Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Propaganda Depository => RPG Ghetto => Topic started by: Sister Fracture on February 04, 2011, 08:32:42 pm

Title: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Sister Fracture on February 04, 2011, 08:32:42 pm
Okay. Let's say I have a Lawful Good (for the most part) party of four 7th level characters. One of these characters in particular is a beatstick at heart, and will fucking anything, because he doesn't afraid of anything. now, he's obviously going to attack the very evil guy, who then teleports away. Does the party get any XP, or just a little bit, or what?

Also, how much NPC nerfing is too much? How much treasure weeding (taking out stuff you don't want in your campaign) is too much? What sort of gear should the party have between 6th and 8th level?
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Luna on February 04, 2011, 09:02:01 pm
Hrm...  My own humble opinions.

If the party attacks the very evil guy and said evil guy teleports away, consider:

Did the party do anything other than rush him and start swinging?  Did the evil guy teleport away after being beaten so you can preserve him for a future encounter?  If so, call it a defeat and give 'em something.  (Me, I award lump sums at the end of the night, or every couple sessions, so I don't give the opportunity to quibble over whether X encounter was worth Y or Z amount of points.)  If him appearing is set dressing and he teleports away before any significant combat, nothing.

NPC nerfing...  Matter of DM taste.  If I have accidentally built an encounter which was intended as filler and it ends up bending the party over the table and horribly violating their characters, I'll tone it back some to let the party escape if they've got the sense to do so (and will likely promote surviving monsters to future Big Bad status). 

Treasure weeding...  If you've got established characters coming into your game from other games, always reserve the right to red-pen their gear list.  YOU decide how much is acceptable.  (Depends on edition, really, and your taste.  Rank it by exp or gold value.)  If you've gone nuts and given your party gear that you no longer want them to have, then that's a whole different issue, and you get to decide how to get rid of it in play. 


Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Cramulus on February 04, 2011, 09:14:58 pm
I think if the party engages the badguy and he teleports away to retreat from being killed, the party gets [some] XP.

If he teleports away because he doesn't even want to engage them, no XP.

Remember that the amount of XP they get is totally up to you. Don't feel pressured to level up the party if they haven't faced a challenge. Likewise they may feel shafted if they take a real risk and don't get rewarded for it.

In my current game, I decided to keep all XP behind the DM screen. The PCs don't know how much they have, or how much they earned in each fight. I let them know when they're close to leveling, and when they leveled, but the actual XP totals stay back stage. I found it's actually been quite helpful in keeping players focused on the game and not the mechanics. It also keeps them from going "Fuck... maybe we should just start knifing peasants" when they're really close to level.

Also, how much NPC nerfing is too much?

I try to play my bad guys exactly as they're written. And generally, I make all my die rolls in front of the players so they know I'm not fudging. But you should still tailor the challenge to match the party.. if you need to scale him down, maybe the bad guy has already cast his high level spells by the time the party engages him.

Quote
How much treasure weeding (taking out stuff you don't want in your campaign) is too much?

I don't know how pathfinder is, but 3.5's monsters were scaled with the assumption that the players have an average set of magic items. So you don't want to decrease their power to the point that they can't cope with average threats.

Are you talking about taking away magic items that the PCs have already found or created? Be careful with how this is presented... magic items are a form of Reward. If you take them away, it can be seen as a form of Punishment. Some people get really frustrated by this, as you're essentially punishing them for being too powerful when they use the tools you gave them. If you're going to take away somebody's  MI, it's usually good policy to replace it with another MI.

If you want the least possible amount of whining and butt-hurt, figure out how to get the PCs to ditch their MIs of their own free will. Maybe there's a creature that will give them story rewards if they trade her that particularly powerful item you hate. In my current game, they've got a sidekick who eats magic items (and thereby becomes more powerful). The idea is that as PCs outgrow their items, they'll feed the NPC with them. But it's much faster to level him up by feeding him SWEET magic items. I'll be curious how they handle it in the coming weeks.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 09:22:57 pm
Freeky:

1.  Evaluate our character sheets, and determine our chances of survival against the bad guys. 

2.  Add the bad guy's loot to our characters with 8th level BABs, etc, and then compare it to the NEXT adventure's bad guys. 

