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Richard L
Worked at Unzen City Board of Education
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Richard L

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A nifty and thoroughly put together post, but let me just help you with the attribution: after looking through some Google image search results, I'm under the impression that "fancy rendered pokeballs" is a whole genre, but the one you used in particular was by a "wazzy88" on deviantart: [http://wazzy88.deviantart.com/gallery/]. Some people on deviantart have been known to steal others' work, but this gallery has enough images along the same theme that I'm willing to believe it's legitimately their theme. So now you can source it, and even send a message to ask permission for using the image!  8^)
source unknown I think it'd be pretty cool if you're fighting an elemental, and, instead of killing it, you throw a pokéball at it and capture it. Then you treat it like a pet and toss it out to fight for you.  (I've b...
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Richard L

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Hi there! I don't know if I've ever had the honor of your visiting my humble blog, but when I read this I was immediately reminded of my own post from last November at http://landofnu.com/2014/11/06/a-sliding-scale-of-stabbing/ , so it's possible that that's where you read it and forgot? I'd like to think so, at any rate. I do see you've taken what for me was an abstract musing and put concrete numbers on it, though, so good on you - and let me know how it goes if you try it in play!
This is one of those ideas so simple, I'm certain someone else came up with it. Maybe I read it and forgot about it. So in many D&D versions, both official and house-ruled, there's this weird thing when you roll one number to see if you hit the orc and another to see if you chop its fool head ...
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Richard L

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Are we specifying that it has to be Greek mythology? Because if you're willing to range further afield, I'm sure there's something Nordic, Celtic, Slavic, African etc. that will match the gestalt more or less.
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+Richard L +Lon Varnadore Ideally I'm looking to shoe horn the Drow into near eastern mythology or Greek myth, but the Celts exist at this time, anything in Celtic myth and fey themes is fair game.  I'm also thinking the natural world has two opposed forces when seen through a Greek myth lense - Artemis representing nature and order, and Pan representing nature, chaos, and the overthrow of civilization.

Richard L

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On the one hand, I always make sure that the obvious potential TPKs in a dungeon or wilderness setting are well-telegraphed, so that players can avoid them, or approach when they feel they're well-prepared. On the other, if the PCs are picking fights with random strangers, then it's on their own heads if one of the strangers just happens to be able to wipe the floor with them.
Encounters in published adventures tend to be scaled to the level of the characters the adventure was created for. If it’s an adventure for levels 1-3 you would typically not expect to encounter 10th level monsters, as there ...
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Richard L

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"I am studying for the JLPT N3 for December 2015... I originally intended to take the N3 in December 2014, but I forgot to register in the (short) window in which registration is open. It's very frustrating."

Isn't the JLPT also offered in June? Or is it biannual only in Japan, or just only annual where you are?

In either case, good luck, and have fun!  日本語は難しいけど、面白い言語です。  8^)
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Richard L

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First, let me say that this is an interesting idea, very thought-provoking. I recommend actually using it, too – practice always, always trumps theory, and a play-test will tell you so much more than sitting back in one's armchair and going “I feel that....” After all, the bottom line for house rules is that if it works for you, then it's a valid part of your arsenal.

That said, on the theoretical level I'm inclined to raise objections.

1. I like combat that allows for both sides to miss. Done right, it can build tension nicely. Perhaps the major factor that makes a difference here is how long a “round” is for you – verisimilitude allows more hitless six-second rounds than minute-long rounds.

2. I  <i>really</i> like combat that allows for both parties to hit. It's something that happens all the time in real combat, for one thing. In game terms it increases your dramatic options and adds a little tension and variability that are lost in a winner-take-all setup.

In fact, this is one of the biggest downsides of the system you propose: in winner-take-all, whoever has the higher CR is even safer than they would be under standard rules, and almost guaranteed to win a fight. (This only gets worse if you use the “seizing momentum” rule!) Elements of chance, and hit point totals, also come into play of course... but all other things being equal you're creating a system that statistically encourages PCs to bully the weak (boring) and refuse to ever engage the strong (also boring). Gone is the ability of a party of first-level characters to gang up on a Minotaur and overwhelm it with numbers.

It's also worth pointing out that you threw in several tactical options that allow both sides to hit and damage, or both sides to do nothing. To me this says that you felt the lack of each potential outcome and tried to find a way to put them back in... but in the end, I suspect that this is a net increase in complexity. It doesn't seem worth it to me to make the players memorize a bunch of little situational rules just to speed up combat by one roll per round.

3. You comment about a fighter being able to hold off a monster that s/he can't hurt. There are plenty of other rules that give this ability in a more beneficial way, though: a full-defense action or the Combat Expertise feat in 3.x-style combat, for example. It's easy to see why a defensive option that increases your defense in some way is better than a “defensive” option that consists of counting on a string of useless wins.

4. I <i> agree</i> that dynamic, skill-based offense against static, equipment-based defense is problematic. However, there are other ways to deal with this that doesn't involve collapsing all combat into a single roll. For example, making defense into a skill check. You could even go the GURPS route and give players the choice of defending with a Dodge, Parry, or Block roll, with various upsides and downsides to each choice.

5. The averaging-out of damage from multiple monster attacks seems pointless: it loses the “flavor” of bites being different from tail slaps (for example), and you always had the option of a monster simply choosing before rolls are made who to target with what attack.

