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What do I want combat in D&D to be? I want it to flow conversationally, like Dungeon World. I want it to be fast, intense, chaotic, first-person, and visceral, like the Middle Earth game Silmenume plays. And I want it to have all the mechanical and tactical richness provided by modern D&D.
Oh, I missed this post! Sorry for posting a celebratory “mission accomplished” post before reading this!
You and I share a lot of goals at the table, but also run D&D very differently; for instance like you’ve pointed out I tend to say “here’s a rules framework, interact with that please,” while you tend to say, “act only diageticaly, here’s the rules framework I’ll use to interpret your actions but you don’t need to pay attention to it during play.”
Well…. we had a workshop before the session where we practiced the intented beats & prompts & how the new dice/clouds arrow were meant to flow. What “moves” you could make and how you need to lead with the fiction in order for me to even know what happens next.
With that in mind. I’m reading your play descriptions and thinking, “This is awesome but it would never work at my table!”
Thank you for reading it!♥
I can’t identify points where all the additional diagetic steps (“I roll laterally, to the side!” “OK, you can spend 9 HP to do that”) feed back into the dice. The player could have said, “Kerfuffle, xylophone!” and you would have responded, “OK, you can spend 9 HP to do that.”
No, the response then would’ve been “OK, make an injury roll!’ and the player would’ve been injured.
This is how it works.
Two lines of defense, both preceded by description of attack, what do you do, description of defense, dice-engagement.
While you prob wouldn’t say “kerfuffle, xylophone”, there are situations where you might want to go “My own gnome mom is shooting me? I hang my arms down by my side. ‘Mom, why are you like this?’ I don’t defend myself, I just gonna make an injury roll right away.”
You would get dive inspiration in that situation (especially if you had added a bond about your relationship with Gnome Mom – and you could write one in, then and there, if you hadn’t).
In the case of garg fight you might go “I can’t get away because of my missing leg, I’m gonna take a dive inspiration and make an injury roll”.
But 99.99999% of the time it’s not about whether you defend yourself, it’s how you defend yourself because that helps keep the rest of our imaginations alive and feeds into how we describe what happens next.
About that dice engagement, players & DM both know that the first line is defense roll, the second is HP spend (using @lumpley 's wider definition of “dice” to include things such as HP spends). AC already was a mixture of armor, shields, dexterity. Not xylophones though. HP is the equiv of action surges for defending, kinda.
You could cut it down to one line of defense by having the monsters roll their own attacks, instead of using defense rolls. In which case three of the arms would be hanging limp and only one arm would be reaching for the gnome. I’m currently not planning to make this change.
Monsters have one line of defense because they have one “narrative beat window” of dice-engagement; that one beat covers the three gates of action econ (did the hobo speak out of turn), AC, and HP. This wasn’t by design but that’s the flow that emerged from this structure.
The increased handling time! That’s hella big! I’d be worrying, hey, this is eating into the amount of stuff that happens in the session, the number of meaningful choices per human per hour. It’s reducing the total entropy of the product of all the choices made over the course of the entire campaign!
Yes, our fight vs the skeletons took almost 12 minutes Compared to the normal 2 minutes.
Here is how a round of combat would go in our old system (retroactively named “Dungeon Yahtzee” in contrast to our new system “Oh, Injury!” — both are layers on top of Introducing late night fighting, which is still in place regardless of it’s Dungeon Yahtzee or Oh, Injury!):
OK Alice you get five attacks on you DC 18, the mouth is 11 the claws are 9, meanwhile Bob what do you do? Dread ambush ok, they have AC 17, get back to me with how much damage, now Carol what do you do? Fireball ok, roll the saving throw checks, their dex defense is 14, Alice did you die? No? Ok, good. Bob? 49!?!?! Holy shit but ok yeah, recorded. Carol, ok, one half one full and the full is 36? Gotcha
The point is: The number one reason for the increased handling time is going from parallel to serial!
My plan is to keep Dungeon Yahtzee in my back pocket; it’s one option available when I want FAST fights. (Uh, kinda need to come up with a less trademarked name for it though. So I don’t get sued by Yahtzee.)
The old system created a situation where we make decisions on the dice level (character sheet, points, dice, abilities etc), execute them on the dice level, record their results on the dice level, and then go on to make new decisions on the dice level.
Then we were simultaneously tasked with describing the “shadow” cast onto the diegesis by all of those dice-level events, post-hoc. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found performing that translation incredibly difficult, creatively, and most of the time, especially after those first three weeks or so back in 2014, I just gave up and only did the numbers and we had some sort of post-combat: “ok ok here is the XP anyone wanna short rest?”.
By contrast, the new system is this eternal golden braid with specific points where the diegesis hands over to dice and the dice hands back to the diegesis. It feels like it lives in the diegesis and then the answers that the dice gives us, whenever they’re consulted, just make sense and are cool.
The description isn’t color narration, it’s necessary because it feeds into other diegetical actions. It was immediately obvious when a descriptive beat was missed because it was such a “uh, wait, we can’t even resolve this action because we don’t know how to do that without you saying exactly how you defended against that bite attack”.
Or are you establishing fictional positioning that at some point feeds back into the dice?
To be completely honest, it’s true that very few of our “dice” mechanics take meaningful input from the diegesis. Our most recent mechanic, the “wounding monsters”, does. (A mechanic which owes more to Fate, than to Forged in the Dark or Powered by the Apocalypse.)
Remember, we started with a very complete system, a system that answered questions that some systems don’t even know are being asked, such as “who does the monster attack?” and “who can I hit with this fireball”? etc. (Some, not all!)
