Your Harebrained Ideas?

MarkB

Legend
One of my most fun harebrained moments as a player was in a Traveller one-shot where I weaponised a duvet.

The set-up was that we unwittingly had some information that a megacorp needed, and the whole crew got tricked into being drugged, kidnapped and then held at a luxury hotel the corp owned on an isolated island resort. They cleared out a whole floor to hold us, and the only way off it was down a long corridor to the stairs and elevator, which was flanked by a couple of security guards armed with stunners. The stunners were only a tech level or two beyond modern-day, firing self-contained darts that delivered an electric shock.

So I proposed that we get one of the big, comfy duvets off one of the double beds, stretch it across the corridor in front of us, and blindly charge the guards. Which we proceeded to do, as they uselessly fired dart after dart into the non-conductive fabric, then we bundled them into the duvet and softly pummelled them unconscious.
 

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Harebrained perhaps, but its going in.
 

pemerton

Legend
I thought implementing PvP-style rolls like in that article would solve my problem. I was wrong.

We ended up implementing the changes two sessions after that recap, which would be our last session. What I did was have everything used opposed rolls. The conceit was that I should be able to delegate anything I’m playing to another player, so it needs to be fair in that situation, and when I’m playing, I’m just a player. It felt so bad. Trying to “play” the environment for danger checks was weird. It made the flow of combat be clunky. The worst was when the party to tried to flee from a couple of ettins. They would roll to set the difficulty, and a couple of early good rolls just demoralized my players. So that’s out.
Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic uses opposed rolls for everything. If there's no NPC acting in the situation, the Doom Pool is rolled to serve as the opposition.

It works, but takes a bit of experience on the GM side to get used to (as the Doom Pool is also an expendable resource for the GM).
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic uses opposed rolls for everything. If there's no NPC acting in the situation, the Doom Pool is rolled to serve as the opposition.

It works, but takes a bit of experience on the GM side to get used to (as the Doom Pool is also an expendable resource for the GM).
It looks like Cortex+ rolls opposing dice pools. I was doing 2d6+mods vs. 2d6+mods.

I was also having the attacker set the target for the defender, which is the flow my players disliked. I could have tried adjusting the flow, but it didn’t seem worth the effort when my players weren’t all that into the PvP conceit anyway. When I first explained it to them, they thought they were going to have the play the NPCs/stuff.
 

pemerton

Legend
It looks like Cortex+ rolls opposing dice pools. I was doing 2d6+mods vs. 2d6+mods.

I was also having the attacker set the target for the defender, which is the flow my players disliked. I could have tried adjusting the flow, but it didn’t seem worth the effort when my players weren’t all that into the PvP conceit anyway. When I first explained it to them, they thought they were going to have the play the NPCs/stuff.
Cortex pools are based on choosing two dice and adding them (a third die generates the effect, which is based entirely on die size regardless of its result). So it's closer to 2d6 vs 2d6 except bigger pools give "advantage" (as you can select a better roll).

There are no mods, although it is possible to add more than two dice (spending plot points, or having a special ability).
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Cortex pools are based on choosing two dice and adding them (a third die generates the effect, which is based entirely on die size regardless of its result). So it's closer to 2d6 vs 2d6 except bigger pools give "advantage" (as you can select a better roll).

There are no mods, although it is possible to add more than two dice (spending plot points, or having a special ability).
The modifier was the killer. The ettins were only rolling at +4, but that puts the average at 11. A lucky roll ended up would feel impossible to them. If Cortext+ is not using them, then I doubt it would have that problem. I thought opposed tests in Torchbearer were also okay. (I didn’t like the conflict engine, but that’s a different problem.)
 

I’ve had a few in my homebrew system.

* * *​

In a thread here on armor as damage reduction, I described a system of handling DR as part of your HP. This was based on the observation that mitigation is a form of effective HP. It doesn’t give you actual HP, but it extends your time-to-live by an equivalent amount. If you’ve played a tank in an MMO, then you may have heard of this as a way to compare different forms of mitigation (including just gearing for more raw HP) to find the most effective solution.

I implemented armor HP per that post in my homebrew system, and we played with it for a while. It worked out okay in play, but any time the players needed to level up their characters or figure out HP, it was confusing as hell for them. They struggled to make sense of it or keep things straight. The player who invested in specialities to boost his character’s HP didn’t like how it indirectly caused his character to gain more stress due to needing more healing.

I ended up dropping it last session. The conversion was hasty, and it was marred a bit by the other change I made (described below), but I think straightforward mitigation is easier for players to understand. I still want to avoid some of the issues with armor as DR though, so I’m going to do a few things differently next session (see section three).
Looks my harebrained idea was similar to yours. After some different attempts I ended up with Armor being its own pool of HP separate from normal HP. Similar to HP and THP in DnD. Every time you take damage you subtract half from your armor pool and half from HP (Armor takes the extra point on odd amounts). Heavier armors had more HP and different materials had effects on how the damage was spread out.

Cool in theory, but my players preferred the damage all come from the Armor's pool first before coming from HP, with the exception of poisons and psychic damage. It reduced steps and they liked that. The good thing about either style is you can easily differentiate between HP and armor for healing/leveling/resting/etc.
 

pemerton

Legend
The modifier was the killer. The ettins were only rolling at +4, but that puts the average at 11. A lucky roll ended up would feel impossible to them. If Cortext+ is not using them, then I doubt it would have that problem. I thought opposed tests in Torchbearer were also okay. (I didn’t like the conflict engine, but that’s a different problem.)
Opposed tests in Torchbearer, Burning Wheel and Prince Valiant are all very similar, and I think work well. Ties are quite common, which is a deliberate feature in BW and Torchbearer.

Cortex+ doesn't have quite the maths problem you've set out.

Rolling 2d6, d8 and d10 against (say) 2d8, d10 and d12 isn't ideal, but the variation across the rolls, plus the ability to keep a third die (at the cost of a pretty fluid resource) compensates. Whereas rolling 2d6 vs 2d6+4 is a bit brutal!
 


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