't conceive of playing a long running M&M game - I think the rules are clever, and its pretty damn fun for a once-in-a-while kinda thing, but the complete disconnect from any sort of realism just isn't my cup of tea.
 

FickleGM

Explorer
Count me among those that are lukewarm to the idea. I could see doing some of the following:

1. Action Points - I use them as per Unearthed Arcana (except, I give 3 per session) and could see adding a few extra ways to use them, as well as ways of gaining new ones (such as letting the DM screw you over).

2. Cannibalizing Hit Points - I could see cannibalizing hit points to do "stuff" (perhaps, every so many hit points converts to an action point - the "fatigue" of doing the extra "stuff" is reflected as a loss of hit points).

3. Regaining Hit Points - I could see allowing characters to regain hit points by taking on conditions. Sure, maybe the fighter is fatigued (can't run, minuses to a couple attributes - I forget the specifics), but he gets back some precious hitpoints.


I don't know, these may be silly and not work, but it's what popped in my mind after reading that article.
 

Crothian

First Post
Rodrigo Istalindir said:
<sigh>

This is what I consider a sign of the apocalypse. First they dumbed down my MMORPGs to cater to the 'I have to be the center of attention ADHD set', now they are coming for my pen and paper RPGs too.

Who is "they"? :lol:
 

Berandor

lunatic
If you don't know who "they" are, then their subterfuge has been succesful, or you just pretend because you're one of them. In other words, don't listen to Rodrigo, or they just might knock on your door some day and take you away...
 

Rodrigo Istalindir said:
This is what I consider a sign of the apocalypse. First they dumbed down my MMORPGs to cater to the 'I have to be the center of attention ADHD set', now they are coming for my pen and paper RPGs too.
Yes, hitting autoattack and going to the kitchen was much better than requiring players of an MMORPG to actually play the game.

Doing something cool every round is nothing special. Working so that you can do something *really* cool once in a while is more rewarding in the long run. IMO, etc. If there's no resource management, then everything quickly boils down to a limited set of optimal choices for every situation. I find that boring to play. I couldn't conceive of playing a long running M&M game - I think the rules are clever, and its pretty damn fun for a once-in-a-while kinda thing, but the complete disconnect from any sort of realism just isn't my cup of tea.
I'm sorry, but you find that M&M isn't sufficiently realistic to known superhero physics? Is that your complaint?
 

Voadam

Hero
pawsplay said:
A commoner with a crossbow and a wand of fireballs, I guess.
Yes, either wizards are turned into commoners with crossbows which is not their magic schtick or at mid-high levels they can get an item to add nonrenewable resources to their resource management so that it is more like if they actually could do something each round on their own.

Fireball (5th) 11,250 gp

I'd prefer wizards to be able to do magic each round on their own more like a warlock rather than be a character with a few one shots who then turn into poor crossbowmen (non magical warlocks with inappropriate flavor feel) or depend on specific magic items to end up becoming warlock-like.

My two wizard pcs have two wands between them, one (5th level wizard) has a wand of grease to have something useful to do every round in combat regardless of his prepared spells, and the second (15th level eldritch knight) has a wand of reflexive disguise he just got as loot after an adventure where he lost all his gear. He had to do a lot of spell buff, go after the bad guys, then retreat and rest. Less than 10 minutes of activity a day in his hit and run then rest campaign against the bad guys who took his stuff. After his spells ran out he was down to improved unarmed strike as his options and teleported out before things got ugly. Among the items he lost were a wand of lightning bolts and a wand of knock.

Wands can cover the role a little after the initial levels for wizards, but I'd still prefer warlock type mechanics.
 

Gold Roger

First Post
I'm split.

One the one head I like the idea that most abilities shouldn't be as restricted anymore. I like the idea to remove the absolute need for rest. I like the idea that every class can do some special stuff.


But on the other hand I think this idea could be taken to far. Some people like recource management. Some effects shouldn't be just chucked around at will. Making "everyone can do cool stuff all the time" is, in a way, (Gosh, that is going to sound terribly eliteist, but bear with me for a moment) dumbing down the game.

