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Valdar
06-12-2008, 06:43 PM
Something that strikes me as missing from skill challenges is using a different attribute for initiative depending on the nature of the challenge. I checked through the skill challenge section, and noticed nothing of the sort here- so, no matter what the skill challenge is, each party member rolls for their position in the lineup based on Dex. I would have preferred to see things like using your Int modifier for research challenges, or Cha for social challenges.

I'm not even sure if implementing this would count as a "house rule", since designing skill challenges is fairly free-form to begin with.

tesral
06-12-2008, 11:29 PM
Shouldn't you role-play such an encounter?

ronpyatt
06-13-2008, 12:55 AM
I agree, Valdar. It would have been nice to see such an init priority based on circumstance. It would be very easy to house rule that one. Good call. Perhaps that is one of the minor changes we'll see when 4.5 or 5.0 comes out.

Valdar
06-13-2008, 01:04 AM
Shouldn't you role-play such an encounter?

Yes, but there are now more complex rules for it than having one player roll a single d20. Now the whole party is involved, so you need to determine who goes first.

tesral
06-13-2008, 08:17 AM
Yes, but there are now more complex rules for it than having one player roll a single d20. Now the whole party is involved, so you need to determine who goes first.

The party is competing for the Duke's attention? Shouldn't they approach such an encounter with a plan of action and follow it. "Well Bill here has the golden lounge, we'll let him do the talking."

I've never decided such thing with a "single d20 roll". Or ever a bunch of them. I, as the NPC listen to what I'm being told and act on it. Skills in "convince NPC" are the last consideration.

Frankly rolling initiative to see who goes first would make non combat encounters feel very combat like.

Dimthar
06-13-2008, 10:24 AM
The party is competing for the Duke's attention? Shouldn't they approach such an encounter with a plan of action and follow it. "Well Bill here has the golden lounge, we'll let him do the talking." .

Although I understand they were just trying to illustrate the rules. I can see it is a bad example, the PCs most likely will plan ahead before meeting the Duke.


Frankly rolling initiative to see who goes first would make non combat encounters feel very combat like.

I guess it only applies when the whole party is involved. This reminds me a little of "Dogs in the vineyard" Roleplay-Roll-Roleplay-Roll-Roleplay-Roll..

The initiative may add some fun, the CHA6 guy (PC) may alienate the City Guard Patrol (NPCs) before the rest of the party have a chance to stop him.

- You know you can't be armed after sunset. (Cityguard)
- Here, take 5 cp officer, buy yourself some respect and leave us alone. (CHA6)
- What he meant was .... forget it... can your read us our rights? (CHA16 Paladin)

.

Valdar
06-13-2008, 11:05 AM
The new system encourages teamwork off the battlefield, so that half or more of the party isn't bored when there's a social encounter. Or a trap to disarm, for that matter. Or whatever else happens off the battlefield.

And, you do still need to RP, but there is, and always has been, a game mechanic for how good you are at influencing other people. You can find hundreds of pages about this debate on the Wizards boards, so I'll summarize:

--Game mechanic is bad because it leads to roll-playing.
--Game mechanic is good because it lets non-charismatic players play charismatic characters.

Also, the game mechanic is trumped by the encounter description- in the sample encounter, "Intimidate" is an auto-fail, and "Intuition" will tell you that "Intimidate" is an auto-fail, or that "History" might be a choice here.

And as with combat, initiative is simply there to determine whose actions get processed by the rules engine first, rather than who is actually going first. It's usually all happening simultaneously, although the social encounter will of course be serial. My original point is, when it comes to knowing when to get a word in edgewise in a heated debate, Cha should be more important than Dex for that.

cplmac
06-13-2008, 04:17 PM
Funny, I think that teamwork on the battlefield is not a new thing. Now I know that my background is in 2E, but I'm sure that this should be true in 3.x as well as everything that came before 2E.

Valdar
06-13-2008, 05:04 PM
Funny, I think that teamwork on the battlefield is not a new thing. Now I know that my background is in 2E, but I'm sure that this should be true in 3.x as well as everything that came before 2E.

Mistype? We were talking about _off_ the battlefield.

cplmac
06-13-2008, 05:20 PM
Ok, sorry Valdar, I thought you were talking about during battle type encounters. My appologies for not getting a clarification first.

