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Messages - Charon's Little Helper

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1
There are a number of ways to work initiative, but I do think that a system needs to be built with the initiative system in mind from the ground up rather than slapping a new initiative system into a already made game.

But if you're looking for ideas of how to make movement more fluid, here's the initiative system for the "swashbuckling space western RPG" that I've been working on. (Space Dogs RPG) It's basically a side-based phase system.

A Full Turn –
1. Initiative/Morale Phase: Each side rolls a 3d10 to decide order of action and on a tie the one with a character with the highest Sharpness score chooses initiative order. If the NPCs’ roll fails their Morale Test then they break.
2. Movement Phase: In initiative order each side moves and chooses their Action(s).
3. Ranged Phase: Every character who is not in melee and chose a ranged Action acts in initiative order.
4. Melee Phase: Every character who chose to Run acts in initiative order.  Then all melee attack rolls are rolled at the same time. (melee is basically opposed attack rolls)

Then you start over with the next round, re-rolling initiative/morale. It doesn't technically have everyone move at once, but everyone moves before the next phase of the round. (Also note: between needing to declare your action and melee happening all at once, going first isn't always advantageous.)

It's a bit slower than D&D style initiative, but going side-based makes it at least as fast as going individual initiative with a more default initiative.

I'm not 100% that it'd work as well with as much movement as D&D generally gives you. The standard human movement in Space Dogs is just 2 squares/round (more if you give up your attack to run) - which works since the focus is more on ranged combat with melee being secondary. Likely wouldn't want to go that slow in a fantasy game where melee is primary.

2
I think Iowahawk identified what’s going on, and why the SJWs are giving Price a pass. She is a means to accomplish the following:
https://mobile.twitter.com/iowahawkblog/status/664089892599631872?lang=en
1. Identify a respected institution.
2. kill it.
3. gut it.
4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.
#lefties

I was thinking that 6E wouldn’t be coming soon, but if they hired Price then I have to change my mind and believe that 6E is going to happen soon.

Price is as much a scorpion as Dellorfano. I shall give no fucks when WOTC gets stung like the dumbass frog that it is.

I can sort of see that.

In the far lefty opinion, she isn't working for WoTC, she infiltrated it. To go back to Pundit's example, unlike if he started working for Iran, from a certain perspective it's more like someone from the CIA started working for Iran. They're just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

3
Problem is the reality of crowdfunding platforms is that if it does not ship within about a year. Odds increase exponentially that it never will.

I've backed 3 things total. Two have worked out well. One ended up being a semi-generic TTRPG, but fine (it's pretty). The other TTRPG is great, though it was delayed a couple times. Shinobigami is a bit narrative for my usual taste, but it's set up with concrete enough rules for the pacing that I like it. (The Kickstarter was just to translate - as it had been published in Japan well before.)

The third was Star Citizen and.... yeah. (Note: I only ever put out $ for the basic game 7-8 years back, so not that bad. Did not put down $100s on potential future fake space ships.)

I've definitely gotten to the point where I won't back anything that isn't either:

A: Obviously 90%+ done, likely just needing $ for publishing and/or using Kickstarter as marketing or playtesting etc.

or

B: Obviously well over half done AND the creator has a good record of getting crowdfunding stuff out the door. (Crowdfunding specifically rather than having completed stuff in the past when a publisher was hounding them.)

4
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Re: I don't like CR.
« on: February 23, 2021, 10:19:21 AM »
The execution isn't perfect, but I'd rather have the CR system as a ballpark than not have it at all. Especially useful for new GMs who don't have the experience to eyeball encounter difficulty.

While it could be better, I don't think it'd be possible to make it perfect anyway as there is too much table variation. How tough are undead? Depends if you have a cleric. etc.

I do agree that the one really annoying thing is how it seems to promote the idea of encounters being a single foe. There are rules for CR with multiple foes, but they're treated as an optional rule rather than the default. It'd be nice if the Monster Manual (or Bestiary or whatever) would give the CR of standard groupings of foes combined.

5
If you use the to-hit roll as also the damage, the system needs to be designed with it from the ground up. It would make a horrible house-rule.

I'm still not a fan generally for TTRPGs, as you lose a lot of granularity unless you want it to take far more time than just rolling and extra die in the same roll. It becomes difficult to have some characters/foes hit hard but inaccurately, as character optimization becomes all about jacking up the character accuracy.

Now - I DO like the idea of hitting easily causing bonus damage/effects, but I think that that's better expressed as a critical hit. In the system I've been working on, critical hits are done by hitting 10+ more than you need to hit the target. It's a Life Points/Vitality system, so the critical hit bypassing Vitality to deal damage straight to Life Points feels very different than just increasing the damage.