It’s not like Everway were it’s like “hmm, this card would usually mean death for the hero but since the hero dressed as a Scorpio last Tuesday…”
But we’re just getting started. D&D does have the adv & disadv parameters to play with. I already proposed a new mechanic, that you can get insp if your traits, ideals, bonds and flaws prevent you from defending yourself. Not sure that’ll see a ton of use but it’s just an idea.
I mean to what extent does Dungeon World really “feed back into the dice”? Diving to the left way of the arrow or diving under it or raising your shield—it’s all “defy danger”. DW has all the same DC (7/10) all the time and it’s pretty much just the stat choice, dex vs str or w/e.
Does what the player says here here flow into anything outside of determining whether the hobo spends HP to avoid the attack, or eats it and rolls on the injury table?
While it might not flow into dice level inputs particularly often (yet! or, ever, not sure it’s that desirable to lose the extreme objectivity of our current system), it sure as heckfire flows into other diegetical inputs.
One thing I can see this back-and-forth establishing is who acts next. “I parry and block, falling back to Bob’s position!” “Bob, Alice stumbles past you, a ghoul hot on her heals, what do you do?”
Yes this definitely happened!
Yes, that’s a dice-level input but seldomly a meaningful one, since the only time that kinda order matters is for drawing aggro or applying buffs. There was actually a record scratch moment where the cleric got salty af [if you read this, Carol, talk to me when you have time] because she wanted to buff Ted’s sword. I had just turned to Ted, describing how the gargoy.. “No.” “Whaddayamean no, Carol?” “I wanted to do something.” (That sucked)
At one point the gargoyle tried to grapple Alice [I mix these names up all the time, to protect the innocent those who already serving their hard time under my harsh rule. Sometimes Alice is our cleric, sometimes our wizard etc] and that was also something that just sort of, uh, flowed from the SIS.
And that was it in terms of diegetics actually changing dice. Again, we already have an incredibly robust dice system with conditions such as prone, grappled etc and our monster-target-selection algorithm that uses (among other things) those conditions to decide how they act.
But the narration flowed into other narration soooo much! Standing on the ledge stepping on the garg head, somersaults into each other, Ted luring one garg to swipe at him while Bob blasted it with Fear…
Like, all of the richness of our dice-level mechanics aren’t obstacles at all, it’s nice AF that we have the grapple rules memorized or opportunity attacks or w/e.
♫pom pom pom♫
… one of the reasons why the diegetics is sooo dependent on what diegesis preceded it, is that fundamental vagueness of the core mechanic.
A defense roll can mean
(Sidebar: Yes it’s weird AF that when defending vs spells there are seven different mods to choose from depending on the spell [the six save categories + defense rolls] while defending againts normal attacks can be done in a thousand ways but still use the same roll. Not saying I would want more detail, the other way around: a simple save vs spells would be pretty awesome instead of the six categories.)
And then if that defense roll fails the monster attacks the second line of defense; so I need to know what that first line of defense was.
For example “I use shield!” [defense roll] “OK you block three of the hydra heads, the fourth head slips past your shield, what do you do?” “I push it aside with my morning star!” [hp spend] or
For example “I push the heads aside with my morning star!” [defense roll] “OK you push three of the hydra heads aside, the fourth head slips under your morningstar, what do you do?” “I use shield!” [hp spend]
That’s why the diegesis is essential, it’s not painted on description, it’s needed to set up the next move.
Is there a meaningful difference between those two situations on the dice level? No. They’re the exact same. But if the player just says “I defend!” I go “Sure! Go ahea… wait, how do you defend?” Because I need to know in order to continue playing the hydra. And isn’t that, after all, the goal of the IIEE designer since she first looked up on the starry night sky?
So as far as I’m concerned, the answer to the “kerfuffle xylophone” question is definitely answered to my own satisfaction.
And maybe future refinement of this game can lead into the diegesis causing meaningful difference on the dice level, or maybe it’s better to keep it all “purely objective”. Because the risk of the dice having diegetical inputs is that you get the way I first thought Blades in the Dark was, “Wait, it seems super fuzzy and BSy whether a sitch is risky or desperate?” [Sorry that was just my first impression I’m sure the game is great.]
(PS big ups to Paul who did a lot of the work on this system.)