How do think it would be impacted if there was someone running a character that was actually a henchman of the party's adversary that has "become" part of the party in order to undermine what the party is planning to do, whether on the battlefield or off?

Valdar
06-13-2008, 06:04 PM
Ok, sorry Valdar, I thought you were talking about during battle type encounters. My appologies for not getting a clarification first.

How do think it would be impacted if there was someone running a character that was actually a henchman of the party's adversary that has "become" part of the party in order to undermine what the party is planning to do, whether on the battlefield or off?

Same as before, but I guess I'd probably have people on message boards being all weird about it.

Dimthar
06-13-2008, 06:35 PM
And as with combat, initiative is simply there to determine whose actions get processed by the rules engine first, rather than who is actually going first. It's usually all happening simultaneously...

Technically is not true, who goes first affects whether you get the chance to do an action in that round. The monster (or a PC) may not get the chance to take an action before it gets enough damage to put it down. So there is some motivation to go first.

I believe this is one of the explanations on rolling initiative per round instead per encounter.


... although the social encounter will of course be serial. My original point is, when it comes to knowing when to get a word in edgewise in a heated debate, Cha should be more important than Dex for that.

Now that I think more about it, if we see the "DEX STAT" as "Awareness", If your brain is better at processing the events happening around you, that definitely improves stuff like Dodge or Combat reaction (initiative).

So perhaps WotC were not so wrong on using DEX for the social encounters. DEX may determine how fast I respond to a remark but CHA will determine how good was my response.

Found this:
http://forum.rpg.net/archive/index.php/t-239401.html


.

Valdar
06-13-2008, 06:38 PM
Now that I think more about it, if we see the "DEX STAT" as "Awareness", If your brain is better at processing the events happening around you, that definitely improves stuff like Dodge or Combat reaction (initiative).

So perhaps WotC were not so wrong on using DEX for the social encounters. DEX may determine how fast I respond to a remark but CHA will determine how good was my response.

Found this:
http://forum.rpg.net/archive/index.php/t-239401.html

.

I'd thought about that, but Wisdom has the lock on that ability everywhere else. Anyway, it's a good enough explanation for keeping things straightforward I guess-

ronpyatt
06-13-2008, 07:37 PM
Ah, I see. DEX is crucial to speed overall, whether it comes to sensing something socially or in combat. After all, it is the mind/nervous system that reacts. It's decent enough, but I'd like to see it house-ruled with alternate INIT's and in-play to find out.

Then again, they may have thought that including a special INIT for other circumstances to be more story or roleplay appropriate. If it comes up often enough, and players voice their desire for more INIT's then they might add it later.

tesral
06-14-2008, 01:13 AM
I have yet to see a social situation that required a roll of intuitive unless it had broken down to a fight. With that said using the Dex in a social situation I am not seeing and image of a quiet and relaxed setting but everyone vying for center stage tripping over each other to speak first. Social events are not combat. I don't think combat rules, including intuitive belong there.

Valdar
06-14-2008, 11:36 AM
I have yet to see a social situation that required a roll of intuitive unless it had broken down to a fight. With that said using the Dex in a social situation I am not seeing and image of a quiet and relaxed setting but everyone vying for center stage tripping over each other to speak first. Social events are not combat. I don't think combat rules, including intuitive belong there.

The paradigm they are trying to break up is the social encounter where the bard or other high-cha character does the encounter, and the rest of the party sits around and does nothing. This is how RPGs have always been played, and 4e is trying to change that. Things may be clunky at first, but at least they're making the effort. This is more of the "fun for everyone, all the time" thinking that gave Wizards an at-will magic missile- that you shouldn't have to wait for your character to someday be effective.

Also, the initiative rules are an abstraction, just like in combat- everyone is acting and contributing (speaking for the social encounter, reading and talking to people for the research encounter, scrambling around madly for the trap encounter), but you need some method of determining who gets to apply the results of their actions first.

tesral
06-14-2008, 03:44 PM
It's not an abstraction I am comfortable with. Initiative is for combat. Sometimes it is appropriate for one person to do the talking. New Olympic sport, synchronized negotiation.

As to fun for everyone all the time. I don't have to be right in the middle tossing dice to have fun at the table. I can enjoy other peoples' moments to shine.

