[DM] Sword and Board

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[DM] Sword and Board

Post by Krogon Devilstep on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:58 pm

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Sword and Board - a DM System


What is this? - This! is my very own Dungeon master system, engineered to land somewhere between the Bloodied blades and other more free style non-rolling DM methods.

Why use this? - Sword and board combines fluid narrative, with a simple turn based roll system, that allows for quick successive combat encounters... all without the bulk of numbers you need to memorize.

Is it strict on the rules? - Nope! its actually very adaptable and I myself often find I alter my own rules/method here and there to make the event at hand work better.

How can it be used? - Sword and board is helpful for all kinds of Dm'ed events. Everything from straight up combat with minor enemies (Bandits), to large heroic foe's like dragons. It can even be used in covert situations, where rolls can potentially decide stealth effectiveness or lock picking. Furthermore, it has potential to be used for non combative events too.

How many people does it work for? - in an ideal situation, five. However, it can work for up to fifteen players using 'waves', Which I will explain later.


Layout.

The system essentially works in this order...

1 - The DM (Dungeonmaster), who is the event co-ordinator, uses raid warning to herald the start of a turn (or new one). This would be done with a promot such as...

/RW Round one - Roll!

2- Every player in the group (or wave), rolls.  (using the /roll command)

3 - When all the rolls are done, it should look something alike to this:

Krogon Rolls 11 (1-100)
Sadok Rolls 50 (1-100)
Rargnasha Rolls 80 (1-100)
Moneyfix Rolls 99 (1-100)


4 - With all the rolls in, The players can begin Writing their emotes in raid chat. Note, these should be written as 'X Attempts to do Y', why will become clear momentarily.

5 - When the first player has written their emote, the DM responds with a Result based on the roll, and relative assessed strength of the enemy. In this scenario, its a  lone bandit. And as 'Krogon' rolled first, he will emote first, while the other participants wait for a result from the DM. Typically I use the emphasis that a roll over 40 is a hit, a roll below 30 is a miss with consequences (the player decides how bad), and between 30 and 40 is a 'nobody gets hurt'. In the end, the following is what should be displayed based on the rolls at point 3:

 /RW  Round 1 - Roll!

Krogon: - Krogon attempts to slash his sword at the bandit! -

DM: - Krogon misses, over-extending, the bandit in turn kicks at the old Bladmasters bent knee! -

Sadok says: - Sadok launches a bolt of ice at the bandit! -

DM: - The bolt hits! staggering the surprised Bandit! -

Rargnasha: - Rargnasha slams his shield toward the Bandit! -

DM: - The shield strike hits! sending the bandit over and onto his back in a daze! -

Moneyfix: - Moneyfix launches a fireball toward the Bandit! -

DM: - The Dazed bandit is hit, engulfed in flames! he quickly burns to death! Incinerated! -

 /RW End of Round !

 /RW Round two! - Roll!


6 - And then a new round would begin against a different enemy, or group, or move onto the next encounter.

7 - HP (Health points) are non existant in this system, its down to the DM's bst judgement as to how badly hurt a particular enemy is and how much damage they can sustain before they go down or die. Likewise, reward players who describe or use their attacks wisely, with strategy, and punish those who very literally walk face first into death.

8 - The player also decides how much damage they themselves sustain. For example, in my above scenario 'Krogon' would likely emote how badly if at all, he was hurt by the bandits counter attack. That is for them to decide, but a roll of '1' should never be a small thing to overlook.

[/i]
Waves.


Waves allow a group larger than five players to operate in a fashion whereby the DM is not overwhelmed by the size of his group. At best, operating in 'waves' is used for a group of 10 to 15 players. It works as follows.

1 - Each group is a wave. Group 1 is wave 1, Group 2 is wave 2, Group 3 is Wave 3.

2 - Each round, only one wave will roll. For example...

Round 1 - Wave 1
Round 2 - Wave 2
Round 3 - Wave 3
Round 4 - Wave 1
Round 5 - Wave 2
Round 6 - Wave 3


3 - This way every 'wave' gets a go. This is typically best done with large enemies or large groups of enemies, for visual and team work purposes in the narrative, Aka a huge Dragon or a fel Orc warband.