Silmenume I hope you don’t mind, I edited your example to show Jeph the similarities and differences between our two games! And you for that matter. I mean not saying our system is better but since we’re assembling it it layer by layer on top of our old rules [in true bricolage/palimpsest fashion], it is what it is…
I added my comments in [like this] and deleted the things that aren’t applicable to “Oh, Injury!” like this
Player - “I swing.”DM - “Roll.” [I would say the target AC. In my example let’s say it’s an AC 16, HP 93 Orc War Chief (MM p 246). So I would say “Make an attack roll vs AC 16”]Player - [Rolls attack, see’s that it’s a hit, and rolls the damage dice] “10…plus 5…15 total!”Not a bad roll. That’s what would traditionally be an AC 5 hit in a deterministic resolution system. Rather in Mythic Bricolage this is a starting point for interpretation for DM and player.DM - “He knocks your sword aside [, spending 15 hit points to do that]. Your sword is way out of position as he thrusts at you. Roll. [What do you do?]”Player - “Oh crap! Avoid! I spin away!["DM - “Make a defense roll, DC 16.”Player - “]… uh…Natural 17!”DM - “The sword just skitters across your chest cutting a hole in your shirt! That would have been your death. [What do you do?]”Player - “I try and trap his arm and break his elbow!”DM - “Dangerous. Dangerous. Add your hand to hand. Don’t roll poorly…” [“Roll Strength, DC 14”]Player - “uh….12….plus 6….18!”DM - “You’re in position…roll to hit.”[DM: “You’ve got him locked, what do you do?” Action econ principle; Alice has two attacks at her level and can turn one attack into ‘grapple’ and the other into, well… IDK!.]Player - “Weapon or hand to hand?”DM - “Hand to hand…Roll a natural 18, 19, or 20 and you break his arm outright”[Player - “I try to twist it!” Here is an example of diegesis leading into different dice engagement than if the player had tried to apply Restrained or Prone instead of applying pure damage.DM - “Make an attack roll, AC 16”Player - “With advantage, right?”DM - “Grappled doesn’t grant advantage…”Player - “Oh, ok!”]Player - “Oh man! 17 total!”DM - “Roll D4 for damage.”Player - “2…add Str Damage?” [Player obv has Tavern Brawler feat♥]DM - nodsPlayer - “4 total!”DM - grunts, “The arm doesn’t yield. He spins to face you_[, spending 4 hit points to do that,]_ and you see his gauntleted fist coming straight at your face. [What do you do?]”Player - “I release my lock and avoid the blow.”DM - “This is going to hit unless you roll something truly spectacular”DM - “Make a defense roll, DC 16” My system isn’t as spectacular as Sil’s ]Player - “NATURAL 20!DM -”He’s surprised by your maneuver and stumbles past…You’re in perfect position! [What do you do?]"
When I quote & respond to one little part of your posts Sandra please know that I’m reading and digesting the whole thing! I’m just choosing the line of conversation that most catches my interest or where I’ve got something more solid to say.
Thank you for clarifying that, darling!
When a player in DW does something that triggers Defy Danger, what that something is—the fictional positioning—has huge impact, because the GM has to make a move that follows.That means that the player’s utterance directly constrains the move the GM makes. And it also directly constrains what subsequent actions the player is in position to take.
When a player in DW does something that triggers Defy Danger, what that something is—the fictional positioning—has huge impact, because the GM has to make a move that follows.
Yes, I know. And it works similarly in my system. Here I really need to pace myself and not over-reply since I know you’re still reading/replying to my full acid-fueled massive missive. That post better answers that particular comment than anything I could write here.
Just for fun, gonna do the DW examples [not that I don’t understand DW, it’s just fun for peeps to see how they would work in OI].
Alice: “I raise my shield to deflect the flames sword and charge forward!”
Alice: “I interpose myself between the dragon and Bob and raise my shield to deflect the flames sword!”
Defense roll! (Possibly also a rank switch if Alice was backrank & Bob was front rank!)
Alice: “Turn tail and dive for cover!”
Rank switch! Bob you’re getting burninated swordinated! (Or, well, you’re getting a burnination swordination threat initiated, followed by a “what do you do?”)
I switched flames to sword because the flames in Introducing late night fighting can blast through to the back rank! I think that’s a difference between it and DW!
When a player in DW does something that triggers Defy Danger, what that something is—the fictional positioning—has huge impact, because the GM has to make a move that follows.That means that the player’s utterance directly constrains the move the GM makes. And it also directly constrains what subsequent actions the player is in position to take.Yes, I know. And it works similarly in my system. Here I really need to pace myself and not over-reply since I know you’re still reading/replying to my full acid-fueled massive missive. That post better answers that particular comment than anything I could write here.
And then if that defense roll fails the monster attacks the second line of defense; so I need to know what that first line of defense was.For example “I use shield!” [defense roll] “OK you block three of the hydra heads, the fourth head slips past your shield, what do you do?” “I push it aside with my morning star!” [hp spend] orFor example “I push the heads aside with my morning star!” [defense roll] “OK you push three of the hydra heads aside, the fourth head slips under your morningstar, what do you do?” “I use shield!” [hp spend]That’s why the diegesis is essential, it’s not painted on description, it’s needed to set up the next move.Is there a meaningful difference between those two situations on the dice level? No. They’re the exact same. But if the player just says “I defend!” I go “Sure! Go ahea… wait, how do you defend?” Because I need to know in order to continue playing the hydra. And isn’t that, after all, the goal of the IIEE designer since she first looked up on the starry night sky?So as far as I’m concerned, the answer to the “kerfuffle xylophone” question is definitely answered to my own satisfaction.
Alice: “I power through, toss aside the scraps of my shield, and drive my sword into its belly!” […vs…] Alice: “I’ll take the heat and give Bob +1 forward!”
Oh, do you count that as a diegesis level decision? I counted that kind of decisions as dice level decisions when I did my playtest report.
If that counts (the reason I didn’t count similar inputs in my system is that Alice is obv aware that one decisions means to Inflict Dice Level Harm by herself, and the other means to Dice Level Buff Bob) then YES. I had a ton of those.
I guess the “Ill take the heat and give Bob +1 forward” is a dice decision that casts a diagetic shadow, in your phrasing.
It’s actually very close to what we have with “Oh, Injury!” which just is very similar to DW. Diegesis→dice→diegesis→dice in a braid. If a “diegesis” step is skipped then that’s instantly visible b/c the confusion & lack of ability to make next diegetic move.
Wheres in our “Dungeon Yahtzee” system, it’d be more like
but all those actions, decisions, and fortune-mechanic-engagements on the dice level simultaneously, sort of, cast their reflections through a glass darkly. A world where that d8 means “sword” and that d4 means “dagger” and that AC 15 means “mage armor”.
