by , 10-25-2011 at 08:33 PM (3381 Views)
This Thursday, I knew I was going to be running a dungeon crawl of Ghost Tower of Inverness in only 4 hours. Thatís not nearly enough time for 17 encounters, but some of the encounters Iím forced to cut are critical to the overall adventure. I was tossing around some ideas with a couple of friends on Tuesday night (Rob Oz and John), and they kept hitting me with suggestions. My goal was to create a meta-combat system where playersí choices mattered. At the same time, however, I didnít want to create an overly complex system that would defeat its own purpose by taking too long to implement. I could easily have made something more complex and mathematically appropriate, but I chose the following system. If you have any ideas on how to improve the system that doesnít introduce unnecessary complexity, Iíd appreciate it, as this hasnít even been tested. However, note that this meta-combat system is balanced for a dungeon crawl system in which the party should expect to lose between one and three healing surges per encounter on average.
Assessing the Encounter
- Every combat encounter starts with 20 points.
- If the encounter level differs from the average party level, take that difference/2 and add or subtract those points from the 20. For example, a party of PCs averaging level 6 faces an encounter of level 10. That encounter has 22 points.
For the dungeon crawl system, an encounter level is determined by the average level of the NPCs/traps the party is facing.
- For XP-bearing trap, a minion trap is worth 1 point, a standard trap is worth 4 points, an elite trap is worth 8 points, and a solo trap is worth 20 points. If traps are part of a ďmixed encounterĒ (i.e., NPCs combined with a trap), and the encounter is appropriately balanced, you wonít have to add points for the trap(s).
Fighting the Encounter
- A PC selects the power theyíre going to use.
- A PC rolls 1d3 to determine how many points the PC eliminates in the first round.
- If the power used is a close blast, an ally-friendly close burst, or otherwise attacks at least two targets, add 1 to the d3 roll.
- If the PC is using an encounter power, add 1 to the d3 roll.
- If the PC is using a daily power, add 2 to the d3 roll.
Note that these bonuses stack. A daily close blast power gives the PC a +3 to the d3 roll.
- Reduce the number of points from the encounter by the PCís resulting die roll (with modifiers).
- If there are any remaining points for the encounter after each PC has a turn, the party loses a healing surge taken from the PC of their choice.
- Repeat the process until there are no more points remaining.
Assuming the PCs decide to use only at-will powers, this should result in a loss of between one and three healing surges depending on the rolls. Because this system is balanced for the dungeon crawl system, thatís about right. This clearly wouldnít work for the standard system, where a party can expect to lose about three healing surges per character per encounter. For the standard system, you should be able to just subtract a static number from what I've provided here, and you have what you need.
Note well that this isn't 5th Edition D&D I'm suggesting. This obviously wouldn't work as a replacement to our existing combat system. It does, however, have the advantage of player choice still making a difference. If you're low on healing surges, use an encounter or daily power to make sure you win in the first round. If you're low on power selection, take your chances with at-wills and lose a couple of healing surges.
What do you all think?