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Friday, September 13, 2019

Speeding Up, Taking Time

So, for a couple reasons, some of which will be made clear at various points of time in the future, I’ve been tackling abilities, training, and situation rolls. Mostly, how to avoid them, as explained in the Ability Checks Are the Devil post, which turned into a series of posts (summary here) ending with:
So what if we stop rolling to see if characters succeed at a task, but instead roll to see if they can complete the task quickly under pressure? And ability scores don’t adjust the chances of completing the task, but adjust the time? Or, in the case of non-time-critical tasks, they limit the quality?
I’ve mentioned in a couple places the idea of rolling a d6 to see if you are able to do something on time. On 5+, you do. On 1-4, the roll = how much extra time you need. You also need to roll if the situation isn’t perfect and something could go wrong, regardless of how skillful you are. Ability scores, training, and backgrounds affect the time or eliminate the need to roll.

Here’s the rough draft of a table I’m working on to get this all unified.

The idea: Tasks that are easy for trained professionals are Difficult for the untrained. Difficult tasks are Unlikely for the untrained. Taking extra time – moving up one or more rows in the Base Time Period columns – can eliminate the need for a roll (move down the same number of rows in the Chance column.) Speeding things up works the opposite.

Ability scores also affect the time needed:
  • Good scores (13-15) shift the time of Difficult tasks down one row
  • Very Good scores (16-17) shift the time of Unlikely tasks down one row
  • Bad scores (6-8) shift the time of Unlikely tasks up one row
  • Very Bad scores (4-5) shift the time of Difficult tasks up one row
  • Extremely Bad and Extremely Good scores (3 and 18) shift the time of any task up or down two rows, although no task becomes impossible unless there are other negative aspects in play, and no task becomes automatic if there are other negative aspects in play.
Characters with a relevant professional background can substitute years of training for an ability score, if desired. Classes can substitute double their Level, if it seems appropriate.
It will need more work, but I wanted to see where this was going before I worked on a certain other project.

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  1. In my opinion, offer this as an example of how to figure it out rather than an official rule. Of course people can ignore official rules but not everyone does. This seems right for some people but too fiddly for others.

    1. I do plan on making things modular, so the task rules can be left out. Or rather, there will be a couple layers to the rule... and it's going into a pamphlet that is essentially an add-on, anyways.

      The main reason I'm working on it is because the rules are going to factor into the design of some other things. For example, a simple revamped thief class, These rules provide the rationale for some of the other design decisions.

  2. Conceptually I love it. This is how I handle thief stuff. Adventurous men can spring a trap or figure out how to scale a wall or open a lock or whatever. Doing these quickly, silently or without equipment are special skills.

    I start my campaigns without a thief class available to get people to think about doing thief stuff regardless of their class. If a player has a real boner for thieves I might add it in again later.