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Running D&D in a boardgame style

rounser

First Post
Before people leap to conclusions, this is not a flame or a troll, nor a sarcastic attack on the new edition. I love boardgames, and sometimes think they nail the D&D vibe better than D&D does.

How would you run a campaign of D&D in "the boardgame style"? I think D&D 4E offers the possibility of being a Warhammer Quest or Talisman, but better, more than any of the prior editions - if run in the right way. The level of abstraction has gone up in some areas and down in others to support that, IMO.

Towns: Probably the bit that gets abstracted the most. When PCs visit a town, they simply get presented with a list of quests NPCs want done, and what can be bought there. No need for other stuff, no need for a map. Maybe some towns have dungeons in them, or an encounter with (say) thieves in an alleyway, hired by a disgruntled villain - go to the encounter map. If they've gone there to talk to an NPC about a plot development or quest, just skip to the chat with that NPC.

Wilderness: Maybe a hex map. Walk around the hex map, discover encounters on the hexes.

Dungeons: Certain hexes contain dungeons. PCs go to another map if they choose to enter.

Simple as that? I'm interested in other's thoughts.

And no, I'm not having a go (honestly).
 
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rounser

First Post
I'm not sure that's realistic in the current editions. Someone's still got to create the adventures, and roll dice for the monsters. The campaign needs a manager, adjudicator and level designer. These roles haven't been automated.
 

jgerman

First Post
rounser said:
Before people leap to conclusions, this is not a flame or a troll, nor a sarcastic attack on the new edition. I love boardgames, and sometimes think they nail the D&D vibe better than D&D does.

How would you run a campaign of D&D in "the boardgame style"? I think D&D 4E offers the possibility of being a Warhammer Quest or Talisman, but better, more than any of the prior editions - if run in the right way. The level of abstraction has gone up in some areas and down in others to support that, IMO.

Towns: Probably the bit that gets abstracted the most. When PCs visit a town, they simply get presented with a list of quests NPCs want done, and what can be bought there. No need for other stuff, no need for a map. Maybe some towns have dungeons in them, or an encounter with (say) theives in an alleyway, hired by a disgruntled villain - go to the encounter map.

Wilderness: Maybe a hex map. Walk around the hex map, discover encounters on the hexes.

Dungeons: Certain hexes contain dungeons. PCs go to another map if they choose to enter.

Simple as that? I'm interested in other's thoughts.

And no, I'm not having a go (honestly).

I would say whatever way you want, borrowing campaign rules from games like Descent would work well. Take at look at the rules for the "Road to Legend" rules here: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/descent_support.html

4e provides a richer combat experience, you could easily use it instead of the Descent rules when delving. Of course with 4e you get outdoor combat as well.

4e has it's problems but it's really hit a sweet spot in the gaming world.
Given a continuum of gaming with boardgaming on one side and rpgs on the other 4e allows you to play anywhere you like within those bounds. That's a huge win and your question is a natural one to ask.

Of course any RPG can provide that but IMO 4e does a good job of providing an "adventure game" toolkit that can be tailored to the needs of an individual group (despite some of it's flaws).
 

rounser

First Post
I would say whatever way you want, borrowing campaign rules from games like Descent would work well. Take at look at the rules for the "Road to Legend" rules here: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/descent_support.html
Tah. Will do.
That's a huge win and your question is a natural one to ask.
I'm glad you agree. The idea of being able to put a metropolis on the map, have it get visited, and just present the players with a list, explaining that PCs can:

1) Enroll in the gladiatorial circus for prizes (go to encounter map).
2) Speak to Melvid about his bounty on the heads of all faeries.
3) Buy magic items from the Floating Tower, so long as they get past the demon guardian and his riddles first (again, encounter map).
4) etc.

...is somewhat liberating. All of a sudden, a complex problem ("how do I represent a city of 250,000 people, let alone map it") becomes quite manageable, and exactly as time-consuming as the DM wants it to be. The flavour can also become very focused ("Oh yeah - Morgrotten is that place with the gladiators and that crazy wild mage who hates faeries.")

It's also the logical conclusion of the DMG advice on fun being debated in another thread.
 
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Corsair

First Post
Personally I think I'd use a system like you are suggesting if I wanted to run a Battletech campaign. Wargaming rules for combat, but streamlined quasi-RPG stuff in between the combats.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
Would there be speaking in character? Third person? Or would all NPC interaction be handled by social skills? Maybe PC interaction too.
 

rounser

First Post
Would there be speaking in character? Third person? Or would all NPC interaction be handled by social skills? Maybe PC interaction too.
Whatever's appropriate, I suppose. Getting past the Royal Guard to speak to the King might be handled with a roll of the dice, whereas you might roleplay Melvid and his insanity firsthand if the PCs are interested in exactly why he hates faeries so much.
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
Corsair said:
Personally I think I'd use a system like you are suggesting if I wanted to run a Battletech campaign. Wargaming rules for combat, but streamlined quasi-RPG stuff in between the combats.
That's actually how I have run two short Battletech Campaigns. Worked beautifully, use the CBT or Aerotech rules for combat on the mech scale. Interaction was kept pretty freeform and personnel scale combat was using Exalted 2e Heroic Mortals rules with some new equipment.
 

