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 Dice, initiative, and other optional rules

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Xellious Noon
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PostSubject: Dice, initiative, and other optional rules   Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:53 pm

Since Kevin brought up starting a topic to hold the conversation, well, I figured I might as well post this.

We talked about how D&D could be adapted to work on the forums, in post format, and not just over the d20 site and during weekly meetings. There's a few issues that would have to be resolved first, so we're pooling together ideas.

But maybe this goes beyond just the D&D RP(s). I feel like we could use some of these ideas in general, even if only to shake things up in RPs with slightly different rules.


Well, for starters D&D usually assumes that everybody is playing a tabletop board with figurines to keep track of everyone and a grid to calculate distance and positioning. At least the latest version of the D&D rules doesn't enforce it too hard, and it can still function by pure GM fiat - the GM sets the scene and tells the players where the enemies, obstacles, and any other noteworthy features are, and based on that knowledge the players respond with what they want to do. This is basically what we're already doing in RPs, maybe aside from times when there's no single 'GM' to dictate to others what shouldn't or can't be done. >> In other words, I believe we could get D&D to work without the map, and abstract distances and positioning if need be.


Kevin suggested a method to bypass D&D's initiative entirely. Basically, everybody posts when they can/are ready to post, and their actions happen in the order they've been posted in. The GM then makes one post to respond to everybody, decide the results of their actions, describe the enemies' counter-attack and let the players post again. If somebody is taking too long to post, the GM may just reply without them, assuming they were distracted or fumbled, or might wait a little longer if feeling merciful, or simply busy with other things.

I like that system a lot, and I'd like to add that if we go with something like this, to agree on a time limit. Let's say every GM post resets the timer to day 0, and members have X days to get their posts in (is 3 days a reasonable number?). After X days, if the GM feels like waiting or their post is super-important, they might still get their reply in time, but they shouldn't be surprised if they're skipped over, as the GM waited on them and everybody else for the agreed-upon time limit.

On the other hand, if people are worried about others running off too far in the topic, we could agree on a limit for that too. Obviously, anybody interacting with the enemies or attempting something that requires the GM's judgment as to whether it works or not has to patiently wait for the GM's post, but they could still at least talk with the others or acknowledge what's going on elsewhere. So to slow that down, we could agree that each member can make up to X posts after the GM's latest post (2? 3? since 1 is the bare minimum) and then should wait for the others (and GM) to catch up.

With limits on both sides, we could keep the RP from both running off too fast and from slowing to a total halt. It's just a matter of everybody agreeing to use them. Let me know how you see this, if you can think of any problems or if you like that idea.


Besides that, some members have already been experimenting a little with using dice in the RPs, to add a bit of randomness outside of anyone's control. I'd love to see more of that, but do we try to agree on some uniform system (barring obviously D&D rules in D&D RPs) or does everyone play with dice as they like best? Both could work, and would be a welcome change from a feeling that everything is ultimately left in the members' own control.


Likewise, D&D uses ability scores and skill ranks (or skills you mastered and didn't master... yet). I feel like if our characters had both ability scores and skills to reflect their strong and weak sides, they would feel more fair and transparent, with actual limits on what they can or cannot do. We could go further, but I feel that UA is beyond the point where damage and HP values matter, but this could work for brand new characters we design with an aim towards a more balanced RPing experience from the start, and still be fun. And if we decide to combine their ability scores and/or skill ranks with the randomness of dice... then we're basically already halfway into D&D.


I'm probably forgetting a point or two, but this should be enough to get the discussion started. I look forward to hearing from all of you. ^^
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PostSubject: Re: Dice, initiative, and other optional rules   Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:04 pm

Using the D&D system to govern HP and stats would be a good idea, but maybe not so technical. I liked how SX did it, where he had a system that we couldn't really see so only he was fully aware of certain hidden traits. Our characters were aware of what they could do, but not to a perfect extent.

Such as if I made a character designed to be strong, and be good with blacksmithing, it stands to reason that I'd be able to break down a door with relative ease and craft simple things, and later advanced things if I trained. If I tried to go past what I know, I'd either fail or have a small chance to succeed. It's more like working with the passive stats than the actual dice rolls.
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