6
Another class option I always thought might be interesting as an overlay to a skill-based system would be in the form of discounts to certain skills.

So, while any class could improve fighting skill, Fighters could do it for less. Any class could similarly learn magic, but the cost for wizards would be less.

If you had a normal cost of say Rank x 4 to improve, you could then have say a Rank x 3 and a Rank x 2 option so you could have a mix of specialists (mostly x2 in a tight area) and generalists (mostly x3 in a broad category).

So, for example; the Fighter would get x2 to weapon and armor use, but x4 to everything else. The Rogue would get x3 to everything except magic (which is x4). The Wizard gets x2 to magic-related skills, x4 to everything else. The Cleric gets x3 to weapons/armor and magic, but x4 to everything else.

This definitely creates paths of easiest advancement, but doesn’t 100% close off any path to anyone. “Multi-classing” would just be picking skills that don’t get the discounts for your chosen class.

That's basically how Anima works. (Which is a system I don't really want to play - but it has a lot of interesting ideas. I like the vibe, just not the execution so much.)

The space western game I'm working on (Space Dogs) does it to some degree as well. (Someone actually aimed me at Anima as being similar after they saw a very early draft.) Classes each have a signature ability, but probably a bigger differentiator is that your class determines your two primary attributes - which are then cheaper to increase, and at character creation you also decide which of the remaining 4 attributes are either secondary or tertiary (costing x2 or x3 attribute points respectively).

Skills work the same way, with your background skills costing more with each point on an quadratic increase (same as attributes) and all other skills costing x2.

So, while Space Dogs has classes, I consider it to be something of a hybrid. It has most of the advantages of a classical class system with some of the advantages of point-buy mixed in.

7
The purposes of classes are, roughly:

  • Make it easy and fast to put a character together
  • Niche protection
  • Enforce archetypes (some overlap with niche protection, but not exactly the same)

Skills, mutli-classing, etc. tend to reduce the effects of classes.  There are, of course, other ways to get some of the class effects, such as pre-packaged "templates" that more loosely mimic classes on top of a skills-based or similarly more complicated system.

While I agree with you on your three points, your first one doesn't really go far enough. It isn't just that classes make it easier to build a character, it's that classes (especially combined with levels) can gate off most of a system's complexity.

A player who is playing a warrior type character doesn't really need to learn anything about the spellcasting system of a game to be able to play the game or build an effective character. A caster only needs to understand the few spells that they have available etc.

In contrast to this, in a wide-open point-buy system, you really need to get the gist of ALL of the rules before you can be sure that you're not gimping your character by how you are building/playing them.

This is why I greatly prefer class/level systems in games with much crunch. In a lighter system, a classless system can work fine as it's not that difficult to understand all of the mechanics.

And a 5th lesser point (though arguably a sub-point of niche protection). Balancing a system with classes is FAR easier than one with point-buy. And frankly, when you have wide-open point-buy, if the players are reasonably competent & competitive, there aren't actually THAT many viable builds.

It's like in a TCG. Theoretically you can put together any mix of cards, but with any knowledge of the game, obviously certain combos aren't viable. And then at the high-levels of competitive play there are usually only a dozen or so viable core decks (some mild variation in there), and there are usually only that many if there's some sort of color/class system, where each starting place has 1-3 top tier builds.

8
Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations does a good job of touching on such things in the broad strokes. It touches on how population & farming factors into prices.

Ex: Apparently in the late medieval England, beef was cheaper than an equivalent weight of bread, while the opposite was true in the 18th century when he was writing. It goes into there was less population relative to land. Beef required less labor to produce, but much more land. Apparently the same had been true in Scotland not long before, because much of Scotland was sub-par for farming grain, but then trade opened up and beef prices spiked as they were able to export to England.

You could touch on how much land is being taken up by various monsters changes pricing. (Stick to the broad strokes. I enjoy reading about historical economics - but I don't want to play an RPG about it.)

Plus - it's an interesting read if you can get past the language barrier (18th century English).

9
You are discussing two different things.

There are thousands of "re-themed" versions of Monopoly.  Exact same game with names changed around.

Ms. Monopoly is actually a different implementation of the game with different rules.  Very similar, but a different game.  It's also incredibly lowly rated.

You can check it out on BoardGameGeek if you feel like it:
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/289363/ms-monopoly

Unless it's actually replacing the normal game of Monopoly permanently, my point stands. I really doubt that execs were even involved in yet another version of Monopoly. It was just someone on the Monopoly team trying for a low-hanging fruit cash-grab.

