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Resistance Difficulty Paradigms

 
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TavishArtair
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:57 am    Post subject: Resistance Difficulty Paradigms Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It seems to me that both 3e and 4e of D&D pushed the game into an undesirable direction with regards to "status" effects. Specifically, anything that can be classed into the generic "disable" category, by which disability specifically means "stops you from playing your character." There's certainly room for inflicting penalties on your opposition, however, anything like charm person, sleep poisons, mind blasts... all of these stop you from playing your character.

But we want them in the game and that is the issue. Because if they are in the game the players can be affected by them too. And sometimes the players OUGHT to be affected by it. So what 3e did was make resistance proportionally more difficult as a caster's power increased using the same stats as one would resist with. Thus, hypothetically resistance would always be a challenge, and there would be no point at which you would just "shrug off" the monk's death touch or wizard's mindbending or whatever.

Then 4e came along and people realized that always facing a very real chance of being hyper-screwed was terrible, so they implemented the "save ends" effect, wherein odds are you can't be messed up for more than a couple of rounds. Then they added modifiers to those saves, thus ruining the concept entirely from the get go and returning to the 3e paradigm. One person I know of who played 4e a bit longer than me actually pretty much gave up on 4e because of one fight where he was basically dead (at negative HP) and stunned (save ends), so there's no way he was going to participate in the fight again. Ever. Even though he technically could recover from either condition individually. He went and played Grand Chase (which isn't quite Smash Brothers, but close).

I think instead something closer to Final Fantasy or 2nd edition AD&D would be better. Status effects are for low level people... or at least lower level than you. Especially the instant-kill ones. In Final Fantasy (and higher level 2e AD&D, where your saves are very good) you generally have a very low chance of being affected by any status effect ever. There are some exceptions... debuffs that DO NOT remove a player from the game have much higher success rates, as high as even-odds or better of working.

For a more general-RPG applicable thing, I was thinking of status effects having a fixed target number associated with the status effect itself. As characters improve, their rating against all those effects goes up. It is essentially impossible for them to go down. The difficulty of Charm Person will always be set at a certain number, for instance. Dominate Person would have its own number. And so on. There might be a scaling effect as well, where there are certain breakpoints of resistance.

Depending on what game you're making, these numbers can be fixed at a higher or lower point, but I think making it a bit easy is good for a lot of fantasy epic adventure type games.
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CatharzGodfoot
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I still like Frank's TNE system, although I haven't seen it demonstrated as a working system and I question its scalability. For those of you not in the know, it treats damage as status effects, the severity of which are determined by the damage vs. soak roll (some common status effects reduce one's ability to soak).

In that case, you can kick someone in the stomach until they die, but you can also kick them half to death and then dominate them (the domination being too difficult to pull off if they haven't been softened up, unless you're trying to dominate a real weakling).

The end result is that you get to keep SoDs, but without the fear that they'll be unbalanced with straight damage or that a PC will be instagibbed.
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Emerald
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Joined: 26 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You suggest having a rating against each effect, but never quite lay out what it would do. Is the rating a save bonus against the effect? Is it a static DC to save against? Is it the equivalent of "At level X you gain the benefit of death ward, at level Y you get mind blank, etc."? Does it replace your saves?
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TavishArtair
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In D&D, it is called a saving throw. In other games, it is called a resistance test or something else. These use a number you have on your sheet to determine the number of dice you roll or what numbers you add to your die. Frankly I don't give much of a damn how you determine that number, and there's nothing particularly persuasive for moving away from rolling it.

Depending on the randon number generator the game uses if you can get your numbers high enough you can effectively be under the effect of death ward or whatever, though, since you can't really fail and the target number you're rolling to beat doesn't move.


Last edited by TavishArtair on Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Emerald
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

TavishArtair wrote:
Depending on the randon number generator the game uses if you can get your numbers high enough you can effectively be under the effect of death ward or whatever, though, since you can't really fail and the target number you're rolling to beat doesn't move.


So it would just be a fixed DC for saves or similar in D&D, then. Sounds like a good idea to me.
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