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[D&D 3.0/3.5] The kid two houses down

Started by Ron Edwards, April 03, 2006, 11:32:05 PM

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Quote from: Ron Edwards on April 04, 2006, 04:35:40 PM
I really don't want to have to buy the DM Guide, which probably would force me to deface most of its "how to DM" pages with a thick black Sharpie out of sheer horror (gahhh! it's not even good Gamist advice! someone stop me, please!)

I think you should buy a DMG for EXACTLY this reason.  It would be cathartic! 

In fact, I think I'll go deface mine right now...
Hi, my name is Jon.

Callan S.

Quote from: Ron Edwards on April 04, 2006, 04:35:40 PM
H'm, well, there was one fuckup then - we re-rolled initiative each round. I suppose we'll have to do it right from now on, but I'm a little boggled as to why one wouldn't roll each time. Although I appreciate your point about the over-structure of combat, Callan. Oh! Now I get it ... the whole point of D&D, modern version, is to focus on multiple fights over the long haul, not individualized components of fights. That's the scale of the reward system, after all. OK. Letting a key roll affect each fight as a whole, then, makes sense.
I think it might merely be a time saving device. If you keep rolling your initiative, you'll hit a hard if your +4 to init then your average is 14 and if your foe is +2, he'll be 12. The result over time is obvious, so they cut it down to just one roll (since you wont squeeze anything else out of multiple rolls).

But I hadn't even though of it like that before, to be honest. I've just thought it's just there to trip me up and thus fitted in. How were you trying to get it to fit, that it boggled you? Or were you trying to grasp it as a designer, rather than a player out to win? :)

QuoteSean, I too find the option of freely switching between 3.0 and 3.5 during play, even contradictorily depending on which book was closest to whoever's looking it up, strangely appealing. I'm serious. That seems to be a comfy-zone in my mind, relative to D&D as an experience. I might have to fight against that attitude in order not to confuse my fellow players.
This is something interesting. Would it be that theres an uncertainty of just how the game world works, created by and residing in the schism between the two books?

QuoteBen, regarding the Challenge Rating of the hyenas, one of my tasks this week is to read up on the Experience Points system and levelling in general, in detail. I really don't want to have to buy the DM Guide, which probably would force me to deface most of its "how to DM" pages with a thick black Sharpie out of sheer horror (gahhh! it's not even good Gamist advice! someone stop me, please!), so is there a good summary on-line? Currently the hyenas are at CR 1, and there were seven of them, and I suppose the yelps might bump them up to CR 2 - although I don't think so, all but one character handily saved against it, and the one guy is the one who got savaged. Frankly, I think it was a good straight-up, evenly matched fight, with every ability and spell and weapon and circumstance (e.g. Cover) factored in just right.
It's a bit tricky to judge CR by how well they did - it can be like giving them less XP because they did well.

Though I don't think the ability is enough in itself to click each creature from CR1 to CR2.

QuoteCover is +4? OK, the +3 I gave them isn't terribly off from that, especially since I think of it as leafy brushy cover at close range, not a brick wall. Not a big deal.
To be anal, there's cover and there's concealment. Concealment doesn't mean your attack is blocked, it means you just can't see your opponent very well. It works off a percentile roll to see if the shot missed entirely due to concealment. Concealment causes some interesting effects - you could roll a natural twenty to hit and pass your threat roll, but if the concealment percentage comes up it was a miss. It adds a whole new layer to accuracy, as some species, classes, spells and stuff effect the concealment percentage.

Do you need to use it to be 'properly' playing a game of D&D? I share the mindset that the rules should be tried out with no tinkering or adding, to really test what the game itself does.

However, the GM's personal skill at using the system is part of the game world, IMO. Like if you used a monster with a bunch of spells and didn't use them in an utterly optimised way, that'd be okay if your not that great at using them (and as long as it wasn't a matter of going soft on the player or similar). So for myself, if the GM just uses cover and doesn't hit players with the concealment whammy, that's just part of the game world that particular GM generates. But then again I'll accept a GM forgetting to apply a second poison save as part of the world, but it was identified as hardcore gaming when I noted it an an AP account.