You see all of this is what I call "simple fun". Don't understand me wrong. I love movies you don't have to think about while watching, I love stupid entertainment, I at times love the hack'n'slash encounter. But I also love the stuff I have to think about before it entertains me. The "complex fun". This might be a complex engaging movie. An unorthodox piece of music. A really challenging computer game, that frustrates me before I finally beat it. This could also be playing a vancian spellcaster or fighting/DMing a frustrating monster in D&D like a guy with invisibility at will and hit and run or a rustmonster.

Right now, D&D has both of this, often at the same time. I agree the "simple fun" part can be wastly improved and smoothed out. But it seems many designers have become so enarmored with "simple fun" that they somehow think that "complex fun" isn't good, simply because it's harder to make worthwhile. Yes, a bad DM can ruin the game with a rust monster. But other DM's can greatly enhance the game using rust monsters.

By all means should the scope of "simple fun" be expanded, but don't remove the possibilty for "complx fun" either.


Another concern I have is the person that wants, in a mechanical sense at least, even simpler fun.

You know those really casual folks, who usually have an barbarian or somesuch, simply attack every round, can't be bothered to remember any special ability behind barbarian rage! and have great fun with that?

Or the really engaged story player, that doesn't like to load himself with rules options?

I've had countless of those players. Give them characters that have to make a choice every round and you've got them out of the hobby real fast. And I like my variety in D&D. As well as gaming tables with more than two or three hardcore D&D players at them.


So I'd prefer a hybrid system, where most spellcasters have invocations/at-will-magic and vancian spells and most noncasters have the option (via feats) between "Thog Smash" and swashbuckling maneuvering Flashy McJumpalot.
 

Mallus

Hero
Rodrigo Istalindir said:
First they dumbed down my MMORPGs to cater to the 'I have to be the center of attention ADHD set', now they are coming for my pen and paper RPGs too.
What happened to MMORPG's was that some smart folks figured out that making them less time-intensive resulted in a wider audience. More players having more fun. Describing that as 'dumbing down' misses the point. It's about a better return on your average player's time investment.

A (single) recreational activity that pratically demands an investment of time equal to working another full-time job (or caring for a few extra young children) per week for several months before it's rewarding is a questionable use of many peoples free time.

If there's no resource management, then everything quickly boils down to a limited set of optimal choices for every situation.
That reflects a playstyle preference. It has nothing to do with resource management. It has to do with how challenges and the corresponding abilities used to overcome them are quantified in the game's mechanics (a rigid modelling system -rules are the physics of the game world- vs. a looser modelling system -character are free to attempt actions not governed by procedural rules as long as the results can be adequately described in game terms).

And doesn't a limited ressource pool encourage the hunt for a small set of 'optimal choices'? Wouldn't more/unlimited resources make players less hesistant to use them in different and, assumedly, more creative ways?

I couldn't conceive of playing a long running M&M game - I think the rules are clever, and its pretty damn fun for a once-in-a-while kinda thing, but the complete disconnect from any sort of realism just isn't my cup of tea.
M&M is a lot of fun, but as you say, not everyone's cup of tea. However...

...why is ability to conjure a conjure a ball of explosive fire out thin air 3 times a day any more "realistic" than being able to do so once every six seconds? Last I checked both fell under the heading 'completely impossible'.

Neither D&D nor M&M are realistic. Maybe you just don't like characters in tights?
 
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MoogleEmpMog

First Post
HeapThaumaturgist said:
I dunno. I've thought of this before, myself ... for one of those experimental games.

If it's about "Resource Management" ... and if the real meaning-making division of the game day is the encounter ... why not just measure resources per encounter.

And what are resources other than "the limit to the cool things you can do"?

So, boil it down to ONE RESOURCE ... a resource that returns at the end of every encounter. And call it Mojo.

High adventure, low rules sort of game where everything you do ... get hurt, cast a spell, use a skill, etc etc, uses up some amount of your "Mojo". Out of mojo, out of the game.

--fje

Sounds a lot like Wushu, actually.

Maybe a little rules-heavy for Wushu fans, though. ;)
 

MoogleEmpMog

First Post
Gold Roger said:
I'm split.

One the one head I like the idea that most abilities shouldn't be as restricted anymore. I like the idea to remove the absolute need for rest. I like the idea that every class can do some special stuff.

But on the other hand I think this idea could be taken to far. Some people like recource management. Some effects shouldn't be just chucked around at will. Making "everyone can do cool stuff all the time" is, in a way, (Gosh, that is going to sound terribly eliteist, but bear with me for a moment) dumbing down the game.