3.  Scale the treasure up or down based on that.  The PCs should have to roll a 14+ to hit any level's boss, if the boss doesn't have DR or regen (or a miss chance).

There's quite a bit of number crunching involved.  The other option is to look at the cash value of our gear vs the book's suggested cash value of a party of the same size.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 09:24:36 pm
I try to play my bad guys exactly as they're written. And generally, I make all my die rolls in front of the players so they know I'm not fudging. But you should still tailor the challenge to match the party.. if you need to scale him down, maybe the bad guy has already cast his high level spells by the time the party engages him.

She's the one writing the bad guys.  And, due to inexperience, if she did everything on the up & up, we'd all have been dead at 3rd level (Hell, the party's inquisitor existed for precisely 1 round).
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Sister Fracture on February 04, 2011, 09:43:41 pm
Freeky:

1.  Evaluate our character sheets, and determine our chances of survival against the bad guys. 

2.  Add the bad guy's loot to our characters with 8th level BABs, etc, and then compare it to the NEXT adventure's bad guys. 

3.  Scale the treasure up or down based on that.  The PCs should have to roll a 14+ to hit any level's boss, if the boss doesn't have DR or regen (or a miss chance).

There's quite a bit of number crunching involved.  The other option is to look at the cash value of our gear vs the book's suggested cash value of a party of the same size.

Number crunching I'm not a'skeered of. I just haven't quite got the hang of scaling stuff back so that it is an engaging challenge instead of either not enough, so it's still unwinnable, or too much, so that it's a monkey stomp.

Cram: It's more a fact that what they should find, according to the module, is completely unreasonable and overpowered, which is sometimes why the NPCs need scaling back in the first place. At other times, they need nerfing because their stats are epic, the CRs are too high, or Monte Cook just didn't want these guys killed.


She's the one writing the bad guys.  And, due to inexperience, if she did everything on the up & up, we'd all have been dead at 3rd level (Hell, the party's inquisitor existed for precisely 1 round).

I think its fairer to say I'm redesigning them. If I were planning the adventure out, it would probably be a monkey stomp.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Sister Fracture on February 04, 2011, 09:47:53 pm

  • Get it stolen (and they WILL chase it down, which can lead to all sorts of fun). 
  • "I use my ring of invisibility."  "You concentrate but nothing happens."  "WTF?"  Mage:  "Huh, what do you know.  Out of charges.  Shoddy workmanship."
  • Toss in quirks...  The magic sword that HAS to be kept in a jeweled sheath... and it slowly consumes GPs worth of gems per month, 'til it gets too expensive to keep.
  • The ever popular rust monster/magic eater.




These are interesting, except for the second one, which is cheese. Rust monsters make me :horrormirth: and are definitely doable. I'm lucky that all the games I've ever run have been started from 1st level, and except for my ex, all my players have been good about not being total fucking whiners when I make a call as DM.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 09:49:11 pm

  • Get it stolen (and they WILL chase it down, which can lead to all sorts of fun). 
  • "I use my ring of invisibility."  "You concentrate but nothing happens."  "WTF?"  Mage:  "Huh, what do you know.  Out of charges.  Shoddy workmanship."
  • Toss in quirks...  The magic sword that HAS to be kept in a jeweled sheath... and it slowly consumes GPs worth of gems per month, 'til it gets too expensive to keep.
  • The ever popular rust monster/magic eater.




These are interesting, except for the second one, which is cheese. Rust monsters make me :horrormirth: and are definitely doable. I'm lucky that all the games I've ever run have been started from 1st level, and except for my ex, all my players have been good about not being total fucking whiners when I make a call as DM.

I used to have "use by" dates on potions.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 09:50:01 pm
Hmmm...Stick the phase door ability on a rust monster.

