07 August 2008

“...ended in bloodshed”

Mike Mearls worte:

Alas, as happens all too often in RPGs, our stealthy and bluff plan ended in bloodshed.

If there’s one thing I’m tempted to call “broken” in a lot of role-playing games, it’s this. One bad roll out of a series—which is usually pretty likely—spoils the stealthy plan. One bad roll does not spoil the frontal assault. Why even bother trying the stealthy plan?

How can we “fix” that?

  • Say it isn’t broken; it’s just the nature of stealthy plans
  • Decrease the difficulty of stealth checks to make a bad roll less likely
  • Partial credit; tweak the results so that a single bad roll creates a minor setback rather than spoiling the whole plan
  • Don’t roll for stealth
  • Tweet’s “there is no try” approach


Matthew James Stanham said...

Interesting. Usually (in AD&D) I base stealth on a modified surprise roll. The result of success or failure depends on the situation and what seems reasonable at the time.

Back when I was using skills for AD&D there were multiple rolls involved. Is the PC heard? What is the reaction if they are? Does the PC hear the guard? Does the guard spot the hidden PC. All very 'skill challenge like', I am sure.

Robert Fisher said...

I think generally these days—when ruling on all kinds of situations—I have a tendency to...

1. Not roll...just let the PCs succeed unless I think there is a significant chance of failure.

2. Give partial credit. For a “skilled” character, let a failed roll indicates not succeeding in the best way, but success nonetheless.

3. As you describe, Matthew, not letting a single roll mean total failure. Total failure requires multiple rolls not going your way.

I suppose 2 & 3 actually are two aspects of the same thing.

I really want to give the Tweet’s TINT idea a try sometime.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Definitely. It is quite an intriguing approach; I think in the long run its best use will be as another tool in the box for handling task resolution.