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TOPIC: My feedback from 2015 gencon

My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #1

So let me start that my criticism is meant to be constructive. I really enjoy True Dungeon and this year the only room me and my group didn't care for was the bug necklace room. (The immunity to magic by the bugs felt cheap.)

So anyway, I'd love to hear comments on any of these ideas from other players. I'm definitely in the upper middle of TD goers. I've got about 50 Ultra rare and relics that are distributed among my 10 players, so I'm far from BiS for everyone.

Design advice for True Dungeon:

1) Tokens that subvert a puzzle just unlock a different easier puzzle/activity. Example: Lavawalking boots may allow you to avoid the letters of the puzzle, but now the lava is roiling and you have to avoid bubbles or be knocked off of your feet and drown in lava. Bubbles easily represented by a light projector. Now instead of a word puzzle, it's become a maze and timing challenge for that player. I realize that this puts additional work on the DM, but if one player crosses at a time, it shouldn't be that much worse for a significantly improved experience. On the spider orb with spheres, if there was a mage hand spell, it could simply give the wizard a stick with a small cup/glove on the end. Better than a spear, but not an auto-solve.

1.5) Add clues to puzzles that are only accessible to players with the right kinds of gear who investigate the environment. Reward players who bring the right gear to the adventure. Example: Speak to Dead in the Carrion Crawler room could have given a warning that hitting the stalactites is dangerous or that what the monster's poison does.

2) Define the damage types (melee, ranged, spell, shock, frost, fire, force, poison, acid, darkrift, radiant, eldritch, push), and stick to them. Avoid adding more if at all possible. Keep normal mode the same as today. For Hardcore mode, assume every character resists 3 damage of each type and increase the typed damage by 3. For Nightmare assume 6. Adjust the damage boosts by difficulty to resist as needed. Fire is really easy to resist so make it 8 for nightmare, I'm not sure there even is a force resist, so maybe reduce it a bit. Define push as its own type of damage that is by definition unavoidable. Don't spring new damage types on players who have geared up to avoid the old types.

3) Add new spells and abilities to control the flow of combat. Currently the Paladin can protect a single target and invisibility and elven cloak make it so one character can't be targeted. These abilities are regularly subverted by a DM chosing to ignore a very small subset of characters. Add new features like:
Bard: Taunt: Will save or monster focuses on character of the Bard's choice next turn.
Fighter Provoke: If fighter hits with next attack, attack deals max 5 damage and monster focuses on fighter for the next turn.
Elf Wizard: Sphere of invisibility: Target 4 allies cannot be targeted by the monster next turn.
These abilities allow a party to use teamwork to gain control of the fight's flow, allowing for more strategy and fun for experienced players.

4) Saving throw scaling by difficulty. Monster's AC goes up with difficulty and so does player gear. A monster with a 25 AC is just as easily hit by a player with a +10 to hit as a monster with a 15 AC and a +0 to hit. A monster with a +6 saving throw is a lot easier to affect with a spell than a monster with a +10 saving throw. There is no gear that can give a spell caster a bonus to hit with a spell save. This means that the value of save spells drastically drops in Hardcore and Nightmare.

4.5) Polymorph potions are fun thematically but sub-optimal tactically. This is another scaling problem. Wizards and Druids don't have the strength bonuses of fighters and barbarians. Polymorph potions give the damage boost over normal Wizard and Druid weapons, but in Hardcore and Nightmare there's no corresponding attack bonus so Polymorphed players miss for a whole lot of damage. Gear or character sheet updates to provide a bonus to hit while polymorphed would make these options more viable and several members of my group would be totally psyched to maul a monsters as a bear.

5) Indicate graphically on party card which of 4 types of test a spell uses. Automatic, slider, skill test or saving throw. I've had a DM require a skill test for Lightning storm, then roll a saving throw (our Wizard passed both, but that doubled our chance of failure).

6) Abaci for combat rooms. (10 bead variety) In my personal DMing, I regularly use an Abacus to track monster hit points. I feel like a DM can learn to use an abacus in about 5 minutes and it's really good at tracking a numeric state value from round to round. Monster has taken 53 hit points, barbarian hits for 28? Slide 7 from top row, reset slide 1 more to 8 and slide one from second row, then slide two from second row. The DM doesn't actually have to know the monster's current hit points to add new damage this way. Just needs to add the new damage to the abacus and evaluate if the new total is greater than the monster's hit points.

7) Would small electronic scale expedite non-point based transmutations? 25 tokens weighs a particular amount, dump them in the bowl, check the read out, dump the bowl in the barrel, give the token to the player and move on to the next one. (Solo cups would work in place of bowls and players could grab a stack and be ready with it in line.) If you had two people available, there could be one line for Argonite, Bismuth, Oil, Hide and Steel, and a second line for everything else.
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #2

  • Kirk Bauer
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Your suggestions are great, I certainly agree with #1 through #5, all great ideas. For #6 I do 90% of the math in my head in my limited experience as a combat DM so I don't think it would help me out any (I only write total damage after the round is over). And I'd still need to write reminders like Barbarian Rage or Bardsong so it wouldn't avoid me writing on the board. But I'm not a veteran DM so others may have different perspectives.