And for the first few sessions back in 2014 I did a good job describing that session vividly.
Which was sort of like creating it all over again, except having to do it backwards and in heels since it had to match the dice action. The dice action didn’t really help that much in that creation process. Just a tiny bit.
The group I D&D with is typically operating in the dice→dice→dice→dice w/ diagetic shadow mode, too.
We mostly don’t even bother with verbalizing the diagetic bits! Just kinda assume everyone is putting on their own mental picture-show!
Oh same here! Which I thought was appropriate though. The “I live in a world where people have XP and HP” school of roleplaying. The “dice” bits are flavorfully named. It’s just like a game of Magic the Gathering; you play it all in dice mode and then it’s a super cool story (“and then jace and chandra teamed up and i had just enough cards in my library for both of their ults to win me the game”) afterwards.
I’m still having trouble pinning down why I think your rules wouldn’t be great at my table. Something about granularity of each engagement with dice or SIS? I want the narrative beats to be more like, “I charge to meet them!” [dice] “When you finally push away one of them is down and you’re panting and bleeding” as opposed to thrust-by-thrust.
A few years ago I was the exact same way; my reason for that was that I wanted the fighting to be a bit veiled.
But there was definitely fallout from those veiled combats:
Our old system was more like “I charge to meet them!” [dice]→[dice]→[dice]→[dice]→[dice] “When you finally push away one of them is down and you’ve lost an arm, what do you do?”
The new system is also veiled enough for me. It’s not any more gruesome than our old system since all bloody hits are negated by hp spends. I don’t have to be scared until the HP is running low. My darling pretty monsters♥. The players need to be scared though. They have the same HP fueled protection but “wow that was more than I could afford OUCH!”
Maybe the relative strength of the constraints that flow dice→diegesis, the relative laxness of the constraints that flow diegesis→dice?
I would’ve guessed that it’s the other way around?
Since A. the dice don’t flow directly into new diegesis without me having to refer back to the preceding diegetic step (i.e. “dice→diegesis” is lax), and B. diegesis can trigger different “dice action” (i.e. “diegesis→dice” is strong—strong in the sense of which function to call, if not in having a big impact on the parameters to that function♥).
I think I need to regroup, identify my first principles, and go from there.
OK! I’m more of a “make a mess, the clean it up” type of designer♥BTW did you groove on the Silmenume inspired example upthread? Love Jay so much
This might be a mindset thing; one player might say "I said I spin away because Sandra said an orc was about to cut me!" another might say "I said I spin away because I need to roll defense." I'm probably not personally capable of adopting the former over the latter.[…]Another way of describing it... I feel like under these rules, I'd be making choices at the dice level, then coming up with supporting narration; as opposed to making choices at the diagetic level, then interpreting those choices through the lens of the dice.
Hey Eero, your simplified large skirmish D&D resolution? GW is thinking of suing over IP infringement. ( That's essentially the core rules of combat in most Games Workshop minis games for the last 30 years or so).
I believe that the situation was as you describe: different mindset for different participants. It is certainly the case that many people play DW and AW thinking about their moves and therefore saying things with the explicit intent of leading into one of those moves. Which is allowed & encouraged by @lumpley and by Cary for that matter (the "perception" and "insight" moves that they use). "Oh, Injury!" is absolutely similar in that regard.
“I spend 10 HP to avoid, baking a soufflé,” and it still works with the action flow.
When the DW GM says that there is a sword or dragon breath incoming, and asks, “what do you do?”, it’s a genuine open-ended question.There are a variety of moves you can make, non-move actions, and so forth - perhaps you could try to cast a spell as you are engulfed in the flames, for instance. If you do defy danger, the description changes which stat you will roll, too (minor as that is). It’s genuinely your turn to act, though, in any case.
When the DW GM says that there is a sword or dragon breath incoming, and asks, “what do you do?”, it’s a genuine open-ended question.
A lot of this has been discussed upthread.
To repeat what is discussed in more detail there: It’s open-ended in “Oh, Injury!” too, secondarily because of the cornercases like the “Shield” spell or “Absorb Elements” spell or going for dive insp, but primarily it’s because the various diegetically different ways to defend yourself matter for the the diegetical follow up.
you have a binary choice
On the dice level (with a handful of exceptions). And that’s DAY ONE with this system. There can still be more design made now that this framework is in place.
But even in the cases that it’s binary on the dice level, it’s not a binary choice on the diegetic level.
You can see that from how the player simply repeats “I roll away/to the side” in the example Sandra wrote up earlier.
I though that was cool
Since we don’t know what the next step will be, we have to actually listen to the player’s choice and narration. In this, we could have a player say, “I spend 10 HP to avoid, baking a soufflé,” and it still works with the action flow.
You have it backwards. It’d be
“The monster lashes at you with her tentacles, what do you do?”“I bake a soufflé”“OK roll with your proficiency with Cook’s Utensils. Also, make an injury roll and take a DSF.”
diegetic attack beat → diegetic defense beat→point cost.
I don’t follow why that would be the case. In DW, the player is making an open-ended choice - it’s their “turn”, and a theoretically unlimited number of actions is available to them.
And if they goof around the GM/MC can inflict harm as established.
It sounds like the group is finding good ways to use that narration to flow into subsequent actions (by, for instance, leading Sandra to decide whose turn is next), but that’s a nice flourish, as opposed to being necessary in any way.
