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View Full Version : What is the point of encounters when resource management isn't important?



Talakeal
2012-02-01, 09:47 PM
Many RPGs allow characters to fully replenish their "HP" and "Spell Slots" between each encounter, or at the very least every few encounters. For example the so called "15 minute adventuring day" in D&D, which, while maybe not intended, is prevalent in most campaigns and makes resource management futile.

If you are playing a system which allows a character to fully replenish their resources easily, what is the purpose of even having encounters?

If you can simply go nova and blow the opposition away, the fight is boring. If the fight is so challenging that you need to go nova to survive, players will lose a fight sooner rather than later, and dying ends the game prematurely and pisses everyone off.

So why have random encounters or mook battles at all, why not simply skip straight to the "boss fight"?

Grinner
2012-02-01, 09:56 PM
This is actually a huge point of contention on DM blogs.

Really, it's all about the build-up. Some call it suspense. The players need to have some sort of plot to lead up to the climactic boss fight. Otherwise, they leave the adventure without the feeling of accomplishment.

This, of course, assumes you even have a plot going.

Tengu_temp
2012-02-01, 09:58 PM
The concept of "going nova" applies mostly to games with actual daily resources, you know. Look at Mutants and Masterminds - you can have different powers that do different things, but they will most likely all have similar strength and all be usable at-will with no limitations. How to go nova in those conditions? There are also games where just rolling out your heaviest guns from the start will turn out to be a big mistake, like WotG/LotW. You need to wait for a good opportunity to use them.

And yeah, from my experience fights with non-plot relevant mooks are boring. I prefer to have every fight be important for the story and include a boss of some kind.

Savannah
2012-02-01, 10:52 PM
Alternatively, you can all agree that going nova, resting, and repeating makes for a very boring game and choose not to do so. Just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.

MukkTB
2012-02-01, 11:11 PM
Well the 15 minute adventure day only applies if you have time. If you put time pressure on the PCs its not a problem.

Save the princess before the dragon eats her tonight. Save the town before the cult completes its evil ritual. Get the McGuffin before the baddies do. Serious adventures generally have a time limit.

Then there's random monsters. If they know the DM is going to be rolling for the chance of a random encounter every couple hours of game time they will suddenly find reserves of speed. Random encounters mess up the 15 minute adventuring day pretty bad. Blow your 15 minute load on the encounter and try to rest 8 hours more?

When the PCs get a break from those two things and get to carefully loot a dungeon day by day count it as a well earned vacation for them.

Talakeal
2012-02-01, 11:24 PM
Well the 15 minute adventure day only applies if you have time. If you put time pressure on the PCs its not a problem.

Save the princess before the dragon eats her tonight. Save the town before the cult completes its evil ritual. Get the McGuffin before the baddies do. Serious adventures generally have a time limit.

Then there's random monsters. If they know the DM is going to be rolling for the chance of a random encounter every couple hours of game time they will suddenly find reserves of speed. Random encounters mess up the 15 minute adventuring day pretty bad. Blow your 15 minute load on the encounter and try to rest 8 hours more?

When the PCs get a break from those two things and get to carefully loot a dungeon day by day count it as a well earned vacation for them.

Last year I tried running a very sandbox style game. The players all lived in a small town surrounded by wilderness that had once been part of a larger empire but isolated after a cataclysm. The campaign consisted, primarily, of clearing the monsters from the local wilderness and exploring nearby ruins. There was very little structured plot or adventure, and I had no way of making resources matter, meaning that the individual encounters would either being exceedingly boring or exceedingly deadly.

Togath
2012-02-01, 11:30 PM
The 15 minute adventuring day theory is also part of the reason I donít usually mind at will uber weak healing(such as 1 hp/round to one character), because once you're out of rocket tag hp levels(levels 1-4 usually) it takes so long that you might as well just sleep to regain your higher level abilities instead, and if you donít have time to just sleep to recover, you probably donít have time to slowly patch up with 1hp/round effects.

Savannah
2012-02-01, 11:38 PM
Last year I tried running a very sandbox style game. The players all lived in a small town surrounded by wilderness that had once been part of a larger empire but isolated after a cataclysm. The campaign consisted, primarily, of clearing the monsters from the local wilderness and exploring nearby ruins. There was very little structured plot or adventure, and I had no way of making resources matter, meaning that the individual encounters would either being exceedingly boring or exceedingly deadly.

Are you sure you quoted the right person there? Because my solution would work perfectly in that situation. :smallconfused:

Rockphed
2012-02-02, 12:00 AM
Last year I tried running a very sandbox style game. The players all lived in a small town surrounded by wilderness that had once been part of a larger empire but isolated after a cataclysm. The campaign consisted, primarily, of clearing the monsters from the local wilderness and exploring nearby ruins. There was very little structured plot or adventure, and I had no way of making resources matter, meaning that the individual encounters would either being exceedingly boring or exceedingly deadly.

You could just not give XP until they actually clear out the dungeon, and if they don't do it in one go, it repopulates some how. Thus, if they do the 15 minute adventuring day, they use resources but get no reward. Sure it is kinda gamey, but so is the 15 minute adventuring day.

Talakeal
2012-02-02, 12:24 AM
Are you sure you quoted the right person there? Because my solution would work perfectly in that situation. :smallconfused:

Whoops, sorry, meant to quote the post below yours. Fixed.

Zerter
2012-02-02, 05:48 AM
It's not about the system, it's about the DM. There are solutions "forcing" players to have more than one encounter (a timetable, the encounters coming to them regardless of what they do). And one or two encounters a day can be done as well, I'm playing an urban campaign setting right now that allows for easy resting up, every other encounter has the difficulty of a boss fight and the actual bosses are way above our CR (they're generally Evil Wizards that run away after we've foiled their plots, only for us to try and stop them and they revealing themselves to be extremely high level, only for us to not care and keep trying, only for the DM to get pissed off and send in a caster level 10 fireball at the entire level 3 group which only one member survives).

Totally Guy
2012-02-02, 06:06 AM
Zerter, I agree with you but you can't give D&D, as a system, the credit for potential solutions. If you make it work then you deserve the praise for making it work.

If Talakeal gets it to work then Talakeal gets the credit for doing so.

I've had a similar problem that I only sort of solved it in the short term. It felt like the game worked less well as the players became better at playing it.

Good luck.

Saph
2012-02-02, 06:27 AM
As pointed out, the 15 minute adventuring day only works if the PCs have unlimited time - which is actually pretty unlikely if you think about it. If you're fighting against intelligent creatures, what are they doing while the PCs are resting?

The reason the 15-minute day seems like a problem to many DMs is because they're used to relying upon passive adventures, where everything just sits in stasis until the PCs show up. I find that the best way to deal with this is to treat passive adventures as speedbumps/scenery, and make all the real challenges active ones.

So if the party goes off to delve a dungeon and spends half their daily resources on getting past one locked door and a room full of centipedes, then wants to pull back and rest? Go for it, it wasn't intended to be a threat anyway. I know the PCs are going to get past it, the only question is how long it takes.

But if they try and do the same thing in the drow fortress, then in the 24 hour rest period the drow will call up more slaves, spread info about the PCs to all the garrison, and set traps to fortify the location. The drow spellcasters will set up wards to protect the place and will summon undead and evil outsiders as reinforcements. Hunting teams will try to track the PCs down and kill them while they rest. Finally, if they're seriously threatened, the drow will just pull out, taking their treasure with them.

So the 15 minute adventuring day is a valid playstyle, but it's a tradeoff. The PCs don't have to worry about being whittled down, but they're giving their enemies much more time to prepare. As long as you remember that the PCs are accepting a disadvantage in return for the benefit, it's not really a problem.

Nero24200
2012-02-02, 02:31 PM
The problem I have with the 15 minute adventuring day is that I feel that the rules encourage it to an extent. There's a few ways that PC's can get rest undisturbed, so there's really no incentive to not simply use all your powers at and rest as soon as you run out. Why keep them? Holding back could end badly, and unless you are on a time sensitive quest you don't need to rush.

Spending time resting is only an issue where time is a valuable resource. In many games it is not, so there's no reason for the PC's to not use a 15-minute adventuring day. Switching to a different format (such as Invocations or Per-Encounter resources) or constantly keeping the PC's in a time-sensitive quest is really the only way to stop the 15 minute adventuring day. It's also the reason why some games (such as Mutant's and Masterminds, an example used by someone else here) don't have such worries.

It isn't simply the DM's fault if the PC's decide to rest constantly. He can only throw so many "take too long and X happens" type plots before it becomes predictable. And the thing is that the PC's are only going to hesitate if they know something bad will happen if they take too long, so springing a surprise on them isn't always going to help.

Physics_Rook
2012-02-02, 03:06 PM
*Lots of good points by Saph*

I'm inclined to agree with Saph on this note.

There certainly seem to be situations where the 15-minute adventuring day seems out of place or overly beneficial, but I don't think that these account for the majority of situations that PCs find themselves in. This may be how quite a few older video games operate (enemies only ever react to the players, and will happily sit still while the players rest and recover), I think that it's becoming less and less common.

In theory, the 15-minute Adventuring Day looks like an ideal solution for PCs who have a finite number of per-day resources (e.g. Wizards and Spells).

In practice, many adventures and campaigns contain intelligent creatures, many of which are doing something or are in the process of doing something that the PCs are trying to stop.

Even something such as clearing out a simple dungeon full of non-intelligent monsters (such as Saph's example) can still be time sensitive in the context of a larger campaign (while taking time to clear out the dungeon, the rest of the game world is still moving forwards).

Feel free to point out that while they're resting, evil will still be carrying on unchecked. Just like it did before they arrived, and just like it will do while they're taking their well deserved break. :smallsmile:

Suddo
2012-02-02, 03:07 PM
My main experience is 3.5, I'm going to be referring to it.
I usually think that 15 minute work day is due to a badly designed encounter. I personally think the number 1 think you can add to any encounter to make it more engaging is an in-game time limit. There are plenty of ways to do this. Key-NPC is stuck with disease must find cure from BBEG before he dies, Red-Hand of Doom (big army is coming to kill everyone), BBEG is waiting for the stars to align so he can do some ritual you must either kill him of muck up his ritual enough to stop him or even alternate force, evil or just other faction that you are fight, has sent a party to capture a McGuffin you have to race them to it.
All these are good ways to prevent the party from feeling like they can just blow off an entire day, even if you design the time system badly and they kind of can. This is of course only good for lower levels before every adventure becomes rocket tag. It also creates a sort of tension.
Oh and if you are doing one of those between epic quests or letting the character just wander and do what they want then you are going to end up with this problem. And there is no way to solve it really.

Edit: And what Saph said.

