23rd January 2012

Post with 7 notes

D&D4e mechanics: Marking, how it works and why it isn’t magic WoW aggro mind controk

Sometimes a criticism of 4e comes up “Marking!? OMG It’s MMO TAUNTING AM I PLAYING WOW!?!?”. This comes up quite a few times. My answer to that is, no, it is not magic powers for someone to protect his allies and punish somebody else for ignoring him, it’s perfectly within the realm of ‘reality’, as far as you want it to be in D&D.

A simple example:

Here is Shaq, an epic level WoW Paladin using magic videogame powers to allow the Rogue DPS to sneak by. 

Here is the actual explaination of what is hapening:
What: In basketball, when a player sets a screen to trap a defender, while a teammate whisks by with the ball:

Why: The player with the ball is Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash. The player with his back to Nash is his center, Shaquille O’Neal. The player Shaq is setting the screen against is… well, who cares. That guy doesn’t matter. Because Nash and O’Neal are using the ol’ pick and roll to render his intentions irrelevant. The defender’s man is Nash; his coach told him to guard Nash when he had the ball, but the largest mammal on two legs just rotated over from his man to block the defender. Nash now has an uncontested shot. If the defender is fool enough to leave O’Neal, Nash will just pass into Shaq for the easy dunk. Either way, two for the Suns. (If you must know, the defender’s name is Marko Jarić, then a forward for the T-Wolves. You will now forget about him.)

Impact: The pick and roll defines why you need both speedy little guys and towering behemoths on a basketball team. A team with a great point guard and one or more immovable objects will score a ton of points. Teams like Phoenix during the Mike D’Antoni era would routinely run the score well past the 100-point mark, daring other teams to keep pace.

(They even use MMO terminology like ‘defender’ in there.)

There is nothing magical in a Fighter marking someone. It’s him getting in their face, trying to kill them and covering his allies. It’s like setting a pick in a team sport, you are blocking this guy’s path. In D&D you do it with a hurty weapon in hand. 

It does not work like taunting in videogames, taunting in videogames is what the 3e social skills do. The 4e marking mechanic is taking an opportunity attack against a guy you just whacked who is now stupidly trying to ignore you. 

Ignore the adult bear and attack the bear cub. Guess what is going to happen.

Tagged: D&D4e3.Xpathfinderrpgwizardsfightergamedesignshaqpolarbearfightermarkingchallenge


21st October 2011

Post with 12 notes

The Science Behind 4th Edition D&D Encounter & Daily Powers

he did some stuff, and then he did a super cool thing. It was an epic fight.

Sometimes I read about daily/martial encounter powers, and often the argument “It’s immersion breaking!” or the more specific “It’s not realistic!” comes up:

"If a fighter can do that, why can’t he do that ALL THE TIME?

The first point is fairly easy to argue:

1) narrative, this is when the spotlight shines on you. When Conan swipes off the giant snake’s head in a single blow, Robert E. Howard was using his PC’s Daily. It’s the PC using his own token of agency to affect his fantasy world. 

2) ‘realism’. I don’t really want to use that word for Fantasy Dragon Dungeoning… but crazy athletic feats can get pretty tiring. Hitting a monster 9x harder than you normally can is one of those tiring things. 

When arguing with someone and trying to change their mind though, it’s good to have proof, so this thread is about some ‘proof’. I remember reading something about how human muscles use 3 energy sources, the time it needs to recharge for peak performance, etc. (I’m a mixed martial arts enthusiast and was looking at training routines)

So I did a little research and found it again. It’s about the 3 kinds of energy our muscles draw from and their limitations. 

Highlights on the parts relevant to the topic. 

Three systems produce energy in the human body, one aerobic and two anaerobic. They are:

· ATP/CP system - anaerobic. 

· Lactic acid (LA) system - anaerobic. 

· O2 system - aerobic. 

The ATP/CP system. 

It is anaerobic because whilst using it, oxygen is not supplied from the air breathed in. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a compound necessary for muscular contraction. The compound is stored in the muscles and a very quick contraction, lasting only a fraction of a second uses it all. For an exercise lasting longer than this, another compound called creatine phosphate (CP) is used. CP can provide a muscle with virtually instant energy without the need for oxygen. It is the muscle’s emergency system, but it is stored in only very small amounts and so is depleted very quickly. 