A block is in the diegesis fundamentally different from a dodge and fundamentally different from a parry even though they all use the same mechanic, “AC”. Because how they interact with other diegetical actions around them.
Monster attack incoming←necessary for player to hear so that they can describe defensePlayer defense←“for qualifying” + necessary for DM to hear so that she can describe second line attack if it failsDefense roll←let’s say it failsSecond line attack incoming←necessary for player to hear so that they can describe defensePlayer defense←“for qualifying” + necessary for DM to hear so that she can describe followthrough if spend failsSpend←let’s say it fails [too expensive for poor hobo]Injury rollMonster follow through crrraasssh bleed slafffs
There are a couple of other defensive actions like the monk’s Deflect Missiles class feature. And also plenty of monster actions that come with different followup move that changes the default flow.
And again it’s day ONE. With this framework in place, new moves can evolve like maybe cook up rules where another hobo can rank switch and take the hit.
So yeah. As discussed above, the diegetical beats are absolutely integral.
And, I don’t want to undersell the value of defense having a similar flow to attacking, which is open-ended of course.
but let’s not pretend something is doing something it’s not.
I am not misrepresenting the system. I’ve answered honestly about the limited extent the diegesis currently has on the dice, but why the diegetical beats are still vital first-class ludemes. A lot of this is already discussed in detail upthread, scroll up♥
Like, a guy was standing on the garg’s head and smashing down on it. A simple “with advantage since you’re on the garg’s head”—and in hindsight, I wish I had—would’ve radically changed things as far as the diegesis→dice coupling goes. I’m gonna start doing that.
In Dungeon World you can’t say “I bake a soufflé” or “I Undertake A Perilous Journey” if the prompt is “you’re hanging on a rope over the abyss and you can’t see your friends anymore in the pitch black, their light far outpacing you and then going out, what do you do?”Same here.
There are specific moves for specific situations.That’s a necessity of the initial restrictions on this project.And that’s also good. We don’t want abyss cake
the subsequent narration is almost entirely superfluous.
Well, you changed the player’s declaration in my example for your counterexample. So that hitch is still there - for example, the issue with “you can describe a new attack, or just describe the original attack again/more” shows how many of the descriptions aren’t semantically meaningful.
Well, you changed the player’s declaration in my example for your counterexample.
This is incorrect. (Btw, semantics degree here.)
You need to defend to defend. Baking a soufflé is a codified move, XGE p 80-81. Also you can only do it during a short rest. Otherwise see “encrouching on a codified move” above.
you can describe a new attack, or just describe the original attack again/more
That is not allowed. Maybe you’re thinking of “the killing prompt”, where that’s the case.The killing / wounding prompts are kinda orthogonal to the HP spend prompt although both were big changes for us.The HP spend prompt was the awesome part, the killing/wounding prompt not so much. (So yeah, Paul, you contributed a pretty key piece!)
But I dig how much you’re committing to this; if the group buys in
We’ll see if they buy in; they were standing on their chairs and cheering Tuesday night but this morning they were confused as to why it worked.
and is disciplined about treating those mechanics as a “description -> dice” flow every time,
I saw a YouTube game of some DW players once and the GM says “OK all four of you guys need to Roll Defy danger because there an ogre enters the room and starts swinging around a maul”. A game only work when it works.
That said, the diegesis is necessary because other diegesis depends on it.
I think you’ve got a really neat reconceptualization of D&D mechanics here, and it sounds like it’s working. I also like how “players roll all the dice” makes it even more natural.
I realized that it was kind of why it worked; otherwise it’d be “the garg sends one arm flying half-heartedly your way. The other three arms flubbed their rolls and are hanging limp by it’s side.”
I introduced “players make all rolls” because I wanted this. It still didn’t happen (mostly because I didn’t know what hitpoints were) but now it can.
I think it sounds like a lot of fun, and I’d like to try it next time I play D&D. My house rules have armour subtracting from damage instead of the to hit roll, so that would work really nicely with this, too - armour effectively means that spending HP is easier/cheaper for you, and gives us another prompt for the descriptions that will vary from blow to blow.
Well, one thing that one of the dorx said was that “isn’t it weird that HP is constitution based?” I said “your
How hard do you think it is for the GM to track? Are you scratching your head and looking at your sheet all the time? Would it be really hard for someone trying it for the first time? Any tips for such a person?
I’m already very practiced with the sheet and keep it mostly in my head [keeping the sheet up to date ofc but not really looking at it that often; I referenced it once to see who a Fireball could hit, and I had one head scratchy moment where I was confused about the garg’s primary target until I double-checked with the cheat]. I had to go “wait, you used a hunter’s mark earlier, right?”
The tip for new GMs is to practice it with yourself? Make hobos & monsters, and play. Since the monsters have a mind of their own, it can be a fun solo challenge to try to win with the hobos.
One of the biggest weirdness is to see who are in a big mêlée group. It’s easy once you’ve gotten the hang of it, but it’s weird.Felix, Doris, the wight and one skeleton in this example are in the same group. I’ve learned to see that instantly. Let’s say Wendy joined that group [leaving back rank to do so]. She’d gain Xs in those two columns. Or let’s say Wendy didn’t do that, but one of the skeletons did (in flagrant violation of the “limit on ganging up”). It’d get Xs in those two rows.
I got so swept up in the diegetics!I’m gonna use a big blackboard for a few sessions. If the other players pick up on the system maybe we can keep turns maintaining the sheet. There’s nothing secret on there.
Otoh, I’m very scared of the “dungeon for ants” phenomena where they think too much of the spreadsheet & not enough of the Full Metal Frankenstein slamming their face.
