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Battle ideas part 3

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Poll Results (voting in this poll has ended)
Acid Lake
0% 0 votes
Death Clock
60% 3 votes
Creeping Destruction
40% 2 votes
TOTAL 100% 5 votes
Battle ideas part 3 – July 13, 2010 2:14 PM (edited 7/13/10 10:14 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Ok. Last week once again turned out pretty good with everyone's help, so I'm going to continue getting praise from my players for everyone else's hard work. Thanks guys!

This week, we've got the one leftover idea from last week and two new ideas for battle scenarios. Here's the scoop:

Death Clock - I'm going to say this right up front: I'm stealing this idea wholesale from a book, but it's a good book so I don't care. The idea here is to have a wagon wheel shaped battle map. The rim of the wheel will be broken out into X sections. Each player and enemy randomly start in their own section of the wheel rim. At the top of the round, a section specific trap will go off in one section of the wheel rim that catches everyone in there. So one section of the wheel might go pitch black, another might have a swarm of nasty monsters get let loose, etc... At the end of the round, the active trap turns off and the trap in the section clockwise to the previous trap activates. So the end result is this rolling sequence of traps that keeps everyone moving around the circle. The spokes of the wheel are an opportunity for players to cut across and get in back of the trap sequence, but cutting across the spokes will carry it's own set of hazards.

Creeping Destruction - This fight is a little more conceptual at this point, but I think it could have some potential. The main idea is to have a large, empty battle field with a single plant in the center of the room. Each turn the plant will grow, having vines start filling up the battle field. Each square the plant takes up could bud a random flower type that causes different effects against the creatures standing in that square. Ideally, by the end of the fight the battle field should be covered in the plant, making all types of maneuverability very difficult without jumping, cutting, or suffering the consequences of the plant, but not moving gives you the increasing risk of the plant growing into the square you're standing on.

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 13, 2010 2:26 PM (edited 7/13/10 10:26 AM)
Debonair (259 posts) Lurker Extraordinaire
Rating: Not Rated
I've voting for number 3 just as the lesser of 3 evils. The death clock seems to be something that looks niceish on paper but probably won't work so well in practicality. As soon as a trap triggers that the PCs are happy dealing with, they will wait there and then wind up behind the cycle, which basically makes the remainder of the traps not do much of anything and leaves the PCs to move at their own pace.

Now, if you modified it to make it a slowly spinning room with a static trap(maybe of rotating elemental damage) then that could be interesting. It would force the PCs to move or eat some damage, but would also give the possibility for certain character types to be able to do something cool. IE: Make it the wheel of fortune spinner, the arrow is instead a gout of flame for a turn or 2, then ice, then lightning, etc... make it a set pattern, so that if someone actually has a way to provide resistance to the element they can plan for it and use it to drag the baddies through


Otherwise creeping death sounds like it could be interesting.

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 13, 2010 3:22 PM (edited 7/13/10 11:22 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I'm voting for the death clock, but I would modify it a bit. Have the sections be numbered and randomize which sections traps go off that round. You could even maybe randomize how many sections go off each round (I'm thinking d4 sections, 1d12 to determine which section).

I also think it should be a pretty small battlefield, so that people can't just avoid sections wholesale.


Creeping Death is cool too though, and actually the concepts seem pretty similar.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 13, 2010 3:24 PM (edited 7/13/10 11:24 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I'm not sure how spinning the floor makes that encounter any better since you still have the same problem you describe. People could still opt to stay in place and just accept the damage one time through and then be safe for a while. I could modify what I described to have a time keeping wall that physically pushes players into the next active trap area, so if they choose to not move they just always keep going into the traps. Or, I could make two trap areas go off at once. Hell, maybe I could make it so there is a minor effect that activates in a clockwise rotation per turn (like a minute hand) and a major effect that turns on per round (like an hour hand).

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 13, 2010 4:15 PM (edited 7/13/10 12:15 PM)
Debonair (259 posts) Lurker Extraordinaire
Rating: Not Rated
True, I even use in the modified example exactly the complaint I made about the first one. That's what I get for picking up the post after being interrupted without rereading.



Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 1:14 PM (edited 7/20/10 9:14 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Ok, so it looks like the winner is Death Clock. It's time to flesh this idea out some, and since no one was particularly keen on it working exactly how I had it slated out, this could take some work Smile

I guess the first issue is; how do I change the layout of the encounter to be more interesting than what I laid out? Here are some options off the top of my head:

1) Instead of having a single zone activate in a sweeping motion, activate a new trap section randomly. I'm leaning against this because it seems too random and difficult to plan a strategy around. The battle mechanic then just becomes a random kick in the balls every round.

2) Have two, perfectly opposite, sweeping activated zones that rotate at the same speed (so, 12 and 6 would be active, then 1 and 7, etc...). This doubles the risk of standing still and letting the zones sweep over you.