Tips and suggestions.


1 - Use raid markers to give players a visual clue as to where they are fighting, and use descriptive comments in raid/instance chat to indicate what they are, outlining any weaknesses.

2 - Try and ensure raid/instance chat is used only for description, or emotes. This ensures the DM always see's actions.

3 - Keep emotes simple if you can. Over the top attacks/emotes just mean time wasted, likewise keep responses or results brief or simple too. A good idea is to copy paste your attack or even response ready for the player or DM to see, it saves lots of time!

4 - The Rolling below 30 or over 40 thing is not set in stone. However, I've found it to be a fine bench mark for -this- system. Feel free to experiment, but I personally find those numbers to work best.

5 - Plan your events well in advance. Use the terrain, land features, plan for surprises and alternate endings. Nothing is set in stone and players will surprise you.

6 - Experiment. This system is by no means complicated, and has masses of room for developing, adding too or altering.




-------------------------------------------------




And thats all! if you have any questions, do feel free to post them!

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Lennix_Doge! on Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:57 pm

I've used a system -very- similar to this, that I picked up from the Horde side. I thought it would be a great thing to use for the Band of the Brave. Then I found it to be horribly confusing, and most of the players preferred other systems. I guess it's just something that's best left for the Hordies. Good thing too, I regret even attempting to use it.

So I don't think I'll use it or recommend, to be honest.. Sorry!

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Krogon Devilstep on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:02 pm

Didn't you use this with me one or twice Len? Neutral Either my elwynn bandits event or the dragon slaying in Loch modan.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by erwtenpeller on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:02 pm

It's a great system for a DM wanting to put on a spectacle for an audience willing to sit back and view the action, without having a lot of input on what's going down.

I personally experienced it as one of the worst systems I have ever seen. It's complicated, every round takes a really long time to complete, and your character input is minimal. All things I don't like.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Lennix_Doge! on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:03 pm

Yes, you did. I just said, it was -extremely- confusing. Just my opinion Neutral

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Coppersocket on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:10 pm

The less interaction required by the players in a DM event, the less fun they're to be at.

I want to use my imagination when I RP, I don't want others to tell my characters actions or reactions- for me.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Krogon Devilstep on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:14 pm

Coppersocket wrote:I don't want others to tell my characters actions or reactions- for me.

Fortunate then that in this System, the DM only controls the NPC's.

The player simply chooses what he attempts, the DM decides if it hits the NPC based on the roll and if/how the NPC may counter attack... and even then, the player can dodge/block/parry or suffer as per their choice.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by tarak'jin on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:41 pm

Personally i really like the DM style presented, and i thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Dragon event in Loch Modan.

Everyone has their preferences, some people won't like it, others will.

But as said, i really like it. Will have to give it a go at some point!

@Lennix - I'm sure that you used the SSM event style, which isn't that similar to this one.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Coppersocket on Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:54 pm

I was actually more talking to Erwt than speaking about the actual system itself, just my general view of DM systems.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Littlepip on Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:12 pm

Personally I think that /roll is trash because of its randomness and no amount of detail about your amazing new revolutionizing rolling system will make me use it willingly. We have better rolling addons out there that makes everything easier and much more balanced.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Terenus on Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:37 am

This seems seriously over complicated for less actual choice/player creativity.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by erwtenpeller on Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:04 am

Coppersocket wrote:I was actually more talking to Erwt than speaking about the actual system itself, just my general view of DM systems.
Isn't it nice when we agree on stuff?

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Rinoi on Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:10 am

I agree with Erwt and Lennix about their dislike for this system, and I thought I'd elaborate on why I felt like this. I participated with Krogon's events both with the Elwynn bandits and the dragonslaying in Loch Modan.

There's a few points that bothered me.


Rolling order matters
Although the idea of this is interesting as some people might want to attack last, and faster attackers might want to strike first, in practice it worked differently. It added an OOC-element where the person who anticipated on the wave of attacks and typed /roll the first got to go first. I found myself trying to do this so I could get my emote out of the way, and tab out to do other things. I'll elaborate on that later.