Damn, that's interesting to me but it went for longer than expected. I'd like to know what you think about using the rules of the game to properly test it, Vs using what you've mastered of the rules, if you think it's apt to mention that in the thread.

Some further rules minutiae is that skill rolls (like a hide roll) do not fail on a natural one (and do not automatically succeed on a natural 20). So even if someone rolls a nat 1 to hide, people should still roll to spot.

QuoteOh yes, in the spirit of retro appreciation, you guys will like this - the same day I bought 3.5, I was reading it and sipping a soda, then got up quickly and knocked the soda right onto the open pages. Goddamit. But now the book looks like it should, scarred through use and the close association of snack beverages.
The ritual is complete!!
Philosopher Gamer

Tommi Brander

On tripping: technically, the attack of opportunity happens before you are standing, so it can't be a trip.


Quote from: Ron Edwards on April 03, 2006, 11:32:05 PMDan's wife & sister decided they could call and summon them home for a movie just because they felt like it

This really pushes my buttons. I don't know these people, so I don't know what's up, but the wife & sister knew you had all agreed to spend time playing - and they just called it off because they felt like it? Sorry if I'm out of line, but sounds like there was some yanking of chains going on.

Ron Edwards

I appreciate all the posting and attention to the thread, but you guys are starting to get a little strange. This often happens in a D&D thread, because the degree of felt-ownership is so strong for this game.

Adam, that's a good idea, and I may consider it. However, keeping track of turn order was completely easy. I've been doing this sort of thing for some time, after all.

Callan, each bit of information I've posted that led to your questions seems to have done at least one right-angle turn in your head before you framed the question. Not to mention leaped a level in abstraction. Where you got the idea that I'm "testing the rules," I don't know, for instance. Or what in the world you're thinking about initiative, which I see as a straightforward rule which I merely misinterpreted based on how other games often do it. You seem to be finding philosophical gold in ... well, where there isn't any. I'm pretty sure I'm just going to leave your post as an interesting artifact and not try to follow your path to it.

Matthijs, the ways of suburbia are mysterious ... to round out the picture a little, Christopher had already breached the "when to start" time, and perhaps in wife-think, this means that the agreed-upon ending point remained unchanged. Not that anyone ever told me about the ending point. Plus, I wrote "because they felt like it" based on my hearing one end of the phone call, so who knows what was really said. I can see why you'd be frustrated in reading it, but in real life, my only goal was actually to play in such a way that we'd want to continue. Everything else was details and points for improvement later.

Hey, who's run modern D&D with a heavy emphasis on social conflict, using the skills? I seem to remember a few of you out there talking about this. I don't foresee any trouble, as it looks like bog-standard mid-80s mechanics to me.

And finally, here's what would help. You saw my description of the three characters, and they defeated five hyenas (the ones called away by Raetha don't count, I think). So if the characters are 3rd level, and the hyenas are Challenge Rating 1, and if they beat five of them ...

... how many XPs? Yes, I'm being lazy. Y'all seem so eager to participate I thought I'd give you something to do.

Best, Ron

Dirk Ackermann

375 XP.

But this is on the fly, as I don't have the books here.

In which way are you lucky?

Dirk Ackermann

In which way are you lucky?

Dirk Ackermann

Sorry for all this posting, but there were 7 of the creatures, right?

Five killed and the rest backed off?

Because in 3.0/3.5 you become the XP even if they run or you can outwit them. In this case it will be 525 XP.

In which way are you lucky?

Ben Lehman

Hey, Ron.

*raises hand on the high-social, skill D&D*

The trick with this is to use a relationship map and bangs -- well, I didn't call them that, but that's what they were.  Key skills are Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive, Bluff and Gather Information.

The real trick with this sort of play is to make sure that it doesn't get bogged down into talking in character, which should be a problem for you, it looks like, and to make sure that spotlight and efficacy gets split between the players equally.

The second one is the trickier of the two, from the GM's perspective.  It is very easy for high-charisma or high-skill characters to absolutely dominate this sort of play, leaving little for other characters to do.  The trick here is to bring in race and class and alignment as hooks.

Example not with your characters:  If the Rogue has handled things for a while, make sure that the Fighter's buddy on the town guard contacts him with some info, or they need to see a bishop who shares a faith with the Cleric.  A way you might think of this is imagine that you're using the Circles mechanic from Burning Wheel.