Binks
2012-02-02, 03:08 PM
He can only throw so many "take too long and X happens" type plots before it becomes predictable.
Why? Name a popular story in which the heroes had infinite time to accomplish their quest? Time limits are almost inherent to the idea of being the heroes. Luke had the Death Star moving against Yavin, Frodo had the big glowy eye guy's armies on the march. Where in fiction do you find the tale of 'Fred, the hero who could break for lunch after every fight because there was nothing time-sensitive about his quest'.

Having background events put a time limit on your actions shouldn't be a surprise, it should be the expectation. You're not playing an MMO here, the world changes while you sleep, and you should expect that. As soon as you bring that into the picture the 15 minute adventuring day becomes a terrible idea, but if you leave that out of course the PCs will take advantage of it to break the game.

bloodtide
2012-02-02, 03:41 PM
So the 15 minute adventuring day is a valid playstyle, but it's a tradeoff. The PCs don't have to worry about being whittled down, but they're giving their enemies much more time to prepare. As long as you remember that the PCs are accepting a disadvantage in return for the benefit, it's not really a problem.

I don't see the 15 minute adventuring day a valid playstlye. It's simply cheating. It comes directly from Ye Old Video games that let you 'pause, safe and rest', even if you were right in the path of a dragon's fiery breath.

It's one thing for a group to get beat up and move back to a safe area to rest. But for the group to just 'drop everything and automatically rest' is cheating. I've seen it done so bad that the group rests in every single room of a dungeon.

Most 15 Min supporters go for the idea they are 'immortal' when resting, so it's not fair for the DM to attack them at rest. The DM must wait until the players hit 'continue'. And everyone would be sure to scream 'unfair' if a DM was to 'take advantage' of the resting characters. It would be wrong for a DM to have the foes spend all the resting hours getting ready for a fight. For example say some goblins fill the room the characters are in with wood and oil(that does not effect the immortal resting characters) and then light it all on fire when the PC's ''unpause'' the game. They would scream unfair.

The game is partly to blame with so many limited per day effects. But it's far more the fault of the players. Many players will say they have no fun without the special power of their character. The character is bland and boring to them without that special power or two.

kyoryu
2012-02-02, 04:07 PM
It's pretty simple.

The 15-minute day happens because one resource (time) is able to be swapped for another resources (daily abilities) with no cost and no risk.

If the value of the resource being swapped is less than what is gained in the transaction, then players will make that trade every time they can.

The answer to this is to either make the swapped resource more valuable (make days spent count), to make the gained resource less valuable (unlikely), to increase the cost/risk of the transaction, or some combination of the three.

Dr. Yes
2012-02-02, 04:25 PM
Why? Name a popular story in which the heroes had infinite time to accomplish their quest? Time limits are almost inherent to the idea of being the heroes. Luke had the Death Star moving against Yavin, Frodo had the big glowy eye guy's armies on the march. Where in fiction do you find the tale of 'Fred, the hero who could break for lunch after every fight because there was nothing time-sensitive about his quest'.

Having background events put a time limit on your actions shouldn't be a surprise, it should be the expectation. You're not playing an MMO here, the world changes while you sleep, and you should expect that. As soon as you bring that into the picture the 15 minute adventuring day becomes a terrible idea, but if you leave that out of course the PCs will take advantage of it to break the game.

This. The only situation where I could imagine the 15 minute adventuring day even beginning to work would be, like, a dungeon full of constructs that come to life when you enter the room. If your enemies are at all intelligent, or even aware of your presence, there's absolutely no reason to assume that they would sit idly by while you get your beauty sleep in the next room.

Seriously, if I had a party try to pull that, they'd wake up to a face full of coup-de-grace.

Nero24200
2012-02-02, 04:32 PM
Why? Name a popular story in which the heroes had infinite time to accomplish their quest?
In a sense it doesn't matter if the quest is time sensitive, it's only if the PC's think so. Knowing that an NPC could die to poison if you take too long? Fair enough. But if it's a simple "Go to this abandoned temple and claim X artifact for gold/glory/xp" and an NPC will happen to die if they take too long, it's not going to stop them.

What about Sandbox style campaigns? The whole idea of a Sandbox campaign is to let the PC's explore at their own pace. Throwing out time sensitive plots is fine, but you can't just keep doing it and doing it without it getting repetitive.

valadil
2012-02-02, 04:34 PM
So why have random encounters or mook battles at all, why not simply skip straight to the "boss fight"?

Encounters should further the story. As a general rule*, I only run fights in which someone on one side of the fight knows the name of someone on the other side. Either the PCs are taking out a villainous NPC, or that NPC has hired assassins to kill off the PCs. Those fights are worthwhile and have a point regardless of their difficulty. The opposite is true of fighting a level appropriate monster just because it happened to be obstructing your path.

* Yes, there are exceptions, don't bother pointing them out. The players should go through a few patrols of nameless guards before reaching the king's bedchamber. Not having those guards would hurt the story because it wouldn't make sense.

Binks
2012-02-02, 04:41 PM
So they enter the dungeon of their choice (replace dungeon with forest, enemy base, etc), kill the door guards, then rope trick to rest? And the rest of the dungeon doesn't do anything about the fact that their door guards were killed?

Sandbox plots are probably the most vulnerable to this sort of thing (I've never run one myself, as I find the typical heroes plot more fun personally) but even then time constraints and penalties for resting every few minutes are not hard to find. Are the PCs moving away from their last kill? If so, ambush them as they go. If not, then someone stumbles upon the place as they rest and is ready to attack them as soon as they emerge, or raises the alarm or something.

The number of situations that don't have any kind of time pressure, even in a sandbox game, are pretty small. Basically 'the PCs are adventuring somewhere where there are only mindless creatures' is the only valid reason to not have something happen when they're asleep. If they killed some animals, then the locals are displeased by this fact and are waiting for the PCs when they wake up to discuss this with them, either violently or diplomatically. If they killed some guards, then more are guarding the place when they wake up.

Someone cares about whatever the PCs killed dying, if not then why bother having the fight at all? Whoever or whatever that someone is gets +8h to find a way to kill the PCs every time they rest. Time pressure.

Lapak
2012-02-02, 05:01 PM
Last year I tried running a very sandbox style game. The players all lived in a small town surrounded by wilderness that had once been part of a larger empire but isolated after a cataclysm. The campaign consisted, primarily, of clearing the monsters from the local wilderness and exploring nearby ruins. There was very little structured plot or adventure, and I had no way of making resources matter, meaning that the individual encounters would either being exceedingly boring or exceedingly deadly.This topic has been bouncing around some old-school blogs lately, oddly enough. The simplest solution I saw relevant to a sandbox 'clear the area' game can be summed up in one word: Rivals (http://muleabides.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/dungeon-notoriety-and-the-15-minute-workday/). Maybe random encounters against other parties isn't your thing, so instead:

The next time they return from a 'bust in, kill the outer guards, retreat and rest up' routine, they come back and find that the place has been looted. All the monsters are dead, all the treasure is gone, nothing but scorch marks and broken weapons are left.

Then they get back to the small town and find another band of adventurers being hailed as conquering heroes. Now there IS a hard time limit, because their lollygagging has attracted some other folks who'd like to make their name and carve out a kingdom. Keep the other party on hand, and occasionally have the party come across either them or their handiwork.

I can't guarantee that they'll never drag their feet through a dungeon again, but it's a lot less likely!

kyoryu
2012-02-02, 06:14 PM
What about Sandbox style campaigns? The whole idea of a Sandbox campaign is to let the PC's explore at their own pace. Throwing out time sensitive plots is fine, but you can't just keep doing it and doing it without it getting repetitive.

I disagree with your idea of a Sandbox game. Sandbox does not mean that the world is static unless the PCs act.

There's lots of reasons why time can be important in a sandbox game.

1) They're trying to get somewhere, but have limited supplies and no easy way to resupply.
2) Their enemies are intelligent, and will respond to their actions.
3) As mentioned above, rivals.
4) Events are happening in the world. The PCs may not *have* to respond to them, but those events will happen regardless.

That's just off of the top of my head.

bloodtide
2012-02-02, 06:37 PM
Sandbox plots are probably the most vulnerable to this sort of thing (I've never run one myself, as I find the typical heroes plot more fun personally) but even then time constraints and penalties for resting every few minutes are not hard to find. Are the PCs moving away from their last kill? If so, ambush them as they go. If not, then someone stumbles upon the place as they rest and is ready to attack them as soon as they emerge, or raises the alarm or something.



It's not so hard to 'fight back' vs the 15 Min day in a sandbox game.

To use the example, the PC's are attacking a lords castle. The world simply turns while the PC's are resting. So, for example, all guards are on full alert and at full strength. Everything is on 'lock down'. And available spells and magic items are used. Treasure will be hidden. Important people and items will be moved to safety. And so on.

So at 10 am the PC's attack the main castle gate and slaughter everyone there....then hop off to the side, hide and rest for eight hours. First the alarm sounds around the castle, so guards and back-up and such are on the area within minutes. Groups will be sent to search for the foes, plus more guards and such will be brought in. At say 10:30 am, the Lord and his family, along with all the treasure head to a secure location. Leaving a fake behind. At 11 am the spellcasters take some time to summon/planual bind a couple of monsters to act as guards. Plus they arcane lock every door, cast and abjurations they can and even cast things like alarm and guards and wards. At 11:30 tons of mundane traps will be set in the now empty of the lord castle. And all this before noon and the first couple hours of rest by the PCs.

And smart foes...with Int's of at least ten, can figure out that the enemy 'might be gone for 8 hours' and then cast spells and such at say the 7 1/2 hour mark. so when the PC's attack again just after 6 pm...surprise the anti-magic field is still active!

Mystify
2012-02-02, 06:43 PM
I find it limiting to the campaigns you can run if you have to actively oppose the 15 minute adventuring day. For instance, I am in a planescape game. We only end up in a battle every few game days, and are averaging 1/session very consistently. We are low level and have no nova potential to speak off, so its not a problem, but that is the natural flow for the campaign. If we had to ensure there were 3-4 encounters every day we had an encounter it would radically alter the structure of our game. Not every goal is in a dungeon with a set configuration of enemies to fight through. In fact, in the planescape game we have not had anything that could even remotely be called a dungeon.

Traab
2012-02-02, 08:59 PM
Sandboxes can be utterly static, but thats taking, if you will forgive me, the lazy way out as a dm. As people have said, events can be happening "in the background" while the party is elsewhere. As an example of how it could work. You as the dm "strongly encourage" the party talk to everyone in town to kind of get the pulse of whats happening in the world right now. They learn about the self proclaimed bandit king to the north who is busily uniting all the smaller robber bands together into a rather formidable army. Off to the east, there is an infestation of some sort of undead that are rumored to be spreading, Throw in a fabled treasure locked away in an ancient underground ruined city in a nearby cave to give them a non time sensitive goal if they like. Maybe a few more things, some urgent, some not.