3) Have a single sweeping zone with a wall on the one end of the active zone that will push people into the next active zone. Therefore, people standing still will just get swept up and be continually pushed into each active zone.

4) Have 2 active zones. One zone with a major effect going that sweeps at the top of the round (like an hour hand), and a second minor effect zone that sweeps each turn (like a minute hand). When the two zones come together, a super bad effect goes into play. For instance, a zone might give a fog concealment if the minute hand is on it, total darkness if the hour hand is on it, and give each creature blind till save when the hands come together.

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 1:21 PM (edited 7/20/10 9:21 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I like the #4 option.

Also, what about the idea of having a central pillar that the zones move around, so that you couldn't move from 3 to 9 without going either clockwise or counterclockwise?

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 2:11 PM (edited 7/20/10 10:11 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
I think you should combine 3 and 4 - have the "hour hand" as an actual low sweeping beam or something. Require some check (jumping? tumbling? I don't even know what skills this crazy system has) whenever the thing passes by you - if you fail badly, you're knocked down and dragged along, if you fail normally, you're just dragged along and a pass will let you stay in the current section, or some such as that. Actually, you could do that with both hands, and just make one an easier check than the other.

I also agree that you should only be able to move around the clock, not through the center.

Do you have your 12 trap themes planned out yet?

_________________________________________________
Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 2:20 PM (edited 7/20/10 10:21 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Re: Trap Themes:

My thoughts are:

1: SPIKES!
2: Fire
3: Deafness
4: Electricity
5: Giant Pit - though I might actually have it teleport you to a giant pit that drops you right back where you are, so that you're dealing with falling damage without actually moving anything
6: Prismatic Effects
7: Stunning
8: Ice
9: Poison
10: Sonic
11: Blindness
12: Disintegrate / Death Effects (this should totally be the 12 o'clock effect, the other numbers can be jumbled around)

I tried to have elemental effects at four opposing corners, roughly in order of likelihood that someone might have resistance to that element. Also tried to make it so that things got progressively nastier as you went on. I balked at first on the idea of a death effect at 12 o'clock, but I figure it gives incentive for them not to be caught there, necessitating the occasional damaging jump through lesser effects.

(edit) obviously these are just broad themes, specific ideas for the lesser beam / greater beam /combo beam are up in the air, but I think they're all manageable (/edit)

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 2:21 PM (edited 7/20/10 10:21 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Jump, tumble, balance, climb, swim, etc... have all been rolled up into two different skill checks: Athletics (for strength based physical skills) or Acrobatics (for dex based physical skills).

So Tozzi, your idea would be to have a single zone activate and move on the top of the round, and have a bar that rotates per turn. If you fail to make a skill check over the bar when it enters the zone you're standing in, you get knocked prone, or dragged along with it?

And no, I don't have the trap themes planned out yet. I'm trying to feel out the mechanics for how the clock will work before I work on getting down the specific zones. Largely I think they're going to revolve around the different status effects (blind, immobile, on going damage, daze, etc...)

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 3:26 PM (edited 7/20/10 11:26 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah, that's basically my idea, although like I said, you could have two bars, a minute and an hour as it were, and have it work the way you described for part 4. I just think the players (and NPCS should have to work to stay behind the trap rotation.

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 4:05 PM (edited 7/20/10 12:05 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I'm not sure about the tripping bar idea. The thing is, I'm going to have each zone be 6 or 7 squares long, meaning it will take a full move to go from one to the next. If a melee fighter is already against a foe, it'll take them a 5' step and a full move (a full turn) to avoid the trap if their zone is up next already. Adding a trip bar to that seems more like it would be forcing the playing to go into the traps rather than give them incentive to keep away from the traps.

What about if I just took the wall mechanic in option 3 (where the wall is fixed to the back of the active zone), but gave the players a check to get over/through the wall somehow? That way pushing the players in the active zone wouldn't be an automatic thing.

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 4:20 PM (edited 7/20/10 12:20 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
This list of traps seems like a good place to start. I think having the SPIKES! and giant pit sections are a bit redundant since they both end up being vanilla damage. I'm also not sure what mechanics deafness does in 4th ed, so I'll need to look up if that does anything. I'm not sure I understand what prismatic effects are.

Other things to play with in 4th ed are immobility, weakness, slow, combat advantage, marked... And of course, you could have a section where good ol' big scary monster(s) gets released to whoop it up for the round.

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 4:39 PM (edited 7/20/10 12:39 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah, I think my list is basically a 3.5 list, you adding in those ideas from 4E really opens it up a bit.

I like the idea of having one of the sections releasing new monsters whenever it gets triggered. So you'd have a minion for the low level beam, a regular monster for the high level beam, and then either do one of each when they both hit or do a boss monster.

