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Which should be the next battle scenario I use?

Poll Results (voting in this poll has ended)
Acid Lake
0% 0 votes
Cube of doom
100% 4 votes
Other (please post a comment with your suggestion)
0% 0 votes
TOTAL 100% 4 votes
Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 5:45 PM (edited 7/7/10 1:45 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Ok, so the king of the hill battle went well last week, but those jerk players of mine are probably expecting something for next week too. I should probably come up with something, even though that will set a dangerous precedence. Right now, I have two different ideas for a battle. Chances are, I'm going to end up using both ideas, but I was hoping I could get everyone's help in picking which one would be the most fun to flesh out and use this week.

The first idea I had is fight that takes place over a pool of acid. There are a number of small floating platforms that make up the battle field. The idea here is that based on your position on the floating platforms, the weight distribution could be off so one part (ie, the part your standing on) could dip into the acid and the other end would rise up. You could have scenarios where you and an enemy are in the middle, you push the enemy to one end of the island, and then jump off to another island, making the enemy get dunked. There could also be mechanics for rowing these islands around to avoid making jump checks to get between platforms. Maybe there's a current to the acid and the islands move by themselves at the top of each round?

The other fight I was thinking of would take place in an enclosed cube. Each side of the cube would be labeled 1-6. Floating in the middle of the room would be a count down. When the countdown hits 0, I roll a D6 and the room rotates such that it mirrors the position of the D6. All 6 of the walls would be littered with "fun" things to either avoid or use to their advantage when the room rotates, such as spikes, ledges, webs, ladders, etc. After the rotation, the countdown resets and it starts going down again.

Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 5:49 PM (edited 7/7/10 1:49 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I'm voting for the cube because the struggle over the middle of the lake of acid feels similar to the struggle over the control console in the last encounter to me. I know there would be differences, but the cube feels like a more dramatic departure.

I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 6:15 PM (edited 7/7/10 2:15 PM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
I'm voting for the cube because I think it's going to make mapping insane, and I like to promote insanity.

Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 7:19 PM (edited 7/7/10 3:19 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Ok, it seems like everyone's feeling the Cube Of Doom love. Nice. There's a lot that can be done with this idea. I hope my brain doesn't explode implementing it.

First of all, mapping. I think to handle this I'll draw 6 rooms in the traditional "Flattened cube" cross shape. To help keep track of which way everything is going, I could have some movable arrows that will point to the direction the current down is. Rotating the arrows will help determine how the players fall. All possible rotations can be achieved with either a 90 deg rotation (in which case the players slide down the floor they're on) or a 180 deg rotation (in which case the players fall onto the same spot they were in on the new floor).

So now the two big questions I'm dealing with are "How often should the room rotate?" and "What do I populate the walls with?"

1) How often should the room rotate?
My initial thought here would be to use a visible countdown so the players could get themselves into the optimal potion to brace themselves for the fall. But what should that countdown be? 1d4 rounds? Maybe 2d10 turns? Maybe just a fixed length? I feel like I need to find the sweet spot in rotating enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it's just annoying. I guess the key here is, how long will it take for the players to recover from the rotation. If they take a full round to get their bearings, turning every round, or every other round is too much. They would never actually fight. But if they can get up and going instantly, waiting 3 or 4 full turns will mean the room only rotates once or twice for the whole fight. Maybe I should include a button on each wall that would let the players force a room rotation? That would give everyone a central point to fight over as well.

2) What do I populate the walls with?
To make things interesting, I think I'm going to need the walls to uneven with random raised platforms. This way, when the room rotates 90 deg, some players/monsters won't actually slide all the way to the new floor. They'll get stuck on platforms on the wall instead. It could save them from damage, but also cut the tank off from the squishies that are now all alone on the floor. Similarly, I'm thinking there should be ladders bolted to the walls in various directions. This way when the room rotates 180 deg, the players have a change of grabbing a ladder and climbing hand over hand to a wall rather than falling all the way to the floor.

