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Author Topic: Let's play AoD!  (Read 558054 times)
zhirzzh
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« Reply #420 on: January 23, 2008, 11:22:07 pm »

It's fine. Let's just move the LP forward.
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Paranoid Jack
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« Reply #421 on: January 24, 2008, 12:46:52 am »

Tough crowd. *sigh*

Ok, how about:

The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. Attack
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
or
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.

(I'll be grateful for any attempts to pretty up that cumbersome sentence)

2a. The bolt head enters the guard's unprotected throat, severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.

or

2b. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.

(you equip a bolt and fight using it as a melee weapon. It's a long shot, but it may work).

Opinions?



I think the option of throwing the crossbow to distract the Merc and then attacking with a bolt is great. But if that option is given...  I think a negative consequence of it also taking damage should be considered.

I know there are no repairs of degrading weapons but such a daring move should at least have possible dire consequences...  besides your possible death. Not sure how best to determine if the crossbow takes damage but a forty percent chance at permanent range reduction or a permanent -1 damage modifier could be used. Maybe several possible damages made available and one chosen at random if you survive the fight with the Merc.

1) No damage, you get really lucky.
2) The trigger takes damage +1 AP to fire damaged crossbow.
3) The bow takes damage -1 to damage inflicted from this point on.
4) The bow takes damage -1 to hit using damaged crossbow.
5) The bow takes damage -1 to distance/range of damaged crossbow.

Of course this could add a bit more work for Vince and the team since I'm not familiar with how easily items are tagged with attributes or modifiers.

Either way just my 2 cents.
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zhirzzh
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« Reply #422 on: January 24, 2008, 02:01:15 am »

Can't the player just buy a new basic crossbow?
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Priapist
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« Reply #423 on: January 24, 2008, 02:42:47 am »

I'm going to try and be the voice of reason here, because this is getting out of hand. It's all very reasonable discussion, and I think you'd all be great compadres for a P&P adventure, but that's almost what this is becoming - we're all suggesting clever improvisations and interesting consequences, but Vince can't simply get you to roll some dice and run with it.

Don't get me wrong, I love having as many options as possible available to me, but surely a lot of this can be with the existing systems, assuming they're robust enough.

Does there really need to be a distinction between just attacking vs intimidating and then attacking? Sure, it is better if there is some distinction, but I don't think there's a need to drastically alter the circumstances every step of the way to "artificially" induce a dynamically different situation. You can't say the intimidation is a non-choice - it's a gamble that might allow you to avoid combat, or it might lead you to be attacked at a disadvantage. If you decide to attack after intimidating, then you've broken even with the gamble - it may be functionally the same as before, but you've taken a step to get to that point, and the choice itself its different.

Even if they achieve the same end, choosing to attack when you could gamble on intimidation vs. choosing to attack when you could freely escape, or try to smooth talk represent two very different circumstances. The second set of choices makes the choice to attack calculated and cold-blooded, while the first could simply be defending against a perceived threat.

To sum up, you have fundamental functional differences between the two because they exist in different finite sets of choices, and because the second requires you to gamble and succeed. In a narrative sense, they're also different because you have a reactive choice vs a pre-meditated or at least opportunistic choice. It could stand in its own merits.

I can't fault the intent, but I think we're maybe overthinking it all and trying to force more vastly different choices than are necessary, and there's a snowball effect to it. When all of these choices rely on branching/interconnected scripts, the script workload blows out for each situation and if you aim for consistency, ripple throughout every encounter in the game. I think more robust solutions are required.

For instance, the crossbow. Why can't I attempt that move with the initial attack option? You could argue that since the guard has his sword at the ready, he'll simply bat it away - but that's reason why the choice would likely fail, not why it couldn't be attempted. And what about combat (n, n+1, n+2, ...) etc? Are you going to script similar circumstances into every significant stand off?

I don't think it's reasonable - but it does lead my mind to wander. I think it would be safe to assume that such a situation would arise often enough (counting multiple choices to attack within a single tree) that you could integrate it into the game mechanics, rather than explicit scripts - in essence an extended action to stagger or bewilder an opponent that hasn't yet become hostile. You're building a more robust system of choices and consequences with a global set of rules, rather than an arbitrary script.