You see all of this is what I call "simple fun". Don't understand me wrong. I love movies you don't have to think about while watching, I love stupid entertainment, I at times love the hack'n'slash encounter. But I also love the stuff I have to think about before it entertains me. The "complex fun". This might be a complex engaging movie. An unorthodox piece of music. A really challenging computer game, that frustrates me before I finally beat it. This could also be playing a vancian spellcaster or fighting/DMing a frustrating monster in D&D like a guy with invisibility at will and hit and run or a rustmonster.

In terms of the frustrating monsters or complex tactical challenges, I agree with you.

Resource management, not so much.

I don't think many people would consider chess 'simple,' yet each individual piece has only a very limited set of moves and no resource management whatsoever, outside of whether you want to sacrifice it to set up a later move.

I would actually say resource management is the most simplistic way of creating challenge - but it's hardly the only way. Removing all encounter-to-encounter resource management elements, clearing out the ablative encounters that clog most 'dungeon' style intense tactical adventures and replacing them with truly epic (and extremely challenging) set piece battles would change the feel of the game, but wouldn't have to make it any easier. In fact, this could easily ratchet up the difficulty as designers felt free to plan encounters for a fully healed, full power party instead of considering whether or not the PCs would be able to rest - and potentially making the encounter a cakewalk if they come up with an unexpected way of doing so.

For that matter, you don't necessarily have to take away resource management that accounts for in-encounter actions (like Mutants & Mastermind's Hero Point system or Iron Heroes' tokens). A succession of 'limit break' style abilities, or Magic the Gathering style building up of resources on a per match basis, would force the player to choose between doing a 'cool thing' now, a 'pretty cool' thing now and a 'really cool' thing next round, and so on.

Gold Roger said:
Right now, D&D has both of this, often at the same time. I agree the "simple fun" part can be wastly improved and smoothed out. But it seems many designers have become so enarmored with "simple fun" that they somehow think that "complex fun" isn't good, simply because it's harder to make worthwhile. Yes, a bad DM can ruin the game with a rust monster. But other DM's can greatly enhance the game using rust monsters.

By all means should the scope of "simple fun" be expanded, but don't remove the possibilty for "complx fun" either.

Again, I don't see how it's 'simple fun' because it has no element of encounter-to-encounter resource management. Lots of games are considerably more complex than D&D in this regard, and definitely a lot more challenging than D&D's core assumptions, without having that element.

Gold Roger said:
Another concern I have is the person that wants, in a mechanical sense at least, even simpler fun.

You know those really casual folks, who usually have an barbarian or somesuch, simply attack every round, can't be bothered to remember any special ability behind barbarian rage! and have great fun with that?

Or the really engaged story player, that doesn't like to load himself with rules options?

I've had countless of those players. Give them characters that have to make a choice every round and you've got them out of the hobby real fast. And I like my variety in D&D. As well as gaming tables with more than two or three hardcore D&D players at them.

So I'd prefer a hybrid system, where most spellcasters have invocations/at-will-magic and vancian spells and most noncasters have the option (via feats) between "Thog Smash" and swashbuckling maneuvering Flashy McJumpalot.

Personally, my feeling is that players of both stripes are better off with dedicated systems that serve them exactly the kind of experience they want. Sooner or later, having the two types at the same table always seems to cause problems, or at least to keep both from enjoying themselves to the fullest.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
I'm of the opinion that wisely managing your resources *has* to be part of the game. When you run out of, for example, magic missile spells, but still have grease memorized, then you are still capable of being effective - just not the same way.

Likewise, if I run out of potions of cure lt. wounds, then maybe the party druid best get busy earning his keep by scavenging for healing herbs...

I like to use the tagline from the movie "Heartbreak Ridge." "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome."
 

Whizbang Dustyboots said:
Yes, hitting autoattack and going to the kitchen was much better than requiring players of an MMORPG to actually play the game.


I'm sorry, but you find that M&M isn't sufficiently realistic to known superhero physics? Is that your complaint?

Heh...my EQ namesake was a bard. I've yet to find *anything* in any subsequent MMORPG that required the level of concentration necessary to twist four songs :p

No, I'm saying I don't find the superhero genre in general sufficiently realistic to interest me for long periods.
 

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