In an untrained person ATP/CP is exhausted in about 8 seconds. Through proper training it can be made to last only a few more seconds. Anything requiring short bursts of energy at maximum intensity relies heavily on this system. (like an encounter or daily power)

It takes about three minutes of complete rest to get a fairly full restoration of ATP (so, once per encounter). Proper training to maximize ATP/CP would be short bursts of 15 seconds or less at maximum intensity, with rest periods between short bursts of three minutes or more. 

2. The lactic acid system (or the anaerobic lactic system) - LA system. 

This system can also supply the muscle with energy in the absence of oxygen. But it uses glycogen and because of the lack of oxygen, lactic acid is formed. Intense activity of a muscle causes this system to operate at a high level until eventually the build up of lactic acid inhibits the muscles action and causes it to slow down. The blood system removes lactic acid to the liver where it is detoxified. During a recovery period the muscle regains its ability to function. The period of time that the muscle can support this type of effort is up to two minutes. An example of an activity of the intensity and duration that this system works under would be a 400 m sprint (or perhaps an Encounter with a dragon) 

3. The aerobic system (O2 system). 

This system utilizes breathed in oxygen in the muscle and thus interacts with the cardio respiratory system. The presence of oxygen in the muscle allows stored foodstuffs (mainly glycogen but also protein or fat for very long duration exercise) to be transformed into muscle energy by a series of reactions which avoid the production of lactic acid. The O2 process can therefore continue for as long as the energy demands of the muscle are within the capabilities of the oxygen delivery system and the food store. Lactic acid may well have been built up in previous work bouts because the LA system may have been used first. But in this case transferring from the LA system to the O2 system will allow the lactic acid to somewhat dissipate. 

This can be used to explain the difference between an At-Will and Encounter power. 

So we could say a 100meter dasher is somebody with a movement Encounter/Daily power

a 400meter runner is someone who has an at-will movement enhancing power

a marathon runner has skill training Endurance or some other power that enhances daily travel limits. 

As for dailies, well note that even with a 3 minute rest you don’t get absolutely 100% restored, nor is strain removed. Athletes have some pretty intense, lengthy recovery processes after games like massages and ice baths. The body can only take so much strain, and will fail when pushed too far (For example, power lifters have been documented crapping out their intestines when their bodies can’t take the strain of the weights they’re trying to lift). There is also mental fatigue to consider. 

Ask any physical trainer though, and they’ll agree the important part of recovery is to get a good night’s rest. 

*(In something as stressful as combat sports, it’s often months before the fighter’s next match to make sure they’re close to peak performance)

I’m not saying ‘4e is completely super realistic’, but there is some real-world relevance to how it goes about things. If it helps in the immersion of your fantasy dragon murder-looting, then enjoy. 

Tagged: D&DYoshidaOgre BattleQuestsquare-enixSquaresoftDungeonsDragonsGame DesignFantasyknightswordsduelD&D4epathfinder


21st September 2011

Post with 9 notes


Don’t worry guys, I’m a Prone Shooter

Let me tell you about Feats. A specific Feat. A Specific Feat from Paizo’s Ultimate Combat for Pathfinder.

This Feat is Prone Shooter. Let me tell you what Prone Shooter does.

It puts you into the mindset of The Prone Shooter. You go prone, you lie prone, you are thinking “I am a Prone Shooter” and you shoot with all the clarity Prone gives to the Prone Shooter.

Your buddy glances at your character sheet. He sees “Prone Shooter”, he knows'damn, that guy, he is a Prone Shooter, I better watch out when he falls prone, he still shoots!’

Yeah, that’s damn right, it’s On Your Character Sheet.

You didn’t even need to say anything, that’s real roleplaying right there, it’s dialog without dialog like a gritty western, very thematic.

Sure, you might have imitators, that guy over there might also be prone and shooting, but you know what? He’s just prone and shooting, he’s not a Prone Shooter, it’s not on his character sheet. What he does is mundane. What you do, it’s a heroic FEAT.

For roleplaying immersion, it’s a world of difference. But some min/maxing GOON wouldn’t understand.

Because as you can see, in Pathfinder, being Prone doesn’t actually affect your crossbow shooting at all.

Tagged: /tg/D&Dfantasyrpgtabletoppathfinderpaizoevangeliongame design