Throwing an item (read: not an attacking throw) is a pretty good example. It comes at a (temporary?) cost of the item and forces you to improvise. The chance of success depends largely on the enemies state, but may have other factors:

* Unarmed or At Ease - Easy to stagger
* Weapon in hand, not hostile - Moderate difficult
* Weapon at the ready waiting to charge at you - Difficult.

...but I'd like to see that built upon and possibly turn some conventions on their ear - against a character with high dexterity and high perception (but maybe low intelligence) you stand a better chance, since they'd be wired to reactively catch, while a clumsy character would probably get hit in the chest.

You can also have variable results. Maybe it fazes them and they lose a whole turn. Maybe they just waste a few points dropping it. Maybe they use up a quick attack worth of points batting it away. There's plenty of scope for options there, and best of all, it can be applied anywhere. You could potentially even use the same actions to toss a weapon to an ally mid-battle, if you wanted. The only real cost is a bit more work into the combat system, and an animation or two.

Same goes for stabbing someone in the throat - couldn't that be integrated as a bonus to-hit/to-critical on called shots against a non-hostile opponent? Likewise, using a bolt as an improvised weapon is good, but can't that be left to the player who has just thrown their crossbow, has no melee weapon and can be pleasantly surprised that a logical improvisation on their part is recognised by the game?

There are plenty of good suggestions coming through in this thread, but if you're going to implement an extended set of actions, I think you're better off doing it as a standard game mechanic rather than dialogue scripts. I think we're getting too hung up on whether you're attacking or not, and forgetting that there's a whole system dedicated to making combat an interesting scattering of tactical choices and die rolls.
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galsiah
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« Reply #424 on: January 24, 2008, 03:53:40 am »

That's reasonable thinking, but I'd make a few points:
[Disclaimer: I'm very tired, so might be suffering from impaired thinking/typing/phrasing...]

1) Options which lead to similar/identical outcomes are always gambles from the player's point of view - that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be too satisfied if the choice/order turns out to make no difference. I don't think players tend to value apparent gambles which turn out not to have mattered at all. I agree that the intimidation option is significant, and serves a purpose, regardless. I'm just not sure it'd be well received.

2) AoD is generally a more scripted/static affair than your or my 'ideal' RPG. I'm all for generic systems, rather than once-only scripts, but there is some advantage to content that feels unique to each situation. Since quests, dialogue skill checks, text adventures... in AoD are generally (all?) hand-written and scripted, hand-crafting this situation seems quite fitting.

3) I don't think there's a need for "consistency", in terms of putting this effort into scripted options for every encounter. The vignette is a special case, and occurs before the player has much idea about the world, or his PC's motivations. He doesn't have medium/long-term goals and strategies to consider. All he has to draw him in are the particulars of the immediate situation. In later quests that won't be the case - there'll be less need for the particulars to be involving, since the background and context should be.
Of course some of the other vignettes might be much simpler in any case, which can't be helped. I do think it's reasonable to put a somewhat disproportionate effort into the vignettes though - since they have very little "backup", and will shape the player's early impression of the game.

4) Once you have something as a generic system, it needs to be well balanced to work in any context - which greatly restricts its application in the individual case. With a one-time-only option, it's fine to give any bonuses/penalties which make things interesting - without regard for overall balance.


To be fair, I suppose you could argue that the advantage of hand-crafted dialogue/descriptions... is that you can accurately portray your vision for the situation - and that if this "vision" is being constructed by artificially working backwards from the gameplay, you're not really using that advantage.
I'm not sure I agree with that though - unless your vision of the situation covers all the fine detail, I don't see much wrong with "artificiallly" adapting that detail to fit the gameplay situations you're after.


That said, if there are general action options that would work in many/any combat situation, and would add to gameplay variety, I'm all for including them. Balance is very important for such options though - if they're to be used at least occasionally, and not to the exclusion of other varied options. A wider variety of options will only lead to a wider variety of gameplay if the balance is good.
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Claw
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« Reply #425 on: January 24, 2008, 06:34:26 am »

2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.

