Monday, January 16, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - Rules, Rules, Rules

Rules, Rules, Rules

Ah yes, "Rules, Rules, Rules," this is the meat of the contention in editions, the rules. Too simple, too complex, what is the proper balance?

As an example in the article Monte breaks the game into 3 options of complexity for a climb check. The first class is a basic all climb checks at half speed no checks...

WHUT? That would be just ridiculous, no climb skill, no reality, no challenge.

DM: "You approach the mage's tower, it appears to be made of a smoky glass and is slick to the touch. There's a door at the base but no means of visible entry otherwise" 
Players: "We climb it"
DM: "OK, I guess you climb it, it takes about an hour to climb, you don't have any climbing gear or anything, but you climb it anyway. You reach the top and realize the tower comes to a perilous point."
Players: "Oh well we climb back down."

The second option is a simplified version of the third option, the third option being the one that includes all the modifiers and exceptions. This is where I want my D&D rules, with modifiers, yes it CAN sow things down, but if you have a DM's Screen, not that much. What I don't want to see is SCALING challenges, that simple climb at level 1 might be a DC 5 climb, but once you're a level 22 character, suddenly that same climb is a DC27. Sorry, but challenges should scale by level, they should scale by the difficulty of the feat. A 22nd level character should be able to climb that simple wall without fail, and to be able to climb that slick wizard's tower that would kill a neophyte adventurer in the first 20 feet. Now, given the proper equipment, enough time and safety precautions, anyone should be able to scale anything..eventually, though there might be set-backs, that turns into a story element instead.

NOW, I'm not a DM who likes to kill player's for a failed skill roll, one of the reasons I hate having a single die for any roll, it's just TOO random, if you had to roll a d20 to walk across the street or fall down for 2d6 damage, there's a 5% chance you would fall every time. AD&D used percentile dice for rogue skills...maybe they should go back to prevents stupid deaths due to stupid rolls. DC15 = 25% chance of success for the unskilled, but if you have 10 ranks, it increases to 75% chance of success. I know, a little bit of math...But if you can't do simple math, maybe you should be playing a video game...or LEARNING MATH. The design to the Least Common Denominator school of thought is insulting to the game, and should NEVER be done. True designing to the fullest extent should be avoided as well. Phoenix Command was over designed, when you have different results for being shot in eye or the pupil, you have definitely over-designed.