Friday, May 24, 2013

What the rules are for

The latest DnD Next post is up and it has some interesting information regarding exploring.  The game will have specific rules for parties moving through small scale terrain such as a dungeon and large scale terrain such as a mountain pass.  The two types of exploration will have different time scales for their turns (1 minute and 1 hour respectively) but will allow for similar types of roles and tasks.  The thing that is most interesting to me is that they intend to make class abilities interact directly with exploration tasks so rangers will, for example, not be able to get lost while navigating.

I suspect that this kind of material is going to mostly be ignored by players.  Wandering through a grid of squares on a map of a forest doing tasks in each square just doesn't strike me as something people are actually going to do.  I can see how it would be really useful for premade adventures or for people who really want to get their tactical exploration on but the great majority of campaigns resolve these sorts of things with handwaving or roleplaying and I don't see them desperate for a system to change that.  It also would feel really bizarre if characters were travelling long distances to have them roll out what happens every hour of every day - a one week trek turns into 56 different 'so what do you do this round?' scenarios which seems terrible, especially since most likely nothing is happening.  The players are also going to find it a bit bizarre to fast forward through a long trip and then suddenly be in Explore Mode when they near something relevant.  That said, as long as the exploration material is not significantly considered in terms of balance it is a fine thing to include for those that want it.

The other curious thing they are doing is adding in specific NPC traits like Greedy, Coward, etc. so that players can, if they utilize those traits, gain benefits on their social interactions.  For example, if you offer a Greedy NPC a bribe it will shift the result of the check favourably whereas a NPC with the Incorruptible trait would respond very badly to the same bribe.  This sort of thing actually seems like a really great idea to me.  Obviously GMs don't need to use this stuff in the worlds they make up but it will be very useful in building premade adventures and quickly communicating the important things about a NPC.  It should also offer useful roleplaying tips for GMs to help give them some inspiration.

Now if only they could get away from the archaic and terrible mechanics that form the basis of the Hit Point and healing systems...

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