(I'll be grateful for any attempts to pretty up that cumbersome sentence)
I'd say "Throw the guard your crossbow and try to skewer his throat with a bolt while he's distracted."

I'd be fine with three outcomes as galsiah suggested. Instant win, and two combat scenarios, one where you scored a hit and another where the guard scored a hit beforehand.

I also suggest not mentioning the windpipe or any specific injury at all, as to avoid the player's analysis of whether or not the result is realistic. The guard either goes down fatally injured or it doesn't.
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Gareth
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« Reply #426 on: January 24, 2008, 06:59:05 am »

Geez like, how many pages of discussion on this 1 dialogue option now?

Heh, just teasing, carry on.
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #427 on: January 24, 2008, 11:57:20 am »

One caveat of this bolt thing is that it raises the expectation in the player that he can do that kind of thing again - so are you prepared to make bolts melee weapons in general and to provide other surprise bolt-kills? It can't be a one-time thing, e.g. using the bolt would have to be an option if you choose to attack right in the beginning too, right? So it would not have to particularly stated. And anyway, isn't this a bit too Legolas?

How about:

1. Attack before he regains his composure
2. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

(1: Attack with player initiative)

if 2:
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
or
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" You throw the crossbow at the guard to distract him, grab a bolt, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.
3. [persuasion] Nod towards the chest. "Your former master has no need of his worldly posession anymore. Fifty-fifty?"

2a. The bolt head enters the guard's unprotected throat, severing the windpipe. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.

or

2b. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.
(- 2 HP, guard's initiative)

3a (success):
The guard thinks for a moment, picking his nose. The he nods. He throws a bag with the merchants posession at your feet, keeping a bigger one and a purse for himself. He turns to you, hand on the hilt of his sword, and waits for you to leave.

4a Attack
(regular initiative)

4b You grab the bag, and the paper the merchant clutches in his hands, an leap for the window.

3b (fail):
"You should have left while you could". He charges at you.
(guards initiative)

You'd have three different combat results advantage player,  advantage guard and neutral, and three different loot results - none, half, all
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Vince
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« Reply #428 on: January 24, 2008, 11:58:45 am »

Good post, Priapist, as usual.

So, what would you suggest? Go with the original setup? Move the "throw the crossbow" option before the intimidation to maintain the consistency of choices? Something else?

I would really like to deal with this situation already and move on, but since we've spent so much time already, we might as well do it right.


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Vince
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« Reply #429 on: January 24, 2008, 12:02:32 pm »

One caveat of this bolt thing is that it raises the expectation in the player that he can do that kind of thing again - so are you prepared to make bolts melee weapons in general and to provide other surprise bolt-kills?
Sure. You can throw swords and axes, you can use throwing weapons in close combat, so why not being able to use bolts as weapons?

Quote
And anyway, isn't this a bit too Legolas?
A valid concern.

Quote
How about:
...
You'd have three different combat results advantage player,  advantage guard and neutral, and three different loot results - none, half, all
I'm ok with it. Nothing wrong with a persuasion option, of course.
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xenocide
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« Reply #430 on: January 24, 2008, 01:19:25 pm »

I agree with Priapist that things are starting to get out of hand.  The original concern was not necessarily a lack of options but that the dialog was unlcear in intent.  This is why I like my idead of changing the choice of the dialog to

2. You did what you came for, and this guard looks like a seasoned fighter.  It may be best to slip out quietly.  Try to buy some time to jump out the window.

and if this option is taken then the PC says the dialog.  Maybe I am the only one that likes that though, but IMO as long as it is well written I think it is just as fun and interesting option to take as picking specific dialog.  Things are simple, attack or try to leave.

If no one likes that and we go with Vince's new scenario, I think we should still keep things more simple than a lot of the sugestions so far.