We had several such moments last night. Other peoples' chance to shine and you know, it is satisfying to let them.

This fun for everyone all the time deal is just a symptom of the whole "precious snowflake" thinking that gives an award to everyone, for "trying". I want a reward for actually having accomplished something.

I have times when my character is useless in combat. I shift to party support. I don't sit there and mope "I don't have anything to do." I have times when It's my turn to be in the background. I'm mature enough to accept that and even enjoy it.

nijineko
06-14-2008, 04:15 PM
i have found my experiences to be in line with what tesral is saying here. on one hand the idea of "everyone being able to contribute a part to every type of encounter" is great in theory, and i think that intelligent players might be able to pull it off sometimes... but people are good at some things, and not so good at others. characters can be the same way, and i don't think that has to be a problem.

i've found that my sorcerer character is not likely to ever win the "most damage done in a single round" contest that the party melee types have going on. however, he rocked this one speech before a tribal council while everyone else (metaphorically) held down the bard and covered her mouth, as she happens to be a shoot-off-at-the-mouth-miss-no-diplomacy-whatsoever type. i don't need my character to shine every session. as long as at least one character in the party shines every session, we're good. and as a group, we tend to plow through encounters fairly effectively, regardless of individual character efficency.

i tend to associate the desire to have ones character shine significantly every time one plays with a certain immature mindset common to pre-teens. but since wotc seems to be targetting those of the age-groups from pre-teen to adult that have that mindset, regardless of age, that's the way the game seems to be going to go for now. reminds me a bit of the typically mmo setup. the storyline becomes superficial because they have to reset each dungeon so that everyone can have a turn at it. as a result even if they advance the storyline, it still feels artifical and lacking in backstory.

as for myself, if i find my character consistently outshining the rest of the party, i get embarresed and uncomfortable as a player. as a result i start downplaying my character and attempting to arrange via rp for my character to take a backseat for a while. sudden quests come up, or an interest in basketweaving, or family members need attention, or something.

i admit that i want the party to succeed, and preferably without anyone in the party dying. just out of idle curiosity, i wonder what my alignment would register as as i'm going through the process of figuring out what to do and how to justify it as "good", since i almost always play good-typed characters. *^^*

anyhow, i'm meandering now so, i'll pass it on to the next poster.

tesral
06-15-2008, 01:32 AM
as for myself, if i find my character consistently outshining the rest of the party, i get embarresed and uncomfortable as a player. as a result i start downplaying my character and attempting to arrange via rp for my character to take a backseat for a while. sudden quests come up, or an interest in basketweaving, or family members need attention, or something.

Here, here, speech!! (oh, wait, you just did.)

That is exactly what I am saying. The game has been dumbed down. And I know exactly where you are coming from. My current warlock was getting to be an embarrassment. The fighters are starting to show me up in hit points and AC now. I feel better.

nijineko
06-15-2008, 08:43 PM
i'm glad that we are on the same wavelength there! =D my dm's like me cause i tend towards self-balancement. ^^ (kinda like self-enlightenment, but not quite.)


somewhat related example:
one of my characters is a single minded archer. all he does is towards expanding and increasing his archery skill. but he is also good at calligraphy. and has used that skill to disguise himself as a scribe from time to time.

so how does one justify a single minded character taking the time to learn calligraphy? why, his archery master used special pens to teach his students how to properly handle and hold and weild before he ever let them touch a single bow. moulding the hands to the proper shape and form. and it was a good front for his master so that he wasn't pestered constantly to make weapons for people.

this archer travelled in company with a neutral-good treant for a while. the treant had insane stats. no class levels, but rolled as a character. this particular is one of my earliest characters even in d&d. in front of the dm, i rolled 18, 18, 17, 17, 17, 16. i even rolled comliness later, that was 15. :eek: i've never rolled that good again. but i never had fun playing this character. his stats were so good that nothing was much of a challenge. i just couldn't get my head around a good concept beyond the base because the character seemed to have no weaknesses. so all these years since i rolled him, i've been searching for a good storyline for him. i finally might be onto the start of one-we'll see.

agoraderek
06-15-2008, 08:49 PM
i'm glad that we are on the same wavelength there! =D my dm's like me cause i tend towards self-balancement. ^^ (kinda like self-enlightenment, but not quite.)


