Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gain 30 Levels In Only 15 Minutes A Day

Rodney Thompson posted a gem in his Rule-of-Three answers today. What is Wizards of the Coast going to do for the 10-minute work day? Unclear. However, the level of understanding brought to the issue was refreshing. The 15-minute day is a problem that sits somewhere between the rules as written, the Dungeon Master, and the players.

If you don't use published adventures then the "adventure design issue" falls squarely on the shoulders of the DM. I've played in games where the screen jockey was either unwilling or incapable of throwing more than one combat encounter at the characters per in-game day. Perhaps the pacing of their story required such singular fights or they envisioned the only worthwhile battle as a giant set piece. Either way, it was very difficult to challenge the adventuring party in 4th edition if you didn't realize the gulf in power between characters facing strategic resource management and those players who acted according to the understanding of one-fight-per-day.

Traditional spells, prior to 4th edition's power system, in D&D varied wildly in power scale even at the same spell level. Every vancian spell is a daily power though maybe you can memorize it more than once. On top of obvious power differentials between daily powers and the rest, 4e also added magic item daily powers.

Short adventuring days were surely a potential problem in previous editions. Some classes could go all day while others wanted to rest as soon as they had used up their "most" fun abilities. Take the worst case: the wizard was useless as he followed along with his martial buddies after he cast only a single magic missile spell. Certain Dungeons Masters may have gotten used to the idea that one colossal combat per day was the right way to run the game.

Hopefully 5th edition will be able to simultaneously handle both ends of the spectrum through inherent design or clearly delineated optional rules. Perhaps Rodney says it best:
[W]e should be putting the tools in the hands of the DM to create adventures that contain only a single, huge combat encounter to cover the entire day’s worth of adventuring and still provide a satisfying adventure experience.
Because, for some people, that's how they roll!


No comments:

Post a Comment