... now with 35% more arrogance!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lazier Ammo

I thought a little bit more about tracking ammo for missile weapons, and although the way I described was pretty lazy, it’s not lazy enough. Here’s my improvement: instead of rolling for how many shots we used, we roll for how many we lost. Per the previous post, we use 1d6 arrows or other missiles per attack roll and can recover up to half. Every time the players make a roll, set aside 1d6 (no point in tracking each individual player’s attacks, just track how many rounds of missile fire occured.)

At the end of the combat, roll the dice you’ve set aside, once for each player.
  • Did the player skip recovering arrows from some reason, such as fleeing from a monster? The number rolled is the number of arrows lost.
  • Did the player have plenty of time to recover arrows? Halve the number rolled.
  • Did the player recover arrows in a rush? Drop the lowest die rolled and total the rest for arrows lost.
If one or more players didn’t fire as many rounds, you can drop a die or two before rolliing.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

The Big Event

Yeah, I've downloaded the PDF for Basic D&D. Or, at least, the part of Basic D&D that has been released so far; RPGPundit reports that this is basically version 0.1 and we won't have version 1.0 until the end of the year.

I'm not finished reading it, so I have no breakdown of parts I dislike versus parts I'm willing to steal. I'm mainly reading it to see how I'd go about allowing a 5e character at my OD&D table, should a player wish to do so.

I'm sure I'll  have more to say about it as I read and digest it, but I know right now I'd never run it, and probably wouldn't even play it, except under extraordinary circumstances, or in a heavily houseruled version. Basically, all that crap that's in chargen should be moved behind the GM's screen where I don't have to look at it or think about it before I'd play at a 5e table.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

2d6 vs. 1d6

Erik at Tenkar’s Tavern has something to say about 2d6 thief skills. I’m OK with the basic idea, although I’d use different numbers, plus in general I use 5+ on just 1d6, since among other things it means I can roll dice for multiple thieves (or other skill users) all at once.

But more importantly, for simple binary questions, I prefer 1d6. I use the 2d6 with its not-quite-a-bell-curve when I want multiple levels of result, such as in reaction rolls. You have five possible results:

2d6 Result
2 Very Bad
3-5 Bad
6-8 Normal
9-11 Good
12 Very Good

I use all five possible results for reactions. For turn undead or requests for divine aid, I mainly use the first four: Good or better always works, Normal works the very first time that day and fails thereafter, Bad
always fails, and Very Bad fails but also “angers the gods”, causing all future requests to fail until the supplicant atones.

Now, the interesting thing to consider is: could thief skills be adapting to a concept like that? Not just “You climbed the wall/You didn’t climb the wall”, but something more like:
  • Climb successfully on Good result or better;
  • Climb rate halved on Normal result;
  • Almost slipped, have to stop halfway up on Bad result;
  • Slip and fall on Very Bad result.
In my mind, the extra possible results make a 2d6 roll worth it.

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Tracking Ammo: The Lazy Way

Lots of talk right now about tracking ammo, with JD Jarvis complaining that it’s not that hard. He’s basically right, and in the past I have done things somewhat similar to what he describes, but I wouldn’t do it that way now. Because, you see, the point isn’t that deducting spent arrows is mathematically challenging or prone to error; it’s just tedious and could be simpler.

The typical way people track ammo is:
  1. fire a shot;
  2. erase total arrows, write new total;
  3. repeat.
That adds up to a lot of steps, and a lot of wear-and-tear on he character sheet. If you keep a running tally of arrows fired, or use JD’s method, you reduce the amount of erasure, but you are still taking a lot of steps. Mix that with the thoughts of some about how many shots are actually fired in a one-minute combat round, and you have the inkling of a desire for something else.

This is why I’ve proposed something similar to this: don’t erase or tally after every shot; just keep track of how many rolls for missile attacks you’ve made. It probably won’t be many, so it should be easy to remember. When combat ends, roll that many d6s: that is how many missiles you have used. If you have the time, you can recover up to half of those missiles; the rest are broken or stuck. Deduct the arrows you can’t recover from your character sheet, all at once instead of every round.