somewhat related example:
one of my characters is a single minded archer. all he does is towards expanding and increasing his archery skill. but he is also good at calligraphy. and has used that skill to disguise himself as a scribe from time to time.

so how does one justify a single minded character taking the time to learn calligraphy? why, his archery master used special pens to teach his students how to properly handle and hold and weild before he ever let them touch a single bow. moulding the hands to the proper shape and form. and it was a good front for his master so that he wasn't pestered constantly to make weapons for people.

i enjoy that sort of thoughtful backround detail in characters.

and, as far as the "everyone has to have something to do all the time" theory of roleplaying, im just glad i grew up with an attention span and an ego that didnt need constant stroking. i've always seen a party as a team like special forces or mission:impossible, everyone has a specialty, some redundancy, but not too much, and sometimes everyone just sat back and watched the person who's specialty came up do their thing, while watching their back.

its up to the dm to create scenarios where everyone has a chance to shine from time to time, not the system's responsibility to ensure everyone shines ALL the time.

ryan973
06-16-2008, 08:40 AM
Ok not to bash or anything but please tell me you dont really beleave you should have diffrent init roles for social interaction and research. What happened to role play. If a guy in the group wants to say something stupid and one of the other players wished to stop him then perhaps the Gm would tell them both to roll Initiative. Other than a situation similar to that, I cant see it being called for in a social situation.

tesral
06-16-2008, 09:04 AM
Ok not to bash or anything but please tell me you dont really beleave you should have diffrent init roles for social interaction and research. What happened to role play. If a guy in the group wants to say something stupid and one of the other players wished to stop him then perhaps the Gm would tell them both to roll Initiative. Other than a situation similar to that, I cant see it being called for in a social situation.

That's the new D&D. I think the idea is frankly stupid. I don't need a rule in that direction.

But I never have used more rules than I felt the game needed. My books are a lot thinner than the offical ones.

Valdar
06-16-2008, 11:20 AM
Ok not to bash or anything but please tell me you dont really beleave you should have diffrent init roles for social interaction and research. What happened to role play. If a guy in the group wants to say something stupid and one of the other players wished to stop him then perhaps the Gm would tell them both to roll Initiative. Other than a situation similar to that, I cant see it being called for in a social situation.

This thread is about 4e D&D- if you haven't even read the rules for what I'm talking about, please do so. It's been pointed out on another thread that every discussion on this board is coming back to "4e sucks", and I'm getting tired of debating the merits of a game with people who are determined to hate everything about it.

Valdar
06-16-2008, 12:45 PM
Tell you what i wont get all nasty with every wizo wanabee who defends his newest choice of game, and you dont get mad at me for voicing my veiws. The very fact that anyone would even ask hey can we have some rules for init during a social encounter should tell any gamer that there is a problem.

You can voice your views in an appropriate thread- there are plenty of them. I normally don't mind it when a thread drifts off-topic, but as has been pointed out already, it's every 4e thread, every time now. Surely you've got better things to do than discuss a game you don't plan on playing.

Farcaster
06-30-2008, 03:28 AM
I've been slowly absorbing the 4th edition rules. First I worked my way through the PHB, and I'm now finally working my way through the DMG. After reading through the non-combat encounters, I decided that I liked the general idea. For things like extended research, navigating your way through a dense forest, or perhaps in-game gambling it fits the bill nicely. I especially like the idea of using non-combat threats within a combat situation.

Imagine the classic scenario of a group stuck in an enclosed room that's filling with water. Meanwhile, a group of skeletons are attacking the party. One or two of the group deals with the trap, while the rest of the group fights the skeletons. But, disarming the trap isn't as simple as a single roll. There are a couple different mechanisms that have to be disabled. Its a full blown threat all on its own. And, the 4th edition guidelines for building encounters makes it easier to build a balanced encounter containing these kinds of threats.

However, even after reading the social encounters bit, I still don't like it as it is written. My thoughts are to toss the initiative order business altogether and allow the scene to play out free form. At certain points during the scene when it is appropriate, the current speaker can make a skill check based on whatever he just said or did. Once the group wracks up a certain amount of successes, they win over the duke, or whatever the social encounter is trying to achieve. Or, if they fail ...

