Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Too Many Dice?!!

I am the Warden and this is a quote from Robert Schwalb on his recent post on sneak attack in D&D Next!!
"The rogue in the current playtest document has sneak attack, and it’s a combination of the 3rd Edition and 4th Edition rules. The extra damage as of right now goes all the way up to 10d6 at the highest levels, but a rogue can use the damage against anybody. At first glance, this feels right, but the more I turn it over in my head, the less satisfied I am with how it works. For starts, an extra 10d6 damage whenever the rogue hits with advantage? At the highest levels, a rogue’s dishing out 20d6 damage a round before we even get to weapon damage and other damage boosters. Sure, this is fun for a while, but I know people who trip up adding together 4d8 or even putting a d20 result with a single number."
It's the last sentence that's bugging me, almost as if it were an affront to RPGs as a whole. Sure, sure, I can go into the whole "When I was young and played AD&D..." blah blah blah, but that'll just be mistaken as an old school argument and stray from point about dice and gaming in general.

When I read that sentence, my initial reaction was "Are you fucking kidding me?" In an age where computers are at our beck and call and DMs use dice rolling apps and games are played via computers, are we really that concerned about having dice numbers toned down because we're concerned about players having trouble doing basic arithmetic? Where the game is taught by reading a 200+ page tome? And sold in book stores?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tony Jaa Built The Optional System

I am the Warden!!

Last night, I did something I've been waiting to do for months: I took my in-laws out for dinner. Since my accident, they have been incredibly helpful with so many little things and one of those has been taking my fiancee and I out to dinner every now and then. As a future son-in-law, it's tough to be on the receiving end of such charity when you're still "new to the family," but our situation left us with no other choice (though I suppose saying "no" was an option... no, wait, they don't take "no" for an answer). However, now that things have started to pick up and proceedings are finally moving forward, I made a point to take them out to dinner as a token of gratitude for those previous meals.

Then we did a little shopping. Which brings me to today's topic.

One of the DVDs I bought last night was Ong Bak 3 and if I seriously have to tell you who's in this movie, you need to open up a new window or tab and go to IMDb. Now! My hopes were high as I thought Ong Bak 2 was absolutely brilliant choreography and demonstrated Tony Jaa as a true powerhouse in the Asian martial arts scene. I picked up #2 shortly after I was released from the hospital and watched it three times in one day.

It was because of that film I started to work on the Optional System.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

I Love It When A Game Comes Together

I am the Warden!!

After a dozen emails back and forth between players and DM yesterday resulted in our bi-weekly D&D game staying cancelled, it seems I have a little extra time on my hands today. Time leads to wandering thoughts and mine are centered squarely on the results of this past Friday's Killshot playtest and the opening scene of my next game.

To put it simply, the game went off without a hitch. No revisions or difficulties ensued. Whenever the players tried to do something, the game accounted for it. From a players standpoint, everything was perfect. From a Director's POV, I'm still a bit paranoid my text might be a little strict and not encouraging free thinking applications, but that's nothing another pass through Direction can't fix. At this point, I'm thinking of adding sidebars into the books for just such a purpose. What's written so far remains a fairly solid detail on the design of the game; sidebars will allow me to break off topic and go into how you can take that design and modify it according, playing up on Rule Number Two from a Director's angle.

The next playtest with this group will be the big one: a full-out, bullet-riddled action sequence. Mass carnage ensues at the very beginning of the third Killshot job, Final Justice, and if that scene goes off without a hitch, then everything I need to test and certify for this game will be good to go. The Optional System was originally designed as a heavy action packed RPG mechanic capable of handling intense combat while simultaneously breaking away from the all the standards of most RPGs, but such designs come with a heavy toll. By starting off somewhat smaller by designing a more strategic game (Killshot is just as much about planning as it is about execution, pardon the pun), I can build the design level-by-level until I'm positive it can handle a more fantastic setting and theme. I've been able to test the mechanics in a martial arts sequence and was very pleased with the results. Now it's all up to guns.