Then whatever they choose to do, keep track of what the other potential trouble areas are doing. For instance they go after the treasure, so meanwhile the bandit king is increasing the size of his forces by x units a game day, the undead horde is starting to hit small towns and villages, some farmer is losing his flock to wolf attacks, whatever. You dont tell them what happened until it would effect them. Like, they take 2 weeks due to 15 minute days to clear the dungeon and come back to the surface only to see their starting point swarmed under by a massive army of the undead, or under the control of the bandits. Now they have to deal with that problem somehow. Its still sandbox, they dont have to do anything. They could take off running for the hills and find another town to work with. Or they could stay and fight, or join the bandits, no rails, just consequences to their choices.

Physics_Rook
2012-02-02, 09:25 PM
Sandboxes can be utterly static, but thats taking, if you will forgive me, the lazy way out as a dm. As people have said, events can be happening "in the background" while the party is elsewhere. As an example of how it could work. You as the dm "strongly encourage" the party talk to everyone in town to kind of get the pulse of whats happening in the world right now. They learn about the self proclaimed bandit king to the north who is busily uniting all the smaller robber bands together into a rather formidable army. Off to the east, there is an infestation of some sort of undead that are rumored to be spreading, Throw in a fabled treasure locked away in an ancient underground ruined city in a nearby cave to give them a non time sensitive goal if they like. Maybe a few more things, some urgent, some not.

Then whatever they choose to do, keep track of what the other potential trouble areas are doing. For instance they go after the treasure, so meanwhile the bandit king is increasing the size of his forces by x units a game day, the undead horde is starting to hit small towns and villages, some farmer is losing his flock to wolf attacks, whatever. You dont tell them what happened until it would effect them. Like, they take 2 weeks due to 15 minute days to clear the dungeon and come back to the surface only to see their starting point swarmed under by a massive army of the undead, or under the control of the bandits. Now they have to deal with that problem somehow. Its still sandbox, they dont have to do anything. They could take off running for the hills and find another town to work with. Or they could stay and fight, or join the bandits, no rails, just consequences to their choices.

I heartily agree with all that Traab has posted here. :smallbiggrin:

In fact, I think it would make a most interesting game wherein there are numerous competing factions (they needn't all be card carrying villains) and the PCs have to decide where and how to spend their time most beneficially.

Most importantly though, Traab's post isn't applicable to only sandbox style games, and is quite easily picked up by more story-focused campaigns.

Among the most interesting campaigns I've heard of, the DMs have kept background events ever moving even as the PCs bustle along with whatever task seems important to them at the time. :smallsmile:

Talakeal
2012-02-02, 09:31 PM
Sandboxes can be utterly static, but thats taking, if you will forgive me, the lazy way out as a dm. As people have said, events can be happening "in the background" while the party is elsewhere. As an example of how it could work. You as the dm "strongly encourage" the party talk to everyone in town to kind of get the pulse of whats happening in the world right now. They learn about the self proclaimed bandit king to the north who is busily uniting all the smaller robber bands together into a rather formidable army. Off to the east, there is an infestation of some sort of undead that are rumored to be spreading, Throw in a fabled treasure locked away in an ancient underground ruined city in a nearby cave to give them a non time sensitive goal if they like. Maybe a few more things, some urgent, some not.

Then whatever they choose to do, keep track of what the other potential trouble areas are doing. For instance they go after the treasure, so meanwhile the bandit king is increasing the size of his forces by x units a game day, the undead horde is starting to hit small towns and villages, some farmer is losing his flock to wolf attacks, whatever. You dont tell them what happened until it would effect them. Like, they take 2 weeks due to 15 minute days to clear the dungeon and come back to the surface only to see their starting point swarmed under by a massive army of the undead, or under the control of the bandits. Now they have to deal with that problem somehow. Its still sandbox, they dont have to do anything. They could take off running for the hills and find another town to work with. Or they could stay and fight, or join the bandits, no rails, just consequences to their choices.

My players would absolutely riot if I did that. They tend to be thick as mud when it comes to picking up plot hooks or clues, and even if I break character to tell them point blank they usually forget about or dismiss them.
Last year I had a similar situation, I posted about it here at the time. Basically I had a villain acting against them who they refused to investigate, and then when their plans got in the way of the villains plans he intervened. The players accused me of "pulling a giant god NPC out of my ass to screw them over" and went on a several hour long tirade before quitting the game, some of them for good.
If I actually had multiple forces that destroy their home base if they don't act I think I would have to fear for my life as well as my game.

Choco
2012-02-02, 09:32 PM
It's not so hard to 'fight back' vs the 15 Min day in a sandbox game.

To use the example, the PC's are attacking a lords castle. The world simply turns while the PC's are resting. So, for example, all guards are on full alert and at full strength. Everything is on 'lock down'. And available spells and magic items are used. Treasure will be hidden. Important people and items will be moved to safety. And so on.

So at 10 am the PC's attack the main castle gate and slaughter everyone there....then hop off to the side, hide and rest for eight hours. First the alarm sounds around the castle, so guards and back-up and such are on the area within minutes. Groups will be sent to search for the foes, plus more guards and such will be brought in. At say 10:30 am, the Lord and his family, along with all the treasure head to a secure location. Leaving a fake behind. At 11 am the spellcasters take some time to summon/planual bind a couple of monsters to act as guards. Plus they arcane lock every door, cast and abjurations they can and even cast things like alarm and guards and wards. At 11:30 tons of mundane traps will be set in the now empty of the lord castle. And all this before noon and the first couple hours of rest by the PCs.

And smart foes...with Int's of at least ten, can figure out that the enemy 'might be gone for 8 hours' and then cast spells and such at say the 7 1/2 hour mark. so when the PC's attack again just after 6 pm...surprise the anti-magic field is still active!

QFT right there.

You could also go a few steps above that and have them attack the PC's when they are resting. One time a group of PC's attacked a villain's underground lair, went nova, and then walked back to town to rest. Said villain didn't take too kindly to that and sent most of his forces after the PC's. Not counting the PC losses, the town was destroyed and thus the PC's no longer had a "safe haven" to retreat to within a day's walk. They learned quickly that, unlike in most video games, in tabletop roleplaying time still passes when they are resting (or trying to) :smalltongue:

Traab
2012-02-02, 10:41 PM
My players would absolutely riot if I did that. They tend to be thick as mud when it comes to picking up plot hooks or clues, and even if I break character to tell them point blank they usually forget about or dismiss them.
Last year I had a similar situation, I posted about it here at the time. Basically I had a villain acting against them who they refused to investigate, and then when their plans got in the way of the villains plans he intervened. The players accused me of "pulling a giant god NPC out of my ass to screw them over" and went on a several hour long tirade before quitting the game, some of them for good.
If I actually had multiple forces that destroy their home base if they don't act I think I would have to fear for my life as well as my game.

Well obviously it wouldnt work for everyone, it was just an example of how even a sandbox game could avoid the 15 minute day phenomenon. By making it clear that there will be things happening in the background, and if you step lively you will be able to keep up with the threats, and you can manage even if you are playing carefully and take a few extra breaks here and there to be safe. But by pulling these 15 minute day sessions, a LOT of in game time is passing, and bad stuff may happen while you are wasting a month in game trying to clear a dungeon that should only take a few days to finish. But meh, its just an alternative to the directly timed quests, like you only have one week to fetch this macguffin or the orphan boy will die. That sort of thing.

You could even change my original setup so that it DOESNT directly threaten the starting town, not for a long long time, all it means is that when they finally DO get around to going after the bandits, there are a lot more of them, or they are higher level, or something. Or the plague of undead has taken over several towns along the way to the evil relic that is powering things, so instead of a few battles at ground zero, you have to fight your way through towns full of the undead.

Talakeal
2012-02-02, 10:58 PM
That being said, thank you for the advice, but it isn't really a problem any more. I normally run White Wolf or my home brew system, and unless 5ed is phenomenal can't imagine switching back to D&D anytime soon.

In my system you don't recover spells or fate mid adventure, and outside of limited magical healing or first aid you don't do much healing mid adventure either. However, when I mention it around the forum, or someone else mentions a similar house rule / system, the response is overwhelmingly negative.

My real question is, since most people clearly prefer the 15 minute adventuring day, what are you getting out of random encounters?

Binks
2012-02-02, 11:39 PM
I find it limiting to the campaigns you can run if you have to actively oppose the 15 minute adventuring day.
You don't have to oppose the 15 minute day if it works for your current campaign. I had one 4E adventure where I straight up told the players they could expect 1 battle for day, as they were participating in a tournament. I also let them know point blank this might not hold everyday and rivals might ambush them, but it was pretty much 'Nova then sleep'. And it worked fine, because the enemies were stronger to compensate, and we both knew that was the plan. The point isn't that every game needs to oppose the 15 minute adventuring day, but that every game can without much in the way of alterations, so if it's a problem then you, as GM, have options.


I would argue the idea that most people like 15 minute adventuring days. I have never seen a single player that wanted to nova then rest. The players I have regularly rest only when the plot gives them a large break anyway. I've actually had them skip points when I had planned for them to rest in order to push on. And, though I know the Encounters format doesn't allow it anyway, no one at Encounters that I've played with has even wanted to rest before we accomplish our goals for the day.

Like many other things debated on this board (and worth debating, don't get me wrong) I believe the 15 min adventuring day might be a relic of TO that doesn't show up all that often in real play. If you've had different experiences, then alright, it might be an issue for you, but I've never seen it myself.

Mystify
2012-02-03, 12:03 AM
Like many other things debated on this board (and worth debating, don't get me wrong) I believe the 15 min adventuring day might be a relic of TO that doesn't show up all that often in real play. If you've had different experiences, then alright, it might be an issue for you, but I've never seen it myself.
I have seen it happen. The DM didn't structure the campaign in a way to prevent it, and we had serious balance issues due to going nova. One of them I ran, with the explicit statement that they should be powergaming to the max, since I would be throwing ridiculous things at them, and it was explicitly "Go nova to defeat this huge creature, and I'll allow optimizations that I would normally ban from a campaign".
The other one was a normal campaign with a DM that just couldn't cope properly. That was a problem. He has a really cool plot going, but he didn't have anything that would force us to do more than a couple combats any given day.
You can't say his plot wasn't appropriate for the game just because it allowed for a 15 minute adventuring day. The game has a problem because it doesn't allow his type of plot.
I've found that most campaigns don't have a natural flow that will ensure 3-4 encounters per day. Any presumption the game makes regarding the number of encounters in a day is going to be wildly inaccurate without strict DM control, and that is placing an extra burden on the DM and limiting how the campaign functions.

