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The Level Playing Field - random discussion

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Re: The Level Playing Field - random discussion

Postby Icefield » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:42 pm

I don't think I ascribe to the Level Playing Field. I don't want the PCs to get the idea that the world is their oyster in total and everything is somehow metered to their level of power at whatever time they decide they want to explore some place or situation. I also don't balance the group so that everyone is even in combat damage output. I love it when someone plays a character who is not a combat character, but decisively wins an encounter that the big stacked guy was just relying on game stats and dice to overcome. I really try to get the players to not compete with each other over in game goodies and bonuses.

Do you have difficulties making that balancing thig work without making the party homogeneous?
Dithering will only serve to waste your Action Points...
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Re: The Level Playing Field - random discussion

Postby Matt_E » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:24 pm

I think that if you want to stress party diversity as an inherent good, then you need to design scenarios that exercise different skills in overcoming diverse challenges. One time, it may be the dandy with the social skills that saves Our Heroes by talking the guards out of arresting them. Another time, it may be the pencil-necked scribe who can read the riddle on the wall, and solve it to disarm the trap. Another time, it may be the one who actually learned to swim well and can hold her breath long enough to make it through the flooded passage into the hidden cave beyond...

...and, finally, sometimes by contrast that character who is the worst swimmer of the bunch, yet who has no choice, due to a twist of fate, will be the one who comes through in the clutch! Those triumphs can be the most delicious.

Beyond any concept of balance or diversity, that sort of adventure design gives different characters their personal moments to shine, which is sort of a holy grail of mine.

From my experience, this idea you mention of "the world is their oyster in total and everything is somehow metered to their level of power at whatever time they decide they want to explore some place or situation" comes directly from the way adventures are written for D&D, which is what I grew up on.
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Re: The Level Playing Field - random discussion

Postby Icefield » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:53 pm

Matt_E wrote:I think that if you want to stress party diversity as an inherent good, then you need to design scenarios that exercise different skills in overcoming diverse challenges. One time, it may be the dandy with the social skills that saves Our Heroes by talking the guards out of arresting them. Another time, it may be the pencil-necked scribe who can read the riddle on the wall, and solve it to disarm the trap. Another time, it may be the one who actually learned to swim well and can hold her breath long enough to make it through the flooded passage into the hidden cave beyond...

...and, finally, sometimes by contrast that character who is the worst swimmer of the bunch, yet who has no choice, due to a twist of fate, will be the one who comes through in the clutch! Those triumphs can be the most delicious.

Beyond any concept of balance or diversity, that sort of adventure design gives different characters their personal moments to shine, which is sort of a holy grail of mine.

From my experience, this idea you mention of "the world is their oyster in total and everything is somehow metered to their level of power at whatever time they decide they want to explore some place or situation" comes directly from the way adventures are written for D&D, which is what I grew up on.


I think you raise a good point Matt, and an old habit of being judgmental was cropping up a bit there on my part. What I should have said is that I have been experimenting with allowing people to be grossly mismatched in parties, and just trying to go with the flow and think my way out of corners. I currently have a party in which one player made a nearly indestructible robot who is stupidly powerful compared to the rest of the characters. So far it has worked out fine though because I have been trying to play to the strengths of the group as well as the weaknesses in what they have experienced, which has made them appreciate the robot rather than envy him. In my own past I never would have allowed such a character and it would have been an hour of me saying "No" as the details were pitched to me. I decided instead to let everyone make the character they wanted and just work with that. So in essence I am a big ole hypocrite because I did exactly what I said I don't like. lol
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Re: The Level Playing Field - random discussion

Postby Matt_E » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:33 pm

Icefield wrote: I have been trying to play to the strengths of the group as well as the weaknesses in what they have experienced, which has made them appreciate the robot rather than envy him.


That sounds just about perfect. Good work.
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