Hmmm...
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 09:50:59 pm
Incidentally:  This is the first time I've successfully run a LG fighter in YEARS.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Sister Fracture on February 04, 2011, 09:52:14 pm
 :lulz: I intend to make the experience as rewarding as possible for you. I HATE evil-doers, and can't abide them in my games. :x
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 09:53:50 pm
:lulz: I intend to make the experience as rewarding as possible for you. I HATE evil-doers, and can't abide them in my games. :x

Hey!  My regular characters aren't evil.  They're just ethics-challenged.

TGRR,
Once billed the packbearers' widows for pay recieved in advance.  NEVER pay someone in advance if they ony have 6 HP.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Sister Fracture on February 04, 2011, 09:55:03 pm
:lulz: I intend to make the experience as rewarding as possible for you. I HATE evil-doers, and can't abide them in my games. :x

Hey!  My regular characters aren't evil.  They're just ethics-challenged.

TGRR,
Once billed the packbearers' widows for pay recieved in advance.  NEVER pay someone in advance if they ony have 6 HP.

I wasn't thinking of you *coughbrucecough*, although that's pretty fucked up. :lulz:
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Luna on February 04, 2011, 10:04:12 pm
DMing is an art form, you'll get the hang of it.  A good group of players helps a lot.

Just remember, when they fling a question at you about how the bloody fuck something works, and you have no clue, smile enigmatically, roll a couple dice behind a screen, and respond, "well, you've got no fucking idea, but there it is, what do you do with it?"
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Requia ☣ on February 04, 2011, 10:41:16 pm
Intimidation is a successful way to resolve a challenge in my mind.  Unless the evil guy is a coward that's never going to face the party unless he's forced too (in which case the real challenge is forcing him too, and they failed the challenge).

Quote
What sort of gear should the party have between 6th and 8th level?

In addition to Roger's advice, there should be a table somewhere in the pathfinder book with how much cash equivalent a character at a given level should have, usually its used to roll higher level chars, but it works for figuring out a rough estimate of how much magic gear a character should have too.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Telarus on February 04, 2011, 10:49:30 pm
IMO, if the PCs interrupted the Villain or directly prevented him from accomplishing one of this goals (or a step towards one of his goals), then the party gets "Defeated/killed XP". If the Villain wasn't totally set back, but just had to run to figure out another plan or because he didn't want to press the fight right then, give half XP.

If the villain managed to accomplish his goal in that scene, and then got chased away, give a token "you role-played a scene" award.

I've stopped running XP as a one time goal (when you 'kill' the NPC). If the PCs can beat the Villain in a social contest, and disrupt the villains plans, they get full XP for "Defeating" the villain, but he's still out there, and will probably be back. So they can earn XP for each time they "Defeat" the villain, and probably a bonus for when they finally Kill him.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 10:56:14 pm
IMO, if the PCs interrupted the Villain or directly prevented him from accomplishing one of this goals (or a step towards one of his goals), then the party gets "Defeated/killed XP". If the Villain wasn't totally set back, but just had to run to figure out another plan or because he didn't want to press the fight right then, give half XP.

If the villain managed to accomplish his goal in that scene, and then got chased away, give a token "you role-played a scene" award.

I've stopped running XP as a one time goal (when you 'kill' the NPC). If the PCs can beat the Villain in a social contest, and disrupt the villains plans, they get full XP for "Defeating" the villain, but he's still out there, and will probably be back. So they can earn XP for each time they "Defeat" the villain, and probably a bonus for when they finally Kill him.


This.  It allows recurring victims that players love to hate.

A better idea is to decide how much XP it's worth to stop the villian's plans, rather than awarding experience based on "killing" the villian.  If they stop him by killing him, they get both.

Incidentally, at our level, the bad guys have access to raise dead, too.  Don't forget that.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Requia ☣ on February 04, 2011, 11:10:22 pm
That's what large vats of lye are for.  :lulz:
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Don Coyote on February 04, 2011, 11:11:45 pm
Freeky:

1.  Evaluate our character sheets, and determine our chances of survival against the bad guys. 

2.  Add the bad guy's loot to our characters with 8th level BABs, etc, and then compare it to the NEXT adventure's bad guys. 