Savannah
2012-02-03, 12:06 AM
My real question is, since most people clearly prefer the 15 minute adventuring day, what are you getting out of random encounters?

Since when does "I don't like nerfing mid-adventure healing" = "I prefer 15 minute adventuring days"? I don't like either.

Talakeal
2012-02-03, 12:31 AM
Since when does "I don't like nerfing mid-adventure healing" = "I prefer 15 minute adventuring days"? I don't like either.

Assuming the players want to "win" and do whatever will accomplish their goal, they will recover resources as aften as they can. If they have a character capable of healing in the party this means they have full HP after every rest.

Therefore, if the DM doesn't step in, either through house rules or adventure structure, ie "nerfing mid-adventure healing" then the logical conclusion is the 15 minute adventuring day.

Although, you are right, it is kind of a loaded question. I probably should have phrased it "If you prefer a game without limited resources, what is the purpose of encounters other than the "final battle" ?"

Averis Vol
2012-02-03, 12:35 AM
My players would absolutely riot if I did that. They tend to be thick as mud when it comes to picking up plot hooks or clues, and even if I break character to tell them point blank they usually forget about or dismiss them.
Last year I had a similar situation, I posted about it here at the time. Basically I had a villain acting against them who they refused to investigate, and then when their plans got in the way of the villains plans he intervened. The players accused me of "pulling a giant god NPC out of my ass to screw them over" and went on a several hour long tirade before quitting the game, some of them for good.
If I actually had multiple forces that destroy their home base if they don't act I think I would have to fear for my life as well as my game.

just a question....what is the age group of your game? because this behavior is quite childish. if they wanted a game with enemies that cant see you resting from 15 feet away they should play world of warcraft. though this goes against the general spirit of RPG's the players are playing against the DM (though not typically the other way around) and as in a game of chess if they make a bad move like stopping in the middle of the fortress/forest/cult ritual, they should expect the repercussions.

this message might be too late to be valid, but this is my belief.

Physics_Rook
2012-02-03, 12:54 AM
The players accused me of "pulling a giant god NPC out of my ass to screw them over" and went on a several hour long tirade before quitting the game, some of them for good.

I admit, this leaves me very stunned. I not sure I'd feel comfortable playing with people who reacted to in-game events like this (regardless of what those events were). :smalleek:


That being said, thank you for the advice, but it isn't really a problem any more. I normally run White Wolf or my home brew system, and unless 5ed is phenomenal can't imagine switching back to D&D anytime soon.

I know how you feel. I'm likely to stick with 3e/3.5 for a while longer simply because I don't have as much time as I used to anymore to familiarize myself with other systems. :smallfrown:


In my system you don't recover spells or fate mid adventure, and outside of limited magical healing or first aid you don't do much healing mid adventure either. However, when I mention it around the forum, or someone else mentions a similar house rule / system, the response is overwhelmingly negative.

I've found wonky things in every system I've ever known, I just don't have the time to fix/patch/tweak them all. If you have the time and inclination to change the system to better suit you and your players, more power to you! :smallsmile:

But don't forget that a good tweak/house-rule differs not only from player to player but from campaign to campaign. Some kinds of critique can showcase an entirely new and different way to look at the same game or campaign!*


My real question is, since most people clearly prefer the 15 minute adventuring day, what are you getting out of random encounters?

I've always felt that the idea of the 15-min adventure day to be an interesting concept, but too difficult to actually put in practice, since it hosts a slew of problems in and of itself.

I think that's the major drawback of the 15-minute adventuring day. I feel it's not a matter of whether PCs should or shouldn't be able to do it (it's up to the players what to do with their characters), but rather the multitude of in-game problems it can cause PCs by skipping past day after day in the world.

*This is the reason I've always enjoyed reading through your threads. I've found much of the critique between the posters to be very eye-opening in regard to how the same game/campaign/quest/playstyle can be viewed from a multitude of angles. I think it's pretty amazing that so much can still be found in RPGs even today. :smallcool:

MukkTB
2012-02-03, 03:32 AM
In practice my group doesn't play the 15 minute adventuring day. The last adventure I participated in, we were using lesser restoration potions to avoid fatigue from not sleeping. We ran three game days straight through 4 dungeons each complete with bosses and minibosses. Not to mention the side encounters.

But we got the McGuffins before the BBEG.


Lets see. The adventure before that was pregenerated. It followed a specific timeline of outside events and was ultimately on a timer before events came to a head. We didn't know it at the time but we had only about 10 days of sandbox adventure before we had to deal with the final encounter.

Seharvepernfan
2012-02-03, 06:30 AM
Saph, I favorited post #13. That's probably the best description of that point of view that I've ever seen.

chadmeister
2012-02-03, 11:42 AM
Few dungeons/adventure areas are in a stasis. If the party cleans out the first room, then goes home to rest, they should return the next day to find at the very least the first room "restocked". Quite possibly the defenders are even more reinforced.

Or the enemies have laid a trap, and intend to attack the PCs from multiple directions all at once.

Frozen_Feet
2012-02-03, 12:12 PM
Without encounters, the day of an adventurer is sitting on boat/cart/horse/flying carpet and eating bland rations while nothing happens. Encounters exist to break the monotony and engage the players. My opinion is that if you're dividing encounters to "mook/routine/whatever" and "boss/challenge/interesting", you're doing it wrong! Uninteresting parts of adventuring routine are glossed over, and the focus should be on the interesting parts; since encounters are the interesting parts, they should all matter.

So even if it's just a random assortment of orcs, or a lone boot hanging from a tree (one of my favorite random encounters), you play it up as a big thing. This way, if the orcs manage to kill someone anyhow despite not being particularly great threat to the PCs mechanically, it's still climactic because you put some effort to make the fight feel interesting.

Meanwhile, the 15-minute workday is not really a problem. It's a phenomenom that emerges whenever PCs have unlimited resources and want to play it safe, but even with unlimited resources there can still be tactical and logistical challenges (see: Angbang, the roguelike). If players are willing to take the long route to succeed when they can, they're only playing it smart and deserve their reward!

The simple solution is to have them play with limited resources. Rations will run out, beasts of burden will freeze, monsters will gather or regroup, fleeing enemies will gain ground and alert their comrades, pursuing enemies will get closer to the party, the weather will change for the worse, someone else will get to the treasure first, yadda yadda.

Aotrs Commander
2012-02-03, 01:06 PM
I tend to take the opposite approach with the 15 minute adventuring day.

I generally tend - when writing my own adventure, and not running ones from modules - to err towards two grades of combat.

The lesser, random or mook encounters are there as a) a good way of getting the PCs back into the swing of their characters (if it's been a while or they are new characters) and a bit of colour and low-grade XP in random encounters on journies. I don't expect anything from these, they really are speedbumps. If the PCs use a few resources, all well and good. If not, no big. It also tends to give the characters like the martials a bit of chance to go berserk, as the caster will tend to conserve their own resources. It's also nice to give the PCs a chance to feel good about their powers as heroes (to paraphrase a wonderful thing in one Spider-Man/X-Men crossover I once read "a bit of moderate punching and hitting hacking and killing and all's well with the world."

Now, for the major encounters, I EXPECT the PCs to HAVE to nova (because sure as hell the enemy will be). I don't have any problems with them resting to at full strength for the next one, because the next one will be just as hard - and usually, if the encounter's a good 'un, they pretty much will have to rest!

One could argue, even, that in my games, I could cheerfully reduce the "resting period" down to whatever I liked, since usually all it means is me saying "okay, you rest for eight hours. Moving on..."

That said, my PCs are not religious about only one encounter per day, they'll rest when the group's concensus is they've used enough resources to warrent it.

Talakeal
2012-02-03, 03:04 PM
just a question....what is the age group of your game? because this behavior is quite childish.

Mid 20s, but most of them do have some serious trust issues. A lot of the players actually trust me more than any other DM, they simply tear them to pieces with their pseudo paranoia.

For example, one time I had a guy go to the bathroom mid combat. While he was in there I rolled the monsters attacks, and he was hit by a single opponent who rolled a nat 20 (he was a high AC character and they were zombies with a low attack bonus). When he came out he declared that it was impossible and we were making it up and demanded I reroll it. When I refused and said the odds of a nat 20 are still 5% his response was "Yeah, well the odds of you guys all lying to me are a hell of a lot higher than that!" and stormed out never to return.



Anyway, I renamed the thread. As I said, the question was not so much about the 15 minute adventuring day and how to avoid it as my wondering where the challenge and excitement of encounters exists in a game without a significant resource management component.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-02-03, 03:44 PM
The first solution to an out-of-game problem like this should always be an out-of-game one. Talk to your players. Do they like having lots of random fights? Do they prefer a 'boss-fights-only' strategy? Or a Dark-Souls level difficulty, where every fight is a desperate struggle for survival? Or do they want to blow every encounter away with ease and feel like mega-cool heroes?

D&D is a group game, so try to reach a group consensus on what playstyle people prefer. A DM with one opinion on how things should work and players with another is a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, this is one of those things which, like game balance, is best preserved by a gentleman's agreement-- "I won't ban this if you don't abuse it."

Morghen
2012-02-03, 04:06 PM
Ultimately, this is one of those things which, like game balance, is best preserved by a gentleman's agreement-- "I won't ban this if you don't abuse it."The GM in our current game gave us the heads-up that the NPCs/monsters who could reasonably have Stoneskin wouldn't use it if we didn't use it and gave us the same deal for poison.

We use Stoneskin anyway, but none of us use poison.

Scratch that. I remember one guy who did and the rest of us took pains to not stand anywhere near him in-game.

PersonMan
2012-02-03, 05:03 PM
Assuming the players want to "win" and do whatever will accomplish their goal, they will recover resources as aften as they can. If they have a character capable of healing in the party this means they have full HP after every rest.

Therefore, if the DM doesn't step in, either through house rules or adventure structure, ie "nerfing mid-adventure healing" then the logical conclusion is the 15 minute adventuring day.

Although, you are right, it is kind of a loaded question. I probably should have phrased it "If you prefer a game without limited resources, what is the purpose of encounters other than the "final battle" ?"

Theoretically, yes.

In practice, however*, no. This is partially because we have more of a narrative (I might be using the term incorrectly here) rather than a gamist playstyle. Nobody in our group has the thought process of 'want resources -> regain resources by resting; therefore we should rest all the time'. We're making a story and for us, a fun session and fun story don't include narcoleptic heroes, so the problem doesn't come up.


*This referring to my experience, of course.

Engine
2012-02-03, 05:57 PM
Anyway, I renamed the thread. As I said, the question was not so much about the 15 minute adventuring day and how to avoid it as my wondering where the challenge and excitement of encounters exists in a game without a significant resource management component.