I think you need something like the game Rune. Rotating DMs. That way you could still have "secrets" in you dungeon exploration but no one owns the game world (or everyone does depending on your point of view).
 


WayneLigon

Adventurer
rounser said:
Wilderness: Maybe a hex map. Walk around the hex map, discover encounters on the hexes.

Dungeons: Certain hexes contain dungeons. PCs go to another map if they choose to enter.

About like that, yeah. Randomized dungeons and extensive encounter charts should take care of the rest. I've played many a game of OD&D and 1E that were little more than 'more complex than normal' boardgames.
 

Khairn

First Post
jgerman said:
Of course any RPG can provide that but IMO 4e does a good job of providing an "adventure game" toolkit that can be tailored to the needs of an individual group (despite some of it's flaws).

Many RPG's attempt to balance characters with the use of skills, utility abilities and fluff. 4E's driving focus on every class having to balanced in combat first and foremost makes it the perfect set of rules for a boardgame such as the one rounser is describing.

Using tiles to build the adventuring "path" and a pre-determined set of encounters that followed a theme / design would mean that no GM would be required.

That's a really interesting boardgame and something I would most likely be willing to play.
 

rounser

First Post
Using tiles to build the adventuring "path" and a pre-determined set of encounters that followed a theme / design would mean that no GM would be required.
I think you'd need to redesign the game entirely to remove the GM. D&D doesn't run without someone running the monsters. It's definitely more Descent than Talisman. Plenty of boardgames have a "GM role", for that matter, such as Space Hulk and Heroquest, so I'm not sure what's to be gained by removing the DM from D&D, really.

Admittedly, though, all three examples I cited there feature an adversarial GM, as opposed to D&D's [somewhat] benevolent DM. I'd argue that the 'semi-benevolent GM' is an advantage that D&D has over board games, and not something to be downplayed.
 
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Thanee

First Post
Warhammer Quest works great without a GM and it's certainly possible (with some additional work to replace the DM role with rules and random tables) to do this with D&D as well.

Bye
Thanee
 

rounser

First Post
Warhammer Quest works great without a GM and it's certainly possible (with some additional work to replace the DM role with rules and random tables) to do this with D&D as well.
Okay...but again, why would you want to?

Nethack offers less immersion than D&D because it's so random and there's no brains behind it. A DM aided by random tables, perhaps with power of veto and extrapolation is most of the time likely to be far superior to just random tables, because...well...all sorts of reasons that I don't need to sell you on, surely?

I'm not familiar with Warhammer Quest, though. I can still see how it could be hugely fun to game without a DM given the right ruleset, but I don't really get why you'd go to the trouble of removing such an obvious advantage from the game.

Unless....unless you were game designer worried about deviations in quality of play based on who was running it, in which case removing the DM would be an excellent idea. DM fiat not just controlled, it's now a non-issue. Goodbye narcissistic control freaks and frustrated wannabe fantasy novelists, ciao! The downside is that I don't see how you could maintain the game's depth without one. It would require a billion tables, and might still have no thread.

A DM aided by a billion tables (or equivalent to that but less cumbersome - an elegant "d20 system of generation") to flesh out his maps, on the other hand, that's a different story, and tops my wishlist for 5E. Not sure if it's feasible, though. How do you roll up a magic fountain which turns people's hair green? How do you table-format a riddle or a puzzle? How do you codify on three tables the ability to roll up a greengrocer who sells dragon eggs?

On the other hand, it would give the DMG something to do, and an excuse to be really thick and arcane, and infinitely expandable ($$$).
 
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Angellis_ater

First Post
I am going to be doing a Descent & Dragons 4E game in the future. All combats will be using the Descent miniatures, the Descent tiles and they get to pick a "hero miniature". Outside of Dungeons and Encounters (ie outdoors map tiles from Road to Legend) we will revert to normal roleplaying. To me (and this is not 4E-bashing), D&D4E is a boardgame with extensive roleplaying rules...

However, I will also be taking a much more "adversarial role" while they DO dungeon delve. Some dungeons will contain monsters or challenges that they cannot immediately overcome. Some are places they will have to come back to, with forewarned monsters.
 

Thanee

First Post
rounser said:
Okay...but again, why would you want to?

Because it's fun?

Because sometimes noone really wants to DM and it's a nice change of pace.

I'm not familiar with Warhammer Quest, though. I can still see how it could be hugely fun to game without a DM given the right ruleset, but I don't really get why you'd go to the trouble of removing such an obvious advantage from the game.

I'm not. Circumstances do.

When a DM is available, the game with DM is surely superior. No argument.

But what when no DM is available? Go home and watch TV? Or play a fun boardgame with D&D-like rules. I know what I would prefer to do. :)

Bye
Thanee
 


Khairn

First Post
Charwoman Gene said:
Just like 3e

In the application the op described I think its clear that 4E is vastly superior to 3E. The "in-combat" balance of the classes and how they scale as they advance in levels would make it a much better game. At least IMO.
 

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