It just doesn't feel right doing it in a turn based fashion. It would be far too disruptive to the way I like running NPC interactions. But, in some cases, I would use a more free form version of it to decide if an NPC is swayed -- as opposed to making an arbitrary decision.

Ultimately, my use of the social encounter part will probably be limited, but I do like the ideas they presented for using it in other non-combat situations.

Maelstrom
06-30-2008, 07:28 AM
My thoughts are to toss the initiative order business altogether and allow the scene to play out free form.

Up until Saturday, I would have fully agreed with you. I thought the whole skill challenge concept was odd and unnatural for a role-playing game. But then I ran two pretty much the way the DMG describes, and now I'm hooked.

I didn't have them roll initiative, I just picked the first player with an idea with how to talk to the grumpy dwarven commander, and then went around the table. Each player could choose to use a skill or pass if they didn't have any ideas of what to do.

I liked the turn-based approach because it made sure all players had an equal chance to influence the action. They could see that their turn was coming up soon, so they would be ready to go with a new approach or build on a previous PC's approach.

It was interesting how the designed skill challenge structure actually made a much better role playing experience than a free form encounter would have in my opinion. Players who normally don't do a lot of role-playing were really getting into it as steadily they realized what was making the veteran dwarf so reluctant to talk. The chance of complete failure always loomed to give them urgency.

Granted, I wasn't quite as rigid as the DMG indicates. I picked DCs per approach using the DMG as the guide but with some flexibility. I also gave two successes for a particularly brilliant idea, or didn't count a failure if it didn't offend the dwarf (such as a failed history check). If they tried to intimidate them (which fortunately they didn't) it would have been an automatic failure. If they bluffed him and he caught them in it, it would possibly been two failures. In this way I was able to make the skill challenge my own while using a good rules system concept as a base.

Kilrex
06-30-2008, 08:34 AM
We pretty much played ours out in your manner when we were finally pursuaded (threatened) to check out 4e. As a group we have decided to change from 3.5 to 3.P (Pathfinder) but using the skill challenges.

Dimthar
07-11-2008, 07:05 PM
I wonder how easy will be to describe a scene from the movie "Ridicule (French)" with this system.

Got to wait to get the movie (Netflix) and the Books (Amazon ... yes I am not willing to pay $10 USD more to get them now).

Ridicule along with Dangerous Liasons is one of the best "Court Socialites" source of inspiration.

.

Farcaster
07-13-2008, 11:05 PM
:focus:

Okay, folks. This thread is a discussion about the Social Encounters mechanic. It is not for the debate of 3rd edition versus 4th. I have moved a number of threads off to the What's wrong about 4e... thread. Some of these were partially on topic, but were also a continuation of the debate.

ithil
07-16-2008, 09:53 PM
Skill challenges have gotten an overhaul in the latest errata:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/updates

The biggest change: initiative order is gone. Players take a turn whenever they feel it's appropriate. (A good group dynamic is clearly helpful here, not that that's a surprise in a game like D&D.)

The DC tables are now governed by simple formulas (the old ones look like they were eyeballed). DCs are lower in general. In a level 1-3 skill challenge, for instance, all the DCs will drop by 10.

It used to be that a more complex skill challenge was good for a party that was likely to excel, since they would experience regression to the mean. That's no longer the case: more complex is always harder, because the number of failures is always 3.

Information about skill check difficulty now comes in the form of advice (e.g. secondary skill checks are no longer "hard", they're "usually moderate or hard").

New advice on aided checks:

On checks that aren’t described as group checks, consider limiting the number of characters who can assist another character’s skill check to one or two. The goal of a skill challenge isn’t for the entire party to line up behind one expert but for the entire group to contribute in different and meaningful ways.

Tomcat1066
07-17-2008, 05:11 AM
I now officially have no problem with skill challenges since they've basically said to me "keep doing them like you've always done". Works for me.

Valdar
07-17-2008, 05:32 PM
Skill challenges have gotten an overhaul in the latest errata:


Interesting- this is pretty close to the way I played them the first time (knock 5 off the difficulty). I figured this was forthcoming from WotC's customer service stance on skill challenges.

Hopefully this is coming from extended playtesting and not from the rantings of people who never even tried the system :D