Well, in D&D\Pathfinder at higher levels resource management becomes trivial. So even without the 15 minute adventuring day as a DM you should plan how to challenge your players at higher levels because they could go nova without worrying too much: they could rest in safer places, distances become meaningless and even the passing of time loses its importance.

But without significant resource management players could still have fun. Without significant resource management how much they have isn't important; how they use what they have is important when going nova. Yes, sooner or later they'll lose a fight because their enemies are stronger. But even with significant resource management and weaker enemies they could lose a fight. A lucky critical hit, a bad decision and so on.

Treblain
2012-02-03, 11:03 PM
I feel like no one ever mentions a fairly simple and less contrived way of preventing the characters from unloading everything they've got in the first round. Just don't have the enemies all enter battle at once. The players will try to take out the most tough-looking monster with their strongest attacks on the first turn, but if they don't know if a worse enemy will get into striking range in a round or two, they will conserve some of their strength, leading to more balanced resource management.

Mystify
2012-02-03, 11:10 PM
I feel like no one ever mentions a fairly simple and less contrived way of preventing the characters from unloading everything they've got in the first round. Just don't have the enemies all enter battle at once. The players will try to take out the most tough-looking monster with their strongest attacks on the first turn, but if they don't know if a worse enemy will get into striking range in a round or two, they will conserve some of their strength, leading to more balanced resource management.

That works sometimes, but if you are doing that on a regular basis it becomes contrived itself.

valadil
2012-02-03, 11:33 PM
I feel like no one ever mentions a fairly simple and less contrived way of preventing the characters from unloading everything they've got in the first round.

It's tactically suboptimal because it wastes actions. Sometimes you can make up for this, but more often than not I've found that it actually helps the PCs.

Mystify
2012-02-03, 11:39 PM
It's tactically suboptimal because it wastes actions. Sometimes you can make up for this, but more often than not I've found that it actually helps the PCs.

It depends. If the enemies get to attack when they come in, they could get a round when they would otherwise have been killed by the party going nova. I've seen plenty of cases where The enemies all starting on the field means the party could easily wipe them all off with a single barrage of AoE. Enemies not being on the board at that point means they survive it, and get a chance to attack the players.

Knaight
2012-02-04, 02:12 AM
Something that has been largely omitted so far is that there could potentially be a lot of different results, depending on the goals of everyone in the fight. The fight then becomes a way to distinguish between them. As an example: The prefect of Luoyang's younger brother and a group of thugs attack the PCs to try and steal a letter they received that indicates that the prefect's principle adviser and friend of the younger brother has been doing something horribly illegal. The brother wants the letter gone, the PCs want it delivered. That leaves several outcomes, some of which are mutually exclusive, all of which have an effect.
1) The letter is stolen. Odds are the principle adviser is going to try and turn the prefect against the PCs.
2) Some of the thugs are killed. City officials tend to frown on fighting in the streets, particularly when it leaves corpses, so that would be bad. Moreover, the rest are liable to bring friends.
3) The younger brother is killed, and some thugs survive. The prefect is likely to hear of this, and will become an instant enemy of the PCs.
4) All of the thugs and younger brother are killed. An investigation is likely launched, with the fallout from that.
5) The PCs get away from the fight, and manage to deliver the letter. The principle adviser is likely to be executed.
6) The letter is destroyed, and as such nobody sees it. The fight is looked into some, but not much necessarily happens given the right bribes, provided that there aren't bodies in the street.
7) The fight drags on for an extended period of time, and the actual prefect shows up. This segues into an interrogation, with severity depending on other results.

Note that this assumes that the PCs outclass their enemies, are likely to win, and don't have to manage resources. It's merely that there is a fight, it can end in a bunch of ways, all of these have consequences, and something needs to determine which happen - which means a combat system, in all probability.

Tavor
2012-02-04, 06:46 AM
I really don't see the issue.

The "point" is to tell a story. You are not playing a wargame. You have a formal or informal agreement with your players about the expected powerlevel of your campaign anyway.

The typical 15 minute workday in DnD is forced by DMs who keep pushing back against their players being risk averse.
If you know you'll be ambushed during rest anyway, you rest early and calculate that encounter into your daily capabilities.
If your DM pushes this more by making rest impossible or hard players will find ways to circumvent or prevent this.

What is forgotten with this vicious circle is that the DM is not working against the PCs.
If you don't want your players to act totally paranoid, stop putting them in situations enforcing that mindset.

NinjaStylerobot
2012-02-04, 06:51 AM
More importantly- 15 min encounters are metagame. The characters have no way of knowing if they won't be ambushed or not.

no real person would waste all their ammo on one zombie in an apocalypse.

Tavor
2012-02-04, 06:54 AM
It is not metagame when it happens to the characters on a near daily basis and they adjust their strategy accordingly.

Frozen_Feet
2012-02-04, 08:00 AM
That's why it's good randomize encounters so that it isn't guaranteed anything will happen, and the toughness of the opposition isn't constant. And once again, do note: "random" is not the same as "mook", "meaningless", "unimportant", "anti-climatic" or whatever.

Even if the players know how the encounter table goes, with sufficient amount and range of possibilities they still have to take risks each time they decide for or against resting. If they go on, their fatigue might prove fatal, but if they stay, there's a chance they'll face something just as bad and be none the better when they get up.

Of course, it's important that even if the players are theoretically equipped to deal with every possibility, it should be practically impossible for them to cover all their bases. To use D&D Wizard as an example: they can know limitless amount of spells, but can prepare only so many. The encounter chart should be so that even with optimal selection of spells, the Wizard is properly equipped only against 90% of possible events. No matter how he arranges his spells and protection, there's always the potential outlier that will get through. (Of course, the problem with D&D Wizards, especially in 3.5, is that they have spells that allow them to cover all their bases with minimal taxing of their actual spell-load. [Rope-trick is not one of them, however.])

Random encounters, and chance in general (ie., dice) exist to add an element of uncertainty that precludes infallible strategies and keeps the game interesting. Which is why I find it strange a lot of players of heavily chance-reliant games want to remove chance from where it matters. (Treasure, opposition, combat, character injury and death...) :smallconfused:

NinjaStylerobot
2012-02-04, 08:10 AM
It is not metagame when it happens to the characters on a near daily basis and they adjust their strategy accordingly.

If they have no reason NOT to do a 15 min adventuring day they WILL do a 15 adventuring day.

PersonMan
2012-02-04, 08:28 AM
If they have no reason NOT to do a 15 min adventuring day they WILL do a 15 adventuring day.

You forgot the 'IF they come up with the idea AND are of the correct mindset' part of that. Some people won't think of it, they get into the adventure and want to keep going. Some people might know about the idea but not want to stop and rest constantly.

Other groups don't gain much from constant rests. They -can- nova, but they're more set up for endurance than they are for bursts of awesome.

Then again, there's also the time aspect. For my group, at least, a 15 minute adventuring day would be a massive waste of time as we constantly go through the 'ok, are we gonna set up camp here? How about over there? Ok, we found a spot. I'll take first watch...does anything happen?' thing. Besides, for us it makes little in-game sense to say 'alright, well, we just killed a spider and ambushed an orc outpost. We know where the enemy camp is and nobody's really injured. Let's sleep here and potentially waste the element of surprise'.

So, a more accurate statement would be: IF a group has the right mindset AND has had or been exposed to the idea of a 15 minute adventuring day, they WILL do so UNLESS they have another (timed quest, etc.) reason not to.

EDIT: Unless, of course, this is all included in 'a reason NOT to...', then you were just being really really vague with that, not inaccurate.

Frozen_Feet
2012-02-04, 08:50 AM
An old post I made about Rope Trick, but which applies to "15 min workday" as a whole. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10606160&postcount=88)

So, you can see the tactic has several pretty hefty boundary conditions to actually be useful, let alone optimal.

Also, I re-iterate: if all those boundary conditions are fulfilled and players are smart enough to poke every square-inch with a ten-foot pole before advancing, they deserve to have their cake and eat it.

If there's a simple and effective counter-tactic to every tactic a GM uses, maybe the GM should learn more about tactics...

EDIT: too long, didn't read: "15 min workday" works best against static, immobile opposition, such as a trapped dungeon. It works badly against mobile, smart or recuperating opposition, such as groups of bandits, active guards, magicians with divination, armies and enemies who can utilize 15 min workday themselves.

Jay R
2012-02-04, 10:05 AM
Many RPGs allow characters to fully replenish their "HP" and "Spell Slots" between each encounter, or at the very least every few encounters. For example the so called "15 minute adventuring day" in D&D, which, while maybe not intended, is prevalent in most campaigns and makes resource management futile.

If you are playing a system which allows a character to fully replenish their resources easily, what is the purpose of even having encounters?

If you can simply go nova and blow the opposition away, the fight is boring. If the fight is so challenging that you need to go nova to survive, players will lose a fight sooner rather than later, and dying ends the game prematurely and pisses everyone off.

So why have random encounters or mook battles at all, why not simply skip straight to the "boss fight"?

You are correct that a tactical decision that has on the probability of winning or losing is futile.

If anything, you're understating the problem. If PCs losing isn't a possibility, then all tactical decisions are equally futile. Don't just skip straight to the "boss fight"; skip past it as well, and just read off lists of rewards.

This is in large part why old D&D players like me don't like the idea that the PCs can't die. But since we'll never convince the newer players to play it like a game, here are several possible solutions for you.

1. Have more than one encounter per day. At the very least, the occasional nighttime encounter should keep them from expending all spells.

2. Simply disallow it. "No, you cannot replenish your spells more than once every day. You can't go to sleep again for many hours." If they insist on staying in the room for the rest of the day, there should be consequences.

3. Involve them in large battles. If there are 1,000 people on a side, with spellcasters and monsters aplenty, then it won't be over in 15 minutes.

4. Let the NPCs act during that time. If the party kills a party of orcs, and then uses Rope Trick to hide in the same place, then there should be twice as many orcs there next morning, burying their cousins.

5. Occasionally have a rival group of PCs coming in behind them, who will loot the treasures first if they get the chance. After their first encounter, the PCs sleep for a night, and then come out to find a series of monster corpses and empty chests.

6. If the Big Bad is high enough level to cast Clairvoyance, the 15 minute adventuring day is simply a several hour grace period for setting traps.

7. Unstable environments. If lava might come through, or the building might collapse, then PCs won't want to stick around.

8. The most obnoxious, and effective, solution to a fifteen-minute adventuring day is to make it a fifteen-minute adventuring day. The PCs walk in the door and defeat the were-sloths in the first room, and declare that they are going to rest. The DM says, "OK - well, that was a short session. See you all back here next week, and I'll have worked out what all the NPCs are doing that day."

