Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RPG/AD&D design: Naturalistic Difficulty

The first point in my last post might have seemed unsurprising: Adjustable difficulty.

But I'm actually excited about it. Because it combines a sort of Gygaxian naturalism...wait, let me define that a bit. The ol' Gyg. Nat. is whatever turns up is whatever turns up - if there's a goblin around the corner, then there is. If there's an ancient red dragon around the corner, then there is - what's around the corner isn't constrained to being withing -/+ one level of the partys average level.

The combination here is that you have that constraint, but you also ROLL a second option for how tough a dungeon they can run. Right now I'm thinking a D10, because the party is around level 4. Perhaps when they are around level 10, then I'd roll a D20, which makes the second option go right up to the top.

The thing I like about this is that I think it sucks that if you level and gain +1 to hit, the monsters you encounter will be forced to have +1 improved armour class anyway. What I like about rolling is maybe the roll brings up a level one dungeon - a level four party will tromp through it! And guess what, they've earned it!

BUT! What if they want a dungeon about their own level, for more XP and loot and general thrill of being harder? Well, now you've a choice between two option - go with the natural roll, or go with the dungeon that matches party level!

BUT, I hear you say, what if the natural roll comes up a 6 or 9 or something above the average party level of 4? Well, you can still take that option! Maybe you think you can hack it?

Or if you think its just impossible, well then here is Gygaxian Naturalism and tough! You're stuck with one option only of the dungeon at your level. But the more you level, the more of a chance you get of a dungeon below yours - ie, a cakewalk dungeon!

Only snag? Writing up two dungeons? Or use one and roll differing monsters for each room that has monsters (and since I tend to write the monsters on the sheet, there wont be much room for that). So I'll have to work out something for this.

But I really like the idea of a dungeon that is just WHATEVER! Just crazy comes as it will, instead of always being a tight, predictable power band (that essentially undermines the idea of leveling).

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