3.  Scale the treasure up or down based on that.  The PCs should have to roll a 14+ to hit any level's boss, if the boss doesn't have DR or regen (or a miss chance).

There's quite a bit of number crunching involved.  The other option is to look at the cash value of our gear vs the book's suggested cash value of a party of the same size.

Dude, that is awesome.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 11:29:11 pm
Freeky:

1.  Evaluate our character sheets, and determine our chances of survival against the bad guys. 

2.  Add the bad guy's loot to our characters with 8th level BABs, etc, and then compare it to the NEXT adventure's bad guys. 

3.  Scale the treasure up or down based on that.  The PCs should have to roll a 14+ to hit any level's boss, if the boss doesn't have DR or regen (or a miss chance).

There's quite a bit of number crunching involved.  The other option is to look at the cash value of our gear vs the book's suggested cash value of a party of the same size.

Dude, that is awesome.

I'm going to start writing a column here on proper number-crunching for 3.5/pathfinder, I think.  I've just got the hang of it myself, and it's actually a really interesting exercise.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 11:30:28 pm
That's what large vats of lye are for.  :lulz:

Most players just leave the bad guys in a pool of blood.

Airshafts, people.  Use them.

Also, raise dead only works if the person wants to be raised.  If you have enough fun with them, they'd rather stay in the abyss.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Don Coyote on February 04, 2011, 11:34:10 pm
That's what large vats of lye are for.  :lulz:

Most players just leave the bad guys in a pool of blood.

Airshafts, people.  Use them.

Also, raise dead only works if the person wants to be raised.  If you have enough fun with them, they'd rather stay in the abyss.

 :horrormirth:
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 11:42:12 pm
That's what large vats of lye are for.  :lulz:

Most players just leave the bad guys in a pool of blood.

Airshafts, people.  Use them.

Also, raise dead only works if the person wants to be raised.  If you have enough fun with them, they'd rather stay in the abyss.

 :horrormirth:

I was running an 11th level cleric once.  I cast pro/acid and resist/acid, and then went ahead of the party into the lair of a black dragon we'd tracked.  The dragon was invisible, so I didn't see it.  I started shoveling loot into my bag o' holding, and it became enraged and breathed acid all over me.  Due to the spells I had up, it did no damage.

So I shrugged and kept shoveling.

It attacked in a fury, and did some damage (lol, stoneskin from the mage), and then the fighters ran in and owned the fuck out of it.

Ambushes work both ways.

Now, do you think that dragon wants to come back to life and face its peers?  Hell no.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 11:42:53 pm
Anyone who says D&D isn't a competitive game isn't paying attention.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 11:46:51 pm
Also, monster of the day is on its way.  I'm going to start a thread where people can dump the basic idea (fiendish vampiric moose, lol), or even a complete write up.  I'll provide a template that can be used for that.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: Telarus on February 04, 2011, 11:56:24 pm
I'm going to start writing a column here on proper number-crunching for 3.5/pathfinder, I think.  I've just got the hang of it myself, and it's actually a really interesting exercise.

That'd be cool. I might actually be interested in Pathfinder at that point. The 3.0 encounter math was fucked and turned me off of the 'recent' D&D editions. 3.5 was marginally better, but not woth memorizing so I could design scenarios.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions ITT, answers needed.
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 04, 2011, 11:58:44 pm
I'm going to start writing a column here on proper number-crunching for 3.5/pathfinder, I think.  I've just got the hang of it myself, and it's actually a really interesting exercise.

That'd be cool. I might actually be interested in Pathfinder at that point. The 3.0 encounter math was fucked and turned me off of the 'recent' D&D editions. 3.5 was marginally better, but not woth memorizing so I could design scenarios.

Pathfinder is what 4th should have been...3.5 with all the suck pulled out, and the classes balanced.  They even made the bard and sorc not suck balls.

AND they FINALLY put out the creature creation rules, so you can make your own and have the CR right, so that it's useable by anyone.

Added advantage:  With just a little work, the engine works twice as well for modern/future games, as 3.5 did.  No more D20 Modern clunk.