Maybe there should be some "spiderweb trampolines" scattered around as well. The idea here being if you fall/slide onto one, you don't take damage, but you become immobile till save ends. What do you guys think I should do for traps? Just generic stuff, or try to make each wall have some theme? Maybe have some stuff only activate when that wall becomes the floor? Like have trenches in the wall that fill with lava if that wall becomes the floor? What about neutral monsters? Should I have a few low level spiders that can ignore all the room rotations just harass everyone?

Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 7:47 PM (edited 7/7/10 3:47 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Mapping sounds like the best it's going to be, short of creating a giant, velcro covered cube out of cardboard (which would be pretty sweet), or some clear plastic or something.

You didn't ask this question, but in terms of cube size: I would arrange it so that if you are on the wall that ends up being the ceiling you should be looking at around 1-2 d6 falling damage. Not sure how that works out in 4E, but I imagine it's easy to figure out. Of course, more damaging is also interesting, but then you need to give them more opportunities to grab hold of things.

Probably a reflex save for everyone to be on their feet when the rotation ends, failure causes prone, failure by more than 5 causing 1 round of stun as well? Can juggle the numbers around, but I like the idea in principle.

1) I think I would randomize 2d4 rounds for how often the cube spins, and then within the round that it spins, randomize whose turn it spins on, so that the players can't anticipate that sort of thing. I'd go with 2d4 rounds because you don't really want it to be 1 round, that's just kind of lame, but longer than 8 rounds and there's not really any point in the rotation. I might even do 1d4+1 rounds instead. I wouldn't put a button on each wall that forces a room rotation, but I might put it on one wall. That makes it more fun for people to try to scramble to.

2) I think the Forest temple from Ocarina of Time should be a reference point when designing the rooms, there were those two rooms that you needed to rotate to solve puzzles and which had some fascinating architecture. I like the idea of the raised floor sections, as well as ladders and such. What about populating the room with mechanical spiders? They spin webs of metal cable, and generally leave people in the cube alone unless that person cuts one of the strands, in which case they attack as a precautionary measure. I'm thinking the strands could be the one thing really connecting opposite walls, and therefore makes both a useful transportation mechanism as well as a great opportunity to cut loose a strand with an enemy on it, potentially causing them damage, but certainly screwing up their movement plans.

I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 8:10 PM (edited 7/7/10 4:12 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
If you use accurate falling damage and a large enough area that the fight is not totally cramped, people are going to die. The standard is 1d10 damage per 10 feet (2 squares), so at low levels this can easily result in death. Of course you can just ignore this completely, but with this in mind I'm wondering if it would be cool to have the cube rotate a bit more slowly. Having it perform a 90-degree turn over two rounds would be really cool, with everyone suddenly fighting on steep hills in the interim rounds, but that's even more of an insane nightmare to map.

Of course, the 180 degree turn is an issue regardless, especially if the cube is large and you use normal falling damage (since it will basically just kill everyone immediately). You might want to consider rolling 1d4 instead of 1d6 for the rotation, taking no rotation and 180 degrees out of the equation. The 180 degree turn seems to be the least tactically interesting anyway, since there's nothing you can do to mitigate the falling. Falling damage would logically be greatly reduced by a lesser rotation since people are sliding down a wall more than falling. I feel like falling damage should be pretty minimal, so the combatants can focus more on the layout of the room.

It could also be interesting if the positions of the combatants could influence the rotation as well. Maybe roll a d6, but on a 6 it turns in the direction with the most creatures. Not sure what you'd do on a 5 - 180 degrees, no rotation, or maybe 5 can be a creature-based rotation on the X-axis and 6 on the Y-axis. Perhaps if the numbers are even, no rotation happens at all, which would add another tactical element to the equation.

I like Matt's idea of 1d4+1 rounds between rotations. That gives everyone at least a round, but keeps the rotations frequent enough to matter.

EDIT: While falling damage may be better off reduced or omitted, having creatures take damage for landing on top of other creatures would be fun. Especially since without knowing the direction of rotation, there's no way to know if you will be the one falling or the one fallen on.