My concern here (and this is true for all traps) is that the big beam hits at the top of the round, and the combo beam is going to hit somewhere during that round, every time. With the regular traps this basically gives people who got stuck in the space at the top of the round a final chance to get away before the minute hand swings around and triggers the combo, but for a monster dispenser you might run into real issues with creating too many combatants in the fight.


By Prismatic Effect I meant things like color spray, prismatic spray, prismatic sphere and prismatic wall, where the actual effect is random. So odds are the trap is just about as nasty as any other trap, but you don't have any idea exactly what you're going to get hit with, so it becomes harder to make a judgment call about whether or not you can survive the area for the round.

I like the "Marked" idea - you could have some sort of blanket effect that marks anyone in the area and works with any powers that require someone be marked. So the low level beam could be marked until the beginning of the next round. The big beam could be marked until someone takes advantage of the mark against you, and the combo could be marked for the rest of the fight. My thought is that each mark's effect in terms of what happens to you would be whatever that individual class' effect usually is, but it might be worth coming up with a generic marking problem. Maybe if you fail to obey the mark then the trap in your section of the wheel activates?

_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 5:15 PM (edited 7/20/10 1:15 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
If I had two hands, you wouldn't always get the combo effect per round. I have 4 players, and typically only keep 1 initiative tick for monsters. So the fight would start with the double effect on 12 (and no one can start on the 12 section). Then the minute hand goes through 1-5 and the hour hand goes to 1. Then 6-10 and the hour hand goes to 2. Then 11-3 and the hour hand goes to 3. This would be the first time you see a double effect. Of course, I can increase that frequency by splitting out the monster groups into different initiative ticks.

I have to think about the marked idea. I through it out because it was a new 4th ed idea, but the way marked works is your at a penalty to attack if you don't target the marker. So, maybe being marked by the traps would just make you more vulnerable to the traps. The other thing about marks is that you can only have one mark on you at a time, so existing fighter's marks would be canceled out.

Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 20, 2010 5:22 PM (edited 7/20/10 1:22 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Not sure why I assumed it would be a 12 turn round. In that case I would totally make the combo beam create a boss monster, something like the Rancor to do battle with the party and the party's foes, indiscriminately.

Re: Marks - I like the idea of it enhancing the trap damage but still counting as a sort of mark. So it would wipe out any marks the party has on them, but maybe lower their relevant saving throws by 1, 2, or 3 (small, big, combo) for the sort of time limit I specified above, depending on which marking beam you get hit by.



_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 21, 2010 12:49 PM (edited 7/21/10 8:49 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
See, what I'm worried about is you'll have the players and the bad guys fighting in, say, section 4. The trap goes off and they all just suck it up. Now, everyone is still in section 4, so that's where the fight is going to take place. They might spread out a bit, but for purposes of things like healing powers and such they'll want to stay somewhat close together. It seems unlikely that they'll get to experience the full range of the map that way. Maybe you've got some other way of getting them to move around the map, which would serve the same purpose, but I think you need something along those lines.

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 21, 2010 12:50 PM (edited 7/21/10 8:50 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I'm thinking random treasure chests with potions inside. It would be like having crates drop in Command and Conquer

_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 21, 2010 12:54 PM (edited 7/21/10 9:00 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
I have two major concerns with this scenario. The first, as has been touched on by others, is that things aren't happening often enough with the slower hand. Covering 1/12 of the battlefield just doesn't seem that significant. The whole "clock" thing is easy to understand and makes for a good image, but I think the entire battle would be much more interesting if there were less sections, preferably four to six. If there's something about the world or campaign that makes those numbers significant, you could go with that instead of the "clock" motif.

The other concern I have is that having the smaller hand move on each player's turn totally breaks the internal logic of the world. Characters aren't going in order, they're all going basically at the same time, and initiative is supposed to show who gets things done first and such. Moreover, the speed at which the hand moves is dictated by the number of battle participants, which is crazy. If you drop the number of sections, you may not need the smaller hand, but as-is I would suggest instead of having it move multiple times per round, have it sweep a wide area once per round, like 1/3 of the clock or something. This could be interesting because the faster hand could actually make attack rolls like a trap, while the larger hand sets off more environmental hazards.

EDIT: And if the faster hand makes trip attacks, that could be fun too, depending on the timing.

--
There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Battle ideas part 3 – July 21, 2010 12:55 PM (edited 7/21/10 8:55 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
To help keep things interesting, I'm having the fight start by randomly assigning each individual party member to one of the sections. The monsters will go through the same process, so in the end, the fight will start with one person on each zone. Players and monsters will be intermingled, so getting together will not be an easy thing to happen.

Also, I never said the party has a healer for them to want to stay close to.

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