For #7 technically you'd still have to inspect each token to make sure it is the correct type. By the time you do that putting them in stacks of 5 is pretty quick and easy. But I don't do mass transmute processing so I can't say for sure whether this would help or not.
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #3

  • Disbeeleaf
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Your comments are detailed and well organized.

They should be taken seriously.
Of all the traits of humanity, there is only one we do not share with other species, which sets us apart and makes us unique <br />-- the ability to imagine.
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #4

  • Graven
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@Matthew Davidson
Great post with some great feedback and ideas.
[ Click to expand ]
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #5

Re: #4 saves
Yes. One of the reasons I don't bother with wands, scrolls, or spells with saves.


Re: #6 abacus
I'm sure they're great on a tabletop. We'd have to get some that aren't easily reset. Combat is controlled chaos, and it would be terrible to drop the abacus, or just lean over the board a little too far, and hear all the beads clacking to one side. "The critter magically regenerates to full health" is not something anybody wants to hear... Hanging it on the wall out of the way is going to add spinning around time, and could result in vertigo.

The DMs are discussing some alternative techniques to speed up the math.

Re: #7 scales
Not sure it would speed things up. I've watched them counting tokens. They check each to make sure it is being used for the proper trade item, and the color is crucial. 25 clothy tokens could be 1 Mystic Silk, or 6, or something in between. I started using scales with my own sorting and abandoned it pretty quickly.

It might be different if we sent them tokens sorted as "common silk (2.5pts/oz)" and "rare silk (15pts/oz)" but that's a lot of math. The ones who have to do it should make the call as to whether it would work better. But it's something to consider.
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #6

  • valetutto
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Let me address your 4.5

I would say your comments are mostly true for wizard but somewhat wrong for druids.

Why wouldn't you load a druid with the 5 might set and all the STR items you can muster. ALL of this including the +2 scepter of might builds into a fairly robust +hit and damage in melee recorded on the party card. Then the Druid polymorphs using the potion for a fairly nice damage wheel. IF the druid is 5th level they get an additional 5 points of damage.
This equals big damage.
Sweet a combat room, we won't take damage!
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #7

Ok, so I think there may be a dip at hard core then. I manage the tokens for my entire group. This means my single might set and limited hill giant and ogre belts and gloves have to go to my fighters. My druid gets the leftowers in for melee bonuses.

What is your opinion of something like a polymorphism belt that grants +2 or +3 to hot while polymorphed? Without the damage bonus Nightmare BiS players would still likely prefer the strength bonus, but low to medium hard core groups would be able to get into the polymorph game as well.
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #8

  • valetutto
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Sounds like you might be on to a decent rare belt for Wizards and Druids. :)


Might want to go post something to that effect.
If its all +to hit and no + to damage and doesn't actually modify strength you should be able to create a desirable token that gets the job done.
Sweet a combat room, we won't take damage!
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #9

  • dbradical
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Re: Token Sorting:

Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. It is always a little rough for me the first day, but by the end of the con, I am pretty much into a routine of visual scanning, knowing stack height, etc.

The struggle I have is technically I am not supposed to do any lower level transmutations at GenCon. The only exception being people from outside the US (e.g., Canada). But it is very hard for me to turn away a first year collector who has just scraped enough together to make a Dwarven Steel token. That then leads to the slippery slope of multiple bags/ boxes. As long as I am not busy, I have the tokens to trade, and Jeff does not tell me to cease and desist, am fine with trading whatever people need to trade, but we could never go back to dealing with multiple flat rate boxes full at GenCon, that really should be done at HoosierCon were we have a team of sorters and the facilities to deal with the amount of tokens.

Most of the time I do not mind or care, as long as people understand I am trying to keep the line moving, but we will see how things evolve for next year.

Weight would be a possible way to deal with rough sorts, but I am not even sure the token cores are consistent in density from year to year/batch to batch, so I do not know how that would throw things off. I think the stack and sort method may still be the best way of dealing with what we are "supposed" to be exchanging at the con.

Dave
You should know better than to pick up a duck in a dungeon....
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #10

  • MasterED
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dbradical wrote:
Weight would be a possible way to deal with rough sorts, but I am not even sure the token cores are consistent in density from year to year/batch to batch, so I do not know how that would throw things off. I think the stack and sort method may still be the best way of dealing with what we are "supposed" to be exchanging at the con.
Watch and learn from those fast casino dealers at the crap tables count/stack/sort chips!

Ed
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #11

  • dbradical
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I just do not have the dexterity for it. I would never play a Rogue, even though I make the challenge boxes... :whistle:
You should know better than to pick up a duck in a dungeon....
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Re: My feedback from 2015 gencon 4 years 9 months ago #12

  • Picc
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MasterED wrote:
dbradical wrote:
Weight would be a possible way to deal with rough sorts, but I am not even sure the token cores are consistent in density from year to year/batch to batch, so I do not know how that would throw things off. I think the stack and sort method may still be the best way of dealing with what we are "supposed" to be exchanging at the con.
Watch and learn from those fast casino dealers at the crap tables count/stack/sort chips!

Ed

I've got a +1 silver short sword that doesn't even have a metal core. Cool factory defect near as I can tell.
Semper Gumby, Always flexible.
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