10
...the release of Ms. Monopoly being a prime example. [of Hasbro going woke]

Lol - do you know how MANY versions of Monopoly there are? Per a quick Google search, there are 1,144 versions. I don't think that one being "woke" (I didn't actually look at it) means much of anything.

Heck, there are versions of popular college sports teams. That doesn't mean that Hasbro hates smaller less popular colleges. It just means that Monopoly editions are Hasbro going scattershot - because making a new version costs them almost nothing.

They put new names for the properties, have a few mediocre pieces of art, and maybe have new pieces (though not always). It is very cheap to make a new edition, and Hasbro has chased every trend with them. It's not as if Ms. Monopoly is replacing the default game.

If you are actually upset by Ms. Monopoly, you are a very fragile person.

11
D&D revenues increased 35% in 2020 over 2019; and online play is up 86% (for obvious reasons) "Revenue was up 35% in 2020 compared with 2019, the seventh consecutive year of growth, she said."

Your point?

The fact that 5e is currently riding high on a wave of success due to increased popular culture awareness is not in dispute.

I believe that his point was that this makes it less likely that Hasbro would be willing to risk the golden goose on a new edition just for an initial spike in sales, especially considering the issues with the previous edition (4e).

12
I think this is a very good way for them to get a 6th edition made.

3e D&D to 4e was an eight year run.

4e to 5e was a six year run.

In 2024 at the 50th anniversary of D&D, 5e would have been out for ten years - two years longer than any other WOTC edition.

It's certainly possible, but you need to consider the release schedule of the books. Both 3.x & 4e churned out books like crazy of various qualities. With 5e Hasbro pretty obviously wanted to focus upon fewer high-profit books, as opposed to WotC where the bulk of the books likely didn't make a lot. Revenue may have even been higher (due to the quantity of books) at least back in 3.x, but their margins were much lower.

By the end of the 3.x cycle, there was just too much stuff, so they basically HAD to do a new edition soon, as they couldn't keep piling new rules onto the pile. 4e was cut a bit sooner because it failed hard enough that D&D lost their market leader slot (and they also had a lot of quantity). But 5e is still both very profitable and doesn't have the mass of rules. They don't have a major business reason to roll the dice (pun intended) on a new edition being as successful as 5e, especially after 4e bombed.

And remember - Hasbro probably makes as much off the brand of D&D via merchandising (t-shirts/plushies/board games) and licensing (a piece of BGIII) than they do off the books themselves. I'd be surprised if they'd be willing to risk hurting the brand on a new edition, even though it would basically guarantee a solid initial sales number. (Like novel & video games sequels - how well the new edition of an RPG sells initially likely tells you more about the quality of the last one was than the current one.)

Of course - I'm talking out of my donkey - so I could certainly be wrong.

13
Going by what my 13 year old son says

Gen Z are very liberal on social issues. He thinks it's hilarious I have any issue with the gay couple in Star Trek: Discovery.

At the same time, they have utter contempt for Ctrl-Alt-Delete Woke censorship, and the anti-'white' racism of the PTB.

Take that as you may.

Interestingly, I've read than Gen Z is actually a bit more conservative than millennials on average (I didn't dig deep into the article's definition of conservative). Apparently it's largely because most kids use their parents as a baseline and then go more liberal from there.

That matters because statistically conservatives have substantially more kids than liberals (I have no idea the % - but substantial) so most Gen Zs have a reasonably conservative baseline to go more liberal from.

I'd guess that at least some of that difference is just more of the rural/urban divide. (People in major cities are predominantly liberal, and people in major cities have fewer kids - rather than a major causal relationship between being liberal and having fewer kids.)

14
Hasbro almost never sells ANY of its IP.  It will not sell D&D. This is a pipe dream.

They have released a few IPs that they had zero interest in. And have, mostly through WOTCs ineptitude, allowed a few IPs to slip through their fingers. Also mostly minor ones. They have acquired so much they barely have any idea what all they have.

Assuming the rights carried over from SPI to TSR to WOTC  to Hasbro. Then Hasbro may have the rights to SPIs whole line. And Avalon Hill.

Now we just need to wait for the D&D / Peppa Pig crossover event! /s

15
Delay: WoTC doesn't get the final say about such major decisions. Hasbro does. Hasbro likely doesn't want to kill the golden goose that is 5e. Hasbro lets WoTC get away with a lot so long as D&D is profitable - but it's unlikely they'll let them do anything major that might risk that.

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