Gaming by Prose - Fight Smart, Fight Fast

Gaming by Prose - Fight Smart, Fight Fast

House Rules 1st Pass
For posting format:
- talking styles of any kind and timeline is encouraged, so long as players can easily understand each other
- post in top left heading the most important stat changes for every post, when available
- clean strong narrative entries during combat, no simple 'I swing my sword' posts
- speech to be in bold, and of different colors from other players
- NO INTERNAL THOUGHT PROSE (if you want to convey something, either show through action, inaction, hidden meaning in dialogue, layered dialogue, subtext; this is where players must actively pay attention to other characters than your own, and take initiative to investigate deeper into each other's intent)


For character creation: [teamplay is core]
- you are level 6, with Roles of Leader, Veteran, and Rookie to form the team
- Str and Con for Fortitude, Int and Dex for Reflex, Wis and Cha for Will
- HP value is equal to the level value eg. level 1 characters are only 1 HP, level 20 characters are only 20 HP
- no XP penalties for multiclassing; you may have up to 3 base classes maximum
- the team will have only one leader or older person, and at least one younger rookie; leaders are expected to keep the team alive, and rookies are expected to be respectful and to learn from the older ones

For starting gear: [adventuring is core]
- you are allowed to have 3 magic items of your chosen level, and 3 magic items of up to 3 levels higher
- only up to 3 magic items are combat items; you may have less than 3
- at least 3 magic items are utility items; you can have more than 3
- casting reagents are free; there is no need for bookkeeping
- missiles are not expendable; you don't have to keep buying to replenish them

For progression:
- system is based off 3.5 edition; 4th edition variant is used instead if players prefer that
- earn 5 XP bars to gain 1 character level, this applies across the entire character progression
- level adjustment characters start out with negative character levels to pay off as debt before continuing
- at level 11, a player may opt to start with a new class as a level 1 character, AND carry forward up to 5 reasonable class features from his previous; if a player had multiclassed before level 10, he is free to select class features from among the mix


For adventuring:
- arcana clouds exist for information and remote device control
- various type of transport are available within reach where reasonable
- environments may have hazards, weather and terrain effects can benefit player options
- HIGHLY encourage players to attempt using their combat abilities for creative utility effects
- DM rewards S.P.E.C.I.A.L adventuring (scouting, planning, experimenting, caution, intelligent guesses, ambient attention, long-term thinking)

For economy:
- coins are available for day to day low spending as normal; larger transactions above 100 gold may not be done with coinage
- larger cash amounts, or larger transactions, use cash crystals; they are read by standard issued arcane magnifying glasses
- banks and their services exist; most have paperwork that can be traced
- passive income portfolios exist; most transactions can be traced
- cash crystals have no identifying markers; cannot be traced

For dice rolls:
- dice can be rolled beforehand to know if your action is bad or good, before typing your post
- new dice roll standard; d6 for everything
- rolled perfect 6s will unlock 'moments' for special actions the players can request for
- in the event rolled values match exactly as enemy rolls, player rolls win
- skill modifiers may instead denote extra number of dice rolls you can request, rather than adding more number to final value; each successive dice roll replaces the previous roll value, and it is only beneficial if player wishes to roll perfect for a 'moment'

For skills:
- concentration rolls will revive downed players to max HP; rolls can be done by downed player or standing players
- Knowledge (arcana/religion/nature/planes) can be used to generate certain effects eg. jamming, pulse scan, etc etc
- all skill rolls can be done during combat, to enhance a move action or a standard action at no added action cost
- skill rolls can be matched by enemy skill rolls when available to neutralize player action, and vise versa
- there are no social related rolls; all social actions are succeeded by the prose skills of the player


For combat:
- no initiative rolls; character rolls attack to beat enemy attacks to strike first against enemy armor class
- when a player rolls a value that matches enemy or higher, he can opt to allow simultaneous attacks with enemy
- when simultaneous attack is chosen, player can
counter attack (beat enemy reflex save to attack with no need to beat enemy armor class)
weapon clash and move enemy to change enemy position (beat enemy fortitude save and enemy cannot attack other players)
verbal attacks (beat enemy will save to have dialogue of any kind to affect enemy, DM will determine outcome)
- special attacks can be substituted for normal attacks with no feat requirements
- when HP is 0, character is down, but not always killed; he may be revived by other players (see below)

For spells:
- spells can be jammed
- spells can be traced
- spells can be merged with each other for new effects
- spells can be empowered by Knowledge (arcana/religion/nature/planes/psionics)
- spells can be recharged with a cost

For weapons:
- all weapons are d6 damage
- all weapons have special properties for qualitative effect
- there is no need for piercing, blunt or slashing category, unless mentioned in special properties or used during 'moments'

House Rule Feedback & Clarification:


Any and all posters are free to list their personal top two (and only two) concerns/ grouses regarding play experience, so that I may try to understand, avoid, or address them in this game.