Also: Make sure that there's something involving every Profession or Knowledge skill on the table.

That's basically what I can recall from 3-4 years ago, when this was my dominant mode of GMing.



On initiative, I think if someone takes no action, they can bump their initiative up somehow.  I vaguely remember that.  So, yeah, you roll once, but there can be some interesting tactical stuff involved.

Or maybe that was my silly house rule.  I didn't play 20 for that long, returning to my home brew and then finding that my homebrew was almost identical to Savage Worlds.

BUT!  This is not the reason for my reply.

I just wanted to say how freakin' COOL it was to read this beginning of this thread.  Two kids, pscyched about the possiblities, showing much more grasp of story and plot and character decisions than I did when I was that age playing for the first time (but then again, I cut my teeth on Tactics II, Skirmish Wargames and Airfix WWII tank minature rules, I was the environment that fostered Chain Mail).

And while I "feel your pain" (tongue in cheek) on running d20, I think it is awesome that you catered to their outlook.  That really shows respect for where they are coming for.  And yeah, it is a triumph of marketing forces... but this HERE is simply the beginning.  Later down the line, the discussion of other systems and even the realization of how marketing affected their decision is a pretty damn good life lesson wrapped up in a RPG candy coating.

But if you run it stressing some social skill checks and the like... then you will install in them an awareness for that.  Something that wasn't even on the radar when I first started.  D&D didn't ahve skills, much less social ones.

It took Call of Cthlhulu and Swordbearer (a Runequest lite variant) to realize that, "hey!  If I made my dancing check with the Princess of City State of the Invincible Overlord, I might impress her more".  That was my defining moment... when my thinly veiled Conan pastiche realized that he WANTED to be accepted by the more civilized culture.  He took dancing lessons, wanted to learn to read, wanted to be loved.  It was my first character arc.  When my cliche became slightly more.

So, thanks for sharing.  I hope you had lots of fun.  I know it will expose the kids to a whole new world, something akin,but next door to World of Warcraft and Harry Potter.  Kudos!


Nitpicky, Storn, one is a kid, one is his father :)
Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010


Quote from: Thunder_God on April 05, 2006, 11:11:52 PM
Nitpicky, Storn, one is a kid, one is his father :)

Hey!  I can tell you in an instant if a horizon line is put in a picture wrong.  Or if a camera obscura was used.

but reading comprehension?!?!!?



Callan S.

Hi Ron,

Okay, never mind all the other stuff. Straight past abstraight to a direct question: What makes you want to avoid doing violence to the rules? What makes you care about the rules fuck ups made?
Philosopher Gamer


Quote from: Callan S. on April 06, 2006, 07:45:23 AM
Hi Ron,

Okay, never mind all the other stuff. Straight past abstraight to a direct question: What makes you want to avoid doing violence to the rules? What makes you care about the rules fuck ups made?

Good question.  And I was trying to get there myself... but Callan asked it better.

Ron Edwards

You're asking about my motives? Must have forgotten whom you're talking to.

That's an unanswerable question. I can barely imagine what you're actually asking, if anything.

I'll answer the coherent, if trivial, question you didn't ask. The answer is, the game undoubtedly offers unique and fun payoffs for following the rules as faithfully as possible. I recognize the nostalgia payoff for many, for instance, which I occasionally sort of feel a little bit, or am reminded of remembering what they feel like. I also know that Monte and Jonathan put a lot of effort into those rules in terms of procedural (what I call functional) payoff, and I want some, whatever it might be.

I mean, it's not rocket science, this is the same answer a person would give for playing Scrabble or Old Maid or foosball by the rules.

And if you go off on some gibble-gabble about "no, what I meant was" and other vagueness, I swear to God I'll kick it into the Inactive File. Don't you have any concrete, interesting questions or points about actually playing D&D?

Like Dirk. He helped me with the Experience Points, which is both nice and could yield a fun discussion about other things I want to reward them for, like the role-playing regarding the combat choices that I mentioned. (Oh yeah, only five hyenas counted; they didn't defeat the other two, who were called away by an NPC.)

Best, Ron