Monthly Archives: May 2015

Damaging Objects

When I wrote https://lackhand.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/5e-long-rests/ , I overlooked the obvious.

The costs I listed are a bit nuts. Instead: To repair gear, you must be living at a lifestyle level for the 30 days preceding it commensurate with the broken gear.

  • Artifact: Aristocratic (50gp/day)
  • Legendary: Aristocratic (25gp/day)
  • Very rare: Aristocratic (10gp/day)
  • Rare: Wealthy (4gp)
  • Uncommon: Comfortable (2gp)
  • Common: Modest (1gp)
  • Mundane: Poor (2sp)
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5e Long Rests

To begin with: resting in 5e is a pretty interesting mechanic.

You’ve got your short rest, and a lot of people are having problems figuring out where they want to slot that. Maybe it’s 5m, and it happens after every battle? Maybe it’s 1h, as writ? Maybe it’s 1day, because this is a hexcrawl, dammit?

I myself like 1 hour rests. It’s short enough that you can take it in the dungeon, but long enough that it’s not between every combat. I think a lot of people have a problem with them because at their assumed scale, there’s no real difference between 1 hour of downtime and 1 day of downtime, so they feel pressured into taking long rests instead.

I have a solution: You can only long rest by spending 1 week (not 1 day) in a safe place that can provide sufficient goods and services. So a caravan or something might count, as would a hermit’s hut, but you really need to put some effort into it, not just bed down on a bunch of pine-needles.

This lets me advance time-based plots much more “realistically” than usual. The standard joke goes that an adventurer hits level 20 before they turn 20, because it takes 4 days per level, totaling 80 days, no downtime. For me, that’s 80 weeks, and by the time they’re looking at that sort of pace, they’re willing to stretch it even further with other downtime activities. It also explains why a single 20th level wizard hasn’t destroyed the world yet: I mean, they’ve got amazing alpha strike capabilities, but they have to have nonmagical resources to turn to too, since the other 6 days of the week the peasants and men-at-arms are going to run amok.

It also lets me keep a closer track of real-time, since we play bi-weekly and they generally get 2 long-rests per session.

Okay. So there’s many fine advantages to the 1-week-is-a-long-rest scheme. But when the chips are down, my players really want to be able to pull a few more stops out and keep going, and I want to give them another kind of resource which they can burn.

I have a solution!

You may choose to take a long rest over the course of 6 hours, as is written in the rules. You can only do this once per 7d period, and the results last (and compound) until you can take a real 7-day-long-in-a-place-of-safety long rest.

You get all of the benefits of a real long rest (which for me includes none of your hit points but all of your hit dice restoring, not just half. Feh.)

If you regained >50% of your hit dice, roll on the DMG Lingering Injuries table (p 272).

If you regained any slot of your top 2 spell levels OR of 6th level or above, roll on the DMG Long-term Madness table (p 260). This has a weird side effect: warlocks are the sanest casters. I dunno what to do with this, man.

The DM picks several “candidate” elements of your gear, from which you select one “victim” gear from among the candidates. Apply all relevant penalties to the victim:

  • armor or weapons take a -1 penalty (as though touched by a rust monster, so at AC 10 or shield bonus 0 or weapon -5, the item is destroyed)
  • charged items loses 1 from its maximum charge
  • permanent or use-activated item abilities require 1 more full action to activate than they currently do
  • one use items and items costing fewer than 5gp are destroyed

In any case, this final damage can be repaired during a long rest. I’m not really sure what the costs should be; I’ve taken a stab below but I don’t really believe it.

  • mundane: Free
  • common (or mundane and >50gp): 5gp
  • uncommon (or mundane and >500gp): 50gp
  • rare: 500gp
  • very rare: 5000gp
  • legendary: 50,000gp
  • artifact: 500,000gp

What weapons (and armor) do I care about?

D&D’s gear fetish attempts to model (psychologically and statistically) the differences in how your hero slays her foes.

5e gets it wrong in my opinion. The bones are fine; it’s the detail that needs work.
For one thing, in the finished rules, damage type just doesn’t matter much, so disambiguating on damage type doesn’t do a lot.
For another, cost and weight are also relatively fungible; beyond first level a few gp or even tens if gp don’t matter, and lighter isn’t hugely important since encumbrance is rare and the weights are so similar.

For a final thing, in the quest to strike a balance between simplicity and differentiation, they left a lot of arbitrage. Tridents are spears that only fighters can use. Daggers are amazing, even in the hands of a wizard. Scimitars and short swords are the same thing.
For some reason, quarterstaves can be used one handed.

The simplest fix which I can think of is:
1) rename the d6 scimitar to the kukri.
2) reflavor the d8 rapier to the sidesword; elves have proficiency in it instead of longsword; it is a light weapon when paired with a d4 light weapon. It is also the scimitar.
3) give the flail the versatile property.
4) give the trident a d8 base, versatile d10. What, and thrown? Sure. It’s a big weapon, and the magic ones tend to not be Returning. If this marginal utility really bothers you, you might make it Heavy too.
5) rename the club “wand”. A heavy caveman club with a rock at the end is a mace or hammer.
6) give the mace the versatile property. It is also the “rod”, the weapon the devs were thinking of when they made staff versatile, about chest-high.
7) replace the staff with a d6 two handed reach weapon.
8) the spiked-chain is pretty much just a polearm; add it in.

Now, even this isn’t ideal; class-based damage would have done for that. Also, my ideal rev gives weapons increasing properties with better proficiencies; for instance daggers being light might be a property of martial proficiency.
But this is pretty good.


A dice system which I have been contemplating

RPGs are an interesting beast; the G desires an engaging mix of strategy, design, randomness, choices at different times etc; the RP demands an interesting story.
Different styles of RPG solve these problems in different ways, playing the poles against each other, using them to mutually reinforce, I dunno, this is getting awfully philosophical.

Risk, a dice mechanic.
High level description: a die-pool RPG-style check system.
The player describes what they’re trying to do (“Climb the drainpipe”).
The GM selects a statistic that applies. These statistics are relatively static for characters, and higher is better. A 0 means that there is no chance for success; a 6 means assured success (“Athletics”).
The GM selects a difficulty for the roll. For now we’ll say they just make it up, but of course

Hack: use multicolored dice, with certain failures only defrayable in certain ways.
Hack: use exploding dice, where 6’s are a 5+a new roll, or a 1 eats an adjacent failure, etc.