Well, one thing that one of the dorx said was that "isn't it weird that HP is constitution based?" I said "your [????????]> How hard do you think it is for the GM to track? Are you scratching your head and looking at your sheet all the time? Would it be really hard for someone trying it for the first time? Any tips for such a person?
and, yeah, sorry, I jumped to “the killing prompt” rather abruptly there!
Yeah the whole killing prompt / wounding prompt is not working well.
Yeah, excellent. Sounds like we’re basically in agreement (although I still disagree about the example - I could explain why if you want) - so long as discipline is remembered and enforced, it should continue to work well
Well, more testing upcoming, but even in our first session: every time the diegetic beat was elided was immediately and painfully obvious; just as obvious as it is when you forget to say the AC. “Yeah, but… what am I rolling against?” “Yeah, but… what type of defense am I attacking against?”
Just as how on the dice level an attack roll is fundamentally the same action (roll a d20 and add 7) regardless of what number you’re atttacking, and on the diegetic level a defensive diegetic action has fundamentally the same intent (don’t die) regardless of how you’re executing the move, in both cases there are detail necessary to hear in order to do your action properly.
I really like the way all the 2097e rules are coming together to create a new game. I think that at this point, many other people would be publishing their own RPG, rather than calling it D&D, but I don’t think you’re interested in that (I could be wrong!).
Haha yeah. We still use pretty much everything from PHB/MM/DMG/XGE and a smattering of things from Volo’s & MoFo.
And a lot of the stuff I use for darkness & climbing was adapted from Veins of the Earth (which isn’t open source); frustrating because it’s changed enough that I can’t just go “go look at Veins of the Earth” but it’s close enough that I can’t just paste it in.
D&D is open source and I’m happy to just be improving it. I wouldn’t mind getting write access to the main repo (figuratively speaking) but I don’t want to move to Seattle (or to the US at all for that matter) and I also think my history of having a temper online isn’t a great look for WotC.
I should perhaps clarify that what I mean is that you have enough inspired, original, and unique material here to distinguish “your game” from anything else on the market, which is pretty cool.
Yeah… the key technique being the three tiers of truth but that’s applicable to almost any trad game.
Well, one thing that one of the dorx said was that “isn’t it weird that HP is constitution based?” I said “your [????????]
Oh, I meant to delete that line. I said “you’re absolutely right, haha, I hadn’t thought of that” and then a little bit later “but wizards make concentration checks based on con so maybe it’s some sort of keeping-your-cool stat”.
Have I mentioned how much I love your “dungeons for ants” line? Makes me laugh every time.
♥But you know what I mean, right? The map vs the territory.
What about tracking the diegetics vs. action economy? Who goes when, and that kind of thing? How do you make that smooth and easy? Or is that still a work in progress? I’d be worried about tracking all that in the heat of battle, and the action economy is so key to D&D.
Doing it in a way that I’m satisfied is easy. One of our players is unsatisfied which is why I’m looking to make changes.
Here’s how the current system satisfies me ← don’t take that in a creepy way
When someone does something that costs an action, a tally mark is added.Spotlight is directed to those who have fewer tally marks.If someone would speak out of order there are several techniques to use; dismissing the action diegetically (“he just catches your arrow without rolling”) is kinda a last resort compared to something like “but at the same time”, or “just as that happens”, or “before you even”.
Ideas I’m thinking of for alternate: people having playing cards or Othello/Reversi pieces in front of them that they flip over as they spend actions, or a big blackboard to keep track of the tally marks.
Our table, we only have a 1600 by 800 table (in inches that’s around 63 by 31) for six people and it’s usually covered with junk such as char sheets, books, handouts, cryptical messages from Acererak, love notes between the characters, grapes & cherries, bread, bowls of soup, dice, insp tokens etc. So I’m not even sure I could add something to it.
Yeah the whole killing prompt / wounding prompt is not working well.
Well, more testing upcoming, but even in our first session: every time the diegetic beat was elided was immediately and painfully obvious; just as obvious as it is when you forget to say the AC. “Yeah, but… what am I rolling against?” “Yeah, but… what type of defense am I attacking against?”Just as how on the dice level an attack roll is fundamentally the same action (roll a d20 and add 7) regardless of what number you’re atttacking, and on the diegetic level a defensive diegetic action has fundamentally the same intent (don’t die) regardless of how you’re executing the move, in both cases there are detail necessary to hear in order to do your action properly.Yeah… the key technique being the three tiers of truth but that’s applicable to almost any trad game.♥But you know what I mean, right? The map vs the territory.
I understand that [using a blackboard] might desired and necessary for some players, but that’s not what I’m asking about - I might want or need certain assurances to feel good about playing, but they could still, say, slow down or otherwise hold back play.
Great distinction. So what I thought beforehand was that it might make some players a little more comfortable, and in the interest of maintaining buy-in, it was worth a little bit of diminishing the quality of play.
So let’s look at the quality of play separately from the assurance factor. The quality of play was diminished in some ways that I had to try to keep in check. Them: “Hmm, let me carefully study their hit points level and whether or not my att..” Me: “You don’t know which! Just go!”
But overall the quality of play was increased; faster, clearer, fewer DM mistakes [because they could help correct mistakes I was making], better understanding of the rules & rank system, more options being used that were always available but that they weren’t really into using. This sort of braids into the assurance factor a bit I guess;
and the assurance factor was through the roof! The one player who was the reason for me getting this board couldn’t make it today [so we had 4 players + 1 DM] but a specific other player’s quality of play increased AF!!! Going from “I’ll throw a fireball… I guess…” to making really informed and tactical decisions. They came up to me afterwards and asked if we please could continue using this board.
