Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Clever Rules Fade Away

After a languid summer I'm ready to enter the home stretch and put the final touches on my 52 Pages house rules. Scrap Princess' review reminded me that there is always a gap between the clever system you think up at home and what actually goes down at the table. Indeed, I had some stuff in there that bore little resemblance to the way I actually play, like the "encounter start" matrix that was my substitute for surprise rolls.  So I managed to boil it down to be more like guidelines than rules, and more like what I'll actually do in play - figure out the surprise status by common sense, with maybe a roll for alertness if I'm unsure of the disposition of the defenders.

Likewise for my magical treasure table, which caused some puzzlement when it first came out. I decided to make it more straightforward and more geared toward low levels - appropriately for the "Basic" style levels 1-3 focus in the 52 Pages. I might make the main treasure table more straightforward too.

Finally, I had an insight about combat where I could get it down to fewer phases if I realized that combat should go with the most urgent stuff first - not in the order that you might think things happen. So, melee first and disengaging, then shoot, magic and move, and miscellaneous stuff at the end of the round. To handle the weird gamesmanship and panzerbush situations that might arise I allowed "overwatch" to happen so you can shoot the charging guy at close range while he is charging you. In a surprise situation, by the way, you can move first then melee.

Oh and yeah, I got rid of the grid. I still play that way but I'm pretty happy with a system that looks more spacious on the page and asks people to think about the dimensions of the fight rather than necessarily making them plot it all out.

And I've made a start on the example campaign, dungeon, and play session that round out the last four pages. So some of that soon, I'm hoping.

1 comment:

  1. how I deal with INITIATIVE

    When the figures are brought into position ten scale feet (2” or less) apart they may engage in melee. The being with the highest initiative score strikes first. For the player characters and each member of their party, their INTV = Dex score + Wis modifier + Armor Penalty.
    . . .
    For monsters , INTV = d20 roll + Reflex bonus. The DM will determine the initiative score for the monsters or NPC’s opponents; rarely breaking the opposing party into two groups if necessary for dramatic effect. The first round of melee, only those members of the player’s party whose INTV equals or exceeds that of the monsters party may perform one full round of action, then all the monsters will act for this first simulated combat round. Do not roll dice to determine INTV for members of the PC party.
    . . .
    The second round of action or melee, all members of the player’s party act first, preferably in order of initiative score. This is followed by all the members of the opposing party controlled by the GM. For clarity, the DM might assign clockwise seating to the players in descending order of INTV score; i.e. the player with the highest INTV score sits at the GM’s left and lowest INTV score will sit at the GM’s right.

    Game action proceeds in this manner, PC group followed by monsters each round until there is conquest, withdrawal, capitulation or death.
    . ..
    When the player characters enter the realm of the unknown, they are out of their element; this often gives monsters the bonus of concealment or surprise. If the INTV score for the monster’s exceeds any character’s INTV score by 10 or more, then that member of the PC’s party is surprised the first round, and only the first round of combat. Surprised characters lose their shield and dexterity based bonus to defense, cannot cast spells, cannot use ranged weapons and they cannot engage in complex mental activity or processing; however, saving throws and melee attacks are normal for duration of this round.
    .. .
    Sometimes monsters will gain an INTV bonus based upon the light source available to the PC party:

    Sub Optimal (-) dawn, dusk, lantern, infravision.

    Moonlight (+2) full moon, torch, low light vision.

    Starlight (+5) moonless night, candle.

    Pitch black (+9) character is effectively blind.