Monday, April 23, 2007

Speed vs. Realism

Well we had the "Family Campaign" on Saturday, and it went pretty well. D&D (and role-playing games in general) take a long time to play. If you consider taking characters from levels 1-20 to be a single game, then you have something that could last years. Which means that its important to keep "things" moving. "Things" have been going slow for the last little while, mostly because we haven't been playing that often (the holidays slowed everything down) but I came up with a few ideas to speed things up (on top of meeting more often):

1- When the players ends up in a complex situation (like choosing how best to infiltrate a castle or defend a villate), rather than just saying "What do you want to do?" I will give them a set of choices (bluff the guard, climb the wall, sneak in through the sewers, or none of the above). They can always choose to do something other than one of options I've offered, but hopefully it will reduce the time it takes to discuss the problem.

2- Supply the monster's Armor Class and Hit Points when they're in combat. That way they don't have to wait for me to tell them if they hit, or whether the monster is dead they have that information right in front of them, thus speeding up combat.

3- Don't roll for damage any more. All weapons, and spells, etc. would just do average damage. Obviously eliminating half of the die rolls would speed things up as well.

In the end they opted to only do option 1, and only after making sure that there was a none of the above option. In essence each of the options traded some of the D&D-ness of the experience for speed of play. So for them to choose only option 1, means that they really do like the D&D-ness, enough so that even though it's going slow they would rather continue that way then sacrifice any of the experience. To be honest I'm kind of proud of them. Plus I think I must have scared them because we really tore threw things that night. I think we ended up getting in 6 combats, which I believe is a record...

Also, if anyone has any ideas on speeding things up with minimal impact on the D&D-ness of the experience let me know.

8 months down, 3 and a half years to go


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know, with respect to the idea of trying to get through a D&D game (therefore getting up to level 20) in a timely manner, it might be beneficial to stick to the same campaign/adventure path long enough to do just that, but that's just a thought. However, in all seriousness, I think things went great last time. It was a lot of fun to get through so much. Thanks.

~Other Rob

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

It's been a long time since I played, but rolling for damage was always the most fun for me. Maybe that says more about me than the game, though.

3:19 PM  
Blogger aozora said...

Kudos for the realism choice! Fantabulous stuff.

While I am a die hard enthusiast, I really don't care for the whole leveling and experience as a chore. So the last time I ran a campaign I included several ways to "earn" experience points and went with the most liberal interpretation for traps and monsters that ran away.

The invented method was essentially rewarding guessing right and participation. An "epiphany-bonus" for deducing a story sub-theme, mystery, secret, whatever. The bonus was awarded individually, but to my utter amazement, the group preferred to level together.

4:57 AM  

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