Some of these I would use automatically; some of them I would never use. Make your own choices.

But the crucial idea is this: if the 15-minute adventuring day has no consequences, then of course they will use it.

Kol Korran
2012-02-04, 10:35 AM
I didn't have time to read through the entire thread, so perhaps what i'm about to say has allready been said. i apologize if that is the case.

the players will use a 15 minutes day if the DM creates a game where the enemy does not respond, and where there are no consequences for delaying.

some things that might do well to "undo" this problem:
- time limit: you must get to X before Y time has passed or Z happens. enforce that. better yet if they don't know what the actual time is, but can see hints to the progress of the end result. alternatively the situation might just get worse and worse. the gate of hell spews more and more fiends, the alligning of the evil moons make their spells grow stronger, mother gaia's influence is slowly growing in her wild children, and so on.

- responsive enemies: the PCs attacked, and now fall back. there goes the surprise- buffed up encounters, "seek and destroy" units if the party keep falling to the same place, and more. if the party makes enough progress and they still fall back- the enemy might run away, kill the hostage, prepare specifically for the PCs, set a devious trap and the like.

- on the defensive: the party doesn't control the rate of encounters- the enemies do. sure, they can go to sleep- but who will protect the city of ToBeDoomedVille?

i used all 3 with my players, and it worked fine. i then used at times a regular dungeon where they could rest or the like, and it went splendid.

Knaight
2012-02-04, 02:45 PM
If anything, you're understating the problem. If PCs losing isn't a possibility, then all tactical decisions are equally futile. Don't just skip straight to the "boss fight"; skip past it as well, and just read off lists of rewards.

This is in large part why old D&D players like me don't like the idea that the PCs can't die. But since we'll never convince the newer players to play it like a game, here are several possible solutions for you.


Losing and death are still not synonymous. Take my example from earlier - if the end result is anything other than the PCs getting away with the letter before the authorities pick up on the fight, they have lost to some extent. Even if they manage to kill everyone with no casualties, they have lost. If they manage to kill everyone with no casualties and the letter is destroyed in the process it is catastrophic. At that point the city considers them a bunch of murderers, the prefect hates them for killing his brother, and prefect's principal adviser hates them for killing his friend, and odds are at least one of the thugs brought along has family members willing to take some pretty drastic actions.

Madeiner
2012-02-04, 05:02 PM
I really never did have a big problem with this; i hate the 15 mins adventuring days but also do my players.

What i did some time ago was providing a (metagame) reward for the players if they completed the dungeon in a particular way.

For this to make sense, you have to know that some of my bosses often "drop" a special piece of treasure. It's called a "demi-materia"; once you kill a boss, it will release an energy that will be infused with one of the characters that have defeated it. The energy always goes towards the characters that has received the least amount of energy in his life.
If you get this energy, you can immediately get a bonus feat.

Well, sometimes when there is a dungeon with no in-game time constraints, i just offer the characters a bet.
"Complete the dungeon in 2 or less days, and the final boss will drop an additional demi-materia"
Or even, "complete this dungeon without resorting to X spell, and receive an additional demi-materia at the end"
I always am honest in my bet. If i impose a 2 days limit, its because the dungeon CAN be completed in 2 days if played smart, and probably CANNOT be played only in 1 day.

It is of course HARDER to complete the dungeon with those limits. The PCs can decide to try and go for it, or not. I noticed most of the times they will go for it.

But beware, this can be a double-edged sword. I had a party try to complete a dungeon in 2 days, only to die after trying to go without a break and engaging powerful enemies with depleted resources.

Knaight
2012-02-05, 03:21 AM
What i did some time ago was providing a (metagame) reward for the players if they completed the dungeon in a particular way.

For this to make sense, you have to know that some of my bosses often "drop" a special piece of treasure. It's called a "demi-materia"; once you kill a boss, it will release an energy that will be infused with one of the characters that have defeated it. The energy always goes towards the characters that has received the least amount of energy in his life.
If you get this energy, you can immediately get a bonus feat.

Well, sometimes when there is a dungeon with no in-game time constraints, i just offer the characters a bet.
"Complete the dungeon in 2 or less days, and the final boss will drop an additional demi-materia"
Or even, "complete this dungeon without resorting to X spell, and receive an additional demi-materia at the end"
Given that one of the complaints against the 15 minute workday is that it is too much like a video game, this seems to be defeating the point a bit. It seems like it is straight out of Final Fantasy.

Saph
2012-02-05, 02:03 PM
Saph, I favorited post #13. That's probably the best description of that point of view that I've ever seen.

Only just saw this. Glad you liked it. :smallsmile:

Talakeal
2012-02-05, 06:19 PM
I really never did have a big problem with this; i hate the 15 mins adventuring days but also do my players.

What i did some time ago was providing a (metagame) reward for the players if they completed the dungeon in a particular way.

For this to make sense, you have to know that some of my bosses often "drop" a special piece of treasure. It's called a "demi-materia"; once you kill a boss, it will release an energy that will be infused with one of the characters that have defeated it. The energy always goes towards the characters that has received the least amount of energy in his life.
If you get this energy, you can immediately get a bonus feat.

Well, sometimes when there is a dungeon with no in-game time constraints, i just offer the characters a bet.
"Complete the dungeon in 2 or less days, and the final boss will drop an additional demi-materia"
Or even, "complete this dungeon without resorting to X spell, and receive an additional demi-materia at the end"
I always am honest in my bet. If i impose a 2 days limit, its because the dungeon CAN be completed in 2 days if played smart, and probably CANNOT be played only in 1 day.

It is of course HARDER to complete the dungeon with those limits. The PCs can decide to try and go for it, or not. I noticed most of the times they will go for it.

But beware, this can be a double-edged sword. I had a party try to complete a dungeon in 2 days, only to die after trying to go without a break and engaging powerful enemies with depleted resources.

This is incredibly forced and gamey, but I still really like it.
I think adding more "challenges" and "side bets" to the game would really ramp up the fun and intensity.
Still, I can't see it working well in my group. The players would either go "meh, we dont care" and ignore the challenges, or go for them and then get mad and feel cheated if they ever failed.

Captain Six
2012-02-05, 11:05 PM
This is incredibly forced and gamey, but I still really like it.
I think adding more "challenges" and "side bets" to the game would really ramp up the fun and intensity.
Still, I can't see it working well in my group. The players would either go "meh, we dont care" and ignore the challenges, or go for them and then get mad and feel cheated if they ever failed.

It's all what you're used to I imagine, when you think about it the very idea of experience is similar. How many times have you seen a party seek out and destroy every encounter in a dungeon just for the delicious EXP even though the characters should have no knowledge of it?

Heck you could just use that. +30% bonus experience for all encounters on the first day a quest is given/taken up. -10% every day that passes. Variable based on the expected time and severity of the quest. You could even justify it in-game as a matter of discipline, if you only have a quick fight and then slack off for the rest of the day you're not going to improve as quickly as a more diligent party.

Suddenly the urgency of the situation is spoken in player terms and they are rewarded for acting on it.

Knaight
2012-02-05, 11:09 PM
It's all what you're used to I imagine, when you think about it the very idea of experience is similar. How many times have you seen a party seek out and destroy every encounter in a dungeon just for the delicious EXP even though the characters should have no knowledge of it?

I'd argue that a mechanic that rewards this is actively counterproductive, and simply emphasizing it further is inelegant - though I do strongly support using mechanics to encourage styles of play.

Mystify
2012-02-05, 11:16 PM
Well, from a character's point of view, there could be loot in the dungeon to collect. That there happens to be monsters in the way is par for the course.

Captain Six
2012-02-05, 11:41 PM
I'd argue that a mechanic that rewards this is actively counterproductive, and simply emphasizing it further is inelegant - though I do strongly support using mechanics to encourage styles of play.

I was thinking that too as I wrote it, but was an interesting idea and I thought I'd share it for anyone to build off of. I suppose you could divide how experience is rewarded for objective EXP and pointless-encounter EXP. The need to clear an entire dungeon to reap full rewards is a problem for a different thread though, one problem at a time.

The underlying idea is that having NPCs react realistically to anyone retreating to rest makes perfect sense and is completely justified but it will just come off as passive-aggressive if used by itself. There is going to need to be some cooperative incentive created for PCs to change their approach.

Slipperychicken
2012-02-06, 12:32 AM
Even if their objectives are so far off, are the PCs really not concerned that they're wasting 90% of their time sleeping? You could also limit them to one 8h sleep per day, because they're full of energy and restless (they're adventurers, after all) if they try more than that.

Solaris
2012-02-06, 12:46 AM
You could just not give XP until they actually clear out the dungeon, and if they don't do it in one go, it repopulates some how. Thus, if they do the 15 minute adventuring day, they use resources but get no reward. Sure it is kinda gamey, but so is the 15 minute adventuring day.

I think I saw a system (either d20 or Saga variant) wherein the players received experience only for completing the mission/adventure/plot, not for the random monsters they killed on the way there.

Coidzor
2012-02-06, 12:48 AM
Most games are set up to have some sort of ability to recover resources if they have resources that are expended, because generally people prefer to go from zero to hero rather than the other way around.

I mean, just imagine a game where you had, say, 20 one-use abilities and that was all you got, and you had to get through 400 combat and non-combat challenges. That wouldn't work. You'd have to break it up or else it'd just get boring once one no longer had any abilities to contribute with.

Knaight
2012-02-06, 01:31 AM
I think I saw a system (either d20 or Saga variant) wherein the players received experience only for completing the mission/adventure/plot, not for the random monsters they killed on the way there.

That's typical. The D&D experience from monsters method is outright weird, and rarely shows up elsewhere. Other common methods are:

No experience system.
Experience per out of game session.
Experience connected to playing character's personalities.
Experience connected to using skills.

Leolo
2012-02-06, 07:07 AM
The only way to avoid nova + rest is to bring in different ressources that can be refreshed by different types of resting.

For example it does not matter if you have ressources on a "once per day" basis or on a "once per hour" basis. The result is the same: After expending most of this options the players will want to rest. The only difference is the time a rest takes.

But if you have both, ressources on a "once per day" and a "once per hour" basis, plus options without ressources or options with different ressources (may it be gold or something else that using the action would cost you) this would work much better because players might loose their best options but still have other good options and have to decide if it is worth the risk to go on and how long they should rest.

Siegel
2012-02-06, 07:37 AM
Isn't this called DnD 4e?

DigoDragon
2012-02-06, 07:50 AM
Our current GM has a fondness of having his BBEG sending mooks/hitmen/spies/assasins/kobold singing telegrams at our party. His BBEG also moves in "real time" so we're in adventuring mode 24/7 because the enemy can strike at any time. If we had a "15 minute adventuring day" we'd wonder if the BBEG had a fatal heart attack or something. :smallbiggrin:

Leolo
2012-02-06, 07:53 AM
At least D&D4E uses a similar idea. But that does not mean you have to use it to have a similar system.