So that's my two cents. I recommend play-testing this style of combat to see how it feels. But it strikes me as a less-than-ideal solution to certain problems, and an unnecessary “solution” to several situations that aren't problems at all. Keep up the brainstorming, and good luck!
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Have him in circles
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Richard L

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Kind of sounds like you're setting up a rudimentary system for quest XP.
Maybe rescuing someone from the clutches of the bad guys ought to be worth some XP. 100xp per level of the person rescue might be a good starting benchmark. Count low level but important people as higher level for purposes of this calculation. (E.g. the richest merchant in the land might be a ...
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Richard L

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I wouldn't say "wrong" - if a way of gaming works for you, it's "right" - but all the same I like the sound of 3/10, and will definitely try it if I ever start using minis in my games.

It seems like you'd get about the same effect, now that I think of it, by simply switching to the metric system. "3 1/3 feet" feels pretty clunky, but meters (or yards, if you're feeling Imperial) are tidy.
I recall using 1" squares to represent 5 foot of dungeon floor going at least as far back as '86 or '87, when I ran Keep on the Borderlands for what had to be the third or so time. Dave ran a barbarian named Bubba, using a local version of the barbarian class built using Paul Crabaugh's golden ...
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Richard L

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This is straight-up a good and helpful review. Thorough, specific, rational, doesn't get bogged down in ad hominem attacks against the writers over the negative aspects, and includes examples from play. I'm not shopping for any new game systems right now, but I'll have to keep this in mind if I ever decide to review something.  8^)  Thanks!
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Hey, thanks for the kind words.

Richard L

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I've never had the murderhobo problem with my players, to be honest, but it seems like you've barely tapped the vein of in-world repercussions. If players are going around murdering enough innocents to switch their alignment, then they're likely making people angry too. Perhaps angry enough to trigger paladin raids on their base, or a price on their heads set by some lord trying to keep public order. All sorts of adventures you can get out of a bounty on the party.
Recently I’ve seen a few discussions about Murderhobo players, and thought about ways to bring a bit more balance to the mayhem and encourage players to run characters a bit more in balance with regular people in the game wor...
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Richard L

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I really like this idea, at least in outline. Any move away from "kill everything you meet to maximize XP" is a good move. The specifics seems a little wonky, though; too literal, perhaps. If I were working this out I'd try to figure out fundamental things that make each class tick, and reward them. So gathering spells for a wizard is Very Yes (although the exact reward size can be tinkered with), but a ranger gathering a small band of followers? Maybe not so much.
This is me playing around with AD&D level perks - instead of getting the perk as a result of collecting XP, you have to adventure to get the perk yourself, and you get XP as a result. For example, in AD&D, a 9th level cleric ...
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Yes, you're quite right that it's too literal. The wizard's spell-finding is definitely the best of the lot.

The nod-and-wink of all this is that there are RPGs that work a lot like this already. I think one of the tricks is making the rewards juicy enough that they affect behavior, but making them mutually compatible that they don't pull the party apart with unrelated incentives.  BW does it with player-set goals (which keeps them cohesive), and many AW-based games have XP moves, but these typically are a fairly small % of PCs' overall xp intake and are meant for flavor rather than high-level drivers of play.

Anyways, I think it's a fun idea to play with.

Richard L

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Well said! I started following you for the adventure maps, and seeing this kind of useful theorizing is just icing on the cake. (Or cake under the icing? Take your pick?)

One counter-point: while I don't think many people, if any, will argue that randomly-generated dungeon features are more "interesting" than painstakingly hand-crafted ones, random generation has a couple of features that make it attractive nonetheless.

First, it's faster; you can roll a handful of dice and a given encounter, room, or location is ready to go.

Second, it allows the DM to be surprised by the landscape just as much as the players are. A good combination of random tables can yield unexpected results and force the DM to interpret them creatively.

I suppose the best of both worlds would be a system where you base your random tables logically on what the local emitters would be expected to leave? This might be even less work to set up than a truly random table, since deciding a "theme" beforehand will suggest a set of reasonable options to stock the table with.
A question I see from time to time in various forms is, "How do I make dungeon descriptions interesting?" One possible answer looks like this: Random Dungeon Details (d1000) 01-03  Bad smell (d6: 1-2 sulphur, 3-4 decay, 5-6 m...
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I'm in complete agreement, +Richard L - random content is a great way to add variety you'd never have thought of yourself.  I'm downplaying that, only because I'm focusing on the idea of making investigation worthwhile.

Actually,  you've read my mind on your final point - I have something baking in the oven along these exact lines for wilderness happenings and encounters.
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Have him in circles
25 people
Michelle L's profile photo
Ivone Rousel's profile photo
malutz1's profile photo
Daniel Davis's profile photo
David Smith's profile photo
James Young's profile photo
Ben Hieserich's profile photo
Tiffany Lowe's profile photo
Claudia Lutz's profile photo
Basic Information
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Freelance translator, Japanese > English
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  • Unzen City Board of Education
    2005 - 2010
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A cheap (105yen for most of the plates) and popular kaiten-zushi establishment. The setup is good, with wasabi and other flavorings available at each table. The selection is also nice; the lineup that varies with the seasons but always features standards like salmon. The facility itself is clean, well-lit, and (importantly, for me) non-smoking. Its distinctive feature is a little Shinkansen train for bringing your orders to you! Conveniently close to Isahaya station. It's gourmet cuisine, but it's mighty fine "rotating sushi."
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Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
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