There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 8:22 PM (edited 7/7/10 4:22 PM)
Debonair (259 posts) Lurker Extraordinaire
Rating: Not Rated
Short random-ish rotation times would be good I think, especially randomizing when in the turn the rotation occurs. I like the idea of a 2 round rotation, or have it be that the rotation happens quickly, but interrupts what is currently happening to give everyone a reaction of some form(after the first rotation since I would guess that would catch them by surprise), order it based on initiative or something. I think it would be fun as a rogue to be able to use the rotation of the room to allow me to jump from a high point to land halfway across the room in a position to do flank or attack something else(or just get behind some new cover).

Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 7, 2010 8:38 PM (edited 7/7/10 4:38 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Falling damage could be reduced or omitted by saying that the material of the cube is specially shock absorbent, which would still result in damage when falling on top of someone else.

I'm also seconding Dowd's idea of rolling on a d4 and omitting no rotation and 180 degree rotation, but I don't know how I feel about the two turn long rotation time. I don't know if it's necessarily better or worse, but it's definitely a different type of encounter.

I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 8, 2010 1:04 PM (edited 7/8/10 9:04 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I'm liking these comments so far.

I was thinking some more about the mapping, and came up with a decent idea. What I think I'm going to do is start out with what I described and just draw how each floor would look and ignore the walls. Then go back and draw how each of the side walls will look, but I'll use three different colors to represent different layers. That should make it much easier to tell exactly what's going on with each wall. I guess when it comes to playing I can use stacked d6 dice to show which platform the player is standing on when two platforms overlap. Oy. What did I get myself into? ^_^

As for turn rotation, I'm hearing a lot of support for 1d4+1. The only reason I'm hesitant to do that is because I think it could be fun if once or twice the room rotates too quickly for the player to get their full bearings. But if you guys don't think that's a good idea, I'll go with 1d4+1 turns. I don't know if I'm sold on the rotation happening randomly in the middle of the round. The point is, when the players see the countdown hit 0, I want them to be able to spend their turn making the decision of continuing the fight, or breaking off (possibly taking an AoO) to get in a better position for the rotation. The only thing making the rotation happen randomly in the middle of the round would do would be to gyp some (or all) of the players out of that decision.

I'm also down with only having 90 deg rotations. I forgot just how deadly falls are in 4th ed. I think I'm going to cap the fall damage at 2d10, and just cut the room into 3rds to determine how much damage you get on the premise of you're sliding down for a portion of the way. Acrobatics checks to keep your footing is a good idea. Let's say check results are:
< 10 is an extra 1d6 damage for landing bad
10+ normal damage and fall prone
15+ normal damage, but keep footing
20+ 1 less d10 damage and keep footing

Metal spiders that attack the players is a cool idea. I think I would have them attack if anyone touches a web, rather then just cut the thread though. I'm not sure my players would think to try and cut threads. Also, if it's based on just touch, you can try to push enemies into the webbing. I'd make it so touching the webbing makes you immobile (even preventing you from falling during a rotation) until save ends.

No one commented on possible negative things to land on, like spikes. Does that mean you guys think it would be just too much? Between falling damage and the spiders/webbing, is that enough for the players to deal with? I'm starting to think it is.

With the mechanics for the actual fight shaping up, I need to starting thinking about bonues the players can get pre-fight in the role playing part. I'm thinking they'll have the opportunity of breaking into an office to get... something. But what? Information on the fight? Seems a bit trivial since they wouldn't be able to do much prep work besides possibly knowing to brace themselves for the first rotation. Maybe their reward could be a one time use remote they could use to force a rotation? Or affect the countdown in some way? Maybe something that would let them ward off the spiders? Or maybe a more permanent reward like slippers of spider climbing?

Re: Which should be the next battle scenario I use? – July 8, 2010 1:08 PM (edited 7/8/10 9:08 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah, spikes are too much. We're assuming there are some enemies to deal with too Smile

Maybe they can get an amulet from the maintenance department that makes them "invisible" to the spiders, so they can have one person who can use the webs with impunity?

I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
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