So now I’m in a bind, since the pen kept borking out. I’m thinking of using pencil directly on the wall tbh.Gonna do some tests to see how it washes off.
Are there, like, carpenter’s pencils or w/e that makes a thicker line?
One of the design goals when creating this specific tracking sheet was to not make it spatial [for “map ≠ territory” purps). And that tentatively seems to have worked; there was some usages of “the left one” [meaning the left column] but it was more common to say “the one I’ve Hunter’s Marked” etc.
Since we were larping the fights out to such a degree and each room in the dungeon is described in terms of our game room. Like, this game-room wall is where the balcony ledge is in the dungeon etc. “So they roll down here… and then they” etc etc.
Did using a blackboard (or whatever you were doing to make it visible to everyone) help or slow down the process? How focused were people on it in play, as opposed to just playing freely? Was the overall impact positive or negative?
Summary: overall but not wholly positive! Tilting pretty far to the “positive” side.
Do you feel like you’re working hard to put your skills to work - nothing wrong with that! - or that it flows smoothly and easily, and, if so, what makes the difference between the two?On paper, narrating exciting combat choreography and tracking an action economy seamlessly behind it all sounds pretty daunting.
Do you feel like you’re working hard to put your skills to work - nothing wrong with that! - or that it flows smoothly and easily, and, if so, what makes the difference between the two?
I thought it was difficult. I am very comfortable with a pencil & paper #artist2097 so when the pen started borking out while I was already juggling these two things almost caused me to panic.
And of course Alice in the middle of combat starts going on about [hold on… taking a break from writing comment to emailing “That Guy” player about being less disruptive… ok now back to Story Games]
I had a feeling it was going to feel awkward. Why do people dislike this one, and why does it fall flat in play? After all, in Critical Role seem to enjoy the “HDYWTDT?” prompt (even though Mercer usually narrates it himself in the end, anyway). What do you think the difference is?
Because it invalidates their original swing.
I still find this hard to imagine/understand. Can you give an example of what that breakdown looks like, in practice?
“I reach up and try to slam my morningstar down on your head”“I uses my stone horns to trap and turn the morningstar aside.”
“I try to Sweep the Leg™ with my morningstar” “I uses my stone horns to trap and turn the morningstar aside.” ← bad
“I try to step back to avoid your arms” “OK, her arms clonk your shield” ← bad
I am thinking in terms of ‘What do they do’ diegetically, with their options limited both by the diegesis and the dice, and then making my move which includes a diegetical component and a dice component.
If “limited by the dice” sounds like making decisions from dice then let me tell you that I consider things like “this creature can fly” to be a dice component. I wouldn’t say “I fly out of there!” if a creature has no Flying Speed™ (dice level).
As I told Jeph, I certainly wasn’t overestimating what decisions were diegetical level decisions.
Paul, you kind of always do this; I ask you to scroll up and read my discussion with Jeph and then you rope me into givig you a full replay of everything anyway. Just scroll up, it’s all there.
I suppose, “it doesn’t affect the dice, but we still enjoy passing the description back and forth and it’s working great” might be good enough.
Paul, you’re driving me crazy…
@Jeph asked if the diegetics were direct inputs to dice. (in programming terms: arguments [and environmental variables, or dynamically-scoped variables] to function call) I said honestly? not often; and
Straw doll version of Paul “Now, what does that matter, in the end the monster lives or dies depending on dice alone”; well, that’s if it’s just one hobo & one monster. But there’s often multiple on both sides and what happened was that trap-finding and monster-fighting were a lot more integrated seamlessly. Even though one monster dies, maybe others are still alive and your fictional positioning still matters when fighting with them [for reasons 1,2,3 and 4] or dealing with traps or social fallout from defending/abandoning each other.
For the killing blow, have you tried, “it can’t dodge this one… what happens?”
Yes, tried it (I do pretty diligent testing of variant phrases & discoursive sequences), ran into stance issue right away.
Also, on the issue of maneuvering vs attacking, I’ll start a new thread. (It sounds like you’ve mostly dropped the maneuvering idea, right?)
Yes; I might’ve reacted negatively to your original idea that every parried blow was a failed murder attempt, but after thinking about it for a few hours I bought into that idea and then rebuilt the entire system around this and around your HP spend idea. (So you’re trying to tear down your own idea ♥.) The stare-stare-stare-chop Yojimbo think can’t work, but the clang-clang-clang-touché most certainly can, albeit with a little bit more weight behind the clangs than I’d like. Swashbuckling yes, chambara no. One out of two ain’t that bad. If someone maneuvers, and they happen to kill the foe, then I’ll open a killing prompt just for that special (maybe never) case.
For instance, what I take from your #1 is that having a more vivid, descriptive fiction is reminding people to use other combat options more often. Is that right? That’s a useful thing, no doubt. I’ve always tried to make D&D combat feel more dynamic than “people standing still, whacking at each other”, and describing the ebb and flow of battle is a huge part of that. Agreed.That covers #3, as well, right? I’m not disagreeing with any of this - not sure why I’m coming across as being adversarial here. That’s not my intention.
For instance, what I take from your #1 is that having a more vivid, descriptive fiction is reminding people to use other combat options more often. Is that right? That’s a useful thing, no doubt. I’ve always tried to make D&D combat feel more dynamic than “people standing still, whacking at each other”, and describing the ebb and flow of battle is a huge part of that. Agreed.