These pointers may be fundamental (I don't like 4th ed), systemic (the problem with initiatives), creative (boring encounters), communal (players who grief or dominate encounters), or social (the DM was too harsh on rulings). D&D with MnM style combats? That sounds...pretty fun actually! Let's go over that questionnaire:

1) 4th Ed. for sure.

2) Leveling blocks. Good way to quicken advancement, and it could be adjusted in flight depending on how fast or slow you need to make player slevel.

3) Smart cookie-cutter. By this I mean that I'd prefer to have enemies that have battle experience fight smart, but none except for the toughest foes should act like a squad of Terminators with advanced AI.

4) Creative use, of course!

5) Big 'no!' to not rolling dice. Dice are fun! As for HP, no need to roll it for 4th ed.

6) Skim. Fantasy isn't about whether you have forty arrows or thrity: it should only come into play when it's narratively important.

7) I like that framework. Sounds pretty well thought out.

8) Free access to everything if it's 4th ed., because Dragon is balanced. If it's 3.X, free access to all books with DM supervision, and maybe allow balanced Dragon bits on a case-by-case basis.

9) Conflicts should be allowed if they make sense. This doesn't mean uniting the PCs against a deadlier force couldn't be an option anyway, though.

10) No particular preference. Depends on what you, as a GM, do better.

Alright, buddy. Thanks for the ping.

I'm looking at the rollcall though in the Game Ads, and it looks like there are a lot more 3.5 games than 4th, meaning there are not many players trained to use 4th. Hmmmmmm.

Also, you may edit in your top 2 critique of your play experience you don't want to happen.

There are many players willing to do 4e, just not many GMs.

Anyway, great idea, not so great system (whatever edition you choose). Boo, not for me.

Playing 4th edition without a battlemap will be extremely complicated (I personally would find it frustrating). How do you intend to gloss over the tactical requirements that 4th edition would put on your prose? The fact that a character has a certain speed, that powers can cover specific ranges, and that their affects may affect adjacent enemies...

I just wanted to put in my two cents that running 4th edition without a battlemap will be a challenge, and see if you'd thought about that.

I like the idea, and it sounds like it could be lots of fun. I'd echo what ChromaticMoon says, though; without a battlemap, it could be very challenging.

But what I like about your idea is that you're centering more on the story of the game than the mechanics. It seems like a mix of two systems: D&D (which is heavy on the mechanics) and fate/WoD (which is heavy on the narrative). My question is, how will you navigate the balance between the two?

For example, an attack in 4e consists of your three actions, of course, and relies on tactical movement for stuff like CA, speed, and areas of effect. A map is almost required.
In nWoD, you can accomplish some of the same ideas without using a map, but the descriptions and narrative have to be a lot more specific. D&D style tactics don't really exist because there are other systems that mimic them, like managing grapples and dealing with prone characters. But things like CA and area of effect don't really exist in the system, part of why a map isn't necessary.

Anyway, I think it's a great idea, I'm just curious about that point. I love nWoD, so seeing a D&D game that goes after that narrative style of play is interesting to me.

That's actually really easy to pull off, actually. Look at Mutants and Masterminds, for example. You can simply vaguely wing the ranges by assigning four vague ranges to attacks, if you absolutely need to define it: Point-blank (melee or thereabouts), Short (Up to 5), Long (6 to 10), and Far range (11 to 20 and beyond). And not even that is necessary, anyway.

Azerian, that's not easy at all. Running 4e without a battle-map would be hard enough that you should just go with another system altogether. The focus of 4e is tactical combat, and that requires a battlemap. The idea of the game is good, but the system doesn't fit. DnD is focused on combat (not saying you can't have good RP on it, just that it is focused on combat), especially 4e. If you want a more narrative gameplay, it's better to choose a system more suited to narrative gameplay - like WoD, FATE, or even going free-form.

I think their point, though, is that 4e D&D assumes you'll be keeping very close track of positioning. There are lots of powers that give you just a little extra mobility, like a shift before your attack or sliding your enemy 1 square, because the game assumes that you'll have hindering terrain features or crowded corridors and lots of tactical positioning going on. In my (admittedly small) experience, this is actually one of the system's main strengths—it's what keeps the combat interesting! But those powers aren't useful at all if distance and positioning is a vague abstract thing.

I'm sure you could run a game without keeping close track of positions; actually I know you can, because I've played in them. There are systems that assume you're going to do this, like Mutants and Masterminds and most White Wolf systems. I'm just not sure 4e is the best choice for that style, because you'd be missing out on an interesting part of the game.

Anyway. Not trying to discourage you! I do like the look of the narrative elements.


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