As I've mentioned in other threads lately, we've been gearing up to play 4th edition D&D here in Upper Savo. This has to do with the Chronicles of Prydain microcampaign from last year
; it sort of got under our collective skins, so when a serious run of 4th edition came on the table, I decided to revise that material for a deeper take.
Although I'm doing a much more complete campaign prep for this than last year, I'm still limiting myself to applying the 4th edition rules system, rather than rewriting everything from the ground up. This implies a certain sense of restraint in the whole affair. I'm not doing anything to the combat rules or the way character classes work, for instance.
At this writing we've done character creation and played the first session of the campaign, but I'm still working on some pretty central mechanical conceits that I need to get in place for next Monday's session. One of these prep tasks is finishing out my concept for a mechanized scenario negotiation point-buy system of sorts. Because it's a pretty tricky thing, I'll just lay it out here in case anybody has any further pointers for me.Operational Points
The campaign does not involve Milestones from the 4th edition rules - their implementation is useless rules trash as far as I can see. The fictional and strategic parameters of the "long rest" are also changed to make it a more dramatic decision: a long rest takes several days, and it advances the campaign "chapter clock" by one step. (The "chapters" are basically a dramatic timing device for stuff occurring outside the immediate control of the PCs. For example, at the start of the campaign the bad guys are five chapters away from winning the war that starts the campaign.)
The Milestone concept is replaced by an abstract currency that I hope to make a meaningful and central tool in the way combat encounters are set up during play. Let's call this currency "operational points" (OP) for now. The current OP score of the adventuring party represents the amount of operational leeway they have gained by stealing the march on their enemy. Taking a long rest discards any OP the party has gathered by default, as whatever operational initiative they have is lost during the break from the action.
The party gains OP equal to the XP budget of any successfully resolved scene that advances their quest goals. Both combats and skill challenges count: as long as it's successful and it takes the party towards their goal, it counts.Spending Operational Points
There are two types of boons that I want the players to be in control of via the OP system:*
Minor rest actions that are more elaborate than a short rest, but less than a full rest. Essentially, a more modular and mechanically interesting Milestone. A way to gain Action Points and an encouragement to push on instead of taking a long rest even after a hard encounter.*
Seizing partial control over the terms of a combat encounter with operational maneuvering: choose your battleground, fine-tune combat goals, gain surprise, make it easier, etc. My ideal of 4th edition combat is not that it's something the GM imposes: rather, it should be something that the group collectively finds appropriate.
I'm still working out the specifics of what I'm selling, exactly, and at what price - ideas and observations are welcome here, especially if you have expertise with the 4th edition math. I'm particularly uncertain about whether I've priced this stuff correctly. Here's what I've got so far:
("[A]" indicates the XP value of a monster of the [A]dventure's level. "[H]" indicates the XP value of a monster of the relevant character's level. "[C]" indicates the XP value of a monster of the relevant combat encounter's level.)