I didn't see the benefit of a roll-order in the two events I participated in. There were no 'set-ups' for someone later down the chain to take advantage of. This could be a possibility though, if this aspect of the order would be pushed more. (For example, the first in the line sunders armour- the second strikes to take advantage of the lowered defenses). Like that, it may be an interesting addition. But in practice; not quite there yet.


It takes long
Even with fast typers, there are just more links in the cable than the DM-rolling system I am used to. Compare the following;


<DM> Roll 30+ to hit the bad guy.
<Everyone rolls>
<Everyone writes their emote>
<DM checks if everyone did their emote>
<DM writes an elaborate reply to what occured>
<DM does counter-attacks, changes in the scenario etc.>

<Everyone rolls>
<Person A writes his reply>
<DM responds>
<Person B writes his reply>
<DM responds>
<Person C writes his reply>
etc.


The more people are part of the group, the longer this chain gets. As such, it might work better in smaller groups. The experience I had was that, with more than 5 people it took forever. Because one group had to wait until 'wave 1' was done. With everyone waiting on eachother in each part of the chain it can drag on for ages. I found myself trying to get the first roll, so I didn't have to anticipate when the person before me was done typing.

There's little creativity
This is a problem with 'attempting' attacks. If I know I've rolled well and will strike true, I can go overboard with what I do. I can write suitably epic things for great rolls, knowing it will hit. Putting 'attempt' in it lessens this impact. Especially since -everyone- will 'attempt' their things. Even if I write a grand reply, and the DM, in his rush writes it off with "The foe gasps and is hurt" lessens my enjoyment. Furthermore, with the need to hurry things along so the event doesn't take too long short replies are encouraged. So you get chatlogs full of;

/e hits with his sword.
/e is hit by the sword and staggers back.

To me, that's not very exciting.

The NPC responses
Essentially what happens is that the NPC responds to every player accordingly. In your events, I noticed that this often meant that they come across as quite competent. Where the players stand around in a circle waiting to respond, one by one, in waves, the bandits could answer each attack blow for blow. Especially since their success seemed to be based around the players failing their attack. So instead of the players just not hitting, they'd get a boot in the face as well. An interesting shift in power balance, for sure, but I don't think the NPC's appreciate the power trip as much as the players would.


To summarise...
The events took long with a lot of waiting. The very short window in which I could act was diminished by having to 'attempt' the attack and getting short lines as a reply. I believe these flaws to be systematic with this DM-system. However, I also believe it'll work better the smaller the group is.

A DM system is meant to give the storyteller the tools to craft an epic experience for the players. I think this system takes away some of the enjoyment for players in order to give the DM more direct control.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Zhakiri on Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:31 am

Obviously these type of systems work better with smaller groups but the reason why I find it so enjoyable compared to say Bloodied Blades is that I prefer not having to worry about OOC things like the enemies attack value, defense value and my own hitpoints. I like that I can control in a detailed fashion the amount of damage I am taking rather than getting -1 off my "hitpoints" if I roll below a certain number.

I also prefer the creativity that this provides, yes you have to attempt your attacks and things take a little bit longer (which is down to the DM hosting the event, if you aren't prepared to quickly type out reponses, don't use the system), but it means if you roll poorly you don't have to stand there looking like a lemon, you can still emote your attack and you get a reponse as to -why- you failed rather than you having to assume your own failure with BB and emote that your skilled Mage suddenly choked on his bubblegum.

Naturally this requires you to trust your DM to be fair, which is also why I like this system, yes it does to a degree rely on your roll but if the situation is favourable and things make sense for your attempted spell to hit, your DM can make that so rather than you rolling, getting a low roll and emoting your failure when it's completely illogical for you to do so.

I like that you emote in a roll order because it promotes team attacks, allows you a clear time to write and submit your emote (which some people need), avoids a spam of mess that means noone gets any feedback because everything just got pwned and avoids walls of text. I think you have to face it, large groups in a DMed event is always going to equal a long event.

The 'wave' concept that Krogon posted about, I have used in practice, and I can say that for big fights with large fantastical foes, it does work. The teamwork feels epic as you charge with a group, you get plenty of time to prep your emote up whilst the other say 2 groups charge and get detailed feedback for the entire group as to your success and damage.