Does there really need to be a distinction between just attacking vs intimidating and then attacking? Sure, it is better if there is some distinction, but I don't think there's a need to drastically alter the circumstances every step of the way to "artificially" induce a dynamically different situation. You can't say the intimidation is a non-choice - it's a gamble that might allow you to avoid combat, or it might lead you to be attacked at a disadvantage.

But it has not been established that there is a penalty to trying to intimidate and failing, AFAIK right now there is not one, all attacks are the same.  In the intrests of staying simlple:

1. Attack
2. Intimidate

If 1: no initiative, PC goes first
If 2 fail: no initiative, guard goes first
If 2 Pass attack: no initiative, PC goes first
If 2 Pass leave:  you leave

Simple and direct with a penalty for trying to intimidate and failing.  And if the combat is a close fight, going first could be huge.  If you want to put in the Dex check, I like that as well but that should stay simple as well.  You only get to use it with an intimidate pass:

Dex 6 or less:  Guard blocks but is off balance, PC goes first in combat.
Dex 7,8,or 9: Partial hit, guard looses 1/4 of hit points and has small stat penalty
Dex 10: Instant death for guard, IMO this is a big bonus and very hard to do and should only be for dex of 10
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Vince
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« Reply #431 on: January 24, 2008, 01:57:06 pm »

The merchant makes no attempt to escape his fate. The bolt finds his heart and his no longer alive body hits the floor. The mercenary looks at you, then at the dead body on the floor. He's still trying to decide what to do.

1. Reload and attack
2. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. As his attention switches to the crossbow, grab a bolt, holding it as a short dagger, and jump the guard aiming for the throat.
3. I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

If 2.

2a. The bolt head pierces the guard's unprotected throat, cutting the arteries and flooding the windpipe with blood. His eyes roll up and he falls down without a sound.
-
2b. The guard moves to the side and the bolt head tears a wound in his neck, missing the vitals. Blood gushes out and the suddenly pale guard charges at you. (loses 5HP per turn, penalty to hit 20%)
-
2c. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you.

If 3.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he makes his decision and charges at you.
-
The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

1. Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2. [Persuasion] I think it's fair to say that you and I were the only friends Gracius had in Teron. I helped him find some inner peace, but I couldn't have done that without you standing there with your mouth open. I think that Gracius would want us to have this, don't you think? *nod toward the open chest.

2a. You better leave now before I call for help. *the guard looks like he's about to attack.
      Take what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.
2b. Might as well split it *the guard turns the chest over, spilling the content, and then draws a line dividing the humble spoils.
      Take your share and what the merchant clutches in his hand and leave.

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Special_Can
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« Reply #432 on: January 24, 2008, 02:27:26 pm »

 That's good.

 1. Just regular combat
 2. A chance for an Instant kill, but no chance of a disadvantage? I think there needs to be more of a consequence here if you have low dexterity.
 3. Intimidate check, if you fail, combat. If you win, a chance to Pursuade and only get half of the loot. This choice kinda leads to a non-choice but that's fine.

 I like it, especially since originally I didn't want any change. I don't think anyone can complain about this.
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JuJu
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« Reply #433 on: January 24, 2008, 02:42:03 pm »

In the last dialogue there seems to be no risks in choosing splitting the loot . Maybe add three levels of consequences to it:
1. if you fail, the guard attacks you
2. if you succeed, you get away
3. if you have 10 CHA or similar, you talk him into splitting the loot

Also the guard doesn't seem to gain anything from letting you take half of HIS loot.
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Vince
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« Reply #434 on: January 24, 2008, 02:45:48 pm »

2. A chance for an Instant kill, but no chance of a disadvantage? I think there needs to be more of a consequence here if you have low dexterity.
You fight him with a toothpick (i.e. you use a bolt as a melee weapon, since that's all you've got now). I'd say that's a disadvantage. No?

Quote from: JuJu
In the last dialogue there seems to be no risks in choosing splitting the loot . Maybe add three levels of consequences to it:
Should there always be some risks? You are about to leave. Your options are to leave with some loot (as a reward to putting a few points into persuasion) or without. There is no need to overcomplicate it with yet another combat check.
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