Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Give me skill not hit points!

Ran a modern combat event last Friday and nobody was killed. Most people have *lethality* as an issue when they hear modern combat. They think fire arms, which makes them think one shot and you're out of the game. This is true, very true, but only if your character gets hit. Skill, training and speed count more than hit points. Why isn't this so in dungeon crawls and what effect does this have on the game?

I hadn't realized the impact hit points have on game dynamics until now. When your characters are a wall of hit points and these are a mixture of life points, skill and luck the dungeon dynamics changes drastically. The use of fast overwhelming force is not so much a concern anymore. You know monsters will not go down in one hit either. So storming in and taking everything in sight is not an achievable option. We know storming a room full of orcs or ogres won't result in a one round encounter, unless characters are of high levels.

In a modern combat game things move slowly as the unit approaches the enemy, but when contact is made things move quicker. The enemy does not stay in their rooms waiting for the party to come around and hit them. The move, they adapt and turn things against the party in an attempt to flush the party out of "their dungeon" and possibly this world too.

In dungeon crawls thins are much slower. Even with random encounters and some odds of drawing attention, things move very slow. Characters may speed things up if they find a room with goblins, but after a few rounds of fighting things go back to slowly exploring the passages and more and more rooms. I've seldom had a sense of urgency after clearing a room.

What would happen if there was no pause to recover hit points? If monsters could succumb to a single hit? If placing that hit and not getting hit in turn was all that really mattered? How would that change the dungeon crawl pace for you? How would it change the whole storytelling process itself if dungeon crawling was a fast paced raid?

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