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Thread: Top down adventure building

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    Troll in the Playground
    Yakk's Avatar

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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Top down adventure building

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    The issue is imagine the adventurers capturers and traps the necromancer in a small prison by surprise before the necromancer starts his event chain.
    At any point, the PCs can end a Problem and end the Plot, yes.

    Of course, that necromancer is a deadly encounter for level 5 PCs. And the general rule is "nothing enters a room with PCs if the DM isn't ok with that thing being dead 6 seconds later".

    According to your system the necromancer event chain would go on without the necromancer just with an extra delay of 1d10 days.
    You get an extra delay of 1d10 days for blocking the previous chapter's consequence. If you kill the plot, you kill the plot.
    Does it means any captured plot npc automatically evades or resurrect after 1d10 day?

    If a plot is killed, it is killed.

    Also I tried estimating how it worked in terms of time if only easy chapters happened.
    Imagine 4 problems with 4 chapters each(comparable to what you suggested)
    Each chapter is an easy chapter and uses 4 easy scenes each that have just a deadly encounter each.
    Since a chapter takes 2d10 days(average of 11) it means that you are supposed to do 16 deadly encounters in 11 days on average.
    PCs are not expected to be able to deal with every problem.

    If they do, well, great! It handles it. But if they don't, well, there are consequences.

    The goal is to move failure from "I have to give you an encounter that could kill you to challenge you" to "you can't be everywhere at once". And to bake that into the plots; each chapter can be ignored or dealt with.

    PCs are free to work out "the merchant's guide is actually the knight captain's plot to undermine the baron". And bypass/kill the problem entirely, shutting it down. That will reduce the number of problems currently active. Good job players!

    But the chapters aren't designed to give that away; they are portents and consequences and a path to solve them. However, the PC might capture the veteran boss in Kidnapped and successfully interrogate them and reveal that they where paid off by someone, and track that someone down, and eventually hunt down the Knight Captain, then convince the Baron, etc.

    But if they don't, the adventure keeps going forward. If they rescue the heir? The Baron is still undermined, just not as much.

    But it gets worse since it is random you might get unlucky and have one chapter last 2 days in which case you have 4 deadly encounters just in 2 days if you want to succeed.
    Yep, 1% chance that an easy chapter becomes frantic, and concludes faster than the PCs can react (double 1s).

    Failure will happen, especially on the level of "we didn't manage to stop the consequence of a chapter". Success will also happen. The PCs will beat bad guys, solve problems, but sometimes bad things will happen.

    Also due to your 1+pc level in your formula then level 1 pcs are super messed up: a team of 4 level 1 characters have encounters against CR 4 monsters(and it is considered an easy scene) so easy scenes are just going to kill on average multiple adventurers.
    An easy scene containing a deadly encounter remains deadly, yes. Deadly means deadly, a PC has a real chance of death.

    As noted, my pre-encounter balancing is harder than the default 5e one.

    A deadly encounter, scene or chapter is one where death for a PC is quite plausible.

    The baseline 5e percentages is closer to 20%/25%/33%/40% instead of 20/30/40/50. And that +1 doesn't treat level 1 PCs with kid gloves; making it 1.5/2.5/3.5/4.5/6 would be closer to 5e power curves, but also make the math a bit harder. And I erred on the side of simpler math.

    This does mean in order to challenge players without throwing deadly encounters at them, you'll have to have more than 1 encounter in most scenes.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2021-03-01 at 02:20 PM.