It’s a new month, so I’m opening a suggestions box. Hit the comment link below and tell me what you’d like to see at D20 Source in the coming year.
I love reading other DMs’ homebrew adventure modules. There are plenty of sites like dndadventure.com and mortality.net that will host them, but there’s not a ton of content. I’d love to hear your advice on how DMs can take their notes, NPCs, plot outlines, adventure hooks, maps, etc. and format them as an adventure module they could upload to a site for other DMs to use.
First, I’d be interested in discussion about things that can come up during gameplay that aren’t necessarily governed by rules, and can really only be answered with physics or plain-old common sense. Things like, “Does the fire from an Ancient Red Dragon’s breath weapon have any effect on natural fog in an area?” or “If you fall off a cliff or a building, how far do you fall in the first round? How about the second?” Since every aspect of the game is governed by rules, having to just guess your way through situations that affect the game mechanic numerically kind of sucks. More evidence that D20 needs serious reform, IMO.
Second, I’d be really interested in discussion surrounding how to manage massive encounters. I’m talking on the army vs. army scale, you know, tens of thousands of soldiers on a battlefield at once. How do you deal with initiative? How do you determine which side is winning the fight? Do you do it by round? Minute? Excluding magic and other things that significantly alter traditional large-scale battlefield combat, how long should the average “battle” last? How long did they last historically? What sort of major effects can turn the tides of battle? I’m really thinking about the works here. I intend to have several opportunities for large-scale combat like this in my upcoming campaign and could really use a better system for dealing with it.
That discussion brings me to my last suggestion which is a little more philosophical, and likely controversial: Does the use of (and continued gearing towards) miniatures in combat detract from or add to the overall “role-playing experience?” It’s an interesting question to ponder and I’ll tell you why: One of the most intense experiences a player can have in table-top gaming is when their own imagination runs wild in vivid, gory detail about a scene as it unfolds in their head. There is a time and a place for those visual aids, and great artwork can add as much to a game as even the most well-described scenes a DM can think up. Fundamentally though, isn’t seeing the entire combat from a bird’s eye view for the twenty or thirty minutes it takes to run through an encounter kind of, I don’t know, damaging to imagining the chaos of combat? Is it more exciting to be Frodo scrambling around the broken remains of a Dwarven tomb, hoping not to get crushed by the giant, flailing club the troll is wielding, or is it perfectly exciting to look at the map of the same tomb from the top and say “I move 20 ft over behind this rock pillar.” Food for thought, and fuel for discussion. ;)
More discussion playing these games online. I am not in a position to actually be at a table with my good friends so we are forced to play over the computers. It has its ups and downs. You have more options for automation through programming in alot of the mechanical aspects of the game, but RP can be a little difficult/slow.
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