The point is: If you not only have the choice between "i rest" and "i don't rest" but more complex choices it is less likely that the decision is always the same.

"I rest a small amount of time" or "i use different ressources instead" should be valid options.

chadmeister
2012-02-06, 08:53 AM
You could also limit them to one 8h sleep per day, because they're full of energy and restless (they're adventurers, after all) if they try more than that.

What game lets you recover abilities after 8h of sleep without waiting a day?

Tyndmyr
2012-02-06, 11:50 AM
This topic has been bouncing around some old-school blogs lately, oddly enough. The simplest solution I saw relevant to a sandbox 'clear the area' game can be summed up in one word: Rivals (http://muleabides.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/dungeon-notoriety-and-the-15-minute-workday/). Maybe random encounters against other parties isn't your thing, so instead:

The next time they return from a 'bust in, kill the outer guards, retreat and rest up' routine, they come back and find that the place has been looted. All the monsters are dead, all the treasure is gone, nothing but scorch marks and broken weapons are left.

Then they get back to the small town and find another band of adventurers being hailed as conquering heroes. Now there IS a hard time limit, because their lollygagging has attracted some other folks who'd like to make their name and carve out a kingdom. Keep the other party on hand, and occasionally have the party come across either them or their handiwork.

I can't guarantee that they'll never drag their feet through a dungeon again, but it's a lot less likely!

This leads to the solution of "Aright, we wait till they go into the dungeon, kill everything for us, then we kill them all, what with being fresh and them beaten up. Next, the gleeful looting of their precious WBL and the dancing atop their corpses".

kyoryu
2012-02-06, 12:52 PM
That's typical. The D&D experience from monsters method is outright weird, and rarely shows up elsewhere. Other common methods are:

No experience system.
Experience per out of game session.
Experience connected to playing character's personalities.
Experience connected to using skills.


And even 1e also had a lot of experience that came from areas other than killing monsters (getting loot, casting spells, etc.)

Lapak
2012-02-06, 01:00 PM
This leads to the solution of "Aright, we wait till they go into the dungeon, kill everything for us, then we kill them all, what with being fresh and them beaten up. Next, the gleeful looting of their precious WBL and the dancing atop their corpses".That too could lead to interesting things in a sandbox game, if the party gets a rep as backstabbing murderers of potential heroes.

If Party A leaves on day one, Party B exchanges significant glances and leaves on day two, and Party B returns alone (but carrying lots of Party A's stuff) it's not too hard to connect the dots. Suddenly the townsfolk, who had seen Party B as heroic slayers-of-monsters and defenders of the town, start to see them as tyrants in the making who are so jealous of their heroic status that they'll kill even people who are working towards the same goal of making the town safe. Maybe Party B thinks of the town as property to be defended rather than as a home they're working to keep safe, they'll say.

They're powerful adventurers, so you can't just clap them in the town lockup, but things could become tense and uncomfortable very, very quickly. Maybe the party will feel the need to atone. Maybe they'll go full-on feudal lord and stake a claim outright. Maybe they'll ignore it, or enjoy the notoriety! Whichever way it goes, things are happening!

Grelna the Blue
2012-02-06, 01:44 PM
I feel your pain. My players, who are a fairly smart bunch in most ways outside the game, still haven't learned the basics of resource management. I think years of MMORPGs have rotted their offline gaming skills, aside from roleplay.

I'm currently running a Pathfinder game in which their group, 6 fairly unoptimized (aside from the paladin) PCs (average level 13) and a cohort, were tasked by some dwarves to go up against a fire giant king who is also a 15th level sorceror (Infernal Pit-touched bloodline) building an army of conquest. On the way to his mountain keep, they were spotted by one of his flame drake scouts, who reported back. The king send a probing attack of a flight of 6 drakes, ordered to attack at range, which the party handily defeated and drove away with just a single round of high impact magics and low single digit hit point loss to themselves (they avoided getting too bunched up, did well on saving throws, and the targeted PCs had fire resistance).

They then got ambushed on a mountain ledge by a mixed force of Fire Giant and ettin commandos (one giant a low level adept) who jumped off a ledge from a hundred feet up and had a readied Feather Fall to slow them just before they hit. That was a good little fight, but because the ettins jumped a round before the fire giants, the party wasted some daily resources on them they might have preferred to save for their big brothers and all in all spent down more of their healing than they probably should have if they wanted to have more than one more major fight that day. In taking out this force they also (and this was unavoidable) convinced the king that he needed to take this group of shorties seriously. The fight was observed from a distance by another flame drake and the king started making preparations for the group (Planar Bindings, doubling guards, special instructions, etc.).

Then they got near enough to the fortress to look at it and decided a frontal assault was iffy, so they'd try to go in the back door they'd heard existed in the caves under the mountain. They circled around to enter through the Underdark and got into a couple completely unnecessary and completely avoidable fights with some of the giants' subterranean neighbors (greater doppelgangers AKA elder trolls), which incidentally made it dangerous for them to retreat the way they came and far more importantly gave the king even more notice about their abilities and some allies in the coming fight. Elder trolls in my campaign are cowards, but they know how to hold a grudge and their magic is nothing to sneer at. This was where, were I them, I think I would have decided to pull way back via Teleport and rested up somewhere with very low ceilings.

They reached the back door area and then, far too late and far too close, decided that this would be a good time and place to rest up. Needless to say, this didn't go well. As they were harried by the fire giants, the trolls, and the giants' infernal allies, most of the party teleported away, but not to a place of actual safety (to be fair, they don't yet have access to the dwarven cities and don't know these mountains all that well). The PC rogue is not with them because when scouting ahead he had been replaced by an elder troll (doppelganger rogue) who before leaving the party (he wasn't going to risk his skin getting into a fight) removed a stray strand of hair from the party wizard's cloak. Now one of the other elder trolls can harass the wizard with Nightmare spells (unlimited range) with a fairly reasonable chance of success using the hair (-10 to save). Additionally, the fire giant king, totally incentivized to deal with the interlopers who have killed too many of his kin, has teleported to deal with them himself with some bone devils obtained via Planar Binding spells and has been harassing them with Maximized Extended Vile Fireballs from over 800 hundred feet up. I know how crappy Fireball is from an optimization point of view--I didn't want to actually kill the party when I created this guy--but he does have the feat Spell Perfection: Fireball, which makes the boosted spells much cheaper than they would otherwise be. His secondary goal is to try to kill some of them without significant risk to himself but primarily to keep the party off balance, low on healing, and unable to regain wizard spells long enough to give his home forces time to prepare something unforgettable and final for them (and for his cleric to raise the more important giants they killed).

We left off mid-fight in the last session, so I don't know how this will end. What I do want is to teach this group to stay focused on target and to take enemies seriously as dangerous thinking beings and not as immobile ninepins to be knocked down. I don't know if it'll work, but I'm giving it my best shot.

Seerow
2012-02-06, 01:53 PM
I don't get it, you say your party doesn't understand resource management, then describe a scenario where they go through 4 encounters in one day (the expected average), before deciding it's time to try to get some rest, knowing that the last fight is going to be a fire giant (already a CR 10 creature) with more levels in a PC class than them, plus his minions.


Sounds to me like the only bad decision the party made was not setting up a safe house they could teleport to before going in.

Tyndmyr
2012-02-06, 01:56 PM
That too could lead to interesting things in a sandbox game, if the party gets a rep as backstabbing murderers of potential heroes.

If Party A leaves on day one, Party B exchanges significant glances and leaves on day two, and Party B returns alone (but carrying lots of Party A's stuff) it's not too hard to connect the dots. Suddenly the townsfolk, who had seen Party B as heroic slayers-of-monsters and defenders of the town, start to see them as tyrants in the making who are so jealous of their heroic status that they'll kill even people who are working towards the same goal of making the town safe.

One decent bluff check, followed by a tale of telling how you arrived just a bit too late to save those daring, but imprudent heroic fellows is all you need.

If you want to really rub it in, pay a bard to compose a song in their honor, describing how they would still be alive if only they'd stopped to rest.

kyoryu
2012-02-06, 02:07 PM
One decent bluff check, followed by a tale of telling how you arrived just a bit too late to save those daring, but imprudent heroic fellows is all you need.

If you want to really rub it in, pay a bard to compose a song in their honor, describing how they would still be alive if only they'd stopped to rest.

And enjoy your new *E alignments.

And that trick will probably work exactly once. Bluff check or not, when the same thing happens over and over, Occam's Razor comes into play.

Tyndmyr
2012-02-06, 02:28 PM
And enjoy your new *E alignments.

And that trick will probably work exactly once. Bluff check or not, when the same thing happens over and over, Occam's Razor comes into play.

Oh, murdering a pile of people solely for wealth and power? Absolutely evil, sure. But a single act shouldn't turn you evil, especially if they're provoking it...and frankly, following us around and swiping our loot after we clear part of the way for them probably isn't exactly good behavior.

It's frankly a fairly risky tactic for that group to engage in, and I'd find it suspect if every group on earth opted to use such a strategy, and were all well known "heroes". At that point, it's pretty clearly a "The dm is out to get you" thing. Not to mention, the fact that the last group that did it all died should be a...disincentive to any plausible group, regardless of if they buy the bluff or not.

Grelna the Blue
2012-02-06, 02:35 PM
I don't get it, you say your party doesn't understand resource management, then describe a scenario where they go through 4 encounters in one day (the expected average), before deciding it's time to try to get some rest, knowing that the last fight is going to be a fire giant (already a CR 10 creature) with more levels in a PC class than them, plus his minions.

Sounds to me like the only bad decision the party made was not setting up a safe house they could teleport to before going in.That was certainly one of their biggest bad decisions, but there were three others. First, they got into two fights on their way through the Underdark that they knew they could have avoided. They were not compelled by anything but curiosity to enter those areas (admittedly the areas looked interesting, but they were on a mission) and they even provoked the first fight when they could have avoided it. The second fight followed because of the first (it was a quick reaction force).

Their biggest bad decision was that after having stirred up the neighborhood, they decided to look for a place to rest immediately outside the living area of both the fire giants and the usually reclusive elder trolls (who would have stayed completely out of this if their laboratories had been left alone and their experiments not destroyed). The party should have either charged right in at that point or teleported away with the last of their juice still intact for defense. They know (heck, they complain often) that they aren't guaranteed an undisturbed night's sleep.