TD:LR - I like the level of detail you can get with this system, I enjoy the clarity of a roll order and most of all, I like that your entire character isn't ruled by a roll and that your roll can be superceded in a clear fashion by the DM's rule.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by Grim on Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:05 am

There's never a perfect DM rolling system. Fair play for OotRB putting pen to paper as it were and offering others the chance to use it.
Others might enjoy it afterall.

I never liked the Bloodied Blades system for example but this 'Sword 'n' Board' system seems pretty close to my own unnamed one I've been using for years.
I tend to encourage elaborate player emotes though, and reward audacity by fudging the numbers they roll slightly.
So for example, "Player 1 shoots his gun at the target" and rolls a 70 but "Player 2 throws himself at the target, kicking his leg outwards to try to use the target's kneecap as a lunching pad. If succesful Player 2 does a double back flip in mid air and opens fire with his rifle, aiming for the top of his target's skull." and rolls a 60.
I'll likely have the roll of 60 in this example perform better than the roll of 70 because AWESOME.
Of course, it'd be balanced out by any potential bad rolling. Rolling low for simply shooting a gun would mean you miss your shot. Rolling low for double back flipping and firing a gun in mid air would mean you plummeting to earth with a thud and a broken arm and your gun going off as it hits the floor and shooting your friend.

Big events never work right with a single DM. I tend to try to split a big group in 2 and have the second group go with a different DM.

Also, the roll order is important and there's no real way around that. But, for example, Player 1 rolls a 55 on an attack so I raid warning the result that the enemy staggers as its left arm is half severed. Then Player 4 rolls a 67 attacking the same target so I'd emote that the enemy, still staggering as it bleeds profusely is suddenly speared in the throat and collapses, drowning in its own blood.

It's like my biggest bugbear with running an RP guild. Rolling events are irritating and hard work and don't always work very well but they're also the only way of making combat in WoW interesting. If we didn't use rolling events then we'd be killing NPCs and that'd just be dull.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

Post by himo on Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:55 pm

I've got a few additional tips from some of the events that I've done over the past couple of years:

- /readycheck this command whilst in a raid is one which I would always recommend to make sure that the dm has replied to all the emotes that have gone before.

- When it comes to enemies I have rough scale of how rolls will work, the first thing I determine is how armoured/protected it is, then I consider its size. So for example if its a great big goblin shredder it's easy to hit 30+ but to damage it/find a weak location would be pretty tough so it ends up being 70+.
A general humanoid I usually put around 60+ to hit and damage, with the strength of the damage going up with the roll.
A small target with no armour would be harder to hit (maybe 70) but would pretty much kill it. Always make sure that the enemies aren't too overpowered.

- Shake things up each event, give enemies interesting magic's/abilities that vary. Remember to use spells that the players also use that aren't normally considered such as polymorph, illusion spells, mana/holy shields, aoe attacks.

- Interest/Concentration. A vital rule for every event is to make sure it involves as many of the players emotionally as it can. For example have an npc be only willing to talk to certain players that are not at the fore front usually. Also remember failed attacks can be just as entertaining as attacks that hit, just make sure there is a good reason behind the resulting fail.

- The knock-on effect. The knock-on effect is one which affects and shapes everthing that is going on in a battle. One example would be if a goblin throws a grenade, it detonates in the middle of a group of enemies and friends but also causes a blast hole that players and enemies can fall into. Another example is the characters surroundings, launching firebolts recklessly in a forest could result in some serious damage to the surrounding area, maybe even start a major fire.

- Waves. While rolling in waves is ok the problem comes to when you are last in the rolling. By which point everything could be dead, ive found a few solutions to remedy dying enemies. The first is to hold back any definite kills to the last emotes allowing those that hit to be able to hit their targets before polishing them off, alternatively if they have already died you can emote the player's action hitting a corpse into bloody pieces. Another way is to emote that the player changes target to the next closest enemy and continues his attack as normal without him/her having missed a turn because the target died.

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Re: [DM] Sword and Board

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