That covers only #3, not #1.
By #1, I instead meant something similar to Blades in the Darks’ position and effect, and to traditional “sloppy/fuzzy” D&D (i.e. not using my underlying Introducing late night fighting) that relies on the diegesis to anwer things like “sure, you can hit the four orcs on the left with your fireball”. In other words:
#1: the diegesis changes some quality about the dice move, rather than selecting a different dice move#3: the diegesis leads into a different dice move being selected altogether
Side note: Weird that just a few weeks ago I was so gungho about finally achieving the @Ben_Robbins inspired “Every square is 5 foot” strict clarity from West Marches, but this week it’s @Silmenume’s game that’s the new hotness for me
#4 is the one I simply don’t understand.
I think you don’t understand the flow and how moves are selected.
To my surprise I found that the flow… that the only way the flow could work, settled very quickly after a few awkward rounds in the ‘dream fight’.
I documented it here.
In both DW and [the “Oh, Injury!” subsystem for] 2097e, the dice (in the literal sense) aren’t directly affected by the narration: we still roll the same dice and add the same numbers.
Yes, this was true for first session of “Oh, Injury!”, changed for second session and ongoing. A lot of these posts were made during first session though so that change isn’t the linchpin of what I’m trying to explain.
However, in DW, we don’t know what rule or move is getting engaged until we hear the player’s decision/description/narration. Is it Hack and Slash? Defy Danger? Defend? Just trade harm for harm?
This is similar in “Oh, Injury!” and DW.
BTW this can sometimes be one of the most bullshit parts of both DW and OI;in the situation of a monster move has just been iniated, which is the exact kind of move you are talking about, Paul:“All four arms hurl forward towards atcha!”I have to narrate / fictionally position myself in a way to make sure the GM lets me “hack and slash” since “defy danger” or pure harm would suck.
With Hack and Slash as well as with Defy Danger, I get to avoid harm on a 10+ but with the former I also get to deal some harm myself too.With Hack and Slash as well as with Defy Danger, it really really sucks on a 7-9+ but with the former I also get to deal some harm myself too.
We had a similar moment yesterday; Alice tried to avoid getting grappled [and dropped into a lethal trap] and made the diegetic move to try to dodge away. I said “sure, roll a dexterity check”. Alice then said “oh, is that how it works? can I have a do-over since this is early days with the new system” and I said yes and then Alice changed her description to “I try to yank myself loose” and I said “sure, roll a strength check”. A difference of +6 or so!
It seems to me that in 2097e, it’s either “I suffer the attack”, or “I roll defense”, and, on a failed defense, it’s always “I spend HP” - no way around that. But perhaps adding the option of “I suffer the attack” at each of those points has dramatically changed the flow of battle?
So two distinct answers:
You have zoomed in on one very specific interaction. Those interactions are not the only “[diegetic move]→[dice engagement],[diegetic move]→[dice engagement],[diegetic move]→[dice engagement]” sequences in Oh, Injury. That’s part of the big hangup.
But for the sake of argument, let’s look at that interaction, one where the player wishes to narrate themselves into an “I roll defense” (or into an “I spend hit points”) because that’s their only way to avoid Harm Inflicted [LIs and DSFs]. That, or they need to think very outside the box. Dungeon World has similar specific moments. “Rocks fall, what do you do?” You need to stand and take it, or “narrate avoiding it”.
For the thousandth time:
Even if it’s clear whether you want to avoid, the specific way you avoid is necessary for the DM/GM to know so she can make follow-up moves.
I find that hard to imagine, because I can’t see players doing that very often unless the action economy also changes, such that forfeiting defense would grant an extra chance to do something, but perhaps that’s what’s happening.
Well, it’s a niche case but taking dive inspiration can be a good call tactically; if you’re willing to take on injury in order to later get advantage or impose disadv. That’s an option DW doesn’t even give you. The other niche case is when you don’t know how to narrate your way out of the pinch you’re in. However, I’m not primarily arguing from either of those two niche cases; the situation proposed was one where the player did want to avoid harm. And, for the thousandth-and-first time:
I’m just curious, because your statements about increased diegetic meaningfulness in combat description doesn’t seem to flow naturally from the rules being used. I’d ask you to be patient with me, since you made the same assumptions until you actually tried it. I’m basically in your shoes a week ago (or whenever that actually was).
Right, last Tuesday.So the new thing I learned when these wheels hit the actual asphalt was that the flow needs to be
Uh, the flow, I’m trying to document itMonster attack flowYou see a maw full of teeth flying towards you, what do you do?I try to duck under it!Roll a defense roll DC 18!Fail!It bobs down, following you down doing kind of a somersault, gnashing&gnawing at you, what do you do?I slam it’s face with my shield!OK, spend 11 hit points to do that!Player attack flowI try to push its arms aside & smash its head with a morning star!Make an attack roll AC 17!Succeed! 14 damage! [note to self: that’s how I remember it; that they roll attack and damage in quick succession / one beat]It spends 14 hit points to push your morningstar aside and slash you with its claws, what do you do?
It’s inherently assymmetrical because monsters don’t need to justify their dice engagements with diegetical moves; they make their moves as one (“It spends 14 hit points to push your morningstar aside”). That’s a perfect fit with the “Players make all rolls” UA that we’ve used for many years; since that UA means that the monsters can’t use dice engagement to attack, they have to make diegetical moves. I hope this is the missing puzzle piece ♥