Incidentally, the troll who replaced the scouting rogue was RPed by the player (who had fun with it) and dropped a few clues that the party could have picked up on. Also, the weasel familiar of the wizard has the scent ability and complained of how strongly and badly the rogue smelled of armor polish (elder trolls in my game have bioengineered themselves so extensively they are largely synthetic life forms). No one picked up on any of this, despite the fact that some members of the party have encountered elder trolls in the past. In fact, when at one point another player actually joked about whether the party needed a "doppelganger password," the fake PC managed to laugh it off. However, they never even thought to make the basic tests (doppelgangers and lesser trolls bleed blue in my game) that they KNOW are de rigeur in the Underdark anywhere near troll territory when there is cause for suspicion.

Finally, when the group did teleport away, they chose an area they had camped at before in a mountain pass that was completely open to attack. I told them before the adventure started that since they had just upped their number from 5 players to 6 that I was taking the gloves all the way off (they claimed that they had thought they already were, given some of their past adventures). However, instead of playing as if they believed me, I almost felt they dumbed down as if they'd had assurances the world was set on Easy Mode.

Grelna the Blue
2012-02-06, 02:45 PM
Oh, murdering a pile of people solely for wealth and power? Absolutely evil, sure. But a single act shouldn't turn you evil, especially if they're provoking it...and frankly, following us around and swiping our loot after we clear part of the way for them probably isn't exactly good behavior.
"Our loot"? It's the monsters' loot until it's taken from them. PCs don't stake adventuring claims to dungeon lairs like gold miners staking out formal claims to mines. Granted, following another adventuring party around in that way isn't good, but it isn't evil either. It's just dangerous and possibly stupid, in that it assumes that the PCs won't kill nonevil sentients who have inconvenienced their schemes for wealth. Seriously, if the treasure isn't lifted out of the PCs' backpacks and belt pouches, it's just sharp business practice. You warn off the other group after the first time it happens, perhaps, but murdering them is definitely an evil action, and exactly how many mass murders of nonevil sentients should a party be allowed in the average game before they are considered to be evil?

Mystify
2012-02-06, 02:47 PM
That was certainly one of their biggest bad decisions, but there were three others. First, they got into two fights on their way through the Underdark that they knew they could have avoided. They were not compelled by anything but curiosity to enter those areas (admittedly the areas looked interesting, but they were on a mission) and they even provoked the first fight when they could have avoided it. The second fight followed because of the first (it was a quick reaction force).

I wouldn't want to have a group, either as a player or DM, who wasn't willing to explore.

Grelna the Blue
2012-02-06, 03:36 PM
I wouldn't want to have a group, either as a player or DM, who wasn't willing to explore.

Well, sure, on any day they're not actually planning on fighting a bunch of beefed up giants, but it wasn't even the exploration per se. If you were on some urban adventure where the objective was to quietly take out a Mafia don, you might choose to sneak through a neigboring property but you probably wouldn't choose to start a dustup with the private guards of the other Mafia don living there and shoot up his house. The issue was not that they were traveling through the trolls' territory. In my game elder trolls are generally quite content to stay out of fights and have their lab-bred abominations fight for them only when necessary. They're quiet, as evil mad scientist types go. Their evil plans are long range. But if you go into someone's territory, break into their labs, wreck all the equipment, and destroy their expensive abominations, you can't really be too surprised if they get testy.

Raum
2012-02-06, 05:22 PM
I have a bit of a counter question to the title: When (and why) did resource management become such a large portion of the game that a 15 minute workday became attractive?

Just wonderin'. Don't remember it being that way in the days of AD&D and 2nd Ed though...

Talakeal
2012-02-06, 07:56 PM
I have a bit of a counter question to the title: When (and why) did resource management become such a large portion of the game that a 15 minute workday became attractive?

Just wonderin'. Don't remember it being that way in the days of AD&D and 2nd Ed though...

Honestly I hear that first and second edition was much more about resource management, but I didn't play those editions enough to know for sure. I hear all sorts of anecdotes about how resources were extremely important, and every ration, foot of rope, and torch needed to be meticulously tracked and conserved, and that there was no guarantee the players would "finish" a dungeon before going home.
The fact that spells took 10 minutes per spell level to memorize though, and the wandering monster tables, sure made the fifteen minute adventuring day much harder to pull off.
I did play AD&D throughout the 90s, but usually the players were pretty passive about starting and stopping when the DM said so, and I don't think it ever occurred to us to stop the adventure and rest on our own without the DM telling us night had fallen and it was time to make camp.

As for why resources matter at all, well, to me it gives purpose and challenge to non storyline battles. If I am on a journey a wandering monster in the wilderness doesn't add to the story, although it may add immersion to the setting. The tactical element of fighting the monster is fun, but only if there is a challenge, and to me the challenge of conserving resources for the "final boss" is a lot more fun than playing Russian roulette with lethal encounters every day.

Raum
2012-02-06, 09:22 PM
Honestly I hear that first and second edition was much more about resource management, but I didn't play those editions enough to know for sure. I hear all sorts of anecdotes about how resources were extremely important, and every ration, foot of rope, and torch needed to be meticulously tracked and conserved, and that there was no guarantee the players would "finish" a dungeon before going home. I played both. Equipment type rations seldom mattered past very low levels. Certainly didn't matter once you had bags of holding.


The fact that spells took 10 minutes per spell level to memorize though, and the wandering monster tables, sure made the fifteen minute adventuring day much harder to pull off.
I did play AD&D throughout the 90s, but usually the players were pretty passive about starting and stopping when the DM said so, and I don't think it ever occurred to us to stop the adventure and rest on our own without the DM telling us night had fallen and it was time to make camp.

As for why resources matter at all, well, to me it gives purpose and challenge to non storyline battles. If I am on a journey a wandering monster in the wilderness doesn't add to the story, although it may add immersion to the setting. The tactical element of fighting the monster is fun, but only if there is a challenge, and to me the challenge of conserving resources for the "final boss" is a lot more fun than playing Russian roulette with lethal encounters every day.My question wasn't why there was resource management at all, it was why resource management seems to have become a, possibly the, major portion of the game. More an observation/rhetorical question than anything else.

Frozen_Feet
2012-02-07, 06:02 AM
I have a bit of a counter question to the title: When (and why) did resource management become such a large portion of the game that a 15 minute workday became attractive?

Just wonderin'. Don't remember it being that way in the days of AD&D and 2nd Ed though...

Logistics was major part of roleplaying from scratch, seeing D&D emerged from wargames. It was major portion of the "game" part of RPGs - your resources were your "gaming pieces" and careful and clever use of them was what allowed you to defeat the challenges posed.

It doesn't require much wits to realize that any challenge is easier to tackle when properly equipped. So conserving resources, and restocking at earliest opportunity, became part of Succesfull Treasure-hunting 101. I know I did it, both in pen & paper RPGs and computer games (old ones, often based on p&p games...), long before D&D 3.5 even existed.

The tactic we refer to as "15 min workday" emerged when in-game and out-of-game elements allowed for easily replenishing resources. So much attention is called to it because the expectation, from the part of GMs and players of games where logistics were harder, is that logistics should be harder.

The in-game element to this is, obviously, things like Rope Trick, Teleport, Word of Recall, so on and so forth. The out-of-game element consist primarily of encounter design guidelines of 3.5, combined with players shamelessly metagaming them and GMs not thinking deeply enough to counter such obvious strategies.

I'm fairly sure the "15 min workday" and outrage towards it emerged mostly with 3rd and 3.5 editions of D&D - at least, I don't see similar complaints in context of other games.

Sure, in all P&P games I've ever played, my players always wanted to take time to have full HP and top-notch equipment before going to a potentially hostile environment. It's just that the game rules didn't give them the choice, so they had to give it a shot in less-than-optimal circumstances.

Lapak
2012-02-07, 08:58 AM
Sure, in all P&P games I've ever played, my players always wanted to take time to have full HP and top-notch equipment before going to a potentially hostile environment. It's just that the game rules didn't give them the choice, so they had to give it a shot in less-than-optimal circumstances.Indeed. To take just one example of how this was true: wandering monsters and random encounters were a well-defined mechanic and staple of D&D up until 3rd edition. Clearing things out one room at a time and then heading back to base to recharge doesn't do you much good if you might hit two random encounters just getting back to where you were yesterday. And since you had to conserve enough resources to get back to safety even after dealing with the big threats, going all-out with nova tactics was almost never wise.

Totally Guy
2012-02-07, 09:56 AM
Sure, in all P&P games I've ever played, my players always wanted to take time to have full HP and top-notch equipment before going to a potentially hostile environment. It's just that the game rules didn't give them the choice, so they had to give it a shot in less-than-optimal circumstances.

That sounds like a key element for game rules to support. Good insight!

Oracle_Hunter
2012-02-07, 10:04 AM
I have a bit of a counter question to the title: When (and why) did resource management become such a large portion of the game that a 15 minute workday became attractive?

Just wonderin'. Don't remember it being that way in the days of AD&D and 2nd Ed though...
In the earliest editions, it was all about resource management:

DM: "Before you stretches a 30' by 10' corridor that ends in an iron door. The only light comes from your bullseye lantern but a simple look-around fails to reveal any obvious threats."

Magic User: "Okay guys, check for traps!"

Thief: "I ask a hireling to fetch a bucket from our mule and fill it up with water. Then I'm going to drip it out on the next floor stone to see if it flows into any cracks."

DM: "Which water skin?"

Thief: "Um, how many do we have in reserve?"

Cleric: "Just one more in the reserve pile. Thanks to the tainted landscape, we need all the others if we want to get back to town without dying of thirst."

Thief: "Nevermind then. I'll have the hireling fetch a 10' pole and start probing instead."

DM: "Okay, your vigorous probing has triggered a pit trap. A 10' x 10' section of floor crumbles away after your pole disturbs the underlying supports." *marks on a map*

Fighting Man: "Great, now we can't bring the mule! Okay, encumberance math time."

Magic User: "I guess I'll carry the 50' of rope."
In the earlier editions, the resource management was mostly about the boring stuff of getting to and from dungeons and also dealing with mundane (and less than mundane) obstacles along the way. Since casters of all stripes have very limited access to magic they didn't have "resources" to manage per se, but more like a cache of emergency supplies they prepared one per day (at most!).

Additionally, recovering combat resources (e.g. spells, HP) took a lot more time to do so it wasn't so much a 15 minute adventuring day as "we can take one adventure per month." Low-level clerics could take days to restore a badly-wounded 1st level party to full health, for example.

Rejakor
2012-02-07, 06:11 PM
I just run with really resource draining dungeons that **** you up.

And then I add a time pressure.


So the party is desperately trying to resource manage to achieve the goal before the time is up. Clerics for example seem to focus a lot more on healing because they blow through multiple lesser restores, remove diseases, remove fears, and cure spells than they normally would, and buying a wand instead of better armour seems like a bad move.