Monday 30 January 2017

The Black Hack : Creature Reactions

TBH Development.

Currently TBH handles creature reactions with a straight d8 roll. Thats ok, i'm happy with the general results at the table - it models the old school 'Not-everything-wants-to-immediately-kill-you' feeling that I think is a huge part of the early D&D experience. But, it seems a little arbitrary and 'spikey'

Here's my working edits, i'm putting this out there because I know some bright spark will have some awesome tweaks, or even better - something different entirely. So here's the whats and the why's.

Roll 2d6. Introduce a bell curve, less random.

We'll be adding the Powerful Opponents modifier. I hate math, but, needs must. Now if you're outclassed your opponent will see you as weak and be more likely to try and squash/subjugate you.

Increase the results available to us. 2-12. More options is always good, but we'll keep them broad for GM interpretation - just as before.

2 - Surrender/Offer their allegiance.
3 - Give the PC's and Item/Info/Aid.
4 - Make a mutually beneficial trade.
5 - Mistake the PC's for friends/allies.
6 - Wait for the PC's to act first.
7 - Withdraw to a safer location.
8 - Demand the PC's withdraw. (if they don't add 1d6 to this result)
9 - Call for Reinforcements. (then see 6)
10 - Trick the PC's using result 2-4 (then see 11)
11 - Capture the PC's.
12+ - Kill/Eat the PC's.

There's a couple of 'Roll again' or 'See result x' .. this adds a This injects a HUGE element of unpredictability into creature behavior, which is exactly what we want to model when we've got random encounters or encounters we haven't pre-planned. After all, the game should be fun for the GM too! I've found these curve balls tend to generate memorable and enjoyable moments.


Thursday 26 January 2017

Secret Things

This will be short - I've decided to post my note taking here, in part to use the blog more, but also make it more visible to myself. Also, this might not be a revelation to anyone - but it's useful for me.. so.. err.. Gerr'off'my'lawn!

One of the things I've always uneasily tangled with is secret things, such as traps and doors - and the concept of the Gotcha! trap. You see on one hand, i'm a very new school GM, I believe in co-operative play, storytelling, friends just playing a game. On the other hand i'm a firm believer that it wouldn't be D&D if at some stage someone didn't fall down a greased hole with spikes at the bottom. That's a little bit oil and water, if not handled in the right way.

 4e/5e is kind of there with Passive Perception, but I don't like skills lists. Too defining, too much character skill not player. And putting the concept in player hands? #NOPE  So, I've been thinking about random encounters. There's a certain tension and magic in letting the players know that you're checking for random encounters, your pushing their resources, they shouldn't want to fight. So its fun to roll a die and let them know whats going on, under the hood so to speak. That builds uncertainty and apprehension. So, why can't that be the same for Secret Things?

Here's the idea, every-time the party enters a new space (room, corridor etc) I roll a passive perception check - regardless if a secret thing exist or not. Now that's not a late-gen skill check, no, a simple 1-in-6 chance will do fine. That fits with the roll low aesthetic I've adopted in TBH. If they get a 1, I alert them to the clue that gives away the secret thing. They still have to do all the hard work of searching, testing, teasing out its secrets. Narrative searching is fine, i'll give Advantage if they make a big meal of that, but i'll always use attribute tests to determine how things pan out - that way I can remain completely impartial. Just a referee. Plus whats the point of generating a Wisdom score and not using it?

At least this way there's a very real and obvious Gotcha! safety net in place. The players know its fair and thorough. I didn't get you, the dice gods did.